Skip to main content

Full text of "History of Wabasha County"

See other formats

Class . 

Rnnic . W ( -2, H ^ 


















In presenting the history of the County of Wabasha to the 
public, the editors and pubHshers have had in view the preserva- 
tion of certain valuable historical fticts and a vast fund of infor- 
mation which without concentrated effort could never have been 
obtained, but, with the passing away of the old pioneers, the 
failure of memory, and the loss of public records and private 
diaries, would soon have been lost. This locality being com- 
paratively new, we flatter ourselves that, with the zeal and 
industry displayed by our general and local historians, we have 
succeeded in rescuing trom the fading years almost every scrap 
of history worthy of preservation. Doubtless the work is, in 
some respects, imperfect; we do not present it as a model liter- 
ary effort, but in that which goes to make up a valuable book 
of reference for the present reader and future historian, we assure 
our patrons that neither money nor pains have been spared in the 
accomplishment of the work. Perhaps some errors will be found. 
With treacherous memories, personal, political and sectarian 
prejudices and preferences to contend against, it would be almost 
a miracle if no mistakes were made. We hope that even tlfiese 
defects, which may be found to exist, may be made available in 
so far as they may provoke discussion and call attention to cor- 
rections and additions necessary to perfect history. The main part 
of the work has been done by Messrs. Dr. L. H. Bunnell, Dr. J. 
M. Cole, Hon. O. M. Lord, Prof. C. A. Morey, Gen. C. H. Berry, 
Hon. W. H. Hill, P. G. Hubbell, W. S. Messmer, Mrs. H. K. 

Arnold, lion. S. L. Canij)bell, Dr. Wni. Lincoln, J. X. Murdoch, 
M. C. Kussell, J. A. Ellis, E. Mathews, Wm. F. Bigelow, A.' 
J. A. Pollock and Francis Talbot, and we believe that no corps 
of writers could have been found who could have done the subject 
more ample justice. We wish in an especial manner to acknow- 
ledge our obligations to Mr. Francis Talbot, who has been 
untiring and ever-vigilant in his efforts to make this work a 
credit to Wabasha county. Foi' many years he has been gathering 
the facts which constitute a very large part of this work, and 
when they were needed for the enterprise he generously donated 
them to the publishers and their agents for this nse. 

The biographical dej^artment contains the names and private 
sketches of nearly every person of importance in the county. A 
few persons, whose sketches we would be pleased to have pre- 
sented, for various reasons refused or delayed furnishing us with 
the desired information, and in this matter only we feel that our 
work is incomplete. However, in most of such cases we have 
obtained, in regard to the most important persons, gome items, 
and have woven them into the county or township sketches, so 
that, as we believe, we cannot be accused of negligence, partiality 
or prejudice. 


AVah-pa-sha Frontispiece 

Joseph Buisson .^ 560 

Wm. L. Lincoln 705 

Lake Pepin 825 

Oliver CRrrxE 881 

Eesidence ()f L. Ginthner 948 

Lucas Kuehn 958 

S. L. Campbell ' 1023 

J. G. Chapman (Steamer) 1028 

HiESCHY Hall 1059 

■Francis Talbot • . . . 1103 

Grain Elevator, Wabasha 1107 

St. Felix Church 1143 

D. L. Philley 1153 

M. C. Russell 1202 

Lake City Congregational Church 1229 

George Patton ] 247 


\y PAGE 

Aboriginal ^61 

Adams, J.C 11^^ 

Adams, W.T 1^00 

Affeld,L.&J 1110 

Akers, George j^^u 

A Loyal Indian i-'U 

Alexander, Ewin ^-^^ 

Amerland, G. H y^- 

Amerland, Herman y»U 

Amsbry, William H 1006 

Anderson, John jjo^ 

Anderson, A. J 114<^ 

Anderson, W.H 1144 

Anding, Fred 1056 

Angell, William D 

Appel, L. W 


Arendt, Philip 





Arnold, James 1034 

Arnold, Charles A 11^7 

Arnold, AV. J 980 

Asher. John \f^£' 

A Survivor of Bad Axe l^Ji 

Bailey, Andrew iOoO 

Bailey, George y^^ 

Baldwin, M. A 115^ 

Baldwin, Jeremiah • • • • liio 

Banking . ob8, 7/d 

Bartholome, Nicholas 11 li 

Bartron,G.R 1208 

Barnes, Amos \\^^ 

Bartlett, J.C llOj 

Basey, Augustus li^i 

Baumgarten, Henry jiOg 

Baustert, Matthias lOd^ 

Baxter, Williams 1103 

Beaty,J.J 969 

Befort, WiUiam 1158 

Belden, IraW 1138 

Bell,S.H 1237 

Benson, G.F 117o 

Bench and Bar 692 

Black, Elam 1135 

Black, William W 1135 

Black, Ralph W 1136 

Boatman, William "^'63 

Bolton, T. J 1304 

Boughton, Benjamin 1047 

Bough ton, Orrin E. 1046 

Boutelle, Charles H 1049 


Boutelle, Charles M 1049 

Bowen, Theodore 1308 

Brandt, Philemen 1185 

Brant, Henry C 1060 

Bricher, John -/o? 

Bright, A.H 122 

Brown, Parley j^i^ 

Brooks, D.W 1289 

Bryant, J W^ 1299 

Buckman, John ; lioy 

Building and Loan Association . . 721 

Buisson, Cyprian 937 

Buisson, Henry 937 

Buisson, Joseph •|'3b 

Bullock, Richard 1105 

Burchard, Rodman J91 

Burdett, Frank A 1100 

Burdick, F. H 1213 

Burkhardt, Henry 10«7 

Burman,N.P 1241 

Burnham, George H 1017 

Burnham, John W lOlo 

Bush, Jacob 1^95 

Butts, James J 1024 

Cain, David 103J 

Calhoun, Lawrence l-yo 

Campbell, S.L 977 

Campbell, W. H 1074 

Card, KM 1174 

Carlson, Oliver...... 11^ 

Carpenter, George W. 9^/ 

Carpenter, Russell W yy^ 

Carruth, O. P 1062 

Carroll, R.C 1164 

Carson, Marcus j^^^ 

Cassidy, W.W 1237 

Casper, Anthony i-^* 

Caswell, Cyrus L ^^^ 

Caswell, Joseph 

Chalmers, Gabriel 

Chapman,R. W 

Charlev, Augustus ^ 

Chester Township ^ ^'44 

Chinberg,01e ■•• 

Churches ;;-o., 

736, 749, 757, 767, 783, 844 




Clark, William. 


Clear, J. H •••• 1207 

Cleaveland, William Lord 967 

Clemens, Peter 1084 

Cliff, Addin Johnson 1035 

Cliff, Joseph 1036 

Clifford 988 

Colbv, ("harles M 1078 

Colb'v, Loyal D 1080 

Collier, F.J 9G4 

Collier, O. F 9(55 

Conrad, Frank 1167 

Conrad, Paul 1167 

Cook, Klnathan 1188 

Cook, Garret A 998 

Cornwell, E. R 1159 

Corn well, Chauncey C 1129 

Cornwell, F. J 1172 

Corp, Sidney 1166 

Corwin, Daniel C 1094 

Crane, Charles Fhvood 1153 

Crane, Ira 1132 

Crarv.C.W 1208 

Cratte, David 937 

Cratte, Oliver 937 

Cronin, David 1006 

Cutter, Isaac J 960 

Cyclone 901 

Dadv, Jerrv 1290 

DadV, M. U 1291 

Dak', Daniel 1010 

Dale, John 1010 

Dale, Levi A 1011 

Dale, Jacob 1010 

Damoude, R. R 1206 

Darcv, John 1048 

Davis, J. P 1242 

Davis, Robert H 962 

Davis, William 962 

Davison, Daniel 1108 

Dawlev, C. G 1023 

Day, W. W 961 

De Camp, Ira 1294 

De Cam]), Lewis 1293 

Description 609 

Dean, W. W 1104 

Dickman, P. (t 966 

Dickerman, Dorr 1302 

Dieterle, Herman 1109 

Dietrich. Joseph 1022 

Di.snev, W.J 1024 

Disncv, John 1079 

Doane, S. 11 1014 

Doane, Robert 1014 

Doughty, A. B 990 

Doughty, J. C 1281 

Doughty, Samuel 958 

Drinkwalter, R. W 996 

Drurv, M. E 1027 

Duffus, William 1053 

Dugan, E.J 1044 

Duncan, (-Jeorge 954 

Dwolle, Abner 943 

Dwelk;, T. L 944 

Early, Charles 1061 

Earlv Religious Impression 1279 

Early Settlers 1021 

Early Times 579 

Edholm, A. E 1189 

Eichenberger, Rudolph 1029 

Elgin 88 

Emery, C.C 1193 

Emery, James H 1127 

Emery, S. M 1231 

Enright, J. C 1240 

Estes, David Corbin 1038 

Evans, J. II 973 

Everett, (Jeorge C 1034 

Farrar. George 1298 

Fatalities 871, 882 

Favrow, J. E 1294 

Feller, Ezra 1221 

Feller, AV. H 1303 

Ferris, F 1227 

Felton, A. J 1098 

Fifield, Ira A 997 

Finch, C. E 1203 

Finch, Clarence E 1203 

Finchi,J. B 1182 

Fires 831 

Fletcher, John 1005 

Fletcher, Lorin J 1005 

Florer, Bruce 1185 

Ford, E. L 947 

Ford, Joseph 946 

Ford, Orville D 945 

Foreman, William 1090 

Forrest, Charles 1066 

Foss, R. H 1194 

Foster, Alonzo P 992 

Foster, Scott A 1026 

Fowler, Andrew J. 1083 

Fowler, Edw^ard P. C 1020 

Fox, Ansel T 1049 

Fox, Aaron 1246 

Franklin, George B 1022 

Freiheit, F 1148 

Freiheit, L 1148 

French, J. M 1183 

Fricke. Julius 1086 

Frye, Henry 999 

Gage, John 1244 

Gardiner, John 1030 

Gardam, William 1289 

Gates. Stephen K 1165 

Gavlord, Albert K 1018 

Gaylord, S. H 1031 

Gearey, H. R 1157 

Gengnagle, Jacob 1124 

Gibbs, Oliver 1152 

Gibson, Peter 1116 

Gill, William 976 

Gillett. Harrison 1004 

Gill ford Township 792 

Oilman, H. W 1301 

Ginthner, L 948 


Glasgow Township 762 

Goodenough, J. R 1235 

Good Running 1274 

Gold Mining 742 

Graham, Duncan 935 

Grannis, George H 1129 

Gray, Alexander 1110 

Gray, James 1111 

Gray, Robert R 1128 

Greenfield Township 877 

Greer, A. J 1176 

Gregoire, J. B 1173 

Gregg, L.M 978 

Grove, M. A 1168 

Guernsey, Alonzo T 1071 

Guptil, E. B 1187 

p-,Haessig, Jacob 1127 

'-'Hahn, W. J 1311 

Hall, Chester 1192 

Hall, George R 1050 

Hall, Hugh 1142 

Hall, Robert 996 

Hall, Samuel 1103 

Hall, Peter 1215 

Hall, G. W 1283 

Hallaway, Henry 1189 

Hammons, Joseph 1019 

Hancock, G. F 1309 

Hardy, AV. L 1163 

Harrison, James M 997 

Hart, Michael 1170 

Hassinger, J. C 1153 

Hazlett, Silas 1070 

Heath, Alpheus W 1045 

Heath, Henry C 1046 

Hebbeln, George 1114 

Helt, W. A 1064 

Henry, James 1030 

Herman, C.E 1211 

Herschy & Son 1058 

\ / Herschy, Samuel 1059 

'^ Highland Township 913 

Hinckley, C. E 1205 

Hibner, George 1118 

Hobbs, W. H 1174 

Hopkins. W. H 1180 

Hopkins', E. F 1281 

Hornbogen, Charles 981 

Horner, J. W 1229 

Hostetter, M. S 1186 

Howe, George 1099 

Howard, L. M 1160 

Howat, James 1055 

Howat, John 1056 

Hubbard, Clarence A 1128 

Humphrey, Ira J 1095 

Humphrey, Marcus A 1078 

Hyde Park Township 952 

Hyde, John E 952 

Ingalls, D. H 1246 

Ingalls, Wm. H 1247 

Ingraham, Marcus Morton 1100 

Irish war 1271 

Jackson, William S 979 

Jacobs, William J 1038 

Jacobv, M 1193 

Janti," William 1097 

Jellison, T. S 1212 

Jenks, T. T. 1290 

Jerry, Francis 950 

Jewell, P. A 1291 

Jewell & Schmidt 1125 

Johns, Martin 1234 

Johnson, William A 1099 

Johnson, S. J 1180 

Judd, George Washington 960 

Kellogg 484 

Kemp, M. 1169 

Kennedy, John 1238 

Kennedy, M 973 

Kepler, S.S 1086 

Killiam, T. B 1228 

Kimble, James L 959 

Kinsella, :Matthew 9(.8 

Kinney, Alvin 970 

Kinney, Lucius 1092 

Kinney, Wesley 1091 

Knights of Honor 719 

Knapp, Francis W 1090 

Konnig, Clements 1124 

Kopp, Jacob Ills 

Kuehn, Lucas 963 

Lake City 816 

Lake Pepin 823 

Lakey, J.H 1216 

Landon & Burchard 1083 

Landon, Charles 1096 

Langer, Fred 1181 

La Rue, Charles 1112 

La Rue, George S 1102 

Laurence, J. G 1107 

Lawrence, Benjamin 949 

Lawson, Herman 1043 

Lee, Van R 1113 

Lead Mining 1273 

Legend 596 

Ley, Joseph 1238 

Leininger, B. F 1181 

Lenhart, Lewis Y 1037 

Lewis, John H 1058 

Lifrige, Nicholas 1183 

Lincoln, W. L 1029 

Link, John 970 

Lont, Elijah 955 

Lont, O. S 986 

Loucks, F. C 1214 

Low, Q. A 1188 

Lowe, C. C 1311 

Luger, Manufacturing Co 1088 

Lunge, Fritz 1314 

Mack, J. R 1033 

Maiden Rock 571, 825, 711 



iMaire, Tlieodore 
Majenis, X. J. . . 

Martin, I Ipnr3^ 

Martin, John A inn 

Martin, J. P ]^\\ 

Martin, J. M it'^^ 

^MarslKiU, Andrew '. 1 1 on 

Marshall, Joseph W ".■.■■■■ 1005 

M f'"'Vr, 851>, 897. 1259 

Matoer, Thomas ' 1999 

Mathews, Aufrustus ' 1130 

Mathews,.Lewis B " mn 

Maxwell, G ^" 

Maxwell, R. F 

Maze})pa Township 

McArthiir.AV. S. 

McBride, John 

McCarty, 8. L 

McCarthy, I'atiick . . 

McCrackin, William 




O'Brien, John 

O'Brien, Richard.... ::: j^?^ 

^^JK^^^f 718,789,-864.1?J^ 

Odink, M. A 

One of the Earliest... 

Oswak'f h''" "^^^•'^'^^^h''^ ^'ounty 
Paradis' E. A 


Parkinson. William.' '.". \nh 

Patton,E.A ' ,VnY 





Patton, George 
Pattqn, G. R. ... 


Pehl, C. A ; 

Pencille, Orrin . 
Pepin Brewery . 
Pepin Township 
Perkin.s, Elisha . , 
Perkins, W. E . 
Philley, D. L. 





McDonald, John 1990 l j^,:Uw.' 7,- - 1134 

McDonough, Patrick i,)09 p .r l?";.^-.^- •. 1167 

McDonongh, Patrick 00, ^J^^^^' 1^^'n.jamin 9,)^ 

MeDonongh,' Miles.". '.'.'.'. ll^l 

MoDonough. Thomas ' lor.T 

McGovern, J. T " fwT 

Mclnnerv, P. M.... 0^0 

McKinney, Wm '.'. 104? 

McKenzie, D. M " " ins7 

Mc3Iillin, James .' 14.^ 

McMiliin ]]if. 

Mcxaiian, Walter. :::::: ::;:••• 1040' 

Meachnm, F. L ^n^, 

Megers, John '^i 

Medical Fraternity 700 

Megroth, T.H...: ;::■•• k2? ' 

]Messer,H.F JiJl 

xMetzgar, Daniel 

Miller, J. B... 
Milligan, F. II. 


Moon, Xel.son. . , 

Morey, C. A 

Morey, Royal . . , 
Mount Pleasant. 
Mullen, J. H.... 
Munger, O. B. . . 

Munro, James iffr 

Murdoch, J. N.... ni- 

:\rurray,W.R .' .' .' ^i''' 

Murray, E. B. . ^~^^' 

jMurrav. P. B 

Musty' Peter 

Myer, Joseph 

Mvers, A.J 

Nash, Edward .;.■.■ |n^j 

Nelson, Oliver 


Norton, A. B. W. . . 
Norton, A. B. W ... 
Oak wood Township 

Pierce, Anson 

Piers, W. S 


Pioneer Materialt 

















Plainview Township '..'.'. 1 9^1 

Pnetz, Peter .Tyoa 

Poison, Emric ] It'S 

Poorhouse "q^ 



Porter, Elijah 

Pope, John F 

Powers, Lawrence 
Preble, T. J. 


Press of Wabasha County' .' .' .' .' " ' 995 

Price, George W " '9-0 

Pryor, Leonard .".".".' ^a',,> 

Quigley,C.F loTl 

Qnigley, M. H otq 

Qnigley, Michael i^jo 

Qnigley, Philip .■;;;■■■ }o44 

Radebaugh, Namon jn-y- 

Kadebaugh, Samuel " ' -1 oq^ 

Kahilly,P.H }S 

Kay, J. W ^-^'' 

Raymond, Enos B.. 

Read, Charles R 

Read's Landing 

Reding, Peter 

Reiland, John ,,„, 

Reusch,W.E ^90 

Richards, F.S '.'.'.'.'..'. 9^9 

Richardson, James G 11 SI 

Robbins, Joseph Parker [' mo-, 

RobuLson, John JJ 

Robinson, Samuel 
Roli", Henry 



Rogers, C. F .".'.'.'.'.""■ 19-8 

Rogers, James F 1 1"! o 

Rollins, E. T '.'.'.'.'.'.'. 1297 


Rose, J. F 

Rose, J. G 

Rueckert, F. W 

Russell, M. C 

Ryan, P. F 

Safford, John L 

Sandford, G.D ..•■ 

Sandford, J. H 

Schad, John 

Schillinc;;, Peter 

Schmitz, John 

Schmidt, John 

Schmidt, Henry 

Schmidt, J. C 

Schermuly, John 

Schools . . .756, 765, 789, 791, 795, 

Schram, M 

Selover, Alexander 

Selover, Peter 

Seeley, Ira 

Seeley, F. W 

Seymour, S. 

Shaw,F. W 

Sheldon, J. B 

Shields, Patrick 

Sibley, C. H 

Sibley, J. J 

Sinclair, C 

Sigler, A. V 

Sioux Half-breed Tract 

Simons, Henry 

Skillman, Evander 

Slocum, Fitz Gerald 

Smith, A. E 

Smith, M. D 

Smith, C. W 

Smith, H.L 

Smith, H.N 

Smith, N.B 

Smith, O.N 

Smith, S.G -■■ 

Societies 711, 758, 785 

Southworth, A. D 

Springer, John 

Stauti; C. C 

Stauff, C. J 

Stearns, Ernest 

Stearns, R. E 

Stearns, T. P 

Stevens, H. A 

Stocker, H. D 

Stout, Elijah 

Stout, G. C 

Stowell, A. D 

Stowell,F.A. ..^ 

Stowman, A. AV 

Stratton, George 

Strickland, Edward 

Strickland, Richard 

Struble, Stephen 

Stuetzel, Frank 

, 956 
. 1102 
. 1166 
. 1166 
. 1159 

Sullivan, Florence 1218 

Sumner, H. S 1247 

Sylvester, G. W 1008 

Taber, M. E 1182 

Taft, Andrew J 1084 

Talbot, Francis 940 

Tefft, N. S 982 

Tenney,G.AV 1042 

Tenney, Jacob 1041 

Tibbitts, Abner 1291 

Terrell, Henry K 1037 

Thompson, Thomas A 985 

Thorp, Lymon E 1008 

Townsend, L 1057 

Tracy, Lawrence 1014 

Traditional 570 

Treaties 589 

Trobec, James 1143 

Troutman, Ludwig 982 

Ti-yon, Charles f: 1043 

Umbreit, Christian 1104 

Underwood, J. M 1230 

Van Buren, A. D 1219 

YanVleit, L. S 1232 

Vilas, CD 1288 

Wabasha and Vicinity 621 

Wabasha Foundry 1162 

Wadleigh, T. J . .' 1191 

Wagner, J. P 1226 

Wahler, Frederick B 1117 

Wah pasha 1273 

Walker, David 1228 

Walker, J. S 1277 

Walton, W. S 1189 

Warring, William H 1085 

Waskey, Alexander 955 

Waskey, William 955 

Waste, J. P 1225 

Watopa Township 1261 

Weaver 1266 

Wear, John 1248 

Wedge, Henry D 1141 

Wahrenberg, John H 999 

Webster, S. W 1309 

Weimar, J. M 1226 

Welcome, W. A 1144 

Wells, Frank A 1114 

West Albanv 777 

Whaley, Uriah 1089 

White, CO 1307 

White, Robert 1115 

White, R. N 1306 

Whitmore, H.J 1044 

Whitmore, L. H 1142 

Wilcox, H. C 972 

AVilcox, Ozias 1278 

AVildes, A. J 1236 

Wildes, Ephraim 1236 

AVilson, George 1053 

Willson,H. P 1276 

Winters, F. W 1144 


AVise, Charles ] 233 

Witte, William nyi 

Wood, Thomas 1296 

Woodruff, Henry C 1052 

Wording. AV. E 1 925 

Wright, Rufus C 1307 

Wright, William 905 

York, E. M 965 

Yotta, Jacob 1140 

Young, C. F. & Bro [[ 1072 

Young, Louis mg 

Young, J. E 1216 

Youngs, Jesse 1012 

Zumbro Township 759 

Zumbro Township Societies 1267 




A HISTORY of the first settlement of Winona county, and es- 
pecially that of the city of Winona, requires that some notice be 
given to the Indian tribes that have occupied the territory in which 
it lies, and of that adjacent, and also that some notice be given to 
the early efforts of missionaries and explorers to christianize and 
render the savages obedient to the wants of commerce and of French 
or English ascendanc3^ The fur trade was the most important ele- 
ment in the early explorations and settlement of the Northwest, as 
commerce generally has been in the civilization of the world. 

The limited S])ace allowed for this subject admits of but slight 
mention of the authorities drawn upon, but it is imperative that 
the aid afforded by the researches of the Smithsonian Institute, of 
Rev, Edward Duffield Neil, and of Judge George Gale, be acknowl- 

Absolutely nothing is known of the origin of the Indians ; 
neither the mound-builders, nor the more modern tribes ; and the 
naturalist is led to ponder over the suggestion ascribed to Yoltaire, 
' ' that possibly, in America, while God was creating different spe- 
cies of flies, he created various species of men." 

Be that as it may, their differentiations in languages and cus- 
toms, forming different tribes from rnore original stocks, or sources, 
have been noticed by writers upon ethnology ; but aside from the 
knowledge afforded by their various languages and traditions all is 
doubt and m^'stery. Their traditions, even, are so blended with 
superstitions and romances that the most critical judgment is re- 
quired in giving credit to any portion of them ; the more especially 
to times and distances^ that extend beyond the Indiatn's present 
capacity to realise. The territory between the lakes and the Missis- 


sippi river seems to have been peculiarly fitted by its topography 
and natural productions for a grand nursery of savage tribes ; and 
there are evidences still remaining in the languages and traditions 
of the aboriginal inhabitants of this territory, and in the remains 
of ancient tumuli, stone and copper implements, to warrant this 
belief It is ])robable, as claimed by tradition, that some tribe of 
Algonquin origin was in possession of this vast territory, and were 
dispossessed by confederated Sioux, whom tradition says came from 
the New Mexican frontier. The Chippewa names for diiferent local- 
ities, now corrupted, but familiar to us, warrants this belief, if it 
does not establish the fact. The Sauks and Min-o-min-ees, both of 
Chippewa origin, say they were the original owners of the whole 
territory, but they shed no light upon the origin of the mound- 
builders. Those people may have been drawn to this territory from 
the far south in search of copper, which to them, probably, was as 
the gold of California to modern adventurers, and been expelled 
again by wars, or have voluntarily abandoned their industrious 
mode of life to become engrafted into the new nations that were 
springing up around them. Such industrious people would natu- 
rally become the prey of more warlike tribes, and the more especially 
so because of their cranial development, indicating a lack of aggress- 
ive character. In support of the claim to have been the oldest ot 
modern tribes to occupy the territory, the Chippewa race mention 
the names given by their ancestors to prominent localities. For ex- 
ample, Michigan, a word of Chippewa origin, is derived from Mich- 
e-gali-ge-gan, meaning the lake country, or "skye bound waters." 
Wisconsin is from Gy-osh-kon-sing, the name of its principal river, 
and means the place of little gulls. Chicago is from Gah-che-gah- 
gong, a place of skunks. Milwaukee is from Mim-wa-ke, meaning 
hazel-brush land, equivalent to good land, as upon good land only 
will this shrub grow. The astringent bark was used as a medicinal 
remedy, and hence the shrub was known as the good shrub by the 

Galena was known as Ush-ke-co-man-o-day, the lead town ; 
Prairie-du-Chien as Ke-go-shook-ah-note, meaning where the fish rest, 
as in winter they are still known to do. St. Anthony's Falls was 
called Ke-che-ka-be-gong, a great waterfall ; the Mississippi as 
Miche-see bee, or Miche-gah-see bee, meaning the great or endless 
river, or, more literally, the river that runs, everywhere ; and Lake 
Superior was known as Ke-che-gun-me, or "the great deep." Only 


a' few Chippewa names have been given, and those simply to show 
the familiarity of the Chippewas with characteristics of the various 
localities named by them and now so familiar to us. It may be 
added that St. Paul, or its site, was known as Ish-ke-bug-ge, or new 
leaf, because of the early budding out of the foliage below St. An- 
thony's. It has been a custom of Indian tribes, as with other primi- 
tive peoples, to name persons and tribes from peculiarities, from 
resemblances and from localities. 

This rule has been followed in naming the separate tribes of 
the great Algonquin, Iroquois and Dah-ko-tah nations, as well as of 
those of the Pawnee, Shosh-o-me, Kewis, Yu-mah and Apachee or 
Atha-pas-can nations. For many years the records of the early 
Spanish and French explorers were hidden from the researches of 
modern investigators, but those of Marco-de Mca and of Coronado, 
have come out at last from their mouldy recesses, and documents 
that had lain in the archives of France for long years have been 
copied and published to aid the modern historian. In these records 
of the early explorers, errors in writing and on maps have been 
made ; but they are of considerable value to modern research, be- 
cause of the light they shed upon the explorations of their authors, 
and upon some Indian traditions concerning them. 

The Chippewa name for Lake Winnepec is Win-ne-ba-go-shish- 
ing, the meaning of which is a place of dirty water. The name 
Win-ne-ba-go was interpreted to mean ''stinking water," and the 
Indians of the tribe were called by the early French explorers tlie 
"Stinkards," under the impression that they had come from a place 
of stinking water. Lake Winnebago, in Wisconsin, was supposed 
to be that locality, but it may be observed here that the ^i^ater of 
that lake is not, or was not, before the advent of the white people, 

Another- reason given for the name was, that they had come 
from the Western sea or ocean, imagined by the first French ex- 
plorers to exist in the region of the Mississippi river ; and as the 
Algonquin name Winnebagoec, for salt and stinking water, was the 
same, except in accent, their name was supposed by some to desig- 
nate a people from the Western ocean. The traditions and legends 
still existing among the Winnebagoes render it probable that they 
once inhabited the territory adjacent to lake Win-ne-ba-go-shish-ing 
(modernly called Winnepec), and probably long anterior to the 
occupancy by the Sioux of the Mille-Lac country, as while acknowl- 


c'dgiriir tlieir relatioiisliij) to the Dah-ko-tali nation, they claim a more 
ancient lineage. Lieut. Pike refers to the statement of an old Ohip- 
j)ewa that the Sioux once occupied Leach Lake; and Winnebago 
sliishing, or the "Dirty Water lake,'' is but twenty-live miles dis- 
tant from Leach Lake. 

The Winnebagoes call themselves Ho-chunk-o-rah, meaning 
*'the deep voiced people." The Dah-ko-tahs call them Ho-tau-kah, 
full or large voiced people, because of their sonorous voices being 
conspicuously prominent in their dance and war songs. Many 
words in Winnebago and Sioux are very similar. Wah-tah is the 
Sioux word for canoe; watch-er-ah, the Winnebago. Shoon-kah is 
the Sioux word for dog; shoon-ker-ah, is the Winnebago name. 
No-pah is nine in Sioux ; Noi)e is the same numeral in Winnebago. 

Numerous other examples might be given of resemblances in 
tlieir respective languages, but these will suifice. The Chi))pewa 
language is wonderfully artistic in construction and rich in sugges- 
tions ; hence we lind many of their words accepted by other tribes 
as classic. Manito-ba, God's land, suggests the idea of a God-given 
country or Indian paradise. Superior in intellectual capacity to 
most other tribes, their names seem to have been accepted by others 
as something better than their ovm. It is believed by the writer 
that in this way, probably, the Chippewa name, Winnebago, was 
given and accepted by the Ho-chunck-o-rah. 

The Northeastern Sioux claimed to have owned the Mille Lac 
counti-y from time immemorial. It seems quite probable that 
before the "long war," and during some long era of peace, the 
Winnebagoes may have inhabited the shores of Lake Winnepec, 
perhaps, while the Sioux were at Leech lake. The Kneesteneau, 
or Chippewas, would have been their neighbors, and from them the 
Winnebago may have acquired some of the tastes and habits that 
have so marked his character. 

As is still customary with bordering ti-ibes, intermarriages were 
no doubt of frequent occurrence, and in this way, it is conceivable, 
that the Dah-ko-tah progenitors of the Winnebagoes may have 
established themselves among some Chippewa tribes, and their off- 
spring have been led to accept flag-mat wigwams, deer, fish and 
water-fowl in lieu of skin tents and buffalo meat. The Sioux 
language even differs in each band. Probably, soon after the 
Spanish conquest of Mexico, many of the red rovers of the i)lains, 
as their traditions tell, left for more northern climes. Tlie inviting 


prairies of Minnesota, with tlieir countless herds of buffalo and 
elk, would for a time, at least, content the warlike Sioux, who, ].^ro- 
vided with some of the "big dogs" (horses) of the Spaniards, 
could roam at will over these bou)idless, beautiful plains. It seems 
also likely that reports of the more than savage cruelty of the 
Spaniard had gone out, with accounts of the destructive nature of 
his "deadly thunder"; and if so, a common dread would have ke])t 
a superstitious people at peace. 

Friendly alliances would most naturally have sprung up among 
border tribes, and in but a few generations old tribes would have 
been multiplied into new ones, as appears to have been done dur- 
ing some long era of peace. It is true that the problem may be 
as readily solved by supposing a state of civil war to have existed, 
but in that case there still must have been long eras of peace, or 
the race would have become extinct. Be that as it may, the forests 
of Minnesota and Wisconsin limited the range of the buiialo in 
these states, and in doing this determined the character of the nati\e 

The Sioux soon asserted his savage sway over the whole prairie 
region west of the Mississippi river, and drove into the forests of 
Wisconsin his less formidable neighbors. In after years, by com- 
bined attacks with firearms, he was driven back by those he had 
dispossessed of their patrimony, and was content to plant himself 
upon the western shore of liis watery barrier ; keeping as neutral 
ground, for a time, a strip of territory along the east side of the 

This region remained neutral but for a short time only, for w^^ 
find by the accounts of the earliest Fj'ench explorers that the Da- 
kotah and Algonquin nations were in an almost constant state of 
warfare when first visited by them, and during the whole time of the 
French occupation of the territory. 

The water-courses afforded ready access to the greater part of 
the region between the lakes and " Great river, " and the dense 
forests concealed the approach of the wily foes. While the " battle- 
ground " presented opportunities for a surprise, it was no less ser- 
viceable for those who waited in ambush. Many a war party of both 
nations have., been cut off* by a successful ambush, and their people 
left to mourn and plot new schemes of vengeance. 

Other tribes suffered by these national animosities, and aban- 
doned the noted theatres of war for more peaceful localities. 


'J'lie Wiiinebagoes, according; to their traditions, suffered from 
the incursions of both nations ; and at tlie time of the first visit 
of tlie French at Green Bay tliey were found there and on Fox 
i-iver. living in amity with the rice-eaters, or Min-o-min-nee, and 
other tribes of Algonquin origin, though known to be closely re- 
lated to the almost universal enemy, the Sioux. During the summer 
months the Indians on Fox river appeared sedentary in their habits, 
living in bark houses and cultivating Indian corn and other products 
of Indian agriculture, or gathering the wild potatoes and wild rice 
that, served them for their winter stores of vegetable food. During' 
seasons of scarcity from frosts, or from disaster, edible nuts and 
acorns were secured against times of want; and if famine came upon 
them in their extremity, they supported life by feeding upon the 
inner bark of the slippery elm, linden and white pine. Those were 
happy times for the peaceful tribes, and of sorrow for those in 
enmity with one another. 



The Minominnees, Pottawattamies and the Foxes occupied the 
water-courses tributary to Green Bay, while the Winnebagoes and 
the kindred tribes of lowas, Missouris, Osages, Kansas, Quapaws, 
Ottoes, Ponkas and Mandans, possessed the country south and 
west, bordering upon the territory of the Sauks, the Illanois and the 
Sioux. This territory seems to have been visited by the French as 
early as 1634, and in 1660 Father Rene Menard went on a mission 
to Lake Superior, where the furs of that region and of Green Bay 
had ah'eady begun to attract adventurous Frenchmen. 

Poor zealous Menard, the first missionary, never returned to 
civilization ; he was lost in the wilds of a Black river forest, separated 
in a swamp from his faithful follower and assistant Guerin, and all 
that was ever known of his fate was inferred from the agony of his 
companion and the priestly robe and prayer-book of the aged pre- 
late found years afterward in a Da-ko-tah lodge. 

In 1 665 Father Claude Allouez, with but six French voyageurs, 
but with a large number of savages, embarked from Montreal for 


Lake Superior, where he established himself for a time at a place 
called by the French La Pointe, because of its jutting out into the 
beautiful bay of Bayfield. Here at once was erected the mission of 
the Holy Spirit, and the good ofl&ces of the priest tendered to the 
untutored and savage tribes of that vast wilderness. The peaceful 
mission of AUouez was soon known among the warring tribes, and 
Sauks and Foxes, Illani and other distant tribes, sent messengers of 
peace or curiosity to the "Black Ciown," and he was admitted to 
their counsels. In turn, "their tales of the noble river on which 
they dwelt," and which flowed to the south, "interested Allouez, 
and he became desirous of exploring the territory of his proselytes." 
Then, too, at the very extremity of the lake, the missionary met the 
wild and impassioned Sioux, who dwelt to the west of Lake Superior, 
in a land of prairie, with wild rice for food, and skins of beasts instead 
of bark for roofs to their cabins, on the bank of the Great river, of 
which Allouez reported the name to be Mississippi. To Father 
Allouez belongs the honor of having first given this name to the 
world. In speaking of the Da-ko-tahs, he says : "These people 
are, above all others, savage and warlike. * * * They speak 
a language entirely unknown to us, and the savages about here do 
not understand them." 

In 1669 the zealous Marquette succeeded to the mission estab- 
lished by Allouez, and his writings give a somewhat florid account 
of Sioux character. He says: "The Nadawessi (the Chippewa 
name of the Sioux), are«the Iroquois of this country beyond La 
Pointe, but less faithless, and never attack until attacked. Their 
language is entirely different from the Huron and Algonquin ; they 
have many villages, but are widely scattered ; they have very extra^ 
ordinary customs. * * * All the lake tribes make war upon 
them, but with small success. They have false oats (wild rice), use 
little canoes, and keep their word strictly. 

At that time the Dah-ko-tahs used knives, spears and arrow- 
heads made of stone. About that time, one band of Dah-ko-tahs 
were allied to a baud of Chippewas by intermarriage and commer- 
cial relations, and for a time were living in friendly relations with a 
band of Huron s, who had fled from the Iroquois of New York. 
Hostilities breaking out between these people and the Sioux, they 
joined the people of their tribe at La Pointe. 

To Nicholas Perrot is due the honor of having first established 
a trading post on the Mississippi below Lake Pepin, and according 


to Neil's History of Minnesota, Perrot inspired the enterprise of 
La Salle, who sent Louis Hennepin to explore the Mississippi. 
Hennepin was iirst to explore the river above the mouth of the Wis- 
consin, the first to name and describe the falls of St. Anthony, the 
first to i)resent an engraving of the Falls of Niagara, and it may be 
added, the first to translate the Winnebago name of Trempealeau 
Mountain into French. The Winnebagoes call that peculiar mount- 
ain Hay-me-ah-chaw, which is well rendered in French as the Soak- 
ing Mountain, as it stands isolated from its fellow peaks entirely 
surrounded by water. 

After reaching the Illinois river. La Salle, in 1680, sent Henne- 
})in on his voyage of discovery, with but two voyageur assistants. 
After reaching the mouth of the Illinois river he commenced the 
htizardous ascent of the "Great river," traversed before only by 
Joliette and Marquette, when they descended from the Wisconsin. 
Hennepin encountered war-parties of Dah-ko-tahs, and was taken 
a prisoner by them up the Mississippi to St. Paul, to St. Anthony's 
Falls, and to Mille Lao. While in the land of the Sioux he met 
Du Luth, who had come across from Lake Superior. 

Du Luth obtained the release of Hennepin, and gave him much 
information of value. Du Luth seems to have been the real dis- 
coverer of Minnesota. 

Owing to the war inaugurated against the English by Denon- 
\ille, in 1687, most of the French left the Mississippi, and concen- 
trated for defense under Du Luth at Greea Bay. 

In 1688 Perrot returned to his trading-post below Lake Pepin, 
and the year following, by proclamation, claiiAed the country for 
France. In the year 1695 Le Seur built the second post established 
in Minnesota, on an island not far from Red Wing. 

During this year Le Seur took with him to Canada the first 
Dah-ko-tah known to have visited that country. The Indian's name 
was Tee-os-kah-tay. He unfortunately sickened and died in Mont- 

Le Seur hoped to open the mines known to be on the Mississippi, 
and went to France for a license. The license to work them was 
obtained, but Le Seur was captured by the English and taken to 
England, but was finally released. After overcoming great and 
renewed opposition, and making one more trip to France, he,. in 
1 700, commenced his search for copper, which was said to l)e 
abundant on the upper Mississippi. 


Some time in August of this year he entered Fever or Galena 
river, whose banks were known to the Indians to contain lead, but 
Le Seur was the first to mention the existence of those lead mines. 
After many incidents of interest, Le Seur reached the Blue Earth 
river, and established himself in a fort about one mile below the 
mineral deposits, from, which the Dah-ko-tahs obtained their paint 
lor personal adornment. In 1701 Le Seur took to the French post, 
on the Gulf of Mexico a large quantity of this mineral, and soon 
tliereafter sailed lor France. 

At this time, according to Le Seur's journal, there were seven 
villages of the Sioux on the east side of tlie Mississippi, and nine on 
the west. 

The Wali-pa-sha band was anciently known as the Ona-])e-ton or 
falling leaf band, and their village of Ke-ox-ah was upon the 
prairie now occupied by the city of Winona. Keoxa is difficult of 
translation, but it may be rendered as "-The Homestead," because 
in the springtime there was here a family reunion to honor the ' 
dead and invoke their blessings upon the band. 

The site of Winona was known to the French as La Prairie Aux- 
Ailes (pronounced O'Zell) or the Wing's prairie, presumably because 
of its having been occupied by members of Ked Wing's band. The 
Americans called it Wah-pa-sha's prairie. 

Under the impression that it drew from Canada its most enter- 
prising colonists, the French government for some years discour- 
aged French settlements among the Indians west of Mackanaw ; but 
very soon the policy of the English in estranging the Foxes and 
other tribes from the French, compelled a renewal of the licenses 
that had been canceled by the French authorities. 

The Foxes had made- an unsuccessful attempt upon the French 
fort at Detroit (known as Wah-way-oo-tay-nong, or the Wy-an-dotte 
fort), and smarting under defeat they made an alliance with their 
old enemies the Dah-ko-tahs. This alliance and the enmity of the 
Foxes made it unsafe for the French to visit the Mississippi by way 
of Fox and Wisconsin rivers, and for some years the Sauks and 
Foxes scalped the French traders, and waged war against their 
Indian allies. The Foxes were finally overcome by the French in 
1714, and, capitulating, they gave six hostages as security for a 
peaceful treaty to be agreed upon in Montreal. Pemoussa, their 
greatest warrior, and others sent as hostages, died there of small- 
pox. One who had recovered with the loss of an eye was sent to 


Mackanaw to treat, but he escaped and again stirred up the Indians 
to revolt. 

Tlie (3hick-a-saw8 in the south and Dah-ko-talis in tlie nortli 
made the country exceedingly dangerous to the French. They now 
became assured that the Englisli were undermining their intiuence 
with the Indians, for in a dispatch written about 1720 it is stated 
that the English "■entertain constantly the idea of becoming masters 
of North Amei^ca.''^ Licenses to traders were once more abundantly 
issued, and the prohibition against the sale of liquors that had been 
established by the influence of the pious missionaries was removed. 
In 1718 Capt. St. Pierre was sent with a small force to reoccupy 
La Pointe, now Bayiield. The Indians there and at Kce-wee-naw 
had threatened war against the Foxes. During this year peace was 
established at Green Bay with the Sauks and Foxes and Winne- 
bagoes, who had taken part against the French. An endeavor was 
now made to detach the Dali-ko-tahs from friendly alliances with the 
Foxes, and to secure a treaty of peace between the Chijipewas and 
Dah-ko-tahs, with a promise oi renewed trade with them if they 
remained at peace. To accomplish this purpose, two Frenchmen were 
sent to the Dah-ko-tahs, but it would appear were not entirely suc- 
cessful, and wintered among the Menominee and Winnebago Indians 
on Black river. In order to obtain a strategic pointy it was resolved 
by the French to build a fort in the Sioux country. On June 10, 
17^7, the expedition left Montreal, accompanied by missionaries and 
traders, and on September 17 of the same year reached their desti- 
nation on Lake Pepin. A stockade was soon built on the north side 
near Maiden Rock that inclosed buildings for troops, missionaries 
and traders. The fort was named " Beauharnois," in honor of the 
governor of (Canada, and the mission named " St. Michael the 
Archangel." The commander of this fort was De la Perriere Boucher, 
noted for his savage brutality and bigotry. This fort was overflowed 
in 1728 and its site abandoned. According to Sioux tradition, the 
prairie on which Winona is now situated was also ovei-flowed at that 
time. During this year a large force of French and Indians left 
Canada with the intention of destroying the Sauks and Foxes. On 
August 17 they arrived at the mouth of Fox river. Before the 
dawn of day an attempt was made to surprise the Sauk village, but 
they escaped, leaving only four of their people to reward the French 
for their midnight vigils. A few days Uiter the French ascended the 
rapid stream to a Winnebago village, but it also was deserted; still 



pursuing their search, on the twenty-fifth tliej came to a large Fox 
village, but that too was abandoned. Orders were now given to 
advance the command tQ the grand portage of the Wisconsin river; 
but this move was as fruitless as those which had preceded it, and 
the expedition returned to Green Bay without results. The Foxes 
retired to Iowa, and, establishing still closer relations with the lowas 
and Sioux, were allotted hunting-grounds to which have been at- 
tached some of their names. The Kick-ah-poos and Masco-tens were 
allies of the Foxes and their congeners^ the Sauks, and took part 
with them against the French. 

In 1736 St. Pierre was in command at Lake Pepin and regarded 
the Sioux as friendly, but they still remained objects of suspicion to 
the French Canadian government, as some of them had attacked an 
expedition under Yeranderie", undertaken at that early period to open 
a route to the Pacific. 

In 1741 the Foxes killed some Frenchmen in the territory of the 
Illinois, and this so aroused the authorities in Canada that they 
determined, if possible, to overthrow and completely subdue the 
Foxes. The officer selected for this purpose was the Sieur Moran 
or Marin, who had once been in command at Fort St. Nicholas near 
Prairie du Chien. With the cunning of a savage, Marin placed his 
men in canoes under cover, as if they were merchandise, and when 
ordered by the Foxes opposite or near the Butte des Morts to land and 
pay the usual tribute exacted from all traders passing their village, 
he opened fire upon the assembled multitude and killed indiscrimi- 
nately men, women and children. Marin had anticipated the Foxes' 
consternation and flight, and before reaching the village had sent a 
detachment of his force to cut them off. There was great slaughter 
and but a remnant of the village escaped. These people were again 
surprised by Marin and his forces on snowshoes in their winter 
encampment on the Wisconsin, and were utterly destroyed. 

The Dah-ko-tahs had during this period been at war with the 
Chippewas, but in 1746 were induced by the French to make peace. 
Many of the French voyageurs, and in some few instances French offi- 
cers even, had taken wives, after the Indian method of marriage, from 
among the Dah-ko-tahs and other tribes, and by this means their in- 
fluence was still great among their Indian followers. Yet, English 
influence had commenced its work, and soon after this period French 
power seems to have begun to wane. The French, however, still 
continued to make a struggle for existence, if not supremacy. 


The CLippewas of Lake Superior showed a disposition to aid the 
f^nglish, and committed a robbery at the Sault St. Marie ; " even the 
commandant at Mackanaw wa.s exposed to insolence." St. Pierre 
was sent to the scene of disorder. His judgment and courage was 
undoubted. St. Pierre seized three murderers and advised that 
no French traders should come among the Chippewas. While the 
Indians, secured by the boldness of St. Pierre, were on their way to 
Quebec under a guard of eight French soldiers, by great cunning and 
daring they managed to kill or drown their guard, and thougii 
manacled at the time, they escaped, severing their irons with an axe. 
" Thus was lost in a great measure the fruit of Sieur St. Pierre's 
good management "as wrote Galassoniere in 1749. 

Affairs continued in a disturbed state, and Canada finally became 
involved in the war with New York and the New England colonies. 
In the West, affairs were for some time in doubt, but the influence 
of the Sieur Marin became most p^jwerfnl, and in 1753 he was able 
ti» restore tranquillity between the PVench, and Indian chiefs assem- 
bled at Green Bav, 



As the war betw-een the colonies became more desperate, the 
French officers of experience and distinction were called from the 
West to aid the Eastern struggle. Legardeur de St. Pierre in 1 755 fell 
in the battle upfm Lake Champlain, and Marin. Langlade, and others 
from the West, distinguished themselves as heroes. After the fall of 
Quebec the Indians of the Northwest readily transferred their alle- 
giance to the British. In 1761 the English took possession of Green 
Bay, and trade was once more opened with the Indians. A French 
trader named Penneshaw was sent by the English into the country 
fo the Dah-ko-tahs, and in March, 1763, twelve Dahkotah warriors 
arrived at Green Bay, and offered the English the friendship of their 
nation. They told the English commandant that if any Indians 
obstructed the passage of traders to their country, to send them a 
belt of Wampum as a sign, and '-they would come and cut them off, 
as all Indians were their slaves or dogs." After this talk they pro- 
duced a letter from Penneshaw, explaining the object of their visit. 


In June Penneshaw himself arrived with most welcome news from 
the land of the Dah-ko-tahs, bringing with him for the commander 
ot the post a pipe of peace, and a request that English traders be 
sent to trade with the Sioux of the Mississippi. 

A tradition still exists among the Sioux that the elder Wah-pa- 
sha, or, as we might say, Wah-pa-sha the First, was one of the 
twelve Da-ko-tahs who visited Green Bay. Notwithstanding the 
English had conquered all the vast territory between the lakes and 
the Mississippi, and had the prolfered friendship of the Sioux 
to strengthen their influence with all the other Indian tribes, 
the lines of trade between the territory of Louisiana and the 
newly acquired territory of the English were not closely drawn, and 
French influence was sufticiently potent to send most of the furs and 
peltries to their post at New Orleans. The cause of Indian prefer- 
ence for the French may be found in the latters gaiety of character, 
and their ability to conform to the circumstances that may surround 
them. The Canadian voyageurs and woodmen displayed a fondness 
for high colored sashes and moccasins that was pleasing to the bar- 
baric tastes of the Indian women, and many of them, joining their 
fortunes and their honors with those of the French, raised children 
that were taught to reverence and obey them. 

In addition to the influences extended by these ties of blood, 
tlie kindness and devotion to their religious faith exhibited by the 
Catholic missionaries won upon the imaginations of the Indians, 
and many were won over to a profession of their faith. The tribes 
which came under their influences looked upon the priests as verita- 
ble messengers from God, and called them the "good spirits," be- 
lieving that they were the mediums only ot "good spirits." 

All Indians are spiritists, believing implicitly that the spirits of 
departed human beings take an interest in mundane aflairs. 

The English, in contrast with French management, had a bluti' 
and arbitrary way of dealing, that, however successful it may have 
been with eastern tribes, was for a time very distasteful to the Sioux. 
However, the English learned something in due time by contact 
with these Indians, and from French politeness ; but some years 
were required before their success with the Sioux was establislied. 

For some years the trade seems to have been abandoned west of 
Mackanaw, to the French. In the yeai* 1766 Jonathan Carver, a 
native of Connecticut, visited the upper Mississippi, and his reports 


concerning tlie beauty, fertility and reHources of Minnesota aroused 
some attention to the value of these new possessions. 

Carver was a man of keen observation and discernment, and 
some of his predictions regarding the "new northwest," though 
scoffed at by some at that time, proved almost prophetic. Carver 
died in England in 1780. After his death, a claim was set up to a 
large tract of land said to have been given him by the Sioux, and 
since known as the " Carver tract. " 

The claim was investigated after the territory came into the pos- 
session of the United States, but it was found to be untenable. 

Carver found the Sioux and Cliippewas at war when he arrived 
among them, and was told that "war had existed among them for 
forty years." Chippewa and Sioux tradition both make the time 
much longer. It was supposed by the English that the policy of 
the French traders fostered war between the Sioux and Chippewa 
nations. Whether this be true or not, it is certain that French in- 
fluence continued paramount in the country for some years, but as 
the French that remained after the transfer of the country to the 
English were inferior in intelligence to those in authority while 
the French held possession, we are principally dependant upon 
Indian and mixed blood tradition for what occurred in this vast 
territory until after the revolution. 

Tradition tells us that an Englishman, located near the mouth of 
the Min-ne-so-ta river, was killed while smoking his pipe, by an 
Indian named Ix-ka-ta-])e. He was of the M'de-wa-kan-ton-waii 
band of Dah-ko-tahs. 

As a result of this unprovoked murder, no other trader would 
visit this band, which had already been divided by dissensions, and 
been driven by the Cliippewas from territory formerly occupied east 
of the Mississippi. 

In earlier times this decision of the traders would have been 
disregarde<l, but then it was of vital importance to their well-being 
if not their existence ; for they had learned to depend upon guns 
instead of bows and arrows, and therefore suffered for want of am- 
munition and other supplies, and were at the mercy of their well- 
armed enemies. After a grand council it was determined to give 
up the murderer to English justice. 

Accordingly a large party of Sioux, with their wives and the 
murderer, started for Quebec. In order to avoid their enemies the 
Chippewas, they took the usual canoe route by the AVisconsin and 


Fox rivers to Green Bay. While on this journey, the ridicule ot 
other tribes and their own dissensions caused a desertion of over 
half of their number, and upon their arrival at Green Bay, but six, 
of whom some were women, persevered in their intention to go on. 
When about to start, the murderer also disappeared ingloriously. 
The leader of the little band of six, then called Wa-pa "The Leaf," 
told his followers that he himself would go as an offering to the 
British commander, and if required, would give up his life that his 
people might not be destroyed. On arriving at Quebec, his motive 
and heroism were both appreciated by the English governor, and 
the chief was sent back to his prairie home, loaded with abundant 
supplies of the coveted ammunition and Indian trinkets ; and as 
evidence of his gratitude demanded a British flag to wave over his 
territory. A gaudy uniform, which included a red cap, common 
enough in early days, was also given "The Leaf," or as Grignon 
calls him, the "Fallen Leaf," and as he represented the Dah-ko-tas 
as a nation of seven principal bands, he was given seven medals for 
the respective bands, the one for himself being hung by a tassel 
cord upon his neck by the English commander at Quebec in person. 
This noble band of Spartan Sioux wintered in Canada and had 
small-pox, though in a mild form, and when the navigalon of the 
great lakes was fully opened in the spring they safely returned to 
their tribe. 

Before reaching their village, which had been again divided 
during their absence, they dressed themselves in their finest apparel, 
and marching in Indian file at the head of his devoted companions, 
the chief entered his village with red cap and flag conspicuously 

The chief was hailed, after Indian custom as Wah-pa-ha-sha, or 
"Ked Cap," which, by abbreviation soon became Wa-pa-sha. 

Wapasha's successful return and denunciation of the cowardly 
desertion by his comrades, created another division, which was 
made permanent by his leaving "Red Wing's " band and removing 
to the present site of Minnesota City, known to the Wah-pa-sha 
band as 0-ton-we, "the village," probably because of its having 
been a very ancient dwelling and burial place of Indians. 

There, at Gilmore and Burn's valleys, they had their cornfields 
and summer residences. The band also had a village near Trempea- 
leau mountain and at Hoot river. At times, when not occupied 
with field work, they assembled upon the site of Winona (known as 


Keoxa) juul La Crosse, held tlieir sun and other religious dances, 
])lajed their games of " La Crosse," or wept over the remains of 
their dead. Nostrils and sight both reminded them of this sacred 
duty, as the dead of their band were placed u])on scaffolds, and left to 
fester and bleach in the open air until whitened by time. The bones 
and burial garments were buried in some secluded spot, or placed 
under stones in some ancient ossuary. This custom was soon 
abandoned, and in later years their dead were at once buried. 
Wa-pa-sha was very proud of his success with the English, and 
dui'ing one of his visits to Mackanaw, sti])ulated that when visiting 
English forts, the British commanders should salute him and his 
staff with solid shot, aimed a little high: 

For much of the foregoing tradition, and very much more of 
like character, the writer is indebted to Thomas Le Blanc, born in 
1824, son of Louis Provosal, or Louis Provencalle, an old French 
trader, whose post was at or near the site of Pennesha's, on tlie 
Minnesota river, at Traverse des Sioux, and where, for a time, in 
ancient days, some of Wa-pa-sha's people were encamjjed. Thomas 
was related to Wah-pa-sha, to the Grignons and to Faribault, and 
was well versed in Indian and French traditions. He spoke French, 
English and Dah-ko-tah about equally well, and during the four 
months employed by the writer lie was found singularly intelligent 
and truthful. 

The lirst Wah-pah-sha was grandfather to the one removed from 
his Winona village by treaty in 1851-3. His memory is still held 
in great reverence by his descendants and the whole Sioux nation. 
His deeds of prowess and of benevolence are still preserved in tra- 
ditions and S(^ngs that are sung by medicine-men or priests to the 
young of the tribe : and even the Winnebago members of the 
Wah-j)a-sha family have learned to sing them. 

As a s])ecimen of these rude verses, com})elled into rhyme, the 
following song is given : 


Wah-pa-sha ! Wah-pa-sha ! good and great brave, 
. You rode into battle, made enemies slaves ; 
Your war-chief was strong in spirit and frame, 
And many the scalps he hung on his chain. 

Your " Red Cap " was known in the East and the West ; 
You honored the English, and hoped to be l)lessed ; 
You clothed your rod children in scarlet and blue ; 
You ever were kind, devoted and true. 


The skins of your Te-pee were brought from the plains ; 
Your moccasins dressed with Chippewa brains,* 
Your war-whoop saluted by British real shot.f 
Gave peacefullest token they harmed you not. 

Then rest thee, brave chieftain, our night has come on. 
The light has departed from a\\ thou hadst won ; 
Thy people lie scattered on hillside and plain ; 
Thy corn-fields, thy prairie, we cannot regain. 

Notwithstanding the esteem in which his memory is now held, 
during his lifetime Wah-pa-sha became the subject of dissensions in 
his tribe, and leaving the cares of chieftainship principally to his 
son, he roamed at will with a small band of devoted followers of 
his own tribe, and a few Win-ne-bagoes, one of whom had married 
his sister Winona, and whose daughter Winona, called the sister 
of the last Wah-pa-sha (though but a cousin), played so important 
a part in the removal of the Winnebagoes in 1848. Old Wah-pa- 
sha finally died at a favorite winter encampment on Koot river, and 
was taken to Prairie du Chien for burial. When news reached the 
Mississippi, in 1780, that Col. George R Clark, of Virginia, was 
in possession of Illinois, and was likely to take possession of Prairie 
du Chien, a lieutenant of militia, twenty Canadians and thirty-six 
Fox and Dah-ko-tah Indians were sent with nine bark canoes to 
secure the furs collected at that post. Wah-pa-sha was in command 
of the Indians. 

The canoes were filled with the best furs, and sent by Capt. 
Langlade, who had charge of them, out of danger from capture, and 
a few days afterward the Americans arrived with the intention of 
attacking the post. During this year, also, a squaw discovered a 
lead mine near the present site of Dubuque. During 1783-4 the 
Northwestern Company was organized, but some of the members 
becoming dissatisfied, an opposition company was formed by Alex- 
ander McKenzie and others. After a sharp rivalry for some time 
the two companies were consolidated. 

In 1798 there was a reorganization of the company, new part- 
ners admitted, and the shares increased. The new management 
was thoroughly systematized, and their operations made very profit- 

*The brains of animals are used in dressing deer skins. 
t A stipulation at Mackinaw, required a salute to Wah-pa-sha of solid shot 
when he visited that fort. 


In about the year 1785 Julien Dubuque, who had settled at 
"La Prairie du Chien," and had heard of the discovery, by a Fox 
squaw of a lead vein on the west side of the Mississippi, obtained 
permission at a council to work those mines, and he established him- 
self upon the site of the city that bears his name. 

Dubuque was the confrere of De Marin, Provosal, Po(piette and 
others who have prominently figured in the fur trade of that i)eriod. 
The principal traders, however, were Dickson, Frazer, Renville and 
Grignon. James Porlier, an educated French Canadian, was acting 
as clerk for Grignon, on the St. Croix, at this time, together with 
tlie pompous and eccentric Judge Reaume, afterward so noted at 
Green Bay. 

Porlier, while with Dickson at Sauk Rapids, gave Pike useful 
information during his visit to the upper Mississippi in 1805, and 
afterward, moving to Green Bay, acted as chief-justice of Brown 
county tor sixteen years. The treaty of 1783 failed to restore good 
feeling between England and the United States, as the British posts 
were not at once surrendered, and this fact served to keep the 
Indians hostile; 

Tlie English pretended not to have authority to give up posts on 
Indian territory. This excuse was set up in the interest of the En- 
glish fur traders, but it was finally agreed by the treaty efi"ected by 
Mr. Jay that Great Britain should withdraw her troops by June 1, 
1796, from all posts within the boundaries assigned by the treaty, 
and that British settlers and traders might remain for one year with 
all their former privileges, without becoming citizens of the United 
States. The Northwest Comj^any seized upon this opportunity to 
establish posts all over Minnesota. They paid no duties, raised the 
British flag in many instances over theii" posts, and gave chiel's 
medals with English ensignia upon them. By these means they 
impressed the savages witli the idea that their power still remained 
supreme, and tliis impression was a fruitful source of annoyance, 
and even danger, to Americans, for years afterward. In May, 
1800, the Northwestern territory was divided. 

In December, 1803, the province of Louisiana was officially 
delivered by the French to the United States government, and in 
March, 1804, Capt. Stoddard, U.S.A., as agent of the French govern- 
ment, re(;eived fi-om the Spanish authorities in St. Louis actual 
possession of this important territory, transferring it very soon there- 
after to the United States. 


It was now deemed expedient that this valuable territory, so 
recently purcliased, should be fully explored, and the Indians be 
made to acknowledge the full sovereignty of the Federal govern- 
ment. Upper Louisiana, including a large part of Minnesota, was 
organized immediately after the transfer, and on January 11, 1805, 
Michigan territory was also organized. Gen. Wilkinson, placed in 
command at St. Louis, finding that the laws of his government were 
still unrecognized by the English traders in the new territory, in 
1805 sent Lieut. Zebulon M. Pike to expel the traders and bring 
some of the prominent Indian chiefs to St. Louis. Pike was cour- 
teously received and hospitably entertained by the wily Scotch and 
English traders of that period, but they secretly resolved to dis- 
regard and circumvent the policy of the United States government 
in its proposed management of the Indians. 

Pike visited the different tribes along the Mississippi as far u]) 
as Sandy and Leech lakes, and made a treaty with the Dah-ko-tahs 
for sites for forts at the mouth of the St. Croix and Minnesota 

Wintering in the country of the Chippewas, he was enabled to 
induce them and the Sioux to smoke the pipe of peace, and in the 
early springtime started with representatives of both nations for 
St. Louis to conclude articles of friendship and commerce intended 
for the benefit of these hostile races. 

■ Upon the "Aile Rouge," or "Red Wing," hearing of a secret 
attempt to 'shoot Lieut. Pike by a young Sioux, he spoke with 
vehemence against the chai-acter of some encamped at the mouth of 
the Minnesota river, and offered to bring the would-be assassin to 
Pike for punishment. Pike found at the Red Wing village an old 
chief known as Roman Nose, and who had been the second chief of his 
tribe, desirous of giving himself up for some instrumentality in the 
death of a trader. The Indian name of the chief was not given, 
but it was said he had been deposed in consequence of the murder 
of the trader. Pike thought it impolitic to tell the penitent chief 
that the matter was beyond his jurisdiction. 

On his way down the river Pike speaks of Winona prairie by 
its French name of "Aile" or "Wing" prairie, and of Wah-pa- 
shas encampment below La Crosse, probably at mouth of Root 
river. He also gives Wah-pa-sha Ids French name of La Feuille, 
"The Leaf " La Crosse he calls De Cross, but when speaking of 
the game played at Prairie du Chien by Sioux, Fox and Winnebago 


contc'staTics, he calls that "a great game of the cross," showing 
clearly that he did not know the French origin of the name. While 
at Prairie du Chicn, Wah-pa-sha teent for Lieut. Pike, "and had a 
long and interesting conversation with him, in which he spoke of 
the general jealousy of his nation toward their chiefs," and wished 
the "Nez Corbeau," as the French called the "Roman Nose," 
reinstated in his rank as "the man of most sense in his nation." 
This conversation shows another noble trait in the character of Wah- 

Before leaving Prairie du Chien for St. Louis, Pike established 
regulations for the government of the Indian trade, but his disa]>- 
pearance from " I^a Prairie" was the signal for Cameron, Polette, 
Dickson and their subordinates to disregard them. Cameron and 
Dickson wei-e both bold Scotch traders, who seem to have disre- 
garded all regulations and laws, except those of hospitality and 
humanity. Cameron died in 1811, and was buried on the Minnesota 
river. Dickson lived to take an active part in the war of 1812, and 
have few but his ill deeds spoken of in history. 



In 1807 it was becoming evident that the various Indian tribes in 
the Northwest were forming a hostile league against the United 
States government. In 1809, a Nicholas Jarrot made affidavit 
tliat English traders were supplying Indians for hostile purposes. 
Indian runners and envoys from the "Prophet" were visiting the 
(/hippewas, while Dickson, who was the principal trader in Minne- 
sota, held the Indians along the waters of the Mississippi subject to 
his will. 

Gov. Edwards, of Illinois, reported to the secretary of war that 
"The opinion of Dickson, the celebrated British trader, is that, in 
the event of a war with (ireat Britain, all the Indians will be 
opposed to us, and he hopes to engage them in hostility by making 
peace between the Sioux and Chippeways, and in having them declare 
war against us." A principal cause of the great influence of Dick, 
son was his alliance by man-iage with the noted Dah-ko-tah chief 
'■Red Thunder," whose sister he had taken as his wife. 


In May, 1812, two Indian coui'iers were arrested in Chicago, 
supposed to have letters for Dickson. Tlie Indians liad anticipated 
arrest, or else, for greater security, liad buried their letters until 
they should resume their journey, and notlung being found upon 
tlieir persons they were released. A Mr. Frazer was present when 
the letters were finally delivered to Dickson, who was then at ."the 
Portage " in Wisconsin, and said the letters conveyed the intelli- 
gence that the British flag would soon be flying upon the fort at 

During this period, Cadotte, Deace and others were collecting 
the Chippewas of northeastern Minnesota on Lake Superior, and at 
Green Bay. Black Hawk was given command of the Indian forces to 
be assembled. Dickson gave him a certificate of authority, a medal 
and a British flag. Before it was known that M^ar had been declared, 
the American commandant at Mackanaw was surprised by the land- 
ing of Bi-itish troops and traders, and a demand for the surrender 
of the garrison. 

With the British army came well known traders, prepared with 
goods to trade under the British flag. 

An American, taken prisoner at the time, wrote to the Secretary 
of War : "The persons who commanded the Indians are Robert 
Dickson, Indian trader ; John Askin, Jr., Indian agent, and his 
son," both of whom were painted and dressed in savage costume, 
Neill says : "The next year (1813) Dickson, Renville, and other fur 
traders, are present with the Kaposia, Wah-pa-sha, and other bands 
of Dah-ko-tahs, at the siege of Fort Meigs." 

While Renville was seated, one afternoon, with Wah-pa-sha and 
the then chief of the Kaposia band, a deputation came to invite 
them to meet the other allied Indians, with which the chief complied. 
"Frazer, an old trader in Minnesota, told Renville that the Indians 
were about to eat an American." * * * "The bravest man of 
each tribe was urged to step forward and partake." * * * ^ 
Winnebago was urging a noted Sioux hunter to partake of the horrid 
feast, when his uncle told him to leave, and addressed the assembled 
warriors as follows : "My friends, we came here not to eat Ameri- 
cans, but to wage war against them; that will suffice for us." 
Trah-pa-sha said: "We thought that you, who live near to white 
men, were wiser and more refined than we are who live at a distance, 
but it must indeed be otherwise, if you do such deeds." Col. 
Dickson sent for the Winnebago who had arranged the intended 


toast and demanded his reason tor doing- so disgusting a deed. His 
answer sheds no light u])on his motive. 

The fall of Mackanaw alarmed the- people of the Mississippi 
valley, and they called loudly for the defense of Prairie-du-Ghien. 

In May, 1814, Gov. Clark left St. Louis for this purpose, and 
taking ])Ossession of the old Mackinaw House, found a number of 
trunks full of papers belonging to Dickson, one of which contained 
this interesting extract : "Arrived from below, a few Winnebagoes 
with scalps. Gave them tobacco, six pounds of powder and six 
pounds of ball." 

A foi-t was built by the Americans, and named " Shelby." The 
Mackanaw traders, hearing of this, organized a force under McKay, 
an old trader, and started in canoes to dispossess the Americans. 

The British force was guided by Joseph Rolette, Sr., and, land- 
ing some distance up the Wisconsin river, marclied to the village 
and demanded its surrender. 

The foft was untinished and scarcely defensible, but its com- 
mander, Lieut. Perkins, replied that he would defend it to the last. 

On July 17 the gunboat, under command of Capt. Yeiser, was 
attacked by the British and Indians. The boat moved to a com- 
manding position above, but was soon dislodged by the enemy, who 
crossed to the island, where they availed themselves of the shelter of 

The boat was then run a few miles below, but was unable to do 
much execution. For three days Lieut. Perkins made a brave 
resistance, but was finally compelled to capitulate, reserving the pri- 
vate property of his command. 

After placing his prisoners on parole, the British victor escorted 
them to one of the gunboats, upon which they had but about a 
month before come up, and, crestfallen at their discomfiture, they 
were sent back down the river, pledged not to bear arms until 

Some bloodthirsty savages followed them in canoes, but made 
no victims. 

Lieut. Campbell came up from St. Louis about this time with a 
small force to strengthen the garrison, and, landing at Pock Island, 
held a conference with Black Hawk at his village near by. Directly 
after leaving, news came to Black Hawk of the defeat at Prairie-du- 
Chien. His braves at once started in pursuit of Campbell's com- 
mand. A severe encounter was incurred, ' the lieutenant was 


wounded and some of his men killed. During the light a boat was 
captured, and the force was compelled to retreat back to St. Louis. 

After the capture of Fort Shelly, it was named by the British 
Fort McKay. 

In August, 1814, Maj. Zachary Taylor was sent up with a force 
in gunboats to punish the Indians who had attacked Lieut. (Campbell, 
but to his astonishment found the British and Indians in possession 
of Rock Island. 

Fire was opened upon Taylor from a battery, and the first ball 
fired passed through a gunboat commanded by Capt. Hempstead. 

Taylor's boats were all disabled and he was compelled to retreat 
down the river a short distance for repairs. In that engagement 
one was killed and eleven wounded. With the Americans who 
came down to St. Louis after the surrender of Prairie-du-Chien was 
a "one-eyed Sioux," who had aided in the defense of Capt. Yeiser's 

During the autumn of 1814, in company with another* Sioux of 
the Kaposia band, he ascended the Missouri to a convenient point 
above, and, crossing the country, enlisted a number of his people 
in favor of the Americans. 

After these professions of friendship, most likely from Sioux 
nearest St. Louis, he went down to Prairie-du-Chien. Dickson, 
upon his arrival, asked his business, and snatched from him a bundle, 
expecting to find letters. 

The Indian told Dickson that he was from St. Louis, and would 
give no further information. 

Dickson confined the Sioux in Fort McKay, and threatened him 
with death if he did not give information against the Americans. 
The "one-eyed Sioux" was proof against all threats, and he was 
finally released. 

The stubborn savage soon left for a winter sojourn among the 
river bands, and returning in the spring of 1815 he. soon heard the 
news of peace having been restored. 

As tiie British evacuated the fort they set it on fire, with the 
American flag flying as it had been run up, seeing which, the "one- 
eyed Sioux" rushed into the burning fort and saved the flag. A 
medal and a commission were given him by Gov. Clark, which he 
treasured and exhibited upon frequent occasions, while rehearsing 
his many exploits. 

These interesting facts taken from Neill's valuable history, relate 


to Ta-]ui-mie, tlie ''Rising Moose," mentioned by Lieut. Pike in liis 

He was well known to the writer as the '' one-eyed" medicine 
chief, or priest, of the Wah-pa-sha band of Sioux, though he seemed 
equally at home with other bands and with the Winnebagoes, all of 
whom reverenced him for his bravery and intelligence. His fre- 
quent boast of having been the only American Sioux during the war 
of 1812, made liitn quite famous among the American settlers of 
Winona county, while the pretentious cock of his stove-pipe hat and 
. the swing of his mysterious medicine-bag and tomahawk-pipe gave 
him character among his Sioux and Winnebago patrons. His serv- 
ices were in frequent demand; and even now, in 1882, he is spoken 
of by the older Indians as a great hunter, a great warrior, and a 
good ])riest. His more modern name of Tah-my-hay, "the Pike," 
corrupted into Tom-my-haw by the American settlers, was probably 
taken by himself as the adopted brother of Lieut. Pike, after an 
Indian custom. His Winnebago name of Na-zee-kah, an interpreta- 
tion of his Sioux name, shows clearly that he was known as "The 
Pike." In regard to the " Tomahawk," that so mystified Dr. Foster, 
whose interesting and 'elaborate article is quoted from by Neill, it 
appears probable, allowing something to imagination, that the father 
of Lieut. Pike had a tomahawk, the head and handle of which formed a 
pipe, and that Lieut. Pike had taken it with him on his mission to the 
Sioux and (^hipi)ewas as a calumet oi- pipe of ])eace. That, meeting 
with and forming a close tie of friendship with Ta-ha-mie, the " Rising 
Moose," he gave him a memento of his everlasting friendship, in 
peace or war, by presenting the "pipe tomahawk," in such common 
use along the Canadian border in early days. The writer's memory 
was in fault as to the certainty of its being Tah-my-hay who, of all 
the Sioux, was so expert h\ the use of the tomahawk, but R. F. Nor- 
ton, a merchant of Homer, Minnesota, comes to his aid by relating 
the following incident : 

During the early days, said Norton, my brother, the doctor, 
and myself, were listening to an old dragoon settler's account of 
his skill and prowess with the sabre. Flourishing a stick, he told 
how easy it was to defend himself against the assault of lance or 
bayonet. Tom-my-haw happened to be present, and understanding 
more than the valorous cavalryman supposed, or, as proved agree- 
able, asked the white warrior to strike him with his stick. This 
tlie dragoon declined to do, but, being urged, he made a demon- 


stration as if intending to strike, when, with a movement of 
Tom-my-haw's tomahawk, the stick was caught, and whirled to a 
safe distance. Norton described the tomah.awk as a combined 
hatchet and pipe. 

In his youth, Tom-my-hay was a noted liunter, aiid after the 
disruption of the Me-day-wa-kant-wan band, joined Red Wing's 
subdivision, and afterward that of Wah-pa-sha. He told the writer 
that during one of his hunts, while following the game into a dense 
Tamarach thicket, a sharp, dry twig entered one eye and destroyed 
its sight. The vanity of Tah-my-hay was something remarkable, 
but his devotion to the Americans was vouched for by his tribe. 

After the war had closed. Little Crow and Wah-pa-sha, by 
request of the British command, made a long journey, in canoes, to 
Drummond's Island, in Lake Huron. 

After lauding their valor, and thanking them in the name of his 
king, the officer laid some few presents before them as a reward 
for their meritorious services. The paltry presents so aroused the 
indignation of Wah-pa-sha, that he addressed the English officer, as 
appears in Neill's History of Minnesota, as follows : 

"My Father, what is this I see before me? A few knives and 
blankets ! Is this all you promised at the beginning of the war? 
Where are those promises you made at Michilimackinac, and sent 
to our villages on the Mississippi? You told us you would never 
let fall the hatchet until the Americans were driven beyond the 
mountains ; that our British father would never make peace with- 
out consulting his red children. Has that come to pass ? We never 
knew of this peace. We are told it was made by our Great Ffither 
beyond the water, without' the knowledge of his war-chiefs ; that 
it is your duty to obey his orders. What is this to us ? Will these 
paltry presents pay for the men we have lost, both in the battle and 
in the war? Will they soothe the feelings of our friends? Will 
they make good your promises to us ? " 

"For myself, I am an old man. I have lived long, and always 
found means of subsistence, and I can do so still ! " 

Little Crow, with vehemence, said : "After we have fought for 
you, endured many hardships, lost some of our people, and awak- 
ened the vengeance of our powerful neighbors, you make a peace 
for yourselves, and leave us to obtain such terms as we can. You 
no longer need our services, and offer these goods as a compen- 
sation for having deserted us. But no ! We will not take them ; 


we hold them and yourselves in ecjual contem])t." So saying, he 
spurned the ])resents with his foot, and walked away. 

The treaty that soon followed at Portage-des-Sioux, won over to 
the United States the fealty of the Dah-ko-tahs, of Minnesota, and 
the disgust expressed by ''Little Crow" and Wah-pa slia on their 
return to their peo})le, for a time, at least, rendered any further 
serious ditiiculty with them improbable. 

A period has now been reached in the early exploration and 
occupation of the territory of the Dah-ko-tahs, when the traditions 
relating to that era have been merged in the experiences of the 
writer. It is not merely tlie vanity of self-asserfion that induces 
him to give his own personal experiences in early pioneer life, but, 
to connect the past, with the present mode of life in Minnesota, he 
thinks, may give a clearer impression of the character of the early 
pioneers than has generally hitherto obtained. 

The writer's father. Dr. Bradly Bunnell, was born in New 
London, Conneticut, in about 1781, and his mother, Charlotte 
Houghton, was bom in Windsor, Vermont, in about 1785. Soon 
after their marriage they came to Albany, New York, where the 
eldest sister of the writer was born, and where also was born her 
husband, Stephen Van Rensselaer. From Albany his parents 
moved to Homer, New York, where the eldest son, Willard 
Bradly Bunnell, was born in 1814. Ten years later, 1824, the 
writer was born in Rochester, New York. 

While living in that beautiful city, his father conceived the idea 
of visiting the Territory of Michigan, and in 1828 went to Detroit. 
The writer is made sure of the time, by the date of a diploma of 
his father's membership in the Detroit Medical Society, signed by 
Stephen C. Henry, president, and R. S. Rice, secretary, and other 
papers in his possession. 

In the autumn of 1831, Bradley Bunnell started for Detroit, 
with the intention of establishing himself in the practice of his 
profession, but, delayed by the inclemency of the season, and lack 
of secure transportation, was induced to open an office in Buftalo. 

His practice grew into importance, and during the season of 
cholera, 1832, the calls for his services to relieve the distressed and 
dying were almost constant. 

Tlie writer had an attack of Asiatic cholera, and passed into what 
was supposed by consulting physicians to be a collapsed stage of the 
disease, but the heroic treatment decided upon caused a rally of 


the vital forces, and the grim enemy was routed. Although but 
eight years old at the time of the Black Hawk war, that event, and 
incidents connected with it, he distinctly remembers. The passage 
through Buffalo of United States troops on their way to the scene 
of conflict made a vivid impression that years have failed to eradi- 
cate. In 1833 it was thought advisable by the writer's father to 
move up to Detroit, but meeting with what he thought a better 
opportunity to establish himself, after a short delay at Detroit, con- 
tinued on up to Saginaw. There he purchased forty acres of land, 
that now forms part of that flourishing city. He also bought forty 
acres that forms the site of Carrolton. Soon dissatisfied with his 
purchase, and the felicity afforded by howling wolves and croaking 
bullfrogs in their gambols and songs of love, he left in the sweet 
spring-time for metropolitan life in the French village of Detroit. 
His family, on the score of economy, and most likely for want of 
ready funds, were left in Saginaw to care for the household goods 
and garden, and the children to cultivate their unfolding intellects at 
a country school. The writer was called "Pet" by his mother, and 
was allowed to run at large with Chippewa children (whose tongue 
was soon acquired), visit their camps, sugar-groves, hunt, fish, swim, 
skate and fight, to his unbounded satisfaction. His pride was to 
excel his dusky competitors in all things, and this was soon accom- 
])lished, to the admiration of an old Chippewa warrior instructor by 
his killing two immense bald eagles at the age of eleven. The 
writer was not then aware of the importance Indians attach to the 
killing of an eagle. 

His mother soon became satisfied that her "Pet" was learning 
more of the camp than the school, more of the hi-yah, of Indian 
music, than of that taught by his sisters. After a few written notes 
received from his teacher (confidential), and a vain attempt to take 
all of "his hide off," after the most approved methods of that 
'''■good old time''\%). It was thought best, upon one of his father's 
periodical visits, to place the writer in a Detroit "classical school." 

At about the age (»f twelve the misguided boy was placed in the 
Latin school of Mr. O'Brien, of Detroit, who has for many years 
taught the young ideas "to shoot," fitting many young men with 
preparatory instruction for useful lives. Mr, O'Brien had been 
educated for the Catholic priesthood, but discovering some peculi- 
arity in his character (it was thought to be his temper) un suited to 
so sacred an ofiice, he opened his Latin school in Detroit. 


Tliere can be no doubt of tlie masterly ability of O'Brien as a 
teacher ; but his method was the old one he learned in his bible, to 
"spare not the rod !" So, after a very short term at that school, 
receiving in tlie meantime a few exty^a lessons in tlie manly art ot 
sdf-defense^ the writer one day with a ty-yah ! left the school and 
his books never to return. 

A new method was then tried with the young savage, and his 
experiences at the "]>acon Select or High School," of Detroit, are 
cherished in grateful memory. The writer made rapid progress 
toward the goal of his ambition, a liberal educatiim, but the "wild- 
cat mania" had seized upon his father, and as a consequence of 
losses, sickness and deaths in his family, the boy aspirant had to be 
made self-supporting. 

He was ])laced in the drug store of Benjamin T. Le Britton, 
opposite Ben Woodworth's hotel, where he boarded for a time upon 
his arrival in Detroit, and with that kind and upright gentleman, 
and his successor in business, he remained until the fires that raged 
in the wooden buildings of that period had destroyed them. 
Before the destruction of the 'American or Wale's Hotel by fire 
the writer was boarded at that house by his employer, and 
while there remembers that Henry R Schoolcraft boarded there also 
for some considerable time, engaged, probably, upon his Indian 
works. A Chippewa maiden in attendance upon his invalid wife 
(who was of mixed blood), though shy, seemed pleased when spoken 
to in (yhippewa, which, boy like, the wiiter would do. 

For a time, at intervals, though young for the work, he was sent 
by his employer to take orders and make collections in Ohio, Ken- 
tucky and Virginia. 

It was now thought advisable to engage the writer in the study 
of medicine. This was distasteful to him, but finally, with his ex- 
perience as a druggist to build on, in 1840 he went into his father's 
office in Detroit, and in winter, for want of other resources, attjended 
private clinics and demonstrations. 

The reading and confinement involved was too great a change 
from his former and accustomed habits, but nevertheless, in order 
not to disappoint the fond expectations of his parents, he worked 
against his inclinations. He had continued his studies, more or less 
regularly, when a most welcome letter from his brother, Willard B. 
JUmnell, decided him, in the spring of 1842, to go to Bay-du-Noquet, 
where Willard was engaged in the fur trade. 



A POINT has now been reached in this paper where it will be more 
convenient to use the pronoun of the first person singular, and 
accordingly I will say that my recollections of the passage of Gen. 
S'cott and his troops up the lakes, in 1832 ; my intimacy with Indians, 
annually renewed by their visits to Detroit and Maiden, Canada, to 
receive payments ; my acquaintance with all the old-time French fur 
traders and their offspring, at Detroit, and of the traditions told me 
by the Snelling boys of their father and their grandfather. Col. 
Snelling, all conspired to imbue me with a romantic idea of ''going 
out West " into the Indian territory that has never yet been realized. 
At my father's table I had heard Col. Boyer, the Indian agent at 
Green Bay, speak in glowing terms of that beautiful sheet of water 
and its rock-bound islands and harbors ; and I had also heard the 
Williams, of Pontiac and Saginaw, as well as my mother's cousin. 
Dr. Houghton,^ speak in my presence of Indian traditions relating 
to silver and copper mines upon Lake Superior. I asked myself 
then, with boyish fancies, why I could not find one. My dream of 
the conquest of fortune was at first rather rudely dispelled upon my 
arrival at my brother's house, but upon mature reflection I decided 
not to return to Detroit. 

I found my brother in very poor health and about to move to 
the upper Mississippi. The climate of this lovely region, even at 
that early flay, was extolled by the fur traders for its salubrity, and 
for persons sufiering from any form of lung disease it was thought 
to be almost a specific. Exposures and excesses frequently incident 
to frontier life had left their marks upon Willard, and I at once 
decided to aid in his removal to a dryer atmosphere. 

Will bought of the Chippewas and fitted out two of their 
largest bark canoes, and after selling to Mr. Lacy, of Green Bay, 
all of his stock of furs, and loading his sloop, "The Rodolph," 
with choice maple sugar, he closed out the remnant of his winter 
•stock of goods to the Indians encamped on the shores of Green Bay, 
taking in payment their choicest furs and peltries. 


Upon his arrival at the city oi Green Bay all of the purcliases 
made from the Indians were disposed of at enormous profits, includ- 
ing one oi the bark canoes, capable of carrying about four thousand 
pounds. The other canoe Will loaded with the lighter fabrics of his 
trade, and, after a few days' delay in procuring a s\iitable pilot, or 
guide, started up through the rapids of Fox river. 

My brother was accom])anied by his wife, 7iee Matilda Des- 
noyer, who was of the old French stock of Desnoyers, myself, a 
voyager, and an old Menominee Indian pilot, who spoke Chippewa 
w(?ll, and said he belonged to the band of Osh-kosh. The Indian 
went with us only to the head of the rapids, or foot of Lake Winne- 
bago, as agreed upon, but gave us so clear a description of the 
route to be followed to Fort Winnebago, that we reached that 
ancient portage without assistance or difficult3\ 

At the Buttes du Mort (the mounds of the dead), we found a 
most intelligent mixed-blood trader, named Grignon, a descendant 
of the celebrated Fi-ench officer Langlade, who offered us generous 
hospitality and inducements to remain with him. I think that the 
maiden name of my brother's wife, Desnoyer, influenced the old 
trader upon its incidentally becoming known to him, for he spoke 
in the highest terms of the Desnoyer family as personal friends of 
his in troubled times. Grignon told us that "the mounds of the 
dead " had no relation to the battle with the Fox Indians, fought on 
the opposite side of the stream, but were ancient tumuli, oi which 
none but the most vague traditions existed. 

After a day's rest, we pushed on up through the intricate wind- 
ings of Fox river. 

We were not very heavily loaded, our cargo consisting for the 
most part of calicoes, red, green and blue cloths, blankets, cutlery, 
beads, and other baubles, so that upon the whole our trip was a 
very pleasant one: Some of the Winnebagoes encountered on the 
way were at first inclined to be somewhat surly, and demurred to 
the ])rices fixed upon the goods, and no doubt our firm and non- 
chalant demeanor was all that jjrevented an attack from one encamp- 
ment, where it was intimated a tribute would be acceptable. This 
intimation angered my brother, and in a choice vocabulary of hhink 
Chippewa, which their association with the Menominees of (ireen 
Bay enabled them to understand, Will ])()ured into their unwilling 
ears sounds that utterly silenced them. The Ilo-chunk-o-raws, or 
"Sweet Singers," as some translate their name, changed their 


tune and brought out their remaining fars, and would have loaded 
our frail bark at our own prices, to the top of the gunnels. 

Willard expected to sell the furs collected on this journey at 
Fort Winnebago, but failed to do so, as the enterprising trader and 
commercial traveler of the St. Louis, or Choteau Company, had 
already made his annual rounds, and had started for Prairie Du 
Chien. However, by some unexpected delay, we met La 'bath 
after we had started from the Portage, and were assured of a sale 
at "La Prairie." 

At the Portage, oui- canoe and its bulky cargo were transported 
by wagon to the Wisconsin, down which, after having been 
"pocketed" a few times in misleading channels, we journeyed tri- 

At Prairie Du Chien, we met Charles Le Grave, a merchant, 
whose family I had known in Detroit, and also the trader La 'bath, 
both of whom were willing to purchase our furs, but at reduced 

'We did not quite realize expectations in the final sale of our 
Indian commodities, for the season had too far advanced for the 
profitable sale of furs. Consulting with Le Grave, after a long 
conversation with La 'bath regarding the upper Mississippi, we took 
their advice and decided to go to the "Soaking Mountain," known 
now as Trempealeau. 

We were told that in the near future the site of the village 
would be the emporium of trade, and we were assured of a hearty 
welcome from a hospitable Kentucky pioneer named Reed. By the 
treaty of J^ovember 1, 1837, the Sioux and the Winnebagoes mixed 
bloods ceded to the United States all their territory on the east side 
of the Mississippi, and it was supposed by the old traders that town 
sites would become of great value. Francis La'bath, though a half- 
breed Sioux, had the energy, if not the business capacity, of a 
railroad magnate, and as a trader and collector of furs for the 
American Fur Company, he had become familiar with the Indian 
territory of the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers. 

In addition to his trips of purchase for the fur company he had 
personal interests to supervise, for he had established small posts 
and wood-yards at several points for trade on the Mississippi between 
Prairie du Chien and Lake Pepin. La'bath's first post was at the 
head of the "Battle Slough," where Black Hawk was defeated, and 
it was generally managed ty La'bath in person. He had another 


small post on the east side of the river, about three miles below 
La Crosse, that commanded the trade of Root river and vicinity and 
was an important winter post. Root river was known to the Winne- 
bagoes as Cah-lie-o-mon-ah, or Crow river, and not the Cah-he-rah, 
or Menominee river, as stated by some writers. The Sioux also 
called Root river Cah-hay Wat-])ali, because of the nesting of crows 
in the large trees of its bottom lands. In the winter of 1838-9 
James Douville and Antoine Reed (Canadians) established them- 
selves at Tremjiealeau in the interest of La'bath, but more to hold 
the town site than for the purposes of trading with the Indians. A 
wood-yard was established on the head of the island opposite Trem- 
pealeau, and some land cultivated by Douville, but nothing of con- 
sequence done to induce a settlement at Jrempealeau. La'bath was 
a cousin of the last chief Wah-pa-sha, and as a half-breed was allowed 
to establish himself where white men were prohibited from settling. 
In accordance with La'bath's privileges he was interested in the 
half-breed tract at what is now Wabasha, and had petty posts estab- 
lished at every point where trade might be secured. At or near 
what is now Minnesota City, on the Rolling Stone, Labeth placed 
his nephew, Joseph Bonette, to trade with the Wah-pa-sha band, 
and abandoning his lower ])Osts, established one a few miles below the 
mouth of White-water, at a point known as the Bald Blulf. This post 
was known to the Winnebagoes as Nees-skas-hay-kay-roh, or White- 
water Bluff, while his Rolling Stone post was called Nees-skas-hone- 
none-nig-ger-ah, or Little White-water. The Sioux name for White- 
water is Minne-ska, and for Rolling Stone E-om-bo-dot-tah. Wat-pah, 
a river or ci-eek, is sometimes added, though not often, as the creek, 
like many words in Indian, is to be understood. It should be 
understood that most of the petty posts established on Indian terri- 
tory were temporary huts of logs for winter quarters, occupied and 
again abandoned when no longer serviceable to an ever-changing 

' A short time previous to the breaking out of the Black Hawk 
war, a war-party of Sauks attacked an encamjjment of Dah-ko-tahs 
on Money creek. The young daughter of the Sioux war-chief 
Wah-kon-de-o-tah was captured and was being hurried from the 
camp, when her cries were heard by her father. AVith a spirit 
worthy of his name he rushed through the rear guard of the foe, and 
with his own war-club alone brained three of those who had opposed 
the rescue of his child. At the sound of his war-whoop his braves 


instantly came to liis support, and few of the Saiiks were left to tell 
of tlieir defeat. This attack, though so bravely repulsed, alarmed 
the Wah-pa-sha band, and after the fight they made their principal 
encampment in Wisconsin, near the Trempealeau mountain, until 
after the treaty of 1837. Their spring gatherings and dances were 
still held, however, at Keoxa. This statement was recently given 
me by a half-blood Sioux and Winnebago relative of Wah-pa-sha, 
who was in the fight of over fifty years ago on Money creek. 

This statement is confirmed by the Grignons, who inform me 
that their uncle La Bath vacated many petty posts when threatened, 
and reoccupied them again when the supposed danger was past. 

The post at the Rolling Stone was finally abandoned in about 
1840. Joseph Borrette, who was then in charge of La Bath's trading 
post, built a small cabin near the site of the Green Bay elevator, at 
East Moor, which served as a winter post until about 1843, when it 
too was abandoned. During the winter of 1842-3 I attended a pay- 
ment held in the oak grove below where the elevator now stands, 
and which, I think, proved to be the last one made individually to 
the Wa-pa-sha band. Mr, Dousman and others from Prairie du 
Chien were present to look after their interests, but with all their 
sagacity and experience there were transient traders enough with 
"spirit water" to gobble up a liberal share of the five-franc pieces 
then paid the Indians, to the no small disgust of the agent. All 
after-payments were either paid in goods, or if iji coin, the payment 
was paid in bulk at Fort Snelling. La Bath's relationship to Wah- 
pa-sha gave him great personal influence, and by his advice James 
Reed was selected and appointed as their farmer and storekeeper. 
Soon after Reed's appointment he employed Alexander Chienvere, 
a son-in-law, to break fifteen acres of land at the Gilmore valley for 
the band, and Charles H. Perkins, who married Miss Farnam, Reed's 
stepdaughter, was soon after employed to break ten acres more for 
Wah-pa-sha on the east side of Burns' creek, on what is now Miss 
Maggie Burns' farm. When that work was done the chief declared 
himself well satisfied, and sent, the workmen back to Reed. 

La Bath himself was employed by the fur company for a number 
of years, but his nephew, Joseph Borrette, kept up the trade of his 
uncle, with varying success, until about 1844, when all of the petty 
posts were abandoned. Those old cabins served as stopping-places 
in winter for the old mail-carriers, Lewis Stram, Baptist and Alex. 
Chienvere, and others, and the one ^ on the Prairie island above 


Winona was occupied by old Goulali, a French Canadian, who liad 
been for some years in the service of La Bath, but, growing too old 
for journeyings in the wilderness, was placed in charge of a wood- 
yard established by La Bath on the island above the Wah-ma-dee 
bluffs, now Fountain City. But to return. We renewed our sup- 
plies of provisions and left "La Prairie" buoyant with hope, a south 
wind wafting our harh up the Me-ze-see-bee, or great river, of the 
Chippewas. We arrived at La Crosse in the delightful month of 
June, 1842, and were received by the trading firm of Myrick & Mil- 
ler in a very courteous manner. They then occupied a mere shanty 
or small log cabin, but were at work upon the foundation of what 
afterward grew to a house of fair dimensions, though the archi- 
tecture was somewhat of the composite order. To their original 
structure they afterward added a hewn block-house, Indian room, 
and frame addition, and this building, a warehouse, stable, and 
other outbuildings belonging to the firm, formed the nuclfei of La 
Crosse. There has been some discussion between Mr. Nathan 
Myrick, of the old firm of Myrick & Miller, relatiiig to the first 
settlement of La Crosse ; and while I concede the possibility of a 
house having been erected on the prairie before that of Mr. Myrick's 
was built, I do not believe it, as no evidence of the fact was seen, or 
the event talked of, by any of the old traders. On the contrary, 
Keed, who as a soldier had camped on the prairie some years before 
1842, spoke of Myrick & Miller as the pioneer settlers of La Crosse. 
Even though a small cabin had been built before Myrick's arrival, 
running fires or government steamboats, the crews of which had to 
provide wood while on their voyages, would have removed every 
vestige of the fact of the building's previous existence ; and besides 
this, until the ratification of the treaty of November, 1837, the 
Winnebago Indians would allow no permanent settlement upon their 
domain east of the Mississippi without a special arrangement with 

Upon landing at La Crosse, Miller was especially hospitable, and 
offered to wager us "theskoots" that we would not find another 
such a chance for settlement as La Crosse afforded, and urged us to 
remain and lielj) build u[) a city. We were not tlien very favorably 
impressed with the advantages claimed for La Crosse, but thanked 
Miller for his courtesy and interest in our behalf. Finding us firm 
in our purpose of visiting the "Rattlesnake hills," as he and Dous- 
man called the Trem])ealeau bluffs, he volunteered to aid us in 


locating a claim, and to break up sufficient ground for a potato-patch 
should we return after seeing how immense tlie rattlesnakes were up 
at "Jim Reed's town." 

Miller was a man of most generous impulses and strong attach- 
ment, but crosses rendered him as stubborn as resistance itself, 
and this quality subsequently marred his happiness. 

After renewed assurances of good fellowship between Willard 
and Miller, mellowed, no doubt, by a few private interviews, we 
continued on up the broad river, resting in the shade of the forest- 
■clad bluffs, while our light canoe ploughed its course at their base, 
or stopping at other times where a gushing crystal fountain invited 
us to blend its limpid waters with our midday lunch. 

The Eagle's Nest (tlie remains of which may still be seen), now 
known as the ' ' Queen Bluff, " because of its surpassing beauty and 
perpendicular height, had living occupants, as we were informed, 
that had held possession for manj^ years before. Subsequently 
they were dispossessed by Reed and some of his Dah-ko-tah friends 
to celebrate a war-dance. At Catlin's Rocks, now Richmond, we 
found the red paint discernible that marked Catlin's name; and had 
it been used to paint one of his savage chiefs, it would have ren- 
dered the canvas more imperishable than the rocks that still bear 
his name. 

The wind rising up for a vesper breeze, we put on all sail, and 
in a short lialf-hour's run landed at Trempealeau. 

James Reed, his son-in-law, James Dauville, Josej^h Borrette, 
and others of the family, came down to the river bank to greet us, 
and after explaining our purpose in coming, and presenting a letter 
from Le Grave, Reed invited us to his house, and soon' had his 
whole household interested in our welfare. We were invited to 
supper, and the manner in which it was done precluded a declina- 
tion of the hospitality. We retired early, but not until a sheltered 
place for a winter home had been suggested for us by Reed. 

Reed was at our camp early next morning, and leading the way 
to a most refreshing spring in a little valley above the present site 
of the village, Willard selected it for a temporary residence, until, 
as he said, he should be able to learn something of the country. We 
asked Reed in reference to danger from rattlesnakes, and were 
told that, to annoy him, or retaliate for disparaging remarks he had 
made about a miserably poor dog having been used in naming the 
*'Dog Prairie" (Prairie du Chien), Dousman had retorted by calling 

56 iiisToiiY OF wiNOisrA consmL". 

liis Trempeleau vilhige site "The Eattle-Snake Hills"; and the 
worst part of it is, said Keed, "he directs all his letters by steam- 
boat in that way, and nervous people will scarcely land." It was 
evident to both Willard and myself that Dousman's name was not 
entirely a liction, and we adroitly retiiraed to the subject. Eeed 
finally confessed that though he had been there but two years, 
having established himself in 1840, he had seen quite a number of 
rattlesnakes; but his hogs, he said, wei-e fast extei-minating them, 
and he hoped they would soon disappear, for, said he, "old hunter 
as I am, / stej) high in going through the ferns and grasses of the 
hluffs.'''' The Winnebago name of the localit}^, Wa-kon-ne-shau- 
ali-ga, means the place of rattlesnakes on the river. We were told 
by Reed that it was the westernmost peak of the range that was 
called by Hennepin La Montaigne, qui Trompe-a L'eau, and that 
the name was a translation (probably understood by signs) of the 
Winnebago name of Hay-nee-ah-chaw, which signified about the 
same thing, that is, that the mountain was "getting pretty wet." 
The Sioux called the mountain Pah-ha-dah, "The Moved Moun- 
tain." La Crosse was so named by the French, because during 
peaceful eras the most athletic of the Indian tribes in the surround- 
ing country assembled to play Indian shinny-ball, called Wah-hin- 
hin-ah, staking horses, blankets, wampum, and sometimes even 
their squaw slaves, on the issues of their national game. The 
lower end of the prairie, near Michel's brewery, was the place of 
assembly; but the game of ball was so common among all Indians, 
that the name of their game was never given to a locality. At one 
time, along the foot of the bluffs, back of the sandy portion of the 
prairie, within the memory even of white settlers, that locality was 
famous for strawberries, and for this reason the Sioux called La 
Crosse Wah-zoos-te-cah, meaning the place of strawberries, when La 
Crosse was designated, but the Winnebagoes, more given to naming 
localities from peculiarities in the geological formation of their 
country, called the La Crosse valley to its junction with the Missis- 
sippi, E-nook-wah-zee-rah, because of the fancied resemblance of two 
prominent mound-shaped peaks noi-th of La Crosse to a woman's 

Coon creek was called Wah-Iceh-ne-shan-i-gah, and the mounds 
situated on Coon prairie were said to have been remarkable for the 
number of stone and copper implements found in and about them. 
Black river was appropriately called Minnesap-pah, by the Dali-ko- 


tabs, and ISTe-sheb-er-ah by the Winnebagoes, both names signify- 
ing black-watei'. The Trempealeau river was called Ne-chaun-ne- 
shan-i-gah by the Winnebagoes, and Wat-a-Pah-dah, both meaning 
the overflowing river. The Chippewa was called by the Winne- 
bagoes Day-got-chee, ne-shan-i-ga, meaning the river of the gartered 
tribe, as they called the Chippewas, and the Sioux called it Ha- 
ha-tone Wat-pah, meaning the river of the dwellers at the falls (as 
the Chippewas were known to the Sioux), as it was one of the prin- 
cipal routes of travel to the Chippewa country. Beef slough and 
Beef river were both called by the Sioux Tah-ton-kah-wat-pah, and 
by the Winnebagoes Te-chay-ne-shan-i-gah, because of the locality 
being the last resort of the buffalo east of the Mississippi, though 
some were seen on Trempealeau prairie at a very late date. The 
Winnebagoes called the site of Winona, De-cone-uck, and the whole 
prairie Ose-cah-he-aitch-chaw, meaning the prairie village, or its 
equivalent. The Dah-ko-tahs called it Ke-ox-ah, translated to mean 
the homestead. The French called it La Prairie Aux-Ailes (pro- 
nounced O'Zell), or Prairie of Wing's, — for what reason I have been 
unable to learn, but as the Wah-pa-sha village was colonized from 
the Red Wing band, it would appear as if the Indians of- the village 
of Ke-ox-ah might have been known to the early French traders as 
one of the Red Wing villages. 

Ke-ox-ah seems to have a specific meaning, like Tee-pe-o-tah, or 
0-ton-we, both of which mean a village or collection of tents, but 
Reed thought "The Homestead" as good an interpretation as could 
be given the word. Reed was not a very good linguist, and said 
that he had been frequently misled like Gov. Doty, who, while 
mapping Fox river, supposed Ne-nah, or water, to be the Indian 
name of the river, and at once put it down on his map as Ne-nah, or 
^ox river, and for a number of years it so appeared on the official 
maps of the state. James Reed informed us that he had been in the 
United States army under Col. Zachary Taylor at Prairie du Chien, 
iind that during trips to the pineries of the Chippewa, under com- 
mand of Lieut. Jefferson Davis and others, the beauty of the site of 
Trempealeau, and the scenery of the river above and below, had so 
impressed him that he had resolved to settle there when his term of 
service should have expired. His purpose was delayed for various 
causes, as he came to Prairie du Chien when quite young, but 
finally, after many years, Reed had established himself and was in 
comfortable circumstances. At the time of our arrival Reed had a 


large drove of cattle and .young horses, which tlie Indians never 
stole, but would ride occasionally, to his great annoyance, as thej 
galled the backs of his horses and thus exposed their brutality. The 
houses erected by Gavin, the Swiss missionary, and his associates, 
Louis Strain and others, in 1837-8, upon the land now owned by the 
Trowbridge brothers, east of the Lake of the Mountain, were used 
by the Winnebagoes and their Sioux relations to catch the horses, 
as in fly-time the horses would go into the dark log cabins to escape 
tliese pests. During the summer of our arrival Reed burnt uj) the 
cabins to abate the nuisance, saying that they would never be of 
further use for missionary purposes. By the treaty of 1837 the 
Sioux, and the Winnebagoes allied to them, had agreed to remove 
west of the Mississippi. This agreement was not fulfilled untU 
1840, the year of Reed's settlement at " Monte-ville, " as he used to 
call his location at times, and this fact will account for the persistent 
efforts of the Swiss to establish their mission. The Sioux Indians, 
according to Reed, were very willing to have Monsieur Gavin, 
Lewis Stram, and others on the east side of the Mississippi, culti- 
vate corn and vegetables to give them (all for the love of God), but 
they preferred their dog-feasts, sun and scalp dances, to the pious 
teachings of the missionaries, and after one or two years of hopeless 
work the missionaries left their Trempealeau mission and farm work 
in disgust. 

Like most Kentuckians, Reed was very fond of horses, and had 
improved his stock by the importation of a young thoroughbred 
stallion. The brute was a very intelligent animal, and refused to be 
ridden by any of Reed's family of boys, who were then quite young. 
Reed bantered me to ride the horse, saying, "If you will subdue 
him you can use him as your own." 

Reed himself was a good horseman, but thought himself rather 
old to ride the colt, I accepted the old Kentuckian's kindly offer, 
and so won upon him by subduing his stallion that a horse was 
always at my service. The stallion, a beautiful iron-gray, after a 
term of service, was sold to an othcer at Fort Snelling. 

James Reed was a remarkable man in many respects, and one ot 
the best types of a pioneer hunter and trapper I ever knew. His 
first wife was a Pottawatomie woman, by whom he had five children, 
four of whom are still living ; his son John, also a great hunter, died 
from a gunshot wound accidentally inflicted by his own hand while 
hunting deer. Reed's second wife was the widow of the trader 


Farnam, a partner ot Col. Davenport, wlio was murdered at Rock 
Island a number of years since. Reed's stepdaughter, Miss Mary 
Ann Farnam, married Mr. Charles H. Perkins, and is still living 
near Trempealeau. ' Reed's last wife was the estimable widow Grig- 
non, mother of Antoine and Paul Grignon, of Trempealeau. Mrs. 
Grignon was the sister of Francis La Bath, the noted fur-trader, and 
a cousin to the younger chief Wah-pa-sha. She was first married to 
a French Canadian named Borrette", to whom was born Joseph Bor- 
rette, who so many years managed La Bath's post at the Rolling 

To Mrs. Grignon-Reed and her intelligent family I am much 
indebted for interesting facts connected with the pioneer settlement 
of Trempealeau and Winona counties. Mrs. Reed's death was an 
irreparable loss to her family, and a subject of regret to all who knew 
her. For several years in succession Reed used the land cultivated 
by Louis Stram, the first Lidian farmer, who had tried to act in 
concert with his countrymen the Swiss missionaries; and while 
thanking his stars for finding land already for his use, Reed said 
that the austere and<rindustrious character of the missionaries ren- 
dered them unpopular with Wah-pa-sha and his band. 

According to La 'bath, both Stram and the government black- 
smith at the present site of Homer were somewhat afraid of the 
Sioux Indians. Francis du Chouquette, the blacksmith, removed 
his fo'rge to the island opposite Homer, known as The Blacksmith's 
Island, and after a raid by a war-party upon the Wah-pa-sha village 
he left his forge and anvil upon the island and fled to Prairie du 
,Chien. My brother Willard found the anvil, and it was in use for 
some years in Homer, Upon the site of Du Chouquette's shop in 
Homer I occasionally find fragments of iron and cinder, and the 
spring, walled up by him, was intact only a few years since. 

The next attempt to proselyte the Sioux and establish in their 
village at Winona was made by the Rev. J. D. Stevens, who, ac- 
cording to my information, had an appointment of some kind as 
farmer and chaplain. His eftbrts were no more successful than had 
been his Swiss predecessors Louis Stram and Mr. Gavin. Reed used 
to regard the discomfiture of Protestant missionaries with resigna- 
tion, and sg,y that if the Sioux would not receive the Roman 
Catholics, with the influence of the French mixed bloods to aid- 
them, it was simply out of the question for Protestants to succeed. 

According to Reed and La 'bath, Stevens got lost in an attempt 


to reach the camp of Wah-pa-sha, but was found and kindly treated 
by one of the band, and after an interview with the chief, in which 
he was told that no white man would be allowed to settle on their 
territory, Stevens crossed over to the Wisconsin shore opposite 
Winona and made a temporary shelter for himself and assistants, 
and then left for provisions and to confer with the authorities. He 
finally abandoned his attempt to make unwilling christians of 
heathen savages. La 'bath could probably have changed the order- 
ing of affairs in Wah-pa-sha's counsels, but it was not his interest to 
do so, and besides, he believed that but one revealed religion existed 
upon earth, the Catholic, which he professed. The half-breeds were 
all Catholics; and although they exerted a most potent influence 
against any Protestant interference with the Sioux, they never inter- 
fered with the medicine-men, but joined, like Frontenac, in their 
scalp-dances and ceremonies. Hence their great influence with 
them . 

In 1841 another attempt to settle upon the site of Winona was 
made by Thomas Holmes and Robert Kennedy and their families, 
but they were not allowed to establish themselves on the prairie. 
After several offers made to Wah-pa-sha, and his refusal to allow 
the establishment of those men among his people, they opened a 
trading-post at the Wah-ma-dee, or Eagle Bluffs. This point of trade 
was for some years known as Holmes' Landing, but is now called 
Fountain City, from the numerous fountain-like springs that supply 
its inhabitants. Soon after we arrived at Reed's village of ' ' Monte- 
ville," we made the acquaintance of Holmes and Kennedy and their 
families, and a man in their employ named Smothers. Tom Holmes, 
the moving spirit of the trio, was the most persistent of pioneers, 
and had aided in the early setl lement of Rockford, and other towns 
in Illinois, and after leaving the "Landing," commenced the settle- 
ment of Shockpay on the Minnesota river. 

Holmes' first wife was the sister of Kennedy, who was from 
Baltimore, and both were accustomed to good living and knew how 
to prepare it, as they had kept a hotel in Maryland. My brother 
and myself took dinner at their house while aiding Captain Eaton 
(of the firm of Carson & Eaton) to drive cattle up the Chippewa. 
Eaton and a man named Darby had had their horses stolen from 
them by the Winnebagoes near La Crosse, and were left on foot to 
drive a large drove of cattle. Near the head of what is now called 
, the Mississippi slough six shots were fired at us by a small party of 


Sioux from Red Wing's band, one of which broke a leg of an ox, 
and the others cut twigs of trees over our heads. While this in- 
teresting target practice was going on I ambushed the Sioux rifle- 
men, and but for Captain Eaton and my brother would have killed 
two of the war party, as I had them, at my mercy. While relating 
our experience to Holmes, I observed a peculiar smile and glance of 
intelligence from his wife, and upon inquiry found that in our 
ignorance of Dah-ko-tah, Captain Eaton had offered a deadly insult 
to the Indians while trying to ask our way. However, the Red 
Wing band subsequently ])aid for the ox disabled by the Sioux, as 
I was informed, a year or two afterward. 



Aftek considerable exploration of the country, charmed with the 
•scenery and pleased with the soil and water, we decided to build a 
house in the little valley pointed out to us by Reed, and where we 
had before built a small cabin. When our determination was made 
known. Reed, his son-in-law Danville, and a hired man and team, 
came at once to aid us, and we soon had raised up a comfortable log 
house. A year or two after Reed's appointment as farmer and sub- 
.agent of the Wah-pah-sha band, I returned the favor in part by aid- 
ing Reed to construct the body of the first house ever built in Winona. 
The men wlio aided me in ' ' carrying uj) the corners " were Joseph 
Borrette, Reed's wife's son, a nephew of La Bath, James Dauville, 
Reed's son-in-law, and a Canadian named Goulet, alternately em- 
ployed by Reed as cattle-grazer, woodchopper and storekeeper. 
Ooulet had been previously employed by La Bath at Minnesota 
City, knew Wah-pa-sha and his band thoroughly, and was quite a 
favorite with them. While in Reed's service at Prairie island, he 
was found by some of the Sioux in a state of intoxication, badly 
burnt from having fallen in the fire, and died soon after from the 
■effects of his debauch. After the loss of his office by the prospective 
removal of the Sioux, Reed took down the building and floated the 
«awed lumber, the valuable portion of it, to Trempealeau, where it 
was used as an addition to his residence. When he settled upon his 


farm at Little Tamarach, he sold his residence and lots in the village 
to Mr. Ben Ilealj, and some clear joists and other lumber that had 
been used in Reed's Winona building now constitute a part of the 
large wooden store building of Mr. Fred Kribs, the principal hard- 
ware merchant of Trempealeau. During a recent visit Mr. Kriba 
and Antoine Grignon pointed out to me some of the identical joists 
used in 1S4A by us in the construction of Reed's storehouse for gov- 
ernment supplies, and which was also used as a residence for him- 
self and men while performing their duties. The body of the house 
was built of white-ash logs, cut by John La Point and Goulet, 
Reed's men, and floated from the islands above the present city, and 
it occupied a spot near the store of S. C. White. It has been sup- 
posed by some that the Rev. J. D. Stevens built a temporary abode 
upon the site of Winona, but there were no inducements offered 
liim to do so, and after his decided repulse by the Wah-pa-sha band, 
it would have been foolhardy for him to have attempted it. Reed, 
the Grignons, and the Indians all agree in this, that no missionaries 
were acceptable to Wah-pa-sha, and when he made his final treaty, 
he insisted as a condition of the treaty that money alone should be 
paid him, and that he should be allowed to manage his own affairs 
without interference of any kind with his band. Some ash logs left 
by R^ed were used in erecting a cabin which was pulled down by 
Capt. Johnson, and they were finally cut up for firewood. 

My brother Willard was much pleased with the game the country 
afforded, and made frequent excursions with Reed for brook-trout 
and deer. Reed was a great hunter, but had been too long among 
Indians to needlessly offend them by slaughtering their game, but 
as he had a large family he needed large supplies of meat, and it 
was no unusual occurrence for him and my brother to retm-n from a 
fire-hunt with three or four red deer in their canoes, or from a fish" 
ing excursion with a gross or more of brook-trout. A favorite resort 
for trout was the spring brook or creek upon which the Pick-Wick 
mills are situated, and which Willard named Trout creek. The east 
branch of the creek, where he caught six dozen in about two hours' 
fishing, he called "Little Trout." 

As for deer, there was never a scarcity, for the whole range ot 
bluffs on the Minnesota side, or right bank of the Mississippi, was a 
favorite resort for them. Here were acorns in plenty, and after they 
had eaten what satisfied them, the deer went out upon some prom- 
ontory of bluff to watch their enemies, or descended to some breezy 


sandbar to escape the stings of the deer-flj. xVt nightfall the mer- 
ciless attacks of gnats and mosquitos drove the deer into the waters 
of creeks and rivers, and as the bewildering firelight of the hunter 
noiselessly approached them in the light canoe, the deer fell a victim 
to his curiosity. The flashing eyes of the deer reflected back the 
torchlight, and told with unerring certainty where to direct the mur- 
derous shot. Outside of the timber, on the borders of the prairies 
but a short distance from Winona, elk were abundant, and a little 
farther west bufialo were still to be found quite numerous. We were 
told by Reed that only a few years pre\'ious to our arrival bufialo 
were seen on Trempealeau prairie* and on the big prairie slough at 
the mouth of the Chippewa river known as Bufi^iilo Slough prairie. 

Upon one of my numerous excursions to St. Paul and Fort 
Snelling I remember seeing Gen. Sibley return from a successful 
bufialo hunt, and he told me that in times past they had been seen 
from the knobs almost in sight of his establishment. The General 
was noted as an expert hunter and scientific rifie-shot, but upon the 
expedition referred to his delight in the chase was cut short by a 
sprained ankle received by the fall of his horse. 

On the buffalo slough or channel of the Chippewa, around jutting- 
points, deep trails were visible, where buffalo had repeatedly passed 
to water, and these were in common use by elk and deer at the date 
of our arrival in the country. 

Willard's use of the Chippewa tongue for a time prejudiced his 
interests as a trader, and he did not embark in the business among 
the Sioux for some time after his arrival here. In the autumn of 
1842 he and a Menominee Indian of great repute went up the Trem- 
pealeau river to hunt and trap, and in order to escape observation, 
and perhaps for convenience, he duplicated his Indian comrade's cos- 
tume tliroughout. At that time there was some danger from raiding 
parties of Chippewas, and Will said that if any should be encoun- 
tered, his knowledge of their language and his costume, unlike 
that of the Sioux, would be his safeguard. 

Will made a very successful hunt, and as furs were quite high 
in those days, the skins brought in sold for a considerable sum of 
money. In an oak grove above the site of Dodge my brother killed 
three bears in one day. His dog, a very noted one, obtained from 
Capt. Martin Scott, brought the beai-s to a stand, and he killed them 
in quick succession. At Elk creek, named during his hunt, he killed 
a couple of elk, and the Indian killed some also, but how manv I 


have forgotten. The Menominee had, during the fall before, caught 
over fifty beavers, but while upon the hunt with Willard he had 
almost totally failed to trap that cunning animal. Finding himself 
outwitted by the beaver, and surpassed in skill as a hunter, the 
Indian became moody, and began a fast to propitiate the evil influ- 
ences that he believed were assailing him. Will tried to reassure 
him, but to no purpose ; so, after repeated successes on Will's part, 
and failures of the Menominee to catch the coveted beaver, they dried 
their meat, and taking the skins of the elk killed, they stretclied 
them over a willow boat-frame, and thus equipped, their hunting 
canoes on each side of their skin boat, they descended the Trem- 
pealeau just as the ice was about to close the Mississippi. Will 
returned alone to that once noted resort of beaver, mink and otter, 
and as the warm spring branches were seldom closed by ice, he was 
able to catch those valuable furred animals in winter. The beaver 
skins were at that time worth about $4 per pound. Game was 
quite abundant in those early days, for there were no vandal hunters 
to wantonly destroy it, or if they did the Indians were very likely 
to destroy them. Wild fowl and pigeons nested in the country and 
raised their broods undisturbed. As for myself, I was no hunter in 
its proper sense, and having rej^eatedly missed deer at short range, 
and standing broadside to me, I determined to learn the only art 
that would command the respect of the pioneer settlers, or instill a 
wholesome dread of my marksmanship among the warlike Sioux. 
My failure to kill deer was more a habit of preoccupation than a 
want of ability to shoot, for with my rifle, a target gun, I could pick 
off the heads of grouse or pigeons, and at a mark I had repeatedly 
excelled Willard and Reed, who were noted among the Indians even 
as the best hunters on the Mississippi, excepting, perhaps, Joe Rock, 
of Wah-pa-sha, and Philo Stone, of the Chippewa river. The grand 
climax, to my chagrin, was reached when Reed accused me of 
"buck fever." I repelled the accusation witli scorn, and aiming at 
the eye ot the next deer I sliot at, it fell in its tracks, and for ever 
after I was able to kill elk, bear and deer, with about equal facility. 
In September, 1843, in company with Tom Holmes, Wm. 
Smothers and my brother, I went up the Trempealeau river for the 
pui-pose of hunting elk, but our purpose was frustrated by almost 
incessant rain while we were on the hunt. A few deer were killed 
by my brother, who knew the ground hunted over, but I killed 
nothing but a few ])innated grouse, and a goose which I brought 


down with my rifle as it was flying over onr camp. Neither Holmes 
nor Smothers killed anything, but they caught a few beavers and 
muskrats, the skins of which were not prime. While at the mouth 
of Elk creek we saw an aerolite pass over our camp, which must 
have been of unusual size, judging from the attending phenomena. 
We were afterward informed that several had been seen within the 
memory of some old Indians, to their great bewilderment. 

During the winter of 1842-3 we made some improvements, vis- 
ited La Crosse, Holmes' Landing, Black River Falls, and made a 
few trading expeditions to winter encampments of the Sioux and 
Winnebagoes. Our commerce was carried on principally by the 
sign-language, sticks often representing numerals above the capacity 
of the fingers and memory of the Indians to carry. Although the 
Sioux still called my brother Ha-ha-tone, the Chippewa, he was rap- 
idly gaining their esteem, and his success as a hunter commanded 
their admiration. As a consequence he was in demand as a trader. 
I made several trips with him that were Very successful, and one 
with Nathan Myrick, that was memorable. Upon one occasion, 
while Nathan Myrick and myself were attempting to reach Decorah's 
camp upon the "Broken Gun Slough," a branch of Black river, 
during an exceedingly cold night in winter, Myrick drove his horse 
into an air-hole that had been filled by drifted snow, and but for the 
well-known war-whoop of Decorah, who I had informed of the event 
upon running to his camp, the horse would have disappeared under 
the ice, for Myrick was nearly benumbed with the cold when I re- 
turned to him with the aid the war-whoop had instantly called to our 
assistance. A few minutes sufficed for the Winnebagoes to get the 
horse out of the Mississippi, but being unable to rise to his feet, the 
horse was dragged to the shore, blanketed and rubbed until warmth 
was restored, when he was taken to Decorah's camp and a fire built 
for his comfort by order of the chief. It is due to savage hospitality 
that the event be recorded. 

The Indians of those early times were not always as humane 
and considerate as Decorah. Many times I have been fired at 
while passing them in a canoe, simply to gratify their innate dislike 
of white men. Sometimes my canoe would be hit, but as a rule they 
would direct their >shots so as to skim the water at my side or just 
ahead of me. To vary their diversion, if they caught me pre- 
occupied, they would steal upon me and discharge their rifles so 
near as to give the impression that it was not really all fun that wa& 


intended. Keed assured me tliat I was daily gaining in favor among 
tlie Sioux, and that if I would join in one of their sun-dances and 
go through the ordeal I might become a chief. He further informed 
me that I was called Wali-sheets-sha, meaning the Frenchman, a dis- 
tinguishing mark of their favor, that most likely had saved my scalp 
from adornment with vermilion and ribbons. Partly to reciprocate 
their interest in me, and to confirm them in the good opinion Reed 
had facetiously said they were forming of me, against the advice of 
the old traders, I pitched two Winnebagoes out of the house when 
the next proof of their friendship was offered me, and giving the 
•oldest son of Decorah (then head chief by inheritance) a deserved 
thrashing for a wanton display of his affection, I was not again 
troubled by any of their ordeals. 

Previous to that time Willard and myself had been frequently 
annoyed, and sometimes angered, by the insults offered us, although 
aware that our nerve was simply being tested; but we had decided 
to put an end to all future attempts at Indian levity; and when soon 
after five rifles of a hunting party were leveled at me when I was 
unarmed, I told the Indians, who complemented me for not flinch- 
ing, that it was well for them I had no rifle to aim at them ! 

Willard and myself were both able, in due time, to make the 
Indians respect us, but many white people had their traps stolen 
^nd their blankets appropriated by the young warriors anxious to 
vv'in a reputation for bravery. 

Early in the spring of 1843 Peter Cameron, a transient trader 
and fur buyer, came to La Crosse with a kind of keelboat loaded 
with goods, and after taking possession of an unoccupied cabin, and 
securing the services of Asa White to manage his affairs in La Crosse, 
concluded to make a trading voyage up the Mississippi in advance 
-of any steamboat. 

Cameron made me a proposition to go with him, allowing me 
pay for my services, and the privilege of taking, as a venture in 
trade, certain goods I wished to dispose of, and of a kind he had 
not in his cargo. 

I had almost an intuitive perception of the draft of water, and had 
picked up considerable of the Sioux tongue. My prospective useful- 
ness induced Cameron to make me a good offer, and I accepted it. 

Cameron was a sharp, keen trader, and one of the best judges of 
furs that ever came up the river. 

The boat selected for the voyage up the Mississippi was built for 


:a supply boat on Black river. It was about forty feet long, seven or 
■eight feet wide, and eighteen inches' deep, too low for safety, in 
Lake Pepin, but the trader was anxious and adventurous, and Dous- 
man, Brisbois, Kice and Sibley had, by astute management, got 
possession of the trade, not only at Fort Atkinson, but of the entire 
upper Mississippi. Hence, if any furs were to be purchased by out- 
side traders, they were required to be sharp and adventurous. It 
was rumored that the Ewfng company of Fort Wayne, Indiana, were 
first crippled and then floored by -Kice, who succeeded Dousman in 
the management of the Choteau company below, while Gen. Sibley 
had control of the trade at the mouth of the Minnesota river. 

The great St. Louis company were also filling up the spaces be- 
tween their largest stations with smaller traders in their interest. 
Therefore transient traders had to watch their opportunities, and 
pounce down upon the tidbits as occasion afforded. 

Caineron and myself decided that if we could get safely through 
Lake Pepin in advance of the steamboat Otter, which it was under- 
stood would go through the lake as soon as the ice was out, we 
would be reasonably sure of making handsome profits on our ven- 

My packages were light, but Cameron piled in barrel after barrel 
of whisky, pork, flour and heavy articles that greatly endangered 
■our safety. 

We started as soon as loaded, taking as pilot an old French 
voyageur named Le Yecq, and a half-breed that had been employed 
by James Eeed at times, and who was a most excellent hand, 
when on duty. We rigged a large square-sail, and had a long 
line to run out ahead in swift water, but were so favored by the 
southerly spring winds that we ran up to the foot of the lake with- 
out having had to dip an oar. At the widow Hudson's (now Eeed's 
Landing) we had a good trade, and by my advice Cameron was 
induced to sell a few barrels of pork and flour to lighten our boat 
through the lake. As the nights had been clear we determined to 
make an attempt to go through the lake by moonlight if the wind 
should go down with the sun. The night came on with weird still- 
ness and gloom, but later on toward midnight the moon came 
through the clouds and all was changed to brightness. 

Le Point had been given permission by Cameron to go down to 
Eock's, or Campbell's, a short distance below where we were to 
.await his coming. Cameron's orders were imperative to be back 


when tlie wind fell. The wind lulled to a calm, but Le Point did 
not come; so after many benedictions had been left at the camp we 
started through the lake. The upper air had given token by scud- 
ding clouds of fleecy vapor that the calmness of the lower stratum 
might be broken at any time, but my moral courage was not great 
enough for me to tell my fears. Cameron was very deaf, and un- 
conscious of danger that did not appeal to him through his sight; 
and as for Le Vecq, he seemed to have no judgment, and I had lost 
all taith in him long before we had reached the lake. We coasted 
along near the north shore until nearing North Pepin we were 
forced out from the jutting point by ice lodged upon the coast. Here 
for some time we halted, uncertain what to do, but discovering a 
narrow opening in the floe, that seemed to extend up to open water, 
we ventured in, rowing most lustily. We had got almost through, 
the icy strait when I heard a roar as if Dante'*s inferno had been in- 
vaded and the troubled spirits let loose. The noise came gradually 
nearer, and I was then able to comprehend its cause. It was the 
ice piling higher and still higher ujDon the distant point above us, 
and as the wind had veered around to the westward a few points, 
the ice was being driven down upon us with great rapidity. 

Time is required to tell the story, but not much was needed for 
the crisis to reach us. I was steering the boat, while Cameron and 
Le Vecq were rowing. Cameron at first did not heed my warning to 
prepare for danger, and showed more courage than discretion ; but 
when he saw that we had, as if by magic, become blockaded in front, 
and that no time was allowed us for retreat, he wrung his hands and 
cried out, as if in agony of grief, "My God, Bunnell ! what shall 
we do V I answered : "Face the danger like men ; our goods, not 
ourselves, are threatened ; we can run ashore on the ice." 

The ice was thick enough to have borne up a horse. 

Our worthy bishop (Le Yecq) seemingly was not of my opinion, 
for dropping upon his knees, he poured forth such a torrent of 
invective, or invocation, it was uncertain which, as would have 
moved anything less cold than ice. The ice, however, came crowd- 
ing on, and I instantly formed a plan to save the boat. All appeals 
to the devout Frenchman were useless, so I motioned Cameron to my 
aid, and we drew the boat to the edge of the ice on the north side 
of the narrowing channel, where we awaited its close. My plan was 
to tilt up the shore side of tiie boat as the ice approached to crush 
it, and thus make use of the overlapping ice to carry us up the 


inclined plane of ice that the pressure in tilting the boat would 

I unstepped the mast and j^laced it in readiness for use as a lever. 
I placed one oar beside our pilot vojageur, for use when his prayer 
should end, but all to no purpose — he could not be aroused. I called 
upon him in most vigorous terms, but in vain. Cameron again 
oifered his services, but I wished him to bale his valuables, and he 
had scant time to do it ere the floe I knew would be down upon us; 
besides he was too deaf to hear in the noise, and as the sky was be- 
coming rapidly overcast, sight could not be entirely depended upon. 
Exasperated beyond further endurance, I jerked our paralyzed guide 
from his prayerful stupor out upon the ice, and having made him 
comprehend my intention, he took the oar, the boat was tilted up at 
the right moment, and all was saved. 

We were swept toward the shore with great steadiness and 
power, but as the ice was smooth, without injury of any kind. 
Le Yecq was sent to sleep on the land, where we had transferred our 
lighter goods, but Cameron and myself returned to the boat and 
slept soundly until daylight, when a storm of wind and rain came to 
break up the ice, and we were able before nightfall to cross to Bully 
Wells' (now Frontenac) in safety. It was April, and the wind that 
iiad subsided with the fall of rain sprang up again. The lake above 
was all open, but we were held wind-bound to enjoy the pioneer sto- 
ries of Mr. Wells, who had established himself with a native woman 
some years before. Cameron chafed at Wells' recitals, and as night 
fell upon us, insisted that the wind had died out and that we could 
go on. Wells told him that if we attempted it we would probably 
swamp or water-log on Point-no-Point, as we could scarcely clear 
that iron-bound shore with the wind beating on- it as it did at the 
time. I was able to hold Cameron in check until about two in the 
morning, when, exasperated by his seemingforgetfulnessof the danger 
we had so narrowly escaped, I told him that if we beached or water- 
logged, his, not mine, would be the loss, and we started out into the 
lake to clear the point. 

We got well out into the lake and had made a good offing, before 
we caught the swell, when it was soon made manifest to me that a 
sail should be set to give us headway, or we would swamp before 
reaching the point. I proposed the sail, but Le Yecq said to 
Cameron, "Suppose you hist ze sail, you go to ze dev.'' Just then 
a white cap broke over the bow gunnel of the boat, and, taking a 


wooden bucket in luind, Cjiineron gave it to the Canadian, telling- 
him to bail, and witliout reservation gave me charge of the boat. I 
called him to the tiller while I bent on the sail, and in a few minutes 
we were skimming the water like a gull. Dropping a lee-board I 
had taken the precaution to lig, we crawled off Point-uo-point, and 
rounding into the cove above, landed as daylight apjDeared. This 
second display of incapacity in Le Vecq ended his career as principal 
voyageur, and I was installed as captain and supercargo. 

We run on up to Ked Wing atler breaking our fast, and had 
already disposed of a large quantity of our heavy goods, relieving 
our boat the better to encounter the more rapid current, when look- 
ing down the river we saw the Otter steaming to the landing. Le 
Point was on board, so we»at once pulled out for the St. Croix. We 
made a rapid run to Still-AVater and Taylor's Falls, and after selling 
out everything at high pi-ices, Cameron commenced buying furs for 
cash, having ample supplies of coin for that purpose. Taking our 
way back leisurely, sometimes floating with the current, at others 
pulling enough for steerage way, we were able to see and stop at 
every trading post and Indian encampment on our way down to La 
Crosse. At Wah-pa-sha's Village, then situated on the high ground 
back of the river front, west of Main street, we stayed over night. 
Wah-pa-sha's sister, We-no-nah, (really a cousin) gave us a tent in 
which to quarter for the night, saying that it was better than our cloth 
tent, as there was a cold rain falling at the time. In recognition of 
the woman's hospitality and forethought, I gave her upon leaving in 
the morning, a six quart pan of flour from our scanty stores, as we 
had no goods of any kind left. Cameron's subsequent career in La 
Crosse was unfortunate. 

Soon after my ^return to La Crosse I made a trip to St. Louis, 
and having an Indian's memory of localities, I was able to flx the 
course of the Mississippi as far as Galena in my mind. There were 
but two steamboat pilots in those days for the entire river above 
Prairie Du Chien, and the services of those were always retained by 
the American or Chouteau Company, or by the su}>ply steamers of 
the United States contractors for the Indian and military depart- 

Louis Morrow, one of the pilots, was in the full vigor of mature 
manhood, and a more noble specimen it would be diflicult to And ; 
but the other pilot, Lewis De'-Marah, was getting old, and his sight 
was failing him so fast, that, as he himself said, he would soon have to 


leave the river to younger ejes. Finding me interested in the course 
of the channel, De Marah would point it out to me when traveling 
with him, and in a short time after our first acquaintance he offered 
to teach and retain me with him on the river. I declined the offer, 
but my taste and passion for beautiful scenery led me to study the 
river while traveling upon it. At that time there were but few boats 
running above Prairie Du Chien regularly, and those of the smallest 
kind, such as the Eock Kiver and the Otter. The Harrises of 
Galena were so successful with the latter boat, that they soon brought 
out the Light Foot, the Time and Tide, the Senator, the War Eagle 
and others in quick succession. The demand for those steamers 
created a demand for pilots, and Sam Harlow, Pleasent Cormack, 
Rufus Williams and George Nichols came to the front and proved 
themselves as capable men as ever turned a wheel. Of the lower 
river pilots I remember Hugh White of St. Louis as one of the best, 
and his services were always in demand by the Falcon Cecilia, 
General Brooke and other boats of the lower trade. Although I was 
never a member of any legislature, I was as welcome to a free ride 
on any of the boats named, as a modern "dead head" on any of the 
subsidized railroads. As there was seldom but one pilot on a boat 
above Prairie Du Chien who knew the river well, my services were 
thought to be an equivalent for all the favors shown me, and I could 
go to St. Louis or St. Paul at will. Upon one occasion I saved De 
Marah from a blunder at night, similar to the one which happened 
him while on the Lynx in 1844. That new and beautiful steamer 
was run out in 1844 on the shore below the Keye's residence by De 
Marah. The night was inky black, and as the fast-running steam- 
boat steered a little hard, the watchman was called to aid De Marah 
at the wheel. The Lynx was on her down trip from Mendota and 
St. Paul, and was running at a fair rate of speed. As they reached 
the shore at Keye's point, a thunderstorm burst upon them ; and as 
the lightning flashed, the open sky of Pleasant Valley revealed the 
overflowing water at the lower end of the prairie, and it was mis- 
taken for the Mississippi. 

The annual fires had at that time kept down all arbol growths 
except at the water's edge, and the sandy ridge of prairie between 
the river and the open water beyond had been overlooked during the 
momentary flash of lightning. The shadows of the Min-ne-o-way 
bluffs joined with the dense foliage of the islands and shut out the 
view to the east. The Lynx was run out several rods upon the 


overflowed land before '-fetcliing up," and when she halted, no 
means at the disj)Osal of Cai)tain Iloojter could get her back into the 
channel. The most of the men were discharged and with a few pas- 
sengers left in a yawl for Praii-ie Du Chien. 

A few days after, while at work u])on w^ays to slide the boat into 
river, the Gen. I'rooke came steaming up the channel, and was hailed 
for assistance. x\fter landing and viewing the situation, Capt. 
Throcmoilon decided to go on to Fort Snelling and discharge his 
cargo, lest some accident. might forfeit his insurance, but gave Capt. 
Hooper assurances of aid on his return. Capt. Throcmorton's great 
experience suggested work to be done during his absence, and on 
his return he was enabled to at once pull the disabled boat into the 
river and take her in tow. The Lynx was docked and lengthened, 
but she never recovered her speed*, and was soon disposed of by her 
builders. The brick and mortar thrown overboard on the prairie in 
taking out her boilers has been taken by some for the remains of an 
old building. A short time since, while strolling on the river bank 
near the locality of the disaster, I picked from the sandy shore an 
iron pulley-wheel that probably was dropped overboard by some one 
on the Lynx, as the deeply rust-eaten wheel indicated that it had 
been many years in the sand. It may be seen in the museum of the 
Winona Normal school. 

On May 21, 1844, a few weeks before the misfortune happened to 
the Lynx, Robt. D. Lester, sheriff of Crawford county, Wisconsin, 
was murdered by a Sioux of Little Ci'ow's band, named 0-man- 
haugh-tay. A fruitless search had been made for the body, which 
was known to be in the river, but as the boat from the Lynx was 
descending, on its way to Prairie du Chien, the occupants of the boat 
found the swollen body in a pile of driftwood, and towed it to 
La Crosse, where it was buried. Mr. Lester's successor in office, 
•Mr. Lockhart, 8ubse(]uently had it removed and buried at Prairie du 
Chien. The murder occurred within the limits of AVinona county, 
opposite the "Queen Bluff," and not "six miles below Reed's Land- 
ing," nor "twenty miles from La Crosse," as the historian of La 
Crosse county has stated. 

Mr. Lester was returning from an official visit to the Chippewa 
mills, and stopped at Trempealeau on his way down in a canoe. His 
old friend Reed offered him hos])itality, which he declined, but 
accepted a lunch to eat on his way. Lester stopped at a spring rivu- 
let just above the Queen bluff, and while eating his lunch, which 


was scanty enough, 0-man-liaiigh-tay, on his way np from La CVosse 
in a canoe, landed and demanded a part of it. Lester declined a 
division of his scanty fare, and soon after started on his journey to 
Prairie du Chien. He had proceeded but a few rods, his back turned 
to the Indian, when the report of 0-man-haugli-tay's rifle, and the 
body of the sheriff 'seen falling out of his canoe informed La Bath, 
who just then came in sight, that a murder had been committed. 
0-man-haugh-tay jumped into his canoe and fled from La Bath's ap- 
proach, but not before he was recognized by La Bath, who knew the 
Indian as a vicious member of Little Crow's band. 

La Bath informed the authorities that though he did not see the 
Indian until after the shot was fired, there could be no doubt but that 
0-man-haugh-tay had committed the murder. After considerable 
delay and the use of an escort 'of troops to capture hostages, the 
murderer was delivered up and taken to Prairie du Chien. He was 
kept there in prison for some time, and then, for reasons best 
known to the authorities of that period, he was taken across the river 
in the night to a landing above McGregor, and was turned loose, as 
stated by himself to his listening auditors. 

James Reed happened to be at Keoxa (Winona) when 0-man- 
haugh-tay arrived. Wah-pa-sha and his band received the Indian 
with consideration, and while a repast was being prepared for him. 
Peed listened to the recital of the murderer, who, among his Indian 
friends, made no concealments of his motives or of the murder. 
0-man-haugh-tay 's conclusion was that the white men of the prairie 
were good to him, but that they were afraid of him. During his 
recital, after the Sioux custom, a pipe of friendship was passed 
around the circle of the tent, and noticing that Reed declined the 
proffered pipe, 0-man-haugh-tay offered it to Reed in person. The 
audacity of the Sioux tired the old hunter, and although Reed was 
the only white man present, he struck the pipe to the ground and 
told the Indian that there was one white man who was not afraid of 
a dog. That epithet applied to a Sioux was the greatest insult that 
could be offered, but it was not resented, and 0-man-haugh-tay soon 
took his departure from the village. 

Reed was a man of sterling integrity of character, hospitable, and 
devoted to his fi-iends, and had the murderer of Lester but have 
made a movement of resentment, his life would probably have paid 
the forfeit. Reed was a bearer of dispatches in the Black Hawk 
war, and had good opportunities for observation. He took dis- 



patches from Prairie du Cliien to the commander of the American 
forces when no other messenger could be induced to incur the risk, 
and just after the slaughter at Battle-slough, found a young squaw 
whose father and mother had been killed. Heed took her with him 
on his return to Fort Crawford, from whence she was finally sent to 
her tribe in Iowa. James Reed had a personal acquaintance with 
all the historical personages of his time, and it is a subject of regret 
that his family and friends liave not recorded more of his experi- 
ences in pioneer life. Charles Reed, of "Reed's Landing," should 
note down his recollections of early times, for the pioneers of Wa- 
pa-sha county have had interesting experiences. 

From Reed I learned of the existence in Beef-slough of a large 
quantity of square timber and shingle logs that had been gotten out 
under direction of Jefferson Davis and other army officers for use in 
building Fort Crawford. This timber was said to have been run 
into the slough under the impression that it was the main channel of 
the Chippewa river, and as there was no outlet at that time, a large 
raft of flood-wood and trees obstructing the channel, the lumber was 
abandoned, and new material prepared and run down the proper 
channel of the Chipj^ewa. Reed's statement was confirmed to me 
by one made by James T. Rntli, who had also been a soldier at 
Fort Crawford. In company with James McCain, a Pennsylvanian, 
we broke the drifts and opened the channel of the slough, an(J were 
well rewarded for our labor. 

. During the spring and summer of 1843 Philip Jacobs and 
Dr. Snow put up a trading-house in La Crosse, and the Doctor 
gave some attention to the practice of medicine. During the month 
of November of that year lie attended my brother's wife at the 
birth of her son Porter, who was the first white child born in Trem- 
l)ealeau county. My brother's daughter, Frances Matilda Bunnell, 
now Mrs. Frank Hampson, of River Falls, Wisconsin, who was 
born at Homer, Minnesota, on February 22, 1850, was the first 
white child born within the limits of Winona county. There were 
eight children in Willard Bunnell's family, five of whom are still 

In 1843 Xathan Myrick was married and brought his wife to 
La Crosse. Accom])anying Mrs. Myrick, as companion and friend, 
was Miss Louisa Pierson, of Burlington, Vermont. Like most Ver- 
mont girls, Miss Pierson was rosy and bright, and as fearless as 
were "The Green Mountain Boys." If a horse had balked in the 


sand of the prairie, her hand would soothe the stubborn brute into 
forgetfulness, and he would then do his duty. No saddle or bridle 
was needed to ride her favorite chestnut, and at her call, even the 
pacing Indian ponies belonging to the firm would amble to her feet. 
Such a woman among frontiersmen would command admiration, 
and for a time, at least, her conquests were numerous and her 
influence beneficial, but soon it became but too evident that her 
preference had been given to Myrick's partner, H. J. B. Miller, and 
her whilom admirers turned their inconstant devotion to the native 
daugliters of the realm. 

Among the traders of that early period there were some who 
took' squaws for wives, either permanent or after the morganatic 
fashions of the highly civilized com-ts of Europe. The usual method 
■of obtaining a help-meet from among the Indians was to pay court 
to the parents of the maiden desired, and after incidentally inform- 
ing them of the esteem in which their offspring was held, obtain 
some approximate idea of her value. 

It was also thought advisable to make a present to the medicine- 
man, with an intimation that if the spirits were friendly to your 
suit a larger gift might be expected. Two traders of my acquaint- 
ance, Asa White and Tom Holmes, formally espoused native 
queens, and remained faithfully with them and their children 
through all changes of fortune and civilization that drove them 
farther and still farther to the frontier. Others, not so true to the 
parental instinct, hecause in higher life^ left their squaw wives, but 
their children remain in the tribe, cared for and reared by their 
mothers, vigorous emblems of the love once borne for their fathers. 



In company with my old-time friend Maj. E. A. C. Hatch, who 
has quite recently gone to a higher plane of existence, I once 
attended a virgins' feast at Ke-ox-ah (Winona), presided over by 
Wah-pa-sha. The whole band was assembled, and after elaborate 
preparation and sanctification of the ground, by invocations and in- 
cense, and sacrificial oiferings had been placed for the vestal at the 


foot of the altar-pole, Mock-ali-pe-ah-ket-ah-pah, the chief speaker, 
came forward, and in a sonorous address lauded the virtues of 
chastity and warned "the denouncers" against the sin of bearing 
false witness. He also told the young braves that if they knew of 
the lapse from virtue of any virgin api)licant for vestal honors, 
it was their duty, having in keeping the honor of their tribe, to 
denounce her. These young men were selected as the flower of 
Indian chivalry, and in addition to their duties as "denouncers," 
if occasion required, they guarded the sacred precincts of the assem- 
bly from defilement. In this respect Indians surpass white people, 
as seldom, if ever, has any police regulations to be enforced. 

At the conclusion of the chief speaker's address, Wah-kon-de-o- 
tah, the great war-chief of the band, addressed his warriors in a 
quiet and affectionate manner, and told his braves to maintain the 
truth as sacred, and not offend the spirits of their ancestors. Wah- 
pa-sha then called for the virgins and matrons to come forth, after 
the manner still in vogue in Mexico, and foi- some time there was 
the silence of expectation. Again the call was made for any virgin 
to come forward and receive her reward. Two maidens came partly 
forward, but, upon reaching the line of denunciation, faltered and 
turned back from modesty or fear, when, at this crisis, We-no-nah, 
the wife of the speaker, and eldest sister (or cousin) of Wah-pa-sha, 
motioned to her youngest daughter, Witch-e-ain, .a maiden of per- 
haps fifteen summers, and then in confident tones challenged the 
assembled throng t(T say aught, if they could, against the purity of 
her maiden child. 

No answer was given to this challenge, and, after repeated calls 
by the crier of the assembly, Witch-e-ain came modestly forward 
and was crowned goddess of the feast that immediately followed. 
Her head was encircled with braids of rich garniture and scented 
grass, and presents of colored cloths, calicoes, yarns, beads and 
ribbons were lavished uf)on her as the tribe's representative of 
purity. Her fame went out among the traders, and soon after that 
vestal feast she became the wife of a distinguished trader. Like a 
caged bird, she soon pined for her prairie home, and died of con- 
sumption ere the leaves of spring bloomed to welcome her coming. 

Her mother, We-no-nah, is still living,* and visits me occasion- 

* Since writing the above We-no-nah has gone to her spirit-home. She died 
about November 1, 1882, and was buried near Trempealeau. It was she who 
gave the notice to my brother's wife, Matilda Bunnell, that so excited the war- 
spirit of the home-guard of Winoua county. 


ally, always referring to the good old times of the past, when she 
was young and Wah-pa-sha in power. Her age is not known with 
certainty, but it is probably at this time, 1882, not less than ninety 
years. Cho-ne-mon-e-kah, Green-Walk, a half-blood Winnebago 
brother of the girl, is still living, and the most expert hunter of his 

Wah-pa-sha intimated, upon one occasion, his approval of any 
choice I might make of a wife from among his people; and finally, 
an unusual thing for an Indian maiden to do, Witch-e-ain herself 
told me of her dislike of the engagement made for her with the 
trader, and asked me to take her as a fi-ee-will offering, saying that 
as she was the niece of Wah-pa-sha she would be allowed to choose 
between the trader and myself. I was compelled, kindly, to decline 
her offer, but assured her of my high esteem and faith in the person 
chosen for her by her mother. Not Rachael herself, in her highest 
tragedy, could have thrown fi*om her sparkling orbs such burn- 
ing glances of hate as were shot forth upon me by Witch-e-ain at 
my refusal of her love. Such withering but silent contempt can 
only be expressed by a woman scorned. 

Years have passed, and trader and girl are both in the spirit- 
world, or I wcmld not speak of the incident; but in this article I 
wish to show that, however different in customs, the Indians still 
have universal feelings of nature, that make them akin. 

At another feast Tom Holmes was so enchanted that he decided 
at once to make the damsel his wife. His offers were accepted, 
and, so far as I was able to trace his career, she appeared to have 
made him a good wife. 

Upon another occasion Major Hatch and myself visited Wali-pa- 
sha's village in Indian disguise, and if our presence was recognized 
it was not noticed. 

Major Hatch was a man of the finest perceptions and most prac- 
tical judgment. To a stranger he was polite, though taciturn, but 
to his friends he was open and generous to a fault. The major's 
descriptive power was quite remarkable. As early as 1859 he gave 
me a description of the Yellowstone country, that I urged him to 
have published, as well as some of his experiences among the Wah- 
pa-sha, Sioux and Blackfeet Indians, with whom he had been inti- 
mately associated, as trader and agent, for a number of years. 
The major was not indifferent to his literary attainments, for he was 
a close student, but his reply was to the effect that no description 


could do the Yellowstone vallej^ justice, and that any one who 
deviated from Cooper's or Ned Forrest's model of the American 
saA-age would be laughed to scorn in the great republic of letters. 
In speaking of the true interpretation of the word Minnesota^ the 
major said, "in that word you have a fair example of the extravagant 
taste for romance of Americans. The word is compounded from 
Min-ne, water, and Sota, smoke, and means literally smoky or 
clouded water, because of the clouded or smoky appearance the 
water of the river assumes in its course to the Mississi])2Di." " Sky- 
tinted water," said the major, " is entirely fanciful, as any one may 
see by looking at the river at Mendotah." 

Major Hatch served the Federal government long and well. He 
was postmaster at La Crosse in 1846 ; aided in the removal of the 
Winnebagoes in 1848 ; was ap]:)ointed agent of the Blackfeet Indians 
in 1855, and served in that extremely dangerous position in the 
Yellowstone and Big Horn country for two years. At that time 
none but those well versed in Indian character, could by any 
possibility preserve their scalps among those war-like ]3eople. Major 
Hatch became almost an idol among them, and performed his duties 
to the entire satisfaction of the government. 

On his return to St. Paul he was appointed, in 1860, deputy col- 
lector for that port, and in 1863, after again aiding in the removal 
of the Winnebagoes to the Missouri, he was commissioned major by 
the war department, and was authorized to raise an independent 
battalion to serve upon the Indian and British frontier. I was 
offered a commission by the major in his battalion. While in com- 
mand of his battalion, he devised a scheme in which Little Six and 
Medicine Bottle were finally brought to the gallows. Thomas Le 
Blanc and an associate in daring crossed the British frontier, and 
while those Sioux murderers were boasting of their crimes, they were 
captured and brought into Minnesota, bound on a dog train, and 
turned over to justice and to death. 

Major Hatch died in St. Paul of cholera morbus, September 14, 
last, aged fifty-seven years, loved and honored by his wife and six 
children, and esteemed by all who had the privilege of his acquaint- 
ance. As for myself, I regret his departure as a long-tried friend. 
I was one year his senior in age and strength of body, but not of 
mind, and in our youth had the good fortune twice to save him 
from assault where his life was endangered, — once by a vicious son 
of Decorah, and at another time bv a no less vicious white man. 


■who had assaulted him unawares, and who afterward committed a 
murder. Those eaily experiences were remembered as a tie between 
us, that time nor distance could wholly sever, and now that he has 
left us, I wish to record my esteem and friendship for one of the 
noblest Eomans of them all. 

There are but few of the earliest pioneers left ; James Reed died 
June 2, 1873, aged about seventy-five. 

It would be useless to attempt the destruction of a popular idol, 
for there is too little of romance in this matter-of-fact age, but it is 
well to state here that the Indians laugh when the legend of the 
"Lover's Leap" is repeated to them. 

A very casual survey of the ground at the foot of "The Leap" 
will show what a prodigious jumper the girl must have been, to have 
jumped into the lake, as manj'^ believe she did. If the legend had 
any foundation at all, it was most probably based upon the rebellion of 
some strong-minded We-no-nah (meaning the first-born girl) to a sale 
of her precious self to a gray-bearded French trader, as James Reed 
supposed, from a tradition said to exist concerning such an event. 
As there was an old trading-post, fort and mission established in 1727 
■on the north shore near the Lovers' Leap, it is more probable that some 
trader of that post made the purchase, than any at the foot of the 
lake, as Reed supposed from the Indian account of the affair. 

It may be that the girl threatened to jump from the cliff, so near 
to the old post, but if she did, like Reed, I will venture the predic- . 
tion that she was cuffed into submission to the will of her dear mother. 

I have known of but few instances of rebellion of daughters to 
the wills of their parents, when sold into matrimony ; hence submis- 
sion may be said to be almost universal. Extremes will sometimes 
meet, and here we see the untutored savage, and the belles of Sara- 
toga and of Paris join hands in sympathy. 

The American Indians have distinctive customs and traits of 
character, but none perhaps more peculiar than belong to other bar- 
barous peoples. The language of the Algonquin race may be regarded 
as the most manly in expression and in poetic beauty, but the char- 
acter of the Dali-ko-tahs should be deemed the type of all that is 
possible in human endurance, craft and ferocity. Their sun-dance, 
or We-wan-yag-wa-ci-pi can only be endured by men of the most 
determined will, and that, too, sustained by the fanaticism of a 
heathen devotion. Their sacred dance, Wah-kon-wa-ci-pi, like the 
Winnebao;oes' medicine dance, Mah-cah-wash-she-rah, is as close and 


exclusive a coinnninion of men of high degree, as one given by 
Kniglits Templars, None but the invited and initiated are ever 
allowed to be present during some of the ceremonies, but after the 
ground has been ]>repared and the dance has been inaugurated by 
its leader, the less favored barbarians are allowed to witness the 
splendor of the dresses worn on the occasion, and hear some of the 
laudations of valor, and the monotonous Ply-yi-yah that forms the 
burden of their songs. 

Tlie poetic element is not absolutely wanting in an Indian, but it 
requires a good degree of imagination in a white man to comprehend 
their efforts in song, and considerable ingenuity to connect their 
disjointed rhythms into rhyme. 

For some days ])revious to any sacred dance the chief medicine- 
men, or priests, and their neophites fast, or eat sparinglj-. If a dog 
is to be eaten at the conclusion of their fast, or if a beaver has been 
secured for the feast that will follow, they are both lauded for their 
respective (lualities ; the dog for his Mthfulness, and the beaver for 
his wisdom. The dog is well fed and told not to be offended because 
of the intention of sending him to the spirit-world, as there he will 
find all that a good dog can desire, and that his bones shall be pre- 
served in the medicine lodges of the band. 

The bones of dogs, beaver, bear and eagles are often taken to the 
high priests for their blessings ; and they are then preserved in bags 
or pouches and held sacred as charms against evil. These medicine- 
bags are a badge of membership in the sacred order, and are sacredly 
preserved from generation to generation. 

Upon one occasion I witnessed what might be termed the ago- 
nized regret of a medicine-chief at the loss of one. While intoxi- 
cated his canoe and its cargo of household goods had escaped him, 
and was picked up by a wood-chopper named Johnson, who robbed 
the canoe of its contents and then set it adrift. I recovered for the 
learned priest all but his sacred pouch, which had been cast into the 
fire as a thing of no value whatever, containing, as Johnson said, 
nothing but a bear's claw, an eagle's beak, a filthy rag, and some 
bones that he sup]>osed to have belonged to a human hand. The 
medicine-man was a half Sioux and half Winnebago, named Ke-ra- 
choose-sep-kah, to whom Black Hawk surrendered after his defeat at 
Bad-axe, and who, in company with Nee-no-humjve-cah, delivered 
liim to the military authorities at Prairie du Chien. Big-nose, as the 
Indian was more generally known, after vainly searching for the 


medicine-bag, oiTered me, if I would find it, all I had recovered for 
him, which, including coin, was of at least the value of three 
hundred dollars. I never told the chief that the bag was burned 
up, and advised the thief, after compelling restitution of all except 
the bag, to leave the country, which the rascal did at once. The son 
of the great chief Big-nose stayed at my house two nights recentl}-, 
and referring to the loss of his father's medicine-bag, he regretted 
it, he- said, because it contained powerfully-charmed relics of both 
tribes, besides a piece of cloth given him by Black Hawk as a 
memento of his friendship for having saved him from butchery. I 
thought it best to tell him the bag was burned, and he seemed 
relieved when told the truth, as now he knew that the bag had not 
fallen into the hands of an enemy to work his destruction, thus show- 
ing that he had faith in "his own medicine.'' 

The only way in which a white man can fully understand an In- 
dian and secure his full confidence is to join the'tribe and be initiated 
into their medicine-lodges, like Frank H. Cashing, commissioned by 
tlie Smithsonian Institution to investigate the history of the Pueblo 
Indians as it may be traced in their present life and customs. Few 
men would be found fitted for such an oflice, and if a similar attempt 
were to be made among the Sioux, it would probably involve the 
taking part in a sun-dance, an ordeal that a white man, however 
brave, would not have fortitude enough to go through. A sun-dance is 
sometimes given by an individual who has made a vow to the sun, 
and in such cases, after having gone through the tortures of the 
ordeal, he gives away all his property and commences life anew. 
As a general rule the dance is given as a test of courage and faith 
in the religious belief of the Dah-ko-tah, that the sun is the all- 
powerful deity of the universe, who controls their destiny and 
deserves their worship. 

The high ground near the present residence of Mayor Lamberton 
was the dancing-ground of the Wah-pa-sha band, and, strange as it 
may appear, the scaffoldings for the dead were in the immediate 
vicinity. The dance or altar pole was erected on a level place, and 
•various devices and totems were then cut upon it and figured in A-ellow 
ochre and vermilion. Conspicuous among the hieroglj'phs was a 
central circle, with rays to represent the sun, and above all were 
flags and gay streaming ribbons. The ground was sanctified, afler 
the usual Indian method, by incense, down, and evergreens of cedar 
or jumper, though the white cedar was preferred, and distance marks 


set up to indicate which portion of the ground was to be regarded as 

Sometimes young dogs were slaughtered and left at the base of 
the pole, with head a little raised and their legs stretched out as if to 
climb up. The blood of those innocent victims was sanctified by 
the great high priest of the band, and, soaking into the sacred 
earth, it was supposed to be a sweet savor in the nostrils of the 
spirits whom it was believed were present at the dance. To show 
the high estimation in which Christianity is held by the Indians. I 
will state that I was patronizingly told by one of them that the pup- 
pies were placed on the altar to call good spirits to the dance, "just 
like Jesus." 

The final ceremonies, from all I could learn, were regarded as 
too sacred for the unanointed to witness, but I gleaned, from con- 
versations at various times, that for the most part they consist of 
cabalistic utterances in dead or extinct languages, or perhaps that of 
some living but foreign tribes held to be more potent than their 
own. As morning approaches the camp is aroused, and the whole 
village moves en ma^se to the altar-pole. Here quick preparation is 
made to greet the rising sun with the dance of his votaries and the 
shouts of his red children. Incisions are quickly made in the skin 
in various parts of the body of those who are to be tested, and 
thongs of rawhide are passed through and tied securely to the pole, 
from which the victim is expected to tear loose during the dance. 

As the sun appears a universal shout is given as an all-hail, and 
the dance begins. Drums are beaten by relays of vigorous drum- 
mers, while each dancer pipes a shrill whistle held in his mouth 
while dancing. At intervals chosen bands of singers shout their 
approval of the tortures endured, while the dancer is stimulated to 
frenzy by his family and friends to tear loose from his fastenings and 
join in the honored circle of the dance. After many plunges the 
brave neophyte breaks loose and dances until exhausted, when he is 
taken to the tepee of his family and cared for as a hero. 

Should one of the poor martyrs to his faith fail to free himself, 
his friends reproach him, or throw themselves upon him, until their 
added weight tears loose the thongs, when, without a murmur of 
pain, he will join in the dance, and, without sustenance of any kind, 
continue to dance until exhausted. Should it happen that the terrors 
of the ordeal should overcome the courage and endurance of any 
who have aspired to the roll of honor, he is at once cast out from 


among the braves and told to fish or work, but never to bear arms. 
One Sioux of the Wah-pa-slia band was degraded to the rank of a 
woman, and made to wear the apparel of a female. He left for a 
time and joined a western band, but his reputation for cowardice fol- 
lowed him, and he was driven back by the contempt of the squaws, 
with whom he was again made to associate. He finally settled down 
to his fate, and learned some of the industries of Sioux womanhood. 
The festival of the sun is held in midsummer, and lasts several days. 
During its continuance the whole band join in merriment and games, 
and the orators and medicine-men receive large donations as a 
reward for their most important services. The young graduates of 
the dance have medicine-bags presented them, made up, for the 
most part, of old relics of battles fought by their sires, together with 
anything most horribly disgusting that may appeal to the credulity 
of ignorance. With these sacks the medicine-men pretend to work 
spells that will cause the death of an enemy or chase sickness from 
their friends. 

The sun-dance is one of the many evidences of the Dah-ko-tahs' 
southwestern origin, as the same torture is submitted to by the 
Indians of Kew Mexico, who are also sun-worshipers. The Winne- 
bagoes are also sun-worshipers, and usually bury their dead at sun- 
rise, with head to the west. As far as I know, no northern or 
eastern tribe submits to the torturing pain of a sun-dance, except in 
a few instances, when it was imposed upon the credulity of one 
tribe by fanatical emissaries of the Sioux. 

The Dah-ko-tahs have many legends, and may be regarded as 
greatly given to romance. They believe themselves to be the very 
salt of earth, and that Minnesota was the center of creation. How 
else can it be, say they, when the water runs off from our land, are 
we not above all others ? This idea gave them self-importance and 
arrogance in their dealings with other nations. The Sioux, though 
generous and hospitable, are yet quarrelsome, and the establishment 
of the Wah-pa-sha band was the result of a long continued traditional 
quarrel, first of the Isanti, and then of the Wah-pe-ton, or New Leaf 
bands of Sioux. According to this tradition, given me by Le Blanc, 
the chiefs of the Isanti, or knife band, quarreled about the jurisdic- 
tion of the chert, or knifestone quarries in the Mille Lac country, 
and to avoid bloodshed, the ancestors of Wah-pa-sha established 
themselves upon the Me-day-wah-kon, or Good Spirit lake. There 
they remained for a number of generations, until by magic the- 


spirits of malignant chiefs entered into the medicine lodges of the 
tribe, and again the band was torn asunder ; the peaceful portion 
emigrating from their pine forests and rice swamps to a country of 
earlier and different foliage, and the band then took the name of 
Wah-j)e-tou, or the new leaf band. It is somewhat remarkable that 
the (iiipi)ewas call the country and river immediately below the falls 
of St. Anthony, includingthe siteofSt. Paul, Ish-ke-bug-ge-see-bee, or 
•the New Leaf river, because in the early spring-time the leaves shoot 
out earlier than above the falls. The Sioux tradition goes on to relate 
that there they established themselves in comfort, some going up the 
Minnesota, where buffaloes were plenty, others, as their numbers 
increased at the Wah-coo-tay village, spread themselves along down 
to the Cannon river and to Eem-ne-cha, or the Red Wing village, 
whei'c for many, many years they fattened on the game and wild rice 
of the region about them. 

Again they tell that in this paradise-©f hunters dissensions once 
more arose among them, and, disregarding the warnings of previous 
counsels to avoid strife, the great Eed "Wing and the noble Wah-pa- 
sha became involved in that quarrel. The friends and adherents of 
both were equally strenuous in the support of their respective chiefs, 
and after a prolonged council of the entire band, ending in an out- 
burst of angry passion, the respective partisans seized their war-clubs 
and quivers and were about to fight, but before the war-whooj) was 
given for battle Wcih-pa-sha commanded silence by a wave of his 
red cap, and telling the assembled multitude to cease their strife, 
threw his totem or badge of authority, the red cap, into air. A whirl- 
wind took it up and it instantly disappeared. At the same moment 
a convulsion of the earth was felt, darkness fell upon them, and in 
the morning, when all was once again serene, they found that a por- 
tion of the bluff containing the bones of their dead, had disappeared. 
A l)arty of their principal braves were dispatched in search of the lost 
mountain, and as they descended in canoes they recognized what is 
now known as the " Sugar J^oaf," as the red cap of their chief, trans- 
formed into stone. 

The distant peak of Trempealeau mountain was soon discovered 
to be a part of their lost inheritance, and hastening on, the moving 
or moved mountain, or Pah-ha-dah, as it is called in the Dah-ko-tah 
tongue, was overtaken just as it made a vain effort to plunge into 
the lake of Me-day Pah-ha-dah. The other peaks of the Red Wing 
range had already caught uj)on the sandy point of the prairie, and 


therefore, claiming their truant possessions, they made those peaks 
the dividing line between themselves and the Winnebagoes. 

It only remains for me to say, in proof of the entire cmthenticity 
of this tradition, that until defaced by the growing wants of a city, 
the bluff resembled in shape a voyageur cap of ancient date, and the 
red appearance of the face of the clif justified its Sioux name of 
Wah-pa-ha-sha, or the cap of Wah-pa-sha. 



Going back beyond tradition, we find in our midst evidences of 
a numerous people having once occupied the adjacent territory. 

Judge George Gale, the founder of the university at Galesville, 
Wisconsin, in his very valuable work, " Upper Mississippi, " says, 
"To us of the New World there is a 'Greece' that literally 
'slumbers in the tomb.' A nation or people which for centuries 
occupied a territory nearly as large as all Europe, and had a popula- 
tion which probably numbered its millions, have left the graves of 
their fathers and the temples of their gods so unceremoniously that 
their very name has disappeared with them, and we only know of 
their existence by their decayed walls and tumuli, and by their 
bones, exhibiting the human form, although in a far-gone state of 
decay. " 

Judge Gale's book shows great research and critical acumen, and 
the calamity which befell the plates in the great Chicago fire should 
be repaired by a new imprint of the volume. My space will only 
admit of a reference to the work, but I cannot forego the justice to 
say that, so far as I know, Judge Gale was first to notice in print 
the mounds and other earthworks in Trempealeau county, Wiscon- 
sin, and at La Crescent in Minnesota. 

Few persons have any adequate conception of the vast area cov- 
ered by earthworks in the United States, or of the immense labor 
expended in their construction. A mound in Montgomery county, 
Ohio, according to Gale, contains 311,3.53 cubic feet of earth. One 
in Virginia is seventy feet high and 1,000 feet in circumference, and 


the great Ctihokia mound of Illinois is ninety feet high and over 
2,000 feet in eircumtierence, containing over 20,000,000 cubic feet, 
and one in the State of Mississippi covers an area of six acres. 

In these mounds there are sometimes found pearls, sharks' teeth 
and marine sliells, obsidian or volcanic glass, native copper and native 
silver, sometimes united unalloyed, as found only in Russia and on 
Lake Superior, where innumerable stone implements are still to be 
found that have evidently been used in extracting those metals. 
Lead has also occasionally been found, but not so frequently as 
copper. Stone implements are found in mounds and upon the sur- 
face, especially after j^lowing, wherever these ancient works appear. 
The implements are generally manufactured from syenite or some 
hard trap rock, and consist of stone pipes, hammers, axes, scrapei'S 
or flesh ers, pestles, spinners or twisters, still used by Mexican In- 
dians. Obsidian, chert and copper, spear and arrow heads are quite 
common. About the mounds of the lower Mississippi old pottery is 
quite common, but among those of the upper Mississippi it is only 
occasionally found. The mound-builders must have possessed some 
mathematical knowledge, as some of their earthworks show a good 
degree of geometrical skill, as well as military ideas of defense 
against assaults of enemies. 

Ten miles below La Crosse, on Coon prairie, there is a line of 
earthworks and mounds of considerable size and interest, and on the 
Clark farm, on the La Crosse river, the works all seem to be of a 
defensible character. At Onalaska they are also quite numerous, 
and about one mile above McGilvray's ferry on Black river there is 
an old earth fort and mounds that still remain quite conspicuous. 

At Galesville and vicinity are quite a number of mounds, includ- 
ing some built in the shape of man, and many, according to Gale, in 
the shape of animals. The most conspicuous, because most accessi- 
ble, are the mounds in and near the village of Trempealeau. One, 
west of Mr. Boer's residence, commands a fine view from its eleva- 
tion above the surrounding surface. In the neighborhood of the 
Baptist church there are also several of an interesting character. 
Near Pine Creek station there are some very fine ones. At La 
Crescent and on Pine Creek, Minnesota, there are a number of 
mounds of small size ; and coming up to Winona, on the south 
shore, at intervals they appear at Dresbach, Dah-co-tah, Richmond, 
La Moille, Cedar Creek, Homer, Pleasant and Burns valleys. Upon 
the farm of Miss Maggie Burns there are several mounds that still 



remain undisturbed, but along the public road several very sym- 
metrical mounds have been leveled in construction and repaii's of 
the thoroughfare. 

Upon the table of West Burns valley the Rheibeau boys plowed 
up some of the most elegantly-shaped stone implements ever dis- 

covered in any country. To my chagrin, after a vain attempt to 
purchase them, I was told that a gentleman from Milwaukee had 

induced Mrs. Rheibeau to part with them, and thus were lost to the 
museums of Winona a few celts not surpassed by any in the large 
collection at the Centennial Exposition. 

My niece, Mrs. Louise Page, found a number of arrow and spear 
heads and a few fragments of pottery in Homer, and near the Keys 


mansion she picked Irom the river bank a large stone hammer, 
which is now in the museum of the Winona normal school. The 
hammer was imbedded about two feet in the soil, and was most 
likely buried, like the silver ornaments found near it, in the grave 
of some dead warrior. The Catholic emblems in silver were those 
in common use among the Catholic Indians and half-breeds of Can- 
ada within my recolleeti(^n, and most probably belonged to some 
(^anadian voyageur, or perhaps was buried, after the Indian custom, 
with the body of some Indian (or squaw) convert to the Catholic 
faith. The high point at Keys' was a favorite burying-ground, be- 
cause of its extreme height above the river during an ovei-flow of 
the lower land of the prairie. The sites selected for their burying- 
grounds indicated to the old traders the Indian's anticipations of a 
possible overflow of the prairie. 

Upon the farm of Myles Roach, in the town of Homer, a num- 
ber of stone arrow and spear heads have been found by the sons of 
IVEr, Roach, and one of copper was found which was purchased by 
R. F. Norton, now of the village of Homer. There have also been 
found along the river front in Winona copper implements, one of 
which, found by Geo. Cole, is in the possession of his father. Dr. 
James M. Cole, of Winona. 

Most of the implements found on the surface have, no doubt, 
been lost while in use, but those found in mounds and in ossuaries 
have been placed there with the remains of the dead. The ossuaries 
of Barn Bluff and of Minnesota City were, no doubt, places of 
interment of the bones of^^the dead, which had been divested of 
their flesh by exposure upon scaflblds or trees. 

In the early days of my first acquaintance with the Dah-ko-tahs, 
no other mode of burial would satisfy their ideas of a proper sepul- 
ture, but after a time the example set by the white people of burying 
their dead had its influence, and in modern times, except among the 
wildest bands, the Sioux began to bury their dead soon after their 
demise. The body of Chandee, son of Wah-kon-de-o-tah, the war- 
chief of Wah-pa-sha, was buried upon my brother's property at 
Homer by special request of his relatives. His sister, Shook-ton-ka, 
the champion girl racer of the band, and some children of Wah-pa- 
sha, were buried near the site of the Huff" house. Afler the treaty 
was decided upon by the band, many bones of the dead were removed 
and buried in secret places at night, lest they should be disturbed by 
white settlers, whom the Indians knew would eventually occupy the 


country. Some of the ancient mounds have been used by modern 
tribes as receptacles for their dead, but in such cases the fact is 
readily discernible, as no regard has been paid by the modern In- 
dians to the strata of earth, clay and sand, or gravel, of which tlie 
burial or sacrificial mounds have been composed. It is believed by 
some that the circle of sculls found in an ancient ossuary at Minne- 
sota City were the crania of victims to some religious sacrifice around 
the altar-pole, or else of captives slaughtered and left, as puppies 
are left in modern times, with heads to the pole, which might account 
for the position the sculls were found in. At Blufi' Siding, opposite 
Winona, along the wagon-road to Galesville, a number of mounds 
may be seen, occupying an admirable position for defense. 

The limits of my paper have been reached, and I must hasten to 
a close ; but I crave my readers' interest in behalf of my brother 
Willard, in connection with his settlement in Winona county. As 
for myself, it will sufiice for me to say that, dissatisfied with what 
appeared to me as time thrown away upon the frontier, I returned 
to Detroit and recommenced the study of medicine in the office 
of Dr. Scoville, an eminently successful physician and surgeon. 
Upon the appointment of Adrian K. Terry, uncle of Gen. Terry, to 
the surgeoncy of the 1st Mich. reg. during the Mexican war, I was 
given the hospital stewardship of that regiment, and served to the 
close of that war. While quartered in Cordova, Mexico, I was 
placed in full charge of the post hospital during the illness of Drs. 
Terry and Lembke, and returned to Detroit, Michigan, at the close 
of the war in medical charge of one detachment. Having acquired 
a taste for a free life when the gold discovery in California lecame a 
fact, I went overland through Mexico to Mariposa, where, com- 
pelled at first to fight Indians in self-defense, I finally became a 
member of the Mariposa battalion. While on duty in that organi- 
zation I became one of the discoverers of the naw famous Yosemite 
valley, the name of which was given by myself, as will appear in 
my book, "Discovery of/ the Yosemite," published by F. H. Eevell, 
of Chicago. 

During the war of the rebellion I served in the ranks as a pri- 
vate, and through successive promotions (having had conferred upon 
me a degree) reached the rank of major by a commission as surgeon 
of the 36th reg. Wis. Inf Assigned to detached duty on March 2T, 
1865, with the 1st Minn., I served in that regiment as its sole medical 
officer until its return to Washington at the close of the war. 


I will close this paper with an extract from a series of articles 
furnished the "LaOrosse Chronicle," that I hope may be deemed a 
fitting close to my subject. 

In 1848 and later, my brother Willard was employed in moving 
the Indians. Some of them, the Winnebagoes especially, were very 
much dissatisfied, and declared they would not leave for the home 
selected for them on the Minnesota river. Will's influence was great 
among them at that time, and he succeeded in collecting about three 
hundred of them. Flavingarranged withMillerfortheuseof the ware- 
house of his old firm, he quartered them in it. They seemed contented 
enough until a short time before the steamer came to carry them up 
the river, when they set up a most unearthly yell, broke through 
their guard, seized their ponies from an adjacent corral and disap- 
peared. Other means were then resorted to, and they were removed 
in smaller squads or details ; but they would return again and again 
to their native haunts as if drawn back by some occult force. Will's 
discernment would penetrate all disguises of paint, red, green or 
blue blankets, until at last they yielded to his persisted efforts and 
remained upon the new reservation. 

My brother has assured me that many of the Indians receipted 
for by the officers at Fort Snelling he had removed over and over 
again. With Indian cunning they would assume a new name with 
each new disguise, and the officers were unable to discover or 
remedy it. 

With the Indians went Asa White and Tom Holmes, both of 
whom had squaws for wives. Miller & Myrick had already dis- 
solved partnership before the Indians were removed, and were vir- 
tually out of the Indian trade, but their influence was still more or 
less potent in Indian affairs, and they were advised with as to their 
management. My brother's persevering energy in removing the 
Winnebagoes was awarded by a permit to trade with the Wabasha 
band, and he settled u])on their reservation. 

This gave him great advantages, and obtaining the consent of 
Wah-pa-sha, rewarding him liberall}'. Will planted old Mr. Burns 
and his remaining family upon what has since been known as the 
Burns' farm, providing each member old enough with a claim. 

Will was unable to choose as well for himself as he had for the 
Burns family, for being under the impression that the site of Winona 
was subject to overflow, he located at Homer, which he named after 
his birthplace, the village of Homer, New York state. Here he 


built the first house in 1849, and in 1850-5J made a large addition 
to the building and moved into it. Peter Burns and himself became 
interested in a scheme to conti'ol the trade of the interior, bj secur- 
ing the nearest "high- water landing" below Winona, and for that 
purpose, in conjunction with Borup, an old trader and a brother of 
Senator Alex. Ramsey, of St. Paul, they laid out the village of 
Minne-o-way, building a large hotel and storehouses to accommo- 
date the very large business destined to reward their enterprise. By 
some oversight they had neglected to comply with some provision 
of the law, and a keen-sighted man by the name of Dougherty, dis- 
covering their neglect, pounced down upon their claim, and in a suit 
that followed secured land, hotel and storehouses as his homestead. 
Burns was lucky enough, before the final decision was rendered, to 
sell his interests for $4,000. 

As to the site of Winona, known to the Dah-co-tahs as Keoxa, it 
was firmly believed by the old traders and lumbermen to be subject 
to overflow in the highest water. From the deck of a steamer pass- 
ing at the highest stage, the space left dry really appeared very small. 
In very high water all of the low land of the prairie was submerged 
and a volume suflicient to run a steamboat ran down south of the 
city, before the railroad embankment was raised. The Indians 
laughed at the supposed folly of the white men in building on tlie 
"island," and it was an anticipated joke that Will would sometime 
be seen, pikepole in hand, rescuing the floating property of this 
embryo city and hauling it out upon his higher landing. 

Poor Will ! He had been out so long upon the frontier that he 
failed to realize what money and enterprise would do to improve and 
protect a city so advantageously situated as Winona. He and his 
brave wife are both gone now from the scenes of their early hopes 
and perils. He left in August, 1861, and she in 1868, leaving a 
family of two sons and four daughters. 



The geographical position of Winona county is between parallels 
43 and 45 north latitude, 44 passing through the center of the county, 
and between meridians 91 and 92 west, a small portion of the county 
lying west of 92. It is organized from townships Nos. 105, 106, 107 
north, of ranges No. 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 west, and contains twenty 
organized townships, iifteen of which are full townships, containing 
thirty-six sections. One is organized from half a township, and one 
is formed of townships Nos. 107 and 108, of range No. 8. Four are 
irregular in form on the northern boundary, and are fractional. The 
county is located in the southeastern part of the State of Minnesota, 
and is bounded on the north by Wabasha county and partly by the 
Mississippi river, and on the east by the Mississippi, which ilows 
here in a southeasterly direction, and on the south by Houston antl 
Fillmore counties, and on the west by Olmsted and Wabasha coun- 
ties. In shape, nearl}^ a right-angled triangle, longest on the south- 
ern boundary, being about forty miles or six and a half townships 
in length, and twenty-four miles or four townships in width from 
north to south. It is regular in form on the southern and western 
boundaries, the Mississippi river forming nearly the hypothenuse of 
the triangle from northwest to southeast. 

The surface, within the distance of about twelve miles from the 
Mississip]n river, is bluify or broken, the river being about five 
hundred feet below the general surface. Houston county is a trifle 
higher in altitude ; with that exce])tion this county is the highest 07i 
this side, and contiguous to the river from its source to its mouth. 
Bold perpendicular ledges of rock form the sides of the blufl' in 
many places along the river, and a considerable portion of the south 
part of the county contiguous to the Eoot river is of the same char- 
acter. Four townships of the northwest part of the county along 
the Whitewater are also rough and rocky. The remainder of the 
sni-face is undulating prairie, irregular in extent, comprising not far 
from six townshij^s, and located in the central and western parts of 
the county. 


When tlie altitude is reached thei'e is great uniformity in tlie 
appearance of the surface, and any other highland may be visited 
without materially ascending or descending, the high lands being all 
connected by a series of ridges which form the divides between the 
streams which flow into the Mississippi and those which flow into 
the Boot river on the south and the Whitewater on the north. 

There are no swamp lands in the county, and not a regular 
quarter-section that would be benefited for agriculture by artificial 
drainage. There are a few acres in patches along the Mississippi and 
along the margins of some of the smaller streams of marsh or bog 
lands, liable to overflow, but producing excellent grass. The waters 
of the county all find their way to the Mississippi ; those in the north 
part of the county furnish the south branches of the Whitewater. 
On the north and east each township contributes a stream to the Mis- 
sissippi. The largest and most important of these is the Rolling- 
stone, which drains nearly one hundred square miles of surface, and 
affords water-power for six large flouring mills. There are also 
several unoccupied powers on the difterent branches of the stream. 

Each township of the southern tier also furnishes a stream to 
Root river. All these sti-eams are formed by springs, and are 
nearly uniform throughout the year as to supply of water, and, 
having considerable fall, afford water-power which in the future 
may be developed. 

The surplus water of the county finds its way to these streams 
through the ravines and small valleys reaching out toward the 
prairie in all directions. 

Utica, or town 106, range 9, occupies the summit, being drained 
on the northeast into Rollingstone, on the northwest into White- 
water, and on the south into Rush creek ; and this township is also 
nearly the center of the prairie surface. 

The longest, largest, main ridge of the county begins in the 
southeastern part, on the divide between the waters which flow in- 
to the Mississi]jpi and those which flow into Root river, and extends 
in^a northwesterly direction through the townships of Dresback, 
New Hartford, Pleasant Hill, Wilson and Warren into Utica. 
From this main ridge branches innumei'able extend in every direc- 
tian. The most important ones are Homer ridge between Cedar 
and Pleasant Valley creeks, and Minneiska ridge between White- 
water and Rollingstone, both ridges leading to the Mississippi 


In the south j)art of St. Cliarles in Saratoga, and the northwest 
j)art of Fremont, are to be found some broken ridges or liills, none 
of them rising above the general surface of the county. Tlie valleys 
surrounding these hills are not so deep as the valleys along the 
streams in other parts of the county, and in some places they g^-adu- 
ally rise and extend into broad upland prairies. 

In this part of the county, or among these hills, there are several 
tine groves of timber. Cheatcm's grove in the southwest part of 
Utica, Blair's grove in the northeast part of Saratoga, and Harvey's 
grove on the line between Saratoga and St. Cliarles, are the most 
notable. They contain a fine thrifty growth of oak, po])lar and 
butternut, with a dense growth of underbrush in some places. 

At the lieads of all the streams, or along their mai'gins, timber of 
various kinds is found. As we approach the top of the blutfs it 
consists mostly of white and red oak, with patches of white birch. 
In the valleys are found burr oak, hard maple, wliite ash, rock and 
red elm, basswood, hackberry, black walnut, butternut and poplar. 
The bluff lands, which include the parts of the county lying along the 
Mississippi, the Whitewater and the branches of Root river, and 
tlie ridges connecting them, are generally well timbered, especially 
on their sides facing the north, the fires of early spring burning 
the south sides before the snow has left the north sides, or before 
tliey become sufficiently dry to burn. "Where the fire is kept out 
timber rapidly springs up. 

As the line of the county extends to the middle of the channel 
of the Mississippi, and the channel sometimes passes next to the 
Wisconsin side, there is in the townships of Rollingstone and 
Winona a large amount of bottom-lands covered with timber. Oak, 
ash, elm, birch, cottonwood, willow and maple are most abundant. 

In the two townships last mentioned, there is lying between the 
bluffs and the river a sand or gravel prairie six or seven miles in 
length and about three-quarters of a mile in width, which is a few 
feet above high water, and of nearly uniform level surface. Con- 
tiguous to this prairie, and next to the blufts, is a sei'ies of terrace 
or table lands, which are timbered with the three kinds of oak 
before mentioned. The same character of table-lands also occur at 
the mouths of all the streams that flow into the Mississippi. 

As we leave the timber and ridges approaching the prairie 
throughout the whole county, there is more or less grub or brush 
land, which is usually a small growth of oak. red and white. There 


are also patches of brush land consisting of hazelnut, wild plum 
and crab-apple. 

The bluff and ridge lands throughout the county, especially the 
part that is timbered, consist of a clay loam varying from one foot to 
twenty feet in depth. As the Mississij^pi and the larger streams 
are approached, the sides of the bluffs are in many places quite 
precipitous, the rocks cropping out to the surface. As the bluffs are 
descended, the soil changes in composition by an admixture of sand 
and lime from the decomposed rocks. 

Lands lying close by the river at tlie mouth of the valleys have 
little or no clay at the surface, but the soil is underlaid by a stratum 
of clay or loess almost impervious to water before reaching the 
gravel or sand rock of the bed of the river. 

As we ascend the streams that flow into the Mississippi, if the 
valleys are broad the soil is a stiff, tenacious clay of bluish cast, but 
darkens in color on exposure to the air. 

This clay is evidently local drift, as it is stratified and does not 
contain any boulders, drift coal, nor other matter indicating true 
northern drift. Where the valleys have retained the wash of the 
bluffs, and the water-courses have not interfered, the clay is covered 
and mixed with vegetable mould, sand and lime, in some places 
several feet deep. 

The soil of the upland prairie is a deep dark loam, and is under- 
layed by stiff clay or by rock. This soil does not materially change 
in color nor in texture by cropping. Among the broken ridges or 
hills of the south-central and west parts of the county the rocks come 
very near to the surface of the upland, and the lower ground, though 
gradually rising into upland prairie, is in places quite sandy. There 
is upon the surface of this sandy land an accumulation of decomposed 
vegetable matter very dark in color, indicating the presence of lime 
in its composition. 

The soil of the brush or grub lands is similar in appearance to 
that of the timber lands, but contains a much greater amount of 
crude vegetable matter. 

Spring wheat has been considered as the staple crop, but oats, 
corn, barley and potatoes in the order named are largely grown. 

The timbered or ridge lands have produced good crops of winter 
as well as spring wheat for twenty-five years, and winter wheat 
was also grown in the valleys near the Mississippi for several years 
very successfully. It has not, however, succeeded on the prairie. 


Thougli this county does not claim to be the banner county of 
the state in wheat-raising, it is entitled to its full share of the credit 
for the popularity to which Minnesota wheat has attained for quality 
and amount to the acre under cultivation. It is said to be a fact 
that any soil which will produce good crops of wheat will also grow 
good crops of any of the cereals adapted to the climate. Whatever 
failures may have occurred in the production of the common cereals 
in this county, in no case can the failure be attributed wholly to the 
character of the soil. For the production of these grains the average 
yield compares favorably with any portion of the state. One instance 
of the marvelous productiveness of the soil may be given. Upon 
the tirst farm opened in the Eollingstone valley there was sown, in 
the "tirst week in October, 1852, some winter wheat. It was har- 
vested the first week in July of the next year, threshed upon the 
ground with a flail and cleaned with a sheet in the wind, and yielded 
thirty-seven bushels to the acre. The same ground produced nine 
successive crops of wheat, and the ninth was the best that had been 
raised. This ground has now been under cultivation for thirty years 
without any particular rotation of crops and without artifleial 
manure, and is apparently as productive as ever for any crop except 
wheat, yielding large crops annually of corn, oats, barley or grass. 
The average yield of wheat has, however, materially decreased in 
this, as well as in other counties of the state for a few years past. 
It is believed to be owing entirely to climatic reasons, as there has 
been no diminution in the yield of other grains. The grass product 
ranks next to oats in acreage, being somewhat more than corn, and 
within the last few years stock of all kinds is receiving much atten- 
tion, and so far no general diseases have appeared among swine, 
cattle and horses. 

Of other productions than those already named there is found in 
our market rye, buckwheat, beans, flax-seed, timothy and clover 
seed, grapes, tobacco, onions and honey. 

In the vicinity of the blufl's contiguous to the Mississippi, and 
along the margins of the smaller streams, crab-apples, wild 
plums and grapes are abundant. 

In the timbered belt, about the groves, and in sheltered locations, 
several varieties of the cultivated apples are grown. As reported 
by the assessors, there are at present growing in the county about 
61,000 apple-trees. 


Of the smaller fruits, grapes, strawberries, raspberries, currants, 
etc., are grown in all parts of the county, and yield abundantly. 

In character and variety of wild plants and flowers, this county 
does not differ materially from others similarly situated. The up- 
land prairie produces grass mainly. There is, however, during the 
summer, a great profusion of wild flowers. Upon the warm hill- 
sides, or on sandy land, in early spring, sometimes before the snow 
has disappeared, the well-known anemone is the most conspicuous ; 
during May and June, blue or violet and scarlet are the predomi- 
nating colors ; in July and August, white and yellow adorn the 
roadsides and uncultivated places. In the fall the moist grounds 
are literally covered with purple and white. 

In the whole timbered belt and along the margins of the streams 
the ground is loaded with a dense growth of rank vegetation. 

Wild deer had been kept out by the Indians, but for a few years 
after the first settlements were made they gradually increased in 
numbers ; a few are yet seen every winter. 

The black bear, being somewhat migratory, has been occasion- 
ally seen. Both timber and prairie wolves were at first quite 
common ; the prairie-wolf is still annoying the flocks, but the 
timber- wolf is rarely seen. Foxes, red and gray, stay about the 
rocky ravines and bluft's. Beaver were quite plenty in many of 
the streams. Several otters have been caught, also mink, weasel, 
and large numbers of musk-rats. 

The badger, raccoon, woodchuck and polecat are common. 

The large gray wood-squirrel and the prairie gray squirrel, the 
red squirrel, the chipmuck (the black squirrel has visited us, but is 
not at home), and both varieties of gopher are numerous. 

Of the rabbit the gray is most common. 

Of the migratory feathered species that remain here a short time 
in the spring, but do not nest, the wild goose, the brant, and several 
varieties of ducks, are the most plenty. These confine themselves 
mostly to the immediate vicinity of the Mississippi river. The 
curlew is occasionally seen, also the pelican. Of those that remain 
during the summer and nest here, the wild pigeon and blackbird 
are most numerous. The bittern, the sand-hill crane and bald- 
eagle are common. The mallard and wood-duck frequent the small 
streams and nest here, but not abundantly. 

All the migratory birds common to this latitude are to be seen 


Of those that remain all winter the prairie-hen is most general ; 
the partridge, the quail, the bluejay, and several varieties of owls, 
are usually about the sheltered places in the timber. 

Speckled trout were in all the small streams of this county and 
very plenty. There are a few left in nearly all of them. The state 
fish commissioners have placed young ones in some of the streams. 
The water coming from springs and being rapid is nicely ada])ted to 
their habits, and some efforts have been made to propagate them. 
There are several fine springs well adapted to fisli culture. The 
main difticulty seems to have been to guard against sudden overflow, 
as the streams are liable to rise very high and quickly. Fish com- 
mon to tlie Mississippi river run up several ot the streams in the 
spring and return to the river again. The Mississippi furnishes a 
large quantity of fish yearly, the greater portion being taken with 
the seine. The varieties generally caught are buffalo, catfish, pick- 
erel, bass and wall-eyed pike. There are also sturgeon, sunfish, 
perch, suckers, and several other kinds. 

The geological formation of the county is quite uniform in char- 
acter. The appearance of the rocks at the surface, in St. Charles, 
Saratoga, and ])art of Fremont and Utica, is somewhat different from 
those lying along the Mississippi, the Whitewater, and the streams 
that flow into Root river. Here, also, the valleys are much broader, 
and the loam, or top-soil, thicker and more evenly spread. The 
highest lands are tillable and. usually turfed all over. 

The lowest visible rock along the Mississippi, and probably 
underlying the whole county, is the St. Croix sandstone. This 
sandstone varies somewhat in appearance and texture. In the south- 
east part of the county the quarries show a fine building-stone of 
superior quality for working, of a grayish color, that hardens on 
exposure to the air. In some places the rocks are of a reddish cast, 
probably owing to the presence of iron. Some of the layers are 
quite soft and are readily excavated. In the south part, Utica, St. 
Charles, part of Fremont and of Saratoga, the sand-rock cropping 
out of the hills or low bluffs is nearly white in color, loose in texture 
and disintegrates rapidly, forming a beautiful white sand. Over- 
lying the sandstone is the lower magnesian formation, which also 
probably underlies most of the county. It is a hard, flinty, whitish 
or light gray rock, composed of lime and sand, with streaks of calcite 
along the larger streams. The upper portion only is visible, tlie lower 
part being covered with wash from the bluffs. This rock is not 


available for use, being very hard and of irregular fracture, not 
easily quarried or worked. In some places along the Mississippi 
there is seen, overlying the lower magnesian, a sandstone loose in 
texture, crumbling rapidly and largely forming the soil of the sides 
of the bluiFs. It is probably not more than lifteen or twenty feet in 
thickness. Corresponding with this sandstone, there extends through 
a part of the towns of Wilson, Hart, and part of Norton, a sandstone 
of similar texture, but deeper colored, more firm, and in some cases 
regularly and beautifully corrugated. Overlying this sand- 
stone is magnesian limestone, its layers generally regular, but vary- 
ing in thickness. This is the generally-used building stone of the 
county. This stone does not cliange on exposure, and large quanti- 
ties are used by the railroads and shipped to Wisconsin. There are 
some small specimens of fossil remains to be seen in this limestone. 
In the vicinity of St. Charles the limestone is largely composed of 
fossil remains, trilobites and cretaceous shells of several varieties. 

There are no evidences of northern drift in this county. Probably 
owing to its altitude no boulders are to be found. The clay gener- 
ally exists in pockets, and is stratified. There are some small 
deposits of loess usually in the valleys, and mound-like in appearance. 
Where wells have been sunk in different ]3arts of the county, upon 
the higher lands, the rocks are found to be of nearly uniform char- 
acter, and water is not usually found till the sandstone is reached. 
The well of Mr. Clawson, in Saratoga, presents an unusual phe- 
nomena. At the depth of seventy-five feet the drill opened into a 
crevice or a cave, and the air rushed out with great violence. At the 
distance of four feet more the rock was again struck, and water 
obtained at the depth of one hundred and forty feet from the sur- 
face. The current of air in the well changes with the wind, the 
downward current in winter freezing the water in the pipe to the 
depth of the crevice, seventy or more feet, and again rushing out, so 
as to thaw all the ice about the well. 

In numerous places along the Mississippi, especially upon the 
gravelly headlands, are yet evidences of the mound-builders. 
Where the mounds have been examined little has been discovered 
beyond stone implements, arrow-heads, and in some places skeletons, 
which are no doubt intrusive burials. Large quantities of clam shells 
and bones of various animals are also found, mixed with pieces of 
charcoal and with ashes. In one case a charred package of white 
birch bark was found of nearly a cubic foot in size, and scattered 
about the mounds is usually found much fragmentary rude pottery. 



Before the ratification of the treat}' by which the Sioux surren- 
dered their hinds for settlement, a party of three, headed by Robert 
Pike, was dispatched from Minnesota City to ascertain whether a 
practicable route for a railroad to Traverse des Sioux, on the Minne- 
sota river, existed. Early in July, 1852, Mr. Pike made a favorable 
report, and urged the adoption of some plan for building the road, 
but he was then accounted an enthusiast, and his scheme dismissed 
as visionary and impracticable. Early in 1854, however, the project 
was revived, and, after several ineffectual attempts at organization, 
a charter was obtained from the legislature March 4, 1854, by 
Orrin Smith, Henry D. Huff, Abram M. Fridley, Lorenzo D. Smith, 
John L. Balcombe, Alexander Ramsey, W. A. Gorman, Henry H. 
Sibley, J. Travis Rosser, Andrew G. Chatfield, Henry McKenty, O. M. 
Lord, Samuel Humbertson, Martin McLeod, Benjamin Thompson, 
William H. Newton, James Hanna, G. Addison Brown and Robert 
Helm, under the name and style of the Transit Railroad Company, 
authorizing them to construct a railroad from Winona westward to 
the Minnesota river. In March, 1855, an amended charter was 
obtained from the legislature, and the incorporators met at St. Paul 
on the 25th of January, 1856, accepted the charter, and gave official 
notice thereof to the secretary of the territory. On the 12th of 
May the sum of $240,000 had been subscribed to the capital stock 
of the company, the subscribers being the following named per- 
sons: L. D. Smith, H. D. Huff, Wm. Ashley Jones, Charles H. 
Berry, M. Wheeler Sargent, H. H. Johnson, E. H. Johnson, H. J. 
LLilbert, E. S. Smith, David Olmsted, M. K. Drew, A. P. Foster, 
Wm. H. Stevens, John Evans, Chas. Hamilton, O. S. Holbrook, 
Orrin Smith, John C. Laird, Win. H. Laird, M. J. Laird, J. H. 
Jacoby, Royal B. Evans and L. H. Springer. All these, with the 
exception of Orrin Smith and L. IL Springer, were residents of 
Winona. The first officers of the comj)any were H. H. Johnson, 
president ; Wm. Ashley Jones, vice-president ; H. J. Hilbert, sec- 
retary and engineer ; H. D. Iluff^ treasurer. 


The organization of the company was only the prehide to a pro- 
longed and bitter contest with parties interested in other localities, 
and more particularly with the owners and promoters of the town- 
site of La Crescent. After various vicissitudes, among them the 
defeat in 1854 of H. D. Huft' for the legislature by Clark W. 
Thompson on this issue, the conflict finally resulted in a victory for 
Winona 'and the Transit railroad. Qn the 3d of March, 1857, 
Congress passed an act by which the munificent gift of 1,200,000 
acres of public lands was conferred upon the state for the benefit 
of the Transit road. An extra session of the legislature was 
at once called to consider this and other grants of lands, and 
on the 22d day of May, 1857, an omnibus bill was passed con- 
firming the grants, and amending the charter of the Transit road 
80 as to authorize it to construct and operate a railroad from Winona 
via St. Peter to the Big Sioux river. In February, 1858, what is 
known as the five-million loan amendment to the constitution was 
adopted by the first state legislature, and was ratified by a vote of 
the people April 15, 1858. By the terms of this amendment state 
bonds were to be issued and delivered to tha various railroad com- 
panies at the rate of $100,000 for every ten miles graded and 
bridged ready for the iron, the state taking a first mortgage upon the 
road-bed so graded, together with the lands and franchises of the 
company, as security for the loan. The Transit company at once 
filed their acceptance of the terms of the amendment, and proceeded 
to let the contract for the grading and construction of seventy-five 
miles of the line as surveyed west of Winona. In the letting of this 
first contract, as well as in the location of the line out of Winona, 
there was a most determined effort on the part of a few men to divert 
the road from Winona, and so build it as to eventually make La 
Crescent the eastern terminus. Selah Chamberlain, of Ohio, after- 
ward the builder of several roads in the state, and the largest holder 
of the state bonds issued under the five-million loan amendment, 
was a bidder for the contract. It was understood that if he secured 
it work would be begun at or near Lewiston, and that the matter of 
the eastern terminus would remain unsettled, with a strong proba- 
bility that the road would be diverted down the ridge back of 
Winona to La Crescent. De Graff & Co., also bidders for the con- 
tract, were favored by most of the directors, who were desirous of 
beginning the work of construction at Winona, and thus at the 
outset fixing the terminus and settling that question forever. This 


company was composed of Col. Andrew DeGrali', B. h\ Barnard, 
Hernando Fuller and William DeGrart", Col. DeGraff being the 
head and sole manager of the concern. The contest waxed hot, 
but on the 8th day of June, 1858, the board of directors, after 
])r()tracted discussion, awarded the contract to DeGraff cfe Co. 
Brevious to this time there had been much strife between the 
various town proprietors as, to whether the road should leave the 
city by way of lower town and the Sugar Loaf valley, or from 
upper town via the Rollingstone valley. The history of this feature 
of the matter more properly belongs to that of the city of Winona, 
and will not be further discussed here. The up])er town interest 
won the victory, and on the 9th day of June, 1858, ground was 
broken at or near the present machine-shops, the event being duly 
(.•elebrated by the delighted people. 

DeGrali' & Company were strictly loyal to Winona, although 
tem])ting offers were made them to carry out the plans of the La 
Orescent men, and the work of grading the road went rapidly for- 
ward during the following summer and winter, until fifty miles of 
grading and bridging had been completed, inspected and accepted 
by the state authorities, and $500,000 of state bonds delivered to 
the company. Then came the financial crisis of 1858-9. These bonds 
were denounced as illegal and fraudulent. They became almost 
valueless in the market, and all work came to a standstill. DeGraff 
& Company were unable to pay their men for work and supplies, 
and much hardship resulted. Upon default in the terms of the 
mortgage given by the Transit company to secure the loan made by 
the state, a foreclosure was had, and on June 23, 1860, the road 
franchises, and other grants, including lands, were sold to the state 
for the nominal sum of one thousand dollars. March 8, 1861, the 
the legislature granted and transferred all claim upon the property 
to Orville Clark, Abraham Wing, John W. Kirk, Eobert Higham, 
W. H. Smith, Nelson P. Stewart and B. W. Perkins, and consti- 
tuted them a cor]3oration undei- the. name of the Winona, St. Peter 
& Missouri River Railroad C'onipany, upon condition that the 
road be fully equipped and trains running to Rochester and Owa- 
tonna at certain fixed times. No attempt having been made to 
comply with these conditions, the legislature, on March 10, 1862, 
made a similar grant to William Lamb, S. S. L'llomedieu, John 
W. Kirk, Herman Gebhart and H. C. Stimson, under the name and 
stvle of the Winona & Saint Peter Railroad Comi)any, free and 


clear of all claims and liens upon the property, and upon much more 
lenient conditions. Work was at once resumed hy the new owners, 
and on December 9, 1862, a passenger train was run by Col. De- 
Graff from Winona to Stockton and back, the day. being marked by 
another enthusiastic celebration. December 10, 1862, the first car- 
load of wheat was shipped to Winona by L. Kaymond and pur- 
chased by Asa Forsyth. From this time the work of construction 
proceeded rapidly. In 1864 the trains reached Rochester, a distance 
of fifty miles from Winona. In 1865 the road was completed sixty- 
six miles to Kasson ; in 1866, ninety miles to Owatonna ; in 1868, 
one hundred and six miles to Waseca ; in 1870, one hundred and 
thirty-nine miles to Mankato and St. Peter ; in 1871, one hundred 
and sixty-five miles to New Ulm ; in 1872 two hundred and eighty- 
four miles of track were completed west of Winona, and the grading 
extended three hundred and thirty-one miles to Lake Kampeska in 
Dakota Territory. Iij 1879 an^other line, diverging from the old 
track at Tracy, in Lyon county, was begun and pushed with such 
energy that in two years trains were running to Old Fort Pierre, on 
the Missouri river, connecting with daily stages for the Black Hills. 
The entire property, save the land grant, had, however, in Novem- 
ber, 1867, passed into the hands of the Chicago & Northwestern 
Railroad Company and become a part of that great system, although 
still retaining its name and corporate existence. The lands thus 
separated from the general ownership of the company and its 
franchises became the property of A. H. Barney and a company 
of New York capitalists, and are still so owned, excepting those 
since sold to settlers. A branch from Eyota to Chatfield was 
opened for business December 8, 1878 ; from Eyota to Plain- 
view October 22, 1878 ; from Rochester to Zumbrota November 2, 
1878 ; from Sleepy Eye to Redwood Falls August 4, 1878 ; from 
Huron to Ordway November 20, 1881 ; from Watertown to Clark 
Centre June 18, 1882 ; from Yolga to Castlewood September 29, 
1882; from Clark Centre to Redfield October 22, 1882; from 
Ordway to Columbia October 22, 1882, making a grand total of 863 
miles of this road now directly tributary to Winona. 

The following named men, prominent in the railroad history of 
the West, have been connected with the Winona & St. Peter 
company : S. S. Merrell, now general manager of the Chicago, 
Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad, was general manager of the Winona 
and St. Peter railroad from February to May, 1865. Dwight W. 


Keyes, now assistant general freiglit agent of the Chicago, Milwau- 
kee ife St. Paul raih-oad, came with Mr. Merrell to the Winona & 
St. Peter company as auditor, and was lett in cliarge of the road 
in May, 1865. John Newell, now general manager of the Lake 
Shore & Michigan Southern railroad, was at that time superin- 
tendent and cliief engineer. H. C. Atkins, now assistant general 
superintendent of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad, was 
superintendent of the Winona & St. Peter railroad during the years 
1866 and 1867, being succeeded by J. H. Stewart, now superin- 
tendent of the Marietta & Cincinnati railroad. Gen. J. W Sprague, 
late general superintendent of the western division of tlie Northern 
Pacific railroad, at the same time becoming general manager of the 
Winona & St. Peter railroad. April 20, 1874, J. H. Stewart was 
succeeded by Sherburn Sanborn as superintendent, a position which 
he still occupies. 

The magnificent iron bridge across the Mississippi river used by 
this road was built during the winter of 1871-2. The draw-span of 
this bridge is said to be one of the longest in the world (363 feet). 
It takes the place of a combination wood and iron draw-span built 
in the winter of 1870-1, which fell on the 27th day of May, 1871, 
and was entirely removed. This bridge forms a connection with the 
La Crosse, Trempealeau & Prescott railroad, of which mention will 
be made hereafter. The bridge was constructed for the company 
by the American Bridge Company, of Chicago ; the piling was done 
by Frank A. Johnston, and the stonework by Jones & Butler, of 
Winona. The shops of this company are located at the west end 
of the city, are large and fully equipped for the business of keep- 
ing the road-bed and rolling stock of the road in the best condition. 
They have been fully described among the institutions of the city of 

St. Paul & Chicago Railway. — The coi-porate name of this com- 
pany in the original charter, dated May 22, 1857, was the Minnesota 
& Pacific Eailroad Company. By an act of the legislature approved 
March 2, 1867, the directors were authorized to change the name of 
the company or that of any of the branches of the road provided for 
in their charter. Accordingly, on the 19th day of March the board of 
directors gave the name of "The St. Paul & Chicago Railway" to 
that part of their line to extend from St. Paul to Winona and thence 
to the Iowa line. Work was begun upon this line at or near St. Paul 
in 1865, but nothing was done in Winona county until 1870, when 


the road was built from Minnesota City to Weaver and put in opera- 
tion by the Northwestern Railroad Company. In 1871 the road- 
bed was completed between St. Peter Junction and St. Paul, and in 
December of that year was sold to the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. 
Paul Railroad Company, who immediately took possession, and 
began operating the road in connection with their line from Chicago 
and Milwaukee to La Crosse, making connection over the La Crosse, 
Trempealeau & Prescott rqad and the bridge at Winona when com- 
pleted. In 1872, however, the road was extended from St. Peter 
Junction to La Crescent, on the west side of the Mississippi river, 
and thereafter all freight trains used this rcmte, being ferried across 
the Mississippi to La Crosse. Passenger trains, however, continued 
to run over the Winona bridge and the La Crosse, Trempealeau & 
Prescott road until 1875, when the magnificent iron bridge between 
La Crescent and North La Crosse was completed and brought into 
use for all traffic over the Milwaukee & St. Paul line. As a bonus 
for the construction of this line the city of Winona, on the 21st day 
of April, 1870, voted and thereafter issued $100,000 of its bonds, to 
be delivered upon the fulfillment of certain conditions by the com- 
pany. The bonds having been prematurely delivered to the con- 
struction company, suit was brought by the city, in which, after 
protracted litigation, it was finally determined that the prescribed 
conditions had not been fulfilled, and that the city have damages 
equal to the amount of the^ bonds, with interest, which sum has 
been paid. 

The La Crosse, Trempealeau and Prescott Railroad. — After the 
passage of the bill by congress, March 3, 1857, providing for cer- 
tain land grants to aid in the construction of railroads in Min- 
nesota, and among them the Transit railroad, with its eastern 
terminus at Winona, the next important project was to connect 
Winona and the Transit railroad with the railroads in Wisconsin 
and Illinois, and through them with the railroad system of the 
United States. It was also proposed by means of this connection 
to cut oft' La Crosse, Winona's most formidable rival, from the 
benefits of northern and western connections, as it was thought 
that but one road would ever cross the Mississippi river in this 
section of country. It was therefore resolved to keep the matter 
of this "cut off;" or eastern connection, in the hands of Winona 
men. In the winter of 1858-9, in the midst of the pinching 
hard times brought on by the financial crisis of that time, Capt. 


Sam Whiting, Thomas Simpson and M. K. Drew started out 
one severely cold day to look out a practicable route for a 
railroad east from Winona to a point of intersection with the pro- 
posed line of the Milwaukee & La Crosse railroad. They cut 
their way from Altoona, now Bluff Sidini;^, through the swamps, and 
camped the first night in the heavy timber. The next morning, 
after eating frozen bread and meat for breakfast, they proceeded 
with their work, and in about half-an-hour came out upon a prairie 
covered with fenced fields and farm-houses. They had spent a night 
in the snow, which Capt. Whiting said was equal to any of his 
arctic experiences, within half a mile of a substantial and comforta- 
ble farm-house. The people of Winona had been so occupied with 
their own great prospects and those of the country west of them, that 
they had no knowledge of this well-settled country just east of them. 
The following spring Z, H. liake and Thomas Simpson were again 
sent over the proposed route, antl instructed to go to La Crosse to see 
if that city would not unite with Winona in building this- connection, 
the extreme hard times having somewhat modified the ambitions and 
claims of Winona. A preliminary survey of the route was made by 
these gentlemen, which coincides almost exactly with the line as 
afterward built. They met with a very cool reception at La Crosse, 
being informed that that city would have nothing to do with the 
{)roject, and that they would prevent if possible the granting of a 
charter by the Wisconsin legislature. Subsequent investigation, how- 
ever, developed the fact that several years before a charter had been 
granted by the legislature of Wisconsin to some parties to build a 
railroad from a point at or near La Crosse to Point Douglas 3, 
opposite Hastings, to be called the La Crosse, Trempealeau, Lake 
Pepin & Prescott railroad, and that this old charter had been 
kept alive. Possession of it was obtained, the company reorganized, 
and Timothy Kirk, Thomas E. Bennett, M. K. Drew, William 
Mitchell, Thomas Wilson, Thomas Simpson, A. W. Webster, and 
five men from Trempealeau, were elected directors. Thomas Simp- 
son was elected president ; A. W, Webster, vice-president ; J. H. 
Newland, secretary, and Thomas E. Bennett, treasurer. The com- 
pany began at once to locate the line, obtained riglit of way, etc., 
in order to secure vested rights before the Wisconsin legislature 
could convene and repeal the charter. But no money was to be 
had. N. F. Ililbert was employed as chief engineer, to be paid 
whenever the company became able to pay. Others were employed 


upon similar terms. To board the force, a subscription in provi- 
sions and supplies was taken up among the citizens of Winona. 
Upon this subscription being read at a large meeting of all interested, 
the following items appeared together: "P. W. Gaines & Co., ^ 
bbl. wliisky. Robert Clapperton, 1 loaf bread." 

Wm. Lamb, who had been appointed superintendent of con- 
struction, rose and interrupted the reading with the remark that 
there was altogether too much bread for that quantity of whisky. 

The company succeeded in holding their charter, and work was 
kept up until an agreement was made with parties interested in 
the Chicago & Korth western company to complete it and make 
it a part of that great system, which was done in 1870. The road 
is still owned and operated by that company, but under the original 
charter and organization. 

Green Bay, Lake Pepin cfe Minnesota Railroad. — In February 
1873, a proposition was made by the officers of the above-named 
road to extend its line from Merrillan, Wisconsin, to Winona, pro- 
vided the city would grant them a bonus of $100,000. As the 
line would form a valuable connection with the lake system of 
navigation, and also furnish the city directly with many of the 
products of the Wisconsin forests, a very decided disposition to 
accept this proposition was manifested by the citizens of Winona. 
A series of public gatherings terminated in a large meeting of 
citizens, at which it was determined by a general expression to 
accept the proposition, President Ketchum, of the railroad com- 
pany, being present at the meeting. A committee of eight lead- 
ing citizens was selected and "instructed to proceed to St. Paul 
and procure from the legislature tlien in session autliority for 
the city to take the necessary steps in granting the required aid. 
This committee accordingly went to St. Paul and had the proper 
bill introduced for the purpose, but only one day remaining of the 
session it failed to pass from lack of time. The committee returned, 
and the company, learning of the failure to secure legislation, modi- 
fied their proposition and suggested that the citizens should secure 
them the sum named by subscription or otherwise. Anotlier meet- 
ing of citizens was held, and a committee appointed to wait upon 
and confer with the city council upon the matter in hand. As the 
result of such conference tlie city council, on March 14, 1873, adopted 
the following resolutions : 

'^Be it resolved^ by the city council of the city of Winona, that 


fifty thousand dollars, or so much thereof as may be practicable, 
shall be raised for the purpose of securing the terminus of the Green 
Bay & Lake Pepin railroad at the city of Winona, under and 
pursuant to the recommendation of the committee appointed by the 
city council to confer upon said matter, on March 12, 1873. 

'■''And it is farther resolved^ that the city of Winona hereby 
pledges its faith to repay to each and every person, his heirs or 
assigns, all sums of money which said person or ]>ersons shall ad- 
vance for that purpose, with interest on the sums so advanced not 
to exceed the rate of ten per cent per annum; jjvovided aknays^ 
that the obligation so made and taken shall in no event bind the 
city to such repayment unless the proper legal authority for such 
repayment be obtained. 

'■'•Resolved^ That the recorder be authorized and is hereby required 
to have prepared, and to issue and deliver under his hand as recorder 
and the seal of said city, to each person advancing money for the 
above purpose, a certificate for all sums so advanced by each person 
respectively, bearing interest as aforesaid. 

'-'■ Resolved, Tiiat as soon as practicable j)roper legislation author- 
izing and legalizing the present action of the city council, so far as 
such legislation may be necessary, or any other needed legislation, 
shall be obtained." 

Upon the basis of this action on the part of the city council a 
canvassing committee was set at work, and the sum of $35,000 
subscribed by the citizens for the purpose set forth above. The 
railroad company, upon being notified of the result, finally accepted 
the situation, and proceeded during the summer and fall of 1873 to 
build the road as projiosed. An act of the legislature authorizing 
tlie city to make good its agreement with the subscribers, but un- 
wisely providing for making up the amount to $50,000 for the 
com})any, was approved February 5, 1874, the act providing, how- 
ever, that the question should be submitted to the people at a general 
or special election upon five days' notice by publication. A special 
election was accordingly called for and held on February 23, 1874, 
which resulted in a defeat of the proposed bonds, largely on account 
of the provision for making up the sum to be paid the company to 
$50,000, the vote standing 275 for to 785 against it. The citizens 
were justified in this vote for the reason that it was sought to make 
the city liable for $15,000 more than the amount of the subscrip- 
tion, a provision in the bill insisted on by the representatives of the 


-company, but for which the subscribers, ahuost without exception, 
were in no way chargeable. Chagrined and disappointed at this 
result, and there being grave doubt of their legal liability, the 
subscribers refused to pay their subscriptions ; but suits were insti- 
tuted by the company in the United States circuit court against 
them, and a test case being carried to a final decision it was held 
that the subscribers were liable, and the several amounts were 
accordingly paid over, each subscriber receiving, according to the 
original agreement, stock of the company to the amount of his 
subscription, which stock was not and never has become of any 
considerable value. 

There still being a widespread feeling that the subscribers to the 
bonus had suffered an injustice, another act of the legislature was 
obtained March 6, 1876, providing for a special election in April of 
that year to determine whether the city would indemnify the sub- 
scribers by an issue of its bonds in the amount of the subscriptions 
actually paid, the- city to take the stock originally issued to the sub- 
scribers. Accordingly an election was called and^ held on April 3, 
but although every moral, if not legal, obligation rested upon the 
city to indemnify its public-spirited citizens for the money paid by 
them to secure a railroad connection of conceded value to the town, 
the proposition again failed to carry, the vote being 737 for to 1004 
against the bonds, and here the matter rests. The road has since 
practically passed into the hands of John I. Blair, of New Jersey, 
and its name has been changed to the Green Bay, Winona & St. Paul 
Railroad Company. 

Winona and Southwestern Bailroad. — In February, 1856, the 
legislature of the territory incorporated the Winona & La Crosse 
Railroad Company, with authority to build and operate a railroad 
from Winona to a point opposite La Crosse, Wisconsin. February 
9, 1872, the state legislature passed an act reviving this old charter 
and amending it so as to incorporate the Winona & Southwestern 
Railroad Company, composed of the following named persons, viz : 
William Windom, Thomas Simpson, Wm. H. Yale, J. C. Fasten, 
John Robson, William Mitchell, H. W. Lamberton, M. G. Norton, 
E. S. Youmans, R. D. Cone, Thomas Wilson, M. K. Drew, E. D. 
Williams, Geo. P. Wilson, Thomas Abbott and Ignatius O'Ferral, 
and authorizing the building, equipment and operation of a railroad 
from Winona to the Iowa line east of range 14 and west of the 
fifth principal merixlian, and also granting the right to extend the 


line, by the most feasible route, from Winona to St. Paul and 
Minneapolis, the road to be completed and equipped within four 
years from the date of the act. 

At a meeting of the incorporators held at Winona April IH, 
1872, William Mitchell was elected president; E. D. Williams, vice- 
president; Thomas Simpson, secretary, and M. G. Norton, treasurer. 
William Mitchell, John llobson and H. W. Lamberton were made an 
executive committee, and E. S. Youmans, Ignatius O'Ferral and 
M. G. Norton were appointed commissi(mers to receive subscriptions 
to the stock of the company, to collect five per centum thereon 
for the expenses of a survey and for the purchase of necessary mai)S, 
profiles, etc., for the use of the company. Stock to the amount of 
$67,500 was subscribed. At the same session of the legislature 
an act was passed authorizing the city of Winona and the towns and 
villages on the proposed line of the road to vote a five per cent tax 
in aid of the road. Under this authority the city of Winona, on 
April 9, 1872, at a special election voted bonds -to aid in the con- 
struction of the road to the amount of $150,000. Several of the 
towns in Winona and Fillmore counties, and the village of Chat- 
field, voted liberal bonuses to the road. Two or more surveys were 
made under the direction of N. F. Hilbert, one by way of Saratoga 
and Fremont, the other by way of the Money Creek valley. For a 
time there was every prospect that the road would be built. It 
would have furnished an invaluable outlet for the lumber and other 
products of the Winona manufactories, and would have been a 
potent element in tlie growth of the city. The severe financial 
crisis of 1873, however, and the subsequent hard times, brought 
delays and embarrassments which prevented tlie building of the 
road, and it still remains one of the ''glorious possibilities." In 
1875 it was voted by the company to accept the proposition of certain 
Iowa parties to build a narrow-gauge road from Ilesper, Iowa, to 
Houston, Minnesota, provided the company would build a similar 
road from Winona to Houston. Money was raised and a prelimi- 
nary survey made, but nothing further came of the project. The 
charter was extended by the legislature of 1873, and by reason of 
the surveys and o^her work done thereunder is considered to be 
still alive. Both the line to the southwest and the one from Winona 
to St. Paul are still feasible, and would be valuable to the builders 
as well as to Winona and the territory tlirough which they would 



The " Father of Waters " forms the eastern boundary of Winona 
county, and with its various channels and sloughs constitutes the 
only navigable water in the county. Probably the first white man 
who traversed the forty-five miles of its length in which we are now 
interested was Father Hennepin, who in the month of April, 1680, 
explored the Mississippi from the mouth of the Illinois to the falls 
of St. Anthony. In the month of May, 1689, Nicholas Perrot, 
accompanied by Le Sueur, Father Marest and others, sailed up the 
Mississippi from the mouth of Wisconsin river to the mouth of the 
St. Croix, and formally took possession of the country in the name 
of the king of France. In September of the year 1700 Le Sueur 
passed upward with a party of Frenchmen to explore and work 
some reported mines near the mouth of the Chippewa river. In the 
year 1766 that enterprising Connecticut Yankee, Jonathan Carver, 
traveled extensively in the Northwest, and on October 29 of that 
year passed by the future county of Winona, noting in his journal 
some shrewd observations upon the numerous mounds which he 
saw along the shores and bluffs. In September, 1805, Lieut. Zebu- 
Ion Pike visited this region by order of President Jefferson, to expel 
British traders, who were found violating the laws, and to form alli- 
ances with the Indians. In the summer of 1819 a party of officers 
and soldiers, with their wives and children, passed by our county 
in keelboats on their way to establish a post at the mouth of the 
Minnesota river, by order of John C. Calhoun, then secretary of 
war. The next year Gov. Cass of Michigan headed an exploring 
expedition by way of the lakes, and, descending the Mississippi in 
canoes, spent the afternoon of August 4 at Wapashaw village, the 
site of the present city of Winona. 

Previous to the year 1823 it had been supposed that the rapids 
at Rock Island were an insurmountable barrier to the navigation of 
the upper Mississippi ; but on the second day of May of that year 
the Virginia, a steamer one hundred and eighteen feet in length, 
left her moorings at St. Louis, destined for Fort Snelling. Success- 
fully passing the rapids, this pioneer craft made her way slowly up 


the Mississippi, producing the greatest terror and consternation 
among the Indians, who supposed that it was some enormous water- 
spirit, coughing, puffing out liot breath and splashing the water in 
all directions. This pioneer steamer passed Wabasha prairie toward 
the last of the month and reached P''ort Snelling in safety. From 
this time occasional trips were made as the necessity of the govern- 
ment and trading-posts required. Among the great number of steam- 
ers wliich have passed and repassed the county in years gone by, all 
old settlers will remember the Minnesota Belle, Gray Eagle, War 
Eagle, Northern Belle, Nominee, Ben Corson, The Adelia, Frank 
Steele, Keokuk, Jeanette, Tishimingo, Aimie Johnson, Addie John- 
son, Phil. Sheridan, and many others. 

Of the captains of all these and other unnamed steamers Capt. 
Smith Harris and Capt. Orrin Smith are most frequently mentioned. 
The latter was one of the earliest proprietors and admirers of the 
town site of Winona, and the former, being interested in Kasota, and 
otlier towns on the Minnesota river, was never tired of pointing out 
the disadvantages of Wabasha prairie. It is said that during the 
higli water in 1 852, in order to demonsti-ate the truth of his state- 
ment that Smith's town was on a mere sand-bar in the Mississipjn, 
he ran his boat straight by Minneowah up into Lake Winona, and 
out across near the Denman farm into Crooked Slough and the river 
again. Captains Hatcher and Bryant, long in the service, afterward 
made their homes in Winona. Before the day of railroads great 
importance attaclied to the coming and going of these river steamers, 
which formed the only connection with the outside world. The 
familiar whistle of a steamboat would frequently cause a stampede 
even from the church service or prayer meeting, particularly if it 
was the first boat of the season. 

The following table shows the arrivals of the first boat for a 
period of years commencing with 1856: 

1856. Alhambra, April 8. 1870. Keokuk, April 5. 

1857. Hamburg, April 2. 1871. Addie Johnston, March 18. 

1858. Brazil, March 2.3. 1872. Belle of La Crosse, April 9. 

1859. Grey Eagle, March 18. 1873. Union, April 3. 

186(). Chippewa, INIarch 13. 1874. Northwestern, April 6. 

18()1. Northern Light, March 26. 1875. Lake Superior, April 12. 

1862. Keokuk, April 2. 1876. Dubuque, April 10. 

1863. Keokuk, March 20. 1877. Red Wing, April 11. 

1864. Union, M:irch Hi. 1878. Penguin, March 12. 

1865. Lansing, March 30. ' 1879. Maggie Keaney, April 4. 
186(). Addie .Johnston, Ai)ril 13. 1880. Belle of Bellvue, March 22. 

1867. City of St. Paul, April 13. 1881. Josie, April 24. 

1868. Diamond Jo, March 21. 1882. Robert Harris, March 1. 

1869. Buckeye, April 6. 



The following table shows the dates of the closing of navigation 
for a series of years: 

1856 November 27 

1857 November 19 

1858 ■ December 2 

1859 December 3 

1860 •• November 24 

1861 November 27 

1862 December 1 

1863 November 27 

1864 December 4 

1865 December 5 

1866 December 9 

1867 December 5 

1868 December 8 

1869 December 18 

1870 December 15 

1871 November 22 

1872 November22 

1873 November29 

1874 November 30 

1875 November20 

1876 December 1 

1877 December 8 

1878 December 13 

1879 December 12 

1880 November20 

1881 Jamiary 2, 1882 

1882 December 6 



The territorial courts of record were organized under the act of 
congress passed March 3, 1849, called the "Organic act," supple- 
mented by acts passed from time to time by the territorial legis- 
lature. By the organic act three judges were provided for, which 
were appointed by the president, "by and with the advice and con- 
sent of tiie senate." One was styled "chief-justice," the other two 
"associate-justices." These together constituted the supreme court, 
one term of which was required to be held annually at the seat of 
government of the territory. It was also provided that the terri- 
tory should "be divided into three judicial districts," in each of 
which a district court was required to be held by one of the justices 
of the supreme court, at such times and places as the territorial 
legislature might prescribe, and that "the said judges shall, after 
their appointment, respectively, reside in the districts which shall 
be assigned them." Each district court, or the judge thereof, was 
by such act empowered to appoint its own clerk, which clerk was 
to hold his office at tlie pleasure of the court. The supreme court 
and district courts were invested with chancery as well as common 
law jurisdiction. The extent of this jurisdiction of these courts was 
substantially the same as like courts under the present constitution 
of the state ; that of the several district courts was general. By 


act of the territorial legislature the territory now included within the 
limits of Winona county was made a part of the first judicial dis- 
trict, and so remained until the adoption of the constitution. Pre- 
vious to February 23, 1854, what is now Winona county was a part of 
the county of Fillmore. On the day last above named Winona 
county was formed and organized for judicial and other purposes. 
Up to this time the writer is not aware that any term of the district 
court was held in P'illmore county, though all other county business 
affecting this section, such as filing plats of town sites, recording 
deeds and the levy of taxes, was done at the county seat of F'illmore 
county, then located at Chatfield. 

At the date of our county organization Hon. Wm. H. Welch 
was chief-justice of the territory, to whom was assigned the first 
judicial district. He was therefore the first judge of the district 
court in and for this county. He resided at Red Wing, in the 
county of Goodhue. He continued to fill that ofiice until January 
1, 18.58, when the territorial judicial officers were superseded by 
judgef^ elected under the state constitution adopted at the fall elec- 
tion in 1857. Much of the good order of our judicial affairs in ter- 
ritorial times, and the ease and regularity with which our state courts 
were organized and went into efiect,^were due to this judge. W^hile 
he was not a man of great learning or superior ability, as the world 
recognizes learning and ability, yet he had the rare quality in a 
judge of commanding universal confidence, a feeling among all that 
the judicial authority was reposed in proper hands. Judge Welch 
died at his home in Red Wing. 

At the fall election in 1857 Hon. Thomas Wilson was chosen as 
judge of the third judicial district of the state, comprising the coun- 
ties of Houston, Fillmore, Olmsted, Wabasha and Winona. With 
the beginning of the year 1858, pursuant to a ])rovision of the state 
constitution, but before the formal admission of the state by congress 
Judge Wilson entered upon his duties as judge, and continued to 
hold until 1864, when, having been appointed to the supreme 
court, he resigned the office of district judge, and Hon. Lloyd 
Barber, of Olmsted county, was appointed to fill the vacancy so 
made. He was elected at the fall election in 1864, for the full term 
of seven years, and held the office until succeeded by Hon. C. N. 
Waterman, January 4, 1872. Judge Waterman held the oflfice 
until his death, which occurred February IS, 1873, and was suc- 
ceeded by Hon. John Van Dyke, who was appointed for the 


remainder of the year 1873. At the fall election of that year Hon. 
Wm. Mitchell was elected for the full term of seven years, 
from the beginning of 1874. He discharged the duties during this 
term, and in 1880 was re-elected for another term, to commence with 
the ensuing year. At . the session of the legislature of 1881 the 
number of judges composing the supreme court was increased to 
five. This made it necessary that two judges should be appointed 
to the supreme court until after the next ensuing general election. 
Judge Mitchell was selected as one of the new judges, and Hon. C. 
M. Start, then attorney-general of the state, but residing in the 
third judicial district, at Kochester, Olmsted county, was ap- 
pointed district judge, to succeed Judge Mitchell, At the general 
election in November, 1881, Judge Start was elected for a full term, 
commencing with the year 1882. At this writing, January 1, 1883, 
Judge Start is in the discharge of his official duties. 

Of the seven judges who have presided in our district courts, 
three. Judge Welch, Judge Waterman and Judge Van Dyke, are 
dead. All the others are still living within the district, and 
engaged in the duties of their profession. 

Clerks. — As before stated, during our territorial existence clerks 
of district courts held by appointment of the judge and during his 
pleasure. The first clerk of the district court in and for Winona 
county was Martin Wheeler Sargeant. He was appointed by Judge 
Welch in 1854, and held until superseded by the appointment of 
John Keyes, on or about July 14, 1856. The record of Mr. Keyes' 
appointment cannot be found, but his first official act as clerk 
bears date on that day. Mr. Keyes continued to hold the office 
until after the admission of the statein to the Union under the state 
organization, his last official act as clerk bearing date May 25, 
1858. Under the constitution the office of clerk was made elective, 
and at the general election in October, 1857, Henry C. Lester was 
elected clerk, and entered on the discharge of his duties on the re- 
tirement of Mr. Keyes. He held the office until April 27, 1861. 
He resigned to enter the volunteer service of the United States in 
the war of the rebellion. He was succeeded by E. A. Gerdtzen, 
who was appointed in place of Col. Lester until the next general 
election, at which he was elected, and by subsequent elections held 
without interruption for nearly seventeen years. In November, 
1877, John M. Sheardown was elected, has been re-elected, and still 
holds the office. 


Of the five persons who have held the office, two, Mr. Sargeant 
and Mr. Keyes, are deceased; Col. Lester has removed from the 
state, while Messrs. Gerdtzen and Sheardown still reside at the city 
of Winona. 

DistHct and County Attorneys. — Under.the territorial organiza- 
tion, the United States attorney, as lie was called, usually attended 
at the sessions of the district courts, and performed most of the 
duties now devolving upon county attorneys. An officer called a 
district attorney was also provided for by territorial statute, and was 
elected in each of the organized counties. In the act organizing 
the county of Winona, approved February 23, 1854, such officer 
was to be elected at an election to be held in A])ril of that year. 
The election was duly held, and C. F. Buck, Esq., then residing at 
Minneowa, was elected. We may say in passing that the village 
of Minneowa was a rival of Winona for metropolitan honors, and 
stood on the Mississippi river, about one mile above the present 
village of Homer. The cui-ious in such matters may still find some 
traces of it on the river bank, and especially in the office of the 
register of deeds, where the plat was recorded. Its proprietors 
were Isaac Van Etten, William L. Ames, brother of Oakes Ames, 
of credit mohiller and Union Pacific railroad fame. Governor 
Willis A. Gorman, and S. K Babcock, all of St. Paul. The 
fact is noteworthy as showing the confidence of shrewd and far- 
seeing men in the tlien future existence of the city of southern 
Minnesota at or near this point. Their selection was probabl}'^ made 
more from an examination of the territorial map than of the respect- 
ive sites of Minneowa and Winona. If not, time has demonstrated 
that, however close they shot to the mark in this their judgment 
was slightly at fault. But to return to the district attorney. Mr. 
Buck held the office until the beginning of 1856. Edwin M. Bierce 
had been elected in the fall of 1855, and held the office dui'ing the 
years 1856 and 1857. B3' the constitution adopted in that year 
it was provided that "each judicial district might elect one prose- 
cuting attorney for the district." Under this provision Sam Cole, 
Esq., was elected "prosecuting attorney" for the third judicial dis- 
trict, comprising the counties of Houston, Fillmore, Olmsted, Wa- 
basha and Winona. Although this office was wholly unknown to 
territorial laws, continued in force by the constitution, and no state 
legislation had been had to sup[)ly the deficiency, still Mr. Cole, as 


an officer of the courts, qualified with the judges at the beginning of 
the year 1858. As no legislation was ever liad upon the subject of 
the duties of this office, we shall probably continue in ignorance as 
to what they were. Practically Mr. Cole did about what the United 
States attorney had done in territorial times, and which comprised 
about all that was required under the statutes of the district attorney. 
The effect of it was in a large degree to supersede the last-named 
officer, and for two years no district attorney was elected in "Winona 
county. In this county at least the constitution operated as an 
extinguishment of the office. 

By act of February 6, 1860, the office of county attorney as now 
existing was created. Under this act the board of supervisors of 
Winona county, on the 15th day of March, 1860, appointed one 
A. S. Seaton county attorney, who held the office until the 1st 
of January, 1861. 

At the general election in 1860 Hon. William H. Yale was 
elected, and held the office one term of two years. On the 1st of 
January, 1863, he was succeeded by Hon. William Mitchell, who was 
county attorney during the years 1863 and 1864. Mr. Yale, in the 
fall of 1864, was re-elected, and held during the years 1865 and 
1866. He was succeeded at the beginning of 1867 by Hon. George 
P. Wilson who, by re-election was continued in office until the 
beginning of 1871, when he was succeeded, by Norman Buck. Mr. 
Buck held during the years 1873 and 1874, and was succeeded by 
A. H. Snow, Esq., who by re-election held from the beginning of 
1875 to the 1st of January, 18^9. Mr. A. N. Bentley then suc- 
ceeded for one term, followed by Mr. M. B. Webber, one term, 
closing with 1882. At the fall election in 1882 Mr. Patrick Fitz- 
patrick was elected, and now holds the office. Of the twelve persons 
who have held these offices, only one (Mr. Cole) is known to have 
died. Both A. S. Seaton and E. M. Bierce left this county about 
1860, since which little or nothing seems to be known of either. 
Mr. Buck is now associate justice of the territory of Idaho. Hon. 
George P. Wilson is following his profession at Fargo, Dakota 
Territory. All others still reside in the city of Winona. 

Sheriffs. — The first sheriff of the county was John lames. He 
was elected on the first Tuesday in April, 1854. He was succeeded 
by Cliarles liaton, who was elected in the fall of 1855, and held the 
office for two years. At the election in 1857 Mr. F. E. Whiton was 
elected, and held during the years 1858 and 1859. At the fall elec- 


tion in 1859 Messrs. L. R. King and E. D. Williams were opposing 
candidates for this office. The canvass was close and spirited, and 
the register of deeds, whose duty it was "to canvass the votes," was 
unable to determine which had been the successful candidate. The 
greatest number of votes cast at the election for one office was 2,023. 
As allowed by the register, the whole immber of votes cast for both 
candidates for sheriff was 1,970. In reaching this result votes were 
rejected as irregular, and the conclusion was arrived at that each 
candidate had received 985, making it "a tie." It thus became 
necessary to decide "by lot" which of the candidates was elected. 
Various stories were told as to how this "casting of lots" was per- 
formed — one to the effect that a game of "euchre" was played 
between two persons, each representing one of the opposing candi- 
dates. The writer cannot affirm that such was the fact, though the 
circumstantiality of the account, other things considered, gives it 
some weight. But, however the lot was cast, Mr. King was declared 
elected, and to him was awarded the certificate. The case was then 
taken by appeal to the district court, Judge Wilson presiding. After 
a long and patient hearing the decision of the canvassing officer was 
affirmed, and Mr. King was declared sheriff. By re-election from 
term to term he held the office without interruption for eiglit years. 
J. F. Martin was his successor, beginning with the year 1868. Mr. 
Martin was twice re-elected and held for six years, and was succeeded 
at the close of 1873 by Wm. H. Dill. Mr. Dill was re-elected three 
times in succession, and held the office in all eight years, ending 
with the year 1881. Mr. E. Y. Bogart succeeded and is now (1883) 
in office. Ex-Sheriffs lames, Whiton and King are deceased. 

Probate Cmtrts. — By the act of congress organizing the terri- 
tory probate courts were established. A special election, to be held 
in April, 1854, was authorized for the election of county officers by 
act organizing the county of Winona. A judge of probate was 
one of the officers to be elected. Andrew Cole was elected. He 
held tlie office until January 1, 1855, when he was succeeded by 
Alfred P. Foster. Mr. Foster filled the office until October 10, 1856, 
when it was made vacant by the removal of Judge Foster from the 
territory, and on that date Sam Cole was appointed to fill the vacancy. 
E. II. Murray succeeded by election, and held during the years 1857 
and 1858, followed by Warren Powers, who was elected in the fall 
of 1858. By re-election Judge Powers held until his death, which 
occurred in June, 1865. He was succeeded by Mr. Norman Buck, 


who was appointed to fill the vacancy in July of that year. In the 
fall of 1865 Judge Buck was elected. He held the office until the 
fall of 1867, when he resigned, and was succeeded for the remainder 
of the year by appointment of C. N. Wakeiield. At the general 
election in the fall of 1868 Jacob Story was elected to the office. 
Judge Story has been re-elected at the expiration of each succeeding 
term, and is still the incumbent of the office. Aside from Mr. E. A. 
Gerdtzen's tenure of the office of clerk of the district court, which 
was about seventeen years. Judge Story has enjoyed a longer official 
term than any other officer of Winona county. 



As is generally the case in new towns, several branches of 
business are conducted by the same person or firm. It was so in 
Winona in the banking business. The United States land office 
for the Winona land district, having been opened in Winona in 
December, 1851, land agents, money loaners and speculators in real 
estate soon followed. 

The first office of this kind was opened in June in 1855, by Will- 
iam Ashley Jones, Charles H. Berry and E. S. Smith, under the 
firm name of Jones, Berry & Smith. They were succeeded by 
Berry & Waterman, who added to their law business that of receiving 
deposits and selling exchange on different points. This was done 
more as a convenience to others than of profit to themselves. This 
was continued until others engaged in more exclusive banking 

Early in 1856 Timotliy Kirk and his brother had a banking office 
on the corner of Eront and Main streets. 

John Mobley opened a banking and exchange office near the 
corner of Second and Main streets in 1856, and did considerable 
business-for some two years, and retired in 1858. 

J. T. Smith had an exchange and loan office, in 1856 or 1857, on 
Center street, between First and Second streets. He was here about 
three years. 


Voiglit & Bergentlial had a banking and loan office, in 1856 
and 1857, on Front street, near where Krumdich's elevator now 

Bcmietffi Bank. — In the fall ot 1855 Thomas E. Bennett opened 
a bank and loan office, and succeeded to the business of Voijilit & 
Bergentlial, in a building on the levee. In tlie winter following 
Taylor, llichards tfc: Burden purchased Bennett's business, and in 
May, 1857, the firm was changed to Taylor, Bennett & Co., and in 
1858 it was again changed to Burden, Bennett & Co., and in 1859 
was dissolved and the business was continued in the name of 
Thomas E. Bennett until 1861. 

Bank of Southern Minnesota. — The Bank of Southern Minne- 
sota was organized in 1861. Lemuel C. Porter, Thos. E. Bennett, 
Wm. Garlock and others wei-e stockholders and directors. L. C. 
Porter was made president and Thomas E. Bennett cashier. This 
bank was merged in the First National bank in August, 1864. 

The Bank of Winona. — This bank was located on Center street, 
in the building now occupied by the Winona Deposit Bank. Bank 
of Winona commenced business in May, 1863, Samuel McCord 
and II. N. Peabody being the ])rincipal partners, and the manager 
was I. Voswinkle Dorselin. Subsequently the business was done 
under the name of McCord & Dorselin. In December, 1868, 
Dorselin, appearing to be the owner of the concern, closed 
business and went into bankruptcy. On the final winding up of 
business, in August, 1869, it paid its creditors about twenty-five 
cents on a dollar. 

The United National Bank. — The United National Bank was 
organized in 1865, with Thomas Wilson, Otto Troost, Charles Ben- 
son, A. W. Webster and Thomas E. Bennett as stockholders and 
directors, with a capital of $50,000. A. W. Webster was president 
and Thomas E. Bennett cashier. 

This bank was located on Second street, in the building since 
used by the Savings Bank, and in January, 1871, was sold out by its 
stockholders to the First National Bank of Winona. 

The Winona Deposit Bank was organized and commenced busi- 
ness in 1868. H. W. Lambert<cm was president and I. J. Cummings 
cashier. It was a private bank, and changed to a national organiza- 
tion under the name of Winona Deposit National Bank, in which 
name the business was conducted two or three years, when they dis- 
continued the nati(mal organization and returned to the original 


name of Winona Deposit Bank. Its present officers are H. W. 
Lamberton, president, and W. C. Brown, casliier. 

Winona County ^«7?>?-.— Zaphna H. Lake and A. W, Webster 
organized the Winona County Bank in 1859, and' they filed their 
organization papers and deposited Minnesota railroad bonds with 
the state auditor to secure the payment of their circulating notes 
under the then existing laws of the state. This was the first and 
only bank having circulation in Winona. They did a straightfor- 
ward, legitimate banking business for several years, and went out 
of business in 1865. Mr. Webster took part in the organization of 
the United National Bank, and Mr. Lake engaged in other business 
in Winona. Their banking office was near the corner of Second 
and Main streets. 

T/ie Bank of St. Charles, at St. Charles, Winona county, was 
organized as a private bank in the spring of 1869, with a capital of 
$30,000. The stockholders were E. S. Youmans, of Winona ; S. T. 
Hyde, J. S. Wheeler, J. W. Brockett, of St. Charles, and H. R. 
Heath, of New York city. The stockholders were directors. E. S. 
Youmans was president and J. S. Wheeler was cashier. 

J. C. Woodard, in June, 1877, succeeded to the Bank of St. 
Charles, and the business is now conducted in the name of J. C. 
Woodard, banker. ^ 

The First National Bank of Winona (successor to the Bank of 
Southern Minnesota) was organized August 20, 1864, with a capital 
of $50,000. The original stockholders wei-e Thomas E. Bennett, 
Gabriel Horton, Lemuel C. Porter, George W. Neft; William Gar- 
lock, William Wedel, each of whom was elected a director. In 
October, 1864, at a meeting of the directors the following officers 
were elected, viz : L. C. Porter, president ; William Garlock, vice- 
president ; Thomas E. Bennett, cashier. L. C. Porter has been 
elected president at each annual meeting of the directors since the 
organization of the bank to this time, a period of eighteen years. 
The following persons have been elected cashiers at dififerent times 
since 1866 : I. J. C\immings, G. A. Burbank, Herman E. Curtis, 
C. H. Porter and E. D. Hurlbert, who is now filling that position. 
William Garlock resigned the office of vice-president in 1 868. C. II. 
Porter was elected vice-president in 1881, and is at this time filling 
that office. 

Second National Ba?ik.— The Second National Bank of Winona 
was organized April 29, 1871, with a capital of $100,000: The 


incorporators were Thomas Simpson, John H. Prentiss, .]ose])h A. 
Prentiss, Plenry Stevens, Mark Willson, Gustavus A. Burbank and 
W. H. Richardson. Eacli of the above stockholders was elected 
a director, and the bank engaged in active business in August, 1871, 
with the following officers : Thomas Simpson, president ; G. A. 
Burbank, cashier. Mr. Burbank resigned in October, 1871,' and 
Mark Willson was elected assistant cashier, and in February, 1872, 
E. H. Bailey became cashier. 

In .lanuary, 1873, Joseph A. Prentiss was chosen cashier and 
Mark AVillson vice-president. In January, 1875, Mr. Willson 
resigned and Lester R. Brooks became vice-])resident, aiid in 
1876 was made cashier. In 1878 Thomas Simpson resigned his 
position as president, which he had filled from the first organization 
of the bank, and was succeeded by Joseph A. Prentiss. In 1880 
William H. Garlock was chosen cashier and L. R. Brooks vice- 
president, who, with J. A. Prentiss, president, are the present 

T/w MercfianU National Bank of Winona was organized May 18, 
1875, with a capital stock of $100,000, and at the first meeting of 
the stockholders the following persons were elected directors: 
Mark Wills(m, G. W. Bennett, N. F. Hilbert, H. D. Perkins, C. H. 
Berry, Conrad Bohn and C. C. Beck. Mark Willson, president ; 
N. F. Hilbert, cashier ; H. D. Perkins, vice-president. 

The bank opened for business in July 1875. On April 9, 1879, 
N. F. Hilbert resigned his position as cashier, and was succeeded 
by J. M. Bell. July 1, 1879, it was voted to change tlie organiza- 
tion from a national to a state bank under the laws of Minnesota, 
and to transfer its entire business to the new organization. 

The Merchants Bank of Winona succeeded to the Merchants 
National Bank, and was organized in August, 1879, with the follow- 
ing directors : Charles H. Berry, H. D. Perkins, J. M. Bell, Mark 
Willson, (1 C. Beck, L. J. Allred and C. Heintz, and who proceeded 
to the election of officers, as follows : Mark Willson, president ; J. M. 
Bell, cashier; H. D. Perkins, vice-president. 

In December, 1879, J. M. Bell tendered his resignation as cashier, 
which was accepted, and Geo. F. Crise was elected in his place. The 
officers of the bank at this time are Mark Willson, president; 
Chas. H. Berry, vice-president, and Geo. R Crise, cashier. 

The Winona Savings Bank was organized .July 1, 1874, and 
lasted' five years. The depositors were notified to withdraw their 


deposits July 1, 1879, and were paid in full, principal and interest. 
The trustees were William Mitchell, W. H. Laird, H. E. Curtis, 
F. A. Rising, Thomas Wilson, E. S. Toumans and C. J. Camp. 
The officers were Wm. Mitchell, president ; W. H. Laird, vice-presi- 
dent; F. A. Rising, treasurer. 

The bank was located on Second street, in the old United National 
Bank building. 

The. foregoing is believed to be a correct history of banks and 
of the banking business in Winona county since its early settlement. 
It is possible that other parties and facts have been overlooked, but 
the writer has endeavored to include everything pertaining to the 

From the time the first deposits were received and the first drafts 
on eastern banks were drawn by Berry & Waterman, in 1855, the 
banking business has grown with the increased mercantile and 
manufacturing business of Winona in proportion until this time. 
We have now iu this city, in successful operation, four banks, two 
of which are working under the national banking laws, one under 
state organization, and one a private bank. 

The whole amount of capital invested at this time in the bank- 
ing business in Winona county aggregates $250,000, not including 
surplus and undivided profits. 

The amount of deposits in the banks in Winona is about 
$900,000, and bills discounted are about the same amount. The 
rates of interest charged by the banks are from seven to ten per 
cent per annum. 



The local history of this county, as an organization, hardly ex- 
tends beyond the personal recollections of the present generation. 
Many of its earliest settlers are yet residents of this locality. Less 
than a third of a century ago the country lying west of the Missis- 
sippi in the State of Minnesota was the almost exclusive domain of 
bands of savages — the possessions of the aborigines, occupied by the 


same race and by the same nation of people who held it wlien the 
western continent was first discovered. 

Its early settlement by the pioneer successors of this savage race 
was begun somewhat after the same general plan, although on a very 
much smaller scale, of that adopted by tlie Europeans in their first 
occupancy of North America. They made claims and held them by 
their rights of discovery. This part of the country was, first discov- 
ered and held in possession by the French. 

To maintain a proper connection with the past, a brief synopsis' 
of historical events relative to this section of country, prior to the 
time this county was created, has been compiled as an introductory 
chapter to this record of events and incidents of more modern times. 

After the discovery of the western continent, the maritime 
nations of Europe sent out expeditions to make explorations. The 
parts of the continent first visited in these voyages were taken 
possession of in the name of the government represented. When 
these explorations were extended inland the localities were claimed 
by the same powers. It was in this manner that the whole Missis- 
sippi valley became at one time a part of the foreign possessions of 
France, acquired by their rights of discovery and held by their power 
as a nation. 

In 1534 Jacques Cartier, a French navigator, discovered the Gulf 
of St. Lawrence and sailed up the St. Lawrence river, supposing 
from its size and depth that he had found the western passage to the 
Indian ocean, for which he was seeking. He claimed the newly 
discovered country in the name of the sovereign of France. As an 
emblem of his first discovery, and as a symbol of possession, he 
erected a large wooden cross on a conspicuous elevation of land. 
This was the first claim mark of France in this part of North 

The French afterward extended their explorations west to the 
great lakes, assuming possession in their progress. It was not until 
1654 that they reached the region of Lake Superior. The real 
explorers of this part of the country were the fur traders. They 
advanced with their traffic as far west as Green Bay in 1659. 

In these expeditions, from the time the cross was erected by 
Cartier, these adventurous ex|)lorers were usually accompanied by 
zealous representatives of different orders in the Roman Catholic 
church, apparently to maintain religious advantages coequal with 
the civil and military authority claimed over the extended possessions. 


Father Joseph Marquette accompanied Louis Jolliet with tive 
French or Canadian voyageurs up the Fox river from lireen Bay. 
Crossing the portage to the Wisconsin river they descended it to its 
mouth and discovered the Mississippi river on June 17, 1673. 

To Father Marquett lias been given the honor of having been 
the first to discover the upper Mississippi. "The river had, however, 
been visited by Europeans prior to this date. In 1541 tlie lower 
Mississippi was crossed by Hernando de Soto, a Spanish adventurer, 
in his exploration of that part of the country. 

In 1679 Father Louis Hennepin accompanied Robert La Salle on 
his expedition along the shores of Lake Michigan to Illinois, where 
he spent the winter. In the following spring, 1680, he was intrusted 
by La Salle to make explorations. With two French voyageurs he 
went down the Illinois river to its mouth, and then ascended the 
Mississippi. On his voyage up this river he was made prisoner by 
a war party of Dakota Indians and taken into the Mille Lac region, 
on the headwaters of the Mississippi. He was here found by Du- 
Luth, who was exploring the country of the Dakotas by way of Lake 
Superior. Father Hennepin visited the Falls of St. Anthony, to 
which he gave its present name. He was the first to explore the 
Mississippi above the mouth of the Wisconsin, and the first white 
man that ever visited the vicinity of this county. ^ 

In 1682 La Salle descended the Illinois to' its pnction with the 
Mississippi, down which he continued until he entered the Gulf of 
Mexico. He took possession of the cotintry through which he 
passed in the name of France, and gave it the name of Louisiana. 

In the spi4ng of 1683 Capt. Nicholas Perrot, a Canadian, with 
twenty men, established a fort or trading-post in what is now the 
State of Minnesota, below and near the mouth of Lake Pepin. 
This was the first location occupied by a white man on the west 
side of the Mississippi. It was soon abandoned by Perrot to carry 
on his trafiic elsewhere. In 1688 he returned with forty men, and 
again took possession of his trading-post below Lake Pepin. 

In 1689 Capt. Nicholas Perrot, in the name of the king of 
France, by formal proclamation took possession of all of the country 
on the headwaters of the Mississippi. Not long afterward the 
whole countj'y from the Alleghanies to the Pacific ocean was claimed 
by the French and called the territory of Louisiana. 

This territory remained in possession of France until 1760, when 
the country west of the Mississippi was ceded to Spain, and in 1763 


all of tlio country east of the Mississippi claimed by the French was 
formallv ceded to Great Britain. 

In 1800 the country west of the Mississippi known as Louisiana 
was retroceded to France, and in 1803 the United States acquired 
possession of it by purchase from the French government. 

By act of congress in 1804 Louisiana was divided ; the southern 
part was called the territory of Orleans, the northern portion the 
district of Louisiana. 

In 1812 Orleans was admitted into the Union under the title of 
State of Louisiana, and the district of Louisiana given the name of 
Territory of Missouri. 

In 1821 the Territory of Missouri was divided ; from the southern 
portion the Territory of Arkansas was formed, and the State of Mis- 
souri created and admitted. 

The country north of the State of Missouri was left without ter- 
ritorial organization. In 1834 it was placed under the jurisdiction 
of the Territory of Michigan, and in 1837 under the judicial authority 
of the Territory of Wisconsin. 

In 1838 the Territory of Iowa was created. It embraced all of 
the country north of the State of Missouri between the Mississippi 
and Missouri i-ivers to the northern line. 

The State o|jIowa was constituted from the southern part of this 
tei-ritory and admitted in 1846. The northern portion was left with- 
out territorial organization until by act of congress, March 3, 1849, 
the Territory of Minnesota was created. 

Tlie largest ])ortion of this territory, that lying west of the Mis- 
sissippi, was the northeastern part of the "Louisiana Purchase." 
The portion lying on the east side of the river was a part of the 
territory of Wisconsin not included in the boundaries of the State of 
Wisconsin when admitted in 1848. 

The territory of Minnesota, when organized, was without divi- 
sions, except two or three counties on the east side of the Mississippi, 
which had been created while they were a part of the Territory of 

By proclamation Governor Ramsey divided the territory into 
three judicial districts. The country west of the Mississippi and 
south of the Minnesota formed the third judicial district, to which 
Judge Cooper was assigned. The first court was held at Mendota 
in August, 1849. 

Govenior Ramsey, by proclamation, made the first apportion- 


ment of council districts. The settlements on tlie west bank of the 
Mississippi, south of the Crow village to the Iowa line, were included 
with a part of St. Croix county on the east side of the river and con- 
stituted the first council district. The settlements on the west side 
of the river were of half-breed Sioux. 

The first territorial legislature held its session in St. Paul, the 
capital of the territory. It began on September 3 and adjourned on 
November 1, 1849. The members from the first council district 
were : James S. Norris, in the council ; Joseph W. Furber and 
James Wells, in the house. David Olmsted, of Long Prairie, was 
president of the council ; Joseph W. Furber, of Cottage Grove, 
speaker of the house. 

James Wells was the first representative to the territorial legis- 
lature from the country along the west side of the Mississippi. He 
was an Indian trader living on the shores of Lake Pepin, twelve 
miles below Red Wing. Among his friends and associates he was 
generally known as' "Bully Wells." He was elected by the half- 
breeds and a few traders and government employes at the election 
held on August 1. The total votes polled were thirty-three. At this 
election Hon. H. H. Sibley was elected delegate to congress without 

The first territorial legislature, at its session in ] 849 (October 27), 
ci-eated several counties, two of which, Dakota and Wabasha on the 
west side of the Mississippi, included all of the territory south of the 
Minnesota river— Wabasha in the eastern i)art and Dakota lying 
west along the Minnesota. 

In 1853 (March 5) the county of Wabasha was divided by act of 
the territorial legislature and a part of the southern portion desig- 
nated as Fillmore county. In 1854 (February 23) Fillmore county 
was divided, and from the portion along the river the counties of 
Houston and Winona were created — Houston next to the Iowa line 
and Winona between Houston and Wabasha counties. The bound- 
aries given Winona county in the act by which it was created have 
since been maintained unchanged. These outlines of liistory gene- 
alogize this county from the days of the advent of the first white man 
to the present time,. a period of little more than two hundred years. 

In this abstract of jurisdiction an omission has been made — the 
proprietary of this part of the country before it was so formally 
taken possession of by Captain Perrot. At the time France assumed 
control it was held by tribes of savage Indians. Of them, prior to 


that period, but little is known with any degree of certainty. Hav- 
ing no written records tlieir earliest traditions luive long been tor- 
gotten, their more modern history only known by its connections 
with that of their successors, the white race. 

Traditions, with mounds and relics antedating traditionary lore, 
afford speculative study for the antic^uary, and present corroborative 
evidence to the historian that in the unknown periods of the past 
this section of country was inhabited, and that its population was 
pt'ohahly of the Indian race. Their first occupancy is veiled in dark 
obscurity. Their rights of possession have, however, been continu- 
ously acknowledged and recognized from the time jurisdiction was 
claimed for France in 1689 until the treaty by which their lands west 
of the Mississippi, in what is now the State of Minnesota, were pur- 
cliased and ceded to the United States, when their title was formally 
transferred to their successors. 

The Dakota nation, which held this country, was probably (me 
of the largest wai-like nations of the aborigines of North America. 
When first visited by Europeans their territory extended from 
Lake Superior to the Rocky Mountains. This Indian nation was 
composed of numerous general divisions and subdivisions or bands, 
having a language common to all (only varied by dialects), with man- 
ners, customs, etc. , differing but little in different localities. Although 
united as a confederacy for common defense or warlike purposes, 
each division held a separate interest in the localities they occupied. 

The eastern division of the Dakota nation was the Mdaywakan- 
tonwan, or Spirit Lake villagers. It was this division that made 
prisoner of Father Hennepin in 1680. At that time they were in 
possession of the country on the east side of the Mississippi to Lake 
Superior. The country south of the lake was held by the Ojibways, 
who were the first to hold communication with the traders. They 
were the first supplied witli fire-arms, which gave them such an ad- 
vantage over the more warlike Sioux that they drove them back and 
took possession of their homes in the Mille Lac region. The Sioux 
were forced to the southward and westward, but successfiilly main- 
tained their lands on the- west side of the Mississippi, and a strip 
along the east side, from about a hundred and fifty miles above the 
Falls of St. Anthony to about one hundred and fifty miles below. 

There were seven bands in this division. The villages of three 
of them were on the Mississippi, below the falls ; the others were on 
the lower part of the Minnesota river. 



By treaty in 1805, througli Lieut. Pike, the first representative 
of our government that visited this part of the "Louisiana pur- 
chase," this division of Sioux made the first sale of any of their 
lands. For the establishment of military posts the United States 
purchased from them a section of country nine miles square, on each 
side of the Mississippi, which included the Falls of St. Anthony and 
the present site of Fort Snelling. A section of country nine miles 
square, at the mouth of the St. Croix, was also secured for the same 
purpose. It was not until several years after that this purchase was 
utilized by government. The corner-stone of Fort Snelling was laid 
on the 10th of September, 1820, but it was not occupied by soldiers 
until the following year. The site was first taken possession of by 
Col. Leavenworth with a company of soldiers in 1819. 

The transportation of troops, supplies, material, etc., for the 
fort was principally by keelboats, which at that time, and for some 
time afterward, were used in the navigation of the Upper Missis- 
sippi. The trip from St. Louis to this point was a long and tedious 
one. The first steamboat that ever came up the Mississippi to Fort 
Snelling at the mouth of tl^ Minnesota river was a stern-wheel boat 
called the Virginia, in 1823. 

By treaty in 1830 government secured from this part of the 
Sioux nation the section of country known as the "Half-breed Tract," 
for the benefit or exclusive use of their descendants of mixed blood. 
This tract of land was, on the west side of the Mississippi and Lake 
Pepin, fifteen miles wide, and extending down the river, from 
Barn Bluff, near Red Wing, thirty-two miles, to a point opposite 
Beef river, below the present village of Wabasha. 

In 1837 a deputation of chiefs of this division of Dakotas was 
induced to visit Washington, where they made a treaty, by which 
they "ceded to the United States all their lands east of the Missis- 
sippi river, and all of their islands in said river." This treaty was 
ratified by the senate on the 17th of July, 1838, when the Sioux re- 
moved all of their bands to the west side of the Mississippi. 


Until 1851 the Aldaywakaiitonwan Sioux were the only division 
of the Dakota nation with whom the United States had made formal 
treaty stipulations for the sale of any part of their lands. They 
were the only branch of the whole Sioux confederacy who received 
annuities from the government. Under the treaty of 1837 they re- 
ceived annually, for twenty years from the date of the treaty, $10,000 
in money, $10,000 in goods, $5,500 in provisions, and $8,250 "in 
the purchase of medicines, agricultural implements and stock and 
for the support of a physician, farmers and blacksmiths, and for 
other beneficial objects." In the first article of this treaty it was 
provided that a portion of the interest on the whole sum invested — 
$5,000 annually — was "to be applied in such manner as the presi- 
dent may direct." This occasioned some trouble, as it was proposed 
to expend this sum for the purposes of education, schools, etc., which 
the Indians strongly opposed. This fund was not used, but allowed 
to accumulate until the treaty of 1851 before settlement was effected 
and the amount paid over to them. 

At that time these seven bands comprised a population of about 
2,200 in number. The nominal head chief of the division was Wa- 
basha, who was also chief of a band. His village was at Wabasha 
Prairie, and had a population of about 300. The Red Wing band — 
chief, Wakoota — numbered about 300; the Kaposia band — chief, 
Little Crow — had about iOO; the Black Dog band — chief. Gray Iron — 
had 250 ; Cloud Man's band, at Lake Calhoun, 250 ; Good Road's 
band, about 300 ; Six's band — chief, Shakopee — about 450. The last 
four bands named were on lower part of the Minnesota river. 

By treaties made in 1851 the Sioux sold their lands in what is 
now the State of Minnesota. The Sisseton and Wahpaton divisions 
in the west, called the "upper bands," signed the treaty at Traverse 
des Sioux, July 23, 1851, and the "lower bands," the Wahpakoota 
and IMdaywakantonwan divisions, signed the treaty at Mendota, 
August 5, 1851. 

These treaties were amended by the senate at Washington the fol- 
lowing year. The amendment was ratified by the '"lower bands" 
at St. Paul, Se])tember 4, 1852. 'The treaties as amended were 
formally ratified by the president's proclamation, dated February 
24, 1853. 

By this sale the Dakotas relinquished possession of their lands 
in this vicinity — their title to it, held from time unknown, was 
extinguished for ever. Prior to this, occupancy of these l9,nds by 


the whites was considered trespass, except by special permit or 
license from government. 

After the treaty in 1851, and before its ratification, settlements 
were made or commenced by the whites, without action on the part 
of the government, and without much show of opposition from the 
Sioux. It was during this period that the first bona-fide settlements 
were made within the boundaries of what is now known as Winona 
county. Previous to this, however, Indian traders and government 
employes had located temporarily at difierent places along the 
Mississippi, some of whom remained and afterward became citizens 
of the county. 

The Mississippi river is the eastern boundary of this county, 
and from time immemorial has been what may be called the grand 
highway between the north and the south, and, through its tribu- 
taries, the means of communication between the east and the west. 
Over its waters the savages paddled their canoes, and the Canadian 
voyageurs propelled their batteaux. It was the course over which 
the early traders carried on their traffic. Their goods, brought 
from the east by way of the great lakes, and down the Wisconsin 
river, were transported up the Mississip])i to their trading stations 
in the north. The furs for which they were exchanged were returned 
over the same route. With the increase of this commercial business 
Prairie du Chien became the emporium of the fur-traders, and held 
its importance for nearly a century. 

During this period French names were given by the traders and 
voyageurs to persons, places and things which were in common 
use, the names designative of localities which served as land- 
marks in their adventurous expeditions being the most important. 

There are not more than one or two localities in this county that 
can now be identified by the names thus given, and in no instance 
has the name been preserved. 

The most familiar, if not the onl}^ locality, is that of the prairie 
on which the city of Winona is now situated. This was designated 
as the ''Prairie aux Aile," the literal translation of which is the 
"Wing Prairie." Its signification is unknown except as a matter 
of opinion. 

This prairie and vicinity was the home of one of the most influ- 
ential of the Dakota chiefs. It was the grand gathering-place of 
his once numerous warriors. The Dakota name of this chief was 
Wa-pa-ha-sa. It was hereditary. Besides being chief of his own 


band, he was the head chief of the bands along the Mississippi. 
These official positions were also hereditary. The early voyageurs 
gave him the name of AVa-pa-sa. The more modern traders and 
river men called him Wa-ba-shaw, and gave the same name to the 
prairie on which his village was located. It was known as Waba- 
shaw prairie until the name was superseded by Winona, its present 
one. Win(ma ( Wee-no-nah) is a Dakota name, signifying a daughter, 
the lirst-born child. It is a name usually given to the iirst-born 
child, if a daughter, and never conferred upon a locality by the Sioux. 
The name was selected by the early settlers on Wabasha prairie as 
the name of the post-office established there, and was afterward 
adopted by the town proprietors for the village. When the county 
was created the same name was conferred upon it. 

The following story in JSTeiPs History of Minnesota gives another 
name to Wabasha prairie. The story is apparently founded on the 
Dakota legend of Maiden's rock, on the eastern shore of Lake Pepin. 
This is the only instance known where the name of "Keoxa" has 
ever been given to Wabasha's village on this prairie. It is indeed 
a query whether it is a Dakota name. 

"In the davs of the great chief Wa])ashaw there lived at the vil- 
lage of Keoxa, which stood at the site of the town which now bears 
her name, a maiden with a loving soul. She was the first-born 
daughter, and, as is always the case in a Dahkotah family, she bore 
the name of Weenonah. A young hunter of the same band was 
never happier than when he played the flute in her hearing. Having 
thus signified his aifection, it was with the whole heart reciprocated. 
The youth begged from his friends all that he could, and went to 
her parents, as is the custom, to purchase her for his wife, but his 
proposals were rejected. 

"A warrior who had often been on the war-path, whose head- 
dress plainly told the number of scalps he had wrenched from 
Ojibway heads, had also been to the parents, and they thought that 
she would be more honored as an ijmiate of his teepee. 

'■'■ Weenonah, however, could not forget her first love, and though 
he had been forced away, his absence strengthened her affections. 
Neither the attentions of the warrior, nor the threats of parents, nor 
the persuasions of friends could make her consent to marry simply 
for position. 

"One da}' the band came to Lake Pepin to fish or hunt. The 
dark green foliage, the velvet sward, the beautiful expanse of 


water, the shady nooks, made it a place to utter the breathings of 
love. The warrior sought her once more and begged her to accede 
to her parents' wish and become his wife, but she refused with 

"While the party was feasting Weenonah clambered to the lofty 
bluff, and then told to those who were below how crushed she had 
been by the absence of the young hunter and the cruelty of her 
friends. Then cliaunting a wild death-song, before the fleetest runner 
could reach the height she dashed herself down, and that form of 
beauty was in a moment a mass of broken limbs and bruised flesh. 

"The Dahkotah as he passes the rock feels that the spot is 

The name of Wabasha rightfully belonged to this locality. Its 
alienation was not from premeditated design. Before Wabasha 
prairie was settled, or even a white settler had located in what is 
now Winona county, the settlement on the "half-breed tract" was 
called Wabasha. The first postoffice along the river was established 
there and given the name of Wabasha postofhce, although it was for 
a while at Heed's Landing. It having been thus appropriated, but 
little effort was ever made to reclaim it. But few of the settlers 
cared about preserving or adopting it in a second-hand condition. 

When keelboats and steamboats took the place of the canoes and 
batteaux in the navigation of the river, the names conferred on 
localities by the Dakotas and French were quite generally dropped, 
and less expressive ones usually substituted. Where Dakota or 
French names have been retained in this state, they have in very 
many instances been so modified by "Yankee improvements" that 
it is diflacult to trace their derivation. 

In this county no distinctive name of locality or landmark given 
by the French has been retained. Neither is there a single 
instance where the name given by the Dakotas to mountain or 
stream, hill, valley or prairie, has been preserved and is now in use 
by the whites. Nothing designated by the Sioux, the immediate 
predecessors of the present generation, is now known by its Dakota 

It is not so much a matter of surprise that Indian names have 
not been retained, or that they are now unknown to the present 
inhabitants of the county, if the abruptness of the change of occu- 
pants is taken into consideration. When the Sioux relinquished 
possession of their lands here they at once left this vicinity. Tito 



white settlers found the country without a population. The two 
races were strangers — unknown to each other; no association or 
intercourse ever existed between them. 

There are two or three instances where the Eni^-li^h interpretation 
has been substituted for the original Dakota. White Water is the 
name of a river which runs through" the northern part of the county. 
It is the translation ot the Dakota '' Minne-ska," signifying "AVhite 
Water." The village at the mouth of that stream in Wabasha county 
is called Minnoiska. The name of Rolling Stone is another instance. 
Tills is an interpretation of the name given by the Dakotas to the 
Rolling Stone Creek, ''Eyan-omen-man-met-pah," the literal trans- 
lation of which is "the stream where the stone rolls." Its true 
signification is not known. It was called by the French traders of 
more modern times "Roche que le Boule." These names were 
obtained from O. M. Loi-d, who acquired them from Gen. Sibley. 

Wabasha and the most of his people left their homes on the 
Mississippi in 1S52. Nothing marks the localities in this county as 
evidence of where, for so many generations, their race once lived. 
Even the old and deeply worn trails, over which they filed away 
toward the setting sun, are now, like the wakes of their canoes, 
obliterated and unknown. Some "old settlers" may perhaps from 
memory be able to point out the general course of these trails, over 
which they explored the country in their "claim hunting" excur- 
sions, and on which they were accustomed to traverse the country 
until the plow and fences of imj^rovements debarred further use of 

The Sioux were, by the conditions ot the treaty, transferred to a 
reservation on the head-waters of the Minnesota river. Here they 
were taught and encouraged to adopt a new system of life and be- 
come an agricultural ])eople. It was supposed that some progress 
was made toward civilization, but, as in many similar philanthropic 
efforts, the ultimate results proved a failure. The Sioux massacre 
of 1862 originated with the bands of Wabasha's division, which had 
given the most encouraging prospects of their becoming "good 
Indians. " The first outrages were perpetrated by some of Shakapee's 
band. A war party was at once organized with the bantls of Gray 
Iron, Little ('row and detachments from other divisions. The band 
of Wabasha and the R,in] Wing band were compelled to participate 
in the proceedings, and the whole Dakota nation was soon involved 
in the affair. 


This chapter would perhaps be considered incomplete without 
mention of one of the chiefs of Wabasha's band who was more gen- 
erally known to the earlj settlers of Winona county than any other 
of the Indians who originally claimed this part of the country. The 
most of the " old settlers " probably remember " Old To-ma-ha," the 
old one-eyed Sioux, who kept up his rounds of visitations to the 
settlements until about the time of his death, which occurred in 1 860 
at about one hundred years of age. When on his customary visits 
among the whites he was usually accompanied by a party of his own 
descendants and family relatives — from ten to twenty in number. His 
figure was erect and movements active, notwithstanding his advanced 
age. His dress on these occasions was a much worn military coat and 
pantaloons of blue cloth trimmed with red, and an old stove-pipe hat 
with the same color displayed. Pie always carried with him a large 
package of papers inclosed in a leather or skin pocket-book, and also 
a lai'ge silver medal, which he wore suspended from his neck in a 
conspicuous place on his breast. His large red pipe-stone hatchet 
pipe, with a long handle, was generally in his hands. It was his 
usual custom to attract attention by his presence and then allow the 
curious to examine his pipe and medal, when, if there appeared to be 
a prospect of getting money for the exhibition, he would produce his 
pocket-book and allow an examination of its contents, for which 
privilege he expected, and usually received, at least a dime, and 
perhaps from the more liberal a quarter of a dollar. This Indian 
was a historical character. His pocket-book contained his commis- 
sion as a chief of the Sioux nation, given him by Governor Clark, of 
Missouri territorj^ in 1814, who at the same time presented him 
with a captain's uniform and a medal for meritorious services ren- 
dered the government as a scout and messenger. His papers con- 
tained testimonials and recommendations from prominent govern- 
ment officials and other persons. Mention is made of him in the 
reports of officials who had jurisdiction in the northwest territories, 
one by Lieut. Pike, who was sent by the goveynment of the 
United States in 1805 to explore the northern part of the " Louis- 
iana purchase," then recently acquired, and to make treaties with 
the Dakotas. In 1812, when the Sioux joined the English in the 
war with the United States, Tomaha went to St. Louis and gave his 
services to light against the British forces. He had the confidence 
of the military officers, and in all of the frontier difficulties on the 
upper Mississippi, where fighting was done, he was employed as 


scout and messenger. When his services were no longer required 
by government he returned to his Dakota liome. 

When the Sioux left this vicinity and w^ent to their reservation 
on the Minnesota river, Tomaha remained to die in the locality 
where he was born and where he spent his youth. He sometimes 
visited his friends on the reservation, but never made it his home. 



The first white men to establish themselves among these Indians 
were- the fur traders and voyageurs — the early pioneers of com- 
merce. Of the hardy adventurers who in generations past engaged 
in commercial pursuits in this vicinity nothing is now known. 

The earliest of these traffickers, who had a fixed place of busi- 
ness in this county, of which there is even a traditional record, was 
Francois La Bathe. His business location was in the northern part 
of the county, oi] the Mississip])i. The date of his establishment 
of a trading station in this vicinity is not now definitely known. He 
had trading posts in other localities along the river at the same time — 
one at Bad Axe, below La Crosse. His more permanent stations 
were usually under the charge of partners and assistants or clerks. 
Mr. O. M. Lord informed the wi-iter that Hon. N. W. Kittson, of 
St. Paul, was in the employ of La Bathe & Co. for a year or two, 
in 1840, or about that time, and had charge of a trading station 
above the Rolling Stone. The location of the station was described 
by Mr. Kittson as being above Minnesota City, at the foot of the 
bluff, where the slough leaves the mainland (Haddock's slough). 
The land in this vicinity is now owned by D. L. Burley, who has 
occupied it about thirty years. Mr. Burley says he has never seen 
any indications that would lead him to think the locality had ever 
been occupied for any purpose prior to his taking possession of it. 
Others say La Bathe's trading post was above that place. Near 
where the river leaves the mainland, about four miles below the 
mouth of the White Water, there is a hluft and a location that re- 
semble the descri])tion given to Mr. Lord. At that place the early 


settlers of 1852 found the ruins of a large cabin. The writer saw 
it frequently in 1854. There was a huge stone fireplace and chim- 
ney then standing entire, in a tolerable state of preservation, but 
the logs were a mass of ruins, and bushes were growing up among 
the logs where the house once stood. 

It is said that La Bathe spent the most of his life with the Da- 
kotah Indians ; that though of French descent he was in some way 
related to them either by birth or marriage, or perhaps both. His 
influence with the Indians was an advantage to him in his commer- 
cial transactions. He was intimately connected in business affairs 
with prominent traders. His history is unknown in this vicinity. 
La Bathe went with the Sioux to their reservation on the head-waters 
of the Minnesota river, where he was killed by the savages with 
whom he had spent his life. He was among the first victims at the 
outbreak of the Sioux massacre in 1862. 

Although there were quite a number of traders who lived on the 
Wisconsin side of the river, at La Crosse and at what is now Trem- 
pealeau and Fountain City, who traded with the Sioux on the west 
side of the river, there are but two or three others of this class to 
mention who were established in business and had a residence In 
Winona county. First among these were Willard B. Bunnell and 
Nathan Brown, both of whom came into the Territory of Minnesota 
after it was organized. 

"Bill" Bunnell had been for five or six years prior to his coming 
here living on the east side of the Mississippi, at La Crosse and at 
what is now Trempealeau village, but the most of the time in what 
was called the Trempealeau country, hunting, trapping and trading 
with the Indians. His Indian trade was principally with the Win- 
nebagoes who were living in that vicinity and in the Black Eiver 
country. He had, before coming to the Mississippi river, been a 
trader in the vicinity of Green Bay, with the Menomines and Chip- 
pewas. From his fluency in speaking the language of the Chippe- 
was the Sioux for some time after his arrival in this vicinity were 
jealous and suspicious of him as a friend of their hereditary enemies. 
He was unable to secure their confidence until he had learned their 
language and proved himself to be a "professional" hunter and 
their friend. He joined them in their hunting excursions, and for 
the time adopted their style of "undress," — a breech-clout, buckskin 
leggings and moccasins. In this rig, with his rifle or fowling-piece 
and blanket, he spent weeks with them on Root river and its tribu- 


taries. He was the lirst white resident of this locality to explore 
the country back of the bluffs. 

Willard Bradly Bunnell located as a licensed trader with the 
Sioux of Wabasha's band, August 20, 1849. His house was on the 
bank of the river, in what is now the village of Homer. It was 
built of hewed logs, and had a shingled roof — the first shingled 
roof ever put on any structure in this part of Minnesota. This was 
the first permanent improvement made in the settlement of the 
county. To this place Bunnell brought his family. It was the 
home of an estimable wife and their three children. It was here 
that the first white child was born. Frances Matilda Bunnell was 
born February 20, 1850. She was the first white native resident of 
this part of the territory. 

Mrs. Bunnell was the first white woman that came into this part 
of the Territory of Minnesota to live — the first to make her home 
within the boundaries of Winona county. She was a model re])re- 
sentative of a frontier woman. Although remarkably domestic in 
her habits, and observant of matters connected with her household 
duties, which make home desirable, she was able to paddle her own 
canoe, and was a sure shot with either the rifle or fowling-piece. 
While in general appearance and manners ladylike and modestly 
feminine, she had remarkable courage and self-possession, and was 
decisive to act in cases of emergency, when danger threatened her- 
self or family — qualifications that were respected by her dusky 
neighbors, the friends of the trader. Possessing good mental abili- 
ties, her experience in frontier life and intuitive knowledge of 
Indian character gave her an influence over the wild customers who 
visited their trading-])ost, that was as much a matter of surprise to 
herself as to others. The Indians i-espected and feared her although 
cmly a "woman." 

Mrs. Bunnell was of French descent. Besides speaking French, 
she was able to converse fluently with the Chippewas, Winnebagoes 
and Sioux, and had some knowledge of other dialects. She was 
brought up in the Catholic faith, but in the latter part of her life 
she professed the Protestant religion, and became a member of the 
Methodist church. Mrs. Bunnell died in April, 1867, at about the 
age of forty-five. Some of her children are yet residents of this state. 

The house, a story and a-half building, built by "Will" Bun- 
nell in 1849, is still standing in the upper part of the village of 
Homer, at what was once called BunnelFs Landing. The building 


and grounds are now the property of Dr. L. H. Bunnell, a younger 
brother of the trader. The house has been moved a little back 
from where it was originally built, and, to keep pace with the times, 
this relic of the first settlers' early home has been somewhat modern- 
ized by a covering of clapboards and painted. It is still a com- 
fortable dwelling, and is occupied by Dr. Bunnell as his residence 
and permanent home. 

Willard B. Bunnell took an active interest in the early settle- 
ment of this county, and was connected with many of the incidents 
of pioneer life which will be noticed in the progress of events. He 
died in August, 1861, at about the age of forty-seven. His death 
was caused by consumption. 

IS'athan Brown came into the territory as a trader September 29, 
1849. His location was on the river below Bunnell's, in what is 
now the southern part of the county. Mr. Brown was then a young 
man without a family. His cabin in which he made his home was 
a one-story log building, 12x16. His storehouse, 12x16, was a 
story and a-half, of hewed logs. These buildings were covered with 
shingled roofs and substantially made. 

Although Mr. Brown was a trader with tiie Indians, he did not 
hold his position through a license from government. He made a 
sort of miniature treaty with Wabasha and his braves, and pur- 
chased from them the privilege of occupying as much of the locality 
as he chose to carry on his business. For this permit he paid them 
$50 — making payment in flour and pork from his store. Mr. Brown 
states that "during the early days of his residence there, while 
engaged in trade with the Winnebagoes and Sioux, he never locked 
his cabin door, not even when absent from home, and never lost 
anything by theft, through either Indians or white people." 

Mr. Brown and Mr. Bunnell, as the last of the Indian traders, 
appear to constitute a connecting link between the past and present 
condition of this part of the country. Both settled here while the 
land was held by the Sioux. Both were residents of Winona county 
after its organization. 

Following in the order of pioneer life, the missionaries have been 
among the first to venture into countries inhabited by the savages, 
and the first to attempt to improve their condition. Their zealous 
efforts entitle them to be called the pioneers of civilization. Fore- 
most among these have been the missionaries connected with the 
Catholic church. 


In the earliest explorations of this part of the country, the 
traders were ai;coinpanied by the priests. The early French traders 
and voyageurs were of that religious belief, and their descendants, 
for all of them intermarried with the Indians, were taught the same 
faith. These missionaries were the first to visit the Dakotas — the 
first to visit the west side of the Mississippi river. 

From the days of the Rev. Louis Hennepin to more modern 
times they held a strong influence over the traders and voyageurs, 
and their descendants, and perhaps, to a limited extent, succeeded 
in influencing the savage natives by their teachings. 

The flrst Catholic missionaries of more modern times, of whom 
there is even traditionary knowledge in tliis section of country, were 
at the half-breed village where now stands the city of Wabasha, 
There the first church in southern Minnesota was built in 1845. 
With the exception of the very Rev. A. Ravoux, the names of these 
missionaries are unknown. 

The first attempt to establish a Protestant missionary station in 
this vicinity, of which there is any record, was in 1836. Rev. 
Daniel Gavan, a Frenchman, sent out as a missionary by the Evan- 
gelical Society of Lausanne, Switzerland, established a mission for 
the benefit of the Sioux of Wabasha's band. At that time the 
Sioux held possession of the east side of the river. Mr. Gavan 
located on the Wisconsin side, and built his cabin near Trempealeau 
mountain. He remained here until the fall of 1838, when he 
visited the missions on the Minnesota river, at Lac qui Parle, for 
the purpose of learning the Sioux language from the missionaries, 
who were then translating the Scriptures into that tongue. 
While thus engaged he became acquainted with and afterward 
married Miss Lucy C. Stevens, who had been a teacher in a mis- 
sion school at Lake Harriet, near Fort Snelling. Miss Stevens 
was a niece of Rev. J. D. Stevens, a missionary. Mr. Gavan, 
after his marriage, removed to Red Wing, where he remained 
until 1845. 

In 1838 the Rev. Jedediah D. Stevens came into this vicinity in 
the double capacity of mivssionary or teacher, and "Indian Farmer." 
Mr. Stevens was one of the earliest Protestant missionaries to visit 
the Dakotas on this side of the river. In the spring of 1835 he 
with his family came to Ft. Snelling, and shortly afterward removed 
from there to Lake Harriet, as missionary to "Cloud Man's" band 
of Sioux, where he reniained until the fall of 1838, when he was 


appointed "Indian Farmer" to the Sioux of Wabasha's band, at 
Wabasha j^rairie. Maj. Talliaferro, the Indian agent for the Sioux, 
aided some of the early missionaries by such appointments, with 
the design to benefit the savages by thus providing them with 
means of civilization. 

Late in the fall of 1838 Mr. Stevens moved his family to his 
appointed field of labor, but was not favorabl}^ received by the 
Indians. He, however, located himself on the Wisconsin side of the 
river on the island, about opposite where Laird, Norton & Go's 
saw-mills now stand, where* he built a comfortable log cabin for his 
family, and a stable for the team of horses he brought with him. 
He there passed the winter with his wife and children and a young 
girl, an assistant and companion of Mrs. Stevens. Mr. G. W. 
Clark says the ruins of this cabin were to be seen when he came 
here in 1851. Expecting to get his winter supply of provisions from 
down the river before the close of navigation, he brought only a 
small supply with him, and was seriously disappointed to learn that 
no supplies could be procured from that source. He was compelled 
to go to Prairie Du Chine for the provisions he had ordered. This 
trip, over one hundred miles distant, he made with his team on the 
ice, leaving his family alone. It was during this winter that Mr. 
Gavin, who had been living near Trempaeleau, was visiting the 
missions on the Minnesota river. 

Neither Mr. Stevens nor his family were in any way molested 
or disturbed by the Sioux during the winter, but he failed to secure 
the confidence or friendship of Wabasha or his people, although he 
was able to converse with them in their own tongue. They were 
dissatisfied with his appointment as "Indian Farmer," and from 
the time of his arrival had refused to recognize him as a govern- 
ment agent, or in his capacity as a teacher. In the spring, when he 
began to make preparations to build on the prairie, their dissatis- 
faction began to assume a threatening form of opposition. His 
perseverance excited their hostilities to the extent that he was 
ordered to keep 6n the east side of the river, where he was then 
living, and not attempt to locate on their lands. Deeming it unsafe 
to remain with his family, against the opposition exhibited, Mr. 
Stevens resigned his position and left the locality. He went down 
the river and found more civilized society. 

The young girl (now Mrs. Griggs) who lived with Mrs. Stevens 
on the island during that winter, resides near Minneapolis. 


Tliis appointment of Mr. Stevens to the position of Indian 
farmer at Wabasha Prairie was tlie lirst special appointment made 
for the Sioux in tliis locality. It was made in accordance with the 
terms of the treaty in 18:^7, by which they sold their lands on the 
east side of the Mississippi, with all of their island in the river. 
This treaty was not ratified by government until the following year, 
1838, only a short time before Mr. Stevens was assigned to the 

Although the Sioux continued to occupy the islands and lands 
on the east side of the river in comradh with others, during their 
stay in this vicinity, they never assumed jurisdiction over them. 

The Sioux were jealous of the rapid advances of the white people, 
and firmly opposed any measures which gave them privileges on 
their lands. The trader was to them a necessity. The Cathc^lic 
missionaries had for generations been mysteriously associated with 
the presence of the trader and tolerated. But the missionary Indian 
farmer they were not prepared to receive — they were indifferent as 
to what Mr. Stevens knew about farming or schools. It was sup- 
posed by some that the Indians were influenced in this matter by 
the traders and half-breeds, with a design to drive Mr. Stevens of! 
and make a vacancy in the position. This may have been the case ; 
but it was evident that Wabasha did not favor measures that 
tended to civilization. Afterward, when the treaty was made for 
the sale of their lands, in 18.51, he opposed the sale until tlie 
treaty was ready for signature, and then acquiesced only because he 
feared the treaty would be made without his touch of the pen. He 
was opposed to the terms of the treaty, and in a speech in opposi- 
tion to it, he said to the commissioners in council: "You have 
requested us to sign this paper, and you have told these people 
standing around that it is for their benefit ; but I am of a different 
0])inion. In the treaty I have heard read you have mentioned 
farmers and schools, i)hysicians, traders and half-breeds. To all 
these I am p]>posed. You see these cliiefs sitting around. They 
and others who are dead went to Washington and made a treaty 
(in 1837), in which the same things were said : but we have not 
been benefited by them, and I want them struck out of this one. 
We want nothing but cash turned over to us for our lands.'' 

At about the time that Mr. Stevens was appointed Indian farmer, 
a government blacksmith was also assigned to this band. His 
name, the place where located, or the length of time he was here, 


is somewhat uncertain. It is said by some that he was located near 
La Bathe's trading station. Of this nothing reliable is learned. 
About the same time a blacksmith was assigned to the half-breeds. 
Oliver Cratt, from Fort Snelling, was appointed to that position, 
and he located himself at the half-breed settlement, now Wabasha. 
Whether he also supplied Wabasha's band is not known. 

Dr. Bunnell, of this county, says that he learned from some 
old Indians, Sioux and Winnebagoes, and from descendants of half- 
breed natives of this vicinity, that the first blacksmith appointed to 
Wabasha's band was a half-breed Sioux. That he located himself 
on the very site where W. B. Bunnell afterward settled, and which 
is now the property of Dr. Bunnell. He says that in cultivating 
his garden, in that locality, he has found cinders and scraps of iron 
that would confirm the statement. The tradition of the Indians 
is that the half-breed blacksmith did not stay but a short time on the 
west side of the river. To avoid threatened danger to himself he 
moved his blacksmith-shop onto an island opposite Homer. In this 
way he held for awhile his position of an employe under govern- 

The doctor also states that after W. B. Bunnell was located at 
his trading station, he found on the island an old anvil and evidence 
that a blacksmith had occupied the locality. The island was given 
the name of "Blacksmith Island" by the trader, and it is yet 
known by that name. 

The Sioux of the "lower bands" along the river were all opposed 
to the payment of teachers or for the establishment of schools, etc., 
from their annuities. No schools were ever established with Wa- 
basha's band. It was not until several years after the treaty of 1837 
that the consent of any of this division was obtained. Little Crow, 
of the Kaposia band, was the first to ask for a school, in 1846. The 
mission schools were previous to this, and until after the treaty of 
1851, supported at the expense of missionary societies. 

In 1842 James Reed was appointed Indian farmer to Waba- 
sha's band, and held this position under government for three years 
afterward. He built a log storehouse on Wabasha prairie, which 
he used as his headquarters when engaged in his official duties. 
This building stood about where S. C. White's store now stands, on 
the corner of Second and Center streets, in the city of Winona. 

The lands cultivated by the Sioux, under the management and 
instruction of Mr. Reed, were in the mouth of what is now called 


Gil more valley, the bottom lands in front of the residence of C. 0. 
Beck. Prior to this the same locality had been used by generations 
of Sioux s(|uaw8 for cultivation after their primitive manner. This 
was the favorite planting-grounds of Wabasha's village, although 
other localities were also used for purposes of cultivation. The 
mouth of Burns valley was another favorite locality and the special 
home of the chief Wabasha and his family relatives. The main 
village f)f this band was on the slough at the upjjer end of the prairie, 
near where the railroad machine-shops are now located. 

James Eeed was a native of Kentucky. When a young man he 
enlisted as a soldier and was stationed at Fort Crawford, Prairie du 
Chine. After his discharge he adopted' the life of a hunter and 
trapper, and sjjent the greater part of his life among the Indians 
along the upper Mississippi. As was common among men of his 
class, he took a wife or two among the people with whom he was 
living. His last wife, to whom he was married in 1840, or about 
that time, in Prairie du Chine, was a half-breed Sioux, a cousin of 
the chief Wabasha, and said to be a sister of Francois la Bathe, the 
trader of whom mention has been made. 

The section of country fixed upon by James Reed as his favorite 
locality was the Trem])ealeau country, where he was successful in 
raising stock on the free ranges of governinent lands. He made it 
his home at what is now the village of Trempealeau. It was here 
he was living when he was appointed Indian farmer for the 
benefit of the Sioux on Wabasha prairie. He did not change his 
residence while holding this othcial position. 

Mr. Eeed lived in the Trempealeau country until his death, 
which occurred but a few years ago at what is called the '' Little 
Tamerack," in the Trempealeau valley. 

How much the Indians were benefited by the instructions of an 
inexperienced agriculturist it is now difiicult to determine. The 
first settlers on Wabasha prairie found some parts of broken plows 
among the ruins of the old storehouse used by Mr. Reed. An old 
breaking ]ilow was found and taken possession of by some of the 
settlers at Minnesota city. This was claimed and carried away by 
some of the squaws in 1852. 

It is questionable whether the people of this band were benefited 
by agents of g(n'ernment or missionaries while they remained in 
this section of countrv. 


instance where a missionary was ever permitted by Wabasha to 
locate within what are now the boundaries of this county. 

The Catholic missionaries were the religious instructors of the 
half-breeds. To what extent they had influence with this band is 
now unknown. From several graves disclosed by the caving of the 
bank of the river, in the lower part of the city of Winona, a number 
of large silver crosses and other Catholic emblems were taken by 
some boys fishing in the vicinity. One of these crosses was pur- 
chased by W. H. St. John, a jeweler in Winona, who exhibits it in 
his store as a relic of the past. The graves were evidently those of 

In the summer of 1848, the Winnebago Indians were removed 
from the reservation in the northeastern part of Iowa, which they 
had occupied for a limited time, to a reservation established for 
them by government on Long Prairie, on the east side of the Mis- 
sissippi, about forty miles back from the river, and about one hun- 
dred and forty miles above St. Paul. 

They were opposed to the arrangements, and objected to their 
removal to the locality selected for their future home. Military aid 
was required to induce them to move. After considerable delay a 
part of them were persuaded, to start up the Mississippi in their 
canoes, under charge of H. M. Kice, accompanied by a company 
of volunteers from Crawford county. Wis., in boats. The other 
portion was induced to start by land, with their ponies, under the 
care of Indian agent Fletcher, with a company of dragoons from 
Fort Atkinson, and a train of baggage wagons. By agreement these 
two parties were to meet at Wabasha Prairie. 

The party by water reached the prairie and landed near where 
Mrs. Keyes now lives, where they camped. The land party came 
into this part of the country by following up what is now called 
Money Creek valley, and arrived at the prairie by following the 
Indian trail on the divide between the Burns and Gilmore valleys. 
This trail led down a steep ravine back of where George W. Clark now 
lives. It was here necessary to let the baggage wagons down with 
ropes attached to the trees on the east side of the ravine. This trail 
over the ridge was afterward known to the early settlei-s as the 
' ' Government Trail. " 

When the Winnebagos reached Wabasha Prairie they revolted, 
and decidedly refused to go farther. With the exception of one 
small band, who remained on the bank of the river, they all went 


round tlie lake to the mouth of Burns valley, whei-e they camped 
with Wabasha's band, which had collected there, and with whom they 
were on friendly terms. 

Finding it necessary to have more aid, reinforcements were sent 
for. While the government officials were waiting for help from 
Fort Snelling, the Winnebagos negotiated with Wabasha for the pur- 
chase of the prairie, and expressed a determination to remain here. 
Wabasha and his braves joined in with them — took an active inter- 
est in their proceedings, and encouraged them in their revolt 
against the authority of Indian agent J. E. Fletcher and his 

A steamboat brought down from the fort a comjmny oi soldiers 
and two pieces of artillery, which were landed at the camp on the 
lower part of the prairie. 

A council with the Indians was agreed upon, the day appointed, 
and the place selected. The location was above the camp and back 
from the river. To guard against a surprise the officers in charge 
made tlieii- strongest preparation tor defense, in case an attack 
should be made. The teamsters and every available man of the 
party was armed and detailed for active duty. On the day fixed all 
of tlie warriors of the combined tribes of Winnebagos and Sioux, 
many of them mounted on their ])onies, marched around the head 
of the lake from Burns valley and moved down the prairie. When 
about half a mile from the council grounds, where the Indian agent 
awaited them surrounded by his forces, a detachment rode forward 
as if to reconnoiter. The whole body of Indians then moved down 
as if at a charge, and began the wildest display of their capacity to 
represent demons, on foot and on horseback. Their manceuvers 
might indicate a ])eaceful display or represent a threatened assault. 
It was supposed at the time that an attack was designed by the 
wild devils. 

One of the land escort, McKinney, pointed out the locations and 
described the incidents to the writer, and said that he certainly 
expected to lose his scal]:» that day. As he watched their wild evo- 
lutions, circling on every side, charging with fierce yells and firing 
of guns, his scalp seemed to fairly start from his head. His fear 
of attack was, however, second to his astonishment and admiration 
of the extraordinary and unexpected display. 

The council was held without any attending difficulty, but the 
agents failed to secure the consent of the Indians to move on up the 


river. After a delay here vf about a month the Winnebagoes con- 
sented to go to Long Prairie. Many of them, however, went back 
to Iowa, or crossed the river to their old homes in Wisconsin. 

Wabasha was arrested and taken up to FortSnelling for the part 
he had taken in the affair. The sale of Wabasha Prairie to the 
Winnebagos was never consumnated, or agreed to by the Sioux. 
The negotiations for it were simply "talks" to delay any move- 
ments. The Winnebagos were then desirous of going to the Mis- 
souri river country, instead of up the Mississippi. 



Following the trader, the missionary and the government em- 
ploj'e, the town-site hunters, the pioneer land speculators, crowded 
the advance of civilization. In this county the town-site speculators 
were in the van of settlers seeking permanent homes. In the selec- 
tion- of town sites the traders had some advantage in securing the 
first choice of locations ; but their selections did not always prove 
to be the most successful speculations. The professional town-site 
operators were generally more than their equals in management 
after selections were made and the tide of immigration began its 

It may perhaps be truly said that the first town-site claimants — 
the first to secure locations for town sites in what is now Winona 
county — were the traders W. B. Bunnell and jSTathan Brown. Bun- 
nell's selection for his trading station was made more directly with 
a view of convenience for the special business in which he was en- 
gaged, but with the design of making it his future home. The 
Territory of Minnesota had just been organized, and he was aware 
that the time was not far distant when the Sioux would be compelled 
to move back and give way to the advance of the white race and 

His selection was made in anticipation that when this part of the 
country should become settled it would be an important business • 
point. Bunnell was familiar with the back country and with the 


river, and took possession of his chosen locality with tlie impression 
and an honest belief that he was securing the best steamboat landing 
and town site on the west side of the river, between Lake Pepin 
and the Iowa line, and there waited the progress of events. 

Nathan Brown's trading-post was a to.wn site. B. W. Brisbois, 
a trader residing at Prairie du Chine, and F. S. Richards, a ti-ader 
at the foot of Lake Pepin, made choice of this locality with the same 
ideas of the future development of the country that had influenced 
Bunnell. They selected Mr. Brown as a proper person, one in 
whom they had confldence and considered trusty, to join with them 
in this speculation, and hold the location by establishing a trading 
station. The location was not the choice of Mr. Brown. At the 
time this proposition was made to liim he was at St. Anthony, where 
he had about decided to locate himself. He consented to become a 
partner, but not with the design of making it his future home. By 
agreement they were to take his share off from his hands whenever 
he should choose to leave, and to pay him for holding the situation. 
This they failed to do jvhen required, and Nathan Brown became a 
permanent resident of that locality. Brisbois and Richards furnished 
Brown with goods for the Indian trade, and he here carried on quite 
a flourishing business, principally with the Winnebagoes, who lived 
across the river in the Trempealeau country. His trade with the 
Sioux was more limited. He also engaged in furnishing wood for 
steamboats, employing choppers during the winter for that purpose, 
paying them principally from his store. 

Another town site was selected by Chute and Ewing about three 
fourths of a mile below Brown's, in which Capt. D. S. Harris had 
an interest for awhile. This was also a trading station. A Canadian 
Frenchman held the locality for about a year, when he left, and 
Jerry Tibbits took his place. Mr. Tibbits is still a resident of that 
vicinity, living in the town of New Hartford. This town site was, 
after two or three years, attached to the one held by Mr. Brown and 
its name of Catlin drojiped. 

This trading station Nathan Brown held for the company from 
1849 to 1855, when it was duly entered at the United States land 
office as a town site under the name of Dacota. 

As a speculation it did not prove to be a successful undertaking 
or a profitable investment for its proprietors. A few settlers made 
it their home for awhile, but were compelled to. leave and earn a 
living elsewhere. Mr. Brown says he could not afford to support 


tlie settlers who located there, and bought out all who had an interest 
in the town and converted the tillable land into a farm. 

It failed as a steamboat landing, but the railroad station, Dacota, 
on the river road, marks the location of the ancient town site and 
trading station of Brisbois, Richards and Brown, Indian traders and 
town-lot speculators. 

Nathan Brown yet lives on the same claim, and near the site of 
the cabins he built there in 1849. He has a large farm in that 
vicinity, and is now the oldest resident in the county or in southern 
Minnesota, having occupied the same locality about thirty-four 

Mr. Brown and Mr. Bunnell came here about the same time. In 
conversation relative to early days Mr. Brown said : ' ' The first 
time I ever saw Bunnell was in the spring of 1849. I was going 
down the river, footing it on the ice, on my way from St. Anthony 
to Prairie du Chine. Finding the traveling unsafe, I left the river 
at Holmes', now Fountain City, and took the trail along the bluffs. 
I got wet crossing the Trempealeau river, and as it was then dark I 
camped. In the morning, after going a short distance, I came to a 
cabin which I found occupied by Bunnell's family. He had been 
living there during the winter." 

Aside from the trading stations already mentioned, there were 
no other settlements made or commenced in this vicinity until after 
the treaty with the Sioux in 1851, when the first settlement was 
made on Wabasha prairie. 

This prairie had but little to recommend it to the attention of 
either the town-site hunter or settlers seeking choice locations for 
farms and homes in the new country which the Sioux were soon to 
relinquish to the whites. It was a sandy ]3lain, apparently level as 
viewed from the river, and scantily covered with a stunted growth 
of wild grass. A few trees and bushes fringed the immediate bank 
of the river, while but a single tree stood on any other part of the 
prairie on which the city of Winona now stands. A striking con- 
trast with its present appearance — covered as it now is with such 
■ vast numbers of lofty and beautiful shade-trees, giving it a resem- 
blance to a forest, with varied thickets of undergrowth through 
which broad avenues and partial clearings had been made. The 
one lone tree was in the lower part of the city. It stood in the 
valley, between Third and Fourtli streets, in' front of where the 
Washington school building now stands. 


Id the time of high water, when the Mississippi seemed to dis- 
i-egavci boundaries, this prairie was but an island, apparently so low 
and level that it was but little above the water which lapped onto its 
banks. A rushing torrent then flowed through the slough above, 
where now the embankments of the railroads form a dam. In the 
rear a broad current of water, three fourths of a mile wide, separated 
it from the mainland. 

Bunnell, the trader, living three or four miles below, had learned 
through the traditi(ms of the Indians from the Sioux, with whom he 
was intimate and had familiar acquaintance, that the whole of 
Wabasha prairie had been entirely submerged during some of the 
most extreme floods of the river. 

No story was more current during the earlier days of the settle- 
ment of this locality, or told with more apparent candor and truth- 
fulness, than that about the general overflow of high-water on this 
prairie. From the traditionary evidence flrst cited, it soon reached 
the stage where positive proof could be i-eadily made. Many of 
the old expei'ienced river men claimed, and positively asserted, that 
they had passed over the highest part of the prairie on rafts and 
with boats. Not to be behind in experience, steamboat men stated 
that they, too, had found there sufflcient depth of water for any boat. 

The story that steamboats had passed over may possibly have 
started from the fact that during the high water of 1849 a small 
steamboat did get aground on the lower part of the prairie. The 
pilot of the Lynx mistook the channel one dark, stormy night, and 
ran his craft out on the low land, just below where the house of Mrs. 
Keyes now stands. To return the boat to the river it was necessary 
to take everything out of her, even her boilers and the brickwork 
of the arches in which they were set. 

It was said that during the high water of 1852 it was not uncom- 
mon to hear the raftsmen hail the residents of the prairie with, 
''You'd better get out o' there or you'l get drowned out. I've seen 
that prairie all under water.'' A raftsman was considered a green 
one if in his experience he had never seen Wabasha prairie covered 
with water. 

Strangers^ — passengers on the steamboats^ — were commonly enter- 
tained as they ap]>roached the i)rairie with the stereotyped remark, 
"It looks like a nice place to build a town, but it overflows." The 
persistent repetition of such remarks was as annoying to the settlers 
as it was irritating to tiie proprietors of the embryo city plotted there. 


The proprietor of a rival town site was holding forth on this 
subject to a crowd of passengers, as the steamboat approached the 
prairie from below, saying, " It is true it does look like a nice place 
to build a town, but, gentlemen, I have passed over the highest 
land on Wabasha prairie in a boat." He was here interrupted by 
a passenger, a resident of the prairie, the dignified and gentlemanly 
appearing Rev. H. S. Hamilton, who removed his hat as he stepped 
forward and gravely said: "Excuse me, sir, but can it -be possible 
that your name is Noah ? There is no record that any one has 
passed over that prairie since the days of that ancient navigator of 
the deep." The town-site blower was forced to retreat from the 
laughter of the amused crowd of passengers. 

To Capt. Orin Smith belongs the credit of selecting Wabasha 
prairie as a location for a town site. He was the founder of the city 
of AVinona. At that time he was a citizen of Galena, Illinois, and 
the captain of the steamboat Nominee, running between Galena 
and St. Paul. He had seen western towns spring up like magic, 
enriching the lucky proprietors. Land speculations and town-site 
operations were the most common topics of conversation among his 
passengers. From a desire to engage in some profitable speculation, 
should opportunity ofifer, he watched for a chance to secure a town 
site on the river. His observations convinced him that eventually, 
when the Indian title should become extinct on the west side of the 
river in the Territory of Minnesota, an important point must spring 
up, and he early comprehended that Wabasha prairie possessed the 
most favorable and decided advantages for the rapid growth of a 
large commercial town when the country should become settled. 

The treaty with the Sioux in 1851 presented an opportunity 
which Capt. Smith at once took advantage of, although the treaty 
had not been ratified and the Indians were still occupying the 
country. He was familiar with the river, and was aware that there 
were but two locations suitable for steamboat landings on Wabasha 
prairie. One, the present levee — the other about a mile below. 
Capt. Smith was aware, from his own personal knowledge (he had 
navigated the upper Mississippi many years), that Wabasha prairie 
was not subject to an entire overflow, neither had it been submerged 
within the traditional recollections of the "oldest inhabitants" 
among the whites ; yet he was to a certain extent influenced by the 
Indian traditions, by Bunnell's opinion and by the opinions of some 
of the old I'iver men of his acquaintance in his first choice of location. 


He selected the lower landing for his town site because the banks 
were higher, the shore bolder, with a good depth of water at all 
seasons of navigation. He was also aware that the upper landing 
was subject to overflow, although available and satisfactory at other 
times. He therefore decided to secure and control both landings. 

In accordance with this plan he made his arrangements to take 
j)Ossession, and selected as his agent in this transacti<m Erwin H. 
Johnson, tlie carpenter on his steamboat, the old Nominee. He 
made a written agreement with Johnson to hold the two claims he 
had selected, for which Johnson was to have an undivided half of 
both claims. Capt. Smith also agreed to pay Johnson twenty- 
five dollars per month and furnish all necessar}"^ subsistence. John- 
son was to engage in banking steamboat wood, which Captain 
Smith proposed to have cut on the islands opposite during the 

Capt. Smith landed Erwin H. Johnson from the Nominee at 
the lower landing on Wabasha prairie at about ten o'clock at night, 
on the 15th of October, 1851. He also left with him two men, em- 
ployed as wood-choppers. One of these men was Caleb Nash. The 
name of the other is unknown ; he left on the return of the Nomi- 
nee down the river. 

Johnson was furnished by Capt. Smith with a small quantity of 
lumber for a shanty, a yoke of oxen and abundant supplies of pro- 
visions and blankets. These, with Johnson's tool-chest, a few neces- 
sary tools, a bucket or two, an iron pot, a bake-kettle, an iron spider 
and a few dishes, comj^rised the entire outfit. 

They camped for that night on the beach where they landed, 
and slept under a few boards which they laid against the bank above. 
The next day they built a small cabin on the same localicy where 
they had passed the night. This structure was about 10x12, with 
a shed roof sloping toward the bank. The back end of this cabin 
was the bank against which it was built. A fireplace was formed in 
one corner, a hole above in the lower part of the roof afforded exit 
for the smoke. The material used for this fireplace was the brick 
thrown from the Lynx when aground about half a mile below in 

This shanty, as it was called, was the first "claim shanty" put 
up on Wabasha prairie. It stood on the beach, below the high bank 
of the river, nearly in front of where the planing-mill of the Winona 
LumbiT (>)mpany now stands. Johnson built a stable for the oxen 


on the bank ten or fifteen rods back from tlie river. This was made 
of poles and covered with coarse grass from the bottoms. In the 
absence of any other means of conveyance a crotch of a tree was 
used as a sled to transport such things as the oxen were required to 
haul. Johnson afterward built a rough sled for his use in banking 
wood on the island during the winter. 

I^ot long after Johnson's arrival on Wabasha prairie another town- 
site speculator made his appearance in this locality. On the 12th of 
November, 1851, Silas Stevens, a lumber dealer in La Crosse, landed 
from the Excelsior at the upper landing, about where the L. C. 
Porter flouring-mill now stands. With him came Geo. W. Clark, 
a young man in his employ, and Edwin Hamilton, a young man 
from Ohio, looking for a chance to speculate in claims, who had 
been induced to come up from La Crosse, where he had been stop- 
ping for a short time. 

Mr. Stevens brought with him lumber for a shanty, a cooking 
stove, and a liberal supply of provisions, blankets, etc. It was about 
eleven o'clock at night when this party left the steamer Excelsior. 
Mr. Stevens was aware that Capt. Smith had made a claim here 
and placed a man on it to hold possession, and the party at once 
made search for his cabin. The night was intensely dark, and they 
were compelled to hunt for sometime before they found Johnson. 
His locality was unknown to either of them. Mr. Stevens had a few 
days before been up the river as far as Bunnell's landing, and from 
the bluff above had seen some men and a yoke of oxen on the lower 
end of the prairie, but no cabin was in sight. 

Fortunately, by following down the bank of the river, they dis- 
covered the shanty and were furnished by Johnson with thJ best 
accommodation the cabin afforded,— a bed of hay on the floor 
where all slept together, covered with blankets. Johnson had not 
then completed his shanty. He afterward improved the interior by 
putting up a shelf or two to hold his supplies and dishes, and two 
double berths, one over the other in one corner. These were made 
of poles, his supply of lumber was insuflicient. For comfort these 
berths were filled with dry prairie-grass, covered with blankets. 

This party took breakfast with Johnson before beginning the 
business of the day. Up to this time the question of boundaries to 
their claims had not been considered either by Capt. Smith or John- 
son. Capt. Smith had simply proposed to claim the two landings, 
with at least 160 acres of prairie in each claim, and as much more as 


they could control. It now became necessary to have their bounda- 
ries more accurately defined. 

Mr. Stevens had come up for the express ])ur[)0se of securing one 
of the landings, not being aware that Capt. Smith proposed to hold 
them both through Johnson, who he supposed was only an employe, 
without an individual interest in the matter. Mr. Stevens expected 
to take possession of and hold the upper landing through an employe 
of his own, Mr. C^lark, who had come for that j>urpose. He was 
somewhat surprised to find that Johnson had already laid claim to 
it, with the ap])roval of Capt. Smith, but no im])rovements had been 
made. Not being of an aggressive nature, Mr. Stevens hesitated to 
take advantage of this and take possession witliout Johnson's con- 
sent, which he could not obtain. 

After a general consultation, in which the whole party partici- 
pated, it was finally agreed that the land along the river should be 
divided into "claims" of half a mile square, and that Johnson 
should have the first choice of two of the claims, one for Capt. 
Smith and the other for himself 

Accordingly, on the morning of November 13, 1851, the 
first claim-stakes were driven on Wabasha prairie, and the first 
defined claims made within what are now the boundaries of Winona 
county. The stake agreed upon as the starting-point was driven on 
the bank of the river below the present residence of Mrs. Keyes. 
From this stake a half-mile was measured off with a tape-line up the 
river, where another stake was driven. This half-mile was chosen 
by Johnson for Capt. Smith and was called "Claim No. 1." The 
next half-mile measured off up the river bank was called "Claim 
No. 2." This was at once chosen and claimed by both Stevens and 

Mr. Stevens expected that claim No. 2 would be awarded to 
him. He had been influenced by the recommendations and per- 
suasions of Capt. Smith to come u}) and select a claim to hold 
possession, and he now supposed that after Smith and Johnson he 
was entitled to the next choice ; but he was again disai)pointed, and 
again gave way to Johnson's decision in the matter. Nash, sup- 
ported by and under the instructions of Johnson, claimed it by 
seniority as a settler. He had been a resident on the prairie about 
three weeks, and claimed the land by his rights of first discovery. 

The next half-mile, claim No. 3, was assigned to Mr. Stevens. 
It could hardly be called his choice, (^laim No. 4 was awarded to 


Johnson as per agreement. The next half-mile, claim No. 5, was 
selected by Edwin Hamilton, who claimed precedent. He had seen 
the prairie some weeks before from the deck of a steamboat while 
on a trip up the river with Mr. Stevens. No farther measurements 
were made at this time, but the next half-mile was duly awarded to 
George W. Clark, the junior settler and the last of the party. No 
one disputed his rights to claim No. 6. 

These claims, made as described, were afterward designated by 
the numbers then given and by the names of the persons to whom 
they were awarded by this party until after the government survey 
of the public lands in this part of the territory. The township lines 
were surveyed in 1853, but the subdivisions were not completed 
until 1855. 

The following copy of a lease is presented as documentary evi- 
dence to show that these claims were generally known by the num- 
bers given, and also as a relic of early days in this locality. 

" Wabasiiaw, July 8th, 1852. 

•'Whereas I have this day m.jved into the shanty on Claim No. 5, called 
Hamilton's claim, on Wabashaw prairie, Minnesota territory ; therefore I here- 
by a^'ree with John L. Balcombe, Edwin Hamilton and Mark Howard, the 
owners of said (^laim, that in consideration of the use of said shanty, I will, to 
the utmost of my ability, prevent all other persons from occupyino- or injuring 
said claim, and that I will vacate said shanty and surrender the possession 
thereof, together with the whole claim, to said owners whenever requested to 
do so by them or either of them. O. 8. HoLnRooK. 

" Witness: Walter Brown, 

" George G. Barber." 

The original paper, of which this is a copy, is in the hands of 
Mrs. Calista Balcombe, the widow of Dr. John L. Balcombe, now 
living in the city of Winona. The shanty spoken of stood about 
where the present residence of Hon. H. W. Lamberton now stands, 
on the corner of Fourth and Huff streets. This shanty was never 
destroyed ; the body of it is still preserved. When the Hamilton 
claim became the property of Henry D. Huff, the shanty was moved 
from its original site and attached to the cottage in which Mr. Hufi 
lived for several years, and which is now the residence of Mr. Lafay- 
ette Stout, No. 52 West Fourth street. 

On the same day that these claims were measured off and located, 
Mr. Stevens, with the assistance of Clark and Hamilton, built a 
shanty on claim No. 3. This shanty stood a little east of Market 
street, between First and Second streets. To move his lumber and 


supplies to the place selected the services of flolinson's ox-team and 
crotch-sled were obtained. 

Mr. Stevens went back to La Crosse the same evening on a boat 
which chanced to come down. Mr. (ylark remained to hold ])08se8- 
sion ot the claim for him. Clark was to receive eighteen dollars per 
month and all necessary supplies furnished. He was to occupy 
his time in cutting steamboat-wood on the island convenient for 
banking. Hamilton remained and lived with Clark in the Stevens 
shanty. He also chopped tor Mr. Stevens. No one ever accused 
Mr. Stevens of having made a big speculation on steamboat- wood 
cut on government land that winter. , * 

The last boat down in 1851 was the Nominee. About November 
21 Capt. Smith passed Wabasha prairie without lauding. 

Mr. G. W. Clark says that on December 4 he with Johnson went 
down the river in a canoe to La Crosse. The weather was pleasant 
but cool. This was their first trip from home. After having accom- 
plished the objects of their visit, they started back on the fifth and 
arrived at Wabasha prairie on the sixth. The river closed a day or 
two after. 

While on this trip to La Crosse Johnson hired two men, Allen 
Gilmore and George Wallace, to come to Wabasha prairie with him 
and work for Capt. Smith cutting wood. To accommodate these 
men Johnson secured another canoe, in which he toolj one of the 
men while Clark with the other managed their own, the one in which 
they went down. The weather had become very cold, with the 
wind strong from the west. Soon after they started it increased to 
a fierce gale. The spray from the waves as they struck against the 
bows of the canoes soon covered everything about them with ice and 
chilled them through. Being unable to manage their canoes against 
such a strong head-wind they landed, and towed them along the 
shore until they arrived at Nathan Brown's trading-station, which 
they reached about dark, almost frozen. Mr. Brown was absent, 
but finding the door of his cabin unfastened the party took possession 
and soon started a hot fire in the stove with the abundance of dry 
wood i)rovided. Finding a plentiful supply of provisions they made 
themselves comfortable for the night, and the next day safely 
reached the prairie. This was December 6, the date of the arrival 
of Allen Gilmore and George Wallace at what is now the city of 

Brown's was then, the only stopping-place below Bunnell's, and 


it was. often made a haven of rest to the weary traveler. Mr. Brown 
usually lived alone and he enjoyed these forced visits to his cabin, 
more for the company they afforded than for the profit of it. He 
seldom made any charge for his accommodations. 

Bunnell's was a favorite stopping-place. It was the only place 
on the west side of the river where travelers could be comfortably 
accommodated with sheets on their beds and clean table-cloths. It 
was the only place on the west side of this river in the part of the 
territory where a white woman lived. Mrs. Bunnell was a good 
cook, and her guests, usually appreciated her efforts to make them 

In connection with his business as a trader, Bunnell employed quite 
a number of men, cutting steamboat-wood and in cutting oak-timber 
for rafting. The following were living on the west side of the river 
during the winter of 1851-2, or afterward made it their residence : 
Harry Herrick, Leonard Johnson, Hirk Carroll, Henry J. Harring- 
ton and a man by the name of Myers, who came after January 1, 
1852. They boarded at Bunnell's.' 

Two young men, Jabez McDermott and Josiah Keene, were 
in his employ until after the holidays, and "kept bach" in a small 
cabin on the banks of the river a little below Bunnell's. 

Peter Gorr, with his wife and three children, and Augustus 
Pentler and his wife, lived together in a cabin on an island opposite 
Bunnell's landing. Gorr and Pentler worked for Bunnell until in 

Soon after the river was frozen over, or as soon as it was safe to 
travel on the ice, Israel M. Noracong and William G. McSpadden 
came up from La Crosse. They brought with them two yoke of 
oxen and a large sleigh-load of lumber and supplies, which they 
took up Wabasha prairie to the mouth of the Eollingstone valley. 
They put up a shanty a little north from where Elsworth's flouring 
mill now stands, in Minnesota city. These men were engaged 
during the winter in cutting black-walnut logs. 'Black-walnut 
timber then grew plentifully along that stream. 

About the same time John Farrell came up from La Crosse, 
bringing with him ox-teams and supplies and quite a number of men. 
He established a logging camp on the Wisconsin side of the river. 
His cabin and stables were at the foot of the bluff, about where the 
wagon-road across the bottoms strikes the mainland. He had 
selected his location and cut a quantity of hay early in the fall. 

170 iirsTom ov winona roT-r<TY. 

Some of the most vahijil>le oak timber on the islands o])])osite 
the city of Winona was cut down during that winter by Farrell's 
gang of choppers. Many of the logs were never removed from 
the places where they were cut. 

To aid in floating the heavy oak logs when they were rafted in 
the spring, almost an equal quantity of the finest ash-timber was also 
slaughtered and taken away. 

Tiie total number of white inhabitants living within the bound- 
aries of what is now Winona county at the close of the year 1849 
was six — W. B. Bunnell, wife and three children, at Bunnell's 
landing, and Nathan Brown. 

The total white population at the end of 1850 was seven. This 
increase of one over the preceding year was from natural cause — by 
the addition of another child to Bunnell's family. During the 
winter of 1850-1 Bunnell and Brown had a few transient wood- 
choppers in their employ, wlio lived on the islands. 

Tiie total white population December 31, 1851, was twenty-one, 
all of whom, if the family of Bunnell is excepted, were engaged in 
the same occupation, cutting timber on public lands. It was then 
a common practice for people who chose to do so to appropriate the 
timber on lands belonging to the United States for individual use 
and for purposes of speculation. Such operations were not con- 
sidered dishonorable. Tlie choicest pine, oak, black-walnut, ash 
and maple timber was cut on public lands, rafted down the Missis- 
sippi and sold by men respected for their business enterprise and 
honorable dealings with their fellow-men as individuals. It will be 
safe to say that fifty per cent of the timber on the islands in the 
Mississippi was cut for steamboat wood and other ])urposes while 
the title to lands was in the United States. 

Among the enjoyments of holidays observed by the bachelor 
settlers on Wabasha prairie was tlie Christmas dinner given by Clark 
and Hamilton December 25, 1851. Hamilton was chief cook, and 
made an extra effort foi' special dishes on this occasion. 

Mr. Clark says that in addition to the best of their common fare, 
good wheat-bread, hot corn-bread, ham, goo<l butter, syrup and 
strong coffee, Hamilton got up a most delicious s({uirrel pot-pie, and 
for dessert a splendid pheasant-jtic. Neither vegetables nor fruit 
were on this bill of fare. Tlu'V had already learned to dispense 
with such delicacies. 

To this feast Johnson, Nash, Gilmore and Wallace were invited. 



All without a single apology promptly responded to the alarm for 
help from the Stevens shanty. 

This was the first special assemblage of the settlers on Wabasha 
prairie for social enjoyment. No rivalries or claim jealousies existed 
among them at that time. With this little party on the outskirts of 
civilization genuine friendship in the rough was the prevailing feel- 
ing exhibited, uninterrupted by the hilarities which accompanied. 
As a closing ceremony at this first reunion of the settlers on the 
prairie, Hamilton gave as the parting toast, "May the six bachelors 
here assembled be long remembered by each other." This was 
responded to by a shake all around as they separated. 

The success of the Christmas dinner-party induced Johnson to 
return the "compliments of the season," and extend a general in- 
vitation to all to assemble around his hoard on ISTew Year's da-y. 
This was marked as another of the really enjoyable days of that 
winter to the lonely bachelors of the prairie. The crowning dish 
on this occasion, the one most vivid in the recollection of Mr. Clark, 
was an unlimited supply of wild honey, which Johnson had secured 
from a bee-tree on the island. 



QmxE a number of persons came up from La Crosse on the ice 
about the fiirst of January, 1852, to see the country and select claims 
on Wabasha prairie. As everybody stopped at Bunnell's, he, too, 
became infected with the prevailing epidemic of claim-making from his 
guests. Although he had no confidence in the success of Capt. Smith's 
undertaking to build up a commercial port on "that sand-bar in the 
Mississippi," Bunnell had the shrewdness to surmise that there 
might be a chance for speculation in the attempt, provided he could 
sell out before it should be again flooded with water. He at once 
concluded to take a chance in the venture, and decided that he, too, 
would have a claim on Wabasha prairie. 

At that time Capt. Smith's claim on the lower landing, claim 
No. 1. was considered the most valuable and the most desirable as a 


town site. No. 4 was estimated as the next in value. Nos. 2, 8, 5 
and were valued in the order named. 

Having determined on making a claim Bunnell went up to the 
prairie and looked the ground over. He lound that the most de- 
sirable lo(;ation8 had already been taken. Notwithstanding this he 
fixed upon one of the unoccuj)ied claims, and selected claim No. 4 
for his purpose. This claim he considered really the most valuable. 

To get possession Bunnell stated to Johnson that he had been 
looking for a claim, and had found one that suited him just above 
the Stevens claim that was not occupied, and he intended to take 
possession of it. Johnson replied by telling him that he could not 
have it ; that he had already made a claim there and should hold 
it. Bunnell inquired how many claims he expected to hold ; that 
he was already holding two at the lower end of the prairie. This 
Johnson denied, and explained to him that the one he was living 
on was Capt. Smith's and that the other belonged to Nash. 

Bunnell then tried to convince Johnson that it would be to the 
advantage of all who had claims there to give him an interest on the 
prairie, for the Sioux were then talking of driving the whites away 
until the treaty was ratified ; that with his influence over them he 
would be able to prevent trouble. Johnson replied that he would 
not give up that claim to any man, that he was not afraid of trouble 
with the Indians, that he should hold both claims as long as he 
staid there. Finding that Johnson could not be influenced by argu- 
ment, he left with the threat that he would have it, even if he had 
to help the Indians drive them all off from the prairie. 

Not long afterward Bunnell drove up to the prairie again and 
brought with him on his train two fine-looking young Sioux braves 
in their holiday attire. He saw Johnson and told him the Sioux 
were getting to be more dissatisfied with the settlers for coming on 
their lands without their permission ; that there would soon be a 
disturbance unless something was done to keep them quiet ; that he 
sliould not try to control them unless he could haye that claim ; if 
the settlers got into trouble they would have to go to some one else 
for help. 

Although no serious difficulty was anticipated, the alarm was 
given as soon as Bunnell came on the prairie with the Sioux and the 
"boys" who were on the island chopping came home in a hurry. 
After explaining matters to the others, Bunnell told Johns«)n he had 
come up on purpose to have a talk with him about that claim, and 


asked him what he was going to do about it. " Nothing," was John- 
son's reply, and remarked that he did not believe such good-natured 
looking fellows as Bunnell had on his sleigh would do any harm if 
they were well treated. 

Bunnell had taken a dram or two and was excitable. He lost 
his temper, talked loud and made a great many violent gestures. 
The Sioux sat quietly in their places on the train and indulged 
themselves with their pipes and some of Bunnell's tobacco. They 
were impassive and apparently indifferent spectators of the pro- 

Johnson, believing that this was a ruse of Bunnell's to try and 
frighten them, told him that he "did not scare easy and could not 
be bluffed with a little noise." Bunnell was annoyed that his dra- 
matic display was a failure, and as he got on his sleigh answered : 
" You will have to take care of yourself if the Indians get after you; 
I shall not interfere again." Johnson laughed and gave some 
derisive reply, telling him "not to bother himself about the affairs 
of others until he was asked." 

The next trip Bunnell made to "Wabasha prairie he brought with 
him two men, Harrington and Myers, and built a small log shanty 
or pen on Johnson's claim at the upper landing. The logs used in 
the construction of this claim shanty were once a part of Indian 
farmer Reed's old store cabin, the ruins of which furnished material 
sufficient for the body of the crib. It was covered with broad strips 
of elm bark brought from the Indian tepees in the mouth of Burns' 

.In this little pen, not more than six feet square and not high 
enough for a man to stand up in, Bunnell left Myei'S to hold the 
fort and guard the claim, which he had now taken possession of in 
a formal manner. Bunnell furnished Myers with supplies and 
brought up some lumber and put up the framework of a board 
shanty, but did not complete it for want of material to cover it. 
Myers remained in quiet possession of the claim for about a week, 
when, considering everything safe, as he had not been disturbed or 
observed any hostile movements, the settlers on the prairie being 
absent on the island, he ventured down to Bunnell's for a little 
recreation and relief from his lonely and uncomfortable confine- 

Although no demonstrations had been made, Johnson had 
watched these proceedings and closely observed all of the movements 


of Myers. It was a gratification to see the man with his gun leave 
the prairie. He at once took advantage of the absence of tlie occu- 
pant of the cabin and deniolislied the improvements. He leveled 
tlie structure with the ground, and then deliberately cut the old logs 
and the himber into hrewood. 

Bunnell was enraged when he found that Johnson had destroyed 
his shanty, and threatened to whip him the next time he saw him. 
Myers did not return to Wabasha i)rairie. He was dismissed by 
Bunnell for neglect of duty and left the country. 

Bunnell sent messages to Johnson warning him to leave the 
prairie, or the next time he came up he would whip him like a dog. 
Johnson sent back answers that he was prepared to defend himself 
and his claims ; that if Bunnell came on the prairie again it would 
be at his perih 

Neither of these men were cowards, and serious trouble was 
anticipated. They were small men — hardly of medium size, John- 
son a little larger and heavier of the two and of coarser make-up. 
Bunnell was firmer built and active in his movements, a dangerous 
antagonist for a much larger man in any kind of a fight. 

Satisfied that ''talk" would not win the claim and irritated by 
Johnson's successful opposition, Bunnell, in company with Harring- 
ton, drove up to the prairie one evening for the purpose of assault- 
ing Johnson if a favorable opportunity offered. Both had stimulated 
to a fighting degree and were primed for the purpose. 

Going first to the Stevens shanty, Bunnell there found Clark 
and Nash, who had called on a social visit. He inquired for 
Hamilton and learned that he was at Johnson's. Gilmore and 
Wallace were on the other side of the river at Farrell's. After a 
short visit they left without betraying the object of their evening 
visit on so dark a night. 

Tliey went directly down to Johnson's shanty. Bunnell knocked 
at the door. On being told to "come in" he entered, saying, as he 
inished toward Johnson, who with Hamilton was sitting by the fire, 
''Get out of this if you want to live.'' Johnson sprang for his 
revolver, which was in his berth, but the attack was too sudden ; he 
had no op})ortunity to use it before he was knocked down and dis- 

Hamilton bolted from the shanty at the first clash of the combat 
and ran for help. He arrived almost breathless at the other shanty, 
a mile away, and gave the alarm by excitedly exclaiming, " Bun- 


nell is killing Johnson ; come down quick as you can." Clark and 
Nash at once started back with Hamilton on a run for the scene of 
conflict. When about half way they were met by Johnson, who, 
although apparently injured, returned with them. They found that 
the shanty had been demolished, but the assailants had disap- 

Johnson was taken up to Clark's shanty, where he was provided 
for and carefully attended. He was found to have been badly 
bruised about the head, chest and arms. His face and hands were 
badly swollen and covered with blood, but no bones were broken. 
It afterward proved that no serious injuries had been received. 
Johnson had been terribly beaten by Bunnell and was compelled to 
lay up for repairs. 

When the battle-ground was visited in the morning the fuU 
extent of damages to the "pioneer claim shanty" was revealed. 
The fii'st evidence of actual settlement on Waba'feha prairie had been 
destroyed. The pile of brick and stone which formed the fireplace, 
with some broken dishes, marked the locality where the little cabin 
once stood. It had been turned over and with its contents thrown 
on the ice of the river. 

Johnson's supplies and other traps were secured and carried up 
on the bank, where they were sheltered with the lumber from the 
shanty. The stable and cattle had not been disturbed. Johnson 
and ISTash lived with Clark until their shanty was reconstructed. 
Johnson's revolver and double-barreled gun were carried off by 
Bunnell as trophies of his victory. 

Soon after this affray, Peter Gorr and Augustus Pentler came 
over from the island to visit the settlers on the prairie. Mr. Gorr 
had his rifle with him, which he was induced to leave with Johnson 
after hearing the incidents of his quarrel. Johnson then sent word 
to Bunnell that he would shoot him on sight if he ever made his 
appearance on the prairie again. 

Bunnell had no design to interfere with the occupancy of the 
claim at the lower landing. His attack on Johnson and destruction 
of the shanty was for retaliation and to intimidate him. He became 
satisfied that he would not be able to hold the claim at the upper 
landing without some sei'ious fighting, and, having no desire to kill 
Johnson or be killed himself in the attempt, he decided to abandon 
his claim speculation on Wabasha prairie and turn his attention to 
what he thought was something better nearer home. The scheme 


of building up a town along the bluff's above the present village of 
Homer was started about this time, in which Bunnell was for awhile 
interested. Bunnell returned to Johnson the revolver and gun he 
had taken from him, peace was negotiated, and the "little differ- 
ence " that liad existed between the parties "dropped" without 
further action. Bunnell, however, became more emphatic in main- 
taining and more free in expressing his opinions of " that sand bar up 
there," and more zealously advocated his tlieory that the "main 
land" was the only place for a permanent settlement. 

This was the first attempt at "claim jumping" ever made in the 
settlement of this county. It was afterward a common occurrence. 

M. Wheeler Sargeant, an early settler, once gave a very appro- 
priate definition of a claim in an address before the Winona Lyceum 
in 1858. He said: "A claim is a fighting interest in land, osten- 
sibly based upon ])riority of possession and sustained by force." 
Many of the old settlers will readily recognize the pertinency of this 
description. The law of might, as well as the law of right, was often 
the means by which possession of claims were retained. 

Soon after this first claim quarrel, a claim association or club was 
was formed for the mutual protection of settlers in holding possession 
of their claims. The first meeting was called to meet at Bunnell's 
about March I. The prime movers in the matter were some resi- 
dents of La Crosse who had recently selected claims on the west side 
of the Mississippi. They came up prepared to complete the busi- 
ness and the organization was created at this meeting. It was called 
the Wabashaw Protection Club. The important matters of consti- 
tution and by-laws were duly discussed and gravely adopted, and 
officers elected with customary formality. The settlers from Wa- 
basha prairie attended the meeting, but were in the minority and 
failed to secure any of the offices. The officials were residents of 
La Crosse. Mr. George W. Clark was a member of the club and 
was present at that meeting. He says from the best of his recol- 
lection the president was George G. Barber, the secretary, AVilliam 
B. Gere. 

The Wabasha Protection Club was the first regular orgsmization 
of any kind among the settlers ever formed in the county. 

It was not entirely a fable coined by Bunnell when he repre- 
sented to Johnson that the Sioux were dissatisfied with the manner 
in which the settlei-s were taking possession of their lands before the 
treaty was ratified. Whether Bunnell was aware of the fact or not 


is not now positively known ; but it is very probable that he knew 
the Indians designed to demand a bonus from the settlers for the 
privilege of remaining undisturbed. It was supposed that the treaty 
would be ratified during that winter, but it was not fully confii-med 
by government until the next year. 

During the winter some officious personages had given the 
Indians begging letters addressed to the settlers recommending that 
contributions be given to the Sioux of Wabasha's band to keep them 
quiet and peaceable until the ratification of the treaty. That the 
Indians were needy, and to prevent dissatisfaction the settlers were 
advised to contribute to their wants, and suggested that a barrel of 
flour, or its equivalent in money, be given for every cabin built on 
their lands. 

Some of Wabasha's band came over from the other side of the 
river where they were camped and presented their written docu- 
ment. To avoid any difficulties or annoyance from them, Johnson 
agreed to give them the flour, but told them they must wait until 
the Nominee came up in the spring. To this tliey consented and 
went ofi* apparently satisfied with the arrangement. Johnson sup- 
posed this was one of Bunnell's tricks to alarm them and that was 
the finale of it ; but in the spring the Indians returned and demanded 
the flour. This "shanty tax" assessed by the Sioux was paid by 
a few of the earliest settlers. 

The Sioux and Winnebago Indians visited the settlers on Wa- 
basha prairie frequently during the winter and were at all times 
friendly. There was not a single instance where it was known that 
tliey disturbed a settler or his property, not even in the absence of 
the owner. 

Johnson rebuilt the shanty on Capt. Smith's claim, but put it on 
the bank a little way back from the river and a few rods below 
where it first stood. This was an improvement on the first struc- 
ture. It was about 8 x 12. The fireplace so much valued by 
Johnson in his first cabin was omitted in its reconstruction. John- 
son induced Augustus Pen tier with his wife to occupy this shanty. 
He boarded with them and made it his home until he built a shanty 
on his claim at the upper landing. Mr. Pentler lived in this place 
three or four months and then made a claim on the river below 
Bunnell's along the blufis, where he lived for several years. He is 
now living in the western part of the state. 

Mrs. Pentler was the first white woman among the early settlers 


to make Wabasha prairie her phice of residence — the first white 
woman that settled in what is now the city of Winona. 

About March !• Silas Stevens and his son, William H. Stevens, 
came up from La Crosse on the ice. They brought with them a 
pair of liorses, wagon and sleigh. This was the first span of horses 
brought into the county by a settler. There had been no demand 
or use for horse-teams. In banking wood and liauling logs ox-teams 
were the most useful and economical. Bunnell kept a saddle-horse, 
which in winter he drove harnessed to a kind of sleigh called a 
train, a kind of conveyance peculiarly adapted to travel over un- 
broken trails drifted with snow. 

On the arrival of Silas Stevens Mr. Clark delivered up to him 
his claim and gave possession of the shanty and other property en- 
ti-usted to his care. About this time, or not long afterward, Mr. 
Nash put up a small log cabin on claim No. 2. Clark and Gilmore 
occupied this with Nash as their headquarters until they built shan- 
ties on their own claims. This shanty stood about two blocks back 
from the river on what is now High Forest street. It was about 
10 X 12, built of small logs and covered with bark. The bark for 
the roof and the lumber used in its construction was taken from the 
old Indian huts or tepees, which were standing on the prairie about 
a mile above the upper landing. 



During the latter part of the winter and early in the spring of 
1S52 quite a number of claims were selected, and on some improve- 
ments commenced. These "betterments " were simply a few logs 
thrown together, forming a sort of pen and designed to represent 
the nucleus of a future residence. When the Indians assessed the 
settlers they did not consider these improvements sufficient to justify 
the levying of a tax, notwithstanding the importance attached to 
them as evidence that the land was claimed and settled upon. 

The claim made by (xeorge W. Clark in the fall previous was 
staked off and possession indicated by a few logs. The half mile west 


of it was taken by Jabez McDermott and the next by Josiah Keen. 
These two young men had been living at Bunnell's Landing, but 
about the time they made tlieir claims they went up to the Kolling 
Stone, where they engaged in getting out black walnut logs with 
Noracong and McSpadden. 

Clark also selected a location across the slough, which he held in 
the name of his brother, Scott Clark, then living in New York. 
This claim is now the farm on which George W. Clark resides. 

Allen Gilmore made his claim next west of the one selected for 
Scott Clark. He built a log cabin in the grove west from where the 
Clark school-house now stands. It was from Allen Gilmore, and 
because of his living nearest, that Gilmore valley was given its pres- 
ent name. Mr. Gilmore occupied this locality until his death, which 
occurred March 29, 1854. It was purchased from the administrator 
of the estate. Dr. John L. Balcombe, by Orin Clark, a brother of 
G. W. Clark, who came into the county that spring. Mr. Clark 
occupied it for many years. He now lives in the city of Winona, 
but still retains possession of the grove. The other portion of the 
claim is owned and occupied by Mr. Celestial Peterman. 

George Wallace made choice of a location back of the lake, 
where John Zenk now lives. It also included what is now Wood- 
lawn cemetery. 

Peter Gorr made a claim on the river just above Bunnell's. He 
here built a small log cabin, which he occupied with his wife and 
three children. 

In narrating some incidents of early days, Mr. Gorr says that 
during the winter of 1850-51 Augustus Pentler worked for Bunnell 
by the month chopping on the islands. In the spring he returned 
to Illinois, where his wife was then living. During the summer 
Pentler and Gorr came up the river together and stopped off at La 
Crosse, where they remained for a few days, but not finding employ- 
ment, they crossed the Mississippi and came up the river on foot 
over the trail along the bluffs. At Brown's they stopped to rest and 
get something to eat. Mr. Brown furnished them a luncheon, but, 
learning that they were going up to Bunnell's for work, he declined 
to receive pay for the refreshments provided. 

In speaking of Mr. Brown he very emphatically remarked : "I 
have known Nathan Brown a great many years. He was the 
whitest white man among all the old settlers in this county. He 
always had the courage to do right and never wronged any man 


willtnlly that 1 over heard. lie feared no man, but lie treated 
everybody with deeency and gentlemanly. That was the reason 
why lie was respected by everybody. Even the 'cussed' Indians 
respected him and had eonlidence in his integrity. Sti-angers as 
well as acquaintances were always welcome to his hospitalities. No 
one ever left Brown's suifering from hunger if he made his wants 

Gorr and Pentler worked by the month tor Bunnell during that 
season. In the fall they built a comfortable log cabin on the island 
opposite Bunnell's and brought their families from Illinois, with the 
design of settling on the Sioux lands in the spring. They moved 
across the river about the last of February, 1852, and made their 
first settlement in this county. 

About the time of the quarrel between Bunnell and Johnson, 
some difficulties occurred from business transactions between Bun- 
nell and Gorr. These cho])pers took sides with Johnson against 
their employer. Johnson went down with his oxen and sled and 
moved them off from the island and drew the logs for the shanty. 

Mr. Gorr selected this location as a temporary stopping-place 
for his family to live until he found a more suitable place for a per- 
manent home. Bunnell objected to his occupying it. Anticipating 
trouble about the matter, Johnson and the settlers on Wabasha 
prairie went down and helped put up the cabin. Bunnell met them 
and strongly protested against their building a shanty on his claim. 
Gorr started toward him in a threatening manner and told him to 
"■dry up and go home." Bunnell, being alone, considered discre- 
tion the better part of valor, and did not interfere with the house- 

When W. B. Bunnell and Timothy Burns, lieutenant-governor 
of the State of Wisconsin, with others, originated the scheme of 
making that locality a town site, they found Gorr an encumbrance. 
Lieut. -Gov. Burns offered him twenty-five dollars for his cabin, with 
a promise of further payment in lots when the town site was sur- 
veyed, provided he would abandon the locality. This offer Mr. 
Gorr accepted, and on June 6 made a claim in what is now Pleasant 
valley, about a mile above where Laird's flouring-inill stands. He 
built a log house on it and moved his family there on June 9. 

The valley was for several years known as Gorr valley — until it 
was given its present name. Mr. Gorr was the first to settle in this 
\-alk^y. and among the first in this county to make farming a busi- 


ness occupation. He settled here with the design of making it his 
permanent home, and occupied this farm about ten years, when he 
sold out and invested in other farming lands. Mr. Gorr is yet a 
resident oi the couTity and is now living on the bank of the Missis- 
sippi, above the village of Homer. The locality was once the town 
site of Minneowah. His house is within ten yards of the site where 
he built the log cabin which he sold to Lieut. -Gov. Burns in the 
spring of 1852. 

Henry J. Harrington made a claim in the mouth of Pleasant 
valley, of what is now known as "Hamilton's Farm." During tlie 
season of navigation Mr. Harrington was employed as mate on one 
of the steamboats ruiming on the upper Mississippi. Early in the 
spring of 1852 he brought his family to BunTiell's, where they 
boarded until he had a shanty built on his claim. His first cabin 
was a low one-story structure, made of small logs or poles, roofed 
with bark from the Indian tepees in that vicinity. This shanty 
stood in a grove on the table east of the present farm buildings and 
on the opposite side of the stream. Here Mrs. Harrington, with a 
family by the name of Cliamberlain, lived until Mr. Harrington 
built a more permanent house on the west side of the stream. 

This second building was a very comfortable story and a half 
hewed log house, about 16x20, with a cellar under it, walled with 
stone. This building formed a part of the old farm buildings on 
"the farm." Mr. Harrington made some improvements. He had 
about ten acres of breaking fenced in with a rail fence, which he 
planted to corn. He also cultivated a garden and set out some fruit- 
trees. It was his design to open up a stock farm here, but he did 
not live to carry out his plans. He died in 1853. His funeral was 
on Sunday, June 12. 

Mrs. Harrington leased the house and cultivation to Patrick jSTevil, 
who came into the county that fall. She stored her household go(xls 
in a part of the house and went down the river among her friends to 
spend the winter, leaving the care of her property to her agent, 
George M. Gere, Esq. Early in the spring Mr. Gere sold the 
claim to M. K. Drew for $4:00, giving a quit claim deed subject to 
the lease of Mr. N'evil. Some incidents relative to this claim will 
illustrate the uncertainty of real estate transactions while the title to 
the land was in the United States. 

Mr. Nevil lived on the Harrington place through the winter, and 
in the spring made a garden and planted the enclosed field with 


corn. During- tliis time he made a claim in the v^alley opposite to 
Gorr's, where he liad some breaking" dcme and built a shanty. This 
is now the farm of his son, Jolin Nevil. Having an oj)portunity to 
dispose of liis crop to a cash customer, lie sold his lease to John C. 
Walker, a recent arrival with a family, and moved on his own claim. 

In this transaction Mr. Nevil gave Walker a quit claim deed and 
possession of the house. Walker then assumed to be the proprietor 
and real owner of the claim, and successfully resisted all attempts 
of Mr. Drew to acquire possession, even after the lease had expired 
or was declared void. - He barricaded the house and with his family 
closely guarded the ]>remises. Under no pretext was anyone per- 
mitted to pass the boundaries of the fence which inclosed the 

Mr. Gere, justice of the peace and agent of Mrs. Harrington, 
with the constable, Harvey S. Terry, attempted to obtain entrance 
to the house by demanding the household goods of Mrs. Harring- 
ton stored in the dwelling. Thej' were met at the "bars," by the 
whole Walker family. Mr. Walker, with his gun in his hands and 
revolver in his belt, Mrs. Walker, armed with a huge carving knife, 
the children carrying an ax, a scythe and a pitchfork. The officers 
of the law hesitated "-to storm the castle against such an armed force,"' 
and called a parley for negotiations. Mr. Walker did not object to 
deliver up the goods, but would not a<lmit them into the enclosure. 
He stood guard while Mrs. Walker and the children brought the 
furniture from the house and delivered it outside the fence. Walker 
refused to relinquish the claim to Mr. Gere, but sent word to Mr. 
Drew that he did not desire to be mean about the transaction, and 
would ])ay him $400 for the claim, the amount he had paid to Mrs. 
Harrington, provided they would give a quit claim and leave him 
in peaceable possession of the property. Finding the speculation an 
unprofitable one, and glad to get his money back, Mr. Drew accepted 
the proposition and the claim became the "Walker Farm.'" Mr. 
Walker occu])ied this locality about ten or twelve years, when he 
sold out and went south. 

Ilirk Carroll made a claim in the timber below Harrington's, 
which he sold to Silas Stevens. He also made other selections along 
the river at various places, but did not locate on any until he made 
a claim on the head waters of Pine creek, in what is now the south- 
ern part of this county, where he made a permanent settlement and 
home for his familv. 


The sale made by Hirk Carroll to Silas Stevens was the first 
" real estate" transaction, the first sale of a claim ever made in the 
early settlement of this county. Mr. Stevens had such confidence 
in the development of the country and future growth of a com- 
mercial town on Wabasha prairie that 'he gave Carroll $50 if he 
would relinquish the claim and let him have possession of it. It 
was held by Mr. Stevens for a year or two afterward in the name of 
his son, Wm. H. Stevens. It was the design of Mr. Stevens to 
make this locality a site for a steam saw-mill, expecting to use the 
slough for the purpose of storing logs brought down the river. 

Mr. Stevens gave his claim on Wabasha prairie into the hands 
of his son, Wm. H. Stevens, to hold possession, and returned to 
La Crosse, where he continued to carry on his lumber business. 



On February 26, 1852, William Haddock and Arthur Mur- 
phy arrived in this part of the Territory of Minnesota. They 
were agents of an organization called the Western Farm and Village 
Association, explorers and prospectors for a town site and farming 
lands. With packs on their backs, each carrying a buffalo-skin and 
some camp supplies, they came up the river on skates from La 

In a letter or report to the Association, published in the official 
organ of that body, " The Farm and Village Advocate," Mr. Had- 
dock says: "After leaving La Crosse we pursued our journey 
slowly up the river on the ice, hugging as closely as possible the 
Minnesota side of the river, for the purpose of making observations. 
After traveling until about noon we stopped for dinner at a young 
trader's, who happened to have a smoking dinner just read}'^ for con- 

' ' Having no time to lose, we resumed our tramp. Without per- 
ceiving any cabin or other dwelling, we proceded on our journey 
until the shades of evening began to gather round. Having 
brought up at the lower extremity of a sandy island, we doffed our 


buftalo-skins, selected a spot for a camp, collected wood, lit uj) a 
fire, spread out our skins, and entered upon the full enjoyment of 
the dubious pleasures of 'camping out' To camp out, however, is 
not a very agreeable thing to a person not accustomed to it, especi- 
ally in a cold February night. 

" A few miles of travel in the morning, after camping, brought 
us to a new town site, just developed, called Waubashaw, situated 
on a small prairie running out from the foot of a range of bluffs 
toward the river. 

" According to the opinion of many persons at La Crosse, this 
place is destined to be the largest town below Lake Pepin. Although 
there are only four or five shanties on the prairie at the present time, 
yet the whole site is taken up, and already have the claimants begun 
to fight about their 'claims.' Waubashaw will yet furnish some 
ricli examples of discord, and is destined, I fear, to become a prey 
to speculation, whatever may be its natural advantages. In our 
opinion it has not much to boast of except a good landing. Tlie 
land is poor and generally low, and a poition of it subject to over- 

"A few miles above Waubashaw we came to a quiet little open- 
ing in the almost endless range of bluffs, and hove to on our skates 
for the purpose of making observations. On reaching the shore we 
passed over an open, but rather a low and marshy prairie, for about 
half a mile, when we came to a most beautiful opening of compara- 
tively high table-land, covered with oak. 

"The extent of this opening is fully large enough for our entire 
village plat, exclusive of the low land on the river, which can ulti- 
timately be filled u]) and divided, as business plats among all our 
members, proving a source of great gain as business increases and 
the town becomes settled. There is considerable variety of surface 
in the town plat which settlement will remedy, but take it as a 
whole, I do not know that I have seen anything to surj^ass it. In- 
deed, I may say that it is beautiful, and throws Waubashaw and 
Prairie La Crosse entirely in the shade." 

Haddock and Murphy, on their way from La Crosse, passed 
Wabasha Prairie and skated u]) Straight Slough, supposing it to be 
a main channel of the river. On tlieir way up the slough their at- 
tention was attracted to the general appearance of the mouth of the 
Rolling Stone Valley. On examination of this locality these town- 
site hunters found, to their disappointment, that their ideal village 


sight, 80 opportunely discovered, was occupied. Civilization had 
already sprouted on this part of the late "Sioux Purchase."' 

Israel M. Noracong claimed one hundred and sixty acres in the 
mouth of the Rolling Stone Valley, where he had built his shanty, 
his claim covering the present village of Minnesota City. They put 
up with Noracong and explained to him the object of their visit, the 
designs and advantages of the association represented by them, and 
the benefit the organization would be in the settlement of the part 
of the territory in which it was located. Mr. Noracong at once be- 
came interested in their plan of colonization. 

Finding that he was willing to compromise matters with them, 
they made arrangements by which he was induced to relinquish all 
of his claim, except about fifteen acres of land where his cabin stood, 
which included a mill-site on the stream. This mill-site is the local- 
ity where the flouring mill of A. E. Elsworth now stands. 

After satisfactory arrangements had been made with Noracong, 
and before any explorations of the surrounding country had been at- 
tempted. Haddock and Murphy, in the name of the association, 
made claim to all the lands in the valley of the Rolling Stone, and 
to all the country lying adjacent. This was the largest claim ever 
made in the county under any pretense whatever. 

They at once commenced to lay out a village plat in accordance 
with a general plan, previously adopted by the association, which 
they had brought with them. This was the first town site 
surveyed and platted in southern Minnesota. 

A rough plat of the locality was made, with which Mr. Murphy 
returned to New York city to report their discoveries. Mr. Had- 
dock remained to hold the claim and continue his survey of village 
lots. The survey was commenced with a pocket compass; the 
measurements were made with a tape line belonging to Mr. Nora- 

This locality was the scene of many important events in the early 
settlement of this county, some of which will be noted in other 

In the spring of 1852 the ice went out and the Mississippi was 
open in this vicinity on March 15. The first steamboat from below 
was the Nominee, which arrived at Wabasha prairie on April 1. 
This boat only went up as far as Lake Pepin on account of the ice. 
On its second trip it passed through the lake April 16, and was the 
first steamboat to arrive at St. Paul. 


C'apt. Smith brought up on the Nominee quite a number of pas- 
sengers, who landed on Wabasha prairie, and also some lumber and 
supplies for the settlers. As soon as the material arrived, Johnson 
built a shanty on No. 4, his claim at the up})er Umding. This build- 
ing was on what is now Center street, between Second and Front 
streets. It was 12 > 16, with a shed roof of boards, the eaves of 
which were about five feet from the ground. This was for awhile 
the hotel, the general stopping-place for all who got off at whatwas 
then known as Johnson's Landing. Every claim shanty was, how- 
ever, the stranger's home, if application was made for shelter and 

Jabez McDermott built a log shanty on his claim, a little south- 
east from where the shops of tlie "Winona & St. Peter railroad now 
stand. The roof was a covering of bark. All of the material for 
this shantv was taken from the Indian tepees which stood near by. 
This locality was the site of Wabaslia's village — the village of the 
band of Sioux of which he was the chief, and their general gather- 
ing-place. There were seven or eight of their cabins standing when 
McDermott made a claim of their village. 

These Indian tepees were constructed with a framework of posts 
and poles fastened together by withes and covered with broad strips 
of elm bark. The roof was peaked, the bark covering supported by 
a framework of poles. For the sides the strips of bark were of suit- 
able length to reach from the ground to the eaves. They were 
oblong in shape, about 15 v 20 feet, the sides about four or five feet 
high. The bark covering was fastened by poles outside secured by 
withes. No nails or pins were used in their construction. Inside 
they were provided with benches, or berths, from two to three feet 
wide and about two feet from the ground, extending around three 
sides of the hut. These seats, or sleeping-places, were composed of 
poles and bark. Some sawed lumber was also used about these 
tepees. The lumber, boards and planks, found there by the early 
settlers was probably taken from the river, brought (Town by floods 
from wrecks of rafts. 

There were two or three of these te])ees in the mouth of Gilmore 
valley near the Indian cultivation. One much larger than the others 
was about 20 X 30. There were also two or three in the mouth of 
Burns valley. They were all of the same style of architecture and 
similarly constructed. 

These cabins were but summer residences for the Sioux and were 


but temporarily occupied in cold weather, when thej usually fixed 
their hunting camps, of skin or cloth tents, in the timber on thie 
river bottoms. The Indians sometimes halted in their migration and 
stopped in them for two or three days at a time after the first settlers 
came here in 1851, but they abandoned them entirely in the spring 
of 1852. These tepees were torn down in the forepart of this season. 
While the Sioux remained in this vicinity they sometimes visited 
the settlements, and were at all times friendly without being familiar 
or troublesome. 

Soon alter tlie opening of navigation another town site was dis- 
covered on the Mississippi below the mouth of the White Water. 
Two or three brothers by the name of Hall selected this location. 
It was known as Hall's Landing. No special effort was made to 
develop its advantages until the following year, when the town ot 
Mt. Yernon was laid out, about two miles below the mouth of the 
White Water. 

During 1851 and 1852 there was quite a rush of immigration to 
the country on the upper Mississippi. Among the localities in the 
western part of the State of Wisconsin which attracted considerable 
attention from this moving population was La Crosse. After the treaty 
with the Sioux in 1851 many of these immigrants made La Crosse a 
temporary halting place until opportunity was given to make 
selections of locations on the west side of the river. A very large 
majority of the first settlers in southei-n Minnesota were of this class. 

With the exception of the colony that settled at Minnesota City, 
Winona county was first settled almost entirely by these temporary 
residents of La Crosse. During the winter some of these citizens of 
Wisconsin came up the river on the ice and selected locations on 
Wabasha prairie and in its vicinity. In the spring they, with others, 
visited this part of the territory to see the country, and made claims 
in a more formal manner. 

These claims were usually marked by writing the name of the 
claim-maker on the stakes which defined the location selected, or, if 
in the timber, the^ trees were blazed and the name of the claimant 
conspicuously displayed. As the season advanced it became neces- 
sary to represent some improvements. A few logs laid up, as if a 
future cabin was contemplated, a few furrows with a plow, or a little 
corn or vegetables planted, gave evidence that the claim was occu- 
pied. These claims were usually acknowledged by the settlers and 


rmitual protection given, although the laws governing claims were 
not fully complied with. 

Among those who came up during the winter and selected loca- 
tions, and who afterward became residents of Wabasha prairie, was 
William B. Gere, commonly called "Beecher Gere.'' lie made a 
claim south of and joining both of the claims of riohnson and 
Stevens. Although a settler could not hold, legally, but IQO acres, 
this claim was laid on a sliding scale, and for a while Beecher Gere's 
claim coA'ered twice that amount of land. 

Enos P. Williams, then in the employ of Silas Stevens at La 
Orosse, selected the location adjoining Gere's on the east. This is 
now known as Hubbard's addition. 

Elijah Silsbee selected the one next west of that claimed by Gere, 
and a man by the name of Tlobbs took that next to Silsbee's on the 

Frank Curtiss discovered that there was room for another claim 
between that selected for Scott Clark and the claims of McDermott 
and Keene, and located himself there. 

Walter Brown selected a location in what is now Gilmore valley, 
in the mouth of the ravine about where the brickyard of Mr. Ber- 
sange is now located. 

George G. Barber made choice of one adjoining Brown's in the 
valley above. 

Kev. George Chester, a Methodist minister — the lirst that settled 
in La Crosse — made a claim in Gilmore valley where the county farm 
is now located. The first sermon ever delivered to the early settlers 
of Winona county was preached by Mr. Chester on Wabasha prairie 
while on this visit to Minnesota. Mr. Chester never made any 
improvements on his claim, neither was he ever a resident of the 

A colored man, a barber in La Crosse, by the name of Williams, 
made the first claim across the slough on the upper prairie. It is 
now the residence of George I. Parsons. The claim shanty was 
near the railroad. 

Some of the early visitors from La Crosse who came up with Mr. 
Chester, Mr. Barber and others, returned without selecting locations, 
although they afterward became residents of Wabasha prairie. Dr. 
John L. Balcombe, John C. Laird and Abner S. (Toddard were 
among this number. Mention will be made of them at a later date. 

Henr\' C. Gere came up from La Crosse early in the spring, and 


landed at what was then known as Johnson's landing, witli his 
family, household goods, and lumber for a shanty. During the 
winter previous he visited the prairie and professed to have selected 
a claim, but refused to point it out, — -none of the settlers were aware 
of his choice of location. 

It afterward appeared that about the time of the "difference" 
between Bunnell and Johnson, a friendship, or rather an acquaint- 
ance was formed between Gere and Bunnell, and a plan laid to jump 
the Stevens claim. As Mr. Stevens was a non-resident, Gere was to 
locate himself on the claim with his family, and Bunnell was to aid 
him to keep possession of it. It was represented by Bunnell that 
he had selected this claim for H. C. Gere, and had made some 
designative marks on the back side of it, next to the claim selected 
by Wm. B. Gere. Until spring no boundaries were marked on any 
of the claims, except the claim-stakes driven along the bank of the 
river by Stevens and Johnson in the fall of 1851. After the frost 
left the ground in the spi-ing these claims were marked by corner 
stakes in the rear. 

Gere also pretended that he was a partner with Stevens in the 
lumber business at La Crosse when the claim was made, — that it was 
a joint speculation which Mr. Stevens ignored. 

A day or two before Gere left La Crosse with his family, Silas 
Stevens learned that he professed to have an interest in claim No. 
3 on Wabasha prairie, and that he was going there to live. Being 
well acquainted with Gere, and fearing trouble from him, Mr. Stevens 
came up to the prairie and there awaited his arrival. 

With well-assumed confidence that he had an undisputed right 
to the Stevens claim, Gere secured the services of Johnson with his 
oxen and sled, loaded with lumber, and started with a friend or two 
to take possession of it. As he approached the west boundary of 
the claim with his load of lumber, he was met by Silas Stevens, Wm. 
H. Stevens, George W. Clark and Allen Gilmore. With the excep- 
tion of Silas Stevens this party was armed, although no revolvers 
were in sight. Each carried a strong cudgel, except Wm. H. Stevens, 
who handled a gun and assumed the position of leader. He ordered 
Gere to halt and not attempt to cross the claim line with his lumber. 
This claim boundary was a line due south from the claim stake, 
which stood on the bank of the river about midway between what is 
now Walnut and Market streets. Meeting so firm an obstruction, 
Gere and his party with the load of lumber moved back on the 


prairie along the designated line, escorted by the Stevens party, 
until the south boundary of the chum was passed. The escort then 
stood guard whik' Gere put up a shanty on the claim of his nephew, 
Wm. B, Gere. 

The shanty built by JI. C. Gere stood on the east side of Franklin 
street, between AVabasha and Sanborn streets, on the lot where '' 
Thomas Burk now lives. It was 12x12 when first built, and cov- 
ered with a board roof, but was afterward enlarged to 12x18, and 
covered with a shingled roof, sloping the length of the shanty. Mr. 
Gere lived there until the sjjring of 1854, when he moved onto a 
claim in the mouth of West Burns valley. The writer occupied 
this shanty as his residence and business office in July and August, 

This was but the beginning of Gere's efforts to get possession of 
the Stevens claim. Other incidents relative to this claim will be 

Among the earliest arrivals this spring were John Evans and S. 
K.. Thompson. Mr. Thompson did not at once make a claim, but 
lived on Wabasha prairie, a passive looker-on for some time before 
he took an active part as a bona-fide settler. 

Mr. Evans was an old pioneer, familiar with pioneer life and the 
settlement of a claim country. He at once commenced prospecting, 
and soon discovered that Clark was holding two claims. Consider- 
ing this to be a favorable opportunity to secure a good location near 
the landing, he selected the one Mr. Clark had made and was hold- 
ing in the name of his brother, and announced his purpose to make 
that his claim. Clark earnestly protested against this, but Evans 
asserted that he had a right to it, that Scott Clark had never been 
in the territory, and George W. Clark was then holding a claim on 
the prairie. Evans, with the help of Thom})son, had already com- 
menced cutting logs for a cabin, but seeing that Clark was extremely 
anxious to retain the claim across the slough, offered to let him take 
his choice of the two he was holding. Finding that Evans was 
determined in the matter, Clark very reluctantly decided to relin- 
quish the first claim he had made, claim No. 6, provided Evans 
would aband(m the other. , 

John Evans then took possession of the claim relinquished by 
Clark and commenced making improvements. This was afterward 
known as the "Evans Claim." Chute's and Foster's additions were 
parts of that claim. It was on what is now known as Foster's 


addition that Mr. Evans placed his buildings. It was here that he 
lived while a resident of the county, and where he died. While 
living here Mr. Evans opened up a farm and inclosed the whole claim 
with a rail fence. He at one time had a field under cultivation which 
comprised about half of his claim, on which he raised several crops of 
wheat, corn, etc. He then disposed of a part of it (Chute's addition), 
and divided a portion into suburban lots, retaining what is now 
Foster's addition as his homestead. 

Mr. Evans did not bring his family here until late in the summer 
of 1862.— not until he had built a house for them to move into. His 
house was covered with the first shingled roof ever put on any build- 
ing on Wabasha prairie ; the first shingled roof in the city of 

The family of Mr. Evans, when he located here in 1852, consisted 
of a wife, two daughters and a son. One of the daughters married 
O. S. Holbrook; the other became the wife of Erwin H. Johnson. 
.Another daughter, the wife of James Williams, came here about 
two years after. James Williams is yet a resident of the county. 
Mr. Evans and all of his family mentioned above are now dead, 
except his son. Royal B. Evans, who is a resident of the countv! 
living in the town of Wilson. 

When George W. Clark relinquished his claim, No. 6, to John 
Evans, he took possession of the land across the slough in his own 
name. When his brother came on he aided him in securing another 
location. ^ Mr. Clark never speculated in city lots or suburban prop- 
erty.^ His choice of claims was undoubtedly the decisive point in 
his life as to his future business occupations and home. 

Mr Clark left the State of New York in 1851, with the design to 
secure to himself a farm somewhere in the western country. He first 
went to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, where he had relatives; but learn- 
ing there of the rush to the upper Mississippi country, he with others 
started on foot across the state to La Crosse. He there sought 
employment and secured a situation in the lumber yard of Silas 
Stevens, where he proposed to remain until he should learn of a 
satisfactory location for a permanent settlement. Influenced by a 
higher rate of interest than he had been familiar with in the east," he 
placed what funds he had with him in the hands of his employer. 
Familiar acquaintance increased a mutual confidence of the two in 
each other, and when Mr. Stevens decided to make a speculative 
investment on Wabasha prairie, in the Territory of Minnesota, he 


selected Mr. Clark as his agent. His arrival licre (Jii November 12, 
1851, has already been narrated. 

The force of circumstances compelled Mr. Clark to make selection 
of the farm for which he had left his father^s house and come west. 
Having decided to locate on his claim across the slough, he gave 
Lis whole time and attention to its improvement and increasing his 
possessions by securing adjoining )>ro]jerty by way ol speculation. 

The first rails used by Mr. Clark in his farming o})erations were 
the relics of a fence built by the Sioux to keej) their ponies from 
ranging over their cultivation in the mouth ot the valley above. This 
Indian fence extended from the blufis to the lake or slough on the 
bottom, about on the west boundary of his claim, and nearly on the 
west line of his farm. 

These were some of the circumstances of his first settlement 
here, which, with his. determined purpose to locate on a farm, made 
George W. Clark, the pioneer farmer, the first practical farmer to 
settle on a plaim held exclusively tor farming purposes. He began 
his first improvements on this claim in March, 1852, using the horses 
of Mr. Stevens for his first team-work, to haul the logs together 
which he had cut for the purpose of building a claim shanty, before 
it was jumped by John Evans. Mr. Clark's original claim shanty 
was located about where his hay-shed now stands, in the meadow 
near where the lane leading to his present residence leaves the Gil- 
more valley road. 

Mr. Clark has lived on the farm he now occupies about thirty- 
one years. The little log shanty and straw-covered sheds have been 
superseded by a large farmhouse and a commodious barn and sheds. 
He has been a prosperous farmer. Although others engaged in 
farming oj^erations early in the season of 1852 and made as much 
improvement on their claims as Mr. Clark, he was the first to settle 
on any land now held as a farm in this county. 



The association by which Minnesota City was first settled origi- 
nated in the city of New York in the summer of 1851. This organi- 
zation was never generally understood by the western public, nor its 
special objects clearly comprehended by the early settlers in this 
part of the territory. It is, indeed, more than prolbable that some 
of its members had but indifferent ideas of its operations and special 
design when practically demonstrated. The people generally consid- 
ered the association to be a body of fanatical communists — a social- 
istic organization with such visionary and impracticable theories ot 
colonization that failure was but an inherent destiny. These mis- 
taken ideas and false impressions prejudiced other settlers against 
them from the first. The apparently clannish exclusiveness and 
mysterious manner of the colonists confirmed these vague opinions 
and excited a jealous rivalry with settlements in other localities. A 
mutual antagonism resulted, which time alone dissipated, but not 
until long after the association had ceased to exist as an organization. 

This association was composed of persons of difl'erent nationali- 
ties, difterent religious and political opinions, and of different busi- 
ness occupation, united for a special object. It was an emigration 
society, designed to aid its members in leaving the city and forming 
a colony on government lands in the west. The organization was 
but a temporarj^ one, and never designed for any other purpose. 

That the plan of colonization was practicable under favorable 
circumstances, in the hands of practicable men and under the man- 
agement of practicable leaders, there is but little doubt. That it 
was, to a great extent, a failure, that the results were not fully in 
accordance with that anticipated from its programme of operations, 
was evidently attributable to the incapacity and inexperience of the 
"leaders rather than to radical defects in the plan. Justice to these 
pioneer settlers of the county exacts a brief sketch of the organiza- 
tion by which the colony was located. 

William Haddock, one of the discoverers of the town site at the 
mouth of the Eolling Stone valley, was the founder and president of 


the association. In July, 1851, Mr. Haddock, then a journeyman 
printer living in New York city, conceived the idea, and in a public 
lecture at a meeting ot mechanics called by him for the purpose, pre- 
sented the outlines of a plan whereby the mechanics of the city 
would be able to secure "homes in the west," to leave the city and 
locate on government lands, to go in a body and form a colony. 

His audience manifested considerable interest in the subject of 
his lecture, and appointed a committee to take the matter into con- 
sideration and draw up a code of laws for an organization on the plan 
proposed. The committee made a report the following week, and a 
form of organisation was effected, with William Haddock as presi- 
dent and Thomas K. Allen secretary. It was not, however, until 
about the middle of September that the association was considered 
fairly organized, although weekly meetings were held for the pur- 
pose of perfecting the laws and in many ways modifying the original 
])lan proposed by Mr. Haddock. 

That the plan adopted may be impartially presented, the follow- 
ing extracts have been copied from the "Constitution and By-Laws 
of the Western Farm and Village Association." 


Whereas, We whose names are hereunto subscribed are desinjus of locat- 
ing ourselves advantageously on government lands in some of our western 
states or territories, and, 

Wherkas, We wish at the same time to avail ourselves of all the advan- 
tages of civilization which can be immediately secured only by emigrating in 
large companies and settling in clpse proximity, we do hereby adopt, for the 
more efl'ectual attainment of our object, the following constitution and by-laws, 
to which each one of us subscribes and pledges himself to conform : 


Article I. Section 1. This association shall be styled "The Western Farm 
and Village Association, No. 1, of the City of New York." 

(Sec. 2 enumerates the oflicers.) 

Article II. Object and plan of action. 

Sec. 1. The object of this a.ssociation shall be the organizatii)n and si-ttlc- 
ment of one or more townships and villages on the public lands, in some of the 
western states or territories of the United States, with the view of obtaining, if 
possible, a free grant of the same from congress. 

SEt". 2. The number of members which this association may embrace shall 
not exceed five hundred, and shall c<msist of a proportional number from each 
of the principal departments of industry. 

Sec. 3. The condition u})on which congress shall be solicited to make a free 
grant of land to members of this association shall be actual settlement and im- 


provement; and no member shall be allowed to subscribe forinore than KiO 
acres and a village plat of four acres. 

8ec. 4. As soon as the fimds of this association shall permit, an experienced 
and reliable member shall be commissioned to look for a site or sites for a 
township and village, who shall, while thus employed, act under the instruc- 
tions of this association, and make such reports to the same from time to time 
as he may deem necessary, or may be required of him. 

Sec. 5. When the member thus commissioned shall have performed the 
labor assigned him a competent committee shall be elected to re-examine such 
localities as may have been reported by him, or such other places as may be 
authorized by the association ; which committee shall give a full and true ac- 
count of each locality to this body. 

Sec. 6. The sight of the township and village shall be determined by a vote 
of this association before any choice of land shall have been made by any of 
its members ; such determination to be based upon the committee of examina- 
tion, or upon such other facts, circumstances or information as may be deemed 

Sec. 7. When the site of the township shall have been chosen by the asso- 
ciation, the different kinds of land outside the village plat, such as timber, 
prairie and suburban land, shall be so laid off as to render all the landed 
advantages growing out of this association as equally available as possible. 
Maps shall be drawn representing the village, suburban, farming and wood 
plats, accomimnied by a brief description of each and every lot. When 
this shall have been done and approved by the association, the order of choos- 
ing among the members shall be settled by numbers, after which each shall 
make his selection of lots according to the number of his choice. 

Sec. 8. The village site shall be so surveyed as to allow each member of 
this association, after deducting liberally for streets and parks, to have a village 
plat (if about four acres. 

Sec. 9. The time of emigration for this association shall not extend beyond 
the 15th of April, 1852. 

Article III. (Defines the duties of officers). 

Article IV. Membership. 

Sec. 1. The qualifications for membership in this association shall be good 
moral character, industrious habits, and a willingness to conform to the consti- 
tution and by-laws. 

Sec. 2. Apphcations for admission into this association may be made 
through any member of the same, at any regular meeting ; whereupon the 
application shall be immediately laid before the board of directors ; if, upon 
investigation, he or she shall be found acceptable by a majority of the board, 
they shall rejiort accordingly at the next meeting, when, if the candidate re- 
ceive a majority of votes of the members present, he or she shall be entitled 
to a certificate of membership on payment of the initiation fee. 

Sec. 3. Every person on being elected a member of this association, shall 
pay an initiation fee of one dollar. (This was afterward raised to five 

Sec. 4. No member of this association shall be allowed to subscribe for, or 
hold more than 160 acres of land and a village plat of four acres. 


SEf. 5. Any member of this association may be suspended or expelled for 
misconduct or neglect of otiicial duties ; but no member shall be expelled 
without a fair trial by a committee of five members. 

Sec. 6. Should any member desire to withdraw from this association, he or 
she may transfer his or her interest to any person not already a member, sub- 
ject to tlu" approval of the association ; the said person shall pay a transfer 
fee of fifty cents, wliich shall be an acknowled;j;ment of his or her member- 
shij*. But in the event of this association obtaining a free grant of the land, 
this section shall be rendered null and void. 

Sec. 7. In the event of the death of a member of this association, all moneys 
paid by the deceased into the .society shall, at the option of the association, 
be promptly restored to his or her legal representatives. 

Sec. 8. Persons residing at a distance may, on being elected members of 
this association, remit their initiation fee and weekly dues to the financial 
secretary, in sums of one dollar for every eight weeks. 
Artr'le V. On the election of ofi[icevs. 

Sec. 1. All oflicers shall be elected by ballot, and shall serve until the ob- 
jects of this association shall b(; attained, unless disqualified by misconduct or 

Article VI. Dues. 

Sec. 1. The weekly dues of all members of this association shall be twelve 
and a half cents, commencing the first day of August, 1851. 

Sec. 2. No dues or initiation fees shall be refunded to members of this 
association in consequence of their withdrawal from the same. 

Sec. 3. If any member of this association shall neglect the payment of his 
or her dues for a longer time than four weeks, he or she shall be subject to a 
fine of twelve and a half cents for each succeeding week while in arrears. 
Article VII. (Relates to drawing money on deposit). 
Article VIII. On disbursement of moneys. 

Sec. 1. All moneys paid into this association shall be devoted to the pay- 
ment of such expenses as are necessary to the attainment of its object, and to 
no other purpose, and no- moneys shall be i)aid out without a vote of the 

Sec. 2. When this association shall dissolve, by its own mutual consent, the 
books of all offi(!ers shall be balanced, and if any funds remain on hand after 
settlement of all liabilities of the association, they shall be equally divided 
among the members that then exist. 

Article IX. (Enjoins harmony among the members). 
Article X. (Relates to altering or amending constitution). 


Artu'LE I. (Time and place of meeting). 
Article II. (Quorum for transaction of business). 
Article III. (Fines of officers for non-attendance). 
.\rticle IV. (How discussions shall be conducted). 

Article V. Rule of Order. — As this association is organized for a specific 
ol)ject, its rule of action shall be distinct, and no question shall be in order or 


entertained, that does not apply clearly to the object specified in the constitu- 
tion, and the means of carrying such object into effect ; neither shall anything 
of a sectarian or political character be introduced into the discussions of this 

The officers were : President, William Haddock ; vice-president, 
Wm. Skinner ; recording secretary, Thomas K. Allen ; financial 
secretary, Charles E. Wheeler ; corresponding secretary, E. B. 
Thomas; treasurer, John Brooks. 

The board of directors were Augustus A. Gilbert, J. T. Cald- 
well, James Wright, James Potter, E. B. Tanner, Charles Bannan, 
John Hughes and D. Eobertsou. 

As soon as the organization was effected the scheme was favor- 
ably advertised in the editorial columns of the New York "Tribune" 
and other papers. A few numbers of an official paper, called the 
"'Western Farm and Village Advocate," was issued by the associ- 
ation, under the editorial management of Mr. Haddock. The asso- 
ciation increased in numbers, but very many of the later members 
were from outside the city, in New York and other states. 

About the first of November Ransom Smith was commissioned 
to select a suitable location for the colony. After exploring some 
parts of the States of Wisconsin and Iowa along the Mississippi 
without accomplishing his object, he resigned his position about the 
first of January, 1852. When Mr. Smith was appointed exploring 
agent, he was specifically instructed as to the kind of location that 
he was expected to make choice of. The city members of the associ- 
ation apparently desired him to make discovery of another garden 
of Eden, with all modern commercial advantages attached. Mr. 
Smith failed to discover any locality that very much resembled the 
one pictured in the written instructions furnished for his guidance. 
The local members who controlled the organization were nearly all 
mechanics, the most of them inexperienced in matters outside of 
their business occupations 

The leaders of the organization were aware that, to insure suc- 
cess and move on the opening of navigation in the spring, prompt 
action would be necessary in the selection of a location for the colony. 
Accordingly a locating committee was appointed, consisting of Mr. 
Haddock of New York, Arthur Murphy of Hempstead, L. I., and 
A. E. Bovay, a resident of Wisconsin. 

The discoveries and selection of Rolling Stone as a location 
for the colony have been related. This selection was made with- 


tuit })roper investigation of its fitness for tliu purpose designed. 
Their examination was but superficial, and their decision prematurely 
made. They assumed that the village site was on the Mi8sissi])pi, 
but it ])roved to be six miles from a navigable channel. This selec- 
tion was a serious mistake. It was not a proper location for the 
proposed colony. This very serious mistake was, unfortunately, the 
cause of its failure. It is true Rolling Stone was first settled by the 
members of the association, but the organization collapsed before 
its specific object was accomplished. 

When the association was first organized it was supposed })0S8ible 
to secure fi*om congress a free grant of public lands for the members 
to settle upon, but in case this failed the lands were to be purchased 
fi'om the government by the members of the association, and each 
paj' for the land he occupied. 

Petitions numerously signed by members of the association and 
others were sent to congress, asking this appro}>riation for the benefit 
of the members of the colony. These petitions were presented by 
Hon. H. H. Sibley, the delegate from the territory of Minnesota. 
'No action was taken, except that the petitions were received and dis- 
posed of by being referred to the house committee on public lands. 

On the return of Mr. Murphy to New York city from Rolling 
Stone, the report of the locating committee was duly made to the 
association. It was received and approved without delay, such was 
the confidence of the members in the judgment of the. committee. 
Rolling Stone was then formally selected as the locati(^n for the pro- 
posed colony. 

A more elaborate plat of the village site was drawn from that 
furnished by the committee and lithographed for the members. It 
was numbered preparatory for the drawing, which took place March 
31, 1852. 

The following circular was then issued, and sent to each of the 
members of the organization: 

Western Farm and Village Association Office, [ 
New York, April 3, 1852. < 
Dear Sir, — The association at length have the pleasure of informing you 
of their location. Mr. Arthur Murphy, one of our locating committee, has just 
returned to this city, havinj.' in cDnjunction with our president selected a spot 
which has heen unanimously adopted as our homes. It is situated in the Ter- 
ritory of Minnesota, on the Mississippi river, about forty miles above Root 
river, and six miles above a place called Wabesha i)rairie, on a stream oi' water 
known as Kollin}.' 8tone creek; for a full description of which, with the report 


of the committee, the corresponding secretary refers you to the forthcoming 
Advocate. In the meantime, lie has been instructed to send you the following 
circular, embodying so much of the report of its last meeting as is herein con- 

After the adoption of the report of Mr. Murphy, the association, on motion, 
went into the choosing of lots ; all members whose dues were not paid up 
to the first of January being dec-lared by vote ineligible to partic;ii>ate. A com- 
mittee, consisting of Messrs. Cauldwell, Potter and Bannan,were appointed to 
choose for country members. The names of all those eligible were then 
placed in one hat, and numbers to the corresponding amount of members in 
another. Messrs. Thorp and Stradling presided over the names, and Messrs. 
Gilbert and Fitzgibbons superintended the numbers. A number was then 
taken from a hat, and a name from the other, and the number so drawn was 
the choice of the member whose name was drawn with it. The entire list of 
drawing so made is herein contained, with a map showing the position of the 
lot up to 132. The reason of there being none higher than this is that the 
committee, deeming that sufficient, surveyed no more ; and members who have 
drawn a choice over that number will be allowed to choose on the ground, 
from lots to be surveyed, or from lands forfeited by the non-settlement of mem- 
bers in July, in the order they run above the lots numbered. Mr. Haddock, 
who is now on the ground, has been telegraphed to survey 100 more ; and per- 
sons joining now will choose in the order as admitted meuibers. 

In addition to the above, the corresponding secretary has to state that the 
pioneer squad will start from here on Wednesday, the 7th, and passing over the 
Erie Railroad, will probably arrive at Chicago on or about the 14th ; thence by 
rail and team to Galena, and boat up the river. This will also be the route of 
the main body, and all members who live near the city, or who can make New 
York in their route, will meet here on April 14, to start on the loth, so as to 
arrive at Galena by May 1. 

Should the lakes not be open on April l'^ the association will not start on 
that day, but wait until they are. 

Those of our members who may not arrive at Galena by May 1, can learn 
full particulars of us by inquiring of Col. James Robinson there. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

For E. B. Thomas, Cor. Sec'y, 

102 Nassau street. 

Accompanying this circular was a plat of the village site and a 
list of the names of 174 members, with the order of their choice 
and the number of the lot chosen by or for 132 of them. 



It was designed that settlement on the lands selected for the 
colony should be made simultaneously by the fmembers of the asso- 
ciation, or as near so as practicable, to prevent intrusion from per- 
sons not belonging to the organization. As soon as the]locality was 
formally decided upon a volunteer party already organized started 
west for the Rolling Stone, to hold possession of the "claim " made 
by Haddock and Murpliy, until the arrival of the main body of the 
association. Thi^ advance guard, to which the name of "pioneer 
squad " had been given, was a party of eleven men who left T^ew 
York city on April 7. On their way they were joined by three 
others, making the total number of this guard fourteen. All of 
these were young unmarried men except one. Mr. B. Mauby, of 
New York, was accompanied by his wife and seven children. 

The pioneer sc^uad of the Western Farm and Village Associa- 
tion came up the Mississippi from Galena on the steamboat Caleb 
Cope, and landed at Johnson's Landing on Wabasha prairie on 
April 14, 1852. The Caleb Cope was under the command of Capt. 
Harris, who had chartered her to ran as an opposition boat against 
the Nominee, in place of the West Newton, which was not then 
ready for the early spring business. The fare, on this trip, was but 
fifty cents each, for passengers from Galena to Wabaslia prairie. 
Freight was in about the same proportion of discount from regular 

This party of immigrants were warmly welcomed at the landing 
by Mr. Haddock, who had been anxiously expecting them, and had 
come from Rolling Stone on purpose to meet and guide them to 
"the promised land." 

The following names of this party were furnished by a member 
of the squad who yet lives in Rolling Stone, at Minnesota City. The 
names of some of his old comrades have faded from his memory. 
He is tlie only one of the ''old guard" that is now a resident of 
Winona county. His name heads this list of names : Hezekiah 
Jones, Wm. Stevens, J. W. Viney, David Robertson, D. Hollyer, 

p:mt(}rants coming. 


K. H. BoG^the, S. Ti. Schroeder, John Hughes, Tahiiadge. 

Randall, and D. Maubv and family. 

The_y had with them quite a large amount of supplies and camp 
fixtures, including a large tent, household furniture, a cook-stove, 
tools, etc., and also brought with them two yoke of oxen and a 
wagon. The cattle, wagon and household furniture were the prop- 
erty of Mr. Mauby. The oxen and wagon were purchased for liim 
in Illinois, by Mr. H. .Jones, who came west in the fall before, and 
joined this party at Cherry Yalley, then the terminus of the rail- 

ST Settle>[ekt ok Rollix*; Stonk.'" 

road. The team and wagon were used in transporting tlieir 
baggage from Cherry Valley to Galena, where their supplies were 

This party landed at about the foot of Main street ; their freight 
was piled on a mound on the bank of the river and covered with 
the tent. It was there left in cliarge of one of their number, whose 
name is now forgotten, but who was designated as the ''cigar- 
maker.'' Leaving Mr. Mauby and liis family here the others lias- 
tened on to their destination. 

* The above cut is from a sketch taken and kindly furnished by Austin W. 
Lord. f 


Mr. ^taubv engaged Jolnison's shanty, at the upper landing, as 
a liome for liis family, until he could build a cabin for them at the 
Rolling Stone. He remained with them until they were settled in 
their temporary abode. 

No provision had been made for the subsistence of the cattle. N< > 
supplies had been brought along for them, as it was supposed that 
hay could be readily procured, but none was to be had. There 
was an unusual rise of water in the river for the time of year, and 
a strong current was running through the slough, making it difficult 
for strangers to ford to the upper prairie, and no wagon trail had 
yet been opened along the bluffs. It was decided to leave the 
wagon with the freight, but to take the cattle along, as they might 
have use for them. The oxen were taken up to the Rolling Stone, 
where they were turned loose to procure a living for themselves, 
from the old grass on the bottoms, and such Ijrowse as they were 
able to get from the brush along the stream. 

Temporary supplies were packed up by the party. They were 
ferried over the slough by the Indians in canoes. With Mr. Had- 
dock as guide, they followed the trail along tlie bluffs to Noracong's 
shanty, where Mr. Haddock was living. Noracong and his party 
were then away rafting the bhick walnut logs they had cut during 
the winter. 

Norac(mg's little shanty, about 8X12, stood about where the rail- 
road crossing now is — north from Elsworth's flouring-mill. It was 
the headquarters of the pioneer squad. Finding their accommoda- 
tions insutficient. some of the party constructed a kind of hut, to which 
the name of "Gopher house" was given. One of these " gophers ■" 
was built on the table, about fifty rods above where Troosts' 
flouring mill lately stood. Another one was on the table, about 
forty rods west from where the school building now stands. These 
huts were of logs, placed in the form of a house roof, and covered 
with dry grass from the bottoms, over which was a layer of earth 
covered with strips of turf ai-ranged to shed the rain. The earth 
inside of the hut was excavated to the depth of a foot or more to in- 
crease the area inclosed. These huts were filled with dry grass and 
used as sleeping quarters. 

This advance guard had volunteered to come on for the express 
purpose of keeping off tres})assers. Although designated the 
pioneer squad, no other duties were assigned to them or expected 
from them. They spent their time in explorations of the immediate 


- tl- 

viciiiity of their camp, and in hunting and fishing, furnishing plenti 
ful supplies of ducks and trout. They all lived in common, each 
contributing from his own stores for general use. A cook was ap- 
pointed to take charge of this department, whq called for assistants 
when aid was required. Mr. Jones and one or two others assisted 
Mr. Haddock in his survey of the village plat, to which he was 
giving his whole attention. 

In this survey, the base of operations was a straight line along 
tlie edge of the table on which Troosts' flouring-mill recently stood. 
It was there the first street was laid off, extending from the lower 
end of the table to the bluff at the upper end. The village lots and 
streets were laid off parallel with and at right angles to this street 
as a base line. 

Mr. Haddock attempted to make the survey with his pocket 
compass, to which he affixed some sights of his own invention or 
construction, but was compelled to abandon this uncertain process, 
and rely on his guide poles and measurements. A long rope and 
poles superseded the tape-line and pocket compass. About two 
hundred acres were thus surveyed before Mr. Haddock procured a 
surveyor's compass and chain, with which the survey of village lots 
and farms were completed. 

Mr. Mauby built a log shanty for his family. This stood near 
where the railroad station at Minnesota City now stands. It was 
about 12X16 feet in dimensions. The shed roof was covered with 
strips of elm bark, fastened to poles. This cabin was built on the 
village lot drawn by Mr. Mauby at the meeting of the association 
in New York city, March 31. 

On May 1, 1852, O. M. Lord, Rev. William Sweet and Jonathan 
Williams landed on Wabasha prairie from the Dr. Franklin. They 
were left by the boat at the lower landing, at about ten oY-lock in 
the evening. Applying for lodgings at Pentlers, they found the 
little cabin already full, densely crowded to overflowing. On look- 
ing about to discover what other chances were possible for sleeping 
quarters, they saw what in the darkness they supposed to be a hay- 
stack, apparently not far back on the prairie. As nothing more 
favorable presented itself, they started out from the landing with the 
expectation that they would be able to make a comfortable bed from 
the hay at the stack.' After traveling a short distance they suddenly 
became aware that what they had imagined to be a stack was but 
the form of the bluffs— the outlines of which could be seen in the 


distance — tliey were in front of the "■ Sugar Loaf," the top of which, 
a mile and a lialf away, could be dimly seen above the horizon. 
Disappointed in their pursuit of lodgings in that direction, they re- 
turned to the river and passed the night on the sand, sleeping 
soundly wrajiped in their blankets. 

At daylight they ])refaced their explorations of the country by 
taking observations of their surroundings. Except the broad river, 
then a raging flood overflowing the lowlands, and the general pictu- 
rcs(iue views extending in every direction from the landing, there was 
nothing in Capt. Smith's town site to excite their admiration or 
arouse any practical interest. The barren, sandy prairie, recently 
burned over, was almost entirely destitute of any appearance ot 
vegetable liie, except that the few trees and bushes along the river 
bank were just beginning to exhibit a faint appearance of green. 
Wabasha ])rairie was of no apparent value to these practical men, 
prospecting for good farming land. 

Without longer delay than to indulge a good apjjetite for break- 
fast, they started for the Rolling Stone, their point of destination. 
Following the trail along u}^ the river to the upper landing, they 
took a straight course over the prairie toward the mouth of the Gil- 
more valley. They were compelled to ford the slough, which was 
then flooded from the high water in the river. The crossing place, 
on the trail which they struck, was about a quarter of a mile above 
where the bridge, on the Gilmore Valley road, now stands. To 
keep their clothing dry they stripped, and carried it over on their 
shoulders, with their packs. Following the trail along the bluffs 
they readily reached Noracong's shanty, and found themselves on 
the grounds claimed by the Western Farm and Village Association, 
and were hospitably received by Mr. Haddock and such of the 
pioneer guard as were not absent on foraging expeditions to the 
trout streams in the valleys. 

Mr. Sweet was the only one of his party who was a member oi 
the association. Mr. Williams, although not a member, was a 
proxy representative, prospecting for his son-in-law, H. H. Hull, 
who belonged to the organization. Mr. Lord was not then in any 
way connected with the association. He was favorably impressed 
witli its plan of colonization, but was desirous of exploring the sur- 
roundings of the locality before deciding to make it his home. He 
was, however, afterwai-d prominently identifled with the affairs of 
the colony. 


Although the almanac plainly showed that the day of their 
arrival at Rolling Stone was Sunday, the Rev. William Sweet and 
Deacon Jonathan Williams accompanied the more liberal-minded O. 
M. Lord on a Sabbath day's journey into the wilderness back of the 
bluffs, to view the land. Proceeding up the valley of the Rolling 
Stone, they followed the trail leading out through what is now 
known as Straight Valley, onto the dividing ridge between the Roll- 
ing Stone and Whitewater. Following up this divide they came 
upon a beautiful prairie, on the edge of which they camped for the 
night. The next day they explored this locality, and each made 
choice of a claim. They gave it the name of Rolling Stone prairie, 
by which it was for a while designated. After selecting their claims 
they returned to the headquarters of the embryo colony, Nora- 
cong's shanty, and made report of their discoveries. 

This party of three was the first of any of the settlers to visit 
the country back of the bluifs of the Mississippi. The claim made 
by Mr. Sweet was the farm occupied by him for many years after- 
ward. The name of ^Rolling Stone prairie was, because of his resi- 
dence here, changed and given the name of Sweet's prairie. Mr. 
Sweet is now living near Minnesota City. The claim made by Mr. 
Williams, adjoining that of Mr. Sweet, was for H. H. Hull, who 
was then living at Scales Mound, near Galena. Mr. Hull came on 
with his wife later in the season, and occupied the claim shanty of 
Mr. Sweet through the winter. In the spring he sold the claim 
made for him by Mr. Williams, and located himself a few miles 
farther south, in what is now the town of Utica. He lived there a 
few years, when he sold out and went back to Illinois. 

After making this claim Mr. Sweet went back to his home and 
brought on a part of his family. About the middle of June, he 
with the aid of the settlers at Rolling Stone built a small log-house, 
and made some improvements on his claim. In the fall he returned 
home, leaving his son, a boy about twelve years, to remain and live 
with Mr. Hull, who, with his wife, was to occupy Mr. Sweet's shanty 
during the winter. It was made the duty of this boy to drive the 
cattle down into the Whitewater Valley to water. The boy was 
treated with a great deal of severity. During one of the coldest 
days of that winter, the boy without sufficient protection was sent to 
drive the cattle down into the vallej^ — but he never returned. Mr. 
Hull found him a few rods from the house frozen to death. The 
body was put into a sink-hole, and not buried until the next spring. 


The claim made by Mr. Lord on Sweet's [)rairie was never im- 
proved by liim ; some other settler had the benefit of his choice. 

On tlie second of May a large detachment of the main body ot 
colonists, about fifty in number, men, women and children, bound 
for the Rolling Stone, came u\) the river on the Excelsior from 
St. Louis. This party did not land at Wabasha prairie. Supposing 
it to be practicable for steamboats to go through Straight slough, if 
the oflficers of the boats were inclined to make the attempt, and on 
account of the extreme high water which made it diflicult to get to 
the maiidand from Wabasha prairie. Mi-. Haddock had advised 
this party to make it a condition of their passage that they should 
be landed at Rolling Stone. Captain Ward, of the Excelsior, 
promised to land them anywhere they wished, provided it could be 
done with safety to the boat. 

On arriving at Wabasha prairie, the pilot refused to attempt the 
passage through Straight slough, deciding that it was not a navi- 
gable channel. The party continued on, expecting to find a land- 
ing-place somewhere above. At Holmes' landing (now Fountain 
City), the boat stopped to replenish its supply of wood. They here 
found Thomas K. Allen, the secretary of the association, who, with 
Augustus A. Gilbert, one of the directors, had landed from the 
Dr. Franklin during the previous night. Mr. Gilbert had taken a 
canoe and crossed over to the Minnesota side of the river, leaving 
Mr. Allen in charge of their baggage. A cow and a breaking plow 
was a ])art of their freight. 

Learning that there was no prospect of landing from the steam- 
boat near their destination, they bargained with the master and 
owner of the wood-boat to transfer them to the other side of the 
river. The German agreed to undertake the trip for fifteen dollars, 
although he was unacquainted with the river in that vicinity, pro- 
vided they would help him get his boat back to his woodyard again. 

Taking Mr. Allen and his freight on board with the loaded 
wood craft in tow, the steamboat proceeded on up the river, unloading 
while on the way. The colonists with their freight and live stock 
were transferred to the empty scow, which was cast off when about 
a mile below the mouth of the White Water and near the Minne- 
sota shore. From there they drifted down to Rolling Stone. It 
was late in the afternoon when they left the Excelsior. By carefully 
hugging the shore they fortunately succeeded in safely landing, 
about fifty rods above where Troosts' flouring-mill recently stood. 


It was long after dark before the weary immigrants gathered around 
the camp-fire of the pioneer squad, which had been a beacon to 
guide them as they poled the sluggish craft across the ovei-flowed 
bottoms from Haddock slough, down which they had drifted 
until nearly opposite their landing-place. 

Noracong's little shanty was literally packed full of children, 
with a woman or two to care for them. The "gophers" were 
crowded to their fullest capacity. The colonists not provided with 
shelter bivouaced around the camp-fires. The night was a cool 
but pleasant one. None seemed to suffer from the exposure they 
were subject to on the first night of their arrival in their new home. 
Among the party landed from the wood-boat were S. E. Cot- 
ton, wife and child ; H. W. Driver and wife, Lawrence Dilworth, 
wife and four children; James Wilson and wife; James Hatton, 
wife and four children ; Mrs. Charles Bannon ; Dr. George F. 
Childs, wife and niece ; David Densmore, John Shaw, M. Fitzgib- 
bons, D. Jackson, William Harris, Horace Ranney, AVilliam Sperry, 
A. A. Gilbert, Thomas K. Allen and others — some families whose 
names are now forgotten. 

It was under such circumstances and condition of affairs that 
this colony was settled, and some of the members of the association 
initiated into the mysteries of pioneer life. Many were greatly 
disappointed ; the realities presented to view served to somewhat 
cloud the illusive ftmcies pictured in their imaginations, of com- 
fortable homes in the west. Some were discouraged and home- 
sick. Others, strongly dissatisfied with the location, decided to 
abandon the colony and return down the river. Some of the more 
courageous announced that they had come to stay, and notwith- 
standing the prospective hardships to be endured, they cheerfully 
set about making their arrangements accordingly. 

At daylight the next morning the freight was unloaded from 
the wood-boat, and a party of nine, principally members of the 
pioneer squad, among whom were H. Jones and William Stevens, 
assisted the proprietor to la«id it on the Wisconsin side of the river. 
On their return the same day they brought with them a small flat- 
boat, which was at first hired and afterward purchased by the asso- 
ciation. This craft was called the Macedonian. It was a 
roughly-constructed affair of sufficient capacity to carry about three 
cords of wood, and proved really serviceable to the settlers. 

The following morning some of the pioneer squad started with 


tlie Macw Ionian for Wabtislui prairie to bring up their freight and 
baggage left on their arrival in charge of the ''cigar-maker." Dr. 
( 'hilds, William Sperrjs and two other disaffected ones, who had 
decided to abandon the colony, embraced the opportunity and en- ' 
gaged passage with their families and all of their possessions and 
moved down to J ohnson's landing. The fiatboat was landed on Keen's 
claim, a little north from where the fair grounds were once located. 
From there the party walked to Johnson's and waited for a steam 
boat to take them back down the river. Dr. Childs remained in 
charge of the goods until they were hauled down by Johnson's 
ox-team, w^iich, with. Mauby's wagon, moved the freight of the 
pioneer stjuad up to the landing-place of the Macedonian. The 
tlatboat returned with the goods of the pioneer party and also car 
ried up the family of Mr. Mauby, who had been living in Johnson's 
shanty at the upper landing. 

The Macedonian was used as a freight boat during the time of 
the high water and was most ot the time under the control of Cap- 
tain Jackson. On this first trip it was under the management of 
Mr. Jones. In speaking of the matter Mr. Jones said: "The 
wind was blowing quite strong from the east that day and we were 
heavy loaded both ways. The trip down was a hard one. Think- 
ing to make the return trip easier, I tore off two or three strong 
poles from the Indian tepees, which we passed on our way up from 
Johnson's, and rigged a sail by hoisting a portion of the canvas of 
our tent. We went up at a good rate of speed, but kept in shoal 
water to j)lease some who were afraid to venture out." This flat- 
boat was usually propelled by oars and poles or was dragged over 
the flooded bottoms on the upper prairie by means ot long ropes, 
the men who performed this service sometimes wading in the shal- 
low water. 

The large tent, which had been brought along by the advance 
party and used to shelter their goods at Johnson's landing, was put 
up at Kolling Stone as soon as it arrived at that place. Its location 
was about twenty rods east of where Stewart's hotel now stands. It 
afforded some accommodations for the houseless settlers, until they 
could build more comfortable places for themselves. With their 
cooking-stoves arranged under the trees, where they cooked and 
took their meals, the tent afforded shelter and sleeping quarters for 
several families, besides protection for some of their most valuable 
goods. They were abundantly supplied with provisions. Unaccus- 


toraed to pioneer life they hardly knew what to do or where to 
begin to make homes for themselves on the village lots apportioned 
to each member before he left 'New York. They were mechanics 
of different trades, and were willing to use any means in their 
knowledge to make their families comfortable, but they could not 
build houses without lumber, and none was to be obtained at any 
price. But few of the men were handy with the axe or understood 
how to build a log house. 

Seeing the urgent necessity and imperative demand made for 
lumber, O. M. Lord, accompanied by Mr. Densmore, went up the 
Chippewa river and brought down a small raft of lumber, which he 
landed safely about where the wood-boat with its passengers reached 
the shore. 

Mr. Lord here opened the first lumber yard ever in operation in 
this county. He readily retailed his lumber in small lots and soon 
exhausted his stock without supplying the demand. He was then 
engaged by the members of the association to go up to the mills on 
the Chippewa and purchase a large bill of lumber which they 
ordered. He was to attend to the sawing, rafting and delivery of 
the same. This raft was brought down from the Chippewa, attached 
to a large raft destined for some point on the Mississippi below, 
and cast off at the head of the slough. He made a successful trip 
and landed his raft at ' ' Lord's Lumber Yard. " 



Late in the evening of May 4, 1852, a party of immigrants, 
destined for the colony at Rolling Stone, landed from the Nominee 
at Johnson's landing. With this party were Rev. E. Ely, E. B. 
Drew, C. R. Coryell, W. H. Coryell, Jacob S. Denman, E. B. 
Thomas, Robert Pike, Jr., Ira Wilcox, Isaac A. Wheeler, H. Clary, 
D. Jackson, William Christie, and others whose names are now for- 

Rev. Edward Ely came up from La Crosse as a passenger on 
this boat. He did not belong to the association, neither was he 


ever a member of that organization. It was, liowover, through its 
infiuence that lie was induced to come to Minnesota. 

Mr. Ely was at that time a Baptist preacher — a shepherd without 
a flock, a pastor awaiting a providential call to a ministerial charge. 
While in St. Louis with his family, in transitu from the State of Ohio 
to wherever the Lord in his wisdom might send him, he was 
accosted by florace Kanney, an acquaintance of his boyhood, who 
was a member of the Western Farm and Village Association, and one 
of the party then embarking on the Excelsior for the colony at Roll- 
ing Stone in the Territory ot ]\Iinnesota. 

In a few words Mr. Ranney explained the object of the associa- 
tion, and readily induced Mr. Ely to put his family and effects, which 
were then on the levee, on board the steamboat and accompany 
them to the promised land. This party was the one that landed 
from the wood-boat on May 2, as already related. He accompanied 
them as far as La Crosse, where he stopped off with his wife and 
two children to afford them comfortable quarters while he visited 
the colony and acquired some knowledge of tlie country into which 
he had almost involuntarily drifted without any special information 
relative to its demands or resources. 

Leaving his family with some kind Baptist friends, he came up 
on the Nominee to Wabasha prairie, intending to pin Mr. Ranney 
and his friends at Rolling Stone. The disaffection exhibited by 
some of the members who landed with him, and the action of Dr. 
Child, influenced him to abandon his design to locate himself in the 
colony and perhaps decided his future course in life. He settled at 
Johnson's landing on Wabasha prairie and became a permanent 
resident of the county and of the city of Winona, where he yet 

The estimable qualities of his excellent wife endeared her to the 
early pioneers. Words will hardly express the high esteem enter- 
tained by the citizens of Winona for Mrs. Ely. Her remarkable 
talent as a portrait ])ainter, duly appreciated by her many friends, 
h^s been for many years utilized as a source of income. 

E. B. Drew and the Coryell brothers, C. R. and W. H. Coryell, 
were relatives — cousins. They were also partners in their business 
transactions. These hardy young men were practical farmers and 
had previously had some familiarity with pioneer life. They brought 
with them three yoke of oxen and a cow. A large breaking plow 
and an assortment of farming tools formed a part of their outfit and 


freight. The big covered wagon with which they came through 
from Chicago to Galena, where they took the boat, was one that had 
been constructed for them tlie year before for a proposed trip across 
the country to Oregon. The wagon-box was made water-tight, that 
it might be serviceable as a float in fording streams. This was 
liberally stored with supplies. 

J. S. Denman was accompanied by his mother, wife and four 
children, and bi"ought with him a team of four horses and a large 
covered wagon, which he used in transporting his family from 
Brooklin, Michigan, to Galena. He also had a breaking plow, farm- 
ing tools and abundant provisions. 

E. B. Thomas was from the city of New York. From the first 
organization of the association he had been an active oflScial member, 
the corresponding secretary and a financial agent. 

Kobert Pike, Jr., and Eider Wilcox were on a prospecting trip, 
having left their families in Illinois. As soon as it was light, they, 
with others, went directly to the colony. 

Mr. Pike had been engaged for several years in teaching and 
lecturing on a system of mnemonics, which he had cultivated and on 
which subject he had published a book of about one hundred and 
fifty pages. He joined the association in the fall previous, while 
living in the State of New York, and came to Illinois, where he had 
been lecturing on his favorite topic and teaching a school during the 
winter. After he came here he became prominently identified in 
the matters of the colony and in county afiairs, and held ofiicial 

Isaac A. Wheeler, with his son John and H. Clary, came on 
with Mr. Drew's party. They each brought with them a yoke of 
oxen. These men remained at Rolling Stone until fall, when they 
left and went down the river to Indiana. 

The reports brought down by Dr. Childs were somewhat dis- 
couraging to these members of the association. Mr. Denman 
and Mr. Thomas forded the back slough on horseback and went up 
to Rolling Stone. Having been previously prejudiced, they very 
promptly expressed their dissatisfaction of the selection made for 
the village site and at once abandoned all ideafe of settling in that 
locality. Without delay they returned to the landing. 

Greatly surprised at this abrupt and decisive action on the part 
of these members, Mr. Haddock accompanied them down. He did 
not like to lose the aid and influence of his ardent co-worker in the 


organization and management of the association without some effort 
to rechiim him, but he failed by any arguments presented to induce 
him to reconsider his decision. 

Learning that Mr. Thomas designed to withdraw from them 
entirely, Mr, Haddock made a formal demand for the funds in his 
hands. Mr. Thomas had in his possession a small amount of 
money, initiation fees and weekly dues, but he declined to surren- 
der it until his accounts were properly audited and accepted. He 
was then denounced as a defaulter to destroy his influence with 
otlier members. This tinancial matter was subsequently settled at 
the flrst meeting of the association in Rolling Stone. 

Mr. Drew and the Coryells were not satisfied with the reports 
made by Denman and Thomas, nor influenced by the opinions of 
Dr. Childs and his friends, who were then stopping in Johnson's 
shanty. They "proposed to go up there and look around for them-' 
selves." In the afternoon Mr. Drew and C. R. Coryell accom- 
panied Mr. Haddock on his return. 

At the crossing place on the back slough an old canoe was kept 
for the accommodation of the settlers. It would carry two persons 
comfortably but was unsafe with more. Mr. Coryell took the pad- 
dle to set Mr. Haddock across, intending to return for his partner. 
To save time Mr. Drew stripped and, throwing his clothing into the 
canoe, followed them over. The water was about four and a half 
feet deep on the trail, but deeper above and below. The current 
was strong, and a person was liable to drift into deep water. 

By permission, the following entries have been copied from the 
diary and memoranda of E. B. Drew : 

"Landed on Wabasha prairie, Minnesota Territory, Tuesday 
night after 11 o'clock. May 4, 1852. 

"Wednesday, May 5 : Went up to Rolling Stone this afternoon 
and visited the new settlement. Some are homesick and talk of 
leaving. Found O. M. Lord, from Michigan, there. He was help- 
ing to cover Mauby's slianty with a roof of elm-bark. He has 
been back twenty-five or thirty miles and reports a good country 
and rich soil, and says he shall settle in this part of the country. 
We have no women or children to get homesick, and we shall stop 
here too. Took the flatboat down to the lower prairie, Mr. Lord 
came down to our camp and staid all night with us. 

"Thursday, May 6: Left Wabasha prairie. It is a barren, 
sandy, desolate-looking^ place, recently burnt over. Would not 


give ten cents an acre for the whole of it. Forded the slough with 
our teams and cow ; crossed without accident, although the water 
was deep with a strong current. Had to raise the wagon-box on 
the bolsters to keep the water out. All our traps are now at 
Kolling Stone." 

Mr. Clary crossed the slough with his oxen at the same time 
and went up with Mr. Drew. Mr. AVheeler remained on the prairie 
for a day or two before he joined them at the colony. 

When Mr. Lord was consulted relative to these incidents he 
assumed a reflective attitude for a moment and then with an alm*ost 
audible smile, replied : "That is correct. Wheeler did not come up 
with Drew. I have reason to remember it. I went down to the 
prairie the next day and stopped at his camp, not far from where 
the road now crosses to the upper prairie. After the usual saluta- 
tions, Wheeler remarked : ' I suppose you are hungry about this 
time of day. ' I was hungry as a wolf, and I told him I would 
take a bite if it was handy. We were not very regular in our 
meals at that time, and I saw the coffee-pot and a few brands smok- 
ing where they had had a fire. He then took out two' or three 
handfuls of hard biscuit, which he laid on the box where he had 
been sitting, and said to his son, ' Bring on that meat.' Just then 
he discovered that his cattle were straying off and started after them. 

"The boy brought the meat in a frying-pan and put it on the box. 
I took hold and made out quite a hearty meal before Wheeler got 
back. When he returned he glanced at the empty frying-pan and 
called out to his son, 'Ho, Donald! didn't I tell you to cook 
some of that ham for supper?' 'Yaas,' replied the youngster, in 
a surly tone ; ' I got a right smart chance on it, but that chap 
gobbled it all.' Wheeler saw the state of affairs almost as soon as 
I did, and said, 'Wal, wal, cut some more, can't you? there's 
plenty of it. ' I was somewhat surprised and not a little chagrined 
to discover that I had eaten up the su]:)])er of two hearty and hungry 
persons, which they had just prepared for themselves. I supposed 
that they had just completed their meal as I came into their camp." 

E. B, Drew's loaded wagon was the first to ford the slough and 
the first along the bluffs. No wagon trail had ever been opened. 
O. M. Lord was the pilot and guide on the trail. In crossing the 
slough Mr. Drew gave his special attention to the care of his cow. 
In his anxiety for her safety he was forgetful of self and got a 
" duck " or two. His clothing was in the wagcm and did not suffer 
fi-om his mishaps. 


This loaded wagon was tlie first to make its entrance into the 
colony of the Western Farm and Village Association. They crossed 
the creek near Noracong's shanty, Mr. Noracong himself selecting 
the fording place and directing their movements. This covered 
wagon was used by Drew and the Coryells as their headquarters — 
their home for some time after their arrival. 

The cow was an important item of their possessions. Bread 
and milk, mush and milk, and milk as a beverage, were staple luxu- 
ries. Fresh butter of home production was sometimes indulged in. 
Their cooking was done by their camp-tires. Bi-ead was baked in a 
tin oven before the fire. Sometimes they used an iron bake-kettle, 
which they covered with hot ashes and coals. For boiling, a kettle 
was usually suspended over the fire from a pole supported, on 
crotches. Mr. Drew says a heavy tin bucket made the best camp- 
kettle. It would heat quickly and economized time in cooking. 
These, with the frying-pan and coft'ee-pot, "were the most important 
cooking utensils of their camp outfit. Their supplies furnished 
them a variety in the way of diet. Fresh brook trout were plentiful 
and common in their camp. 

About daylight on the morning of Sunday, May 9, 1852, another 
large party, on their way to Rolling Stone, was landed on \Va))asha 
prairie from the Dr. Franklin. Among these passengers were 
Robert Thorp and son, Robert Taylor, wife and three children, D. 
McRose, wife and three children, John Burns, wife and three 
children, James Gardner, wife and daughter, a young woman, and 
quite a nuinber of others. 

On account of the flood and insufficient means for transportation 
they were detained at Johnson's landing several days. They built 
a shelter on the bank of the river by piling up their boxes, forming 
a small inclosure which they covered with boards found near by. 

One of the party, Robert Thorp, furnished the following inci- 
dent. He is yet a resident of the county, a hale and hearty old 
farmer, living in the town of Rolling Stone. lie has preserved his 
certificate of membership and a copy of it has been procured to show 
the form of this relic of the association : 

No. 37. Thi.s is to (Certify that Robert Thorp has paid his initiation fee and 
has been elec^ted a member of the Western Farm and Villas^e Association No. 1 
of the city f)f New York. William Haddock, President. 

Charlks E. Wiikelkk, Financial Secretary. 

October 15, 18.51. 


These cei'tificates are embellished with emblems of industry and 
civilization. But two of them liave been preserved. The other is 
held by James Wright, of Minnesota City, to whom it was given. 
It is No. 15, and dated August 15, 1851. 

When the association was first organized its members were 
mechanics of different occupations living in the city. Mr. Thorp 
was a blacksmith, and had worked at his trade in New York foi- 
about twenty years. He was born in England. 

He left New York on April 15, 1852, with the members of the 
association who started at that date, taking with him his eldest 9on, 
John. The remainder of his family, consisting of his wife and tliree 
boys, Thomas, Robert and William, remained in the city about a 
month before they joined him in Minnesota. All except the last are 
yet living. 

Mr. Thorp brought with him his blacksmith tools and all things 
necessary to start a shop in the new colony, and also some house- 
hold goods. On account of delay in the transfer of his heavy freight 
at Dunkirk he was left behind his party. On reaching Chicago he 
shipped his own goods and the goods and baggage of William 
Christie, D. Jackson and others down the canal and Illinois river to 
8t. Louis, taking passage over the same route. 

At St. Louis Mr. Thorp bought his supplies in connection with 
Taylor, Burns, McRose and Gardiner, members of the association, 
who were there on their way to the colony. They took passage to 
Galena, where they were transferred to the Dr. Franklin. 

To his great surprise and sorrow Mr, Thorp learned that William 
Christie, who left him at Chicago and whose baggage was with his 
own freight, had died but a few hours before and was then lying in 
Johnson's shanty. Mr. Christie had arrived a few days previous on 
the Nominee and had been up to Rolling Stone. On Saturday he 
came down expecting to meet Mr. Thorp at the landing. On his 
way he forded the back slough, and without changing his wet cloth- 
ing lay down to rest, complaining of not feeling well. He was 
taken with what was supposed to be cholera, and died before 

Mr. Christie was a Scotchman — a large, strong and healthy 
young man when he landed here. He was highly respected by his 
acquaintances for his good qualities. He joined the association in 
New York cit}^, where he was working at his trade as a machinist. 
For economy he, with others, walked from Cherry Valley to Galena 


and came up tlio river as deck passengers. While at Rolling Stone 
he had been almost without shelter ; the demand was much greater 
than the accommodation. Provisions of every kind were abundant 
and none suffered from want of sufficient food. The colonists were 
lil:>ei-al in relieving each other when aid was required. 

William Christie was buried on the Evans claim. His coffin 
was made by E. H. Johnson from the common unseasoned pine 
boards lying on the bank of the river. A short funeral sei-vice was 
held in the open air in front of the shanty by the Rev. Edward Ely. 
Mr. Thorp, with other members of the association, accompanied by 
the settlers and strangers on the i)rairie, followed the dead body to 
the grave and aided in depositing it in its last resting-place. 

The occurrence was one long to be remembered. William 
Christie was comparatively a stranger. He had died suddenly, far 
away from the land o± his birth and from his personal friends and 
relatives. His death was the first on Wabasha prairie, the first 
among the members of the association and the first among the 
settlers in the county. His funeral was the first, but before the 
summer was passed funerals were frequent both on Wabasha prairie 
and in the settlement at Rolling Stone. A young man by the name 
of Moi-gan, a stranger, died after a short sickness not long after 
("Christie's death. 

A fatal sickness attacked the families camj^ed on the bank of the 
river. Robert Taylor lost two of his children here. He removed 
his sick wife to La Crosse, where she soon after died. Mr. McRose 
lost two children ; one of them died on the flatboat while on the way 
to Rolling Stone. 

Mr. Thorp stopped at Johnson's landing for a few days until he 
could get transportation for his freight and supplies. He then went 
to Rolling Stone to prepare for the arrival of his family. For tem- 
])orary accommodation, which could be the most readily provided, 
he built a ''gopher" on the lot drawn by him before he left New 
York. This location was in the field a little above where the barn 
of James Kennedy now stands. This hut was an improvement on 
the ordinary structures of the kind. It was about 12x12. The 
basement, or part below the surface, was lined with a framework of 
logs. It was here that the family of Mr. Thorj) began housekeeping 
in Minnesota. 

In the morning of May 12th another large party of innnigrants for 
the colony landed from the Caleb Co])e at Johnson's landing. 


Owing to unfavorable reports in circulation down the river relative 
to the condition of affairs, some left their families at Galena and 
came up to explore the country. Among these were James Wright, 
John Nicklin, David Duryee, James Brooks and many others. 
Some who landed with their families were compelled to put up 
temporary shelters on the bank of the river to protect themselves 
from the drizzling rain while waiting for transportation. 

Although the day proved to be stormy, a large number of the 
men went directly to Rolling Stone. As there was insufficient shelter, a 
company of nine built a "gopher" for their immediate use. This 
was constructed by digging a hold about 8X 12 and about eighteen 
inches deep, over which a cover was made. Tli^ body of this struc- 
ture was of small basswood logs, about eight feet long and about 
eight or ten inches in diameter. These logs were split and placed 
on end close together along the sides and one end of the hole in the 
ground, with the tops resting on a ridge-pole supported on posts 
with a crotch at the top. This framework was covered with coarse, 
dry grass and a layer of earth, over which was laid a covering of 
sod. The turf, by careful arrangement, made a roof that readily 
shed the rain of ordinary showers. 

In this "gopher hole," on a floor of dry grass, the nine men of 
this company slept the first night of their arrival, and occupied it as 
their lodging-place for a week or two afterward. This "gopher" 
was built on the land now owned by James Wright, and where he 
now lives in Minnesota city. It was afterward used as a stopping- 
place for the family of Mr. Wright. The most of this party of 
explorers decided to continue in the colony. Some sent for their 
families, others went down the river to escort them up. Mr. Wright 
and Mr. Mcklin were among tlie latter. 

Mr. Charles Bannon came up the river on the Caleb Cope. He 
was one of the directors of the association and one of its earliest 
members. He, with his wife, started from New York with the party 
that landed from the wood-boat at Rolling Stone. While on the 
way up the river he left the boat at Davenport and, in company with 
M. A. Allen, stopped to buy cattle. Mr. Bannon purchased three 
yoke of oxen and Mr. Allen two yoke, which they drove through 
the country to Dubuque, where they took passage with their stock. 
These oxen were designed for use as breaking-teams and for general 
farm work. 



To catch the drift from the colony above, Johnson offered the 
choice of an acre of his claim on Wabasha prairie to each of the 
disaffected ones who would stop there, build a house, and make it 
their residence for one year. At that time the claim had not been 
surveyed or divided into lots and streets. This offer was accepted 
hy several and a number of locations selected. 

Rev. E. Ely made choice of an acre south of Johnson's shanty, 
about where the Ely block now stands, on the corner of Center 
and Second streets. Jacob S. Denman selected an acre adjoining 
that of Mr. Ely's on the east ; Dr. Childs an acre on the south of 
Mr. Ely's ; E. B. Thomas on the south of Mr. Denman's and east 
from that of Dr. Childs' ; John Evans selected an acre west of John- 
son's shanty ; Jolm Burns, a member of tlie association and one of 
the party who camped on the bank of the river from the Dr. Frank- 
lin on the 9th of May, accepted the offer of an acre from Ed. Ham- 
ilton on his claim on the same conditions as the others. The acre 
chosen by him was in what is now the front yard of the residence of 
Hon. H. W. Lamberton, on the corner of Huff and Harriett streets. 

Mr. Burns planted a small garden and set out a few small apple- 
trees, which he had brought up the river. Some of these trees 
afterward grew to be of considerable size. These were the first 
fruit-trees, or trees of any kind, planted on Wabasha prairie by the 
early settlers. These fruit-trees were planted in a trench near 
together, as in a nursery. When Mr. Huff took possession of the 
Hamilton claim he built a fence around the few trees that had 
escaped the ravages of the cattle, and after two or three years trans- 
planted them in his garden. 

W. H. Stevens gave the use of his shanty on the Stevens 
claim to Mr. Denman until he could procure lumber and build a 
residence for his family. Mr. Denman found occupation for his 
team and plow by breaking the land selected for himself and others. 
They all made small gardens by way of occupancy and improve- 
ments. Mr. Denman enclosed his acre and that selected by Mr. 


Thomas with a temporary fence and planted the field with corn. 
This was his first attempt at farming in Minnesota, It was not a 
profitable enterprise. The fence that enclosed this corn-field was 
the first fence built on the prairie by the settlers. It was put up by 
George W. Clark and his brother Wayne Clark. Mr. Den man paid 
them for it by breaking four acres of land on Clark's claim across 
the slough. 

Neither Mr. Thomas, Dr. Childs or Mr. Burns ever made any 
other improvements on the lots selected. They abandoned them 
and made locations elsewhere. Mr. Thomas and Mr. Burns held 
claims in the colony, but left the territory in the fall. Dr. Childs 
remained on the prairie for several years after. 

Mr. Denman built a house on his acre of prairie as soon as he 
could procure lumber. Mr. Ely built one in the fall. During the 
summer his family lived in Johnson's shanty after they came up 
from La Crosse, where they staid for a short time. He paid John- 
son four dollars per month rent for the use of the "Hotel." 

The house built by Mr. Denman stood on Lafayette street, be- 
tween Second and Third streets. This was the first house built by 
the settlers on Wabasha prairie, not expressly designed as a "claim 
shanty." It was a balloon frame building of considerable preten- 
sions for that date of improvements, about 16x32, one story high, 
the sides boarded ' ' up and down " with rough boards and the 
cracks battened. The roof was of boards, and because of its pecu- 
liar construction the building was given the name of " car-house," 
from its fancied resemblance to a railroad car. The doors and win- 
dows were furnished with frames and casings — the first improve- 
ments of the kind. The floor was of dressed lumber, a luxury 
heretofore unknown. This building was divided into rooms by 
board partitions, and parts of it ceiled with dressed lumber. 

Mr. Denman occupied this house as his residence until fall, 
when he moved on his claim. About the first of July he opened a 
store in the front room of this building. He brought up from 
Galena a small stock of goods suitable for the market, and here 
started the first store on Wabasha prairie for the sale of goods to 
the settlers. Jacob S. Denman was the first merchant to establish 
himself in business in what is now the city of Winona. 

It was in the "car house" that the first white child was born 
within the limits of this city. While living here the family of Mrs. 
Denman was increased by the addition of a daughter on the 18th of 


July, 1852. Mrs. (loddard, after consultation with Mrs. Ely, <2^ave 
to this first native settler the name of "Prairie Louise Dennian/' 
the name by which she was afterward known. She has been dead 
many years. The oldest native settler, born in the city of Winona, 
who is now living, is Mason Ely, the second son of Rev. Edward 
Ely, born in 1853. 

The primary object of all of the early settlers was to secure land 
for farming purposes on which to locate a future home. About the 
firs^ thing done was to "make a claim." Mr. Denman began 
prospecting as soon as he landed, and on the 9th of May discovered 
and fornuilly made a claim on the upper prairie. He and his 
mother there held 320 acres. The high water flooded the bottom 
lands, and their claims covered all of the land not overflowed, lying 
east from the Rolling Stone creek, to about where the highway now 
crosses the railroads, and extended south far enough to include the 
table next to the bluffs. It was on this table that he blazed the 
trees and inscribed his name as proprietor of the claim. It was 
on this table that he built a very comfortable log house, made other 
improvements, and moved his family there in September. The 
land selected by Mr. Denman had been previously claimed by Had- 
dock and Murphy for the Western Farm and Village Association. 
Mr. Denman was duly notified that he was trespassing on grounds 
claimed for the colony, but he persisted in holding it and making 
improvements, without regard to the protestations of the members 
of the association. 

This .was the first collision of a settler with that organization. 
The first person to encroach on the territory claimed was an ex- 
member. To get Denman off, the colonists tried "moral, legal and 
physical suasion, but he tenaciously adhered."" He lived in this log 
cabin under the bluffs for abr)ut three years, until he built a more 
modern house and large barns near the center of his farm. This 
claim, or, more properly, the claims of Denman and his mother, are 
now known as the Denman farm. It is at present owned and occu- 
pied by Mr. George Fifield. 

Mr. Denman sacrificed this large farm, which he had secured by 
honest industry and years of hard labor, in his mistaken zealous, 
efforts to aid the " Grange movement" for cheaj^er freights, cheaper 
supplies and cheaper agricultural implements. He removed to 
Texas, but his good luck at farming failed him there. It is said that 
Mr. Denman is now a poor man, and in his old age again a pioneer, 


looking for "a home in the west" in one of the territories. None 
of his family are now living in this county. 

Dr. George F. Childs, with his wife and niece, lived for a short 
time in Johnson's shanty. While there his niece was taken with the 
measles and died after a few days' sickness. The remains were 
taken to La Crosse for burial. 

About the middle ot May Dr. Childs bought the east half of the 
claim made by Jabez McDermott. He paid McDermott eighty dol- 
lars for a quit-claim deed and possession of the eighty acres. This 
was the lirst claim sale on Wabasha prairie. Whether this deed was 
ever made a matter of record is now very uncertain, as at that time 
there was no county organization in Wabasha county, of which 
Winona county was a part. All matters of record were filed in 
Washington county, with which Wabasha was connected for all 
judicial purposes. Possession ot land was then more important than 
title-deeds. The land still belonged to government and no surveys 
had been made. 

The machine-shops and surrounding buildings of the Chicago & 
Northwestern Eailroad Company, the Winona wagon-works and 
the Winona plow-works are on what was once the McDermott claim. 
This locality was a favorite camping-place of Wabasha's band. 
When Dr. Childs took possession there were about half-a-dozen of 
their large bark cabins, or tepees, yet standing, but in a somewhat 
dilapidated condition, the settlers having taken material from them 
for use in other localities. In the vicinity of the machine-shops was 
an old Indian burying-place. The graves were scattered over that 
locality ; very many were exposed and destroyed in the excavations 
made. Kelics of the past — stone hatchets, flint ■ arrowheads and 
pipes of red pipestone — were found. Sometimes fragments of bones 
or a tolerably well preserved skeleton would be unearthed and used 
to help form a railroad embankment in some other locality. 

Indian graves have been found in several places on Wabasha 
prairie and in the mouths of the valleys. Quite a number were 
exposed by the caving of the river bank on the lower part of the 
prairie. Two modern Indian graves were on Johnson's claim when 
the whites first took possession of the prairie. They were left undis- 
turbed for several years. ' The covering of sticks which were placed 
over them by the natives marked their location until the ground was 
plowed by Johnson in the spring of 1855. These graves were on 
lot 2, block 17.. When it was improved and buildings were erected, 


the bones bariiHl there wore thrown out in excavating a cellar and 
taken possession of by Dr. Franklin Staples. These bones were the 
remains of young persons and were very much decayed. It has 
been stated that some of Wabasha's children were buried in these 
graves, but there is no evidence confirming this statement. Wa- 
basha's special home was in the mouth of Burns valley. 

The Indian village located on the McDermott claim, a part of 
which was |)urchased by Dr. Childs, was said to be the grand 
gathering-place of the Mdaywakantonwan division of Sioux. It 
was in this vicinity that Wabasha's bands met for their amusements, 
sports and games, as well as more serious and important aflairs. 
From this village the Indian trails diverged as h'om a common cen- 
ter, some leading to the valleys, others up and down the bank of 
the river. The wild grass, common on every other part of the 
prairie, had almost entirely disappeared around this village or sum- 
mer resort, and had been replaced by a fine turf of blue-grass found 
in no other place except along the bank of the river on the lower 
part of the prairie, where Mrs. Keyes now lives. 

Mr. George W. Clark says "That on McDermott's claim there 
was a large flat stone, the center of a large circle of smooth, level 
ground, with well defined boundaries, plainly to be seen in 1851. 
This stone was taken away by some of the early settlers." 

Dr. Childs lived during the summer of 1852 in the little cabin 
with a bark roof whicli McDermott occupied as his claim shanty. 
He built a comfortable cottage near by it, in which he lived for sev- 
eral years. The logs and poles of the Sioux tepees were used in the 
construction of sheds and as posts for his fences. The bark covering 
of the huts was carefully gathered and used as firewood for his kit- 
chen stove. 

It was the custom of Dr. Childs to date all of his correspondence 
and business papers from his residence on this claim, to which he 
gave the name of " Ozelle cottage." This name was derived from 
the one given by the old French voyageurs to Wabasha prairie. 
Ozelle was but the French pronunciation of Aix Aile anglicized by 
Dr. Childs in writing. 

When Dr. Childs left New York he supposed that he would find 
the Indians occupying this part of the territory, and brought along 
an assortment of goods for the purpose of bartering with them, but 
found that the Sioux had forsaken their homes in this localitv. He 


after a time traded his Indian goods with the Winnebagoes for 
dressed deerskins and got rid of his goods without loss. 

Dr. Childs was a botanic physician, but never practiced liis pro- 
fession in tliis vicinity, 'or only to a very limited extent. He engaged 
in mercantile business for a year or two after he sold his land. He 
moved to Minneiska, Wabasha county, where he lived for awhile. 
Dr. G. F. Childs is now a resident of the State of Maryland, where 
he has charge of a benevolent institution, a home for aged people. 

Among the passengers who landed at Johnson's landing from 
the steamer Caleb Cope on May 12, 1852, were Abner S. Goddard, 
wife and three children, from La Crosse. They arrived at about 
four o'clock on a dark and rainy morning, and went directly from 
the landing to the shanty on the Stevens claim, in accordance with 
a previous arrangement made with Silas Stevens. On reaching the 
shanty they were surprised to find the table, benches and other fur- 
niture of the cabin, which they supposed to be occupied, irregularly 
piled outside. When the inmates were aroused they discovered 
that the furniture had been removed to aflord sleeping quarters for 
the occupants. William H. Stevens and a young man living with 
him held one corner, while the family of Mr. Denman, seven in 
number, were in possession of the remainder of the little 10xi2 
shanty, not occupied by the cook-stove. To accommodate the new- 
comers, the future occupants of the cabin, Mr. Denman provided for 
his family by making a shelter for them with the lumber he had laid 
up loosely to dry for use in the house he was then building. While 
living in this manner the loose boards were blown from over their 
heads during a severe thunderstorm one night when they were 
all in bed. They were compelled to seek shelter in Johnson's 
shanty, but again occupied their lumber piles in the morning and 
continued to do so until their house was finished. 

During the previous winter Mr. Goddard had "been living in La 
Crosse. He there taught the village school — the first school ever 
taught in La Crosse, the first school ever taught on the Mississippi 
river between Prairie du Chien and St. Paul, if tlie Indian mission 
schools at Red Wing and Kaposia are excepted. His schoolroom 
was in the court-house, which was built during the fall and fore part 
of the same winter. To add to their income and to accommodate 
some personal friends, Mrs. Goddard opened a boarding-house. 
"Aunt Catharine's" table was then, as it is now, always full, with- 
out soliciting patronage. Silas Stevens became a boarder and made 


it liis home with them wliile in LaOosse. After the attempt of Mr. 
Gere to jump the Stevens chiim Mr. Stevens offered to furnish Mr. 
( locklard a shanty of suthcient capacity to keep a boarding-house on 
Wabaslia prairie if he woukl go up and live on liis chiim, and also 
promised him an acre of the claim on which to build a house if he 
would continue to reside there. Others, then living in La Crosse, 
who had made claims, urged him to accept Mr. Stevens' proposition. 
As Mr. Goddard had been up to the prairie with a party of claim- 
hunters early in the spring, and had been solicited by the settlers 
in that locality to come up, he was the more readily induced to 
change his residence. 

Immigrants were landed from every boat, and the little shanty 
was crowded with hungry guests as soon as their arrival was known. 
Meals were provided for all that came, but they were required to 
look out for their own lodging-places. The beds of their guests were 
sometimes the soft sands of the prairie, the bed clothing their ordi- 
nary wearing apparel with the addition of a blanket. 

Three or four days after the arrival of Mr. Goddard, another 
shanty was put up by Mr. Stevens to meet the increasing business 
and the demand for better accommodations. This shanty was a one- 
story building about 16x32. To increase its capacity an awning of 
canvas was stretched from one side, which served as a shelter for 
the cooking department. The two rooms were subdivided by can- 
vas partitions. It was customary, however, for guests who lodged 
there to blow out the candle and gO/to bed in the dark. This was a 
rule of the house. 

This shanty stood about where the "Davenport house" now 
stands, not far from the corner of Third and Kansas streets. The 
original shanty on the Stevens claim was torn down, and the 
material used in the construction of this second one. 

" Goddard's " was the favorite stopping-place — the most popu- 
lar and commodious "hotel" on Wabasha prairie. This shanty was 
the "home" of many of the early settlers of this county who came 
tliat season. It was here they gathered for social enjoyment, to get 
the latest news, to discuss the matters of claims and current 
events. It was the place of gathering tor all public meetings, and 
the headquarters of the Wabasha Protection Club, of which Mr. 
Goddard was elected secretary. A select school was opened here 
by Miss Angelia Gere, a young daughter of H. C. Gere. This 
was the first school attempted on the prairie. It was kept in opera- 


tion but a short time. Here the first stated religious meetings were 
held, with regular preaching on the Sabbath day. This history 
would be incomplete without some special notice of Mr. Goddard 
and his familj^, so intimately were the early settlers connected with 
this "settlers' home.'"' • 

The summer of 1852 was known in the west as the sickly season. 
The extreme high water of the early spring was followed by another 
extreme of low water, with remarkably dry and hot weather. This 
occasioned a general epidemic of severe forms of malarial diseases, 
which were unusually fatal. These diseases prevailed extensively 
along the river. Wabasha prairie and tlie colony at Minnesota 
City were seriously affected by it. The settlement of this county 
was retarded through the loss of many of the settlers by death, and 
the removal of very many others to escape the threatened dangers 
of sickness in a locality where there was so limited accommoda- 
tions, even for the healthy. 

The settlers considered themselves fortunate, indeed, if in their 
attack of sickness they could get in at Goddard's. The accommo- 
dation was prized, for there they felt sure of kind attention and 
watchful nursing. There were no regular medical practitioners in 
the county who followed their profession — none nearer than La 
Crosse, and domestic management was an important consideration 
with the sufferers. 

The following extract from a letter to "Aunt Catharine " (Mrs. 
Goddard), written a score of years afterward, will illustrate some- 
what the general sentiments of the early settlers in connection with 
the occurrences of that year : " I cannot forget the many deeds of 
kindness and motherly care my brothers and myself received at your 
hands when your house was a hospital and you the ministering 
angel. With nine sick persons, including your husband ; with but 
two rooms in which to lodge and make comfortable your sick house- 
hold, how admirably and patiently all was managed." 

In the latter part of this season Mr. Goddard and his two young- 
est children were prostrated with the prevailing diseases and died. 
Mr. Goddard's death occurred September 11. The loss of a citizen 
of such promising usefulness in the new settlement was a calamity 
seriously felt. He was a man of the strictest integrity and of cor- 
rect moral principles. 

In his native state, Pennsylvania, Mr. Goddard was honored 
with the ofiice of justice of the peace, and held that position for 


many years, lie there accjuired the title of " Squire Goddard," by 
which name lie was generally known. He was appointed post- 
master, and received his commission during his last sickness, but 
never qualified or attem]) serve in that capacity. 

Mrs. Goddard, now known as Mrs. Catharine Smith, is yet a 
resident of AVabasha prairie. She is the oldest female resident of 
the city of Winona. Indirectly through her some of the best 
citizens ol Winona became residents of this county. She is a sister 
of the Lairds'. Although the mother of many children, she has 
but one living, a son, Orrin F. Smith. 

Aunt Catharine is a woman whose social nature, kind heart and 
real worth have secured to her hosts of sincere friends. Her Easter 
parties, birthday gatherings and social reunions of old settlers are 
annual enjoyments to herself as well as to her numerous relatives 
and friends. Mrs. Goddard was connected with many incidents of 
pioneer life which might be mentioned, some of which will be 

Prominent among the settlers who located on Wabasha prairie 
this season was Dr. John L. Balcombe. About April 1 he came up 
the river on the Nominee and stopped at La Crosse. Being a gen- 
tleman of much more than usual general intelligence, with line 
social qualifications, and also an invalid, he readily formed acquaint- 
ances and found friends among the best citizens of that place. Wa- 
basha prairie was then attracting considerable attention from the 
residents of La Crosse, and not long after his arrival he was induced 
to join a party who proposed to explore the late Sioux purchase for 
farming lands. Their prospecting excursions only extended to the 
valleys along the river, wliere some claims were selected. It being 
too early in the season to attempt any very extended trip without a 
more suitable outfit than could be procured, they returned to La 

In the forepart of May Dr. Balcombe again visited Wabasha 
prairie. He brought with him a horse, or pony, and camp supplies. 
He here secured the services of Ed. Hamilton, whose robust strength 
and experience as a cook made him a valuable acquisition in the 
exploring excursion he proposed to make. After transporting their 
outfit across the slough they started for the back country, Hamilton 
leading the way on the trail with a heavy pack of supplies, the 
doctor following on horseback with the balance of their outfit, which 
included a sack of corn and a bundle of hay. 


Following the trail to Minnesota Citj thej went up the south 
valley and out on Sweet's prairie on a trail marked by the settlers of 
the colony. They spent three or four days in explorino; the country 
along the branches of the White Water and Root river as tar as the 
western part of this county. In the vicinity of what is now the town 
of Saratoga they saw a large herd of elk, the last that have been seen 
in this vicinity. 

They returned through the Rolling Stone and arrived at John- 
son's landing on the evening of May 12, and went directly to the 
shanty of Mr. Goddard, where the doctor was provided for as a 
guest with such accommodations as the place afforded, although Mrs. 
Goddard had hardly taken possession of the premises. The next 
day he returned to La Crosse. 

About the last of May another exploring party was organized in 
La Crosse by Dr. Balcombe, Rev. J. C. Sherwin, Rev. William H. 
Card, and other prominent citizens. Provided with horses and 
necessary supplies for camping out, they took passage to Wabasha 
prairie. The services of Ed. Hamilton were again secured. As the 
grass had by this time become sufficient for the support of their 
horses, the trip was only limited by their inclinations or the extent 
of their camp supplies. 

This party went out through Gilmore valley. Keeping on the 
divide between the Root river and the White Water and Zombro 
rivers, they explored the country as far west as the head-waters of 
the Cedar river. On their return they camped on the head-waters 
of the White Water, spending the Sabbath in the vicinity of the 
present village of St. Charles. Religious exercises were observed 
and Elder Sherwin delivered a sermon to his companions. This 
was the fii-st religious meeting held in the country back from the 

While on this excursion Dr. Balcombe made discovery of many 
choice locations. His habits of close observation, with a retentive 
memory, gave him a decided advantage over other explorers, which 
were afterward of pecuniary value. He could long afterward point 
out the choicest locations to the early settlers seeking farming lands. 
While on this trip he first discovered and located the present site of 
High Forest. It was not until a year or two afterward that he found 
sale for his rights of discovery. 

This exploring excursion satisfied Dr. Balcombe that the resources 
of this part of the Sioux purchase, when developed, would amply 


support a large commercial town on the river and that the outlet 
must be in this vicinity. He decided to locate on Wabasha prairie, 
and accepted Johnson's offer of an acre of ground on the same terms 
off"ered others. The acre selected was west of and adjoining that 
chosen by John Evans. He built a shanty on Main street, between 
Front and Second streets, near the alley. It was 12x16, one story, 
of little better style than common claim shanties. It had a gable 
roof instead of the ordinary shed roof. This was at first of boards, 
but was afterward covered with shingles. 

Dr. Balcombe also bought an undivided one-third of the Hamil- 
ton claim, No. 5. Mark Howard, a gentleman residing in Hartford, 
Conn., purchased another third, Edwin Hamilton retaining one- 
third. Walter Brown, of La Crosse, was appointed agent for Mr. 
Howard. This property is now known as Huft^'s addition to the 
original town plot of Winona. The claim was valued at $200. The 
shares were $66.66 each. Mr. Hamilton then supposed he had 
made a good sale. 

About June 1, Dr. Balcombe brought his wife from Illinois, 
where she was on a visit with her son. Stopping at La Crosse for 
awhile, she came to Wabasha prairie on June 18. They boarded at 
Goddard's until they commenced housekeeping in their own shanty 
in July. About July 1 he built a shanty on the Hamilton claim, 
which he leased to O. S. Holbrook, of which mention was made in 
earlier pages. 

Early in July Dr. Balcombe went down the river and brought up 
some household furniture and supplies. He also brought back with 
him a span of horses and a colt, double and single harnesses, a 
lumber wagon and a buggy. This was the first buggy ever brought 
into the county and the only one for nearly a year afterward. 

After spending the summer and fall in Minnesota, Dr. Balcombe 
sold his interest in the Hamilton claim, with his horses and wagons, 
to Edwin Hamilton for $661, and with his wife went down the river 
on the last boat in the fall. He spent the winter with his only 
child, a son, St. A. D. Balcombe, then a druggist doing business 
in Elgin, Illinois. He returned the following spring. Further 
attention will be given him in the occurrences of that year. 



Among the settlers who came into this county in the spring of 
1852 were Wayne Clark and Scott Clark, brothers of George W. 
Clark, Wayne arrived about the first of May, Scott a little later 
in the season, Scott Clark was an invalid, and came on from the 
State of New York with the hope that the climate of Minnesota 
would prove beneficial to his health. He made a claim in the 
mouth of Gilmore valley. It included the Indian cultivation and 
extended onto the table where the residence of C. C. Beck now 
stands. His claim shanty, a small log house, stood on the same 
plateau but near the point next to the creek. He held this claim 
until his death, which occurred in June, 1854. He was buried on 
the grounds of what is now Woodlawn cemetery. His grave was 
the first in that locality. He was, however, buried there several 
years before the spot was selected as a public cemetery. 

Wayne Clark did not come to Minnesota for the express purpose 
of making it a home as an actual settler. His principal object was 
speculation. He brought with him quite a number of land war- 
rants, which he expected he would be able to use in securing lands 
on the "Sioux purchase" in the territory, but the lands had not 
been surveyed and he found that land warrants were not available 
property here. To preserve them, he carefully laid them away in 
his trunk, in which he also secreted other valuables. He brought 
with him from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, the trunk and "good 
clothes " of his brother, left there the year before, when George 
abandoned all superfluities of that kind. 

These trunks were stored in Nash's shanty on claim No. 2, 
which they then occupied as their headquarters. Nash and Gil- 
more were away, rafting logs for Farrell that had been cut on the 
islands opposite during the winter. Although living in this shanty 
on the prairie, they were engaged in making improvements on the 
claim of George Clark across the slough, putting in a crop of 
potatoes, corn, making garden and building a cabin. 

One day, while engaged in putting the cabin in a habitable 


condition, they were alarmed by a messenger, William H. Stevens, 
crossing over in liaste to inform them that the Sioux threatened' to 
burn tlie shanty on the Nash claim, and that tliey had better come 
over and take care of their traps or their property would be burned 
up in it. 

Startled by this report, they hastened to secure their valuables 
from threatened destruction. On arriving at the landing they 
found all of the settlers gathered at Goddard's shanty, with about 
half a dozen Indians as the center of attraction. They here learned 
that the cause of the alarm was from the neglect of Nash to pay 
the Indian tax which had been levied on the shanty by the Sioux, 
or to provide for its payment as he had promised the Indians. On 
this visit the Indians collected a barrel of flour from Gere, and 
another from Dr. Childs. There were but six inhabited claim shan- 
ties on Wabasha prairie at this time. All had paid their tax except 
Nash. Wabasha's "infernal" revenue collectors were somewhat 
irritated at not being able to secure the delinquent tax on the shanty 
of claim No. 2. The leader and spokesman of the party expressed 
his dissatisfaction forcibly and emphatic in the Dakota language. 
The settlers standing around readily comprehended what he meant, 
although they could not understand but a single word of all that he 
said. By signs used in his demonstrations he intimated that they 
had promised to gi\^ them the flour when the Nominee came up in 
the spring, but had failed to do as agreed. Gesticulating with his 
hands, he pointed down the river, then moving them slowly up until 
he pointed up stream. This he performed several times, each time 
repeating, distinctly, ''Nominee," pointing t(^ward the shanty, shak- 
ing his fist and giving strong expressions of dissatisfaction. The 
interpretation as understood was that the Nominee had been u|) and 
down a number of times and Nash had not furnished the flour. 
Apparently becoming terribly excited in his manner, the Indian 
rushed to the cook-stove of Mrs. Goddard, which stood at the side 
of the building, and drawing out a blazing fire-brand, started to- 
ward the delinquent shanty as if he was going to set it on fire. This 
the settlers comprehended as only a threat that they would bum it 
if the flour or its equivalent was not forthcoming. He was easily 
pacified and induced to drop the incendiary torch when assured he 
should have the fiour. Johnson furnished it from his own supplies 
and settled the matter at once. 

This was the only "Indian scare" ever attempted by the Sioux 


with the early settlers in this county. The alarm was soon over 
and an amicable shake all around indicated a satisfactory adjust- 
ment of difficulties and a truce to all hostile demonstrations. 

In transporting the flour collected by the Indians, the barrels 
were opened with their hatchets and the flour transferred to sacks. 
The barrels were then destroyed. 

The only claim shanties on "Wabasha prairie for which this tax 
was paid to the Sioux were on claims JSTos. 1, 2, 3 and 4, and on the 
claim of Dr. Childs and for Henry C. Gere's shanty. John Burns 
paid them for his privileges in the mouth of Burns valley. Four 
barrels of flour settled all Indian claims on the colony at Minnesota 
City. These were all that paid the Indian tax that season. Finding 
the settlers were becoming too numerous to be easily alarmed, the 
Indians abandoned their compulsory plan of begging and let them 
remain undisturbed. 

Notwithstanding the amicable adjustment with the Sioux in 
relation to the shanty they were occupying on the prairie, the Clarks 
removed their de})Osits and transferred all of their efiects across the 
slough, where they were under their personal care. They commenced 
housekeeping in their own shanty, George W., Wayne and Scott 
Clark living together. 

Wayne Clark spent that season in Minnesota, exploring the 
country looking for chances to speculate, but went down the river 
on the last boat in the fall without making a claim or investing his 
surplus funds in a country where securities (claims) were such un- 
certain property. 

With the crowd of passengers brought u]) the river by the Nomi- 
nee on the 19th of May, who landed on Wabasha prairie, were quite 
a number of immigrants for the colony. For convenience in dis- 
charging freight and live stock, Captain Smith landed them at the 
lower landing, his favorite claim and special preference for a town 

Among the members of the association who stopped here were 
Hiram Campbell, wife and three children, Mrs. Thorp (wife of 
Robert Thorp) and three sons, H. B. Waterman, wife and son, 
Asa Waterman, Rufus Waterman, Andrew Petee, D. Q. Burley, 
H. Shipley and son, Mr. Hunt and others. 

This party had qaite a large herd of cattle — oxen, cows and 
young stock. The greater part of them belonged to Hiram Campbell. 
Mr. Waterman had two yoke of oxen and two cows, and Mr. Hunt 


two yoke of oxen. As soon as the cattle were landed they scattered 
over the prairie in S])ite of the efforts of their owners to restrain 
them. The new-comers were not then aware that they were on an 
island, from which their cattle would not attempt to escape even if 
allowed to range over it. It was not until late in the day that all of 
the frisky herd were collected at the lower end of the prairie. The 
tents were pitched and the party remained at the landing until the 
next morning, when the wagons were loaded, the cattle collected, 
and all moved uj) to the upper end of the prairie, where they again 
cam})ed near the landing-place of the Macedonian. 

The following morning the cattle were again collected and after 
much trouble driven across the back slough at the crossing on the 
trail below where they camped. Mr. Campbell divested himself of all 
clothing and followed them over alone to aid his young stock if occar 
sion recjuired. The wagons, with the men, women and children, were 
transferred across the slough to the upper prairie by the Macedonian, 
landing about where the present road is laid. Several trips were 
made to carry them all over. From here they made their way along 
down the slough and then moved on up to the table-land along the 
bluflfs above the mouth of Gilmore valley, where they camped for 
the night. The next day. May 23, they made their entry into the 
settlement and mingled with the crowds there collected. Some of 
this party are yet residents of that vicinity. 

On account of the difficulties in getting to Rolling Stone from 
"Wabasha prairie, and because of the strong feeling of jealousy and 
rivalry that began to be exhibited between the two localities, Mr. 
Haddock urgently requested the members of the association, by 
messages and letters sent to those on their way up, not to land on 
Wabasha prairie. If the boats could not be induced to land them at 
Rolling Stone by going up Straight Slough, they were advised to 
continue on up the river and land on the Minnesota side, below the 
mouth of the White Water. From there he supposed it would be 
practicable to reach the colony by land, or they could be brought 
down by water on the Macedonian. 

But one small party attempted to reach the colony over this 
route. They came up the river on the Dr. Franklin. At Johnson's 
landing, where the boat stop])ed, they were advised by O. M. Lord, 
who chanced to see them, that they had better land there with the 
other passengers, and assured them that it would be more difficult 
tf) get to Rolling Stone from above than from the prairie. 


Mr. Wright, who had previously visited the colony, and who now 
assumed the leadership, had such unlimited confidence in the judg- 
ment and advice of Mr. Haddock in the matter, that he decMed to 
follow the instructions of the president of the association. They 
continued on and landed on* the morning of May 23 about three 
miles below the mouth of the White Water and about a mile below 
Hall's landing, afterward known as Mt. Yernon. 

The members of this party were James Wright, wife and six 
children, John Nicklin. wife and two children, and S. M. Burns, 
wife and three children. 

Mr. Wright was one of the directors of the association and one 
of its earliest members. He had been a resident of the city of New 
York, where he followed the occupation of a wood-turner. Mr. 
Nicklin was from the same place, where he was a lithographer. Mr. 
Burns was from eastern Pennsylvania, where he had been a hotel- 
keeper, or keeper of a restaurant. It was said that Mr. Burns 
brought more money with him than any other member of the 

With their freight they had a large supply of provisions and 
quite an amount of household goods. Mr. Burns brought with him 
a very fine pair of horses, a wagon and a general assortment of 
•farming tools. The experiences of this party during their stay here 
are given as related by Mr. Wright to illustrate some of the inci- 
dents of pioneer life in the early settlement of this county. 

When the horses of Mr. Burns were landed from the steamboat, 
they were not securely fastened by the deck-hands who had them in 
charge. Their halters were loosely tied to the brush that grew along 
the bank, and by their restlessness they soon released themselves. 
Attracted by the fresh grass, they quietly enjoyed their liberty by 
grazing in the vicinity. Thinking it safe, Mr. Burns indulged them 
while lie was putting his wagon together, which had been taken 
apart for convenience in transportation. 

After completing his task Mr. Burns attempted to secure his 
team, but the horses playfully eluded his grasp of their halters and 
kept just beyond his reach. Startled by some sudden movement, 
they sprang off as if for a race, but again halted to feed until he came 
near, when they again left him. At length, turning up a valley, 
they disappeared. He would occasionally get a glimpse of them on 
the sides of the ravine and then lost sight of them entirely. He fol- 
lowed their trail to the ridge on the top of the bluffs, where he lost 


all trace and returned to the river at evening, tired and hungry, 
without his horses. 

During the day, Mr. Wright and Mr. Nicklin arranged their 
goods in the form of a liollow square, and with poles and blankets 
formed a temporary covering over it. This provided a common 
shelter for the whole party. A cook-stoye was adjusted for business 
near by, and as they had a variety of provisions and good cooks, 
their camp was comfortably established and well provided for. ex- 
cept ])rotection from heavy rains. Plenty of dry grass and an 
abundance of blankets and quilts furnished them beds of which they 
had but little reason to complain. They had the material for tents 
in their boxes, but they did not consider it worth while to nnj)ack 
them for the short time they proposed to stay there. 

The following morning Mr. Burns resumed his search for the 
truant animals. As the fiatboat was expected from Rolling Stone, 
Mr. Wright and Mr. Nicklin remained in camp. AVhen at Wabasha 
prairie they had sent word to Mr. Haddock, notifying him of their 
arrival and asking to have the boat sent up for them. 

In the afternoon Mr. Robertson and Mr. Woodcock came up 
from the colony with the report that an attempt had been made to 
bring up the Macedonian, but it was found to be almost impossible to 
manage it and the effort had been abandoned ; that Capt. Jackson 
proposed to take them down in his small boat and would come up 
in the morning to begin the undertaking. They also reported that 
there was no roadway along the bluffs that was passable for wagons, 
although there was a well-worn Indian trail. 

Mr. Burns returned without his horses. He was unable to tra(te 
them, and for awhile was himself lost and gave up his search. He 
was tired out and discouraged with his fruitless efforts to find his 
stray. pro])erty. He had paid a high price for his horses in Chicago, 
and, being fearful that he would lose them without a chance for 
their recovery, he offered a reward of fifty dollars for them delivered 
in camp or at Minnesota City. 

Stimulated by this liberal offer Robertson and Woodcock volun- 
teered to hunt for the estrays. After a late but hearty dinner they took 
the trail at about four o^clock in the afternoon and found them before 
dark in the head of the north Rolling Stone valley and rode them to 
Minnesota City the same evening. The horses were returned to 
Mr. Burns uninjured by their frolic. He promptly paid over the 



Captain Jackson made the attempt to transfer this party with his 
small boat, and commenced with the family and freight of Mr. Nick- 
lin. To accomplish this required several trips. He was successful 
except with the last, which was a valuable load in bulky boxes. The 
boat was capsized and the cargo a total loss— "no insurance." Some 
relics of the contents of the boxes were found the following winter in 
the brush on an island, but nothing of value recovered. This acci- 
dent suspended that line of transportation. 

Robertson and Woodcock, with an eye to speculation, offered to 
deliver the goods of Mr. Wright and Mr. Burns at Rolling Stone for 
fifteen dollars. A bargain was at once closed with them and they 
proceeded to construct a raft from some dead oak-trees standing on 
the bank of the river. After the logs were secured together and 
loaded with a barrel of pork, a barrel of beef, a barrel of vinegar and 
a cask of hams, but little of the raft was above water. Lashing the 
freight to the logs they added a cook-stove, shoved off into the cur- 
rent and safely landed it at " Lord's lumber yard" without accident 
and without delay. 

After the raft had left the shore, Burns decided that he would 
not move down to the settlement. He had made an arrangement 
with the Halls for an interest in their town site and concluded to 
remain on the river. He immediately commenced to build himself 
a log house, and moved his family and goods up to the landing. 

On Saturday Mr. Hunt and Mr. Shipley came up along the bluffs 
with two yoke of oxen and a wagon for the pui-pose of moving them 
down. This was the first wagon that ever passed between tlie two 
places. They met with no serious obstruction for the passage of an 
empty wagon, although the way was rough and uneven. 

When they left Rolling Stone Mr. Shipley was ayjparently in his 
usual health. He had that morning parted with his son, a young 
man about sixteen years old, and sent him down to Galena to bring 
up his family, which he had left there two weeks before. While on 
his way up along the blufts he began to complain of not feeling well, 
and soon became too sick to even follow on the trail. Mr. Hunt made 
him as comfortable as he could on a bed of grass in the wagon, and 
brought him through to Wright's camp. Here everything was done 
for his relief that they were able to do, but without avail. He died 
a few hours after his arrival, at about twelve o'clock at night. His 
disease was supposed to be cholera. 

The remains of Mr. Shipley were buried the next day at about 


12 o'clock, Sunday, May 30, 1852. The grave was on the bank of 
the river, near where he died. His coffin was a few pieces of slabs 
taken from the drift-wood of the river and arranged around the body, 
while lying in the grave. After the grave was tilled, a piece of a slab 
was placed at the head and his name, "H. ShijMey," marked on it. 
The last resting-place of this early pioneer is now unknown. The 
personal effects of Mr. Shipley were taken in charge by Mr. Wright 
and sent to his wife. The oxen and wagon belonged to Mr. Hunt. 
Mr. Shipley had no interest in them. 

Mr. Wright now became anxious to leave that locality, and as 
soon as the rude burial was completed he loaded the wagon with 
some of his household goods and decided to attempt to go through 
by land, but the attempt proved a failure at the start. The wagon 
was upset within a few rods of where it was loaded, the boxes were 
smashed and their contents scattered as they tumbled and rolled 
promiscuously down the bank, almost into the river. A large look- 
ing-glass rolled on the edges of its frame for several rods and lodged 
in an upright position against a tree, without injury. The same 
mirror is yet in use by Mrs. Wright in Minnesota City. 

At about the time the loaded wagon u]>set a steamboat appeared 
in sight, coming down. Mr. Wright abandoned his damaged {)rop- 
erty and devoted all his energies to attract the attention of the pilot. 
He hoisted signals of distress and hailed the boat most vociferously, 
and was actively seconded in his efforts by his family, one using a 
tin horn and another beating an accompaniment on a tin pan. 
Alarmed by these proceedings, the captain of the boat cautiously 
ran over toward the Minnesota shore, expecting to learn that the 
Sioux had risen against the settlers. He was, however, soon re-' 
lieved of any anxiety on that score, and discovered as he drew near 
that they were some of the passengers he had landed there on his 
way up — that their noisy demonstrations were made because they 
were anxious to leave that locality and go down to Johnson's landing. 
He good-naturedly consented to take them on board. As the boat 
swung round to the shore the captain hailed Wright and inquired, 
'' Where's your freight ? " Pointing to the wreck of the wagon-load, 
Wright replied, "There is some of it, as soon as we can get it 
together." Observing the condition of affairs, the captain called to 
the men forward as the gang-plank was launched out, " Get ashore 
there, some of you, and bring them duds aboard in bulk." 

To Mrs. Wright's extreme surprise, and before she could rally 


from her helpless astonishment, her clean household stuff, bedding 
and clothing of every description, was carried off in the arms of 
the dirty roustabouts, and before she could offer even a feeble 
remonstrance they were piled promiscuously on the greasy, dirty deck. 

All of Mr. Wright's goods were taken aboard except four barrels 
of flour which he had brought up for the association, designed to be 
used in payment of the Indian tax on the shanties in the colony. 
The flour was taken down by Mr. Hunt in his wagon, the first 
freight carried through by a wagon over that trail. 

When Mr. Wright reached Johnson's landing he there found 
Willie Shipley, waiting for the down boat. He informed the 
astonished boy that his father, from whom he had parted not two 
days before, looking healthy and strong, was dead and in his lonely 
grave on the bank of the river. Mr. Wright gave him the property 
found with his father — his watch, a pocket-book with papers and 
a small amount of money — to be carried to his mother. 

His family were not left without means of support. Mr. Shipley 
had left a considerable sum of money on deposit in Galena, under 
the control of his wife. The family returned to their former home. 
Their experience in the west was a sorrowful one. 

At Johnson's landing Mr. Wright, with his family, was per- 
mitted by Mr. Denman to pass the night in the unfinished house 
he was then building. They reached Minnesota City the next day, 
June 1, and went directly to the "gopher" Mr. Wright had helped 
to build nearly three weeks before. It was near here that his pro- 
visions and cook-stove had been stored when landed from the raft. 
This gopher-house was their first home in the colony. Mr. Wriglit 
has retained possession of and lived continuously with his family on 
the same land and in the same locality ever since that period, about 
thirty-one years. They occupied the "gopher" and a tent until he 
could procure lumber and build a more comfortable place to move 
into. Soon after their arrival the whole family were prostrated with 
sickness in some form. Two of the children died with measles, then 

Like most of the members of the association from New York 
city, Mr. Wi-ight's previous experience had but poorly fitted him to 
meet the demands of pioneer life. Many things were learned from 
practical experience. Incidents that may now be pleasantly related, 
and are amusing to listen to, which occurred in their acquisition of 
a western education, were once really serious matters with them. 


The provisions brought down on the raft were jointly owned by 
Mr. Wright and Mr. Burns. The morning after his arrival Mr. 
Wright went out to inspect the condition of his supplies, and discov- 
ered that his cask of hams had been broken open and the contents 
carried off. The fact becoming known, the indignant colonists pro- 
ceeded to investigate the affair. A careful examination of the matter 
was commenced, but the mystery of the transaction was soon 
revealed without a shadow ot suspicion resting on any member of 
the association. The cattle of the settlers had been corraled in the 
bend of the stream near by to prevent their wandering off to parts 
unknown or trespassing in the settlement. In their eagerness to get 
salt, the cask had been broken open and the hams eaten by the 
ravenous bovine monsters. All of the cattle in the settlement were 
under suspicion as being implicated in the transaction, but the herd 
of Hiram Campbell were charged with being the principal and lead- 
ing offenders. The fragments of partly eaten hams were found 
scattered over the ground in the vicinity of the empty cask. 

To prevent any further loss to Mr. Burns, it was proposed by 
Mr. Wright that an equitable division of the pork and beef be made. 
In the absence of Mr. Burns, friends of both parties were selected to 
make the division. The meat in each barrel was taken out and 
accurately weighed. One half of each was then put into one of the 
barrels for Mr. Burns and the other half into the other barrel and 
turned over to Mr. Wright as his individual property. This was 
apj)arently a just dissolution of partnership, but Mr. Wright soon 
discovered that the mixing of the two kinds of meat did not improve 
the quality. It was soon understood that Mr, Wright and Mr. 
Burns had a surplus of meat, and some less fastidious persons pur- 
chased it at less than cost. 

Although transportation had proved to be barely possible from 
Hall's landing to Rolling Stone without considerable expense in open- 
ing a wagon trail, there was to Mr. Burns more than a glimmer of a 
prospective landing-place for the colony, and he located himself 
where he could have the benefit of the river trade in the business in 
which he proposed to engage. Having money to invest, he built a 
hirge hotel. His bar was the main source of profit. He paid no 
license, for the law prohibited the sale of intoxicating drinks. His 
hotel became a favorite resort for the rivermen and traveling public, 
and was not entirely shunned by the settlers. The Indians resorted 
to Burns' for ti-ade. During the years of 1852-3-4 there was 


more liquor sold by Mr. Burns than in all other parts of southern 
Minnesota. He bl-ought on quite a stock of general merchandise 
and opened a store. A postoffice was established and S. M. Burns 
was postmaster. He furnished employment for a large number of 
men cutting steamboat wood on government lands, on which large 
profits were made. 

After a heavy expense trying to build up a business point at this 
place, Mr. Burns was forced to abandon the attempt, and the village 
of Mt. Vernon ceased to exist. The scheme to make it the land- 
ing-place for the colony did not prove practicable, although a wagon 
road was opened between the two places. 

The town of Mt. Vernon, in the northwest part of Winona 
county, took its name from the village of that name at what was 
once known as Hall's landing, on the Mississippi. Not a trace of 
any of the improvements made by Mr. Burns are now to be seen. 
The village site is almost unknown. 



The Western Farm and Village Association, as organized in the 
city of New York in 1851, was transferred to Rolling Stone in 1852 
under the same ofdcers and with the same laws governing its mem- 
bers. The mode of doing business adopted and practiced in the east 
was continued in the west. 

The first regular meeting of the association held in the colony at 
Rolling Stone was on May 6. The ofiicers present were Wm. 
Haddock, president ; Thos. K. Allen, recording secretary ; and a 
majority of the board of directors, Augustus A. Gilbert, James 
Wright, Charles Bannon, John Hughs and D. Robertson. 

At this meeting fifty-two responded to their names when the roll 
of members was called. Some of these were young unmarried men, 
but a majority of the members present were men with families. 

At a general meeting of the colonists on Sunday, May 9, the 
name of Minnesota City was given to the village of the colony. The 
name was unanimously adopted by a viva-voce vote. Prior to this 


the locality was only known as Rollin<^ Stone, and afterward it was 
the most familiar name to the early settlers. 

At this same meeting, May 9, a Congregational minister from 
La Crosse, by the name of Reynolds, preached the first sermon ever 
delivered in Minnesota City. Elder Reynolds was a missionary sent 
out by the Home Mission Board of the denomination to which he 

Business meetings of the association were called to consider mat- 
ters relating to the common interests. At one of these meetings, about 
the first, Robert Pike, Jr., was elected surveyor for the colony, to 
establish the lines of claims designated as farms, which were to be 
assigned tothe choice of the members of the association according 
to numbers drawn for that purpose. E. B. Drew and C. R. Coryell 
were Pike's assistants in these surveys, wliich were made under the 
general supervision of the president, Mr. Haddock. 

At a meeting held on May 1 9 the question of making application 
for the establishment of a postoffice was considered and a choice for 
postmaster made by ballot. Robert Pike, Jr., received a majority 
of votes. A petition in proper form was drawn up and signed, 
soliciting the establishment of a postoffice at Minnesota City and 
recommending Robert Pike, Jr., as a proper appointment for post- 
master. This petition was forwarded to the Postoffice department at 
Washington. In due time Mr. Pike received his commission and 
the office was established, but with the proviso and on condition that 
the mails should be transported to and from the nearest postoffice 
on the river free of charge to the Postofiice department. The near- 
est postoflSce was then at La Crosse. The mail was dependent 
on chance opportunities or private enterprise. Even such postal 
facilities were considei'ed of advantage to the settlement. 

The family of Mr. Pike, consisting of his wife and two children 
and two of his sisters (afterward Mrs. H. Jones and Mrs. D. Ken- 
nedy), came on about the last of June. While on their passage up 
the river the postoffice keys were handed to Mrs. Pike at La Crosse 
by Brooks and Hancock, two members of the association there on a 
visit, to be delivered to her husband on her arrival at Minnesota 
City. This was the first knowledge Mrs. Pike had of the matter. 

On May 20 a census of the colony was taken, when it was ascer- 
tained that there were ninety male members of the association on 
the grounds and about 400 women and children. 

The first death in the colony was on May 25, that of David 


Densmore, a man about sixty years of age. He was from the State 
of Maine. He had no family with him. Mr. Densmore was buried 
in the grounds selected lor a cemetery, a little above the forks of the 
Rolling Stone creek, near Minnesota City. 

^ The first bridge built in the county was across the Rolling Stone, 
near where James Wright now lives in Minnesota City. Long logs, 
used as stringers, were laid over the stream from one bank to the 
other. Across these stringers logs were laid instead of plank. The 
colonists all united in this public improvement. 

The next morning after this bridge was completed the settlers 
found that their engineering was not practicable in this structure. 
The long stringers of green timber, without central support, had 
given way and broken down from weight of the green logs by which 
they were covered. The middle of the bridge was resting in the 
center of the stream, the logs retained in their position across the 
stringers. Although not available as a wagon bridge, it was used 
during the season as a crossing-place by persons on foot. 

The first bridge that was of any practicable use was one built by 
the colonists across the Rolling Stone just below the forks of tliat 
stream, above Minnesota City. The location is now covered by the 
mill-pond. This was called the "herd bridge" by the settlers. 
The cattle belonging in the colony were placed under the charge of 
a herdsman, who had the general management of them during the 
grazing season. Robert Pike, Jr., was the first appointetl and acted 
in that capacity for that season. A fence was built running from 
the bluff on the soutli side to the stream, and the cattle were allowed 
to range above it in the south valley. The "herd bridge" was 
designed and built, under the direction of Mr. Pike, to serve as a 
crossing-place for the stock under his charge. It was, however, used 
as a wagon bridge for two or three years after a road was opened up 
through the south valley. 

During that season the wagon trail leading to Wabasha prairie 
was on the south side of the stream, next to the bluffs, and the only 
practical fording-place of the stream was where Elsworth's mill now 
stands. Late in the fall, or early in winter, the settlers opened a 
road along down the table, on the north side of the stream, about 
where it now is, and built a bridge near the angle where the creek 
leaves the bluff and flows north, about a mile below the present vil- 
lage of Minnesota City. This was the first public bridge in common 
use in the county. It was maintained for three or four years until 


the present road between Minnesota and Winona was opened and 
another bridge was built about fifty. rods beh^w, in tlie same locality 
where the present bridge stands. 

The first store for the sale <;f merchandise to the settlers in the 
colony was opened about June 1 of tliis season by a Mr. Robertson. 
He closed out his establishment and left the colony early in the fall. 

The fii'st school opened in the county was a select school, started 
in Minnesota City in the early part of this season. The first distri(;t 
school in the county was established here later in the season. The 
district was organized under the general law of the territory and 
comprised the whole colony. Miss Ilouk was the teacher. Schools 
have been uniformly maintain^ in tliat locality from that time to 
the present. 

The first blacksmith-shop started in this county by the early 
settlers was in the colony at Minnesota City. James and John 
Prosser, father and son, opened a shop and commenced business 
early in the season. Josiah Keene also started a shop. The Prossers 
left the colony in the fall. O. M. Lord bought their shop, tools and 
stock, and also that of Keene, and carried on the business for a year 
or two afterward. This was the only blacksmith-shop in the county 
until the spring of 1854:, when a shop was opened at Winona, pre- 
vious to which the settlers on Wabasha prairie were dependent on 
Minnesota City, or they were compelled to go to La Crosse for their 
blacksmith work. Sometimes jobs of blacksmitliing were ordered 
by the boats from Galena. 

The first horseshoeing done in the county was by O. M. Lord. 
In the fall of 1852 he shod a pair of horses for Hon. Wm. H. Stevens, 
of the city of Winona. The shoes were brought up from La Crosse. 
In the spring of 1853 he shod fourteen horses for Wm. Ashley 
Jones, a government surveyor. 

From 1849 to 1853 the county of Winona was a part of Wabasha 
county. By act of the First Territorial Legislature, October 27, 
1849, " all that portion of said territory lying east of a line running 
due south from a point on the Mississippi river known as Medicine 
Bottles Village, at Pine Bend, to the Iowa line, was erected into a 
county to, be known by the name of Wabashaw.'' 

The extent of territory included in the boundaries of Wabasha 
county by that act was what is now a part of the county of Dakota 
and the present counties of Goodhue, Wabasha, Olmsted, Dodge, 
Mower; Fillmore, Houston and Winona. 


Wabasha county was first created for the special pur])ose (jf 
affording certain political privileges to the settlers within its bound- 
aries, nearly all of whom were halt-breed Sioux, living on the "Half- 
breed Tract," who were recognized as bona fide citizens. The other 
parts of the county were then in jjossession of the Sioux. 

It was made part of a council district, but was declared to be a 
representative district, entitled to elect one representative to the 
territorial legislature. 

The first representative from Wabasha county was James Wells. 
He was also a member of the second and fourth territorial legisla- 
tures in 1851 and in 1853. In the third legislature, the session of 
1852, Wabasha county was represented by Fordyce S. Richards, 
another trader, living at Reed's landing. 

The fourth territorial legislature in 1853 (March 4) divided Wa- 
basha county and created Fillmore county from the southern por- 
tion along the Mississippi, which included the present county of 
Winona. The same council and representative districts were, how- 
ever, continued until 1855, when a new apportionment was made by 
the legislature. 

At the election held in the fall of 1853, Hon. O. M. Lord, of 
Minnesota City, was elected, from Fillmore, representative of this 
district to the fifth territorial legislature, which held its session in 
1854. At this session Winona county was created, February 23, 

When Wabasha county was created in 1849 it was "declared 
to be organized onl}' for the appointment of justices of the peace, 
constables and such other judicial and ministerial officers as might 
be specially provided for." It was attached to Washington county 
for judicial purposes and was entitled to any number of justices not 
exceeding six, and to the same number of constables, who were to 
receive their appointment from the governor and to hold their office 
for two years, unless sooner removed. 

The first justice of the peace appointed by Gov. Ramsey in 
accordance with this act creating Wabasha county, was Thomas K. 
Allen, the recording secretary of the association at Minnesota City. 
Mr. Allen was compelled to go to the capital of the territory — to St. 
Paul, in order to qualify — to take the oath of ofiice required. There 
was no one nearer who was empowered to administer it to him. 

At a general meeting of the members of the association living in 
the colony at Minnesota City, held July 12, 1852, an election pre- 



cinct was organized and the following officers elected by ballot : 
Thomas K. Allen, justice of the peace ; Josiah Keen, constable ; 
James AVriglit, assessor ; and Augustus A. Gilbert, notary public. 

These proceedings were without proper authority, and only de- 
signed to represent an expression of the wishes of the people in the 
colony. The governor was duly notitied of this action of the settlers 
and the appointment of the officers selected formally recommended 
and solicited. 

Gov. Ramsey confirmed the election by making the a])pointment 
accordingly. Mr. Allen took the oath of office on July 28, 18.52. 
By vote of the association, O. M. Lord, John lams and Hiram 
Campbell were elected road commissioners for the colony or 

The first sermon delivered to the settlers in Rolling Stone was 
by the Rev. Mr. Reynolds, a missionary of the Congregational 
church. He kept up regular appointments and preached during the 
summer at Minnesota City and at Wabasha prairie. His audiences 
were representatives of all denominations, Presbyterians, Baptists, 
Methodists, etc. A general Sabbath-school was started in the early 
part of this season. The members of the association held to the 
religious faith or belief tliey had professed before joining the colony. 
If there was any change it was exhibited in a general feeling of 
toleration. The Protestants and Catholics shared with each other 
in their comforts and privations, and in their joys and sorrows, with- 
out question of religious opinions. All grades of liberalism, spirit- 
ualism and other "isms" had advocates. 

The first church organized in this county was by the Baptist 
members of the association. This was the first Protestant church 
organization in soutliern Minnesota. The appropriate ceremonies 
were held on July 11, 1852. The pastor of this church was the Rev. 
T. R. Cressey, a missionary appointed by the American Baptist 
Home Missionary Society at a salary of $600 per annum. He made 
Minnesota City his headquarters, but preached in other localities. 

After remaining in this vicinity for two or three months, Mr. 
Cressey had a call to locate himself in charge of the Baptist church 
in St. Paul. As the failing condition of the colony in the latter part 
of the season offered less inducements to remain, he left this county 
and located himself in the capital of the territory. 

Another Baptist preacher. Rev. Henderson Cressey, a brother of 
T. R. Cressey, preached to the settlers at Minnesota City and on 


Wabasha prairie for about two years afterward, but did not reside 
in this vicinity. He held a claim for awhile on the upper prairie. 

There was such a general immigration of preachers among the 
early settlers that about every settlement was represented by one or 
more of some denomination. It is now difficult to ascertain the 
names of many of those who for a time held claims in this county. 
The most of them apparently preferred the blouse of the settler to 
the garb of their profession. 

The Eev. William Sweet occasionally preached, but made no 
regular appointments. The Rev. Mr. Henderson, a member of the 
association, living at Minnesota City, was, or had been, a Methodist 
paeacher. It was said that he gave the settlers a most enthusiastic, 
patriotic sermon on Sunday, July 4, 1852. From many peculiarities 
of belief or opinions expressed in public, his influence among the 
Methodists, of which denomination there was quite a number, was 
not sufficient to induce them to acknowledge him as a leader or 
combine in a church organization. Mr. Henderson, with others 
holding different ''isms," made an unsuccessful effort to create a 
society called "The Universal Church." 

It is difficult to ascertain the exact date of the arrival of very 
many of the early settlers who, as members of the associatioii, 
located in this county. The greatest number and largest bodies of 
them arrived in May, but they continued to come during June and 
until about the middle of July, after which but few if any of the 
immigrants in this part of the territory were members of that organ- 

Among those who located in the colony in Rolling Stone whose 
arrival has not been specially mentioned were the following. The 
most of these came in May. The list might be largely extended by 
adding the names of those who remained so short a time that with 
propriety they should be classed as a part of the transient population 
of the colony. Prominent among the more permanent settlers were 
Wm. T. Luark, John lams, S. D. Putnam, S. A. Houk, O. H. 
Houk, George Foster, Egbert Chapman, Harvey Stradling, P. D. 
Follett, Samuel Hancock, John Cook and V. G. Wedon. The last 
is but the nom de plume of Robert Pike, Jr. 

The' time set by the association for drawing numbers for the 
choice of farming lands was May 15. The drawing took place at 
that date, although the survey was not completed ; neither was there 
a full representation of members present. The selections of claims 


were afterward made as fast as the reports of the surveyor were 
received, which were almost daily. All of the available farming 
land in eacii of the valleys of the Rolling Stone were surveyed and 
assigned to the colonists. Some made choice of lands and made 
claims which they retained and still occupy as farms, but the most 
of the selections made by the numbers drawn were abandoned. The 
selections first made were not in all cases satisfactory^ and ex- 
changes were effected without disturbing ' the harmony of the 

By special action of the association before they left New York, 
exemptions were given certain members who were unable to move 
in the spring, by which their rights and privileges were protected by 
proxy. These exemptions were, however, but temporary arrange- 
ments. The limit of this extension of time was fixed to expire on 
July 15, at which date a general meeting of the association was to be 
held for the purpose of determining which village lots and farming 
lands had been forfeited. 

The following extract from the diary of Mr. E. B. Drew notes 
this general gathering : "Thursday, July 15, 1852. The Western 
Farm and Village Association all met at Mr. Lord's new house to 
transact important business pertaining to individual interests in city 
lots and farms. Some interesting times. The population is now 
over three hundred." "July 16. To-day O. M. Lord arrived with 
his family, bringing with him a horse-team and a cow." 

Mr. Lord's new house, mentioned by Mr. Drew, was located on 
the same table, but about a hundred rods above where O. M. Lord 
now lives in Minnesota City. The "interesting times" was the 
scramble for hjrfeited village lots and farms. The horse-team 
brought by Mr. Loi-d was the first span of horses brought into the 

The village lots of the colony, which embraced over 1,000 acres, 
covered the land from below the farm now owned by Robert Duncan 
to the bluffs near the farm of D. Q. Burley and up the valley above the 
fork of the stream, including the Waterman farm. The bottom 
lands and a part of the Denman farm were plotted as suburban lots. 

The most of the improvements on village lots were from where 
James Kennedy now lives to about half a mile above where Troost's 
mill stood. It was here that a larg« number of the settlers who 
wintered in the colony made their homes. Although all had claims, 
but few occupied them until the following spring. 


Some members of the association made claims outside tlie juris- 
diction assumed for the colony. In June Mr.' D. Hollyer made a 
claim in what is now the town of Utica, which he abandoned in the 
fall when he left the territory. Dr. J. W. Bentley took possession 
and moved on it in the spring following. It was afterward known 
as "Bentley's.'' Dr. Bentley was not a member of the association, 
although he came to Minnesota City in the fall of 1852 and lived 
there during the winter with H. B. Waterman, a relative. While 
living at Minnesota City Mrs. Bentley increased the population of 
the colony by the addition of a daughter to her family. This was 
the first white child born in Rolling Stone. The first male child 
born in Minnesota City was the eldest son of Mrs. H. B. Waterman, 
January 5, 1854. This child was the first born in the colony whose 
parents were members of the association. George B. Waterman 
died in 1881. 

S. E. Cotton made a claini near Hollyer's, a little east from 
where the Utica railroad station now stands. He had ten acres of 
breaking done on it by Charles Bannon. Mr, Burley was. in the 
employ of Mr. Bannon and drove the team for this job. This was 
the first breaking done back of the bluffs — the first breaking done 
within the boundaries of the county back from the Mississippi, 
except in the valley of the Rolling Stone. 

Robert Taylor made a claim of what is now the village of Stock- 
ton, on the east side of the valley. D. Q. Burley made a claim 
adjoining Robert Taylor's on the west. Mr. Taylor abandoned his 
location the following year, when Mr. Burley absorbed it by moving 
his claim to the centei- of the valley. Mr. Burley traded this claim 
for a house and lot in Minnesota City to S. A. Houk, who in 1854 
sold it to J. B. Stockton, the original proprietor of the village of 
Stockton. Mr. Burley then made a claim of the farm on which he 
now lives. His family did not come here until the spring of 1854. 

Above Stockton, on the south fork of the Rolling Stone,* Mr. 
Hunt made a claim. He was a proxy or substitute in the employ of 
a wealthy member living in New York city, who furnished him with 
two yoke of oxen and all necessary supplies. Mr. Hunt did some 
breaking and put up about fifty tons of hay. This hay was cut with 
scythes by Mr. Burley and Mr. Thorp, who helped put it in the 
stacks. They camped on what is now the L. D. Smith farm while 
at this job, but made their homes in Minnesota City. 

Mr. Hunt went back to 'New York in the fall and left the cattle 


and claim in charge of Mr. Burley. A few days after he left the 
tifty tons of hay were burned by a lire which swei)t through the 
valley. Mr. Burley wintered the stock in Minnesota City. The 
following sjiring the oxen were taken up the river by a Mr. Bertram 
to another association colony in the vicinity of Lake Minnetonka. 
The claim made by Mr. Hunt was abandoned. 

Egbert Chapman made a claim on Sweet's prairie and built a 
cabin, in which he lived with his family through the winter. He is 
yet a resident of the county, living in Minnesota City. His son, 
Edgar ('hapman, is now living in Dakota Territory. 

Harvey Stradling also selected a location on Sweet's prairie near 
( 'hapman's. He was then a young man. In June, 1853, he mar- 
ried Anna Chapman, a daughter of Egbert Chapman. The Eev. 
William Sweet officiated -at this marriage ceremony. This was the 
first wedding among the colonists. 

Mr. Stradling afterward located in the valley above Minnesota 
City. He died there many years ago. His widow (now Mrs. John 
Nicklin)is living in Dakota Territory. 

In July, 1852, John Cook made a claim in the White Water 
valley about a mile above White Water Falls. He built a comfort- 
able log house and lived here during the winter and for several 
years after. His brotlier, David Cook, also made a claim in this 
vicinity, which he occupied the following year. 

S. D. Putnam selected his claim about a mile below Stockton 
and built a comfortable log house the following spring near where 
he now resides. This was on the farm owned and occupied by J. J. 
Mattison for about twenty years. Mr. Putnam occupied the log 
house about four years. It was a favorite stopping-place for excur- 
sionists, travelers, explorers and claim-hunters, and had the reputa- 
tion of being the best "hotel" in the county. Mr. Putnam is a 
l>rosperous farmer, and quietly enjoys his comfortable home. 

O. H. Houk made a claim next below Putnam's, which he held 
for a year or two. He built a log house on it. The location was 
long known as the EvaTis place. 

Charles Bannon chose a location about a mile below Putnam's, 
and is yet living on the claim selected by him as a memlfbr of the 
association in 1852. He did not occupy or make any improvements 
on it until the following spring. During this time he looked with 
longing eyes on another claim in the valley about a mile below. 
The claim which disturbed his contentment had been chosen by a 


member of the association for Miss Amidon on a number drawn by 
or for her. She was not a resident in the colony, and no improve- 
ments had been made to indicate tliat it was occupied. 

Mr. Bannon, supposing that the claim had been abandoned, 
went on to it and took possession by cutting house-logs enough to 
build a comfortable log house, which he drew together preparatory 
to calling his friends to his house-raising. 

A night or two before the contemplated "raising" was to have 
taken place, the friends of Miss Amidon, or Miss Amidon's claim, 
got together and cut each of the house-logs in two, and notified Mr. 
Bannon not to jump the claim of an unprotected female. 

This was the first clash among "the faithful members," and to 
prevent a serious collision, which apparently threatened, the friends 
of the parties induced Mr. Bannon to abandon the idea of making a 
change of location and settle on liis own claim. All parties united 
and moved the crippled house-logs up to his original choice of loca- 
tion by number, and there constructed an octagon log house for him 
as a compromise of the difficulty. 

Having no desire to encourage contention, Mr. Bannon acquiesced 
in the movement, although satisfied in his own' mind that he had a 
just right to the claim and could have held it without wronging any 
person. Suffice it to say of this matter that Miss Amidon never 
made her appearance in the valley. The disputed claim was after- 
ward disposed of by the friend or agent of that lady to Henry W. 
Driver. Mr. Driver pre-empted it as a homestead, and after living 
on it for five or six years sold his farm and moved to Winona, where 
he resided for a year or two and then went south. 

Mr. Bannon moved on his claim in the spring of 1853, and has 
occupied it as a farm for over thirty years. He has been a success- 
ful farmer. His comfortable buildings, fine stock and well cultivated 
fields represent that as a member of the Western Farm and Village 
Association he found that "home in the west" for which he aban- 
doned his business as a carman in N'ew York city and helped to 
form a colony in the Territory of Minnesota. 

Lawrence Dil worth made choice of his claim in accordance with 
his 'number drawn as a member of the association, and selected the 
one next below and adjoining that of Mr. Bannon's. He moved on 
his claim in the spring of 1853, and has lived there from that time to 
the present. His good buildings and the well-tilled fields of his fine 
farm indicate tlie prosperous farmer and demonstrate that he too 


secured the farm for wliicli he came to Rolling Stone. Mr. Dilworth 
and family were of the party that landed at the colony from the 
wood-boat on the evening of May 2. They are Catholics. Religious 
faith was not a test of friendship in the Rolling Stone colony. The 
high respect entertained by the early settlers for Mr. and Mrs. Dil- 
worth has never been dimmed by the years that have passed since 
their pioneer days as colonists. The writer hoi)es for pardon if tres- 
passing on their private affairs, but a remarkable peculiarity in 
manner of doing business is worthy of mention as an uncommon 
incident in ])ioiieer life. It is said by one familiar with his affairs 
that Mr. Dilworth has not during the past thirty years allowed an 
account to be opened against him. He has paid cash down for 
whatever he has bought or gone without articles required. 

On a farm about a mile below Mr, Dilworth there is now living 
another member of the association, who, like his neighbors above, 
remained in the colony, and has secured the home in his old age for 
which he left New England and came west more than thirty years 
ago. This farm is now owned and occupied by S. E. Cotton. 
When the members of the association made choice of farms by their 
numbers, this locality was chosen by John lams, and purchased 
from him by E. B. Drew. This was the first claim sale in the 
colony. Mr. Drew as assistant surveyor had taken a liking to the 
place, and when he learned that it had been selected by Mr. lams 
he offered him $10 for his number, or right to it. The offer was 
accepted and the claim given up to Mr. Drew, who held it and 
entered it at the United States land office when the land was sur- 
veyed. It was held by Mr. Drew until 1857, when he sold it to 
Mr. Cotton. 

When Mr. Cotton first landed at Rolling Stone lie built a log 
house on his village lot previously selected, and made it his home. 
Aft'er the collapse of the association he retained his location, and 
when the land Was surveyed by government he made a claim of 
eighty acres and pre-empted the village lots as a homestead. He 
sold it in 1857 and moved to his present home. His claim in Min- 
nesota City is now the farm of James Kennedy. 

Between the "Drew claim" (where Mr. Cotton now lives) and 
Minnesota City a claim was made by Ilezakiah Jones, who occui)ied 
the locality for several years, and tlien sold the homestead he there 
pre-empted. Mr. Jones is yet a resident of Minnesota (^ity. He is 
the oldest settler in that part of the county north of the city of 


Winona. He came here on April 14, 1852, as one of the '' pioneer 
squad" (the only one now living), and was one of the first members 
of the association to locate in Kolling Stone. Mr. Jones has not 
been as fortunate as some who came later in the season. 

North from the "Drew claim" and west from the present village 
of Minnesota City were the claims of T. K. Allen and A. A. Gilbert. 
These claims were parts of the grounds of the original village site. 
They held claims in the valley above, but when the survey of public 
lands was made they located themselves here, and each pre-empted 
a quarter-section of the land surveyed for the village of the colony. 
Neither of these men are now residents of the county. Both were 
successful in acquiring the homes in the west for which they helped 
to organize the association in New York city in 1851. The first 
grist mill in the county was started by Allen and Gilbert, one of 
Burr's horse-power mills, in 1853. 

Mr. Allen was the recording secretary from the first meeting of 
the association in New York city, until its last meeting in Minne- 
sota city. He is now a clergyman of the Episcopal church, living 
in Alexandria, Douglass county, Minnesota. 

Mr. Gilbert lived for several years in the city of Winona. His 
present residence is unknown. 

The farm now owned and occupied by Mr. E. B. Drew was held 
by Mr. Drew as a claim, but it was the choice of W. H. Coryell on 
his number drawn as a member of the association. It was on this 
claim that E. B. Drew, C. R. Coryell and W. H. Coryell made their 
camp when they first came to Kolling Stone. This was their home- 
stead, where they lived and made their first beginning in farming 
operations in the Territory of Minnesota. By mutual agreement 
they worked together and lield property in common. 

When these men first came here it was not their design to settle 
in the valley. From the description given by Mr. Lord of the 
country lying west they expected to locate themselves on prairie 
farms back from the Mississippi. They selected this location to keep 
up their connection with the association and as their headquarters 
until they found claims that were more satisfactory. 

They explored the country west and made selections of locations 
in what is now known as the town of Saratoga, in the western part 
of the county, in the vicinity of what has since been called the Blair 
settlement. With their teams and big wagon they spent about a 
week in prospecting and marking their claims with the customary 


marks and a small pile of logs for each location, but never made 
any further improvements, their interests in the valley engaging 
their attention until their prairie claims were taken by others. 

Mr. Drew broke about twenty-five acres, on the farm where he 
now lives, in the spring of 1852, and planted some corn and culti- 
vated a garden. In the fall he sowed a small patch of wheat by 
way of experiment. The following year, 1853, he harvested the 
first crop of wlieat ever raised by the settlers in southern Minnesota. 
From one sack of seed wheat, about two bushels, sown on about 
two acres of breaking, lie secured seventy bushels of superior winter 
wheat, which he threshed and cleaned by hand-labor. 

The following extract is copied from "The Democrat," published 
at St. Paul, August 3, 1853 : 

O. M. Lord, Esq., of Filmore county, a delegate to the late democrat con- 
vention, has deposited in this office a sample of winter wheat of the red chaff 
bearded variety, raised on the farm of Messrs. Drew and Coryell, in the Roiling 
Stone valley, which we regard as the finest specimen of this grain that we have 
ever seen. Messrs. D. & C. have harvested several acres of this wheat, and 
good judges estimate that it will yield at the rate of forty bushels to the acre. 

This is the first winter wheat ever sown in that vicinity, but Mr. Lord 
informs us that a large quantity will be put in the ground this fall. There is 
little doubt that wheat is to become one of the great staple productions of 
Minnesota, and that flour of the best quality will soon form the most importa,nt 
item in the lists of our exports. Up with your mills, gentlemen. 

In 1853 Mr. Drew increased his cultivation by another field of 
breaking, and raised a large crop of corn. In the fall he sowed 
about eight acres of winter wheat. In the spring of 1853 he sowed 
a sack of spring wheat, and harvested about fifty bushels. About 
thirty bushels of this he sold to Sanborn & Drew, in the spring of 
1854. This was the first load of wheat ever sold in the city of 
Winona, or in southern Minnesota. 

In the season of 1851- Mr. Drew harvested, from the eight acres 
sowed to winter wheat the fall before, about two hundred and fifty 
bushels. Some of this he sold to the settlers for seed, reserving 
enough for his own seed, and about eighty bushels which was ground 
into flour. Tlie first wlieat raised in southern Minnesota that was 
made into flour was a part of this crop. 

During the winter W. R. Stewart and Albion Drew took two 
loads of this wheat, of forty bushels each, to a mill in La Crosse 
valley, about sixty miles distant, where they waited until their grist 
was ground, when they returned home with their flour. They were 


about a week making the trip, the teams going on the ice to La 
Crosse and thence up the La Crosse valley. The loads were much 
lighter on their return, for one fourth of the wheat was taken as toll. 
The wheat was of No. 1 grade and the flour proved to be of supe- 
rior qualit3% fully equal to the best now made by improved mills 
and more modern processes. 

Mr. Drew increased the size of his farm, extended his breaking 
and cultivation, and increased his acreage of wheat, but at the same 
time growing large crops of other kinds of farm produce without 
making a specialty of any particular branch of his business. He 
lias given his attention to the cultivation of fruit, and engaged con- 
siderably in stock raising, horses, cattle, sheep and hogs. Although 
he has extensive ranges, of fine pasturage on his large farm, he 
abandoned sheep farming, on account of the extreme care necessary 
to protect his flocks from the wolves that infested the vicinity. 

Mr. Drew has been a prosperous farmer. He has given his per- 
sonal attention to all of his farming operations and has made it a 
practical business occupation. He has held official positions in the 
town of KoUing Stone, in which he resides ; has served as county 
commissioner, and was a member of the state legislature in 1875, 
and also in 1876. 

C. E,. Coryell remained with Mr. Drew for about a year and 
then went back east to live. W. H. Coryell staid with him about 
two years, when he married and settled on a claim on the upper part 
of Wabasha prairie, whera W. L. Burr now resides. After a resi- 
dence here of about a year he left the territory. 

Robert Thorp is living on the farm chosen for him on his num- 
ber drawn. It adjoins that of Mr. Drew. Mr. Thorp's family lived 
in Minnesota City about two years before they moved to their pres- 
ent location. To hold the claim, and prevent others from jumping 
it while Mr. Thorp was absent working at his trade as a blacksmith, 
he built a small shanty, which Mrs. Thorp sometimes occupied 

Mr. Thoi"p is now occupying his comfortable stone cottage and 
broad acres of cultivated fields, for which he abandoned his black- 
smith shop in New York city. He has held the office of treasurer 
of the town of Rolling Stone, in which he lives, for the past fifteen 

Although Mr. Thorp brought to the colony a large supply of 
material, stock and tools, he never opened a shop in Minnesota 


City. IIu left his tUmily there in a comfortable hewed log house 
about 14X16, and went down to Galena, where he worked a part of 
the years 1852 and 1853. When he moved on his farm he built a 
small shop in which he sometimes does blacksmithing for himself or 
to accommodate a neighbor. 



From personal observations made during the extreme high water 
in the spring of 1852, and from the course of events and progress 
of aifairs generally at Wabasha prairie, Captain Smith decided or 
consented to locate his contemplated town site on claim No. 4, at the 
upper landing, instead of on claim No. 1, as he had at first intended. 
Circumstances apparently compelled him to change his original 
plans. He did not, however, at once abandon his first im})ressions, 
that claim No. 1 was the most valuable on the prairie. 

From letters now in the hands of the writer, correspondence 
between old settlers, who were then holding claims on the prairie, 
it is evident that for awhile Captain Smith was suspicious of his 
agent and partner in this speculation, and feared that he might 
attempt to appropriate the up])er landing as an individual posses- 
sion. With the rush of immigration into the territory, Johnson's 
ideas were considerably inflated, and he apparently assumed the 
entire control of aifairs at Johnson's landing, but no evidence of 
treachery was ever developed. 

About the first of June Captain Smith brought up a surveyor 
from Iowa, whose services he secured to lay out a town at the upper 
landing. To John Ball, United States deputy surveyor, he in- 
trusted the business of laying off and plotting claim No. 4 into lots, 
streets, etc. The original survey of the town plat of what is now 
Winona was accordingly made by John Ball for the proprietors. 
Smith and Johnson. 

No government survey of lands had been made on the west side 
of the river by which to locate the plat of the new town. Mr. Ball 
took its bearings from a point established by government surveyors 


on the opposite side of the river. Its location was described by 
him as follows: "From the northwest corner of Block 9, the 
meander post in Wisconsin on the Mississippi river, between Sees. 
1 and 6, T. 18 K, E. 10 and 11 W., 4th M., bears 35° east, 39 chains 
distant. " 

After due consideration of the matter it was decided to lay off 
the streets parallel with and at right angles to the river, which at 
this place runs a little south from an east course (21° south of east). 
It therefore became necessary that the boundaries should be estab- 
lished satisfactorily with the holders of the adjoining claims. Each 
of the chiims along the river were half a mile square. The division 
lines between them were a direct nortli and south course. 

The corner 'stake between No. 4, the Johnson claim, and No. 3, 
the Stevens claim, stood on the bank of tlje river, about midway 
between Walnut and Market streets. The corner stake between 
No. 4 and No. 5, the Hamilton claim, stood on the bank of the 
river about midway between Winona and Huff streets. 

Several days were spent in general measurements and negotia- 
tions before the boundaries of the plat were established, extending on 
the river from the corner stake of the Stevens claim to the center 
of Washington street, and running back to the center of Wabasha 
street. The proprietors of the claims on the river wei-e to retain 
their rights to their claims as originally made without regard to the 
survey and plat made by Mr. Ball. 

The boundary line on Wabasha street was established by special 
agreement with the holders of the claims on the south. An agree- 
ment, made a matter of record, is as follows : 

Thi.s article of agreement, made this fifteenth day of June, a.d. Eigliteen 
hundred and fift\-tvvo, Between A\'m. B. Crere and Erwin Johnson, both of 
the Countj' of Wabashaw and Territory of Minnesota, Witnesseth : That the 
said (parties) do hereby agree and bind ourselves to abide by the following 
specified stipulations in regard to boundary or division line between their 
respective claims on the Prairie of Wabashaw. The street designated on the 
Town Plot as Broadway shall be the division line between said claims as far as 
said Gere's extends, and furthermore the lots in the next Block or Blocks 
south of and bordering on Broadway shall be equally divided between said 
Gere and Johnson, and after said Gere has the same measurement of land 
south of said division Block as said Johnson has north of said division Block, 
the remaining strip of land bordering on the lake shall be equally divided 
between the said parties. 

In witness whereof we have herewith set our hands and seals. 

In presence of 1 Wm. B. Gere. [seal] 

John Ball. J E. Johnson. [seal] 


The boundaries between the claims on the river and those in 
tlie rear were irreguhir and "a great deal mixed." To illustrate 
their relation to each other: The original claims on the river began 
at a certain stake or starting point on the bank of the river, thence 
running south half a mile to a corner stake ; thence west half a mile 
to a corner stake; thence north to the bank of the river to a corner 
stake ; thence east along the bank of the river to the place of 

As the line of the river bank is about 21° south of east, it is 
readily seen that the west line was much the longest, and that the 
boundaries described included more that 160 acres of land. The 
claim adjoining on the west, if defined in the same manner, will not 
extend as far south on its east line as the western boundary of the 
first described. 

The irregularity of these boundaries on the soutli produced 
corresponding irregularities in the claims in the rear, which were 
sources of claim difficulties and contentions. In a matter arising 
from this peculiarity of claim boundaries Henry D. Huff narrowly 
escaped the loss of his life in the spring of 1854. 

Mr. Huff was then the proprietor of claim No. 5, the Hamil- 
ton claim. The land in the rear of the east eighty acres was held 
by George H. Sanborn. The land south of the west eighty was 
occupied by Elijah Silsbee. ' With the consent of Mr. Sanborn, but 
in opposition to Mr. Silsbee's claim rights, Mr. Huff attempted to 
change the original line of his claim on the south, and make it 
parallel with the river, or with the line of the streets. To accomplish 
this, he proposed to mark his boundary by a furrow extending from 
the southwest corner of the Johnson claim, No, 4, to the southwest 
corner of his own claim. No. 5. He sent his team with a plow to 
mark the line, and take possession by breaking and cultivation. 

Mr. Silsbee had previously marked his boundaries by a single 
furrow with a plow. When the team of Mr. Huff approached this 
furrow, Silsbee stopped them, and, threatening the driver with his 
gun, drove him off. He then stood guard to prevent any further 
attempts to trespass on his rights. The tract of land in dispute was 
but three or four acres. It was not so much the amount or value 
involved as it was what he supposed to be disregard of tlie rights of 
others that aroused the angry passions of Silsbee. It was not alone 
the protection of property, but an impulsive resistance of what he 
considered arbitrary oppression. 


Learning the state of affairs from the teamster, Mr. Huff went 
back on the prairie toward where Silsbee had stationed himself. As 
he approached the furrow which marked the original claim line 
Silsbee ordered him to halt, and bringing his gun to his shoulder 
called to him not to cross the furrow, that he would shoot him if 
he attempted. 

Fearless, and paying no attention to the order to halt, Mr. Huff 
continued to advance, and crossed the furrow. Approaching in a 
confident manner he said, " You do not intend to shoot me, do 
you?" Silsbee replied, "I do," and taking deliberate aim fired 
upon him. 

The gun was a double-barrel fowling-piece, owned by M. 
Wheeler Sargeant, which Silsbee had borrowed. Both ban-els were 
heavily loaded with fine shot and small gravel stones. The con- 
tents of one barrel were lodged in Mr., Huff's left side and arm. 
Fortunately, he had a large pocket-book filled with closel^'-folded 
papers in the breast-pocket of his inner coat, and both coats but- 
toned close. Nearly the whole charge lodged in the pocket-book. 
A part of the missiles were burrowed in the muscles of his chest and 
left arm. 

Mr. Huff was knocked down and disabled by the shock and 
injuries received. He was taken home, and was under the care of 
a surgeon for several weeks. No serious results followed the in- 
juries. He readily recovered. 

Silsbee was immediately arrested, and after an examination 
before a justice of the peace he was bound over for trial at the 
next term of the United States court, and released on bail. On 
account of some informality no court was held that year. The fol- 
lowing year the case was continued over on account of serious sick- 
ness of Silsbee. In the meantime Mr. Huff purchased the Silsbee 
claim, and the matter was permitted to pass without legal action in 

With the proceeds of the sale of his claim Mr. Silsbee, with 
Charles S. Hamilton as partner, opened a store on the corner of 
Center and Front streets, where a warehouse now stands, and for 
awhile he was considered to be a respectable citizen, but for many 
years previous to his death, which occurred about ten or twelve 
years ago, he was an outcast in community. 

It is said by an old settler that when the town plot was first 
made by John Ball the present levee was laid off into blocks, num- 


beivd from 1 to 6, and divided into lots, but tliat the plan was 
changed by the special directions of Capt. Smith and a r»ublic levee 
substituted. The high water of that season overflowed the bank as 
far as the south side of Front street, making the water-lots of less 
immediate value in the estimation of the proprietors. The landing 
was one of the important items of the claim with Caj)t. Smith, and 
he was desirous of making it available to its greatest extent. 

It is to Capt. Smith that the city of Winona is indebted for the 
commodious levee it now holds. It was the pride of its citizens 
before it was deformed and crippled by railroad tracks and other 
modern improvements, and suffered to wear and waste away from 
neglect of attention by those whose duty it is to protect and care 
for it. 

Blocks 1 and 6 on the river were reserved from the public levee 
and divided into lots as plotted. It is said that this was done by 
Mr. Huff before the plot was recorded. Block 1 contained but 
three lots belonging to Smith and Johnson ; the other two, lots 1 and 
2, belonged to the Stevens claim. 

When the town site of Smith and Johnson was surveyed and 
plotted by John Ball, United States deputy surveyor, it was given 
the name of Montezuma, by E. H. Johnson. He was afterward 
extremely tenacious of the name, and strongly opposed the sub- 
stitution of Winona. No record was made of the plot until the 
following year. Wabasha county had no county records. In 
1853, when Fillmore county (which also included this county) was 
created and regularly organized, the plot was recorded. 

Henry D. Huff bought an interest in this town site in 1853, and 
also had claim No. 5 surveyed and plotted as a part of the town. 
In a newspaper article, published several years ago, Mr. Huff said 
relative to this matter, "The town proper had been surveyed, 
plotted and named Montezuma by Smith and Johnson. With the 
consent of Capt. Smith I erased the name of Montezuma and 
inserted the name of Winona on the plot, and paid Mr. Stoll, of 
Minneowah, for recording the same as Winona. I found out after- 
ward that the name Montezuma was retained on the record, and 
asked Mr. Stoll why he ])ut in the name of Montezuma when it did 
not ap})ear on the plot. He Siiid Johnson wanted it Montezuma, 
so he recorded it Montezuma, adding a note that the proprietors 
had changed it to Winona." 

During the early part of this season another town site was 


located in this county. The location selected was along the river 
just above what is now the village of Homer — the claim purchased 
of Peter Gorr by Timothy Burns. This town site did not include 
BunnelPs landing, but extended from Bunnell's claim up the river 
along the bluffs. It was on the "main land," two or three miles 
below "that bar in the river," Wabasha prairie. 

A stock company was organized. There were eight shares 
valued at $200 each. The stockholders and proprietors were 
Timothy Burns, lieutenant-governor of "Wisconsin, residing at 
La Crosse, Willard B. Bunnell, of Bunnell's landing, Isaac Van 
Etten, Charles W. Borup, Charles H. Oakes, Alexander Wilkin, 
Justus C. Ramsey and William L. Ames, of St. Paul. 

This company was a strong and influential one, and with the 
exception of Bunnell they were all men of considerable capital. 
With them their investments here were wholly matter of specula- 
tion. It was supposed to be a "good thing," and strong efforts 
were made by them to build up a town that would successfully 
compete with Capt. Smith's claims for the business of the interior 
when the back country should become settled. 

Soon after' Smith and Johnson had their town site plotted the 
speculation began to be developed, and in July this rival town was 
surveyed and plotted by Isaac Thompson for the proprietors, and 
the name of Minneowah given to it. This name is of the Dakota 
language. It was selected by the proprietors of the new town, and 
not given to the locality by the Sioux. It is not now known 
whether the Indians had a name designative of this place or not. 
None was ever known by any of the settlers. The literal transla- 
• tion of the name Minneowah is ' ^ Falling Water. " 

In a description of the Falls of St. Anthony by the Rev. John A. 
Merrick, an Episcopal clergyman at St. Paul, published about the 
1st of January, 1852, he says, "By the Dahcota or Sioux Indians 
they are called 'Minne-ha-hah,' or ' Minne-ra-ra, ' (Laughing Water,) 
and also 'Minne-owah' (Falling Water) — general expressions 
applied to all waterfalls." 

The historical address of M. Wheeler Sargeant, from which 
extracts have been made, says, "The town contained 318 lots; 
consequently at that early day looked quite imposing on paper — still 
more so on the spot; for at letist one half of it was 400 feet above 
the river and of w-g^r^y perpendicular access; * * * and for the 


next year it was by far the most ])retentious place below St. Paul. 
* * * Except the unimj)ortant items of locality, buildings and 
inhabitants, it had all the characteristics of a great cityy 

The plot was put into i»iarket at St. Paul and lots were bought 
ajid sold, without knowledge of their locality — whether on the table 
along the river or on the bluff above. Not much was done there by 
way of improvements until the following year. 

In the spring of 1853 a large hotel was built by the proprietors — 
much the largest and best building on the west side of the river 
below St. Paul. For awhile Minneowah was truly a rival town, and 
strongly contested with Montezuma for public attention. Its advan- 
tages of h)cation "on the main land," over that "sand-bar," liable 
to overflow any year, were loudly proclaimed, and its prospects were 
for awhile apparently promising. 

The hotel was opened, and steamboats landed passengers who 
were prospecting for locations. Stores were built and goods brought 
on, — dwellings commenced, but dividends for the sale of lots were 
unknown ; the expense column was much the heaviest. The origi- 
nal stockholders divided up their shares and generously allowed 
others to hold stock in Minneowah. 

Among the new proprietors who became residents were Myron 
Toms, who, while living in St. Paul, purchased a half-share. H. B. 
Stoll purchased a halt-share from Mr. Yan Etten. James F. Toms, 
Charles G. Waite and others became proprietors. Peter Burns held 
an interest as successor of his brother Timothy Burns, whose death 
occurred about this time. He was the only shareholder who claimed 
to have made anything from the transaction. He says that when 
the prospects of success were the most flattering he sold his interest 
to the other proprietors for $4,000, and went back to La Crosse. 

An addition to Minneowah was surveyed and plotted for Bun- 
nell, Stoll and John Lavine. This addition was principally suburban 
lots of from five to ten acres eacli for residence property. It was 
located above the original town, extending along the bluffs to the 
mouth of Pleasant valley. Mr. Lavine occupied this land and held 
it as a claim. 

Among the early residents of Minneowah was the Hon. C. F. 
Buck, of the town of Winona, then a young lawyer just starting in 
business. Mr. Buck came here about the first of September, 1853, 
and remained until 1856, when he moved to Winona. Charles M. 
Lovel, of Fillmore county, was for awhile a merchant here and 


carried on considerable of a trade. There were many others who 
were temporary residents of that locality. A man by the name of 
Dougherty remained there for several years. 

The town plot of Minneowah was never recorded. It.was placed 
on tile in the office of the register of deeds of Fillmore county, while 
Mr. Stoll was register and had his office at Minneowah. In 1855 
Myron Toms, holding power of attorney from the proprietors, with- 
drew the plot from the files for the purpose of entering the land as 
a claim. The town site of Minneowah was then unknown on any 
record. It was said that this was done to onst some of the propri- 
etors and holders of lots, but the location was jumped by some of 
the citizens residing there wIto filed their claims in the United States 
land office as actual settlers on the land. The matter was contested, 
but the resident settlers held their claims as homesteads. 

Mr. Dougherty drew the hotel and a store with his share 

of the spoils. The stockholders and owners of lots lost all right 
and title to the locality. The commercial town "on the main land " 
vanished. Minneowah is now known only by tradition to the 
residents of the county. ' 

Willard B. Bunnell, one of the original stockholders of Minneo- 
wah, the resident proprietor, was, in the beginning, the most zqalous 
and active of the company in his efforts to build up this town, and 
gave most of his time and attention to the scheme, but later he 
learned he was but a tool in the hands of his more experienced and 
wealthy associates. The professional town-site speculators were 
"too much" for the little Indian trader. He became a silent part- 
ner in the concern for awhile, and then relinquished his share to the 

No one intimately acquainted with Will Bunnell had reason to 
doubt the sincerity of his belief that Wabasha prairie had been 
entirely flooded, and was liable to be again submerged in extreme 
high water. This idea he imbibed from his belief at that time in 
many of the traditions and some of the superstitions of the Indians, 
although he was a man of intelligence and of some acquirements. 
Notwithstanding his active, restless temperament and impulsive 
manners, he was popular with his acquaintances. He was a genial, 
social companion, and a gentleman when frontier sociability was 
not carried to excess. 

About the first of June, 1852, John Burns brought his family into 
the territory of Minnesota and settled in this county. He located 


himself in the mouth of the valley to which his name was afterward 
given, and which is now known as "Burns Valley." Plis family 
then consisted of his wife, three daughters — Mary, "Maggie," 
Elicia — and his son William. Elicia died not long after she came 

Mr. Burns had, prior to this, been a resident of the State of 
Wisconsin, living near Mineral Point, where he had been engaged 
in farming and stock-raising. On his anival here, he landed at 
Bunnell's landing, with all of his household goods, farming imple- 
ments, and a large herd of cattle, horses, hogs, fowls, etc., to 
transport all of which Mr. Burns used to say he had to charter the 
Nominee for the trip. He moved direct from the landing to his 
claim, where, instead of the ordinary claim shanty, the family found 
a home ready to receive them. They never had any experience of 
shanty life in Minnesota. 

The claim on which Mr. Burns settled was selected for him by 
his son, Timothy Burns, lieutenant-governor of Wisconsin. The 
claim was chosen early in the fall of 1851, soon after the treaty with 
the Sioux for the sale of their lands, on the west side of the Missis- 
sippi. During the winter, about the first of February, Mr. Burns 
came up the river on the ice, with the mail carrier, to see the loca- 
tion in the Indian country, which he had been notified had been 
selected for him as a stock fai'm and family homestead. 

After stopping a few days at La Crosse to visit his sons, Timothy 
and Peter Burns, he came up to look at the claim and found it to be 
a choice satisfactory to himself. He decided to secui-e it and bring 
his family on in the spring. Making his headquarters at Bunnell's, 
he took possession of the claim and proceeded to get out timber 
with which to build a frame house on it in the spring. 

AbAut the first of April he returned home, going down the river 
on the Nominee, then on her first trip. He left his claim in the 
care of his sons in La Crosse. The special charge of the claim was 
under the watchful eye of W. B. Bunnell, whose sister was the wife 
of Peter Burns. Tt was tlirough the aid of Bunnell that the claim 
was first selected and held. 

Early in the spring Timothy Burns had a house built on this 
claim for his father. It was at that time the best building in southern 
Minnesota. It was a commodious but rather old-fashioned farm- 
house. The frame was of oak timber with posts and braces, covered 
with a shingled roof, the sides clapboarded and painted. It was 


into this house, just completed, that Mr. Burns moved his family 
about the first of June. Its pleasant location among the large old 
oaks on the bank of the stream gave it a cozy and homelike 

This house was occupied by Mr. Burns and his family for several 
years, until it took fire from some defect in the chimney and burned 
to the ground with the most of its contents. He then built another 
house on the site of the first, which it somewhat resembles in gen- 
eral external appearance, although its internal arrangements are of 
more modern style. This building is yet standing, and is used as 
the farm residence of the occupant of the land. 

Mr. Burns opened up a farm on his claim, but gave his attention 
principally to stock-raising and the dairy. The early settlers were 
for man}^ years greatly dependent on Mr. Burns for good,, fresh 
butter, eggs and chickens, while Mr. Burns furnished them fresh beef 
from his herd. The claim and vicinity furnished an extensive range 
for his cattle, and afforded unlimited meadows of grass-land for 
their winter's supply of hay. His surplus of the farm always found 
ready sale on Wabasha prairie or with the immigrants that came 
into the county to settje. 

When Mr. Burns first took possession of his claim he obtained 
permission of the Sioux to occupy the land, cut the timber and build 
a house on it. For this permit he gave the Indians two barrels of 
flour and a barrel of pork. This he paid under the impression and 
with the belief that he was purchasing their rights to the land. He 
always after maintained that he bought his claim from their chief 
Wabasha, and that no one had a better right to it than himself. 

At the time he took possession there were two or three large 
Indian tepees standing in the vicinity of where his house was built. 
They were about 15x20, of the same style and structure as those 
found on Wabasha prairie and in the mouth of Gilmore valley. 
This locality was the special home of Wabasha and his family rela- 
tives when living in this vicinity. It was sometimes called Wabasha's 
garden by the old settlers. 

Quite a number of Indian graves were on these grounds. Nearly 
in front of the farmhouse there were two or three graves of more 
modern burial lying side by side. These were said to be the last 
resting-place of some of Wabasha's relatives. The Sioux made 
a special request of Mr. Burns and his family that these graves 
should not be disturbed. This Mr, Burns promised, and the little 


mounds, covered with billets of wood, were never molested, although 
they were in his garden and not far from his house. For many 
years they remained as they were left by the Indians, until the 
wood by which they were covered had rotted away entirely. A light 
fi-ame or fence of poles put there by Mr. Burns always covered the 
locality during his lifetime. 

For several years after Mr. Burns located here the Sioux who visited 
this part of the territory were accustomed to make it their camping- 
grounds. Although tliey were unwelcome visitors, and their arrival 
always dreaded by the female portion of the family, Mr. Burns was 
never annoyed by their presence, — they were never troublesome. 
To allay any demonstrations of timidity on the part of Mrs. Burns 
or her daughters, he would chidingly remark, "Sure ye have no 
cause for fear, — didn't I buy the land from old Wabasha himself — 
and pay him his own price for it too — a barrel of pork and two 
barrels of flour { They will not harm ye — don't be bothering about 
the Indians, now." 

Mr. Burns never lost anything by the Indians. His property 
was never disturbed, and in but one particular were they ever 
familiar or assumed possession of anything without permission. 
During the first season Mr. Burns had a field of corn and pumpkins 
on new breaking. The corn was a poor crop, but the pumpkins 
were plentiful. Thinking to make some contributions to them, Mrs. 
Burns gave tlie squaws permission to take all the pumpkins they 
desired. The squaws helped themselves liberally. Every season 
afterward the squaws made an annual visit and swarmed into Mr. 
Burns' cornfields. They carried off "• Mrs. Burns' pumpkins," but 
left the corn for the blackbirds to forage on. 

Mr. Burns wa^! appointed a justice of the peace, by Gov. Ram- 
sey, not long after he came here. He was the second justice of the 
])eace appointed in Wabasha county ; the first was T. K. Allen, 
of Minnesota City. He held the position until his successor was 
elected in the fall of 1853. 

"The rich Irish brogue " plainly revealed the Milesian origin of 
Mr. Burns. Ilis quaint expressions are pleasantly remembered by 
his friends and acquaintances. As a justice of the peace his court 
was a session of comic drollery that was heartily enjoyed by the set- 
tlers. His rulings and decisions were given from an intuitive and 
imjmlsive feeling of right and justice, rather than from his compre- 
hension of the law governing the cases. His honesty of purpose 


was never questioned ; as a citizen he had the respect of the early 

Mr, Burns, his wife, and their daughter Elicia, died on their 
farm in the mouth of Burns valley, — *on the claim where they 
settled in 1853. Mrs. Burns died in September, 1860, Mr. Burns 
in March, 1870. The homestead is yet in possession of one of the 
family. It is owned by Miss Maggie Burns, one of their daughters. 
Mary, the other daughter, is now known as Mrs. E. S. Smith, of 
the city of Winona. An interesting family of sons and daughters, 
young ladies and gentlemen, now call her "mother." "Bill" 
Burns has gone west. 



Among the settlers on Wabasha prairie during the early part of 
the summer of 1852 were the Rev. Hiram S. Hamilton and his son 
Charles S. Hamilto^j, who arrived about the first of June. After 
exploring the prairie in search of claims, without settling on any, 
they made choice of one across the slough at the foot of the Sugar- 
Loaf Bluff, where they built a small claim shanty and commenced 
pioneer life. Finding the location a lonesome and unpleasant one, 
they moved their shanty and housekeeping material over on the 
prairie, and put it up^on the bank of the river — on a mound at 
about what is now the foot of Main street. » 

After living on the levee for a short time, they moved into the 
shanty on claim No. 2 — the claim held by Caleb Nash. While 
living there, H. S. Hamilton acquired possession of the claim, and 
soon after built a house on the bank of the river, a little way 
above where the saw-mill of the Winona Lumber Company now 
stands. He here located himself with his family, consisting of his 
wife and two sons, Charles S. and Eugene, and made it his home 
for about ten years, when he sold his property on Wabasha prairie 
to Henry D. Huff and moved on a farm in the southeast part of 
Wisconsin, where he died a few years ago. 

Rev. Hiram S. Hamilton, or, as he was most commonly called, 
"Elder Hamilton," was a prominent and well-known citizen of this 


county in the pioneer days of its settlement. Through his influence 
very many of the early settlers came into the territ<)ry, and a large 
number of his relations and personal friends, as well as strangers, 
were induced to settle in this county, many oi them on Wabasha 
prairie, now the city of Winona. 

Mr. Hamilton was a gentleman of liberal education, of fine 
personal appearance, pleasing and entertaining in his manners, but 
of (piiet, unobtrusive habits. He was a Congregational minister, 
and had preached for many years before he came here. On account 
of ])Oor health he resigned his position as pastor of a churcli in 
Dubuque and came to Minnesota, expecting to be benefited by the 
change of climate and locality. At Dubuque he was popular with 
his congregation and held in high esteem as a citizen. During his 
residence in Minnesota he was popular as a preacher and respected 
by the early settlers, amcmg whom he had many warm friends who 
knew him personally, many who now hold pleasant recollection and 
retain that respect to his memory. 

From the time he first landed on Wabasha prairie until after 
the society of the Congregational church -was organized, of which he 
was the pastor, he preached quite regularly to attentive congrega- 
tions of mixed religious ideas and beliefs. His well written and 
impressively delivered sermons were interesting and instructive, and 
were always listened to with respectful attention. Their influence 
helped to maintain a moral restraint over the community of 
unorganized citizens, of a locality in which uncertain public opinion 
was the controlling law. His services were gratuitously disposed, 
but were n(me the less valued or beneficial in the settlement. 

Although Elder Hamilton lawfully came in possession of and 
lawfully held claim No. 2, the circumstances and manner by which 
the claim was secured caused a feeling of opposition from interested 
individuals, which, for a time, threatened to lessen his influence as 
a teacher or adviser, but public opinion indorsed his action in the 
matter. His po[)ularity as a preacher was maintained, and his 
reputation as a citizen was unimpaired by the transaction. 

The charges against him by his opponents were, that he had 
taken possession of and held the claim regai-dless of the rights of 
others ; that in his proceedings in the matter he had laid aside his 
"Sunday clothes" and descended to the level of other settlers, and 
"jumped the claim." 

Claim jumping was not considered as a crimirfal offense in public 


opinion if sustained by the laws governing claims. The wrorig, if 
any was committed, was generally forgiven and forgotten by the 
public if the attempt was successful, and particularly if the claim 
proved to be valuable. Some incidents relative to the change of 
proprietors of claim No. 2 will be given to show the circumstances 
under which it was jumped. 

Charles S. Hamilton was about seventeen or eighteen years of 
age when he came here with his father. He was a reckless, dashing 
and rather fast young man, inclined to be inconsiderate and forward 
in .his manners. He was brought here to withdraw him from the 
evil influences of "young America" in Dubuque. Although 
"gassy" and volatile, Charlie was not considered a vicious boy, and 
for awhile he was a general favorite with the settlers, — his restless 
freedom was more amusing than offensive. Many things were over- 
looked because he was Elder Hamilton's son. Without occupation 
he amused himself in hunting and fishing and in explorations of the 
country. He studied the mystery of claims among the groups of 
settlers who gathered to discuss this general topic of conversation.. 

Learning the history, condition and approximate value at which 
every claim was held, he became interested in the idea of forming a 
stock company and laying out another town site on the Nash claim. 
Nash had made his claim under the instructions of Johnson, and 
held it under his directions and patronage, hardly conscious that it 
was his own by right. I^owing this condition of the claim, 
Charlie proposed his plan to Johnson and W. B. Gere, who favored 
the scheme. Johnson readily induced Nash to enter into an arrange- 
ment with them and become one of the company. 

The plan proposed was, that Nash should transfer his claim to 
the new company for a specified consideration, when it was to be 
surveyed and plotted for the company, composed of E. H. Johnson, 
W. B. Gere, Caleb Nash and Charles S. Hamilton. To secure 
equal rights and privilege^ to the proprietors, the services of a lawyer 
in La Crosse were secured, to draw up all necessary papers, by 
making him also one of the stockholders. 

As a preliminary movement, a quit-claim deed was drawn u]), 
transferring all of the right and interest of Nash in the claim to 
Johnson and Co. This deed was given to Charlie Hamilton, to pro- 
cure the signature of Nash. Except a nominal consideration, the 
payment of the full amount agreed upon was postponed until the 
company was organized. 


To get the signature of Nash to this quit-claim deed Cliarlie went 
to " (roddard's," where Nash was then stopping, laid up on ac- 
count of sickness. On learning the object of his visit Mrs. Goddard 
advised Nash against signing any papers until he received the 
money down for his claim. Her advice was unheeded. Charlie 
Hamilton's "representations that "it was all right" — "only to 
show that he meant business, so that they could organize the com- 
pany " — induced Nash to sign his name. 

In narrating this occurrence "Aunt Catharine" said, "I sup- 
pose tlie boys thought I did not know anything about business, but 
poor Nash was sorry enough afterward that he did not listen to me, 
when I told him he was giving his claim away." 

The deed was given into the hands of the "attorney of the com- 
pany," at La Crosse, for safe keeping. To secure the claim and pre- 
vent Nash or anyone else from attempting to get possession, it was 
proposed to allow Elder Hamilton to occupy the claim, and utilize 
him as a tool in the affair. 

H. S. Hamilton and Charlie were then living in their shanty on 
the public levee. By " request of the company," he was induced to 
move into and occupy the Nash shanty until the necessary papers 
were made out and the company were ready for business. He ac- 
cordingly took possession, sent for his family and made it his home. 
He thus became an actual settler on the claim, and its sole possessor 
in full conformity with the laws governing claims. 

The "joint stock company" lost all right, title and interest in 
the claim they had induced Nash to transfer to them. Neither the 
company nor individuals of the company were ever able to dispossess 
Mr. Hamilton, or obtain remuneration for the losses resulting from 
this failure of their scheme, although several suits at law were 
brought to recover damages. Some effort was made to arouse sym- 
pathy for Nash, whose claim, it was reported, had been jumped by 
Elder Hamilton, but without avail. The settlers generally under- 
stood the matter and took sides with the elder. 

H. S. Hamilton' afterward obtained a quit-claim deed direct 
from Caleb Nash, giving him a reasonable compensation for it, 
although he had previously relinquished his rights to it to Johnson 
and Co. It is said of Nash, by those who knew him, that he was an 
industrious and well-disposed young man, of very moderate acquire- 
ments. He had unlimited confidence in Johnson, who really held 
the claim through him and actually controlled it. Caleb Nash left 



Wabasha prairie and went down the river in tlie spring of 1853. 
It is not known that he ever returned to the territory. 

Rev. H. S. Hamilton held quiet possession of claim No. 2, now 
known as ''Hamilton's addition," until about the time of the public 
land sale, when he became involved in another "difference" rela- 
tive to it, which eventually resulted in bringing about a division of 
the Congregational church, by the withdrawal of a part of its mem- 
bers and an organization of another society, the Presbyterian 

church . 

When Henry C. Gere brought his family to Wabasha prairie he 
attempted to take possession of the Stevens claim, but was prevented 
by the decisive opposition of Mr. Stevens and his friends. Profess- 
ing to have a just right to the claim, he was not satisfied to let the 
matter rest. Not daring to attempt a forcible entry on the land, and 
as there was no legal authority to appeal to, Mr. Gere made applica- 
tion to the Wabasha Protection Club for aid to secure possession. 

A majority of the members of the claim club were non-residents, 
living in La Crosse. The constitution and by-laws of the club, to 
which every member was required to affix his signature, provided 
that all questions of difference relative to claims should be examined 
by a committee of three appointed by the club for that purpose, 
who were required to make a report of their action to that body for 
its final decision. Each party was entitled to counsel and allowed 
to present witnesses. 

Mr. Gere's appeal was duly referred to a special committee for 
investigation. After numerous adjourned meetings, at which the 
parties appeared with their attorneys and witnesses, without arriving 
at a decision, it was agreed to submit the matter to arbitrators. 
The referees were Jacob S. Denman, of Wabasha prairie, and F. M. 
Rublee, of La Crosse. 

Attorneys and witnesses came up from La Crosse two or three 
times to attend this arbitration court before an agreement could 
be effected. The case was finally settled by the parties consenting 
to divide the claim between them,— Silas Stevens to retain the west 
eighty acres, and the east eighty was to be given up to Henry C. 


It was said that the sympathies of the members of the club and 
of the referees were on the side of Gere. Mr. Gere was a large, 
fine-looking man of social habits and pleasing manners, a smooth 
talker that could represent his own side of the question. He was a 


poor man aiul liad a large fainily dei)endc'nt on his individual efforts 
for their support. 

Mr. Stevens was supposed to have considerable capital which he 
was using in speculations. He was not a popular man with settlers 
in a new country. He was a rigid church member, a strict and 
zealous temperance man, and in ])olitics an abolitionist from the old 
whig ])arty. He was a man firm in his own opinions and in liis own 
ideas of right, and was self-reliant in all of his business affairs. 
He discouraged familiarity and but few comprehended him as a man. 

Silas Stevens was a native of the State of New York, born in 
1799 ; in 1829 removed to Pennsylvania ; in 1840 moved to Illinois, 
driving through with his own teams ; in 1841 settled on a farm in Lake 
county, Illinois. In the spring of 1851, leaving the management 
of his farm to his son Wm. II. Stevens, then a young man living 
with his mother and sister on the homestead, he visited the upper* 
Mississippi for the purpose of making investments. He stopped at 
La Crosse, where he o])ened a lumber yard and speculated in real 
estate, claims, etc. — moderately and carefully, never indulging in 
wild schemes. 

It was through Mr. Stevens that Gere came to La Crosse, where 
he placed him with his fkmily on a claim to hold until a sale could 
be effected. Mr, Stevens furnished the supplies, and, with the men 
employed in his lumber yard, boarded with the family. He also 
employed Gere in his lumber yard as salesman, where Gere's pre- 
tentious style led many to suppose that he was the responsible head 
in the business. 

In Illinois both Stevens and Gere were zealous members of the 
same church. In La Crosse Mr. Gere found different society. The 
free and easy sociability and western style of speculation to which 
he was introduced, suited his active temperament and visionary style 
of business. 

Early in the winter Gere attempted to secure the claim he was 
holding for Mr. Stevens, but was prevented by Mr. Stevens entering 
it at the land office before Gere could file his pre-emption papers. 
From this transaction Mr. Stevens lost confidence in Gere, and all 
friendshij) ceased. He dissolved all association, .for Gere had 
represented that they were partners in their business transactions. 

Mr. George W. Clark, who was in Mr. Stevens' employ at that 
time, says he never heard of a partnership between the two men. 
Gere took charge of business when Mr. Stevens was temporarily 


absent. Mr. Stevens once bought a rait of lumber on wliicli he was 
given thirty days' time. Being asked for an indorser, he, for form's 
sake, asked Gere to sign the note with him. The security was 
satisfactory and the note was paid by Mr. Stevens when due. 

Mr. Stevens retained tlie half of the claim which he had made 
in good faith for himself, in the fall previous. The other half as 
justly belonged to him. Pie submitted to this division as a final 
settlement of all difficulties with Gere. The west eighty of the 
original Stevens claim is now known as Stevens' addition. 

Leaving his affairs in Minnesota in the hands of his son, W. H. 
Stevens, Silas Stevens continued his speculations elsewhere for a 
year or two longer, when he made arrangements to locate perma- 
nently in Winona, but never accomplished this design. While on 
his way here from Galena with horses, traveling by land, he was 
taken with cliolera and died after a few hours' sickness. His death 
occurred at Fayette, La Fayette county, Wisconsin, on July 20, 1854. 

His wife and daughter had already moved to Winona, where 
they made it their home while living. His daughter was the wife of 
H. C. Bolcom, a well known citizen, who came here in 1854. 

Wm. H. Stevens is the oldest settler now living on Wabasha 
prairie, the oldest inhabitant of the city of Winona. Norman B. 
Stevens, an older brother, came here in 1856, and is now living in 
the city of Winona. 

After the death of Silas Stevens the Stevens claim passed into 
the possession of W. H. Stevens. He sold an undivided interest in 
it to Wm. Ashley Jones and E. S. Smith. It was surveyed into lots 
and streets on the same scale as the original town site of Smith and 
Johnson, and designated as Stevens' addition. 

AVm. H. Stevens has been interested in many of the enterprises 
by which the city of Winona has been developed. He has held 
several official positions. In the fall of 1853 he was elected justice 
of the peace. He has served as deputy sheriff. In later years he 
was a member of the board of education. In 1872 and in 1873 he 
was a member of the state legislature as senator from the eighth 
district in Winona county. 

Mrs. Stevens, the wife of Wm. H. Stevens, was an early settler 
in this county. She came here in 1852 and lived in tlie colony at 
Eolling Stone with her relatives. She is a sister of Mrs. S. D. 
Putman and of S. A. and O. H. Houk, who were members of the 
association. In the fall and winter of that year Mrs. Stevens (then 


Miss " Hetty " Ilouk) taught the first district school at Minnesota city 
that was ever held in southern Minnesota ; she also taught the lirst 
district school ever opened in the city of "Winona, in the fall of 1854. 

About July 1, 1852, Byron A. Viets came up from La Crosse 
with a small drove of cattle, principally cows and young stock. He 
landed them on Wabasha prairie, where he was successful in 
disposing of his entire herd to the settlers on the prairie and at 
Rolling Stone. 

In a trade with Johnson he purchased two or three lots in the 
town plot. This was the first sale of lots after the claim was 
surveyed and plotted ; the first sale of real estate in the new town 
or village of Montezuma,, now city of Winona. 

One of these lots, purchased by Mr. Viets, was lot 2, block 10, 
on Front street ; another was lot 4, block 14. The quit-claim deeds 
by which the title to these lots was transferred from Smith and 
Johnson to Byron A. Yiets, were placed on record in the oflSce of 
the register of deeds of "Washington county at Stillwater, the county 

Mr. Yiets also bought a claim of eighty acres lying between the 
claim held by Wm. B. Gere and the one held by Elijah Silsbee. It 
was early discovered that the Beecher-Cxere claim was an expansive 
one, covering more territory than allowed by law, 'and S. K. 
Thompson gave notice that he had selected a claim in that locality, 
but he failed to protect it by improvements. 

It was in nominal possession of several difJerent persons who 
jumped it one from another, while each failed to occupy it. Early 
in the summer Isaac W. Simonds came up from La Orosse and took 
possession of it. It was said that he was in the employ of Peter 
Burns. To show that it was a claim held by a bona fide settler, he 
planted a few potatoes and cultivated a small patch of ground. 
This garden spot was in the vicinity of where the State Normal 
School now stands. 

It was generally understood among the settlers that this was 
Thompson's claim, although he had not occupied it, — he was living 
with John Evans at the time. In the absence of Simonds at La 
Crosse, where he made his home, Thompson took possession by 
building the customary log pen, and with the aid of John Evans 
held it for a short time. To settle this claim dispute, it was agreed 
that Thompson and Simonds should hold the land jointly or divide 
it between them. 


Without the knowledge of Tliompson, Mr. Simonds traded off the 
claim to Mr. Viets, and gave him possession. Thompson lost his 
interest without realizing anything from the sale. Mr. Yiets built 
a shanty on it, and on the 20th of July brought his family from La 
Crosse, and became an actual resident on the prairie. 

Having some surplus funds, Mr. Yiets at once made arrange- 
ments to improve his town lots. He decided to build a house for 
the accommodation of the traveling public on lot 2, block 10, front- 
ing on the levee. He brought up material and carpenters from La 
Crosse, and put up a building about 24 X 28, a story and a half 
high — a low porch extended across the front. It was afterward, in 
1853, improved by the addition of a long one-story attachment in 
the rear for dining-room, kitchen, etc. This was at first known as 
"Yiets Tavern,'' then as the "Yiets House," but was better 
known to the early settlers as the " Winona Hotel," and later as the 
old " Winona House." 

This house was built in August. The roof was* the second on 
the prairie covered with shingles. The first was on the house of 
John Evans, on the Evans claim, the third was on the shanty built 
by Dr. Balcombe, and the fourth on the house built by Elder Ely, 
on the corner of Center and Second streets. In October the rooms 
in the lower part of the house were plastered. The first plastered 
rooms on the prairie were in the house of Elder Ely. Mr. Yiets 
occupied this tavern for about two months, when he leased it to 
David Olmsted for a private residence, and moved his family down 
to La Crosse to spend the winter. 

Late in this season Hon. David Olmsted, accompanied by a 
brother, arrived at Winona from Fort Atkinson, Iowa. They came 
through the country on the same trail Mr. Olmsted had traveled 
before when he accompanied the Winnebagoes on their removal from 
Iowa to Long Prairie, Minnesota. The trail was up through Money 
Creek valley, and along the divide between the Burns and Gilmore 
valley, on the old government trail leading down the ravine back 
of George W. Clark's residence. They traveled on foot frqm Fort 
Atkinson to Wabasha prairie, packing their camp supplies on a pony 
which they brought along. 

Mr. Olmsted then proposed to locate himself on Wabasha prairie 
and make it his home. He leased the Yiets House for a residence, 
and had some furniture sent on and stored there, but his wife re- 
mained east on a visit, and did not return until the following spring. 



In the meantime Mr. Olmsted changed his pUins and located in St. 
Paul. This part of the territory was always a favorite locality with 
Mr. Olmsted. He came to Winona in 1855, and made it his home 
while he remained in Minnesota. On occount of poor health he 
removed to Vermont, where he died of consumption in 1861. The 
memory of David Olmsted deserves more than this brief notice of 
one of the early settlers of this county, and if space permits farther 
reference will be made of his residence in this locality. 

In 1852, when David Olmsted leased the house of Mr. Viets, he 
placed it and the furniture stored there in the care of Edwin Hamil- 
ton, who lived alone in it during the winter. 

About the last of January, 1853, Mr. Yiets learned that a stranger 
was occupying his claim on Wabasha prairie that he bought of 
Simonds. He came up with liis wife to look after it. On arriving 
here, he found that a man by the name of Benjamin had jumped his 
claim, and was then in possession of it, professing to hold it as an 
abandoned claim. 

Mr. Viets, accompanied by Wm. B. Gere, went immediately to his 
shanty with their revolvers in their hands and requested the claim 
jumper to vacate the locality as soon as possible. Not being able to 
resist so urgent a request presented for his consideration, he hur- 
riedly left the claim and went back to La Crosse, where he had been 
living. It was said this man was in the employ of a Mr. Healy, 
for whom he had jumped the claim. 

In the spring Mr. Viets sold out all of his interest on Wabasha 
prairie and moved back to La Crosse, where he settled in La Crosse 

About the first of July, 1852, George M. Gere came up from La 
Crosse and settled on Wabasha prairie. He brought with him his 
wife and a very large family of children. He also brought up, with 
his household furniture, tools and material for a boot and shoe shop. 
He was the father of Wni. B. Gere, and brother of H. C. Gere. 

For temporary accommodation they went to the shant}' of H. C. 
Gere, where the two families lived together for a month or two. It 
was said that there were eighteen regular occupants of that little 
shanty, 12x16. The summer was dry and warm, and they found 
plenty of room outside without inconvenience. 

In September, when Mr. Den man closed out his mercantile 
business and moved out on his claim, Mr. Gere leased his house on 
La Fayette street and occupied it with his family during the winter. 


He was a boot and shoe maker by trade, and occupied the front 
room of his residence as a shop. He here started the first shop in 
the county for the manufacture and repairs of boots and shoes of the 

The following spring he built a shanty on his son's claim. It 
stood on the south side of Wabasha street, back of where the high 
school building now stands. It was 16x32, one story with a shin- 
gled roof. He occupied this locality until he left Winona. 

Not long after Mr. Gere came into the territory he was appointed 
a justice of the jjeace for the county of Wabasha, by Gov, Ramsey. 
After Fillmore county was created he was continued in the same 
official position. He was also elected justice of the peace at the first 
election, in the fall of 1853. 

His shoe shop was his oflice and where he held his court. When 
he moved from the house belonging to Mr. Denman he built a small 
shop on the alley near the west side of La Fayette street, between 
Front and Second streets. His shop was a favorite lounging place 
for the settlers to while away an idle hour. His house was often 
used on Sundays for preaching and other religious exercises. 

Mr. Gere was a large, dignified appearing man, about fifty years 
of age. His intimate friends speak of him with respect, as being 
an intelligent, consistent and exemplary christian gentleman ; 
usually cheerful ; a good-humored, companionable man, who enjoyed 
a harmless joke and innocent sport, — one who did not consider it a 
sin to smile when pleased. 

Soon after Winona county was created Mr. Gere moved to Chat- 
field, then the county seat of Fillmore county. He left Winona 
about the first of July, 1854. 

During the spring and summer of 1852 Andrew Cole, a lawyer, 
living in La Crosse, made frequent visits to Wabasha prairie. 
These visits were to acquire a knowledge of the country, to form 
the acquaintance of the settlers, speculate in claims, and also to 
attend to pi-ofessional business. 

Although there were no courts of justice, nor even a county or- 
ganization, there was business for the lawyers in contesting the 
claim difficulties, which became frequent as soon as the settlers 
began to wrangle for what they considered to be the best claims or 
choicest locations. These claim disputes were sometimes brought 
before the claim clubs for settlement. It was important to have 
counsel who had some knowledge of claim laws. When justices 


were appointed these claim disputes were for awhile tried before 
tliem, until it was discovered that, as matters relating to title in real 
estate, they were not under the jurisdiction of that court. 

In tlie fall Mr. Cole brought liis wife up from La Crosse and be- 
came a resident of Minnesota. He was the first lawyer to settle on 
Wabasha prairie — the first to settle in southern Minnesota for the 
practice of his profession. Being the only lawyer on the west side 
of the river, it was said that for the accommodation of his clients, he 
sometimes acted as counsel on both sides in the same suit, and at 
the same time acting as confidential adviser to the claim committee, 
or of the court, if matters of law were not clear to the inexperienced 

The house he occupied was one built by E. H. Johnson, which 
stood on lot 4, block 10, fronting on the levee. It was a small 
one-story building about 16x24, with a lean-to on the back part of 
the east side about 10 X 12. This was the third house with plastered 
rooms. The roof was shingled. There were seven buildings with 
shingled roofs at the close of this year. 

Mr. Cole had his office in his residence. He occupied this place 
for three or four years, when he built a house on the corner of Fifth 
and Harriet streets, opposite the First Ward Park, where he lived 
during the remaining time of his residence in Winona. In about 
1858 he went east and located himself in Poughkeepsie, New York, 
where he yet resides. 

When Fillmore county was created Mr. Cole was appointed 
judge of probate by Gov. Kamsey. He was the first official in that 
position in this part of the territory along the Mississippi. 

During the first three or four months after the settlement at 
Minnesota City was commenced, commendable zeal was exhibited by 
the members of the association at their meetings in providing for 
the general interest and future development of the colony. Matters 
of town organization, providing for public improvements — })ublic 
buildings, roads, bridges, etc., — were earnestly discussed and under- 
taken with a spirit of enterprise that was worthy of success. 

They were ambitious and desirous of having a newspaper pub- 
lished in the colony. A subscription was circulated, and quite a 
sum promised as a bonus and for its support, provided a paper was 
started and a printing-office established at Minnesota City. Mr. 
Haddock was a practical printer, and from the encouragement offered 
decided to make the attempt and bring on material for starting a 


small weekly newspaper, to be called the "Minnesota City Standard." 
While east after his family, then living in the city of New York, he 
procured a press and material for a printing:office, which he brought 
along as far as Dubuque, where he was compelled to leave it in store 
for want of funds to pay freight. He never brought his press up the 

They decided to build a town hall : the lumber and material was 
purchased and brought on the grounds, but owing to sickness and 
its attendant misfortunes the project was abandoned and the mate- 
rial used for other purposes. The public spirit of the settlers of this 
colony would have made the association a success if the location 
had been a proper one. 



Eaely in the season prominent individuals from St. Paul visited 
the colony and made considerable effort to induce the members of 
the association to abandon Rolling Stone and locate themselves on 
the Minnesota river above St. Paul. It was said that Gov. Ramsey 
himself visited the colony for that purpose. Mr. Haddock was 
opposed to any movement of this kind, and his influence was such 
that no propositions for a change of locality were for a moment 

Mr. Haddock and the members of the association were under the 
impression that Minnesota City jvas on a navigable portion of the 
Mississippi, although the ofiicers of the steamboats refused to go up 
through Straight slough and establish a landing place for the colony. 
They early took into consideration the advantages that would arise 
from making Minnesota City the terminus of a wagon-road into 
the interior, between the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers. 

A committee was appointed to explore the interior of the territory 
and "find the most feasible route for a wagon-road from Minnesota 
City to the Great Bend of the St. Peters river at the mouth of the 
Blue Earth," with instructions to note the quality of the land, water 
and timber observed on the route over which they might pass. The 
committee were each allowed a dollar a day to defray their expenses 
while on the survey. 


Tlie committee consisted of Robert Pike, jr., Isaac M. Noracong 
and William Stevens. Tliej left the colony on the 26tli of June 
and reached Traverse des Sioux on the 3d of July, where Mr. Pike 
was compelled to lay up from disability to travel. Mr. Noracong 
and Mr. Stevens completed the survey to the mouth of the Blue 
Earth river. Mr. Noracong stopped for a few days at Mankato to 
consult with the proprietors of the new town then but just starting 
at that place, and returned by another route across the country, 
accompanied by D. A. Robertson, one of the proprietors of Mankato. 
Mr. Pike and Mr. Stevens took passage on the Black Hawk down 
the Minnesota river to St. Paul, and from there to Wabasha prairie, 
and thence by land to Minnesota City. 

Mr. Pike drew up a report of the expedition, which was indorsed 
by Mr. Stevens, and presented it to the association as the report of 
the committee. It was formally accepted. Neither this report made 
b}^ Mr. Pike nor a copy of it can now be found. It is said to hilve 
been a fair description of the country over which they passed, and 
recommended the route by way of Faribault to Traverse des Sioux 
as practicable for either a wagon-road or for a railroad at a com- 
paratively moderate expense. 

On his return, Mr, Noracong ])resented his report recommending 
a more southern route to Mankato. He found that the report made 
by Mr. Pike had been adopted, the matter disposed of and the 
committee discharged. The report of Mr. Noracong was listened to, 
but no action was taken by the association. 

The report, in the handwriting of Mr. Noracong, has been 
preserved by the Hon. O. M. Lord. The following was copied 
from it : 

Started June 26, 1852, and went to Mr. Sweet's claim on Rolling Stone 
prairie, a distance of about twelve miles; course south of west. 

June 27, 7 a.m. From Sweet's took a south course one and a-half miles, and 
then a west course across a fine prairie to a grove of burr-oak timber, where we 
found a fine spring of water discharging itself in a sink ; this place was claimed 
by Mr. Hollyer. From thence took a west course and at noon came to a spring 
brook, and thence, after going a short distance came to a branch of the White 
Water running to the north. Continued traveling over burr-oak openings until 
3 P.M., when we came to the head branch of the White Water, a fine brook 
sixteen feet in width and an average depth of two inches, rock bottom, good 
cool water to drink ; saw some trout. Went on three miles and crossed a 
tributary of the same. Here is a prairie eight miles wide east and west, and 
extending north and south as far as the eye can see. This prairie is in the 
valley of the White Water ; the rise of land on either side is about thirty feet- 


We rose on the upland and continued west on burr-oak openings. The upland 
here is not as good as that back of the valley we crossed, being more gravelly. 
Traveled on through openings sometimes thickly set with hazel and tall grass. 
At sundown came to a small ravine, where we found good running water, 
bearing to the northeast, and well timbered with maple, ironwood, basswood* 
white and burr oak, and some willows. 

Monday 28, 6:15 a.m. Started, and at 7:20 a.m., after about three miles' travel, 
came to a small stream of pure water running to the north through a splendid 
burr-oak opening, good timber and land of good soil. To the view north, this 
brook seems to run through a splendid prairie valley of great extent. We here 
saw a wolf catching mice or frogs. At 8:10 a.m. the openings run as far north 
as the eye can see. At 8:40 a.m. we came on an elevated prairie of first-rate 
quality; cannot see the extent to the southeast; six miles to the south there is 
timber ; north the openings continue about ten miles. Soon after, we came to an 
elevated prairie where we could see a large valley to the south of us. This 
valley lies east and west. We continued west along the high lands of this 
valley, supposing it to be the head source of Root river; traveling bad; the 
face of the country being much broken and thickly set with oak underbrush 
and hazel. The most of the ravines we crossed were dry, and we became very 
thirsty for water ; after some trouble we found a spring. There are several 
high mounds or bluffs standing in the midst of the valleys that we crossed, 
surrounded by good grass lands ; they make a very imposing appearance and 
look beautiful in the distance. We have crossed some red-top meadow lands 
that would cut from three to four tons of hay to the acre. At 4 p.m. came to a 
stream of water bearing northward, which I called at the first glance the 
\yassioshie ; overhead, where I am writing, is floodwood and grass in a tree 
eighteen feet above the water in the river. The bed of this stream is about 
sixty feet wide, and an average depth of water of about five inches. The 
majority of the company being in favor of following the stream down (not 
being satisfied that it is the Wassioshie), we went down on the east side some 
three or four miles, forded the river and pitched our tent, while Stevens and 
Pike went north to an elevated bluff to reconnoiter ; from their observations 
they were willing to proceed west and leave the river. 

Tuesday, June 29. A very foggy morning. Through the heavy mist we 
could hear the distant roar of a cataract, to the northward. We went over the 
bluffs to the northwest, through the dew and hazel-brush, until we mounted an 
elevated place where we could see some distance. On the south there was a 
heavy and extensive grove of timber ; also on the west — the greatest quantity 
we have yet seen. We here saw two deer feeding at a distance. From this 
point we diverged from our course to the north and east, in search of the cata- 
ract. We descended about two miles to the river, and found a heavy tributary 
coming in from the west, and at the immediate junction was the fall of water 
we had heard. The water here falls about eight or ten feet in thirty or forty. 
Here is quite a curiosity. The water at its highest pitch rises some sixteen feet 
above where it now is. Altogether, the scenery is romantic. 

This stream proved to be the Wassioshie river. In these waters I saw the 
largest brook-trout that I have ever seen in the Western waters, and also some 
fine black bass. The bluffs are about two-thirds as high as they are in the 
rear of Wabasha prairie. We here saw the tepees of the redmen for the first 


time, but they wore of ancient date. Returned to where we left our baggage, 
two miles to the southwest ; then took a west course, and traveled, over some 
rolling prairie and broken woodland, about six miles, when we came to a tribu- 
tary of the north branch of the Wassioshie running north. This is also a fine 
stream of water — su'tficient to do a large business. Forded the stream and 
l)itched teut. We left this place on our regular west course ; traveling bad, the 
lands being thickly set with different kinds of brush and tall grass found on 
prairies. Came into what we called second-growth timber, very thickly set with 
underbrush of the yellow oak, hazel, plum, crab-apple, whitethotn, blackberry, 
briers, etc. Not being of a disposition to bolt the course, we penetrated into 
them, and continued on for some time; but, finding such bad traveling, we 
made a halt and mounted a tree to reconnoiter. Nothing was to be seen south 
and west but the same that we had been in for two or three hours. On the 
north of the west branch of the Wassioshie saw a large prairie about two miles 
distant. We struck north for the prairie. In this valley is a fine steam of 
water sixty feet wide, with four to six inches depth. Camped for the night. 
Saw some large suckers and black bass. 

AVednesday, June 30. Took our course northwest to a high mound and re- 
connoitered. Found that the stream we camped on came from the west of 
north, and that the south side was thickly set with second-growth timber. 
Having found, by experience the day before, that we had better keep clear of 
that kind of traveling, we continued on the north side. After following up this 
branch about ten miles we struck north about a mile and came on an elevated 
prairie, that we could not reach its eastern extent with the naked eye, and ap- 
peared to extend some distance north. On the west we could not see its limits ; 
it was dotted with groves of burr-oak and poplar. Starting west, we encoun- 
tered some large tracts of hazel-brush, but continued to travel on until 
sundown. We here found ourselves on a dividing ridge without water or 
wood, and could not pitch our tent. In the west we could see timber in the 
distan('e, about eight miles off; in the south the timber opened so that we 
could see through, and discovered that there was a large prairie in that direc- 
tion. We continued west through grass on the prairie often as high as the 
brim of my hat, and scarce any less than to my hips. The rain was falling and 
wind blowing strong from the northeast. Traveling on, by wind and compass, 
we came to a swamj), where we found some good swamp water. Taking a bucket- 
ful with us, we reached the timber, and penetrated an awful thicket, to get out 
of the wind. When we had pitched our tent and made a fire the watch said 
11 o'clock, in a rainy night. We then had our suppers to cook, for we had eaten 
nothing from the time we took our breakfast except dry bread and raw pork. 

Thursday, July 1. We made a start west. The water here evidently runs 
to the west and north. We found bad traveling through hazel-brush, swamps 
and wet meadows, with very high grass of bluejoint. 

At 11 o'clock A.M. we came to a small stream of water running to the north 
and west, that proved to be a branch of the Cannon river. Continuing west 
through thickets thickly set with underbrusli, consisting of prickly asli, black- 
berry-briers, grcenbriers, grapevines and nettles, we struck a small stream of 
water, the bottoms of which were covered with heavy timber. Following this 
down, we came to a large stream, which proved to be the eastern branch of the 
Cannon river. On the west side was a large prairie. A majority of the company 


being in favor of following down this stream, we at once forded it, and after going 
about two miles struck an Indian trail, which we traveled on down to the 
valleys, where we found a Frenchman who could talk good English. From him 
we learned that we were forty miles from Traverse des Sioux, and from thence 
eighteen miles to the Blue Earth. We then set out on the Indian trail for 
Traverse des Sioux, the trail leading through a fine valley of bottom prairie, in 
which flows the north branch of the Cannon river. On the north of this 
branch the whole country is heavy timbered to its source ; the east side of the 
south branch is also heavy timbered with elm, maple, black-walnut, butternut, 
ash, etc. Between these forks are extensive rolling prairies, frequently dotted 
with burr-oak groves. 

Traveling until nearly sunset, we pitched (nir tent on the bank of a beautiful 
lake. There are three beautiful small lakes on this branch, with pretty 
generally bold gravelly shores and clear water. There were numerous dead 
fish lying on the beach, — suckers, mullet, bass, pant and pickerel. On the north 
of the lakes is heavy timber ; some on the south. 

Friday July 2. Took an early start expecting to get through today. We 
traveled over a very broken country; not so bad, ho^wever, as to be unfit for 
cultivation. The country over which we passed in the forenoon is better 
adapted for stock, there being extensive meadow lands on the shores of the 

After dinner we came to the head of the lakes, wh(jre we were some 
troubled in finding the right trail ; the trail diverging ofi" in different direc- 
tions and very dim at this place. Soon after we succeeded in getting on the 
right trail we found ourselves in a diff'erent country altogether; it was up 
hill and down, through a swamp, over a knoll, through the brush, into a swamp, 
and so on until 3 p.m., when we came to a lake on our left, or south side ; 
following along this lake, winding our way through a swamp connected with 
it, then through an island of timber and another swamp, and so on until we 
camped for the night, on the bank of the lake, in an Indian tepee. The water 
of the lake was so full of particles of something, that we were obliged to strain 
it for drinking or cooking purposes. 

The lake was on the south and a large watery marsh on the north, the 
outlet of which we forded a short distance from our camp. All the dry land, 
from the place where we struck the lake, is heavy timbered and of good soil. 
I think three-fourths of the face of the country here is taken up with lakes and 

On the north side of this lake there were several swamps connecting with 
it, and there wfis a plain visible embankment of stone and earth thrown across 
them ; the stone were granite boulders or hard head, of which there were an 
abundance <>f this section of country. These embankments could not be easily 
mistaken, for some parts of them were four or five feet high, where the rocks 
could be seen on both sides ; they answered for a road to cross on. At one 
place, where it appeared the outlet of the lake was, there were two streams of 
water flowing out of the lake into the marsh ; here the boulders could be seen 
peering above the water in a direct line, from one point of high land to another, 
on the opposite side. 

These stone have evidently been placed there by artificial means — of this 
there is no doubt, but by whom is not known and probably never will be. 


This lake is very likely the head fountain of the Vermilion river, that empties 
into the Mississippi, some distance above the Cannon. On the shores of this 
lake there were dead fish of diflcrent kinds, showing that these waters were 
stocked with fish. 

Saturday, July 3. Traveled over islands of timber, and through brush and 
morasses — the timber was of good quality — saw several small lakes and some 
sugar-houses. It was a rainy morning, and although it continued raining we 
kept on traveling, and came out of the timber into brush from two to eight feet 
high, overhanging the trail ; the only way to follow a trail in such a case is to 
go where the feet go the easiest. We crossed several morasses and at last 
reached a bank, and down a hill we soon came out into the valley of the Min- 
nesota, opposite Traverse des Sioux. We followed the trail down a .short 
distance and then struck for the buildings on the other side of the river. We 
soon found ourselves in a morass, or quagmire, which had the appearance 
as if there was sulphur or salt water in it; did not admire the place and did 
not taste of the water. This continued from the bank nearly to the river. 

At the river an Indian boy came to us with a canoe, but no paddles ; we 
managed to cross safely by using small round sticks for j)addles. We proceeded 
direct to the house of the Rev. Mr. Huggins, at the Mission, and took dinner 
at a house for the first time in seven days. Mr. Huggins and lady appeared 
to be very accommodating and refined people ; they were good and kind to us, 
and will be^ remembered by me in time to come. This place has been long 
settled by civilized people. 

Our provisions having run out, we here got a new supply. Stevens and 
myself started for the Blue Earth (]Mr. Pike having a boil on his ankle, which 
affected the nerve to the knee and upward). We fell in with two young men 
that were going to where a Mr. Babcock was building a saw-mill, and reached 
the place about sundown. It was on the east side of the Minnesota, five miles 
above Traverse des Sioux. We were kindly received and put up for the night 
with them. Here fell in with a company of men that came the overland route 
from Jackson, Iowa, with two wagons and sixteen yoke of cattle, some cows, 
one horse, breaking plows, etc. They were twenty-one days coming through. 

Sunday, July 4. We shouldered our packs and wended our way for the 
Blue Earth. The trail led through a fine prairie descending toward the river ; 
the high lands to the east are heavy timbered. We diverged from the trail to 
get a drink, and in the bed of the stream we found stone coal. A specimen I 
brought home and tested by the fire, and found that it burned well. 

Arrived at the town of Mankato about noon. Finding that the boys of this 
place were dressing a large turtle, we held on and took dinner with them. 
After dinner, started for the Blue Earth, a distance of two miles above the 
town, and soon reached the long looked-for locality. Traveled up some dis- 
tance and then returned to the junction and down the INIinnescjta to Mankato, 
where we put up for the night. Having accomplished our purpose, we resolved 
to make a canoe on the following day, and return home by descending the 
Minnesota and INIississippi rivers. 

Monday, Jtily 5. Slept late ; soon after getting up, news came that a 
steamboat was within hearing; soon after, the Black Hawk made her appear- 
ance. We at once resolved to return on the steamer. The Mankato company 
came on this boat. Learning where I was from and the business I was on, 



they wished me to stop a few days with them. I accordingly did so. Stevens 
left with the boat for home. 

Mankato is pleasantly situated on the east side of the Minnesota, 
directly on the great bend of the river and two miles below the confluence of 
the Blue Earth, on an elevated rise of ground, sufficiently above high-water 
mark, but not so much so as to make it inconvenient of access at any place for 
some distance up and down the river. It is located on a prairie of good quality 
of soil, well watered and plenty of timber. It has been regularly laid out by a 
competent surveyor. This place, from the observations I could make, must 
eventually be the great western terminus of a railroad from Minnesota city on 
the Mississippi to the waters of the Minnesota river. Having traveled through 
the country on two difl"erent routes, mostly, I find no obstacles in the way of 
any kind of a road from the former to the latter place. My impression is, that 
Mankato is decidedly the place for the termination of roads of any kind. 
The face of the country farther north is so thickly set with lakes and swamps 
and marshes, that it will cost a vast amount of money to erect bridges and 
build roads. The route for a road from Mankato to the southeast waters of the 
Cannon river is mostly on a dividing ridge and principally on prairie of good 
soil, well adapted for farming purposes and the raising of stock. 

From Mankato to the La Seur river, which empties into the Blue Earth about 
two miles from its junction with Minnesota, is about six miles. The land 
is good for a road and is well timbered. After crossing the La Seur there is 
timber for about three-fourths of a mile, then it is prairie and opening to the 
southeast waters of the Cannon, where there is a prairie extending east out of 
reach of the naked eye. I- M. Noracong. 

The country over which we have traveled in the direction of Minnesota 
City is well adapted for roads, and I have no doubt, from what I have seen, 
that a good wagon-road may be made at a small expense from Mankato to 
Minnesota City. I also believe that the Mankato company would unite with 
the Minnesota City company in making the roads, and make, as their proposi- 
tion, the western fifty miles. I>- A. Robertson. 

Mr. Kobertson was one of the "Mankato Company"— one 
of the original town proprietors and first settlers in Mankato. It 
was through his influence that Mr. Noracong remained at that 
place to discuss the feasibility of opening a road. Mr. Kobertson 
accompanied Mr. Noracong on his return across the country, and 
appended the above proposition to the report of Mr. Noracong to 
the association. 

This committee was sent out by the association to explore the 
country and ascertain the feasibility of opening a wagon-road from 
. Minnesota Gty to the great bend of the Minnesota river, and not 
for the purpose of making a preliminary survey for a proposed rail- 
road route to St. Peters, as has been sometimes represented in 
newspaper articles. The real object was to establish a highway into 
the back country from the colony ; to secure the advantages of a 


main traveled route, when the country should be settled, and to 
make the terminus of the road at Minnesota City. The recom- 
mendation of the route for the pur])oses of a railroad was but an 
incidental part of the report. 

The first mail route ever established across the country in the 
southern part of the territory was between Minnesota City and 
Traverse des Sioux, over nearly the same route traveled by this com- 
mittee. The contractor was O. M. Lord, of Minnesota City. 



Thp:re is no doubt but what Haddock and Murphy were consci- 
entious in their acts when they located the colony at Rolling Stone. 
They reported to the association that their village site was on the 
Mississippi, and it was believed that such was the case. Mr. Had- 
dock was the leading spirit of the organization, and apparently 
controlled it by a sort of mesmeric influence. For the first three 
months the colonists had almost unbounded confidence in their 
leader. He made a mistake when he assumed it to be a fact that 
Straight slough was a navigable channel ; and, firm in his belief, he 
impressed the same idea on the settlers, and it was a year or two 
before they were fully convinced to the contrary. 

Mr. Haddock assumed that the reason why Minnesota City was 
not made a landing-place for the steamboats was because the man- 
agement of the boats was in the hands of men interested in rival 
town sites. This was believed by the settlers, because repeated ap- 
plications had been made to have the boats land passengers at the 
colony during the high water, but without success ; none would 
make the attempt. 

When the flood in the river had subsided and the water was con- 
fined to its ordinary channels, and about the time that the report of 
the committee which had been sent to explore the back country was 
received, it was considered imjiortant that a landing should be estab- 
lished on Straight slough. The matter was freely discussed in the 
meetings of the association, and referred to a committee for investi- 



This committee, with other members equally interested in estab- 
lishing the fact that navigation was practicable, made, as they sup- 
posed, a thorough survey of Straight slough, from its head, above 
Minnesota City, to its mouth, a short distance above Johnson's 
landing. A chart was drawn showing soundings, etc. The com- 
mittee reported that there were no serious obstacles in the way, and 
that the slough was navigable for the largest boats running on the 
upper Mississippi. 

At the time of this survey the slough next to the bluff, which 
empties into Straight slough nearly opposite Minnesota City, was 
given the name of Haddock slough, the name by which it is now 
known. Mr. Haddock had selected the shore next to the bluffs, 
above where Mr. Burley now lives, as a proper landing-place for 
immediate purposes. A landing-place on the slough below was 
selected for future improvement. 

The committee were instructed to present the matter before the 
proprietors of the steamboat lines at Galena, by whom it was re- 
ferred to Capt. Smith. Notwithstanding their chart demonstrated 
the feasibility of a free passage through Straight slough, Capt. 
Smith considered the route impracticable ; and, as it was charged 
against him that his opposition to it was because of his holding an 
interest on Wabasha prairie, he consented to allow his own boat, 
the Nominee, to make a trial trip under the pilotage of the com- 

The success of the committee thus far was duly reported to the 
to the Association. So confident were the colonists of the arrival 
of the steamboat that many of them went down to the landing at 
Wabasha prairie to meet the boat, while the whole settlement pre- 
pared to give it a joyful welcome. For this trip the Nominee was 
given in charge of the first clerk, with instructions to go through 
the slough, if possible, without delay. The boat, with Mr. Brook 
as captain, arrived at Johnson's about noon on Sunday. As the 
trip was a holiday excursion the settlers on the prairie were invited 
to make a social visit to the colony. 

The Nominee started up Straight slough under the guidance of 
the committee. After ascending for a mile or so the boat struck a bar 
and came to a sudden stop. By some oversight this obstruction had 
not been noted on the chart. After repeated attempts to pass this 
barrier without success, the officers of the boat decided that Straight 
slough was not navigable by the Nominee at that stage of water. 


Tliis failure was a great disappointment to the settlers, both at 
Minnesota City and at A^abasha prairie. The boat swung around 
and steamed back to Wabasha prairie, and, after discharging the 
excursionists, started up the river under the guidance of her own 

The failure of the Nominee to go through Straight slough was 
a serious blow to the colony. The ideal maritime port of Mr. Had- 
dock was unfortunately at least six miles from any practicable 
steamboat landing. Still the colonists were not wholly disheart- 
ened. Many of them believed that the slough might be made 
practicably navigable by opening a passage over the bar, the only 
obstruction that was supposed to exist. During the following winter 
the colonists built a large log building on the bank of the slough 
opposite Minnesota City, which they designed for a warehouse 
and landing-i)lace. A road was surveyed across the bottom, but 
never improved. No passengers or freight were ever landed there. 
No attempt was ever made to improve the navigation of Straight 

The extreme high water was followed by an extreme low stage 
of water in the river. The summer of 1852 was hot and dry, and the 
miasma eliminated from the sloughs and large marshes in the im- 
mediate vicinity of Minnesota City i-endered that locality particu- 
larly unhealthy. Serious bilious diseases afflicted the settlers in 
the colony. They were mostly from the Eastern States, unacclima- 
ted, unprotected by suitable dwellings, and a large majority of them 
incompetent and unsuited for pioneer life. A few deaths occurred 
early in the season, and exaggerated accounts of the sickness and 
mortality at Minnesota City were put in circulation and prevented 
many from locating there. The most common disease was inter- 
mittent and remittent fevers. 

There were no regular medical practitioners belonging to the 
association or living on the west side of the river ; domestic treat- 
ment and patent medicines were generally depended on. Quinine 
was quite extensively relied upon in these malarious diseases. One 
of the colonists was attacked with intermittent fever, for which a 
neighbor recjommended quinine. He sent for a pound or two of 
quinine by a friend who had business at St. Paul. From insuffi- 
cient funds only four ounces were procured. When the bill of $20 
was presented the exorbitant charges of the St. Paul druggist was 
strongly condemned. The neighbor who had prescribed the article 


was called in to dose out the medicine, and he explained that it was 
a dram or two he had recommended him to send for instead of a 
pound or two. "The Squire"" said, in relating the incident, "I 
knew nothing about the stuff — any way , it was no serious mistake, 
because it was needed in the settlement, and the neighbors took it 
off my hands without any pecuniary loss." 

It was said that not a settler in the colony escaped an attack of 
fever and ague. Robert Pike, Jr., in a letter published in 1854, 
says, "Although most were prostrated by sickness, only fourteen 
deaths occurred {in 185'2) and a majority of these were young 
children. The wonder is that the mortality was not greater." 

Among the deaths which occurred was that of Mrs. Haddock, 
the wife of the president of the association. Mr. Haddock went 
down to New York city and brought her here to make her a home 
in the colony he had labored so hard to build up. She arrived on 
the 13th of July and died on the 24th of August. 

After the death of his wife Mr. Haddock became disheartened 
and completely discouraged. Many of the settlers were compelled 
to leave because they could find nothing to do by which to earn a 
living. The most of them were mechanics from the city of New 
York, and they went down the river to find employment. Although 
the association maintained its organization, it was no longer attract- 
ive to Mr. Haddock. It had apparently accomplished all that could 
be expected from it. With a large party of his friends Mr. Haddock, 
left the colony on the 11th of September and went down the river. 
He stopped for awhile at Dubuque, and moved from there to Ana- 
mosa, Jones county, Iowa, where he engaged in publishing a news- 
paper, using the press and material designed for a printing-office in 
Minnesota City. 

Although the organization was kept up in the colony during the 
next year, but comparatively few members of the association re- 
mained to become citizens of this county. 

Quite a number of the members of the association lived on their 
village lots in Minnesota City until after the survey of public lands 
in this part of the territory. Several of them then made claims of 
the locality they were occupying according to the divisions made by 
the government surveyors, without regard to the previous divisions 
made by Mr. Haddock. 

The tovrn site of the Western Farm and Tillage Association was 
never made a matter of record. The whole village plot was ab- 


sorbed by claims whicli were pre-empted as homesteads by their 
resident chiimants. The ph)t of the origimil village of Minnesota 
City was thus wiped out — swe})t entirely away. The name has 
been preserved for the locality, and a more diminutive and modern 
village has grown up under it, on what was originally tlie claim of 
Israel M. Noracong. 

The original village plot was pre-empted by T. K. Allen, A. A. 
Gilbert, H. B. Waterman, Kobert Pike, Jr., James Wright, O. M. 
Lord, Hiram Campbell, S. E. Cotton and D. Q. Burley, all mem- 
bers of the association. Each of them had held claims in other 
localities, which were abandoned to enable them to share in the 
spoils of the dead metropolis of the colony. 

H. B. Waterman and family have continuously occupied the 
same locality he settled upon in 1852, when he first came into 
the colony. When Mr. Waterman came to Minnesota City he built 
a very comfortable house, a part of it of logs and a part of frame 
and boards. This he inhabited for several years. After the gov- 
ernment survey was made he selected this locality as a homestead, 
and claimed a quarter-section of land in the vicinity, which he pre- 
empted after the land-office was opened at Winona. 

With the exception of a large and comfortable dwelling-house 
and a good barn, which stand in a beautiful grove on a sightly eleva- 
tion, with a small field of cultivation, but little improvement was 
made on this claim until within a few years past. The table on 
which it lies was covered with groves of oak. As this timber is 
cut away and the clearing enlarged a fine farm is becoming 

Mr. Waterman was a lawyer by profession when he joined the 
colony, but he never practiced his profession in Minnesota. He 
had but little taste for agricultural pursuits, and but little inclination 
to make it an occupation. He made the farm his home without 
making the cultivation of the soil his business. 

In November, 1852, Mr. Waterman was appointed by Gov. 
Ramsey one of the justices of the peace for Wabasha county. He 
was subsequently elected to the same office, and held the official 
position of justice of the peace over twenty years for Winona county, 
in the town of Rolling Stone, where he resided. He was also elected 
judge of probate at the election in the fall of 1853. 

Tire first case on his docket in 1852 was Jacob S. Denman vs. 
individual members of the association. This was a matter which 


grew out of the claim difficulty already mentioned. These mem- 
bers of the association went on to Denman's claim, destroyed his 
fences and burned his rails, with the intent to drive him off the 
claim. Denman refused to leave, and sued them for damages to 
his property. The matter had been commenced before Squire 
Allen, but when Squire Waterman received his commission the case 
was discontinued and again brought on before the new justice of the 
peace, where it was settled by the members of the association paying 
the costs of prosecution and the damages assessed. 

Robert Pike, Jr., made a claim among the village lots of the 
colony on the same table on which the school-building now stands. 
He here used his pre-emption right and made a farm of part of the 
original village. A part of this claim is still in possession of Mrs. 
Pike, his widow. 

Mr. Pike came to Rolling Stone early in May, 1852, and at once 
became prominently active in the enterprises of the association to 
develop the resources of the country and build up the colony. His 
eccentric genius and zealous efforts made him popular in the settle- 
ment. Soon after his ai-rival he was appointed surveyor for the 
colony, explored a road to the Minnesota river. He was chosen as 
a proper person to be appointed postmaster. He was elected jus- 
tice of the peace, served as county commissioner and as county 
surveyor. During his whole life he was active in all of his public 

Robert Pike, Jr., died about the middle of April, 1874. At the 
time of his death he was interested in an effort to start a colony in 
the vicinity of Lake Kampeska, Dakota Territory. His widow is 
yet a resident of Minnesota City. One of the two children who 
came here with her in 1852 died many years ago. The other is the 
wife of Frank D. Stewart, living in the town of Rolling Stone. 

Mr. Pike was in many respects a very remarkable man. Natu- 
rally ingenious, he made mechanical improvements a study. On 
most of the questions of the day, religious and political, he es- 
poused the radical side. Among his many friends, his special peculi- 
arities were overshadowed by the open-handed generosity of the 
man toward his fellow-man. 

As a specimen of his eccentricity, his business card has been 
copied from the "Winona Republican," as regularly advertised in 
1856, as follows : 



" Robert Pike, who writes this ditty, 
Lives at Minnesota City ; 
Is Postmaster, Magistrate, 
Buys and sells Keal Estate, 
Conveyancer and County Surveyor, 
(The City's small and needs no Mayor). 
Sectarian rult*s he dares resist, 
And thinks Christ was a Socialist. 
Loving mankind and needing dimes. 
He waits to serve them at all times." 

When disaffected members of tlie association decided to aban- 
don the colony, O. M. Lord purchased tlieir interest in such of the 
village lots as were in the vicinity of where he resided ; and after 
the government survey, when the village plot was comparatively 
abandoned, he made a claim of the quarter-section on which he was 
living and pre-empted it. The village lots surveyed by Mr. Had- 
dock for the association, that were included in this claim, are a part 
of the homestead on which the Hon. O. M. Lord now resides. 

The first claim selected by Mr. Lord was before he joined the 
association, while on the first exploration made into the country 
back from the Mississippi. This he abandoned for another about 
three miles above Minnesota City, in what is now known as Deer- 
ing's Valley, where he then proposed to establish a stock-farm. On 
account of its isolated situation he did not move his family there, 
but located them in the settlement or village. Like many others, he 
also made other selections of good claims which were marked with 
his name. 

From the time Mr. Lord came here in the spring of 1852 to the 
present time he has been prominently before the public, in very 
many instances intimately connected with events that make up the 
history of Winona county. Owing to his habitual modest reserve, 
no record of these instances has ever been compiled for reference. 
It is indeed questionable whether a connected biographical sketch of 
this pioneer settler has ever been given to the public. Advantage 
of a long-time acquaintance and personal friendship has been the • 
source of the following memoranda of events in history with which 
he has been connected. 



Hon. O. M. Lord was a native of the State of New York • bom 
in Wyoming county in 1826. In 1837 he moved witli his father's 
family to Michigan. He attended school winters until he was about 
sixteen, after which he attended a select school for about three 
months. His education has since that been acquired by private 
study in active life. His younger days were spent on a farm and in 
sometimes assisting his father in his blacksmith shop. 

Mr. Lord was married in 1848, and settled on a farm. He was 
elected town clerk, and was ex-officio school inspector for two years 
In the spring of 1852 he sold his farm in Lapeer county, Michigan, 
and came to Minnesota, where he arrived May 2. He brought on 
his family, a wife and two children, on July 16. He brought with 
him all of his household goods, a span of horses and farming tools, 
intending to make farming his exclusive business. His horses were 
the first brought into the colony. 

Instead of settling on a claim, as he had at first designed, Mr 
Lord located himself in the village of the colony at Minnesota City 
He bought several village lots and built a house. Having acquired 
some knowledge of blacksmithing when young, he bought the tools 
of a blacksmith and carried on the business for a year or two, his 
shop being the only blacksmith shop in the county during that time. 
In 1852 he shod the first span of horses ever' brought into this 
county by a settler, and the first horses ever shod here. The shoes 
were brought from La Crosse. They belonged to Hon. William H 
Stevens. In the spring of 1853 he shod fourteen horses for Wm! 
Ashley Jones, government surveyor. 

July 2, 1853, Mr. Lord was appointed coroner for Fillmore 
county. This appointment, unsolicited, was conferred by Gov. 
Gorman, who had recently assumed his official position. 

At the election held in the fall of 1853 Mr. Lord was elected as 
representative to the territorial legislature from this district. The 
session was held from January 4 to March 4, 1854. 

Among the acts of which he secured the passage were the original 


charter for the Transit railroad, the division of Fillmore county 
and creating of Winona county, and the establishment of the county 
seat at what is now the city of Winona. The present boundaries of 
Winona couuty were defined by Mr. Lord, and submitted to Mr. 
Huff and other citizens of the village of Winona for their api)roval. 
He also secured the passage of a memorial for a post-route from 
Minnesota City to Traverse des Sioux, 

In 1854 Mr. Lord built the first saw-mill in the county at Minne- 
sota city. In 1855 he was awarded a contract for carrying the mail 
from Minnesota city to Traverse des Sioux, and carried the mails for 
about two years — a part of the time semimonthly. This was the 
first post-route across the country. 

In 1857 or 1858 Mr. Lord was appointed by Gov. Medavy com- 
missioner for selecting land for the Transit Eailroad Company. He 
was also appointed by Gov. Medavy, October 12, 1857, as a notary 
public. These a])pointments were unsolicited by Mr. Lord. In 1859 
he was a candidate for the legislature, but was defeated by Judge 
Orlando Stevens. 

When questioned as to his war record, he replied, '*I fought, 
bled and died for my country by able-bodied substitute during the 
war — price $600." 

Mr. Lord moved back to Michigan, and lived near Kalamazoo 
from 1861 to 1864, when he returned to Minnesota, and again took 
up his residence at Minnesota City. He was a candidate for the 
legislature in 1871, and was defeated by seven votes by H. A. 
Covey. In 1873 he was elected to the legislature, and served at the 
next session. 

On September 28, 1875, Mr. Lord was appointed county superin- 
tendent of schools, to fill the vacancy occasioned by the resignation 
of Rev. David Burt, who had been appointed state superintendent 
of public instruction. He has been elected continuously to the 
position of county superintendent of schools since that time, and is 
yet serving the people in that capacity. He was president of the 
last annual meeting of county superintendents, held at St. Paul 
about January 1, 1883. 

Mr. Lord has always taken an active interest in popular educa- 
tion, and in addition to his other official positions has been almost 
continuously one of the school committee in Minnesota City since 
the first school was started there in 1852. He is at present director 
of the district. He has been a member of the town board of the 


town of RoIlin,£^ Stone for the" past twelve years, and is now chair- 
man of board of supervisors. Mr. Lord was made a Mason in 1862. 
He never united with any other organization. If circumstances per- 
mitted, he would take more pride and pleasure in stock-raising and 
cultivation of small fruit than in any other pursuit. 

Hiram Campbell settled'on his village lot and built a house, which 
he occupied with his family for several years. With this as his 
place of residence, he made a claim and pre-empted a homestead 
which included a portion of the village lots of the colony. This 
claim is now known as the "Campbell Farm." It joins the farms of 
O. M. Lord and James Kennedy. The present farm house is of brick. 

Hiram Campbell has been dead many years. His widow, with 
his family, owned and occupied the farm until about two years ago, 
when she sold out and moved west. Wiith other branches of 
farming Mr. and Mrs. Campbell took a great deal of interest in the 
cultivation of fruit, particularly of different varieties of apples, 
which they were very successful in growing. 

When David Densmore and John Shaw came to Rolling Stone 
they brought with them a large supply of apple-seeds which they 
procured from the State of Maine. These seeds were planted on 
their village lots. The lot of Mr. Densmore was on the land now 
owned by O. C. Tucker. The lot of Mr. Shaw was on the Campbell 
farm. Both Mr. Densmore and Mr. Shaw died early in the summer 
of 1852, and their lots passed into other hands. Mr. Densmore left 
his nursery for the general benefit of the colonists. 

Mr. Campbell assumed charge of the lot of Mr. Shaw and started 
a nursery of fruit-tr^es from the seed sown on it. From this little 
nursery, started by Mr. Campbell on his own claim, sprang some of 
the finest varieties of apples that have ever been known in Min- 

John Nicklin, with his family, settled on his lot selected by 
number in New York. His location was on the table above where 
Troust's mill recently stood. He built a log house, lived here two 
or three years and made a claim of forty acres among the village 
lots. He also had a farm claim in the valley about two miles above 
the village. To hold them both he pre-empted the farm claim, 
and his son pre-empted a part of the village property. He lived on 
his farm for a number of years, when he sold out and moved back to 
New York, where he died a few years ago. None of his family are 
now living in this county. A son resides in Dakota Territory. 


George Foster pre-empted a forty of village lots ; sold out and 
moved to Winona. He left there and moved south. None of his 
family are now livin'g in this county. 

Other members of the association besides Mr. Denman and 
W. H. Coryell made claims below Minnesota City. Nearly the 
whole upper })rairie was at one time claimed by the colonists, 
although unimproved. 

P. D. Follett made a claim adjoining the farm now occupied by 
Mr. Charles Vila. He built a log house and occupied it for two or 
three years, when he sold out and left the county. 

William T. Luark made a claim along the bluifs below Mr. 
Den man's, where Mr. Colman now lives. He improved this by 
building a log-house and making some cultivation, and held it for 
several years. He moved to Winona, where he opened the first 
wagon-shop started in the county. The first wagon was made by 
Mr.' Luark in the spring of 1855. About ten years ago he moved to 
Milwaukee, where he died after a residence there of a year or two. 

John lams also made a claim along the bluffs, the next below 
that made by Mr. Luark. He built a log-house and occupied this 
locality two or three years, and then moved to Winona, and after a 
few years' residence there left the county and went into the western 
part of the state to reside. Mr. lams was the first sheriff appointed 
or elected to serve in that oflBce in this part of the territory. He 
was the first sheriff' in Fillmore county in 1853. 

John C. Laird came to Wabasha prairie about the last of August, 
1852, to attend upon Abner S. Goddard during his last sickness. 
After the death of Mr. Goddard, which occurred on the lltli of Sep- 
tember, he decided to remain and make it his future home. 

Mr. Laird was a citizen of La Crosse at the time he came up to 
help his sister in the care of her sick husband. It was on her ac- 
count that he changed his place of residence and came to Minnesota, 
where he has ever since resided. ' He was deputy register of deeds 
for La Crosse county. The register elected was a resident of a dis- 
tant part of the county, and, not wishing to change his location, Mr. 
Laird was deputized to act for him and receive the emoluments of 
the position. 

In the winter and spring previous Mr. Laird had visited Waba- 
sha prairie, but never selected any special location as a claim. After 
he had decided to settle here he explored the country until in Octo- 
ber, when, observing that the east "eighty" of the original Stevens 


claim was unoccupied, and without improvements of anj kind, he 
was induced to take possession of it as an abandoned claim. Mr. 
Laird quietly procured the necessary material, and before the settlers 
were aware of his intention, they were surprised to see a snug and 
comfortable-looking shanty on "that lower eighty of Stevens's." 
This shanty stood about where Laird Norton & Go's stables now 
stand, — on the west side of Chestnut street, between Second and 
Third streets. 

As soon as the circumstance became known, H. C. Gere made 
application to the members of the claim club for aid to remove the 
trespasser on the land relinquished to him by Silas Stevens. Some 
of tlie meftibers of the club came together and called on Mr. Laird 
to learn why he had built the shanty and to ascertain if he really 
intended to jump Gere's claim. 

Mr. Laird informed them that he had taken possession of "that 
eighty " because there was no one occupying it — nothing to indicate 
that any one had possession of it, and informed them that his 
shanty was the only improvement on the claim. This self-consti- 
tuted claim committee decided to let Mr. Gere take care of his own 
affairs if he had got into trouble from his own mismanagement. 
He was then holding other claims. 

Mr. Laird completed his shanty on Saturday evening, and, sup- 
posing that he had possession safe enough, stayed contentedly at 
Mrs. Goddard's, because it was Sunday and a day of rest generally 
observed by the settlers. It clmnced to be the day on which Elder 
Hamilton had made an appointment to preach at Mrs. Goddard's 
shanty, and there the settlers assembled to listen to one of his best 

Taking a great interest in the subject of the discourse, Mr. 
Laird for the time forgot about his recently acquired earthly posses- 
sion, and gave his undivided attention to the sermon of the elder. 
After the service was over and the audience began to disperse, he 
cast his eyes toward his new shanty, not fifty rods away, and dis- 
covered Henry C. Gere on its roof. Accompanied by Wm. H. 
Stevens, and followed more deliberately by Elder Hamilton and his 
whole congregation, he rushed toward his unprotected claim im- 
provement and found that Gere had jumped the shanty, if not the 

Taking advantage of the security from observation afforded 
while the attention of the settlers were engaged by Elder Hamilton, 


Mr. Gere had taken a load of his household goods to the shanty 
and taken possession of it. 

On reaching the locality Mr. Laird found the shanty occupied ; 
a table with a few dishes and a chair or two were on one side of the 
room, and on the other a cook-stove, on which was a tea-kettle, a 
pot of potatoes, and a frying-pan with a slice of ham ready for cook- 
ing. Mrs. Gere was comfortably seated in a rocking-chair in front 
of the stove, waiting to touch a match to the kindling-wood as soon 
as the stove-pipe was put in place, and Mr. Gere was on the roof 
cutting a hole for it to pass through. 

Mr. Laird called to Gere to come down, but he refused, reply- 
ing, "You are too late, for I now hold possession." Xaird and 
Stevens then tore off the boards from the roof, and notwithstanding 
Gere's resistance, caught him by the legs and dragged him to the 
ground. They then proceeded to carry the stove and other furni- 
ture outside, except the rocking-chair, which Mrs. Gere occuj)ied, 
and very composedly maintained })Ossession of the roofless shanty. 

Elder Hamilton sedately seated himself on one of the chairs 
ejected from the cabin and calmly watched the proceedings. Occa- 
sionally a quiet smile would illumine his dignified expression as he 
observed the demonstrative movements of the noisy and excited 
settlers, who but a very few minutes before had been model repre- 
sentatives of a moral, intellectual and order-loving community. 
Feelings of partisanship were exhibited by loud expressions of opin- 
ion in emphatic language rather than by active participation. Men 
and women espoused the cause of one side or the other. Some 
threats were passed, but no serious collisions occurred. 

Mrs. Goddard took a firm and determined stand in support of the 
rights of her brother to the claim. While Laird and Stevens were 
tearing or knocking the boards from the roof on which Gere stood, 
she observed a second load of Gere's furniture approaching from the 
east; they had gone down the prairie and come up along the river. 
Kushing toward the team and brandishing a cudgel, which she 
caught up on the first alarm, Mrs. Goddard ordered the driver to 
stop, and, taking the horses by the bridles, led them back across the 
line of the claim and told the driver to leave as soon as possible. 
Without a show of resistance the teamster drove off. The team 
belonged to John Evans. In speaking of the occurrence afterward, 
Frank Curtiss, the driver, said it was not the first time he had been 


captured by a woman, and he did not propose to get into a quarrel 
with Mrs. Goddard. 

It was charged that Elder Hamilton had a foreknowledge of 
Gere's design, and had selected one of his most interesting and 
lengthy sermons to give him ample opportunity to accomplish his 
purpose unmolested. "Aunt Catharine" says "that was not so. 
Elder Hamilton and John C. were always warm friends, but Elder 
Ely knew all about it, for he kept going out every few minutes as if 
to see if a steamboat was coming. I know Elder Hamilton was on 
John's side that day, because he beckoned to me, and when I went 
over to where he was sitting on one of the chairs he said, 'The 
boys had better tear the shanty down now they are at it' I told the 
boys and they tore the whole thing down without disturbing Mrs. 
Gere, and left her sitting in her rocking-chair on the bare prairie." 
As soon as the shanty was demolished the excitement subsided 
and all started for their homes, leaving Laird and Gere to watch 
each other and hold the claim. Mrs. Gere went to her own shanty 
and sent her husband his supper, while Mrs. Goddard bountifully 
iurnished rations for JolmG, who stood guard over his promiscuous 
pile of lumber. 

The night was a cold, disagreeable one ; a chilly west wind swept 
over the bleak prairie and compelled the lonely, unsocial watchmen 
to keep in motion to preserve proper circulation. Although each 
had a blanket in which they wrapped themselves, Mr. Laird formed 
a windbreak of boards. Mr. Gere solicited the loan of a few 
boards for a like protection, but Laird objected to his lumber being 
used for such purposes. 

Finding it impossible to get any rest while so uncomfortable, 
Gere called to Laird about midnight and said — "I have a proposition 
to make to you which I think will be of advantage to both of us. I 
have no more confidence in your honesty than I have in men gen- 
erally, but I believe you will keep your word when you make a 
promise. Now, suppose we agree to let .this claim matter remain 
just where it is, without either of us doing anything until to- 
morrow ; we can then go home and get some sleep." Mr. Laird 
was amused at the proposition, but did not object to it. The two 
men solemnly pledged themselves to leave the claim undisturbed 
until the next morning, and bidding each other ' ' good night " in 
more social tones than they had previously observed, they left 
the locality. 


Both parties made their appearance at sunrise, and hostilities 
were resumed. Mr. Laird rebuilt his shanty, but moved to another 
location nearer the river and a little below, on what is now block 5 
in Laird's addition. Gere tried for two or three months to obtain 
possession, but without effect, the cold weather interfering with any 
active measures. On the night of January 24, 1853, while Mr. 
Laird was tem[)orari]y absent from tlie prairie, his slianty was torn 
down and the lumber destroyed — chopped ih pieces, Mr, Laird 
built another cabin on the same ground. It is said that this destruc- 
tion of the claim-shanty was effected by a young man employed by 
Gere for that purpose, who received a hundred pounds of flour for 
his services. 

Satisfied that it would not be possible for him to get possession 
and hold it against the opposition he had to contend with, Mr, Gere 
appealed to Justice Burns for aid to remove the trespasser, feeling 
confident that a select jury would award him his rights. 

There were at this time two justices in this vicinit}^, George M, 
Gere, on Wabasha prairie, and John Burns, at the mouth of Burns 
valley, Jabez McDermott, of Wabasha prairie, was constable. In 
February, H, C. Gei-e sued John C. Laird before John Burns, Esq., 
for trespass, etc. , to get possession of the claim. The trial by jury 
came off in March, This was the first jury trial ever held in this 
part of the territory — the first jury ever called in what is now 
Winona county. The court was held in the upper part of the 
" Viets House'- (the old Winona House), which was then unfin- 
ished, Squire Burns having adjourned the court from his office at 
his house to this place to accommodate all parties interested. The 
trial was considered an important event by the settlers. 

Mr. Gere engaged the professional services of Mr. Flint, a law- 
yer living in La Crosse, and of Andrew Cole, of Wabasha prairie. 
Mr. Cole was then the only practicing attorney living on the west 
side of the river. Mr. Laird had for counsel and management of 
his defense, a lawyer from La Crosse by tlie name of French. The 
jury im])aneled to try the case was George W. Clark, Scott Clark, 
O. S. Holbrook, William Hewitt, W. H. Coryell and Hiram 

This being the first important case brought before Squire Biirns, 
his inex])erience in his official position made it necessary for him to 
seek advice as to his own duties. He selected as his confidential 
adviser the ''home attorney." He was personally acquainted with 

persojs^al paragraphs. 315 

Mr. Cole, and had great confidence in his opinions of law. This 
peculiarity in the case excited some comment from outsiders, — Mr. 
Cole being attorney for the plaintiff, but no charges were ever made 
that any improper or unjust proceedings were entertained by the 
court. Notwithstanding the very marked eccentricities exhibited by 
the squire, his court and official position was duly respected. His 
comical expressions and blundering style of doing business afforded 
considerable amusement during the trial, and were subjects for many 
a hearty laugh for a long time afterward. 

About two dq,ys were spent in the examinations of witnesses and 
speech-making by the attorneys before the case was submitted to the 
jury. After due deliberation it was ascertained that there was no 
probability of the jury agreeing, and they were discharged. The 
court adjourned until the next Monday, March 14, at which time 
another jury was impaneled and the trial of the case again re- 

In the first trial the jury stood five for the defendant and one 
for the plaintiff. The one who stood out against his fellow jurors 
was Hiram Campbell. The jury on the second trial was John 
lams, S. A. Houck, H. B. Waterman, Wm. L. Luark, S. D. Putnam, 
and Elijah Silsbee, all residents of Minnesota City except the last. 
After about the same amount of time consumed as with the first 
trial the case was given to the jury, and at about 11 o'clock at 
night, March 16, the jury decided unanimously in favor of the 
plaintiff, Henry C. Gere. 

The next morning Mr. Laird and Wm. H. Stevens started for 
La Crosse, and took the lawyers home. The condition of the ice 
in the river would not permit of delay — even then traveling on 
the river was unsafe. The ice in the river appeared as if it might 
break up in a few days. It did leave the river in fi'ont of the prairie 
on the 20th of March. 

Mr. Laird left the claim in charge of Mrs. Gbddard to hold until 
his return, not supposing that any movement would be made be- 
fore that time. Mrs. Goddard, with a young lady, Miss Salina 
Kellogg, of La Crosse, who was up on a visit, accordingly took pos- 
session of the shanty, with a firm determination to hold the fort. 

The suit had been decided in Gere's favor, and he became anx- 
ious to get the claim into his possession before Mr. Laird should 
have an opportunity to appeal to a higher court, as he had given 
notice that he should do on his return. Under the management of 


Mr. Cole, his attorney, judgment was entered up against Mr. Laird 
on the justice's docket, and an attachment issued to take possession 
of his property for the payment of tlie costs in the suit. A writ of 
restitution was also issued, under which it was sup])osed possession 
would be acquired and the claim held. 

The constable, McDermott, was friendly and in full sympathy 
with Mr. Laird, and was also a boarder with Mrs. Goddard. Before 
the papers were placed in his hands, he notified Mrs. (xoddard of the 
proceedings, and arranged with her a plan of defense. He aided 
them to procure material and barricade the building, so as to resist 
an assault if Gere and his friends attempted to take forcible posses- 
sion of the shanty. It was supposed that they were provided with 
firearms. Being forewarned, they had the courage to believe that 
they would be able to resist the officer of the law, witli his consent, 
and hold Gere and his friends at bay until the return of Mr. Laird 
from La C'rosse. 

Learning from McDermott that the yoke of oxen would be 
attached when they came across the river from their work, Mrs. 
Goddard sent for the cattle and had them brought over and chained 
to a post by the side of the shanty, while the constable had business 

When the writ was placed in McDermott's hands he went down 
to the claim. As he advanced, Mrs. Goddard warned him that if 
anyone attempted to come near the shanty it would be at their own 
peril. The constable withdrew to a safe distance and apparently 
waited for a more favorable opportunity to perform his official duties. 
Neither Mr. Gere or any of his friends ventured within short range 
of the cabin where Mrs. Goddard and Miss Kellogg stood guard, 
and, to the surprise of the settlers, successfully resisted the execution 
of the law and boldly defied any one who should dare molest 

These two women held the claim and retained possession of the 
oxen until Mr. Laird returned from La Crosse with the money to 
defray the expenses of the suit, which had been the principal object 
of his trip. He at once paid the cost and apjjealed the case to the 
United States district court. The writ of restitution was never 

Of the proceedings in the district court, nothing official can be 
learned. It is said that, from some cause, judgment in the justice's 
court was suspended and the case dismissed. Mr. Laird was never 


afterward disturbed in his possession of the claim. It is now known 
as Laird's Addition. 

Although Mr. Gere never made any actual attempts to obtain 
possession of the claim, he several times threatened suits tor its 
recovery. Mr. Laird soon foimd that a little money would stop all 
proceedings — less than the fee of a lawyer to defend the case. Gere 
consulted about every lawyer that located here for the next two or 
three years. He was among the first clients of Hon. Judge Wilson, 
when he came here in 1855. Mr. Wilson, then a young lawyer, 
became interested in the story of Gere, and, considering it an im- 
portant case, at once commenced suit against Mr. Laird. He was 
greatly surprised a day or two after to learn from his client that, on 
account of a satisfactory arrangement with Mr. Laird, he wished to 
stop all proceedings against him. The lawyers never shared in 
these periodical settlements. When Gere again ran short of funds, 
he again called on his attorney to bring suit against Laird, but Mr. 
Wilson indignantly refused to have anything further to do with the 

Mr. Laird became a permanent settler on Wabasha prairie, 
where he was prominently identified with public and private enter- 
prises which tended to the development of the resources of the 
county. Although for many years Mr. Laird gave his attention to 
the cultivation of a large farm in the eastern part of Olmsted 
county, and lived there with his family a portion of each year, he 
has maintained an interest in Winona county and occupied his resi- 
dence in the city of Winona. 

John C. Laird now lives on the same claim he ' ' jumped " from 
Henry C. Gere, on Wabasha prairie, in the fall of 1852. His pres- 
ent residence is within two blocks of where his claim-shanties stood 
while contesting possession with Mr. Gere. This is the only instance 
where any one of the original claimholders of land on Wabasha 
prairie, now the city of Winona, is living on the claim he held in 
1852, and with one exception Mr. Laird is the only one in the city 
living on land which they held prior to the sale of public lands in 
1855. A part of the original claim of Captain Smith, claim JSTo. 1, 
was pre-empted by John Keyes,. His widow and family are yet resi- 
dents of that locality. 

In the spring of 1853 Mr. Laird built quite a stylish and com- 
fortable one-story house, with two wings, on his claim, and made it 
his headquarters. He brought up a breaking-team of three yoke 


of large oxen and two large breaking-plows. His reason for having 
two plows to one team was, that he found it economical to send his 
plows to Galena by steamboat for repairs — to keep his team at work 
an extra plow was necessary. This team he kept busy breaking for 
the settlers by the acre during the season, under the management of 
A. B. Smith. 

Mr. Laird started the first livery stable in the county of Winona. 
The heavy horses and wagons he furnished for hire in 1853 would 
hardly represent the business if compared with the dashing turn- 
outs now furnished from the " liveries " in the city of Winona. 

Although not strictly the first man to deal in lumber, Mr. Laird 
was the first to commence the business and estabish a lumber-yard 
for the retail of lumber as a regular business occupation. He com- 
menced the lumber business a little above where the sawmill of 
Laird, Norton & Co. now stands. His little retail yard was the 
nucleus from which the vast lumber establishments and immense 
business of Laird, Norton & Co. has been developed. John C. 
Laird was once a member of this firm, but withdrew from it many 
years ago. It was through him and his influence that many of our 
best citizens came into this county. 

In the summer of 1852 Enos P. Williams, who made the claim 
next east of that held by Beecher Gere, traded it to B. B. Healy for 
three or four village lots in La Crosse. Mr. Williams had made no 
improvement except a pretense of a garden. He was then living 
in La Crosse, where he remained for three or four years, after which 
he came up the river and settled in this county, in what is now the 
town of Utica, where he yet resides. 

Mr. Healy built quite a comfortable house on the Williams claim 
and placed a man on it to hold possession. The claimkeeper neg- 
lected his charge and it was jumped by Rufus Emerson, who was 
employed by Andrew Cole. Mr. Healy contested the matter, and 
after a suit or two at law recovered possession of the claim and then 
disposed of it to Rev. H. S. Hamilton, who bought it for some of 
his relatives, John I. and Harvey Hubbard. It was then called the 
John I. Hubbard claim, and is now known as Hubbard's Addition to 
the plat of Winona. 

But few claims were made in the southern part of what is now 
Winona county during the season of 1852. Two or three were 
selected on Pine creek, one or two along the river and in the valleys. 

Hamilton McCollura settled on the river in the lower part of the 


county. His house was for a year or two a favorite stopping- 
place for travelers by land on the trail between Winona and La- 

James Campbell, a Scotchman, settled in Cedar creek valley three 
or four miles .from its mouth. William and Robert Campbell came 
not long after. Mr. Campbell now holds a large amount of land 
in that vicinity, where he yet resides. 

Leonard Johnson lived with W. B. Bunnell for a year or two, 
and then with Frank Wilson started a wood-yard at Johnson's Point, 
below the present village of Homer. Mr. Johnson is yet a resident 
of the county, living in the town of Pleasant Hill, on a farm selected 
by him in an early day. 

Harry Herrick, for many years a man of all work for Bunnell, 
made a claim in Burns valley, about two miles above its mouth, 
where the road crosses the stream. He built a small log cabin, 
which is yet standing and is a part of the old building on the upper 
side of the road, east of the bridge. 

Mr. Herrick held this claim for a year or two, when he sold it 
and went back to live with Bunnell, where he died two or three 
years after. The claim was purchased by Rev. Edward Ely, and 
was long known as the " Ely claim." It is now a part of the farm 
of Mr. Henry Bitner. 

William Hewett came into the county in the latter part of this 
season and made a claim in Burns valley, next above Herrick. He 
built a frame house near the big spring next to the road and settled 
there with his family. This house was burned down several years 
after. A log house now occupies the same site. Mr. Hewett 
occupied the locality for two or three years and then sold out and 
left this part of the country. 

Joseph S. Wilson selected his claim in Burns valley, next 
above Hewett's, where Charles Miller now has a stock-farm. He 
built his claim shanty about where the present farm buildings stand, 
near the spring. His first shanty was only designed to show that 
the claim was "occupied by a settler." He left his claim in the 
care of Roderick Kellogg until the next spring, when he returned 
with his family, built a comfortable house and opened up a fiirm, 
which he cultivated for three or four years. He then sold his farm 
and moved into Winona, where he carried on the business of harness- 
making until about 1880, when he went west and located in the 
territory of Dakota. Mr. Wilson was a well-known citizen of the 


county. Tlie town of Wilson was given its name from liira, he 
being one of its oldest settlers and the best known in that locality. 

The same season that Mr. Wilson brought his family to live in 
Burns valley, a German by the name of Schabe, or Schape, made 
a claim above Wilson's. lie built a log house near the spring by the 
side of the road and lived there until his death, ten or twelve years 
ago. This house was the last one in that direction until the spring 
of 1S54. 

The log house built by jVfr. Schape was standing until within the 
past year. On Christmas day, 1882, the writer passed the locality 
and found the present owner of the pro|)erty tearing down the old 
house. The timber of which it was composed was apparently sound; 
the oak logs were hard and dry ; the oak shingles, or more properly 
shakes, were sound oh the nnder side, but much worn on the outer 

L man by the name of Blodgett made a claim in West Burns 
valley, where P. B. Palmer now lives. He brought with him a 
small herd of cows and lived on this claim during the summer. 
"NVliile here he lost two children from sickness. He sold out his 
stock and abandoned the claim in the tall and went back down the 

In the tall of this year A. B. Smith came to Wabasha prairie, and 
for awhile had the west half of the McDermott claim — the eighty 
next west of the claim owned by Dr. Childs. It was said that he 
was holding this for Mr. Healey, by whom he was employed. It 
was difficult to tell who was the real owner of the claim ; it was 
jumped several times by different individuals. It was sold by Mc- 
Dermott to David Olmsted. Mr. Smith did not reside on any 
claim, although he held several. Prior to his coming here he had 
been engaged in lumbering business, cutting and rafting, and as a 
pilot in running lumber down the Ohio and on the Mississippi 
rivers. He spent the winter as a regular boarder with Mrs. God- 
dard, and married the widow the following season. 

A. B. Smith was well known to all of the early settlers as a hotel 
keeper, — as the landlord of the old ''Minnesota House," built by 
him in 1853, on the comer of Center and Second streets, where S. 
C. White's store now stands. He was also the proprietor of the 
" Wabasha Prairie House," which stood on the corner of Front and 
Franklin streets, built by him in the summer of 1855. While living 
here he suddenly left home in the night, without the family or any 


one connected with the house being aware of his intentions to do 
80. Nothing of a certainty was ever learned relative to any circum- 
stances connected with his mysterious disappearance. It was known 
that at about that time he was accustomed to carry a considerable 
sum of money about his person. He sometimes indulged freely in 
intoxicating drinks. It was generally supposed that he had been 
foully dealt with — probably murdered for his money and his body 
thrown into the river. Suspicion rested on some with whom he 
familiarly associated at about that time, but no evidence was ever 
secured that appeared to justify making any arrests. There was 
no proof of his death. 

During the latter part of this season Koderick Kellogg came 
up from La Crosse to do some mason-work for the settlers on 
Wabasha prairie. He was a competent mechanic in his line of busi- 
ness, and a man of more than usual abilities and general informa- 
tion, but his intemperate habits had isolated him from his family. 
He was readily induced to come here and work at his trade, although 
there was but little to do, because, as he expressed himself, he 
• "would by so doing, get away from the temptation of the hell-holes 
where intoxicating drinks could at all times be procured." Mr. 
Kellogg was, for a year or so, benefited by the change, but when 
the hell-holes opened in Winona he found them, although they 
were small ones. 

The first regular mason-work done in this county was by Rod- 
erick Kellogg. His first job of work was on Wabasha prairie, 
where he plastered two rooms for Kev. Edward Ely, on the corner 
of Center and Second streets. This was the first plastered house in 
the county. His next job of plastering was the lower rooms in the 
" Yiets House," afterward known as the Winona House — it stood 
on Front street, on the levee. The first brick chimney built in the 
county was by Mr. Kellogg, in the Viets House. His third job of 
plastering and chimnej^-building was in a small one-story house of 
two rooms built by Johnson for Andrew Cole, on lot 4, block 10. 
Johnson's original claim shanty, on claim No. 4, was torn down 
and used in the construction of this building. These three build- 
ings were the only houses in the county with plastered rooms until 
the season of 1853. 

Nearly all of the mason-work required by the settlers of this 
vicinity was done by Mr. Kellogg. He worked at his trade here 
for three or four years, and then went back to La Crosse. He 


owned the lot on the corner of Franklin and Second streets, where 
Kohweder's meat-market now stands. In the spring of 1853 he 
built a small one-storj house on the corner, about 12x20, plastered 
inside and outside. This he occupied as his residence — his family 
living in La Crosse. He also built the house which stands on the 
same lot next to the alley. It was at onetime used as a hotel. 

Roderick Kellogg was an industrious man, seldom idle if there 
was anything to do, excei)t when intoxicated ; then he was inclined 
to be quarrelsome. He was a handy man of all work, and when not 
engaged at his trade he was always ready to undertake any small 
jobs for the settlers, such as rough carpenter work, gardening, etc. 

Mr. Kellogg always found a sympatliizing friend in Rev. Mr. 
Ely, who had, from his lirst acquaintance with him, taken an inter- 
est in trying to bring about a reform in his life, but without success: 
the series of efforts were balanced by a like series of failures. 
After Mr. Ely engaged in mercantile business, in 1854, he sometimes 
found Mr. Kellogg's services about the store a convenience, and at 
times employed him. On one occasion Kellogg made his appear- 
ance when partially intoxicated. He was told that his services were 
not needed while in that condition. He attempted by argument to 
show that he was not drunk — that he knew what he was about, 
although he had taken a drink. His remarks became insulting, and 
Mr. Ely told him to leave the store — to go away and not come back 
again, for he would have nothing more to do with him. 

Kellogg went outside and became noisy and abusive — attracting 
the attention of the idlers about (of whom the writer was one). 
Becoming excited in his harangue, he fairly jumped up und down, 
until suddenly he stopped, as if strongly im})ressed with a new idea 
of retaliation for the fancied wrong done him, and exclaimed, "D — 
you, Elder Ely ! I'll get even with you yet — I'll go and jump your 
claim for this." He at once turned and marched off down the street 
as if his determination was a fixed one. He did not attempt to carry 
out his threat, for when sober he respected the elder. The idea was 
a popular one, that the greatest wrong that could be inflicted on a 
settler was to jump his claim,. 

During the latter part of the season John and Rufus Emerson, 
brothers, came into this county and settled on Wabasha prairie. 
John Emerson had a wife and two or three children. After looking 
about for awhile he selected a location south of the Evans claim, 
toward the upper end of the lake. He built a shanty on it and made 


it his home, with liis iamily, for about two years, when he sold it to 
Edwin Foster. Taylor's Addition is a part of the Emerson claim. 
Mr. Emerson moved to the western part of the county, where he 
located himself on a farm. 

Rufus Emerson was a' single man. Without permanently locating 
himself, he speculated in claims by taking possession of some un- 
occupied land (jumping claims) and selling out his interest to other 
settlers. He was identified with several ditiiculties where claim- 
jumping was charged, either for his own individual benefit or as an 
employe of others. He pre-empted a claim on the bottom-land 
west of Gilmore's. Rufus Emerson built a house on the Stevens 
claim in the spring of 1854. This house is yet standing. It is on 
Second Street, between Market and Franklin streets, on lot 2, block 
143. This building was constructed from lumber found floating 
down the river and picked up at different times. Emerson sold it 
before it was completed. It was afterward clapboarded and finished 
b}^ W. H. Stevens, into whose hands it fell. 



During the season of 1852 there were two postoffices created in 
this county by the postoflice department, although there was but 
one in regular operation until about the beginning of the following 
year. The first was at Minnesota City, with Robert Pike, Jr., as 
postmaster. The other at Wabasha prairie, with George G. Barber 
as postmaster. 

The office at Minnesota City was established with the proviso 
that the mails should be transported, free of charge to the depart 
ment, to and from the nearest postoffice on the Mississippi. The 
mails were made up and received in regular form at this office, 
but no regular carrier employed. The special mail-bag provided, 
was usually carried by some of the colonists who chanced to go to 
La Crosse, the nearest postoffice on the river, or it was taken to 
Wabasha prairie and sent down by the boats. On certain days, 
about every week, the mail-bag was brought up from La Crosse by 


the "boats and left at Wabasha prairie, wliere some one from the 
colony awaited its arrival. Prior to this all mail matter belonging 
to the members of the association was usually carried and looked 
after by the settlers of the colony. 

It was usual for the postmaster at La Crosse to deliver to s<:)me 
well known settler all of the mail matter of the settlement to which 
he belonged. Where parties were well known, their letters were 
sometimes sent to them by the clerks of the boats, to be left at their 
nearest landing-place. In this way Nathan Brown received letters 
at his landing. Bunnell took charge of all mail matter for Bunnell's 
landing, and in the early part of the season all letters for settlers 
on Wabasha prairie were left in the care of Johnson. 

During the summer and early })art of the winter the Kev. Ed- 
ward Ely made frequent visits between Wabasha prairie and La 
Crosse. A portion of the time his family was living at the latter 
place. When he brought his family to Johnson's landing, he for 
awhile occupied Johnson's claim shanty on claim No. 4. His fre- 
quent trips between the two places were made the means by which 
the settlers on Wabasha prairie received and sent away their letters. 
Mr. Ely always made it a duty to bring up all mail matter be- 
longing to this locality, and was accustomed to carry it about with 
him until distributed to the settlers, who usually flocked around him 
as soon as his arrival was known. This was readily ascertained, 
for it was the usual custom for everybody to visit the landing on the 
arrival of a steamboat from below. All letters sent by the boats 
were then left in his care for delivery. It was from this matter of 
accommodation, and from his custom of carrying all letters about his 
person, the traditional story originated, that "in the early days of 
the settlement of this county the postoffice was in Elder EIj^'s hat." 

The second postofhce in the county was on Wabasha prairie. It 
was called Montezuma ; the postmaster was George G. Barber. 
The first movement toward making application for this office 
originated with the Wabasha Protection Club. Mention has already 
been made that a majority of the members of this organization 
were residents of La Crosse, who held claims on this side of the 
river, many of them never residents of the territory. The laws of 
the club allowed its members to hold claims for six months without 
making a residence on them, and with but nominal improvements. 
The members were pledged to aid each other in retaining possession 
during that time. This law conflicted with the Uidted States and 


Territorial claim laws, and led to frequent differences among the 
earlj settlers. 

At one of the meetings of the club the necessity of a postoffice 
was discussed and action taken in favor of making application to 
the postoffice department. A hlanh petition was signed, but the 
drawing up of the necessary papers and forwarding the same was 
referred to Andrew Cole, a lawyer in La Crosse and a member of 
the club. It was then supposed, and generally understood, that the 
secretary, Abner S. Goddard, would be recommended in the petition 
for postmaster, and that the name of the postoffice would be 
Wabasha prairie. 

When the papers were drawn up, the attorney, with the approval 
of some of the members of the club, inserted Montezuma as the 
name of the postoffice, and recommended George G. Barber as post- 
master. Mr. Barber was a resident of La Crosse. He had made a 
claim in Gilmore valley early in the spring, but never improved it. 
The Hank petition filled out at La Crosse was forwarded to the 
postoffice department and the appointment duly made. Mr. Barber 
received his commission about the middle of June, gave the 
required bonds and took the oath of office. He came up to make 
his arrangements for supplying the settlers of Wabasha prairie with 
their mail and offered the position of deputy -postmaster to Mr. 
Goddard, who indignantly refused to accept the position. Mr. 
Barber returned to La Crosse without being able to secure a deputy. 
The settlers on Wabasha prairie declined the honor, — the only 
instance in the history of this county where official position has been 
generally declined. 

No improvements were made in postal facilities; "the elder" 
continued to carry the " mail in his hat." About the 20th of July 
Byron Yiets moved up from La Crosse and accepted the position of 
deputy-postmaster from Mr, Barber. 

Mr. Yiets did not open the office regularly. The mails were 
made up and distributed as before, at La Crosse. The only additional 
advantage afforded was that the mail was carried by the boats in a 
canvas bag without a lock. By request of Mr. Yiets, the elder 
distributed the contents of the bag left in his charge as he had 
previously done. 

The settlers were dissatisfied with tlie appointment of a non- 
resident as postmaster, who lived thirty miles away. The name of 
Montezuma was equally objectionable, although Johnson had 


adopted it as the name of tlio town-site, then just plotted by John 
Ball on Wabasha prairie. 

A public meeting was called to consider the matter and the 
question freely discussed. All united in a petition to the postofRce 
department ior the appointment of Abner S. Goddard as postmaster 
in place of George G. Barber, a resident of another state. Nearly 
all petitioned to have the name of the office changed from Monte- 
zuma to Winona. In discussing this change several nanies were 
proposed, Winona, Wabasha, Wabasha City, Prairie and Ozelle. 
The name of Winona was adopted by a majority of one when the 
vote was taken. 

It is now uncertain who first suggested the name of Winona. 
It has been said that it was proposed by Captain Smith. Some are 
equally positive that it was suggested ]>y Dr. Balcombe. Otliers 
say it was Dr. Childs. Dr. Childs was noted for his peculiarity of 
giving names to localities, and to all animals in his possession. 
Gilmore valley was called by him "Winona valley," about the time 
the name of Winona was selected as the name of the postoffice. 

Letters in the hands of Mrs. Calista Balcombe, the widow 
of Dr. John L. Balcombe, show that Dr. Balcombe, Mr. How- 
ard and Ed. Hamilton, then the proprietors of No. 5, the Ham- 
ilton claim m-ged upon Captain Smith the propriety of calling 
the new town plot Wabasha. This Captain Smith consented to 
do, provided he could induce Alexis Bailey to have the name 
of the postoffice at Wabasha changed, but Bailey would not con- 
sent. They then proposed to call it Wabasha City, and adopted 
the name themselves for use in their correspondence. Dr. Bal- 
combe was always anxious to have a Dakota name given to the 
town. Neither Captain Smith nor the proprietors of claim No. 5 
were present when the name of Winona was adopted. The post- 
office department promptly changed the name of the postoffice to 
Winona and appointed Mr. Goddard postmaster. AVhen his com- 
mission arrived he was lying on his bed of sickness, from which 
he never recovered. He died before he was able to qualify for the 
position. The postoffice was without a legal postmaster. The 
boats, however, carried the mails between La Crosse and the prairie, 
■where they were taken care of by the volunteer postmaster. Elder 
Ely obtained ])ossession of the keys and acted in that capacity with- 
out taking the oath of office required from those who handle the 
United States mail. No mails were made up or officially received 


at this oflQce. This duty was performed at La Crosse. The elder 
was simply acting in the same capacity of messenger that he had 
been previously doing, except instead of carrying the letters "in 
his hat " he was accommodated with a mail bag. The faithfulness 
shown by Mr. Ely in his attention to this self-imposed duty was 
satisfactory to the settlers. Among the traditional anecdotes of the 
early days is one showing the zeal of the elder in the performance 
of his duties. He received the mail bag from the boat and also de- 
livered it with the letters to be posted at La Crosse. It was his 
custom to preach here on Sundays when not engaged at La Crosse, 
where he had regular appointments, alternating with Elder Hamil- 
ton — one preaching on one Sunday and the other on the next. 
While holding forth eloquently to an attentive congregation in his 
own shanty, on one of his days to speak to the people, the settlers 
were suddenly and unexpectedly startled by the whistle of a steam- 
boat approaching the landing. The elder brought his sermon to a 
close very abruptly, with the remark, "There's a boat from be- 
low," and hastened to the levee to receive the expected mail. The 
elder denies having any recollection of this occurrence. Those who 
are familiar with his eccentricities believe it. George W. Clark says 
it is true, for he was one of his audience — that the elder stopped short 
in one of the best sermons he ever heard him attempt to deliver, 
and left his astonished congregation to ponder on the finale of the 
discourse if completed, or to follow him to the levee and see if there 
was any one on the boat that they knew, and inquire for long ex- 
pected letters when the elder had secured the United States mail bag. 

To remedy all difficulties arising from the irregularities of mail 
facilities, a meeting of the settlers was called to take the matter 
under consideration and recommend a candidate to fill the vacancy 
of postmaster. The Rev. Edward Ely was selected for the position 
by an unanimous vote, and a petition, signed by all on the prairie, 
forwarded to the department in Washington. 

At this meeting an effort was made to again change the name of 
the postoffice — to call it Wabasha City — but the matter was settled 
by a vote, and one majority for Winona. The elder says that his 
vote retained the name of Winona. 

Elder Ely duly received his commission and became the lawful 
postmaster at Winona, on Wabasha prairie, where he had had the 
distribution of letters that came by mail about nine months 
unofficially. The first regular mail made up by him after receiving 


his appointment was on the 8th day of January, 1853. The office 
was in his residence on the corner of Center and Second streets, 
where now the "Ely block" stands. Mr. Ely held this position 
until early in the spring of 1855, when he was superseded by J. W. 
Downer, and the postoffice removed to the "'Downer building," 
which stood about midway between Market and Walnut streets, on 
the north side of Front street. 

This change was a political movement. When the United States 
laud-office was established at Winona and the little settlement at 
Johnson's landing began to assume some importance it was 
considered advisable that the postmaster should be one in sympathy 
with the party in power. The administration was democratic, and 
as the elder was of different political faith the services of the 
pioneer postmaster were no longer required. 

The first marriage on Wabasha prairie, now the city of Winona, 
and the first marriage within the present boundaries of this county, 
was that of S. K. Thompson and Mrs. Sutherland, on the 9th of 
November, 1852. The marriage ceremony was performed by the 
Rev. Edward Ely at his own house, where the parties were stopping 
temporarily while waiting for a down boat to take them to LaCrosse. 

S. K. Thompson was among the first arrivals here in the spring. 
Without locating himself on a claim he had remained on Wabasha 
prairie during the season and made his home with John Evans. He 
was about forty-five years old, a man of good general intelligence 
and of dignified personal appearance. Mrs. Sutlierland was a 
widow about forty years of age. She came here with her brother, 
O. S. Holbrook, and kept house for him until her marriage, after 
which Thompson and Holbrook lived together for awhile on 
Holbrookes claim, which he had discovered lying south of and 
adjoining the McDermott claim, until Thompson made a claim back 
of the lake and moved on it. 

The claim, back of the lake, made by George Wallace early in 
the spring of 1852, had laid during this season with but little, if any- 
thing, to show that it was claimed. Its exposed situation was a 
temptation for some one without a claim to watch. The Rev. Mr. 
Ely had not, as yet, taken a claim. On the 2d of December, 1852, 
he, with his axe on his shoulder, crossed the lake on the ice and 
jumped Wallace's claim. He took possession by chopping down 
some trees and blazing others, on which he conspicuously displayed 
his name. 


Mr. Wallace was a nephew of Thompson's wife, the late Widow 
Sutherland. Considering the Wallace claim to be a family posses- 
sion which should be guarded, Thompson jumped it from Mr. Ely on 
January 15, 1853, while the elder was at La Crosse holding a series 
of revival meetings for which he had been employed. The elder 
was too much engaged in his professional labors to devote his time 
and attention to the protection of his rights, and Thompson estab- 
lished himself on the claim by building a cabin on it, which he occu- 
pied with his wife. Mr. Thompson afterward bought the claim of 
George Wallace and built a comfortable frame house, a story and a 
half building, in which he lived for ten or twelve years, or while he 
remained in this part of the country. The house is yet standing, and 
forms part of the present farmhouse of Mr. John Zenk. 

S. K. Thompson was a gentlemanly appearing man in dress and 
manners, and always seemed to have control of funds to engage in 
business. He held official positions, — was county commissioner, 
and for several years was justice of the peace. In his younger days 
he had been a merchant in Ohio. For about ten years before set- 
tling in this county he had been engaged in speculative investments 
along the upper Mississippi. He was for awhile in business as a 
merchant at Winona. 

It has been already related that when Elijah Silsbee sold his 
claim in 1854, he, with Charles S, Hamilton, started a store on the 
corner of Front and Center streets. About January 1, 1855, they 
dissolved partnership, Mr. Silsbee retaining the stock of goods. 
Soon after this S. K. Tliompson bought the goods and carried on 
the business for about one year. In the fall of 1855 he purchased 
quite a large stock of general merchandise, groceries, etc. During 
the winter he sold out to Burr Deuel and Luke Blair. The incidents 
of this sale are noted to show something of the manner of doing 
business at that date. When Mr. Thompson sold out to Deuel & 
Blair he gave possession at once, and was to receive the first pay- 
ment as soon as the inventory was taken, and the balance in notes of 
the firm. The inventory was taken by Thompson and Holbrook. 
Before the inventory was completed enough was realized from sales 
to make the first payment. The notes for the balance at six and 
twelve months were paid before due, the firm buying their own 
paper through an agent, A. P. Foster, at a liberal discount of 3 pe^ 
cent per month. A portion of the Silsbee stock had been damaged 
by the sinking of the barge in which it was brought up the river in 


1854. To get rid of all of the unsalable goods, auction sales were 
held, at which "Uncle Luke" was himself the auctioneer and a pop- 
ular salesman. It was a current report that D. & B. made about 
$3,000 clear in this transaction before the opening of navigation in 
the spring, when they renewed their stock. 

Two or three years before Mr. Thompson left this part of the 
country the community was soraewhat_startled to learn that he had 
two wives, a married daughter and a very affectionate adopted 
daughter living with him in his house across the lake back of Wino- 
na. Some inquisitive ones, whose sensibilities were shocked by the 
revelations, attempted to have the affair investigated by the grand 
jury, to whom complaint was made, but the harmony of the happy 
family prevented a full expose of the scandal. After remaining here 
about a year the wife with the married daughter moved to ISTebraska. 
Thompson followed in a year or two after with wife No. 2 and the 
adopted daughter. It is rumored that Tliompson and wife No. 2' 
died from the effects of ])oison in Nebraska. 

The stores started by Mr. Robertson at Minnesota City, and 
Mr. Denman at Wabasha prairie, were closed out early in the fall. 
To procure their supplies for the winter, the settlers sent orders to 
Galena by the boats; some combined and bought their groceries 
and provisions at wholesale prices through Mr. Denman as agent. 
Mr. Johnson went down to Galena and purchased goods for the 
settlers on the prairie. These supplies were brought up by the 
Nominee on her last trip and left at La Crosse on November 15. 
Captain Smith was afraid to venture farther up the river against the 
ice that had began to form in the river. A severe snowstorm 
occurred on November 11, followed by intense cold, the thermome- 
ter indicating several degrees below zero. 

Mr. Burley says that he went down to La Crosse with Mr. Den- 
man, and was there when the Nominee turned back down the river. 
They came up with Johnson the next day on foot, on the west side 
of the river; the snow was about six inches deep. They stayed all 
night at Brown's. The news that their supplies were stopped at 
La Crosse was not very cheering to the settlers, for the most of 
them had but a limited amount on hand, and the prospect was that 
they would be unable to procure more until the ice formed sufficient 
to enable them to travel on the river. The weather moderated, the 
snow melted away and the river cleared of ice. It was then exj)ected 


that the steamboats would again come up and bring their freight, but 
no boats ventured on another trip. 

On December 9 a party of five men, from the Rolling Stone, 
with half-a-dozen from Wabasha prairie, went down to La Crosse 
for the supplies left by the Nominee, expecting to bring them up on 
one of the Black River boats. Among this party were D. Q. Burley, 
S. E. Cotton, Wm. T. Luark, J. S. Denman and Charles Bannan, of 
Minnesota City; from the prairie were E. H. Johnson, A. B. Smith, 
John C. Laird, George W. Clark, Wm. H. Stevens and Peter Gorr. 
The weather became intensely cold and ice formed in the river, mak- 
ing, the trip a laborious one. They reached Brown's the first day 
from La Crosse, and stopped all night. The following day they 
landed their freight on tlie lower end of the prairie late in the even- 
ing. The boat was at once unloaded and started back to La Crosse 
under the pilotage of A. B. Smith and an assistant. Elder Ely also 
took passage down. They landed at Brown's and stayed until day- 
light, when they safely reached La Crosse without accident, although 
the channel was filled with floating ice. 

The settlers who remained in the colony and made their homes 
in Minnesota City during the winter of 1852-3 had comfortable 
. cabins, in which they passed the winter. Some of these cabins were 
of logs, others were of boards. No cases of suffering from 
insufficient food or clothing were known in the settlement. Their 
principal employment was providing firewood for present use and 
laying in a su]>ply for the ensuing year. 

After the sloughs were frozen over they engaged in chopping on 
the islands, cutting and banking steamboat-wood, getting out logs, 
timber, posts and rails for use in claim improvements. Their social 
enjoyments were quiet visits exchanged with each other and 
occasional meetings of the association. 

Among the incidents qf the winter was the loss of the horses of 
S. M. Burns. On* Christmas day he with his wife left their home 
on the bank of the river at what was afterward called Mt. Yernon, 
for the purpose of visiting the settlement at Minnesota City. He 
started down on the ice with his horses and sleigh. While on Had- 
dock slough his horses broke through the ice and were drowned. 
Burns and his wife narrowly escaped the same fate. This team 
was the one Burns brought with him when he came to Minnesota. 
Tliere was but one other team of horses in the north part of the 
county, that belonging to O. M. Lord, of Minnesota City. 


Mr. Burns and his wife spent the day \nth their friends in the 
colony. In the evening Mr. Lord took them u}) to their home with 
his horses and sleigh, over the trail along the blufts. He came near 
losing his own team while on this neighborly trip. In crossing the 
run in the mouth of Deering's valley he missed the trail and drove 
below, where the banks were higher and drifted with snow. The 
horses attempted to jump across, but fell head first into the little 
stream and were unable to rise. The long sleigh-tongue, which 
projected two or three feet in front of the horses, was driven into 
the bank and held them fast. Their bodies formed a dam and the 
water was soon pouring over their backs. Mr. Lord never traveled 
without his ax ; he was a natural pioneer and prompt to act in cases 
of emergency. Although it was dark he comprehended the 
difficulty, and with two or three blows with his ax severed the sleigh- 
tongue in the rear of the horses and set them at liberty, but not 
until they were nearly drowned. The tongue was soon repaired 
with cord brought along in the sleigh, and Mr. Lord made the trip 
without other accident. His team occupied Burns' stable until the 
next morning. 

The following is a list of members of the Farm and Village 
Association who settled in the colony at Rolling Stone in 1852 with 
their families, and who in 1883 are yet residents of that locality: 
O. M. Lord and wife, James Wright and wife, Egbert Chapman and 
-wife, Mrs. H. B. Waterman, Mrs. Pike (widow of Robert Pike, 
Jr.,) and her daughter Emma, now Mrs. Frank D. Stewart, Robert 
Thorp and wife, E. B. Drew, S. E. Cotton and wife, Lawrence 
Dilworth and wife, Charles Bannon, S. D. Putnam and wife, 
William Sweet, D. Q. Burley and H. Jones. H. B. Waterman 
resides in the State of New York. Rufus Waterman is living in 
the city of Winona. 

The settlers on Wabasha prairie, like others along the river, in 
the winter ^f 1852-3 engaged in cutting steamboat-wood, logs, 
timber, etc., on the island 0})po8ite. Among their social enjoy- 
ments was a general gathering and Christmas dinner held at the 
Viets House, then occupied by Edwin Hamilton. At the Christmas 
gathering held on the i)rairie twelve months before, Ed. Hamilton 
was the chief cook and general manager of the bachelor dinner. 
At this second affair he was general manager, but Mrs. Goddard 
had charge of the cooking department, although it is stated that Ed. 
Hamilton provided a roast coon of his own preparation for the table. 

nsrciDENTS. 835 

This dinner was got up by a general contribution of material from 
those interested. Each family provided a part ; even the iurniture 
and dishes were furnished for the occasion. It is said by one who 
enjoyed it that the dinner was a good one. About half of the 
settlers on the prairie attended this gathering. Charles Bannon 
and S. E. Cotton with their wives were present from Rolling Stone. 

The following is a list of the settlers living on Wabasha prairie 
at that date : Rev. H. S. Hamilton, wife and two sons, Charles S. 
and Eugene ; Rev. Edward Ely, wife and two children, "Charlie" 
and "Nellie"; Dr. George F. Childs and jwife ; Mrs. Goddard and 
son Charles ; George M. Gere, wife and a large family ; Wm. B. 
Gere, Edwin Gere, Mary Gere, Henry C. Gere, wife and a large 
family ; Angelia Gere, Helen Gere, John Evans and wife, Abigal 
Evans, Royal B. Evans, John Emerson, wife and children ; S. K. 
Thompson and wife, E. H. Johnson, Ed. Hamilton, George W. 
Clark, Scott Clark, John C. Laird, Wm. H. Stevens, O. S. Holbrook, 
Frank Curtiss, Rufus Emerson, A. B. Smith, Allen Gilmore, Caleb 
Nash, Jabez McDermott, Roberts and Elijah Silsbee. 

Of the settlers living on Wabasha prairie at the close of the year 
1852 the following are yet living in the county of Winona in 1883 : 
Mrs. Goddard, now known as Mrs. Catharine Smith, Elder Ely and 
wife, Wm. H. Stevens, John C. Laird, Royal B. Evans and George 
W. Clark. 

Without the aid of an official census, it was estimated by M. 
Wheeler Sargent "that the population within the present boundaries 
of Winona county on the 1st day of January, 1853, was about 350, 
of whom a majority were or had been members of the Western 
Farm and Village Association." 



Among the incidents of this winter at Winona, noted by Dr. 
Childs in his diary, was the following — " Sunday, January 30, 1853: 
Attended meetmg ; Elder Hamilton preached. At night had the 
privilege of leading a prayer meeting at the house of Mr. Evans — 
the first prayer meeting ever held on the prairie ; Elder Ely 


The buikliiig of the first bridge across the Gilmore valley creek, 
the tirst bridge in this part of the county, is thus noted by Dr. 
Childs — "■Monday, January 31, 1853: Very mild, snow fast dis- 
appearing. Engaged building a bridge on th6 Winona creek, aided 
by George and Scott Clark, Royal Evans, Edwin Hamiltgn and 
Allen Gilmore. Of all the men who voted at the meeting in favor 
of the work, pledging their assistance, from the village and lower 
end of tlie prairie, but one was present." 

The following is also co])ied from the diary of Dr. Childs — 
"Sunday, February 27, 1853: Thawing, with rain; Allen Gil- 
more immersed.'"' At a prayer meeting held at Mr. Evans' on Sun- 
day, February 20, "Allen Gilmore ex])ressed a wish to be im- 
mersed, which was decided to take place next Sabbath." This was 
the first instance of the observance of this religious ordinance in 
what is now the city of Winona. It is said that Rev. E. Ely oflB- 
ciated at this baptism. 

An incident which occurred about the first of March of this year 
(1853) will illustrate the reckless impulsiveness of Charles S. Ham- 
ilton, of whom mention has-been made. During the winter a party 
of Winnebago Indians were camped over on the Trempealeau 
bottoms, and for the purpose of selling venison and furs and skins 
they frequently visited the settlement on the prairie. Aside from 
being inveterate beggars, they were in no way troublesome. At the 
time spoken of, two of these Indians, who had been up to the vil- 
lage, stopped at H. S. Hamilton's while on their way back to their 
camp. They asked permission to sharpen their knives on the 
grindstone which stood outside. This was readily allowed by 
Charlie, who, with his young brother Eugene, were the only ones at 
home. The Indians quietly used the grindstone and started . across 
the river on the ice. When they were at full long range distance 
of his rifle from the house, Charlie, standing in the doorway, de- 
liberately took aim and fired at them. One fell senseless. Fearing 
another shot, his comrade seized and dragged him beyond the range 
of the gun. The wounded Indian, after lying a short time on the ice, 
got up and, with the help of the other, went on over to the Trempea- 

The Winnebagoes complained to Bunnell of the unjustifiable 
assault. Bunnell called at Elder Hamilton's to learn the cause of 
the shooting, but Charley had no excuse for the cowardly act except 
that he only shot at them to scare them, supposing they were 

risrciDENTS. 337 

beyond the range of his rifle. The ball struck the Indian on the 
head and glanced off, inflicting a scalp-wound. The force was 
sufiicient to knock him down and render him senseless without 
producing serious injuries. Bunnell warned Charley to be on his 
guard and take care of himself, for the Indian might attempt to 
retaliate if he had an opportunity. Charlie was afraid of the 
Winnebagoes after this occurrence, but no hostilities were ever 
threatened that was known. 

During the winter the matter of a county organization was a 
general topic of discussion among tlie settlers along the river. The 
counties of Dakota and Wabashaw had remained unorganized, as 
they were created in 1849. The territorial legislature, during its 
session of 1858, divided them and made provision for several counties 
from these divisions. While this matter was under consideration 
the question of the establishment of the county seats of the new 
counties became an important matter ; almost every settlement pre- 
sented claims for the location of the county offices. Every settle- 
ment along the river in this part of Wabashaw county had lobby 
representatives in St. Paul for the purpose of securing" fhe location 
of the county seat of this division. Minnesota City, Winona, Min- 
neowah and Brownsville were rivals for the honor. By a general 
• act the legislature conferred the authority on the county commis- 
sioners to locate the county seats. 

When Wabashaw county was divided and Fillmore county was 
created from the southern portion, March 5, 1853, its ' boundaries 
were described as "Beginning at the southwest corner of Wabashaw 
county, thence southeast to the Iowa state line, thence east on said 
Iowa state line to the Mississippi river, thence up the middle of said 
river to the mouth of the Minneska or White river, thence up said 
river on the south line of Wabashaw county to the place of begin- 
ning." The western boundary of Fillmore county was then supposed 
to include the present city of Rochester, in Olmsted county, and the 
present village of Chatfleld in Fillmore county. Its northern and 
western boundaries were not clearly defined. 

The act by which Fillmore county was created declared it to be 
an organized county, "invested with all and singular the rights and 
privileges and immunities to which all organized counties are in this 
territory entitled to by law," and that it was the duty of the gover- 
nor "at so soon a time as possible to appoint all county officers, 
justices o"f the peace and constables, as said county may be entitled 


to by hiw, who shall hold their offices until their successors shall be 
elected and qualified at the next general election." 

Wabashaw county, before it was divided, had no county seat. 
The act creating Fillmore county provided as follows: "It shall be 
the duty of the first board of county commissioners which shall be 
hereafter elected in any county laid off in pursuance of this act, as 
soon sifter said board shall have been elected and qualified as 
provided by law, as the said board or a majority of them shall 
determine, to locate the county seat of the county, and the location 
so made as aforesaid shall be the county seat of the county, to all 
intents and purposes, until otherwise provided by law.'' 

Under this act the governor appointed the following officers : 
Register of deeds, H. B. Stoll, of Minneowah ; treasurer, Erwin H. 
Johnson, of Winona ; judge of probate, Andrew Cole ; sheriff, John 
lams. [The justices of the peace previously appointed for Wabashaw 
county were continued, viz, T. K. Allen, John Burns, Geo M. 
Gere and H. B. Waterman. The county commissioners appointed 
were Henry C. Gere, of Winona, Myron Toms, of Minneowah, and 
William T. Luark, of Minnesota City. 

The first meeting of the board of county commissioners was held 
at the " Winona House " on May 28. H. C. Gere was chairman 
and H. B. Stoll as register of deeds was clerk. The business trans- 
acted was the appointment of three assessors, — S. A. Houck, J. C. 
Laird and Jeremiah Tibbets. The approval of the bond of sheriff 
John lams, witli O. M. Lord and E. B. Drew as sureties. 

The following names were ordered to be entered as a grand jury 
list for the June circuit court : H. B. Stoll, James F. Toms, Myron 
Toms, Nathan Brown, Willard B. Bunnell, H. Carroll, Henry C. 
Gere, George M. Gere, Wm. T. Luark, George H. Sanborn, Har- 
vey Hubbard, Isaac Hamilton, O. S. Holbrook, Wm. B. Gere, S, 
A. Houk, S. A. Putnam, H. B. Waterman, E. B. Drew, O. M. 
Lord, T. K. Allen, Egbert Chapman, A. A. Gilbert, Eobert|^Taylor 
and A. P. Hall. 

The petit jurors for the same court were Edwin B. Gere, John 
Evans, Erastus H. Murray, Edwin Hamilton, William H. Stevens, 
John C. Laird, Alex. Smith, John Emerson, Erwin Johnson, John 
Burns, Frank Curtiss, George W. Clark, Scott Clark, Allen Gilmore, 
H. B. Thompson, Isaac W. Simonds, Jerry Tibbets, Asa Pierce. 

Fortune, S. J. Burnet, H. J. Harrington, William E. Hewitt, 

Henry Herrick, Warren Rowell, James Kinkade, Fletcher, 


Squire Day, A. T. Pentler, James Campbell, Thompson, 

Webster, Peter Gorr, O. H. Houk, J. S. Denman, Charles Bannan, 
S. E. Cotton, H. Stradlin^, Wm. H. Coryell, H. Hull, J. W. Bently, 
D. Q. Burly, J. Nicklin, J. Wright, P. D. Follett, R. Thorp, Louis 
Krutzly, Henry W. Driver, C. R, Coryell and Alex. McClintock. 

The second meeting of the board of county commissioners was 
held at the house of John Burns, in the mouth of Burns valley. 
Mr. Toms, Mr. Luark, and the clerk, StoU, were present, but there 
is no record of any business except to approve the bonds of the 
assessors, Mr. Toms acting as chairman. 

The next meeting was July 4, at Minneowah, at which no one 
was present except Mr. Toms and the clerk. "The chairman ad- 
journed to meet at Winona July 5." 

The next meeting was held pursuant to adjournment, and the 
following entry afterward made on the record by Mr. Stoll, who was 
not present. It was evidently designed as a squib at Wabasha 
prairie : " Winona, July 6, 1853 — H. C. Gere and Wm. T. Luark, 
commissioners, met pursuant to adjournment at the Winona hotel. 
Myron Toms, one of the absent commissioners, not being able to 
reach Winona on account of the high state of water and the then 
impassable gulf, the former commissioners adjourned to meet at the 
Winona Hotel July 9, 1853. Approved the bond of E. H. Johnson, 
county treasurer of Fillmore county. H. B. Stoll, clerk." 

The office of H. B. Stoll, the register of deeds, was in the vil- 
lage of Minneowah. The first deed recorded was one from Isaac 
Van Etten to H. B. Stoll, dated January 4, 1853, ^nd filed in the 
office May 11, 1853. This conveyed one half of Van Etten's inter- 
est in Minneowah. The consideration was $300. 

The hrst deed made in this county that was placed on record 
was a quit-claim from William B. Gere of part of his claim on 
Wabasha prairie to A. M. Fridley, of St. Paul. It is dated No- 
vember 1, 1852, but not filed for record until the 29th of June, 1853. 
The consideration was $150. The acknowledgment was before 
George M. Gere, justice of the peace, November 4, 1852. 

The part of William B. Gere's claim transferred by this deed 
was eighty acres, on which the shanty of Henry C. Gere stood. 
The incidents of this transaction were given to the writer by Mr. 
Fridley many years ago. During the latter part of the season of 
1852 Mr. Fridley made the acquaintance of Henry C. Gere, while 
on a steamboat between La Crosse and Wabasha prairie. Gere 


then projiosed to sell liim a claim of eighty acres he held on War 
baslia prairie. Mr. Fridley purchased the eighty acres where H. 
C. Gere was then living for $150, receiving a quit-claim from 
William B. Gere. He also gave H. C. Gere $50 to hold the claim 
for him until the following spring. Gere continued to occupy the 
shanty until the spring of 1854, drawing upon Mr. Fridley during 
tluit time, in consideration of his services as claimkeeper, until the 
sum total paid H. C. Gere by A. M. Fridley for that eighty was 
$1,200. The claim was then placed in possession of L. D. Smith, 
who came here from St. Paul with his family in the spring of 1S54. 
It is now known as Plummer's Addition to the plat of Winona. 

During the season of 1852, and until the following year, the 
claim of Captain Smith at the lower end of the prairie — claim 
No. 1, — held by Smith and Johnson, had remained undisturbed, 
no attempt having been made to molest it. Johnson removed the 
shanty, using the lumber for other purjjoses at the upper landing. 

Early in the s])ring, in A])ril, 1853, the unoccupied claim was 
jumped by Isaac W. Simonds. As soon as this was known to E. 
H. Johnson, he, by direction of Captain Smith, commenced suit 
against Simonds in justice's court, before Squire Gere, to oust him 
from the possession he had assumed. The defense was under the 
management of a lawyer by the name of Stevens, from La Crosse. 
It was then learned that Simonds had taken possession of the claim 
for a stock company, composed of William B. Gere, Charles S. 

Hamilton, Isaac W. Simonds and Stevens, the attorney in the 

claim suit. The suit was adjourned from time to time, from in 
April to about the first of June, without coming to trial. In the 
meantime the company had a town surveyed and platted cover- 
ing 141 acres of the claim. It was given the name of Wabasha 
City. The claim shanty stood a little in front of where the residence 
of Mrs. Keyes now stands. This was occupied by Simonds and 
Charlie Hamilton. 



During the winter and spring Johnson had made his head- 
quarters at the house he had built on Front street for the use of 
Andrew Cole, which he afterward sold to him. He, however, made 
his home with John Evans, whose daughter, Abigal M. Evans, he 
married later in the season. He usually spent his evenings at 
Evans' when on the prairie. Johnson became impatient at the 
delay in the trial of his suit against Simon ds, and while at supper 
one evening he remarked that he would have to go down to the 
lower claim and "clean them out" himself if he ever expected to 
get possession. He soon after started for the village. This 
indicated another claim-fight. Johnson "cleaned them out "that 
night. The jjarticulars of this fight were related to the writer by 
Royal B. Evans, a son of John Evans, who took part in the afi'ray. 
Mr. Evans says : "It was about the middle of May or a little after 
that Johnson shot Simonds. I came home rather late that day and 
found that the rest of the family had been to supper ; they were 
talking about Johnson, who had just gone down to the village. 
Father said Johnson would get into trouble if he attempted to drive 
Simonds and Charlie Hamilton off from the lower claim without he 
had some help. My sister wanted I should find hirn and tell him 
that father wished to see him. 

"After supper I went down to the landing ; a steamboat had just 
come up and almost everybody living on the prairie was on the 
levee. Simonds and Charlie Hamilton were conspicuous, but 
Johnson was not there. John McDermott told me he saw him 
going back on the prairie just after the boat landed. It was then 
dark. I expected I should find him at the lower claim, and went 
down there in search of him. As I approached the Simonds shanty 
Johnson hailed me and ordered me to halt. I answered him and he 
told me to come in. Johnson said he expected to have a fight and 
was ready for them. He had a Colt's rifle and an old 'pepper 
box ' pistol. I had brought nothing with me, not even a club. He 
said that when he saw Simonds and Hamilton up at the village he 


went and got his gun and pistol and started. We sat down in front 
of the shanty and examined them ; they had not been used in a long 
time. The i-ilie was out of rei)air and would not work. Finding it 
was of no use, he took the barrel off and stood it beside the door, 
saying, ' That will do to use as a club.' 

"About ten o'clock we heard some one coming down the prairie, 
and knew that it was Simonds by his loud voice. Johnson hailed 
them to stop, and threatened them if they advanced. He then 
snapped two caps on the pistol without a discharge. They came on 
to where we were standing, near the shanty, when Simonds pitched 
at Johnson and they two had a regular fist-fight, which lasted some 
time. Charlie and I looked on without doing anything. We were 
about the same age and size. Simonds was much the larger and 
stronger man, and was too much for Johnson. They clinched, and 
Johnson, finding that Simonds had the advantage, drew his pistol 
and shot him. The ball passed through the muscles of the forearm 
and broke the bone above the elbow. They continued clinched for 
awhile after, when Simonds called for Hamilton to take him off. 
Hamilton caught Johnson by the throat and tried to choke him. I 
then attacked C'harlie with my fists and knocked him down." 

"It was a still, clear, starlight night, and the noise made while 
the fight was going on was heard at Hamilton's house, where some 
one halloed in return. Simonds called to them to bring his shot- 
gun. Elder Hamilton and Jake McDermott came up just after 
Charlie and I had had our set-to ; Johnson kept back out of sight. 
Simonds complained of being faint, and asked the elder to take him 
over to his house. I had not received any very hard blows, but 
Johnson, as well as the other two, had been severely pounded. 

"Elder Hamilton took hold of Simonds and supported his 
wounded arm, while I took hold of him on the other side to help take 
him to Hamilton's house. Just as we started, Charlie Hamilton 
attacked me from behind with a club — one of the oak stakes used in 
surveying the plot. He hit me once before I turned, and then struck 
me once or twice across the face, cutting me severely before 
McDermott separated us. McDermott then helped the elder take 
Simonds home. Not hearing anything of Johnson I went over to 
Hamilton's to see what was going on there. A steamboat chanced 
to be coming down and the elder signaled them with his lantern to 
stop at his landing, intending to send Simonds to La Crosse. A 
doctor on board examined and dressed the wounded arm, and word 


was sent by the boat to La Crosse to have a surgeon come up from 
there. The elder washed the blood off from my head and face and 
bandaged up my wounds. The scalp-cut on the back of my head 
was the worst, but my face was badly cut and bruised. I then went 
back down the prairie in search of Johnson. While I was up at 
Hamilton's he had torn the shanty down, and thrown it and every- 
thing belonging to it into the river. We then went up home ; 
Johnson was living with us. The next morning we were both 
arrested by McDermott, the constable. After we had had our 
breakfast he took us down to Squire Gere's office, where we were 
detained some time, when the justice decided that the examination 
could not go on without the testimony of Simonds, and adjourned 
the court to H. S. Hamilton's house. Johnson refused to walk down 
there. Squire Gere then sent the constable to find a conveyance. 
We walked down toward the river, when the justice called to us not 
to go away, but stay around where we could be found when 
McDermott came back. Johnson made no reply — I told him I was 
not going very far away. Johnson went over to Andrew Cole's 
house to change his clothes. Mr. Cole was then absent. I went 
home, had my wounds dressed and went to bed, where I slept until 
the next morning. I then came down to the justice's office and was 
discharged from custody." 

Considerable excitement was aroused over the matter by the new 
town site company, and when Johnson failed to make his appear- 
ance Sheriff lams was sent to find him and bring him before the 
court. The sheriff got trace of him at Minnesota City, and overtook 
him at Hall's landing, below the mouth of the White Water, where 
he was waiting for a steamboat to come along. Johnson left the 
river and went up the bluff with the sheriff' after him. Johnson 
could outrun and outclimb the sheriff, and when beyond reach he 
stopped and told lams if he came any farther he would send some 
loose rocks down on him. The sheriff went back to the trail and 
watched for Johnson to again make his appearance. He was com- 
pelled to return without his prisoner. Johnson succeeded in 
reaching the river without being observed. The steamboats at that 
time would land anywhere if hailed by a passenger. Johnson went 
to St. Paul, where he secured counsel and returned to have the case 
disposed of and settled in some manner. He delivered himself up, 
and no one appearing against him he was discharged from custody. 
Simonds had been detained on the prairie to await the examination, 


but went to La Crosse two or three days before Johnson's return, 
which was on June 3. 

As soon as Captain Smith learned of the shooting of Simonds by 
Johnson he sent his son S. J. Smith here to take charge of matters. 
By the advice of John Evans it was deemed necessary to put up a 
shanty on the lower claim to hold possession. Mr. Smith secured 
the services of Mr. Evans and his son Royal, and took a load of 
lumber down to build a cabin. He was met there by Mr. Stevens 
from La Crosse, one of the proprietors of the new town, who warned 
him not to attempt to occupy it, for they should defend their rights 
to the claim. Mr. Smith decided not to have any more iii>:liting, but 
trust to the law for redress. He ordered the lumber taken back to 
the upper landing, notwithstanding the protests of Mr. Evans, who 
asserted that he could stand as much shooting as they could. Mr. 
Smith then remained quiet at the hotel where he was stopping. 

As soon as Stevens returned to La Crosse he sent Asa Hedge up, 
who built a shanty and took possession of the claim. The next 
day after he was discharged from custody Johnson went down and 
put up a shanty about whei-e the one stood which Augustus Pentler 
once occupied. This was held by John Evans and Johnson. No 
collisions occurred between the occupants of the two shanties. 

About a week afterward Captain Smitli brought up from Galena 
a house ready made for claim No. 1. It was put up a few rods 
above where the house of Mrs. Keyes now stands. The same day 
Mr. Hedge went to La Crosse and his shanty was torn down. It 
was done by the consent of Mr. Hedge, who sold the possession 
of the claim to Captain Smith for one or two lots on Front street, 
fronting on the levee. 

Mr. Hedge at once built a small house on lot 1, block 11 — 
brought his family from La Crosse and made it his home for many 
years. He here opened a restaurant and saloon — the first saloon or 
place where intoxicating drinks were sold in the city of Winona. 
His liquors were bought up by the citizens and destroyed. The 
ladies were the movers in this transaction. He afterward opened 
his saloon with a new stock, when they were again destroyed or 
seized by the sheriff. He afterward put up a better building and 
opened a grocery store, where he carried on quite a trade for two 
or three years. Frank D. Sloan was his clerk and salesman in the 
grocery business. 

As an illustration of valuation of real estate and manner of 


doing business, the following incident is noted relative to this prop- 
erty. In about 1856 or 1857 Mr. Hedge found it necessary to secure 
a loan to carry on his business. Gable & Werst, money loaners and 
dealers in real estate, advanced him $5,000 and took a mortgage on 
the lot and store to secure the payment of his notes drawing two 
per cent per month. As a matter of course Mr. Hedge failed in 
business and the property was sold under the mortgage. How 
much Gable and Werst posted to profit and loss in this transaction 
is unknown. They held the property for many years. 

Among the early arrivals this season were Itliael Hamilton, the 
father, and Enoch C. Hamilton, the brother, of H. S. Hamilton, and 
Erastus H. Murray, a brother-in-law. Harvey Hubbard and John I. 
Hubbard were also relatives of the Hamiltons. 

Enoch C. Hamilton made a claim where the city hospital is now 
located. His claim shanty stood twenty or thirty rods south of the 
building now used as a hospital. While living here the house was 
struck by lightning, during a severe thunderstorm on Sunday, June 
19, 1853, and his wife instantly killed. 

Mrs. Hamilton opened a select school, which she had been teach- 
ing for a week or, two previous to her death. This may with a great 
deal of propriety be called the first school on the prairie. TJie 
school opened in Mrs. Goddard's shanty, in 1852, by Miss Gere, then 
a girl of fourteen or fifteen, was hardly entitled to mention as an 
institution for instruction. Mrs. Hamilton was an experienced 
school-teacher. She left three children, Alvin, Alice and Julia. 
Previous to her marriage Miss Alice Hamilton was for many years 
a well known teacher in the public schools of the city of Winona. 

Mr. Hamilton married again and pre-empted his claim as a home- 
stead. It is now known as E. C. Hamilton's addition. Mr. Ham- 
ilton, with his second family, is now living at Minnesota City. 

Ithael Hamilton and his son Otis Hamilton made claims on the 
lower end of the prairie. They have been dead many years. 

Harvey and John I. Hubbard built two large dwelling-houses 
on what is now block 5, Hamilton's addition, which they occupied 
for several years. None of their families are now residents of this 

Erastus H. Murray bought the Yiets House, and improved it by 
putting on additions in the rear, finishing off the second story, and 
building a good frame barn on the rear of the lot. He made it a 
comfortable hotel, although limited in capacity, to accommodate the 


traveling public. lie gave it the name of " Winona House, " and 
kept it until early in the spring of 1854, when he sold it to Charles 
Eaton, who came here at that time. The following June Mr. Eaton 
sold out his interest in the Winona House to S. H. Lombard, a 
recent arrival, and moved upon his claim, where George I. Parsons 
now lives. He is now a citizen of St. Paul. S. H. Lombard kept 
the Winona House a year or two, when he leased or sold it. The 
building was burned in the big fire of 1862. Mr. Lombard is yet a 
resident of Winona. 

Mr. Murray built a dwelling on Fourth street, which is yet stand- 
ing and is part of the New England House. In 1854 he built a 
dwelling on lot 4, block 14, and also a building for a boot and shoe 
shop on lot 5 of the same block, on the corner of Second, and Lafay- 
ette streets, where "Mues' Block" now stands. He carried on 
business here for two or three years with his brother, W. H. Mur- 
ray. His shoe-shop was afterward used for the postoffice. None 
of Mr. Murray's family are now residents of this part of the state. 

Warren Rowell became a resident of this county in April, 1853. 
He landed on Wabasha prairie and staid there with his family for 
about a month. During that time he occupied a part of the shantj 
built by Mr. Stevens the year before for Mr. Goddard. Late in the 
fall Mrs. Goddard had built a house on the southeast corner of 
Franklin and Front streets, where she lived during the winter. 

Finding no better accommodations, Mr. Powell fixed up a part 
of the Stevens shanty as a place for his family to stay in for a few 
weeks, until he could select a location suitable for a farm. The 
other end of the shanty (a long building) was used as a barn, or 
place for the storage of hay and corn. This building was afterward 
burned by a prairie fire. 

Mr. Powell selected a claim next above Gorr's, in what is now 
Pleasant Valley, built a log house, and moved there about the first 
of June. Some of the settlers from the prairie went out and helped 
raise his cabin. The claim he made in the spring of 1853 he still 
occupies ; it is the farm where he now resides, and has been his 
home about thirty years. The claim shanty — the log cabin of early 
days — has been superseded by more modern buildings. Large 
barns and outbuildings have taken the place of the pole sheds 
covered with wild grass. 

Mr. Powell was among the earlier settlers in this county to 
locate on farming lands as a home. By attentively minding his 


own business he has made farming a profitable business in the valley 
where he lives. 

In May, 1853, Dr. John L. Balcombe returned to Wabasha 
prairie from Illinois, where he had spent the winter. When he left, 
in the fall previous, he sold out his interest here, including his 
houses, to Edwin Hamilton, retaining his shanty on the acre given 
him by Johnson. During the winter Ed. Hamilton had used his 
dwelling as a stable. When the doctor resumed possession he 
found it more economical and agreeable to move the cabin to a new 
locality rather than attempt to remove the refuse and renovate the 
building as it stood. He occupied this temporarily. 

Not liking his location on the acre he had first selected, he aban- 
doned it, and purchased lot 3 in block 9 of Smith and Johnson, for 
which he paid twenty dollars. The deed, a quit-claim, was made 
September 29, 1853, and tiled for record January 25, 1854. He 
had had possession of the lot for two or three months previous, and 
built a house on it. This building fronted toward the river, and 
was designed for a stoi-e. It was about 20 X 40, two stories high. 
The front of the lower story was finished with large windows and 
folding doors. On the east side of the building a lean-to was 
attached, about 12x24. Before it was completed Dr. Balcombe 
sold this structure to Horace Ranney, but did not deliver possession 
of it until the spring of 1854. It was afterward known as the 
"Ranney Building," and was used for quite a variety of purposes 
— as a private dwelling, for offices, as a hotel, and lastly as a tene- 
ment house for several families. It was burned in the fire of 1862. 

Early in the summer of 1853 (July 11) Dr. Balcombe bought 
an undivided half of twenty acres of the Beecher Gere claim, east of 
the eighty sold to A. M. Fridley, and of twenty acres west of the 
Fridley claim. The other half of these two lots was purchased by 
Sanborn and Colburn. He also made a claim on the upper prairie, 
where Charles Riley now lives. This he afterward improved, and 
built the farmhouse now standing, which he occupied at the time 
of his death, September 24, 1856. Although poor health prevented 
Dr. Balcombe from being prominent, he took an active interest in 
the development of this part of the territory and in the political 
questions of his day. M. Wheeler Sargent says, in his historical 
address, "Dr. John L. Balcombe was a man of the most extended 
information of any among the early settlers, * * * one of the 
first and best of our early citizens." 


George H. Sanborn came into the county early in the spring ol 
1853 and settled on Wabasha prairie. Soon after Wm. H. Colborn 
came on and joined him here. About the middle of June these two 
young men o])ened the lirst store iri the county, with a general 
assortment of goods. For temporary occupancy, the "car-house" 
of Denman was moved to lot 5, block 10, and covered with a 
shingled roof. They here commenced business as Sanborn & Col- 
born. During the summer they built a store on the corner of the 
same lot, about 20x40, two stories high, and continued in business 
until the spring of 1854, when Mr. Colborn withdrew and a new 
lirm was formed, consisting of G. H. Sanborn and M. K. Drew. E. 
L. King became a partner the same spring. They carried on the 
business during" that season and then sold their stock of goods to 
Dr. Childs, who continued business for a short time in the same 
location. In 1855 Sanborn & King started in the forwarding and 
commission and wholesale and retail grocery business at the toot 
of Johnson street. 

Mr. Sanborn in 1856 built a very large three-story building on 
the river, at the foot of Washington street, which was known as 
Sanborn's warehouse. The third story of this building was used as 
a hall for public meetings. It was fitted up with a stage and scenery 
by the Philharmonic Society soon after it was first organized, and 
used by them until they moved to their present location. T!ie 
building was torn down many years ago by the railroad company, 
into whose possession the property passed. 

Soon after he came here in 1853 Mr. Sanborn purchased the 
Viets claim and subsequently had it surveyed and plotted. It is 
now known as Sanborn's addition. He built his first residence on 
this claim in 1855, a small story-and-a-half house, on the corner of 
Lafayette and Wabasha streets. It is yet standing, and forms a 
part ot the present residence of J. L. Brink. Mr. Sanborn was 
engaged in business for several years in Winona. About 1859 he 
closed up his affairs here and went east to live. He is now in 
Northern Dakota, where it is reported that he has made some 
fortunate specuUitions as a pioneer in that locality. 

As an incident of early days, an adventure of Mr. Sanborn's, 
brought to the mind of the writer, is thought worthy of notice. Mr. 
Sanborn was the owner of a pair of fine driving-horses. One of 
these was a valuable horse, which he used as a saddle-horse. 
Although broken to harness, he had nothing that he considered 


suitable to drive him in during the winter. Having business in St. 
Paul, he adopted the idea of taking his horse with him and bringing 
back a stylish cutter. There was not sufficient snow to drive up, 
and he proposed to ride his horse to St. Paul. 

On the first of January, 1855, he started on his trip, taking 
along a new single-harness, with blankets and a biiifalo-skin, on 
which he proposed to ride, instead of a saddle, expecting to reach 
Wabasha that day. He went up Straight slough on the ice. When 
he reached Haddock slough, about where S. M. Burns lost his 
horses two years before, his horse broke through the ice, which was 
thin at that place, and took Mr. Sanborn into the water with him. 
With some difficulty he crawled out on the ice, which was brittle 
and gave way to his weight. He was within about twenty reds of 
the shore, for which he was headed when the accident occurred. 

The day was intensely cold, with a piercing wind, and a cold 
bath was far from agreeable with the thermometer showing zero. 
His horse remained afloat and broke the ice in his efforts to climb 
out after his master. Mr. Sanborn hastened to the shore and 
procured some logs of wood and rocks, with which he broke the ice 
and opened a channel to where the water was less than two feet 
deep. The intelligent animal followed him closely, but was unable 
to climb out on the ice. He was chilled through by the length of 
time he had been in the water. Mr. Sanborn was completely 
exhausted from the fatigue and cold, he having slipped in several 
times while breaking the ice. 

Feeling benumbed and unable to do more for his horse, he 
started off for help. When he reached Mr. Burley's, nearly a mile 
below, he was almost unconscious. His clothing was frozen stiff 
and solid, and he was compelled to crawl on his hands and knees to 
reach the house. He was taken care of, and men went up to help 
the horse, if he was not beyond help. Thej^ found him dead. Mr. 
Sanborn had loosened the harness and blankets while the horse was 
in the deep water, and they had floated away under the ice. 

Mr. Sanborn recovered from his exposure with some frost-bites, 
but without any serious illness following. He returned to Winona 
as soon as he was able to be moved, which was in a day or two 
after, and sent to St. Paul for his cutter, which was brought down 
by the mail-carrier. His second-best horse was promoted and 
became the pet. 

William Davidson came into this county April 6, 1853. After 


some time spent in prospecting and explorations in the western part 
of the county, he selected a claim at the head of a small branch of 
the White Water, in what is now the town of St. Charles, on 
Sec. 10, T. 106, R. 10. He returned to Clayton county, Iowa, 
where his family were then living, and made his arrangement to 
transport them with his household goods, farming implements and 
live stock, up througli the country- to the location he had selected in 
Minnesota as his future home. 

Mr. Davidson started with four yoke of oxen and three wagons ; 
these, with his cows and young stock, and a saddle-pony used to 
collect the cattle, made up quite an immigrant train. They came 
into this county on the "old government trail," — the trail over 
which the Winiiebagoes were taken when removed from Iowa to 
Long Prairie in 1848, up through Money Creek valley and out on 
the ridge near the head of Burns valley. They then went west, 
keeping on the high land to avoid the ravines leading into the 
Rolling Stone, to Bentleys, now Utica, and reached their destination 
about the first of June. They were eleven days making this trip of 
about 125 miles. 

Mr. Davidson was the first settler to come into the county by 
the "overland route." He immediately set his breaking team to 
work and put in a field of seed-corn and planted a garden. He 
built a commodious log house, making a trip to Winona in the latter 
part of June for lumber to complete it. Until their log house was 
ready for occupancy they lived in camp with but temporary shelter. 
He raised a good crop of corn and vegetables the first season, 
sufficient for his own use. The cornmeal used in his family was 
ground by hand in a large coffee-mill. 

Mr. Davidson here opened uj) a large farm, and in early days 
was prominently active in public affairs relative to the development 
of the county. He was county commissioner and held other official 
positions. He is now a resident of the city of St. Charles. 

L. H. Springer and Benjamin Langworthy landed on Wabasha 
prairie on May 31, 1853. They brought with them their families 
and four yoke of oxen, three horses, eight cows and other animals, 
and also two wagons. Mr. Laird gave them the use of his shantj 
for temporary occupancy until they found satisfactory locations. 
They made claims on the White Water, and moved there with their 
families about the middle of June. 

L. H. Springer settled at wliat is now the village of St. Charles. - 


He built a large, substantial log house and comfortable stables, and 
opened up a farm in tlris locality. This log house was used as a 
hotel for two or three years. " Springer's" was a favorite stopping 
place for all who had business in that vicinity. These were the only 
settlers in the west part of the county in 1853. 

In the fall of 1854 L. H. Springer, George H. Sanborn and 
M. Wheeler Sargent, laid out the land claimed by Springer as a 
town site, and gave it the name of St. Charles. It was advertised as 
being " on the N.E. i of Sec. 19, T. 106, K. 10, twenty-tive miles west 
from Winona on the south fork of theMeniska or White Water river, 
in the midst of as good farming lands as can be found anywhere." 
Mr. Springer was prominently active in all measures to promote the 
general good. He, with William Davidson, was the first to open a 
wagon trail from St. Charles to Winona. Mr. Springer lived a^ St. 
Charles for several years and then removed to Olmsted county, 
where he yet resides. 

Alexander McClintock came into the county this season and 
settled on a claim in the south Eolling Stone valley, above Putnams. 
He built a log house, and pre-empted this as a homestead after, and 
lived here with bis family for several years, until his death. Kone 
of his family are now residents of the county. 

^ Henry D. Huff landed on Wabasha prairie Sunday, June 26, 
1853. He stopped at the Winona House, then kept by E. H. Mur- 
ray. It was su])posed at the time that he came to assume charge of 
Capt. Smith's interest in the town, which his son, S. J. Smith, was 
then here [looking after. He purchased an undivided interest in 
the original town plot of Smith and Johnson, and later in the season 
also purchased the claim of Ed. Hamilton — claim ISTo. 5. Hamilton 
had previously sold undivided interests to others ; Mark Howard 
held a third ; David Olmsted and Orlando Stevens held an interest. 
Through an arrangement with Hamilton and the others the whole 
claim was transferred to Mr. Huff, who at once had it surveyed and 
plotted, and recorded with the plot of Smith and Johnson's claim as 
the "original plot" of the city of Winona. 

Mr. Huff built the cottage now occupied by Lafayett Stout, near 
the corner of Fourth and Huff streets, and brought his family here. 
He lived in this cottage for several years, when he built the house 
on the same corner now owned and occupied by Hon. H. W. Lam- 
berton, in which he resided until he left Minnesota. From the first of 
his coming here he was prominently active in all public enterprises. 


Mr. Huff luul becMi in mercantile l)usiness in Kenosha, and a 
dealer in real estate, before coming here ' He had prior to that 
passed some years of pioneer life in Wisconsin and Illinois, and was 
familiar with early settlements in towns and country. His expe- 
rience, with his natural sagacity and enterprise and his indomitable 
will power, made him a leader in all public matters or affairs in 
whicli others were associated with him. His interests were inti- 
nuvtely connected with the development and prosperity of the county 
and city of Winona. There was no one among the pioneer settlers 
who accomplished so much by his individual efforts to build up the 
city of Winona as Henry D. Huff. To him more than to any other 
person this city is justly indebted for its early prosperity and many 
of its present advantages. It was by him that the name of Winona 
was substituted for that of Montezuma. It was through his efforts 
that Fillmore county was divided and Winona county created with 
the county seat at the village of Winona. 

Mr. Huff started the second newspaper in Winona — the first was 
the "Winona Argus," edited by Wm. Ashley Jones. The first 
issue was September 20, 1854. In April, 1855, Mr. Huff issued the 
first number of the "Winona Express," edited by.W. Creek. In 
November, 1855, Mr. Huff sold the establishment to W. G. Dye & 
Co., who started the "Winona Republican." Soon after D. Sinclair 
became connected with it, and the paper has since been continuously 
issued under that name by D. Sinclair & Co. with the addition of a 
daily paper. 

Huff's Hotel was built by Mr. Huff in 1855. In 1857 he built a 
large flouring-mill near Youmans Bros. & Ilodgins' sawmill. It 
was built at a cost of about $25,000, and was burned a few years 
after. He was one of the stockholders in the original Transit 
Railroad Company. 

Mr. Huff sold out the most of his property here about ten years 
ago and went to Chicago. 

The time set by Judge A. G. Chatfield for holding the first 
session of a district court in what was then Fillmore county was at 
Wabasha prairie, on Monday, June 27, 1853, but the judge failed to 
reach Winona on that day. On Tuesday, June 28, he arrived with 
quite a large party of ladies and gentlemen from St. Paul, among 
whom were two attorneys, L. A. Babcock and H. L. Moss. He 
opened court in the Winona House. Wm. B. Gere was appointed 
clerk of the court. The petit jury was dismissed. The grand jury 


was organized and held a sitting on that day. On Wednesday, June 
29. the grand jury made a presentment in the case of Erwin H. 
Johnson, for the shooting of Isaac W. Simonds, and indicted S. M. 
Burns, of Mt. Yernon (Hall's landing), for selling liquor to the 
Indians. They were dismissed at noon on that day and the court 
adjourned. This was the lirst district court held in southern Min- 
nesota. In the afternoon Judge Chattield, with the party from St. 
Paul, visited Minnesota City and the valley of the Rolling Stone. 

.John lams was the sheriff' in attendance on the court. It is said 
that the sheriff" brought his dinner with him from home each day. 
On the first day, as he approached the crowd assembled around the 
Winona House, he was greeted by W. T. Luark, who, with a laugh 
of ridicule, cried out, "Here comes the great high sheriff of Fillmore 
county with his dinner pail on his arm!" At noon the same crowd 
saw the sheriff and Mr. Luark sitting on the bank of the river eating 
their dinner from the dinner-bucket of the sheriff', and washing it 
down with river water. 

Grove W. Willis came to Wabasha prairie about the first of July 
of this year. Before coming. here he had been promised the posi- 
tion of clerk of the court by Judge Chatfield, but on account of his 
failure to arrive in time to attend to the duties of the office, the 
Judge was compelled to appoint Wm. B. Gere to the place. When 
Judge Chatfield was notified that Mr. Willis was at Winona await- 
ing his order, he revoked the appointment of Gere and gave the 
position to Mr. Willis, who was appointed clerk of the district court 
about the 7tli of July. 

Mr. Willis brought his family here and rented tlie building on 
Front street built by Dr. Balcombe (the Ranney building), where he 
lived during the winter. He used the lean-to of the building as his 
office. The same room was also used as a schoolroom for a select 
school kept by his daughter, now Mrs. Gillett, living in the village 
of Chatfield. This school is really entitled to be called the first 
fully established school taught in Winona. It was kept three or 
four months with about twenty-five pupils. 

Mr. Willis lived at Winona during the winter and moved to Chat- 
field in the spring of 1854. About ten or twelve years ago he re- 
turned to Winona, and has since made it his home. 

John Keyes came to Winona on September 12, 1853. He landed 
with his wife and two children at Hamilton's, on the lower end of the 
prairie. He bought an undivided one-eighth of H. S. Hamilton's 


claim, and lived in a part of his house during the winter and follow- 
ing summer. While living here he procured timber and lumber to 
build a house on the upper part of the claim next below where the 
Hubbards built their houses. The following season he became dis- 
satisfied with his investment with Mr. Hamilton, and having an 
o})portunity purchased the interest of Cai)tain Smith in claim No. 
1, the lower claim. The claim had been divided between Smith and 
Johnson, Johnson taking the west part, leaving the eastern portion 
for Oa])tain Smith. 

Mr. Ke3^es at once put up a shanty and took possession. He 
moved his family there about September 1, 1854, and the same fall 
built the house in which he lived nearly a score of years before he 
built the brick house (to which the old one is attached) where his 
family now resides. John Keyes died in November, 1877. Mr. 
Keyes was a lawyer by profession, and held his office in his house 
when he commenced business here. In the fall of 1855 he was 
appointed clerk in the United States land office by L. D. Smith, the 
receiver, and continued in that position until the spring of 1857, after 
the land office was removed to Faribault. He then resumed the 
practice of law. His office was in a small building on the levee 
near the Winona House, owned and occupied by John A. Mathews 
as a real estate and loan office. In 1862 this office was burned. He 
was afterward one of the firm of Sargent, Franklin & Keyes, and 
at the time of his death one of the law firm of Keyes & Snow. 

From an early day Mr. Keyes took a great interest in the public 
schools of the city of Winona. He was a director and clerk of the 
board from the time the first district school was opened until long 
after the present system was established. The city of Winona is 
more indebted to John Keyes for its present system of graded 
schools than to any other one person among the pioneer settlers or 
citizens of more modern days. 

M. Wheeler Sargent came to Winona in this year. His arrival, 
given in his address, from which quotations have been made, is 
mentioned as follows: ''I first saw this county August 1, 1853, 
carrying a chain northward between towns 105 of ranges 8 and 9. 
The first house I saw was that of Wm. Davidson, August 11. 
Town 105 of ranges 7, 8, 9 and 10 had no occupants. Town 106, 
of the same ranges, had no inhabitants except L. H. Springer, Wm. 
Davidson and families, in 106. range 10, and Hull and Bently in 
range 9. 


"Town 107, range 9, had Wm. Sweet and family — 107, range 
10, none — 108, range 10, had John and David Cook. The other 
settlers of our county were on the Mississippi, or in the immediate 
valleys of some of its tributaries. 

"On the 19th of September of that year the speaker first saw 
this prairie, coming in from the Gilmore valley. Fancy he made 
something of a spread that night, for, with a half-dozen others, he 
slept at full length on the ground, between his present office and the 
Mississippi, with his hat for a nightcap and boots for a pillow. His 
toilet he prefers giving in an autobiography when called for ; it is 
not particularly allied to the history of this county." 

"When Mr. Sargent came into this county he was in the employ 
of Wm. Ashley Jones, who was engaged in surveying the public 
lands in this part of the territory. On reaching Wabasha prairie 
he decided to locate there and establish himself in the practice of 
his profession as a lawyer. He was appointed district attorney 
before the county of Fillmore was divided, and after Winona county 
was created he was elected register of deeds and appointed clerk of 
the district court. He was the first mayor of the city of Winona ; 
he was also a member of tlie legislature from this county. When 
he first came here he began the practice of law by himself; in 1855 
he was of the law firm of Sargent, Wilson & Windom, and at the 
time of his death, which occurred in 1866, he was one of the firm of 
Sargent, Franklin & Keyes. ^ 

More extended notices of these two prominent pioneer settlers 
(John Keyes and M. Wheeler Sargent) would be made if it were 
not that their biographical sketches will be given under another 
division of this history. 



The fourth of July, 1853, was celebrated with a great deal ot 
patriotic enthusiasm at Minnesota City. The settlers of Kolling 
Stone invited the citizens of Wabasha prairie to join them in the 
customary honors and hospitalities of "independence day." The 
invitation was accepted, and many from the prairie were in attend- 


ance. The occasion was said to have been one of unusual interest 
and gratification to the settlers assembled. 

The celebration was held in "the public square," under the 
oaks. The introductory was the following song, written by Robert 
Pike, Jr., the })oet of the colony. It was sung to the tune of 
*' Baker's Farewell" : 

" We've left the homes our childhood loved, 
The friends we never can forget ; 
The friends that long, long years have proved, 
The friends who still in dreams are met. 

We've come to make us other homes, 

On Minnesota's garden lands, 
Where ev'ry gen'rous heart that comes 

Is met by loving hearts and hands. 

What though the red-man roams the woods, 
And wild and rude the landscape seems ; 

Is it not fairer than it stood. 

As seen in fancy's brightest dreams? 

What though our domes are all unreared. 

And labor in our pathway lies ; 
Labor is pleasant, when 'tis cheered 

By helping hands and loving eyes. 

No greener valleys meet the sight. 

No purer fountains, gushing free. 
No birds of song, or flowers more bright, 

Bringing perfume and melody. 

Hurra ! then, for our chosen home, 

While bound by friendship's silken bond ; 

Our feet no more shall seek to roam. 

Our hearts shall never more despond." 

The orator of the day was Egbert Chapman, who, it is said, gave 
an admirable and exceedingly appropriate address. He was fol- 
lowed by Robert Pike, Jr., who became really eloquent in his 
remarks, which were listened to with pleased expressions by the 

An elegant repast was furnished by the ladies, to which all were 
invited. The concourse then adjourned from "the park" to the 
tables prepared under the shade of the walnuts, where ample justice 
was awarded the good things provided. After all were satisfied, 
volunteer toasts were drank from glasses filled with pure cold water 
plentifully furnished. 


Toasts were given by Robert Pike, Jr., Edwin Hamilton, W. H. 
Colburn, R. Taylor, O. M. Lord, T. K. Allen, S. J. Smith, and 
others. Some of them are given to show the character of the enter- 

The first was by Robert Pike, Jr.: "The ladies. May they 
ever be pure, as our own bright fountains ; beautiful, as our wild 
flowers ; as even of temper as our own delightful climate ( except 
the thunderstorms ), and as fruitful as the soil to which they have 
been transplanted." 

The second was by Edwin Hamilton : " Superior cookerv. The 
art that makes us happy, and that none better understand than the 
ladies of Minnesota City. " 

The third was by W. H. Colburn : "The motto of our glorious 
country, ' Union is Strength.' Minnesota City and Winona,— may 
they be ever thus united is the earnest wish of Winona to-day." 

The sixth was by Robert Pike, Jr.: "Winona and Minnesota 
City. May all the rivalry which exists between them be the rivalry 
of good neighborhood, and the desire to excel in offices of kindness 
and humanity." 

The eighth was by T. K. Allen: "Peace, prosperity and 
equality. May it long be enjoyed in Minnesota." 

The twelfth was by E. Chapman : " The glorious 4th of July. 
May the remembrance of the day ever be in the hearts of the 
people. " 

The thirteenth was by O. M. Lord: "Winona. Like her 
namesake, wild and JDeautiful, may she prosper till the height of 
her aspiration is amply rewarded." 

The eighteenth was by S. J. Smith: "Here is to Minnesota 
City from her eldest daughter, Winona. Although the Dark Water 
city, yet her waters are clear and sparkling ; and to its men, who 
being Rolling Stone men, yet gather commercial moss ; and to its 
ladies, who are blooming." 

Another by O. M. Lord : "The Mississippi river, the highway 
of the nation. As long as the water flows in its channel may her 
valleys annually resound with the sound of cannon proclaiming the 
independence of the American people." 

The day's enjoyment closed with another song written by Robert 
Pike, Jr. This was the first time the " Glorious Fourth " was ever 
celebrated in southern Minnesota. 

July 9 the board of county commissioners of Fillmore county 


met at the Winona hotel, and divided the county into precincts and 
appointed judges of election. 

The part of the county north of a line west from a point five 
miles below the town plat of Mt. Vernon on the Mississippi river 
to the west line of the county was called Mt. Yernon precinct. 
James Kirkman and Louis Krutzly, living at the mouth of the 
White Water, and A. P. Hall, of Mt. Vernon, were appointed 
judsres of election. This precinct had twelve legal voters. 

The Minnesota City precinct was the next south ot tlie Mt. Ver- 
non precinct. The judges of election were II. B. Waterman, O. H. 
Hauk and E. B. Drew. This had the largest number of voters of 
any precinct. 

The Winona precinct included Wabasha prairie only. The 
judges of election were Harvey Hubbard, O. S. Holbrook and 
George F. Childs. 

The Minneowah precinct extended south to a line due west from 
a point on the Mississippi opposite the mouth of Black river to the 
west line of the county. The line between this and the Minnesota 
City precinct was not defined. The judges of election were W. B. 
Bunnell, of Bunnell's landing, James F. Toms, of Minneowah, and 
William Hewitt, of Burns valley. This had sixteen voters. 

The Root River precinct was between the south line of the Min- 
neowah precinct and a line west from the mouth of Root river to 
the west line of the county. The judges of election were G. W. 
Gilfillan, Joseph Brown and John L. Looney. It had ten legal voters. 

The Brownsville precinct was all of the county lying between 
the Root River precinct at the Iowa state line. The judges of elec- 
tion were Charles Brown, Samuel McPhail and M. C. Young. 

At this meeting of the board of commissioners a school district 
was established at Minnesota City, but no specific boundaries given. 
It was presumed to include the whole precinct. 

A petition for a public road from Winona to Minnesota City was 
received and the following examiners appointed — Harvey Hubbard 
and E. B. Drew. These road examiners were to meet on Tuesday, 
July 19, at Minnesota City. C. R. Coryell, of Rolling Stone, was 
appointed county surveyor. 

The next meeting of the board was at the Winona House, on July 
22, 1853. At this meeting Gere and Luark were present. In the 
absence of Mr. Stall, the commissioners appointed Sylvester J. 
Smith clerk of the board pro tem. 


"The examiners of the road between Minnesota City and 
Winona reported that they had located the road. The report was 
received, examined and fully accepted, and an order issued to the 
county surveyor to locate and survey tlie same." 

This was the first public road ofiicially located in the county. 
The above copy of tlie record is the only documentary evidence of 
the fact. All books and papers relative to the proceedings of this 
board of county commissioners were taken to Chatfield, the first 
county seat of Fillmore county. Mr. E. B. Drew, one of the exam- 
iners, says the road was surveyed and located about where the 
present road from Minnesota City to Winona is now laid. It was 
resurveyed after Winona county was created. 

The first general election held in the county was on the second 
Tuesday, the 11th of October, 1853. At this general election Hon. 
H. M. Kice was elected delegate to congress from the Territory of 
Minnesota. Hon. O. M. Lord was elected a representative to the 
territorial legislature from this representative district. In Jan- 
uary, 1854, when Mr. Lord attended the fifth legislature to which 
he was elected, he walked from Minnesota City to St. Paul for that 

. At this election the following officers were elected in Fillmore 
county: county attorney, Andrew Cole; judge of probate, H. B. 
Waterman ; register of deeds, William B. Gere ; sheriff, John lams; 
county commissioners, John C. Laird, Robert Pike, Jr., and W. B. 

The justices of the peace elected were — for Wabasha prairie, 
George M. Gere and Wm. H. Stevens (Mr. Stevens had previously 
served as justice of the peace. He was appointed in July, 1853, 
by Governor Gorman) ; for Minnesota City, H. B. Waterman and 
Robert Pike, Jr. ; for Mt. Vernon, S. M. Burns ; for Minneowah, 
Mynon Lewis. 

Among the settlers who came into the county later in this season 
were Mathew Ewing, Dr. Allen, E. S. Smith, A. C. Smith, James 
McClellan, Luke Blair, G. W. Wiltse, Lysander Kately, James 
Worrall, George Gay and T. B. Twiford. 

Mathew Ewing settled onH. S. Hamilton's claim, where he built 
a comfortable frame house and opened a store with a fair assortment 
of goods. He sold goods during the winter and in the spring closed 
out his stock and gave up the business. He then located himself in 
the village and purchased two lots on the corner of Third and John- 

364 HISTORY op^ winona county. 

son streets, and also a lot on the corner of Johnson and Front streets, 
where he built the building now standing on it. After two or 
three years here he sold out and left the county. 

James McClcllan brought a stock of goods with him and opened 
a store in the front part of the nuiin portion of the residence of Rev. 
E. Ely, which was built this year. Mr. McClellan remained here 
until early in the spring, when he moved his family and goods to 

Dr. Allen (his initials are unknown to the writer) came here and 
located himself as a practicing physician. He was the first to settle 
in the county to make that profession his special business. He 
remained here until the spring of 1854, when he moved to Chatfield. 

E. S. Smith bought an interest in the Stevens claim, and for a 
year or two lived in Winona, dealing in real estate, etc. He 
married Miss Mary Burns, and settled in Burns valley, where he 
built the Glen Flouring Mill. He remained there several years and 
then sold out and moved to Winona, where his family yet resides. 
Mr. Smith went to Washington Territory, where he was for awhile 
connected with the western portion of the North Pacific railroad. 
Although he occasionally visits his home in Minnesota, he is yet 
engaged in business in Washington Territory, which requires his 
personal attention there much of his time. 

Andrew C. Smith settled in Winona. In 1855 he started the 
first drug store ever opened in the county. Afler several years' 
residence here he moved to Stockton. He was a member of the 
State legislature from this county in 1869. He is now a resident of 
Rochester, Olmsted county. 

L. D. Smith visited Wabasha prairie during the fall and winter 
of 1853, but did not bring his family here to live until the spring of 
1854. He purchased the " Fridley claim" and built a house on it, 
where he lived several years. This house is yet standing near the 
corner of Franklin and Wabasha streets. He then moved to his 
farm in the south Rolling Stone valley about half a mile above the 
village of Stockton, where he lived at the time of his death. 
He was appointed receiver in the United States land office in 1854, 
and was one of the most active in securing the land grant for the 
benefit of the railroads in this state. Further mention will be made 
of him in other divisions of this history. 

Wm. Ashley Jones was a deputy , United States surveyor. 
During the summer of 1853 he was engaged in the survey of 


public lands in southern Minnesota. In the fall of this year he 
visited "Wabasha prairie, and in the spring following moved his 
family there and made Winona his home for about ten years, when 
he moved to Dubuque. He is now a resident of Dakota. 

Mr. Jones held an undivided interest in the Smith and Johnson 
town plot, and also an interest in the Stevens claim (Stevens' addi- 
tion). He opened up a large farm in the town of St. Charles. • It is 
now known as the ' ' Lamberton Farm. " Besides dealing in real 
estate, Mr. Jones found time and means to start the first newspaper 
published in the county, " The Winona Argus." 

Luke Blair came to Wabasha prairie in the fall of this year. He 
bought two lots on the corner of Center and Second streets, where 
the ' ' Simpson Block " now stands. He brought with him a small 
drove of cattle, which he wintered in stables built on the back part 
of these lots. He made a claim in what is now the town of 
Saratoga, but did not occupy it until the following season. Early in 
the spring of 1854 he built a store on lot 4, block 16, and brought 
on a stock of general merchandise. 

During the summer he moved his family out on his claim. In 
the fall he sold the two lots with his store building to W. G. Dye, 
who sold them to Y. Simpson, the present owner, and sold his stock 
of goods to James H. Jacoby, who continued the business in the 
same locality under the name of Day & Co. The upper part of 
Blair's building was used as a public hall. Meetings were held here 
until it was used as a printing-ofiice by Wm. Ashley Jones. This 
was where the "Winona Argus" was started, with Samuel Melvin 
as associate editor and foreman in the office. W. G. Dye set the first 
type for this paper. 

Mr. Blair settled on his claim, which has been his permanent 
home. The vipinity was long known as the Blair settlement. Mr. 
Wiltse and Mr. Kately made claims in that part of the county, and 
wintered there in 1853-4. 

George Gay made a claim in Burns valley, on what was after- 
ward known as the Salisbury Place. He remained here a year or two 
and moved to Wabasha county. James Worrall settled in Winona, 
and about two years after went to Wabasha county. 



In the fall of this year, 1853, T. B. Twiford came into this countj 
from Lansing, Iowa. In his prospecting excursions and explorations 
he discovered the present site of Chatfield, in the northern part of 
Fillmore county, and conceived the project of making it a town site. 
At Winona he formed the acquaintance of Grove W, Willis, and a 
scheme was concocted to form a stock company and make Twiford's 
newly-discovered town site the county seat of Fillmore county. 

The plan proposed was to divide the stock into twelve shares. 
The shareholders were T. B. Twiford, G. W. Willis, H. C. Gere, 
Myron Toms, William B. Gere, Harvey Hubbard, John I. Hub- 
bard, Robert Pike, Jr., James McClellan and W. B. Bunnell. It was 
designed that each of the members of the board of county commis- 
sioners should be presented with a share in the new town site--- the 
proposed county seat, but Mr. Luark of the appointed "board was 
absent fi-om the territory, and John C. Laird, of the newly-elected 
board was too strongly interested in Winona to be utilized. Neither 
of these men were shareholders in the project. 

Twiford and Willis put up a log shanty on the proposed town 
site, to which they gave the name of Chatfield, and placed a man by 
the name of Case in the shanty temporarily, to hold the locality for 
the company. It was generally known that the members of the old 
board of county commissioners, Gere and Toms, whose term of office 
expired on January 1, 1854, were in favor of locating the countj 
seat in the locality selected by Mr. Twiford, but it was considered 
extremely doubtful if they had any authority to act in the matter. 
The law provided that it should be the duty of the first board of 
county commissioners elected to locate the county seat. The first 
board had been ajjpointed by the governor as provided by the act 
creating Fillmore county. 

In furtherance of the plan of Twiford and Willis the appointed 
board assumed the authority to locate the county seat, although it 
was generally conceded by everybody that this power belonged to 
the first elected board. 


The following entry was made on the record of the proceedings 
of the county commissioners by the clerk : 

Pursuant to agreement, the commissioners of Fillmore county, Minnesota 
Territory, on December ]<), a.d. 1853, at the residence of Mr. Case, in Root River 
precinct, in the town of Chatfield— present Henry C. Gere and Myron Toms. 
The object of said meeting was to locate the county seat of said Fillmore 
county, pursuant to the statute in such case made and provided. It was then 
and there resolved that the county seat should be located at Chatfield, in the 
center of section 6, town 104 north, of range 11 west. Then the commissioners 
adjourned, to meet at the residence of W. B. Bunnell, in Minneowah, on Tues- 
day, December 27, a.d. 1853. G. W. Willis, 

Clerk County Commissioners, pro tem. 
The commissioners Gere and Toms met at Bunnell's on the 
27th of December, 1853, and appointed C. F. Buck clerk of the 
board. They here audited the accounts of county officers presented, 
and issued county orders to the amount of $411.47. This was the 
last meeting of this board of commissioners. 

At the time, the county seat of Fillmore county was located at 
what is now Chatfield. The nearest settler was at Springer's, now 
St. Charles. There was not even a claim shanty within ten miles 
of the log pen designated as "the residence of Mr. Case." It was 
then considered uncertain whether the county seat was located 
within the western boundary of Fillmore county. 

It was estimated that on January 1, 1854, there were about 800 
inhabitants witliin the present boundaries of Winona county. This 
is thought to be a liberal estimate and probably a large excess >over 
actual numbers. 

The board of county commissioners of Fillmore county elected 
October 11, 1853, met at the house of Eobert Pike, Jr., in Minne- 
sota City January' 2, 1854. Eobert Pike, Jr., John C. Laird and 
W. B. Bunnell were present. The register of deeds, W. B. Gere, 
clerk of the board, was also present. The board was organized 
by electing W. B. Bunnell chairman. This session of the board 
continued two days. It is evident from the records that consider- 
able business was done. 

The following extract was copied from the record : "The board 
then proceeded to ballot for the location of the county seat, which 
resulted in one vote for Winona, one vote for Chatfield and one vote 
for Minnesota City. As the board could not agree upon the loca- 
tion, they decided that the locating should be postponed until a 
future meeting." 


Aside from the stock company, the shareholders, there was not 
a settler in the county that favored the location of the county seat at 
Chatiield. Meetings were held at Minnesota (^ity, Winona and 
Minneowali condemning the action of the ajipointed board, but each 
locality instructed its representative commissioner to locate the 
county seat at his own home or place, and uilder no circumstances 
to give it to a rival town. 

Mr. Sinclair says in his historical sketch in 1876: "At these 
meetings the commissioner from Minnesota City, Mr. Pike, was 
instructed by his constituents to vote for the location of the county 
seat at that place, and in no event at Winona; but if it became 
necessary for him to exercise discretionary power in making a second 
choice, to vote in favor of Chatfield. The reason is obvious : the 
location at Chatfield, upon the division of the county, would give 
Minnesota City another chance, whereas locating the county seat 
at Winona would forever debar Minnesota City from securing the 
coveted prize. The same reasoning led Bunnell, from his stand- 
point, to operate in like manner in favor of that other rival of 
Winona, the much-vaunted Minneowah." 

While each of the rival localities was clamorous for the county 
seat, without a prospect of either securing it, there were conserva- 
tive men in each locality who favored a division of the county rather 
than have the county seat located at Chatfield, as indications showed 
it would be. This was most strongly advocated at Winona. H. 
D. Huff assumed the leadership of this scheme for the purpose of 
securing the county seat at his town. It was found that Mr. Lord, 
the representative in the territorial legislature from this district, 
although a resident of Minnesota City, was in favor of a division of 
Fillmore county, and promised his aid. He gave Mr. Huff wliat he 
considered the proper boundaries for a new county — tlie same that 
are now the boundaries of Winona county. 

Every means available was brought to bear to induce commis- 
sioners Bunnell and Pike to cast their vote for Winona. Friendship 
and diplomacy failed to win the desired vote. There was no 
compromise with Bunnell. It was said that a bribe of a block of land 
was offered to Robert Pike, Jr., from two prominent citizens of 
Winona, in consideration of his vote, which he indignantly refused 
to accept. 

On January 7 the board met at the office of John C. Laird and 
accomplished considerable business, but failed to settle the county- 


seat question. The following extract from record shows the financial 
condition of the county: "There being no receipts, the liabilities 
of the county at this date, by reference to .the bills on file, is 

M. Wheeler Sargent says in his address: "L. H. Springer 
and myself met H. D. HufiP at his residence, where we agreed upon 
the outlines of a new county, to be called Winona, with exactly its 
present boundaries. Hufit", having the most time and money, agreed 
to engineer it through the legislature. Upon this mission, armed 
with a petition having as many names as we thought the population 
would justify, and the other documents adapted to various sup- 
posable emergencies, he started for St. Paul. 

On January 30, 1854, the board of county commissioners, 
pursuant to adjournment, met at the house of Kobert Pike, Jr., in 
Minnesota City, at which meeting Robert Pike, Jr., John C. Laird 
and W. B. Bunnell, the chairman, were present. The register of 
deeds, W. B. Gere, was clerk of the board. At this meeting 
vacancies were filled by the following appointments : M. Wheeler 
Sargent, district attorney, and C. F. Buck, judge of probate. The 
clerk was ordered to notify them of their appointments. Robert 
Pike, Jr., had been appointed county surveyor at a previous 

The all-absorbing topic of conversation, the vexed question of 
location of the county seat, was settled at this meeting. The 
following copy of the record of their proceedings shows their action 
in the matter: "In pursuance of and in accordance with the 
eighteenth section of the eleventh chapter of the session laws of 
Minnesota Territory, passed by the legislative assembly at the session 
commencing January 5, a.d. 1853, the county commissioners 
proceeded to locate the county seat of Fillmore county. It was 
decided by the board of commissioners that the county seat of said 
Fillmore county should be at Chatfield, in said county, on section 6, 
township 104 north, of range 11 west." 

It was charged by some of the disappointed Winonians that 
John C. Laird sold out his constituents for a share in Chatfield. G. 
W. Willis, now living in the city of Winona, says this was not so ; 
that Mr. Laird never held a share in the Chatfield Land Company. 
Although Mr. Twiford was the originator, Mr. Willis was the 
leader and manager, of the scheme to locate the county seat at 
Chatfield. He says: "Bunnell and Pike located the county seat 


— a majority of the board could do it. I never knew tliat Laird 
voted for it, and doubt that he did so, for he always opposed us. 
None of the commissioners were bribed to vote for it, although 
everything else was done to influence them. Bunnell and Pike 
would have voted for Tophet rather than have given it to Winona." 

Mr. G. W. Willis went to St. Paul to procure a charter for the 
Chatfield Land Company, and to defeat the proj^osed division of the 
county. He was successful in securing the charter for the company 
from the legislature, then in session, but his influence there was in- 
sufiicient to prevent the passage of the act creating Winona county. 

The bill for the division of Fillmore county and forming of the 
present county of Winona was introduced and supported by Hon. 
O. M. Lord, in the house. He was strongly backed by H. D. Huff 
as a lobby member and general manager. Winona county was 
created by act of the territorial legislature February 23, 1854. 



Winona county was formed by the territorial legislature of 
1854, from a part of Fillmore county, which had previously com- 
prised the southeastern portion of the state. The flrst })ermanent 
settlements were made along th# Mississippi river in the spring of 
1852. There was no school taught in what is now Winona county 
during that summer. A subscription school was opened for a term of 
three months in the autunm by Miss Ann Orton, with an attendance 
of about twenty pupils, at Minnesota City. July 9, 1853, a schopl 
district was formed by the county commissioners at Minnesota City, 
and organized under the territorial law, and Miss Hester A. Houck 
was employed to teach. The term began October 31 and continued 
thirteen weeks. The names and ages of the children that attended 
this term of school are given from the rate bill, by which the wages 
of the teacher were collected. The sum agreed upon was $48. 
There were twenty-seven pupils, eighteen of whom are now living 
(1883). The list is as follows : Mathew Foster,* age 11 years ; 

* Dead. 


George Foster* 6 ; Milo Campbell, 7 ; Thomas Thorpe, 8 ; Robert 
Thorpe, 6 ; John Thorpe, 13 ; William Thorpe,* 3 ; Mary E. 
Cotton, 5 ; Randolph Wright,* 12 ; Dan'l W. Wright, 9 ; John H. 
Wright ; Edith Pike,* 11 ; Emma Pike, 8 ; Charlotte Denman,* 9 ; 
Mary E. Denman, 5 ; James L. Denman, 7 ; Robert S. Denman,* 
3 ; Chas. Kellogg, 15 ;. Rollin Hotchkiss, 13 ; Robert Hotchkiss, 
13 ; Lycurgus Lnark, 11 ; Achilles Luark,* 5 ; Elbridge G. Lord,* 
4 ; David Imes, 13 ; Samuel Imes, 7 ; Herman Hopson, 6 ; Ger- 
lana McClintock, 12. This school district was designated as 
No. 1. May 1, 1854, a petition was presented and district No. 2 
was formed, comprising the town of Winona, and on June 5 
following No. 3 was formed, comprising the north part of township 
105 and the whole of 106, range 10. At a meeting of the county 
commissioners held July 3, 1854, the whole amount of tax autho- 
rized to be raised for school purposes for the current year was 
$152.05. In October district No. 4 was formed at Dakota precinct. 
Schools were opened in'Nos. 2, 3 and 4 before the districts were 
formally organized, and the wages of the teachers were paid by rate 
bill or by subscription. No. 1 was for this year the only one that 
reported a three months' term to the state department. At the 
January meeting of the county commissioners, 1855, the boundaries 
of No. 1 were designated. Yoting precincts had at first been estab- 
lished by the governor, and were afterward so established by the 
county commissioners, and the first school districts embraced the 
election precincts which were not clearly defined. At this meeting 
No. 2 was divided. July 3 the amount of school-tax voted was 
$632.34. At one of the meetingsin this year a district was organ- 
ized at Springers', or St. Charles^ and one in Lanes' Valley, New 
Hartford township, one at Geo. Wiltzies' in Saratoga, and one in 
Whitewater at John Cook's. The school districts of the county now 
numbered eight. At the January meeting of 1856 they were in- 
creased to fifteen ; at the April meeting to twenty-three ; at the 
Julj' meeting to thirty-five. 

At the January meeting of 1856 the first record was made of the 
distribution of the school money. The amount collected was 
$1,336.47, which was apportioned among thirteen districts. 

At the meetings of 1857 the number of districts increased to 
forty-eight. January 9, 1858, the county treasurer reported as 

* Dead. 


ap])orti<»ned among thirty-tive districts $3,583.50. The largest sum 
to one district was $66'-2, the smallest was $22. 

The ajiparently unequal distribution of this fund gave rise to 
much dissatisfaction. The distribution was based upon the number 
of residents of each district between the ages of five and twenty- 
one. In many cases district boundaries were not definitely recorded, 
and it was claimed that the residents were more than once reported. 
It was also claimed that some districts, instead of revising the lists 
from year to year, simply added new names each year to the reported 
list, and consequently drew more money than they were legally 
entitled to. At the last meeting of the school board for the year 
1858 the districts numbered sixty-two, an increase of fourteen for 
the year. 

The amount of money ap})ortioned among forty-seven districts 
for the year 1859 was $662. There were some complaints in regard 
to this distribution, as the organized districts nuinbered sixty -five, 
and while one district drew $90.75 another only received $3.85 ; but 
as the county business was now transacted by the chairman of the 
township supervisors, and each town in the county was represented, 
there was no cause of complaint, except as to unfair reports of resi- 
dents of districts. 

The first record of the number of persons upon which the 
apportionment was based was made at the January meeting of this 
year (1859), the number recorded being 2,392. This was the num- 
ber reported by the forty-seven districts, upon which the apportion- 
ment was made, although there were eighteen more organized at 
the time. During the year ten more were added to that number, 
making in all seventy-five, showing a remarkable growth for the 
two years. 

The school tax, as reported by the finance committee of the 
county board for the year 1859, was $5,346.37. 

In 1860 the legislature changed the law in regard to county 
boards, and the commissioner system was again adopted, and the 
county treasurer, in his report to the board, February 1, 1860, 
reported as school money on hand $2,967.72, and in March follow- 
ing an apportionment of $4,480.96 was made among the districts, 
which reported 2,724 persons of schoolable age. 

March 7, 1861, the school law was materially changed by the 
legislature in regard to forming school districts, etc. There was a 
revision of the whole code, which was framed from that of the 


State of Michigan. In unorganized townships the county commis- 
sioners were authorized to form districts, but where townships were 
organized the supervisors had authority to change boundaries, to 
form new districts, to levy taxes, to appoint a town superintendent 
and to direct the collection of taxes through the town treasurers. 

The legislature having neglected to provide for blank books, 
reports, records, etc., there was no uniformity of reports or records. 
In some towns the teachers^were licensed and the school business 
transacted without regard to any particular form or system, and if 
any records were made they have not been preserved. 

Although the law required that existing boundaries of districts 
should remain if practicable, the loose records and changes, and 
want of system, involved the district boundaries in great confusion. 
Township lines interfered with district authority, and under this law 
districts were divided and new ones created without regard to desig- 
nation by numbers as recorded in the county auditor's office. 
Owing to this condition of things it was found difficult to properly 
and legally levy school district taxes and to collect delinquencies. 
The delinquent taxes were reported by the town treasurer to the 
county auditor to collect with the county taxes, which placed a part 
of the fund in the hands oi the county treasurer. 

When districts were without funds to pay their teachers, orders 
were issued upon the district treasury, whether the particular district 
was entitled to any money from the county treasury or not. If the 
county treasurer had no fund collected for that district the orders 
were usually sold to outside parties at a discount. The collection of 
these orders gave teachers a good deal of trouble. It was said that 
the county treasurer always stood behind outside parties in buying 
them at a discount, and that the district accounts were not properly 
adjusted. This system was not satisfactory to the people. Some of 
the Ipcal boards would not levy a sufficient tax to maintain good 
schools, and, owing to delinquencies, funds could not at all times be 
made available. 

There are very few names on record of town superintendents. 
Among them are found Charles Heublin, A. T. Castle, William 
Murray and Milton Buswell. 

From the years 1861 to 1866 there was no material change in the 
school work. The attention of the people was directed almost 
wholly to the war, and little or no attention was in some places paid 
to school matters. January 4, 1866, the county board appointed to 


the county superintendency Albert Thomas, sahiry fixed at $1,200 
per year. Mr. Thomas had taught the village school at Stockton for 
several terms. He was the principal of the first high school in Win- 
ona City, and was known as a teacher of marked ability. A previous 
business engagement prevented him from acce])ting the appoint- 
ment. May 22, 1866, the county was divided into five commis- 
sioner districts, and a school examiner appointed for each district, 
in lieu of township supervision. Geo. P. Wilson was appointed 
for No. 1, V. J. Walker No. 2, M. E. Lair No. 3, Thomas P. Dixon 
No. 4, and Henry Gage No. 5. Under the operation of this plan 
the experience was found to be dearly bought. Certificates of quali- 
fication to teach were obtained by asking for them. "There was 
no definite standard of examination and no uniformity among 
examiners. They were not required to visit the schools, or to exert 
any official influence for their welfare, and they felt no responsibility 
for the work of the persons licensed." There being no-unity nor 
system, no reliable statistics could be gathered from the districts and 
no groundwork laid for improvement. The county board now con- 
sisted of J. J. Kandall (chairman), P. P. Hubbell, Collins Kice, H. 
C. Jones and S. W. Gleason. After much discussion, and owing 
mainly to the influence of Mr. Randall, it was resolved to change 
the plan of school work, and at a meeting of the board, Septem- 
ber 7, 1867, a resolution was adopted to organize the school work 
of the county under a provision of the school law of 1864", pro- 
viding for a county superintendency, in lieu of the general law as 
specified in section 28 of the same act. In this resolution was also 
embodied the appointment of Luther A. West as school superin- 
tendent, to hold his office until January, 1868, at an annual salary 
of $1,000. January 1, 1868, Mr. West was reappointed to serve 
until January, 1869. Mr. West entered upon the duties of his 
ofiice in 1867. He was a good scholar, a teacher of large experience, 
and was well qualified to perform the duties of the office. A great 
deal of the work required was of the missionary order, as the teach- 
ers and the people did not clearly understand the duties of the 
superintendent. Mr. West met with considerable opposition at first. 
Some persons supposed that the whole school authority was 
transferred from the district officers to the superintendent. Some 
were opposed on account of the large salary, and some regarded the 
office as entirely useless. Mr. West made his first special effort in 
the direction of improving the scholarship and methods of the 


teachers, in which he was very successful, and as the people became 
acquainted with his plan of work his efforts were appreciated and 
cordially seconded. 

The first teachers' institute held in Winona county was organized 
by Mr. West, assisted by Prof. Wm. F. Plielps and his corps of 
instructors of the normal school. It was held at St. Charles, in 
October, 1867, with twenty-three teachers in attendance, and was 
considered very profitable to those in attendance. 

Prom the annual report for the year 1868 it is shown that ten 
good, attractive and convenient schoolhouses have been built this 
year, at a cost of $11,000 ; also a building at St. Charles for the 
graded school, at a cost of $15,000. During this year Mr. West 
made a strong effort to secure greater regularity of attendance on 
the part of the pupils, and to awaken a deeper interest in the 
schools on the part of parents. That he succeeded in doing a good 
work in this direction will be seen from the statistical reports to the 
state superintendent. The average daily attendance for the year 
1867, winter and summer terms being 2,699, increased in 1868 to 
4,393, though the enrollment of pupils in the last year, according 
to school population, had decreased from 52 per cent in 1867 to 48 
per cent in 1868. Excellent schoolhouses were built at Pickwick, 
Saratoga and Witoka. A teachers' association was formed and 
meetings were held at four different places in the county. These 
meetings produced good results. The people became interested and 
took part in the discussions, and extended to teachers in attendance 
the hospitalities of their homes. 

In October a state teachers' institute was held at St. Charles, 
with seventy-five in attendance. The exercises were conducted by 
an able corps of instructors, and diffused among the teachers a great 
deal of enthusiasm. 

October 26, 1869, a county teachers' institute was held at the 
normal school in Winona, in charge of Prof. Wm. F. Phelps. The 
attendance numbered 118. The lessons were presented by the 
teachers of the normal school and of the public schools of Winona. 
Gymnastic exercises were introduced by Prof. McGibney. Prof. 
Carson gave instruction in penmanship. On Tuesday evening Dr. 
Guthrie, of St. Charles, gave a lecture on geology. Prof Hood, of 
the city schools, participated in the discussions. On Thursday even- 
ing the Hon. Mark H. Dunnell, state superintendent of public 
instruction, addressed a large audience upon "Education." The 


success of tliis institute was due mainly to tlie ability, activity and 
earnest supervision of PVof. Phelps. 

In the report of Mr. West for the year ending September 80, 
1809, he regrets that he is not able to make the financial part 
accurate, owing to the errors of district clerks. He reports having 
granted certificates to eighty-four teachers — twenty-three to males 
and sixty-one to fqmales; fourteen of first grade, forty-five of second, 
and twenty-five of third, and in a comparison of the year's work 
with that of 1867 shows that great progress has been made, not 
■only in the character of the certificates, but in the increased interest 
in school matters by the parents, as shown by the increase of 
teachers' wages, and in the discipline, order and conduct of the- 
schools. This improvement he attributes to the institute work and 
to the influence of professional training of some of the teachers in 
the normal school. There were eleven new schoolhouses built, at 
an aggregate cost of $9,227. 

At the legislative session of 1869 the law was changed as to the 
term of county superintendents, and the county board appointed Mr. 
West again to serve until April, 1870. At the meeting of the county 
board in March the Rev. David Burt was appointed, and entered 
upon the duties of his office April 5, 1870. Mr. Burt had taught in 
the common schools of Massachusetts for ten years, when he entered 
upon an academic course to prepare for college. He graduated at 
Oberlin, Ohio, in 1848, and then spent three years in the theological 
seminary at Andover, Massachusetts. He removed to Winona in 
1858, and took an active part in all educational work ; he acted as 
member of the school board of Winona city, and served as superin- 
tendent of its public schools. In 1866 he assumed the duties of 
general superintendent of the colored schools of Tennessee, where 
he served for two years. Impaired health compelled him to return 
to Winona. 

His appointment to the county superintendency was considered, 
and afterward proved to be, a fortunate and wise measure for the 
public schools. In addition to his great natural ability, he was for- 
tified in the work by a useful and varied experience and untiring 
energy and faithfulness. He continued to hold the office until ap- 
pointed by Gov. Davis to the state superintendency in 1875. 

Mr. Burt's first public examination for teachers was held at 
Stockton, April 22, 1870, and before the close of the month others 
were held at Winona, Fremont, Elba and Witoka. For this year 


there were issued 114 certificates ; ninety-three schools were visited 
and lectures given on ' ' Our Common Schools " at Utica, White- 
water, Elba, New Hartford, Saratoga, Hillsdale, Lewiston, Stock- 
ton, Pickwick, Minnesota City an dfDresback ; also in districts Nos. 9 
and 74. 

From his report to the state department of November 1, 1870, 
there were ninety-nine organized districts and eight unorganized. 
The schoolable population was 5,463 ; number enrolled, 4,059. 

A teachers' institute in charge of Mr. Burt was held at St. 
Charles, October 3, 4, 5 and 6, 1871. The enrollment of actual 
teachers was sixty-five, and the institute was conducted on the 
plan of class recitations, and was pronounced by all in attendance a 
decided success. The instructors are named as L. T. Weld, J. 
E. Richards, E. Holbrook, Miss C. Harding, Miss F. Barber, C. 
Pickert, G. Olds, Miss E. Fisher, Geo. Wilson, Miss A. Bingham, 
Miss ]Sr. Taft and C. Boyd. There were three evening lectures : on 
Tuesday evening, on Reading, by Mr. Burt ; on Wednesday, Mo- 
tions of the Earth, by Mr, Richards ; and on Thursday evening, 
Our Common Schools, by Hon. Wm. H. Yale. 

At the fall examinations of 1874 sixty-one teachers were licensed. 
The schools, except ten, were visited during the winter following. 
In the spring of 1875 Mr. Burt, having accepted an appointment as 
state superintendent, was requested by the county commissioners to 
grant certificates to a sufficient number of teachers to enable the dis- 
tricts to go on with their schools for the summer terms, or until his 
successor could be appointed. The school law at this time required 
a county superintendent to hold a state certificate. Special exami- 
ners were appointed and held a meeting in Winona, at which 
there were only two or three candidates. The successful one was 
Mr. John M, Cool, of St. Charles, who was then appointed county 
superintendent by the board. Mr. Cool had received a common 
school education in Tomkins county, New York, where he had also 
taught two terms of school. He came to Minnesota in 1857, and 
taught in St. Charles seven terms of school. He was recognized as 
a very capable and efficient teacher. Mr. Cool issued two certifi- 
cates of second grade, four of third and rejected two applicants. 
He visited a few schools in the beginning of summer, and was 
taken sick, from which he was unable to do any more school- 
work. At his death the vacancy was filled, at a special meeting of 
the county commissioners on the 28th of September, 1875, by the 


appointment of O. M. Lord, who entered immediately upon the 
duties of tlie office. 

Owing to the resignation of Mr. Burt and to the sickness of Mr. 
Cool, the summer schools received very little supervision. 

The county superintendents' report to the state department was 
required to be made October 10, the school year closing September 
30. The new incumbent found in the office teachers' term reports 
lor the winter term, . but some teachers did not report the summer 
terms, and several district clerks failed to make financial reports. 
There was only ten days of time in which to report to the state 
department, and no personal knowledge could be obtained of the 
condition of tlie schools in that limited time ; the consequence was, 
that the county superintendent's report for the year 1875 was very 
imperfect, but, from observations subsequently made, there was 
probably no material growth or change in the condition or character 
of the schools from that reported for the year 1874. 

The superintendent held live examinations in the fall, and spent 
the winter in visiting the schools and in becoming acquainted with 
the teachers and school officers. Examinations were also held in 
the spring and the schools visited during the summer. In this year, 
1876, under the state supervision of Mr. Burt, a very important 
change was made in county school work by issuing a more simple 
form of blanks to school officers and to teachers, and by furnishing 
a better form of clerks' and treasurers' books, and of school registers. 
A change was also made in the law in regard to reporting persons, 
entitled to appointment of the state school fund. Only those 
reported by the teachers as enrolled in the public schools, ol school- 
ahle] age, were now entitled to the school fund, instead ol the 
resident population of the same ages. Through these changes and 
by this system the school statistics may be considered as entirely 

For the purpose of showing the extent of the growth of the 
schools of Winona, tlie following statistical tables, taken from the 
reports ol the county superintendents of schools to the state depart- 
ment for the years 1867 and 1882 respectively, are given. 

It may be mentioned here that the table of 1867, which was 
prepared by the then superintendent, Mr. Luther A. West, pre- 
viously mentioned, is an especially valuable one, as it is the first on 
record ol the schoolwork of the county combined as a whole. 
Attention is called to a comparison of the following items of both 


tables, whereby some idea can be formed regarding the growth of the 
schools of the county for a period of fifteen years. 


Number of school districts 99 ; frame schoolhouses 71, brick 1, 
log 14—86; value of all schoolhouses and sites $92,194; whole 
number of scholars, male 3,248, female 3,259 ; whole number of 
scholars in winter schools, male 1,475, female 1,218 ; average daily 
attendance in winter scoools 1,721 ; length of winter schools in 
months 216 ; number of teachers in winter schools, male 42, female 
41 ; average wages per month of each teacher in winter schools, 
male $29.24, female $19.24; whole number of pupils in summer 
schools, male 789, female 720 ; average daily attendance in summer 
978 ; length of summer schools in months 229 ; number of teachers 
in summer schools, male 5, female 80 ; average wages per month of 
teachers in summer schools, male $18.66, female $16.92; whole 
number of different schools for the year 168 ; whole number of 
different persons in school for the year, male 1,833, female 1,661 ; 
per cent of aggregate attendance to the whole number of pupils in 
the county .53; whole amount of wages paid teachers for the year 
^11,608 ; for building, parchasing, hiring, repairing or furnishing 
schoolhouses and purchasing lots $6,500.12 ; amount paid as teach- 
ers' wages $17,185.53; amount paid for other school purposes 
$1,551.79; cash on hand in district treasuries $718.45 ; number of 
new schoolhouses built during past year 11, value of same $62,800 ; 
amount received from state school fund $92,194; amount received 
by taxes voted by districts $30,550.84; percent of school money 
raised by tax on taxable property in county .0101. 

Number of school districts, common school 111, special 2 — 113 ; 

number of frame schoolhouses 91, brick 7, log 7, stone 2 107; 

value of schoolhouses and sites $58,210, of school libraries $59, of 
school apparatus $695 ; whole number of schools enrolled, summer 
4,089, winter 5,351 ; average daily attendance in winter 3,677 ; 
average length of school in months 61 ; number of teachers in 
winter schools, male 47, female 107; average monthly wages of 
teachers for the year, male $35U, female $281?-; average daily 
attendance in summer 3,082 ; number of teachers in summer 
school, male 18, female 114 ; paid for teachers' wages and board 


$21,465.09 ; paid for building, purchasing, hiring, repairing or 
furnishing sclioolhouses, purchasing lots, etc., $10,545.53 ; cash on 
hand at end of the year $18,021.59 ; number of new schoolhouses 
built, frame 2, value of same $1,100 ; received from school fund, 
liquor licenses, fines and estrays $8,068.55, from one-mill tax 
collected $6,978.98, from special taxes collected $21,937.03, from 
bonds sold $8b0, from all other sources $914.56. 

From the report of the county superintendent for 1867 it appears 
that there were sixty-three certificates granted, eleven of them to 
males and fifty-two to females. Of these certificates, three were of 
the first grade, fifteen of the second and forty-five of the third. 

The superintendent complains of the parsimony of boards in 
hiring teachers, and in supplying the schoolhouse's with comfortable 
seats, desks and other fixtures. The average wages for the year 
was $19 per month. 

From the report of Mr. Lord, the present superintendent, for 
1882 we learn that one hundred and forty-two certificates were 
granted in the previous school year ; of these, thirty-four were 
received by males and one hundred and eight by females. 

The class of certificates issued were three only of the first grade, 
while there were ninety-four of the second and forty -five of the third 
grades. This, together with the fact that thirty-four applicants were 
rejected, goes to show that the standard of teachers' examinations 
in Winona under Mr. Lord is a high one. 

From the year 1880 until the present (1883) there have been no 
marked clianges in the condition and character of the schools, ex- 
cept such slight ones as might be expected in the natural growth of 
educational work. With the yearly development of the country, its 
increase in wealth and material prosperity, the expenditures for 
school purposes have been more liberal, tending to better school- 
houses and fixtures, and to the em])loyment of a higher gracje of 
teachers. At the close of this year, thirty years will have passed 
since the organization of the first school district in this county. As 
the present superintendent of sckools for this county was one of the 
trustees of that first organized district, and for the past eight years 
has been engaged in active schoolwork, it affords us pleasure to 
give the following brief recapitulation, furnished by him, of some 
of the important matters connected with the schools of then and now: 
"Thirty years ago our only schoolhouse was a small, roughly- 
covered log cabin, furnished with one small window and a door 


creaking upon wooden hinges and fastened with a wooden latch. 
This rude structure was, after a short time, superseded by a small 
but snug frame building, which, soon proving too small for the 
accommodation of the rapidly growing district, was enlarged by 
putting an addition to it. This enlarged frame schoolhouse in turn 
gave place to a substantial brick one, which Mr. Burt has described 
as having been built at Minnesota City. The teacher of that fimt 
school received $48 for three months' work. The trustee made the 
rate-bill and collected the wages, and the text-books used by the 
scholars had been formerly used by fathers and mothers in nearly 
every state between the Atlantic seaboard and Minnesota. 

"iVbw there are in Winona county (outside of Winona and St. 
.Charles City) one hundred and eight schoolhouses, valued at over 
$50,000, while the teachers' wages for a single year aggregate 
$214,650. Besides this increase in the county schools, the school 
buildings and educational expenses of one independent district in 
the county aggregates a much larger amount than that above noted. 
Then (thirty years ago) there were about twenty children in that 
one school district of the county. Now^ including those in attend- 
ance at the normal and parochial schools, they number nearly 



Near the close of the session of the first legislature of the state, 
August 2, 1858, an act was passed providing for the establishment 
of three state normal schools. This legislation was suggested by 
Dr. John D. Ford, of Winona, and secured by his untiring efforts 
through the legislature delegation from Winona county. Lieut. 
Gov. Wm. Holcombe, of Stillwater, gave the measure his earnest and 
cordial support, and became the first president of the state normal 
board of instruction. This board, consisting of Lieut. -Gov, Hol- 
combe, Dr. A. E. Ames, Dr. E. Bray, of Carver, and Dr. J. D. 
Ford, of Winona, held their first meeting at the Capitol at St. 
Paul, August 16, 1859. After receiving and considering an appli- 
cation from the city of Winona, accompanied by a subscription of 


17^000 — $2,000 in excess of the amount required by the act — 
the following resolution was offered by Dr. Ford, and passed unani- 
mously : 

Resolved, That the first state normal school be located at Winona, provided 
the subscription from Winona of $7,000 be satisfactorily secured to the uses of 
said school, as directed by the board of directors. 

And thus was located at Winona the first state normal school of 
Minnesota, and at that time the only state normal school west of the 

The following named citizens of Winona were appointed as the 
first prudential committee : Sylvester J. Smith, Dr. J. D. Ford, 
Rev. D. Burt and Wm. S. Drew. 

The second meeting of the board was held at Winona, November 
9, 1859, at which meeting block 17, Sanborn's addition, was, after 
considerable deliberation, selected as a suitable site for the proposed 
school, the board wisely preferring a central location, in order that 
a model department miglit be maintained in connection with the 
normal school. On the evening of November 9, Lieut. -Gov. Hol- 
combe, president of the board, delivered in the Baptist church an 
address on the subject of "Education with reference to the establish- 
ment of the first normal school of Minnesota." This address, which 
appears in full in the printed report of the board for 1859, was one of 
great merit. It is said to have made a deep impression upon the young 
community, and doubtless did much to elevate, if not to create, that 
sentiment of earnest support of educational interests which has 
marked the history of this city. In the closing paragraph of this 
admirable address the governor said : "I have in my hand a paper 
which contains the origin, the source and the earnest of the first 
normal school of Minnesota. It had its cjrigin here in this city, 
and the names written on that paper are as pictures of gold, and 
should be handed down to future generations as evidence of their 
wisdom and benevolence. This paper subscribes about $7,000 to 
the establishment of the normal school here, the most of which, 
over $5,000, has been secured promptly to the state for that object. 
The duty I have discharged is every wa;y an- agreeable one ; no cir- 
cumstances could have occurred with respect to the interests of the 
state to afford me higher gratification than to meet you here on such 
an occasi(m as this. The city of Winona has distinguished herself 
in taking the lead in establishing for the benefit of the rising gene- 
ration of this state [an institution] for all who shall yet call the state 


their home. I think the normal schools should precede the common 
schools of the country, for then we should have trained teachers to 
conduct them. When this school shall be in operation it may be 
regarded as an auspicious era, whence to date in future the origin 
of many blessings, and the commencement of a perpetual course of 
improvement and prosperity to the people at large." 

In the first annual report of the noniial board to the governor. 
Dr. J. D. Ford set forth in a clear and forcible manner the claims of 
the normal school to generous support, and its vital relation to the 
common schools of the state. In addition to other recommenda- 
tions to the legislature, he urged in behalf of the normal board that 
"a competent superintendent of public instruction be appointed," 
that "a general supervision of the subjects of schools, school teach- 
ing and school lands is absolutely necessary," and that "the school 
lands should be put into a condition to realize the largest possible 
annual fund for the support of schools." To the credit of this 
normal board, and its able secretary Dr. Ford, it may be said that 
the first state tax for school purposes was authorized and levied upon 
their urgent recommendation. 

An appropriation of $5,000 having been secured, it was decided 
to open the school on the first Monday in September, 1860. Prof. 
John Ogden, A.M., of Columbus, Ohio, was elected principal for 
one year at a salary of $1,400, and William Stearns, a graduate of 
Harvard University, was chosen tutor. 

The school was opened for the admission of pupils on the first 
Monday of September. A teachers' institute, the first ever held in 
this state, was convened at the commencement of the term. Teachers 
from various parts of the state were present, and a number of distin- 
guished gentlemen, including Rev. E. D. Neill, chancellor of the 
university, ex-officio superintendent of public instruction, Ex-Lieut. 
Governor Holcombe, J. W. Taylor, Esq., Eev. Mr. Strong, and 
many others. On the evening of the first day Prof. Ogden gave his 
inaugural address. On the next evening superintendent JSTeill deliv- 
ered an eloquent address on " Education," the closing paragraph of 
which we cannot forbear to quote : "Twelve years ago the Winne- 
bago nation, by a treaty stipulation, abandoned their old homes in 
Iowa and commenced their long weary march to their new home 
near Sauk Rapids, in the northern part of this state. In the charm- 
ing month of June, by mutual agreement, parties by land and water 
to the number ot 2,000 arrived on this prairie. As they viewed the 


vast amphitheatre of h)fty bhitis, the narrow hike on one side, the 
great river in front, they felt that it was tlie spot above all others for 
an Indian's lodge, and purchasing the privilege of Wabasha, the 
chief of the Dakota band that then lived here, they drew themselves 
up in battle array, and signified to the United States troops that 
they would die before they would leave. 

Twelve years hence, if the citizens who have taken the place of 
the rude aborigines will be large-hearted and foster the normal 
school, the public schools and the churches of Christ, Winona will 
be lovelier than the ' ' Sweet Auburn " of the poet ; and educated 
men and cultivated women, as they gaze on your public edifices and 
other evidences of refinement, will be attracted, and feel that here 
is the spot for a home, and, like the Indians in 1848, they will 
desire to tarry until they die." 

The donation to the board of the use of the city building (now 
the Winona Library building) was another evidence of the friendli- 
ness of the citizens to this struggling institution. The use of this 
building was continued fbr eight years without charge to the state. 

The $7,000 subscribed by the citizens of Winona was not used 
for running expenses, but was reserved for the construction of the 
permanent building in 1867-8, at which time the subscription with 
its appreciated values amounted to $10,000. 

The first year was one of great promise throughout. Com- 
mencement exercises were held at the Baptist church on the last 
week in June, 1861, continuing the entire week. Mr. Allen, of 
Wisconsin, a distinguished educator, Mr. Ilickock, ex-superinten- 
dent of schools in Pennsylvania, Hon. Ignatius Donnelly, and Gen. 
C. C. Andrews made addresses. A part of the literary exercises 
consisted of a colloquy between Miss Charlotte Denman, Miss 
Thorne and others, in which was set forth, in an amusing and 
graphic manner, the current opinions concerning the establishment 
of normal schools, an exercise which will never be forgotten by 
those who were present. 

At the session of the legislature in 1861 a special act was passed 
creating the first board of education of Winona. This board was to 
consist of one school director elected from each of the three wards, 
the ])rincipal and such members of the normal school — at Winona 
as shall be residents of said city and qualified. The word "board" 
was left out of the law between the words "school" and "at," 
which made a very unwieldy board, or an intangible body. 


The idea was to copy somewhat after the Oswego plan of uniting 
the jurisdiction of the normal and public schools of Winona, using 
the public scliools as graded and model schools. At the municipal 
election held in April, 1861, Messrs. Thomas Simpson, Richard 
Jackson and John Keyes were elected members of the board of 
education, from the first, second and third wards respectively ; and 
these, with Prof. Ogden as principal of State Normal School, consti- 
tuted the first board of education. Mr. Simpson was elected 
president, Mr. Keyes, recorder and 5'ohn Ogden first superintendent 
of schools in city of Winona, 

In the following year this law was repealed and the joint juris- 
diction ceased. 

The normal school opened in the fall of 1861, with an increase 
of students. Prof. J. G. McMynn had. been engaged as assistant 
teacher. He remained, however, but a short time, resigning early 
in October, to take a position as major in a Wisconsin regiment. It 
may be noted that many of the students of the normal, during Prof. 
Ogden's principalship, entered tlie volunteer army in defense of the 

Prof. Ogden resigned the principalship of the school December 
14, 1861, at the close of the first term of that year. 

The following extract from his letter of resignation clearly refliects 
the spirit of those stirring times : 

Winona, Minnesota, December 14, 1861. 
To the Prudential Committee of the State Normal School. 

Gentlemen, — I hereby tender you my resignation of the principalship of 
the institution intrusted to my care, thanking you most sincerely for the 
generous support and counsel you have given me. 

In taking this step, it is proper that you and the public should understand 
the reason that impels me to it. 

1. My distracted and dishonored country calls louder for my poor service 
just now than the school does. I have, ever since our national flag was 
dishonored, cherished the desire and indulged in the determination that — 
whenever I could do so without violation of a sense of duty — I would lay aside 
the habiliments of the schoolroom and assume those of the camp, and now I 
am resolved to heed that call and rush to the breach, and with my life, if 
necessary, stay, if possible, the impious hands that are now clutching at the 
very existence of our free institutions. What are our schools worth ? What 
is our country worth without these? Our sons and our daughters must be 
slaves. Our beloved land must be a hissing and a byword among the nations 
of the earth. Shall this fair and goodly land, this glorious Northwest become a 
stench in the nostrils of the Almighty, who made it so fair and so free ? No, 


not while there is one living soul to thrust a sword at treason. I confess my 
blood boils when I think of the deep disgrace of our ciountry. 

My brethren and fellow-teachers are in the field. Some of them — the 
bravest and the best — have already fallen. Their blood will do more to 
cleanse this nation than their teaching would. So will mine. I feel ashamed 
to tarry longer. You may not urge me to stay. 

With these feelings, I am with very great respect, 

Your*jnost obedient servant, John Ogden. 

Prof. V. J. Walker, principal of the Winona high school, was 
placed in charge of the scliool temporarily, during the second term, 
which closed March 2, 1862, and remained suspended until Novem- 
ber 1, 1864. The reasons for this suspension of over two years may 
be inferred from Prof. Ogden's letter of resignation, and may be 
stated as follows : (1) The interest in the great struggle then 
pending for national life overshadowed and overwhelmed everything 
else, and, as a natural corollary of this, (2) competent teachers 
could not be found to take charge of the school. Such men were 
generally in the war. (3) The means for the support of the school 
was inadequate. The state had made no appropriations beyond the 
first $5,000. The state was too busy in the war to care for its 
educational interests. 

During the session of the legislature in the spring of 1864, at 
the earnest solicitation of the citizens of Winona, led by Dr. J. D. 
Ford, an act was passed renewing the appropriations to the school and 
re-establishing it on a permanent basis. This act provided that the 
sum of $3,000 be appropriated for the current year, $4,000 for the 
following year, and $5,000 annually thereafter. At the annual 
meeting of the normal board in the following May Prof. John G. 
McMynnwas elected principal. No movement was, however, made 
to reopen the school until the next meeting in the following Septem- 
ber, when the resignation of Prof McMynn was accepted, and 
Prof W. F. Phelps, former principal of the State Normal School of 
New Jersey was unanimously elected. The principal-elect, being 
present, accepted the position in person and immediately entered 
upon the duties of his office. Professor Phelps' rare ability as an 
organizer and disciplinarian was at once apparent in the prompt and 
efficient measures taken to re-establish the school on a })ermanent 
basis. To the wisdom of these measures and the executive ability 
of their author is largely due the high standing which the normal 


school at Winona has subsequently attained, and still holds, among 
the educational institutions of this country. 

The location of the site on block 17, Sanborn's addition, was not 
favored by the citizens generally. At the meeting of the board 
held in June, 1866, the following communication was received : 

To the State Normal School Board: 

The city council of the city of Winona makes the following proposition to 
your honorable board : That if the board will erect the normal school build- 
ing upon the present site, viz : block 4, Sanborn's addition, the city will pur- 
chase and donate to the state the east half of block 3, Sanborn's addition, and 
vacate and donate to the state that part of Johnson street lying between blocks 
3 and 4 ; or, in case it can be procured, the city will purchase and donate to the 
state the whole of said block. This provided that the board will convey to 
the city block 17 in Sanborn's addition. • R. D. Cone, Mayor. 

This proposition was promptly accepted by the board. Subse- 
quently the city bought the whole of block 3, Sanborn's addition, 
and gave it outright to the state, waiving the condition stated in the 
communication of the mayor. 

During the session of the legislature of 1866 the first appropria- 
tion of $10,000 for the building was obtained mainly through the 
efforts of Hon. E. S. Youmans, then a member of the house, and 
Hon. Thos. Simpson in the state senate. 

This appropriation was designed to secure plans and to supple- 
ment the contributions of the citizens and city of Winona, and was 
entirely used in constructing a foundation, — an important measure 
which committed the state fully to the erection of a building at 

The plans for the building were drawn by the architect, G. P. 
Randall, Esq., of Chicago, and were adopted by the board at its 
meeting in June, 1866. 

On the 19th of October, 1866, the corner-stone was laid with 
interesting ceremonies by Gov. Marshall, in the presence of a large 
and deeply interested assembly, citizens of Winona and surrounding 
country. Hon. Thos. Wilson, chief-justice of the supreme court of 
the state, delivered the address on this memorable occasion. 

The foundation was erected under the direction of the credential 
committee, consisting of Dr. Ford, Hon. E. S. Youmans and W. S. 
Drew, Esq. Mr. Drew was appointed superintendent of the work, 
and gave it his personal and efficient supervision throughout the 
session of 1867, until the basement walls were completed and made 
ready for the superstructure. 


In the spring of 1867 an appropriation by the legislature of 
$50,000 for building purposes was secured, largely through the influ- 
ence of Plon. "Win. 11. Yale, then in the state senate. Only one half 
of this amount was ajipropriated for the first year. The citizens of 
Winona cashed the orders of the board for tlie other half, making 
the entire sum available for immediate use. 

The contract for the erection of tlie superstructure was made 
with C. Bohn, Esq., of "Winona, who had already demonstrated his 
qualifications as a builder in the construction of the high-school 
building of the city. In 1869 the sum of $34,000 additional was 
appropriated "^6> complete the building,'''' and in 1870 nearly $9,000 
more was generously grante(^ by the legislature to liquidate the 
'balance due the contractor. 

Th(? building was occupied by the school September 1, 1869, and 
completed in the following December. 

The following description of the building is taken from the 
report of the normal board for 1859 : 

The general form of the building is in the form of a cross. The 
main edifice is 63 X 78 feet ; the wings are each 50 X 75 feet. The 
basement story is 10 feet high ; the first story is 13 feet ; the second, 
16 feet ; the third, 19 feet, and the fourth story of the west wing is 
28 feet to the crown of the ceiling at the base of the skylights. The 
southeast corner of the west wing terminates in a ventilating shaft 
8x8 feet and 105 feet high ; and the northwest corner of the east 
wing terminates in the main tower, 15 X 15 feet at base and 130 feet 
high. The building is of red bricks, with facings and trimmings of 
a drab-colored calciferous limestone. Its beauty is due not to super- 
fluous ornamentation, but to the harmony of its proportions and its 
massiveness. Through the basement there is a corridor 10 feet wide 
running through the center from end to end. The first story has a 
main corridor 10x166 feet, running entirely thi-ough the building. 
This is intersected by cross-corridors extending from the front to 
the rear entrances. On the north side of the main corridor there 
are four large schoolrooms for the use of the model classes. On 
the right of the entrance of the main tower there is a reception- 
room 20 X 25 feet. On the opposite or south side of the main cor- 
ridor the rooms above described are duplicated. Opposite the 
reception-room is a gentlemen's cloakroom. In the main building, 
in the second story, is the normal school "assembly-room"; its 
dimensions are 63 X 78 feet. In the east wing, beginning with the 


main tower, we find the principars office, the library and two large 
recitation-rooms. In the west wing are two large recitation-rooms, 
one in each corner, and two large wardrobe-rooms for ladies, each 
12 X 35 feet, communicating with corridor and assemblj-room. In 
the third story of main building we have "Normal Hall," capable of 
seating 800 to 1,000 persons. In the west wing, and connecting 
with corridor and Normal Hall, are four recitation-rooms. The east 
wing is occupied by a suite of rooms connected by open arches, 
designed to be used for a museum. In fourth story of the west 
wing there are two rooms, 32 X 35 feet each, separated by a corridor, 
and with ceiling extending to the crown of the roof, 23 feet in 
height. These rooms are lighted by skylights, and are intended for 
a gallery of art. The steps at each of the five entrances of the 
building are of massive, solid masonry, and are of easy ascent. 
The corridors at each extremity are entered by spacious vestibules. 
The stairs leading to the several stories are easy of ascent, the risers 
being seven inches each, and the treads, which are very wide, being 
made of solid two-inch oak plank, finished in oil. The heating and 
ventilation of the building are upon the plan known as the Ruttan 
system. There are seven furnaces properly located in the basement. 
Underneath the furnaces the cold air from without is introduced 
through ducts having an area of section equal to from eight to ten 
square feet each. 

Space cannot b^ given to a further description of this beautiful 
structure, which is acknowledged to be, even at the date of this 
writing, in 1883, the most perfect building of the kind in the 
Northwest. The plans of this building were subsequently adopted, 
with little change, for the State Normal Schools at Buffalo, New 
York, and at Carbondale, Illinois. 

It should be stated that the admirable adaptation of this building 
to the existing and prospective wants of the school, and its nearly 
faultless construction, are largely due to the experienced judgment, 
wise forethought and energetic management of the principal. Prof 
Wm. F. Phelps, who was permitted to enjoy the fruits of his zealous 
labors, and to carry forward in this building his plans for the 
organization of a normal school of national reputation, until he 
voluntarily resigned this position in 1876. 

The following is a summary of the contributions made by the 
citizens of Winona to the school and building : 


Original subscription of ^7,000 to secure site, with appreciation in values |)10,000 

Subscription for purchase of block 4, Sanborn's addition 5,000 

Donation by city of block 3, Sanborn's addition 6,000 

The vacation of street and alleys 2,500 

Cash in bonds of city 15,000 

Use of city building for eight years, and furnishing expenses 4,500 

Total contribution 43,000 

In addition to the above the citizens of Winona have paid into 
the treasury of the school for the tuition of pupils in the model 
department the average sum of $1,500 annually for twenty years, 
amounting to about $3,000. The present valuation of the site of 
the building is $25,000. 

The state appropriations for building purposes at various times 
amount to the gross sum of $115,837. 

In accordance with a plan proposed by Principal Phelps, the 
legislature, in 1871, passed an act establishing in Winona the State 
Soldiers' Orphans' Home, and providing lor the education of the 
children in the normal school. This plan proved to be a wise and 
economical one for the state, and of the greatest value to the 
children. Nearly one hundred of the soldiers' orphans received 
training for several years in the model and normal departments. A 
number completed the entire course, and are now filling important 
positions in the schools of the state. The growth of the school in 
numbers, in reputation, and in all the characteristics of an excellent 
training school for teachers, continued without marked interruption 
until the legislature in 1876, partly by design and partly by neglect, 
failed to make the usual annual appropriation for the support of the 
three normal schools of the state. 

The normal board was called in extra session. During that 
meeting several propositions to close the schools at once were voted 
down by a bare majority. The opposition to these propositions was 
led by Hon. Thos. Simpson, the resident director at Winona. 

Finally the board took action, which was intended merely to 
give the normal schools a chance for continuance if they could find 
any means of existing without involving the board or incurring a 
debt. It was really a life and death struggle with the normal 
schools of our state. Had they been closed then, they would have 
remained closed, perhaps for ever. 

The action of the board availed little ; it said, " Live if you can, 
but don't involve us." Liberal-hearted citizens of this city offered 


to advance money to carry on tlie school at Winona, but this could 
not be accepted under the action of the board. Gen. Sibley, the 
president of the board, and Prof. Wm. F. Phelps, the principal at 
Winona, resigned. 

The resident director determined that the school should not go 
down. He made a temporary reduction of the teaching force, some 
abatements of salaries, and some extra charges for tuition. He 
appealed to the soldiers' orphans' board, who generously responded 
by paying tuition for the pupils under their care. By these means, 
supplemented by a cash contribution from his own pocket, the school 
was kept in vigorous operation until the following year, when the 
appropriation was not only restored, but was made permanent. The 
action at Winona had much to do with inspiring a like spirit and 
determination on the part of the local management of the schools 
at Mankato and St. Cloud. 

Prof. Charles A. Morey, a member of the faculty and a former 
graduate of the school, was elected principal. 

The following year saw the school restored to its former condition 
of efficiency. In 1878 Principal Morey inaugurated an important 
change in the organization of the school by extending the element- 
ary course, and establishing an advanced four years' course of study 
designed to prepare teachers for the principalship of high and graded 

In May, 1879, Principal Morey resigned his position to enter 
upon the practice of law. On the 27th of June Prof. Irwin Shep- 
ard, superintendent of the city schools of Winona, was elected prin- 
cipal ; since which time the growth of the school in numbers, in 
efficiency, and in the confidence of the citizens of the state, has, we 
believe, continued without interruption. 

The following shows the increase of attendance during the past 
four years: 1878-1879, 302; 1879-1880, 342; 1880-1881, 388; 
1881-1882, 439; 1882-1883, 485. 

Hon. Thos. Simpson, the present resident director, has been a 
member of the state normal board continuously since 1868, and has 
served as president of the state board and resident director at Win- 
ona during most of that time. 

The first state teachers' institute, in 1859, the first state conven- 
tion of county superintendents, in 1866, and the first institute of 
normal instructors, in 1872, were all held at the Winona normal 


The first class which finished the course of this school numbered 
sixteen members and were graduated June 28, 1866. Since that 
date to June 1, 1883, twenty-five classes numbering 480 members 
have graduated, while nearly 3,000 other students have received 
instruction for one or more terms. These students, as well as the 
graduates, have fulfilled their pledges to the state with singular 
fidelity and success. Many of the graduates have been called to 
important and lucrative positions in other states from Califoi-nia to 
Maine. Several have received appointments to leading positions in 
the normal schools of the Argentine Republic, S. A., at salaries 
ranging from $1,200 to $2,500. 

Prominent among the causes which have contributed to place 
the State JSTormal School at Winona in the foremost rank of similar 
institutions in America should be mentioned the liberal enterprise 
and singular devotion to its interests on the part of the citizens of 
Winona, as shown by their munificent donations of lands and 
money, by their loyal and unwavering championship in the trying 
times of legislative inaction and indifiference ; by their establishment 
of an extensive museum and gallery of art for the free use of the 
students ; by their continued patronage and support of the model 
school, and by their just and generous pride in the past history, the 
present prosperity and the future promise of this educational 
institution of the state. 


On May 24, 1871, a preliminary meeting was held in Normal 
Hall for the purpose of organizing a society for the promotion of a 
knowledge of art, science and literature. 

At an adjourned meeting held June 12, articles of association 
were adopted. The corporate members were Wm, F. Phelps, Thos. 
Simpson, Abner Lewis, Mary Y. Lee, C. C. Curtiss, O. B. Gould, 
Sarah L. Wheeler and C. H. Berry. The plans of the society 
provided for "the fitting of rooms in the First State N'ormal 
building for a museum of natural history and physical science, and 
for a department of drawing and the arts of design ; the collection, 
classification and arrangement of specimens in natural history and 
archaeology, and of models in physics and the fine arts ; the collec- 
tion of facts and objects pertaining to local or general history ; the 
establishment and support, on the grounds of the normal school, of 
a botanical garden ; the arrangement and ornamentation of the 



grounds ; the gatliering of a library of standard works iji all depart- 
ments of science, literature and art ; the collection and preservation 
of all collections, and, by lectures and other appropriate means, the 
elevation of the public taste." 

Previous to the organization of this society, citizens of Winona 
had placed in the normal school building, for the use of the students, 
private collections of minerals and other specimens. Principal 
Phelps had contributed a valuable collection, and the Hon. Thos. 
Simpson had donated his entire cabinet of mineral specimens, which 
lie had been gathering for many years in Iowa, Wisconsin and 
Minnesota. The proprietorshij) of these collections was vested in 
the new society. The collections were increased from time to time 
by additional contributions. 

In 1875 the citizens of Winona, at the advice and solicitation of 
Professor Wm. F. Phelps, contributed about $3,500 for the purchase 

of the Woodman collection of corals, shells, minerals and fossils. 
This valuable collection, and those previously belonging to the 
society, were arranged in suitable cases in the geological hall of the 
normal building in 1878, under the superintendence of Principal 
Chas. A. Morey. The following contract was subsequently made 
with the state normal board : 

1. The society agrees that its collections, apparatus, pictures, etc., shall 
remain in the rooms now occupied by them so long as the building shall be 
used for the purpose of a state normal school. 

2. That said collections, etc., shall be forever free to the use of the normal 
school in said building, its teachers and pupils, and that said collections shall 
not be removed, either in whole or in part, for any purpose whatever. 

3. That, to prevent interference with the operations of the school, the times 
of opening said rooms to the public shall be as the principal and resident 
director of the school shall from time to time direct, and not otherwise. 

4. Tliat the society shall bear all expense of classifying, arranging and 


putting in position all specimens and objects, and of preserving the order and 
condition of the same: Provided, That the state normal board agrees: 1. To 
furnish to the society, rent free, the room now occupied by its collections ; to 
heat, light and keep the same in repair as long as the building shall be used 
for the purposes of a normal school. 2. To give to the society the use of such 
cases, platforms and fixtures as are already placed in said rooms, and to build 
others as the acquisitions of the society may demand. 3. To furnish janitor's 
services for said rooms, as their use may demand. 

This museum has become one of the most extensive and com- 
plete in the west. Three large rooms, connected by arches, are 
lined with cases which are filled with specimens of minerals, fossils, 
birds and animals. A large case in the center of the room contains 
the skeleton of a mastodon. Two spacious rooms in the fourth 
story of the building are devoted to the exhibition of art subjects. 
A curator devotes a large portion of his time to the care of the 
museum and to the collection, classification and arrangement of 
specimens in all departments of natural history. 



The following are the birds known to exist in this county : duck 
hawk, pigeon hawk (common), sparrow hawk, sharp-shinned hawk. 
Cooper's hawk, marsh hawk, harrier or mouse hawk, red-tailed 
hawk (common), red-shouldered hawk (scarce), broad- winged hawk, 
bald eagle, great-horned' owl, long-eared owl, screech owl, barred 
owl (summer), short-eared owl, snowy owl, saw-whet owl, hawk 
owl, day owl, black-billed cuckoo, yellow-billed cuckoo, hairy wood- 
pecker, downy woodpecker, black-backed three-toed woodpecker, 
yellow-bellied woodpecker, pileated woodpecker, log cock, red- 
headed woodpecker, pigeon woodpecker, ruby-throated humming- 
bird, chimney swallow, night hawk, bull-bat, whippoorwill, belted 
kingfisher, kingbird, wood-pewee, olive-sided flycatcher, pewee, 
Phebe-bird, wood thrush, robin, brown thresher, catbird, red- 
breasted bluebird, titmouse, chickadee, white-bellied nut-hatch, 
American creeper, long-billed marsh wren, short-billed marsh wren, 
house wren, skylark, shorelark, black and white creeper, Maryland 
yellow-throat, black-poll warbler, scarlet tanager, barn swallow, 
blue-backed swallow, eave swallow, bank swallow, purple martin. 


wiix-wing, Bohemian chatterer, cedar-bird, cherry-bird, great north- 
ern shrike, red-eyed vireo, purple-finch, red-poll linnet, snow bunt- 
ing, snowbird, swamp sparrow, song sparrow, tree sparrow, field 
sparrow, chipping sparrow, fox sparrow (frequent), rose-breasted 
grossbeak, ring-rail (occasional), bobolink, ricebird, cowbird, red- 
winged blackbird, yellow-headed bird, meadow lark, orchard oriole 
(not common), Baltimore oriole (common), crow blackbird, crow 
(on the increase), bluejay, wild pigeon (never abundant), common 
dove, pinnated grouse (scarce), ruffed grouse, quail (nearly exter- 
minated), woodcock, Wilson snipe, jack snipe, bittern, stakedriver, 
least bittern (on river bottoms), marsh hen, Virginia rail, coot (in 
marshes). Besides these, there are met occasionally the sandpiper, 
the great blue heron, the green heron, the wild goose and brant, 
the blue-winged teal, the hooded merganser, the widgeon, the piii- 
tail, the mallard, the butterball duck, the wood duck, and other 
ducks. The wood duck breeds here. 


The pioneers of Winona evinced a thorough appreciation of the 
power of the press as an important element in promoting the welfare 
of the young city, and in the development of the promising terri- 
tory of Minnesota. The first newspaper established was the "Winona 
Argus," September 7, 1854:. It was published by Wm. Ashley 
Jones & Co., weekly, democratic in politics. Wm, Ashley Jcmes, 
Captain Sam Whiting, M. Wheeler Sargent and Eobert T. Hunter 
were among the contributors. Samuel Melvin, at the present time 
a merchant in Winona, was foreman in the Argus office. He pur- 
chased an interest in the paper in January, 1855, and continued about 
a year and a half, when he sold back to Wm. Ashley Jones, and the 
paper continued about a year and a half longer, during which Mr. 
Cozzens was for a time editor. After vicissitudes incident to a 
western town twenty years ago, it was compelled to suspend its pub- 
lication in the month of September, 1857, not however, until it had 
accomplished a good wotk for southern Minnesota. 

The "Winona Weekly Express" was the next venture in jour- 
nalism. It was established about August 1, 1855, Wilson C. Huff, 
son of H. D. Hufif, being the editor. The Express continued until 
after the election in November, when the office and material were 
purchased by a company formed to establish "The Winona Repub- 


In the fall of 1855, some earnest republicans formed a joint- 
stock company, purchased the material of the "Winona Express," 
and on the 21st of November, 1855, issued the first number of the 
"Winona Weekly Republican." The names of these stockholders 
were Charles Eaton, E. L. King, C. F. Buck, A. P. Foster, H. C. 
Jones, A. C. Jones, E. H. Murray, J. B. Stockton, J. S. Denman, 
H. T. Wickersham, Eufus Crosby, O. S. Holbrook, St. A. D. Bal- 
combe, John L. Balcombe, Matthew Ewing, W. G. Dye, J. H. 
Jacoby, L. H. Springer. The newspaper was a seven-column 
sheet and conducted with ability. The editor was Captain Sam 
Whiting. The business manager was Walter G. Dye, who continued 
to occupy that position, with slight intervals, for about twenty-five 
years. Messrs. Foster and Dye purchased the stock of the other 
shareholders and became sole proprietors. On the 19th of June, 
1856, D. Sinclair purchased the interest of A. P. Foster in the estab- 
lishment, and it thus became the sole property of Messrs. Sinclair 
& Dye. In the fall of 1856 Mr. Dye disposed of his interest in the 
concern to Messrs. Balcombe, Murray, Buck and King, who in a 
short time sold out to W. C. Dodge. The latter continued his con- 
nection with the paper only a few months, retiring on the 3rd of 
February, 1857, and being succeeded by Mr. Dye, who repurchased 
one half of the establishment. At this time the firm name was 
changed to D. Sinclair & Co., and has so remained ever since. 

On the 2d of April, 1861, Sheldon C. Carey purchased one half 
interest in "The Republican" from Mr. Dye, who retired. Mr. Carey 
continued a member of the firm until his death on the night of De- 
cember 28 of the same year he entered it, when he was drowned in 
the Mississippi river, Wisconsin, while out with a small party on a 
sleighing excursion. His death caused the most poignant grief in 
the community. 

On the first of July, 1865, Mr. Dye resumed connection with "The 
Republican " as ioint partner with Mr. Sinclair, and November 25, 
1866, Mr. JohnDobbs, an experienced practical bookbinder, became 
one of the firm, purchasing one third interest in " The Republican" 
establishment. In 1859 the proprietors of " The Republican " de- 
termined to try the experiment of a daily paper in Winona, and on 
the 19tli of November issued the first number of the "Daily Re- 
view," a three-column paper somewhat larger than a sheet of fools- 
cap. The publication of this little paper demonstrated the readiness 
of the people of Winona to support — not a first-class journal, but 


one of respectable size, considering tlie times. Accordingly the 
"Daily Review" was stopped, and] on the 19tli of December, 1859, 
the " Winona Daily Republican " was started on its career. It was a 
five-column sheet, but was enlarged to a six-column sheet on the 8th 
of April, 1861, and on the 1st of July, 1865, it was enlarged to a 
seven-column sheet, its present form. The " AVeekly Ilei)ublican" 
has the honor of being the oldest republican newspaper in the state. 

In 1S67 the "well arranged three-story brick "Republican" 
building with basement was built. It was occupied in February, 
1868. On the first of January, 1881, Mr. Dye retired, selling his 
interest to Mr. Sinclair. Mr. P. G. Hubbell, who had been con- 
nected with the office since 186i, was appointed business manager, 
and so continued until the first of January, 1883, when Mr. W. E. 
Smith bought a third interest in the establishment, and Mr. Hub- 
bell assumed the duties of managing editor of "The Republican." 
Through a long established career " The Republican, " under the 
superior editorial management of Mr. Sinclair, has wielded a potent 
influence on the aftairs of the county and state, while f(H- the city of 
its choice it has ever been the zealous advocate and faithful friend. 
It is entitled to great credit as one of the important agencies in the 
development of Winona. 

Returning to the history of other newspapers in the early years 
of the county, "The Times" was started by a man who came 
from Fountain City, Wisconsin. The proprietor purchased the ma- 
terial of the " Argus," but continued only a few months. 

"The Democrat" was started on September 9, 1858, by C. W. 
Cottom, who came here from Rochester. He published an eight- 
column paper. In the course of a year or two he sold out to the 
Democrat Printing Company. 

On the 11th of December, 1860, the "Tri-Weekly Democrat" 
was started by the Democrat Printing Company, with J. L. Thomp- 
son, printer ; C. W. Cottom, editor ; Wm. T. Hubbell, city editor. 
This was a five-column sheet. In the following summer the paper 
was closed out and was succeeded by "The State." 

"The Winona Daily State" was established by Massey & 
Wheeler, July 11, 1861. It was a six-column paper. The daily 
was a morning paper, but it existed only a few weeks. Mr. Wheeler 
retired and Mr. Massey continued the publication of the "Weekly 
State," which was first issued July 17, 1861. After an existence of 
a year or two the "State" suspended. 


"The Winona Weekl}' Democrat'' was established by A. G. 
Reed September 17, 1864. It was a seven-column paper and lived 
some two or three years. 

The "Democratic Press," which was issued by Messrs. Mes- 
ervey & Pomeroy, was another venture, which appeared in tlie fall 
of 1865, but continued only about six months. 

"The Winona Daily Democrat" was established January 8, 
1868, by Green & Gile. It was a four-page, seven-column journal. 
It was afterward owned by Green & Dresbach, and then by the 
Democrat Printing Company. It suspended after a few months. 

On the 7th of May, 1869, "The Winona Herald," a demo- 
cratic weekly newspaper, was established by Mr. W. J. Whipple, 
It is still in existence under the proprietorship of Mr. Whipple, 
though leased to Mr. T. A. Dailey in the summer of 1882. 

On February 13, 1869, an amateur paper entitled "The North 
Star" was started by some young men, with Geo. T. Griffith, editor ; 
Wm. F. Worthington, publisher ; H. G. Smith, treasurer ; John IST. 
Nind, subscription agent. The little journal subsequently passed 
into the hands of Fred. W. Flint and John N. Nind, by whom it 
was published for several months. 

In 1872 another amateur paper, "The Novelty Press," was 
started at Homer by R. F. Norton. It was afterward removed to 
Winona and conducted by Eber Norton. In 1879, November 28, it 
was bought by Geo. B. Dresbach and the name changed to "The 
Democrat." In January, 1880, it was sold to Hiler, Busdicker 
and Dresbach, and was purchased in January, 1882, by Fred. W. 

On the 9th of October, 1873, E. Gerstenhauer established a 
German weekly called "The Winona Adler," which still con- 
tinues under the same proprietor. 

On the 4th of July, 1873, the "St. Charles Times" was estab- 
lished by H. W. Hill. It was democratic in politics and continued 
until January 1, 1883, when it suspended. 

On May 24, 1875, "The Sunday Morning Dispatch" was 
issued by D. B. Sherwood. Only one number appeared, the pro- 
prietor returning to Michigan. 

On the 24th of April, 1876, " The Monday Morning Bulletin " 
was started by John Seigler. It continued for a few months and 
was removed to Wabasha, Minnesota. 

In 1877, August 11, "The Saturday Evening Postman '' appeared 



under the editorship and management .of W. A. Cliapman. It ex- 
isted for only a short time. 

On January 3, 1877, the -St. Charles Union'' was established 
by Joseph S. Whiton. It is independent republican in politics, 
and a paper of general circulation in the western part of the county. 

January 21, 1881, a German weekly news])aper, "The West- 
licher Herald," was started by Leicht & Schmid. The firm changed 
to Leicht & Hunger July 1, 1881, and again to Joseph Leicht Jan- 
uary 1, 18S;;, who is the present proprietor. 


During 1881 the ^'Utica Transcript," a short-lived paper, was 
started at Utica bj O. S. Eeed. 

On the 2d of July, 1881, "The Winona Daily Tribune" was 
established by F. W. Flint as an evening independent republican 
paper. About the first of July, 1882, it was sold to Morrissey & 
Bunn and changed to a democratic paper in politics, still retaining 
the name of "The Tribune." In January following the paper was 
sold to a stock comj^any and changed to a morning paper. It con- 
tinued until April, 1882, when it suspended. 

The year 1883, therefore, finds the following newspapers in 
existence in this county: "The Winona Republican," daily and 
weekly, republican in politics, established in 1855; "The Winona 
Herald," weekly, democratic, established in 1869; "The Winona 
Adler," German weekly, democratic, established in 1873; "The 
St. Charles Union." weekly, independent republican, established in 
1877; "The Westlicher Herald," German, weekly, democratic, 
established in 1881. 



As introductory to the history of the public schools of the city of 
Winona, as they have existed since the organization of the "board 
of education of the city of Winona," April 19, 1861, some mention 
is necessary to be made of the early educational work of the territory 
now included within the city limits. The first attempt at school 
teaching that was ever made in this region was in the summer of 
1852, by Miss Angelia Gere, a young girl of fourteen or fifteen 
years of age, who collected a few small children in the shanty of 
Mrs. Goddard (known through all this region for the past twenty- 
five years as Aunt Catharine Smith). As nearly as the memory of 
old residents can fix such matters, this school was only continued 
for a few weeks, the instruction was of the most primitive kind, and 
the number of little ones eight or ten. The following summer, 1853, 
Mrs. E. B. Hamilton opened a school in her own little house at the 
lower end of the prairie. This school had been in session about two 
or three weeks when it was abruptly closed by the death of the 
teacher, who was killed by a stroke of lightning, June 19. 


In the fall of 1853 a private school was opened by Miss Willis, 
long since married and settled in Chatfield, and this was the first 
school, that really deserved the name, opened on the prairie. Miss 
Willis was followed in 1854 by Miss Hcttie Houck, now Mrs. W. H. 
Stevens, of this city, who taught a subscription school in a building 
belonging to Aunt Catharine Smith, on the corner of Front and 
Franklin streets. The number of pu})ils in this school was about 
twenty-five ; the teacher was engaged at a regular salary ; no tuition 
fee was demanded ; tlie funds were provided by voluntary subscri}> 
tion, and the school is really entitled to the name of the first public 
school of Winona. 

During the winter of 1854-5 a school was opened by Mr. Henry 
Bolcom, in a small building on Second street, afterward known 
as Wagner's saloon. This school was supported largely in the same 
manner as that of Miss Houck's, the school-tax for the district 
never having been collected. The pupils in attendance during the 
winter term numbered about thirty. 

In the summer of 1855 Miss Almeida Trutchell, subsequently 
Mrs. David Smith, taught school in the embryo city. The following 
winter, 1855-6, Geo. C. Buckman, now of Waseca, Minnesota, 
wielded the birch. Mr. H. C. Bolcom, who had been attending 
term at Oberlin College, Ohio, having returned to Winona, was 
employed as teacher during the winter of 1856-7, and his work in 
that line closed with the closing of the spring term. The original 
school district No. 2 had been divided in the spring of 1854, prior 
to which time there was but one school district on the prairie. No. 
14, the new district, comprised that part of the town plat west of 
Lafayette street ; but for particulars concerning these matters, see 
history of Winona county schools. In the fall of 1857 a union, by 
mutual agreement of the two districts, was efi'ected, and the trustees 
of the separate districts became informally the board of the qvasi 
united one. These trustees were for No. 2, Col. II. C. Johnson, 
Andrew Smith and H. C. Bolcom ; tor No. 14, Dr. J. D. Ford, 
Dr. A. S. Ferris and John lams. Rev. Geo. C. Tanner was 
employed as principal for the union or grammar school, as it was 
called ; commenced his work November 17, 1857, and before the 
close of the winter four schools were in operation. The teachers of 
these schools were : Rev. Tanner, his wife. Miss Wealth}' Tucker, 
who taught the ]irimary, in what is now ward 1 of the city, and John 
Sherman, who taught in the lower part of the city. Of the early 


"Winona schools, from 1856 to 1860, at which time his services were 
transferred to the normal schools. Dr. Ford was the mainstay, and 
pages might be written concerning the straits into which tlie 
hoard were often driven to maintain the schools. As an instance, 
we may note the concert held in the L. D. Smith building, with Dr. 
Ford and his daughter and W. S. Drew as principal fuglemen. The 
proceeds were applied to the purchase of a terrestrial globe, the 
first article of school apparatus purchased for the Winona public 
schools. This globe, which should have been preserved as a relic, 
was burned in the fire of July 5, 1862. Rev, Tanner was succeeded 
in the fall of 1858 by Mrs. A. W. Thomas, who was his assistant 
during the latter part of his schoolwork here. 

There was a constant increase in the work of the schools from 
this time forward. In the fall of 1859 Mr. Y. J. Walker was 
employed as principal, and his work continued long after the city 
schools were established upon a solid foundation. In this work his 
wife, a most excellent teacher, was associated with him, and their 
influence in the young life of the city and its schools cannot be told 
in words. For the eighteen months elapsing from the time of Mr. 
Walker's assuming charge of the schools until they were turned over 
, to the city board of education at its organization, no record survives. 
The final report of the districts to that board are lost, and all we 
know is by the memories reviving twenty-four years of eventful 
history, in which so much relating to those early times has passed 
into forgetfulness that it is impossible to reproduce it even approxi- 
mately. We only know that the schools had no permanent abiding- 
places, that accommodations were difficult to be found and good 
quarters impossible to be received, money scarce and times hard, yet 
out of all the schools emerged tried as by fire, to approve the wisdom 
of their early management. 


By special act of Minnesota state legislature, approved March 7, 
1861, under the title "An act for the establishment and better 
regulation of the common schools of the city of Winona," all the 
school districts and parts of school districts within the corporate 
limits of the city of Winona were consolidated to form one district, 
the regulation and management of which was committed to a ''board 
of education," for the creation and government of which the special 
act above cited made provision. By the terms of this act it was 


ordered that at the time of liolding tlie regular charter election in 
tlie city, one school director in each ward should be elected, who, in 
order to qualify, should take a prescribed oath of office, and that 
the directors thus chosen, together with the principal of the State 
Normal School at Winona, should form the city board of education. 
It was plainly the intention of the act, as indicated by its wording, 
to make all resident members of the normal school board ex officio 
members of the city board of education, but this intention was 
defeated by the omission of a material word in the engrossing of the 
act. Thus the school board of the city at its organization was con- 
stituted with but four members, one each from the three wards of the 
city, and the principal of the State Normal School at Winona. The 
special provisions of this act of March 7, 1861, it is not necessary 
to make further allusion to, as it was superseded by the act of 
legislature approved March 8, 1862, which latter act it was declared 
should be construed as of a public nature and subversive oi the act 
of the previous year. 'Q^ the terms of the new act the election 
of two school directors from each ward was provided for, the terms 
of office of such directors fixed at two years, and the directors thus 
chosen to constitute the '"city board of education," thus effectually 
severing all connection with the normal school authorities in the 
management of the public schools of the city. By the act of March, 
1862, provision was also made for the election of a superintendent 
for the city schools ; members of the board of education were 
debarred fi'om receiving compensation for their services as such ; 
annual reports were required to be made to the county auditor and 
to the state superintendent of schools, and the board of education 
was invested with such powers as were deemed necessary to their 
existence, government and effective work as a corporate body 
entrusted with the onerous duty of providing the best possible 
educational facilities for the children and youth of a growing city. 
To preserve the homogeneousness of the educational work throughout 
the state, the board of education was made amenable (as far as 
practically applicable) to the general school law of the state, and to 
the rules established by the state superintendent of public instruc- 
tion. There was one provision of this act destined in the course of 
events to become a fruitful source of contention between the common 
council of the city and the city board of education, and for this 
reason, if no other, it must be specially noted. This was the clause 
by which the city council was empowered to pass upon the annual 


estimates for school expenses presented by the board of education, 
and to accept or reject the same in whole or in part as they deemed 
best. The city treasurer was made the custodian of all school 
funds paid in under the tax levies ordered by the council or other- 
wise derived, and required under penalty to keep the same separate 
and distinct from all other funds in his hands. The act also pro- 
vided for equitable payment of all judgment liens against the board 
without issuing execution against the school property of the city. 

At the time the act of the legislature creating the "board of 
education of the city of Winona" became operative, March 7, 1861, 
the city was divided into three wards, and^ at the charter election in 
April of that year the several wards elected members of the board 
of education as follows : First ward, Thomas Simpson ; second 
ward, Richard Jackson ; third ward, John Keyes ; and these gentle- 
men, with Prof John Ogden, principal of the State Normal School at 
Winona, were the original board of education for the city of 
Winona. The "board" met April 13, 1861, for organization and 
elected Thomas Simpson president and John Keyes clerk ; Prof. 
John Ogden was made superintendent of city schools, and the 
"board of education of the city of Winona" became a fixed insti- 

Concerning these gentlemen, who twenty-two years ago com- 
posed the first board of education of this city, it may not be amiss 
to state that Prof. Ogden left the city in December, 1861, and is now 
in charge of a private normal school at Fayette, Ohio. Thomas 
Simpson is still a resident of the city, in active professional life, 
and president of the State JSTormal School board. Richard Jackson 
was several years in business in this city and died here early in 1875. 
John Keyes, jnstly entitled to the honor so generally accorded him 
as "father of the Winona public schools," died on the old Keyes 
homestead in the eastern part of the city, December 2, 1876, at 
which time he had been a resident of Winona a little over twenty- 
three years. The informal union of the two school districts within 
the city limits, and their harmonious working for nearly four years 
prior to their legal consolidation, were very largely owing to the 
disinterestedness, good judgment and abiding interest in educa- 
tional matters displayed by Mr. Keyes. His work by no means 
ended with the formation of the school board. As clerk of that 
board during the first seven years of its existence, during which 
time the high school building was erected, he became so much an 


integral part of tlie public school administration of the city during 
that early formative period, that his influence in the educational 
life of the city can scarcely be overrated. Appropriate resolu- 
tions bearing testimony to his valuable services as an ofticer and 
member of the city school board were spread upon the records of 
that body, and the memory of his labors will long survive his 

The great fire of July 5, 1862 (to which reference is so 
frequently made in this work) destroyed the records of the board of 
education, including the records of the schools which had preceded 
the organization of the board. It is therefore impossible to give any 
authentic statement concerning the condition of the schools at the 
time they passed under the control of the board of education. A 
general statement made by Mr. Keyes, as secretary of the board, 
shortly after the tire, appears among the records. From this we 
learn that April 13, 1861, the board of education, on assuming 
charge of public school matters in Winona, found themselves in 
possession, by transfer from the old school districts numbers two 
and fourteen, of some old school furniture, one terrestrial globe, 
one set of outline maps, some rented rooms in various parts of the 
city, some indebtedness, no school buildings or sites in fee, or 
money. The sum of $28.5 was subsequently paid to settle the 
accounts of one of the old districts, and it is only a reasonable 
probability, from information obtained, that the board expended 
about $500 in settling the affairs of the old districts. The public 
schools as then existing, April 13, 1861, were one grammar school, 
or high school, as it was called, of which V. J. Walker was principal, 
and five primary schools scattered through the various wards of the 
city, occupying such buildings as could be the most cheaply rented 
for that purpose. The systematic grading of the schools was 
immediately undertaken by the board and the entire schoolwork of 
the city reorganized. The schools as thus established were one 
high school, ojie grammar school, three secondary and four primary 
schools. The estimate made for the ensuing three months' expenses, 
at the expiration of which the school year as equally established 
would close, was $1,000. This estimate was approved by the 
council and the schools opened as organized under the new arrange- 
ment. A report of the schoolwork for the fractional year ending 
August 31, 1861, gives the following figures : Number of children 
of school age in the district, 772 ; number of children enrolled in 


the schools, 382 ; average attendance, 252. The total expenditures 
for the three school months were $932.68, itemized as follows : 
Teachers' salaries $703, repairs and furniture $151.64, rents $73,04, 
fuel $5. 

The estimated expenses of the schools from September, 1861, to 
close of the spring term of 1862 were $2,175, which added to the 
amount previously levied, $1,000, gives a total of $3,157, to carry 
on the nine schools of the city from April, 1861, to the close of the 
school year, August 31, 1862. The work of grading the schools 
undertaken and partially accomplished the previous year was now 
completed. The number of schools remained as previously estab- 
lished and the several rooms occupied by them prior to the fire of 
July 5, 1862, were: primary — (1) Kenosha Ale House; (2) Hancock's 
building, upstairs ; (3) Hubbard's Hall, second story ; (4) Mrs. J. 
S. Hamilton's building, in the third ward. Secondary — (1) South 
room Hancock's building ; (2) Cooper's, then Hancock building ; 
(3) Hubbard's Hall, first floor. Grammar school was held on the 
first floor of the Hancock building, north room until April, when it 
was removed to the brick schoolroom on Front street. 

The high school was first in the Hancock building, then in the 
"brick schoolroom," and from thence removed to the city building 
when the grammar school took possession of the brick room on 
Front street. The rentals for the year were $293, exclusive of 
the Hancock building, the use of which had been generously do- 
nated to the school board by the proprietors. 

The election for members of the school board in 1862 was 
under the act of legislature, approved March 8 of that year, re- 
quiring the return of two members from each ward. The members 
of the board as thus constituted were : first ward — Thomas Simp- 
son ; W. S. Drew, who did not quality, and the board filled the 
vacancy by electing E. Worthington ; second ward — T. B. Welch, 
R. D. Cone ; third ward — F. Kroeger, John Keyes. 

On the third Monday in April, as required by law, the board 
met and organized, with Thomas Simpson president and John Keyes 
clerk. The Rev. David Burt was elected superintendent of schools 
for the city, his compensation for services fixed at $100 per annum, 
and a like amount voted the clerk as salary. The estimated ex- 
penses for carrying on the schools for the year beginning Sep- 
tember 1, 1862, are not given in full, but the tax levy submitted to 
the council for approval was for $2,945. The whole amount ex- 


pended certainiy doubled that sum. The public moneys of 1858 for 
districts numbers two and fourteen aggregated $1,130, and at this 
time, 1862, there was not only a marked increase in the number of 
school age within the district, but also in the ratio of appropriation 
to each individual. The wages paid teachers by the board at this 
time were as follows : principal of high school, per month, $55 ; 
teacher of grammar school, per month, $35 ; secondary school, 
per month, $22.50 ; primary school, per month, $20. 

The necessity of establishing the schools in permanent quarters 
had long been apparent to the friends of education in the city, and 
the question of building schoolhouses as the state of the treasury 
would permit from time to time was freely agitated. At some 
meeting of the board prior to July 5, 1862, a resolution to build a 
schoolhouse in ward No. 3 was adopted. Lots 5 and 6 in block 
15, Hamilton's addition to the city of Winona, were purchased and 
the contract let for building a ward schoolhouse, at a cost, including 
lots, of $1,760. As we do not intend to follow the history of the 
several schools through their tem})orary quarters to their final es- 
tablishment in their present permanent homes, we state here that 
this first purchase of two lots in block 15 was subsequently followed 
by the purchase of the entire block, and upon it in 1876 the present 
Washington school building was erected, as will be more particu- 
larly noted hereafter. It was at this juncture, close of spring term 
of 1862, that the fire, before mentioned, swept away the brick 
schoolroom on Front street, and destroyed (among scores of others) 
the office of secretary John Keyes, obliterating every vestige of 
record concerning the schoolwork of the city, from the opening of 
Miss Angelia Gere's nursery school in 1852 to the latest minute of 
the board of education made in June, 1862. * * •* 

The first meeting after the fire was held June 9, 1862, in the 
office of the secretary, and vigorous efforts made to provide accom- 
modations for the schools to be opened the ensuing term. These 
efforts were eminently successful, and the work of the schools was 
systematically resumed at the opening of the school year. The 
school report for the year then ended, August 31, 1862, showed no 
change in the census returns of children of school age within the 
district from those presented for the previous year, but the enroll- 
ment had increased from 382 in 1861 to 419 in 1862. A reduction 
had in the meantime been made in the number of schools sus- 
tained by the board, one of the secondary grade having been discon- 


tinued. In October of this year the clerk of the board, as required 
by law, took the census of children of school age, upon which cen- 
sus returns the division of public moneys to the schools throughout 
the state was based, and reported an increase of 188 over the census 
of 1861-2. No special change is to be noted in the school work for 
the year ending August 31, 1863. The number of schools remained 
unchanged, and the old officers of the board were continued at the 
head of affairs, as was also the superintendent. Though no special 
changes occurred in the schoolwork the board itself was making 
progress. The school building in ward three was completed as per 
contract some time in December, 1862, and on January 1, 1863, this, 
the first school building erected for school purposes by the school 
authorities of Winona, was dedicated to the uses for which it was 
constructed. Thomas Simpson, as president of the board of educa- 
tion, presided at the opening exercises, and delivered an appropriate 
address, the manuscript of which lies before us as we write. Action 
was taken this year in the matter of purchasing school sites in wards 
numbers two and three; the salaries of clerk and superintendent were 
raised to $150 each per annum; the clerk was instructed to advertise 
for contracts for a school building in the first ward ; the Steam's 
schoolhouse, in the second ward, was purchased at a cost of $415, 
exclusive of ground rent, which was fixed at $10 per annum ; lots 
1 and 2 in block 119, original plat of "Winona, were purchased, 
and contract closed with Mr. Conrad Bohn to erect a scliool build- 
ing upon them at a cost, including fencing, of $2,200. This contract 
was entered into August 22, 1863, and with this action of the board 
closed the transactions of that schoo] year. The building on block 
15, Hamilton's addition (as also the one now under contract by Mr. 
Bohn), was a twostory frame, arranged for the accommodation of 
two schools, one on each floor. The building in the first ward, when 
completed, was occupied for school purposes by the board, and so 
continued until the erection of the Madison school building in 
1875 ; since then the old house known as the Jefferson school 
building has been provisionally turned over to the city council 
for the use of the fire department. 

The census returns for the new school year 1863-4 showed a 
material increase in the number of children in the city, 1,221 being 
the number reported by the clerk. The increased number of children 
demanded increased accommodations, and the school of secondary 
grade, discontinued in 1862-3, was reopened, making the whole 


number ot schools under the care of the board ten. January 15, 1864, 
Mr. Burt resigned his ottice as superintendent of Winona public 
schools, and Dr. F. II. Staples, a practicing physician of the city, was 
elected to till the vacancy. Dr. Staples discharged the duties of 
superintendent until September 4, 1865, when he resigned, and was 
succeeded by Prof. V. J. Walker, who taught the Union Grammar 
School of the city from the fall ot 1859 until the organization of 
tlie city school board, when he was elected principal of the high 
school, April, 1861. Mr. Walker continued to perform his double 
duties as high school principal and superintendent of city schools 
until the close of the school year in 1869, at which time he closed a 
very successful term of ten years as principal of public schools in 

By the charter election of 1864 a change was made in the mem- 
bership of the board of education, and upon the organization of the 
board L. B. Tefft was elected president; secretary Keyes still in office. 
The estimates for the year opening September 1, 1864, were for one 
high school, one grammar school, four secondary schools, six pri- 
mary schools, all of which were opened with the exception of one 
secondary, the total number being eleven schools. To provide for 
maintaining these during a school year of ten months the estimated 
tax required was $12,000, $5,000 of that amount to apply to a fund 
for the erection of a suitable central school building, which the 
necessities of the schools demanded and the wisdom of the board was 
forecasting. The salaries of teachers at this time had somewhat 
appreciated. Wages were per month, high school, $65 ; grammar 
school, $35 ; secondaries, $25 ; primaries, $22. 

The officers of the board were not changed in the spring of 1865, 
and the school registers bore the names of 806 pupils, the actual 
enrollment for that year. The estimated expenses for the year 
opening September 1, 1865, were $16,500. The actual tax levy was 
$9,632.78, with an item of $5,000 for central school fund. At the 
close of school year, August 31, 1865, the city owned three wooden 
buildings, the total valuation of which, including furniture, was 
$5,000, the buildings accommodating five of the eleven schools main- 
tained by the board. 

The school year 1865-66 was an eventful one. The board had 
previously selected block 37 of the original town plot, as the site of 
the proposed central building, and acquired title to several of the lots 
thereon. The work of receiving possession of the entire block was 


pushed vigorously, and on May 15, J 866, title was perfected and the 
block secured. Bids for the erection of a suitable central school 
building had been advertised for in the meantime, and contracts 
awarded to Conrad Bohn, of this city, three days prior to perfecting 
title. The contract price of structure was $36,700, the whole 
costing with furances and furniture about $52,000. Ground was 
immediately broken, walls erected and roof put on that season, and 
the building was completed and accepted by the board September 7, 
1867, named by them the High School, and the afternoon of Sep- 
tember 13th set apart for its formal dedication, which was accord- 
ingly done, Hon. Mark Dunnell, of this state, delivering the dedica- 
tory address. This building is decidedly an ornament to the city, a 
monument to the public spirit of the citizens, and a credit to the 
board of education under whose administration it was erected. The 
block on which it stands is in the very heart of the best residence 
portion of the city. The building faces north, the main entrance 
being on Broadway, with side entrances on Walnut and Market 
streets. It is a substantial, ornate structure, built of brick and stone, 
rising three full stories above the basement, in which are the fur- 
naces and fuel rooms. The extreme length from east to west is 96 
feet ; from north to south, 82 feet ; height of main walls, 32 feet ; of 
gables, 48 feet ; of main ventilating shaft, 72 feet ; of minor venti- 
lating turrets, 66 feet; with a tower rising 94 feet from the water-table 
to the finial. 

The basement is nine feet between floors, the first and second 
stories each thirteen feet and the third story, in which is the assembly 
room, fifteen feet. A hall eight feet wide running the extreme 
length of the building, with double doors at each end, affords ample 
means for entrance and exit. The staircases are four and one-half 
feet each, and the rooms are fully provided with cloak closets. 
There are four recitation rooms, each 28 X 34 feet on the main floor, 
and also on the second. The north half of the third story is the 
high school room proper, the space on the south side being 
divided into recitation rooms for high school classes. The building 
is occupied by the following schools : one high school with three reci- 
tation rooms, two grammar schools, three secondary schools lettered 
A, B, C, four primary schools. 

The city superintendent's office is in the tower on the main floor, 
a comfortable room 12x12, supplied with a small reference library 
and connected witli the city telephone exchange. 


The school census, taken in tlie tall of 1S66, showed l,952cliilclren 
of school age within the city, an increase of 741 in three years. 
The census of 1867 showed a further increase 229, making a total of 
2,181 for the latter year. 

Henry Stevens became president of the board at the annual 
meeting in A])ril, 1866, secretary Keyes still retaining office. At 
this meeting the salary of clerk was raised to $250 per annum, as 
was also that of the superintendent. 

No change was made in the officers of the board at their annual 
meeting in 1867. When the schools opened in September of that 
year the salary of high school principal was fixed at $1,300, and the 
wages of fenuile teachers $40 per month. 

At the annual sjn'ing election in 1868, secretary Keyes was not 
returned and the board organized with H. D. Huff, president, and 
John Ball, secretary. The following year, 1869, Mr. Ball gave 
place to J. M. Sheardown, who held tlie office of clerk to the 
" board " until his resignation in December, 1871. At the annual 
meeting in this year, 1869, the salaries of clerk and superintendent 
were raised to $300 each per annum. At the close of this school 
year a new departure was taken and the office of superintendent of 
schools separated from the principalship of the high school. This 
position was offered to Prof. Varney, at a salary of $1,500 per 
annum, but he declined the offer, and the office was not tilled until 
October 4, 1869, when the officers of the school board were 
authorized to em])loy Prof. W. P. Hood, which was done as ordered. 
The new superintendent entered immediately upon his work and 
continued in office until the close of the spring term in 1871. 

At the annual meeting in 1870 Gen. C. H. Berry, at present 
the senior member of the Winona county bar, was elected president 
of the city school board, and held that position by successive re- 
elections until he retired from the board in 1878. During these 
years the beautiful ward schoolhouses in the east and west ends of 
the city were constructed at an aggregate cost of $60,000, and the 
educational work of the city advanced at every point. 

June 20, 1871, Prof F. M. Dodge was elected city superintend- 
ent of schools, and his salary fixed at $1,500 per annum. December 
15, 1871, Mr. M. Maverick was elected to the clerkship of the board 
of education, made vacant by the resignation of J. M. Sheardown, 
and held that office until the election of Dr. J. M. Cole, at the 
annual meeting in 1875. December 18, 1871, the board adopted 


resolutions recommending the erection of a good three-story brick 
building in the first ward, and memorializing the city council to 
procure such legislation as would authorize the issue of $15,000 of 
school bonds. 

The report of the clerk, made October 1, 1872, showed an 
increase in the number of schools, census enumeration, enrollment 
in schools, expenditures, etc., the figures being as follows: One 
high school, four grammar schools, seven secondary schools, nine 
primary ; 2,427 children of school age, an actual enrollment of 
1,414 on the school registers. The total receipts from all sources 
were shown by the financial statement in August to aggregate 
$25,336.68. The schools were maintained during a school year of 
ten months, and 22 teachers employed ; average wages of teachers, 
gentlemen, $100 per month ; ladies, $55 per month. 

The reports made in 1874 show receipts for the year ending 
August 31, $42,987; disbursements, $28,987; children of school 
age in the city, 3,098 ; children enrolled in the schools, 1,339. 

The annual election in 1875 placed Dr. Cole, as before said, at 
the clerk's desk, a position held by him for six years, during which 
he rendered valuable aid to the educational work of the city. 
During this school year the Madison school building was completed 
at a cost of about $32,000, and in the annual report of the clerk, 
made August, 1876, the following exhibit appears : 

Houses owned by the board, four (two brick and two frame); 
values of school sites, $25,000 ; values of buildings, $106,060 ; value 
of buildings erected during the year, $31,306 ; seating capacity of 
buildings, 1,478; receipts for the year, $60,891.28 ; disbursements 
for the year, $44,926.40; teachers' wages, $15,420; average wages, 
gentlemen, $120 per month ; average wages, ladies, $50 per month. 

The Washington school building a facsimile of the Madison 
building, was accepted at the hands of the contractor November 17, 
1876, and the schools in the eastern part of the city transferred to 
their new quarters January 1, 1877. The purchase of block 15, 
Hamilton's addition, upon which the Washington building was 
erected, has already been noted. This block on which the Madison 
scliool building stands is the one adjoining that on which the old 
Jefferson schoolhouse was built in 1863. This new block, No. 118, 
was purchased by the board December 21, 1869, as the site of the 
prospective school building for the first ward. A description of the 
Madison building will answer for both, as one is almost the perfect 


facsimile of the other. The building is a line three-story brick, 
stone basement and trimmings, with mansard roof. The extreme 
length from east to west is SO feet ; from north to south, 77 feet. 
The main walls rise 30 feet above the water-table, and the gables 
45 feet. The tower is 80 feet high, and height of the several stories 
as follows : Basement, containing furnaces, fuel and storage room, 
8^ feet to joists overhead ; first and second stories, each 13 feet; 
third story, 12 feet. Each floor is divided into four recitation rooms, 
each 25X30 feet, provided with cloakrooms, all the modern ajipli- 
ances for comfort and convenience, and each room seated to accom- 
modate from 40 to 56 pupils, according to grade. The several floors 
have each a main hall running the extreme length of the building 
from east to west, with a cross hall. The main halls are 8 feet wide, 
and the cross halls 6 feet 8 inches in the clear. The building fronts 
north on "Wabasha street, upon which is the main entrance, with 
side entrances on Dakota and Olmsted streets. Free exit is 
afforded from the halls on the main floor, in three directions, by 
spacious doors and stairways, and there are two staircases, each four 
feet in the clear, leading from the upper stories. The Madison 
school building is provided with four wood-furnaces, and the Wash- 
ington school with Ave. These buildings, with their twelve school- 
rooms each, and the high-school building with its nine school (and 
three recitation) rooms, make comfortable provision for thirty-three 
schools, thirty-two of them now running and, under the able man- 
agement of superintendent McNaughton, doing efficient woi'k. 
These three school buildings, each occupying a full block in well- 
chosen locations, with their ample walks, growing shade-trees, taste- 
ful architectural appearance, and thoroughly furnished rooms, are 
a just occasion of city pride, the value of sites, buildings and 
improvements falling little short of $175,000. 

Early in 1877 the board of education recorded its emphatic dis- 
approval of the attempt made in the state legislature to create a 
"state text-book committee," and dispatched one of their members, 
Dr. J. B. McGaughey, to St. Paul to express to the legislature the 
sentiments of the Winona board of education. The obnoxious 
measure became a law, but Winona schools were exempted from its 
provisions. The annual meeting in 1877 made no changes in the 
officers of the board. The reports of the clerk not only showed 
encouraging progress in school matters, but also a growing liberality 
on the part of the board in fixing teachers' wages, which were estab- 


lished as follows : Principal of high school per month, $130 ; 
assistant, $60 ; grammar school teachers, $60 ; secondary school 
teachers, $55 ; primary school teachers, $50. The enrollment for 
the year was 1,820, and the average attendance 1,260. The total 
receipts of the board for the year were $60,243.69, and the year 
closed with $15,968 in the treasury. 

In the spring of 1878 Dr. J. B. McGaugliey became president of 
the board ; Prof Dodge was followed by Prof. Irwin Shepard as 
city superintendent of schools ; the financial exhibit showed receipts 
in excess of $60,000, expenditures a little over $45,000. There was 
a hitch in the city council over the authorization of the tax levy 
required by law, and clerk Cole reported his ability to carry the 
schools through the school year with the aid of a temporary loan, 
which was accordingly done, no school tax being levied for that year. 
In 1879 Dr. T. A. Pierce was elected president of the board. Prof. 
Shepard was followed by Prof W. F. Phelps as city superintendent 
of schools, and the enrollment for the year showed a decrease of 
about 150 over the enrollment of 1877. This fact was due to the 
opening of several parochial schools in the city. 

Matters were in statu quo during 1880, but in 1881 Dr. Cole 
retired from the clerkship of the board, after six years' consecutive 
service, and was followed by W. J. Whipple, who held that office 
two years. Dr. Pierce continued at the head of the board, and in 
the fall Prof J. W. McNaughton, the present superintendent of 
schools, assumed educational control. 

The annual meeting in 1882 was principally noted for the pro- 
tracted contest for president, in which an adjournment was had to 
the following evening, after 130 ballots were cast. At the adjourned 
meeting Dr. J. B. McGaughey was elected president of the board 
upon the 187th ballot. 

The election held the evening of April 20, 1883, continued Dr. 
McGaughey in the chair, and elected Arthur Beyerstedt clerk of the 

A summary of the schools as now existing and controlled by city 
superintendent McNaughton is in brief as follows : 

High School Building. — One high school, of which Thomas 
L. Heaton, graduate of Michigan State University, class of 1880, is 
principal. His assistants are Mr. J. J. Helmer, Misses J. Mitchell 
and Frances Elmer. One grammar school ; three secondary schools, 
A, B, C ; four primary schools. Total schools in high school build- 



ing, 9 : total enrollment, 564 ; number of regular teachers, 12. 
curriculum of the high school is appended : 










Required for all 

Required for all 


Third Study for 
Business Course. 


4 mo. 
3 mo. 
3 mo. 

Algebra Com. 



En-ilish Composition 





Com. Arithmetic 
Essentials of Eng.Gram. 
Civil Government 


4 mo. 
3 mo. 
3 mo. 

Geometry j Physiology 
Physical Geography! Pliysics 
Physical Geography ' Physics 



Industrial Drawing 


4 mo. 

3 mo. 



General History 
Gi'neral History 

Viriiil I.Schillur 
Virgil iSchilkT 
Virgil [Schiller 


4 mo. 
3 mo. 
3 mo. 


English Literature 

English Literature 

Mental Science 
Political Economy 

Cicero Gicthe 
Cicero Giethe 
Cicero Goethe 

Madison School. — One grammar department, in charge of Miss 
Mary Youmans ; three secondary schools ; eight primary schools. 
Total enrollment, 623 ; total schools, 12. 

Washington School. — One grammar department, under care of 
Alvin Braley ; three secondary schools ; seven primary schools. 
Total schools, 11 ; total enrollment, 636. 

The entire educational force of the city comprises, for its public 
schools, 1 superintendent, 35 regular and 2 special teachers, the 
schools under their charge having a total enrollment of 1,823 
scholars. This enrollment is about the same as that of 1877, to 
which is to be added the 700 pupils enrolled in the parochial schools. 
There has, however, been a most gratifyhig improvement in the 
average daily attendance, the reports showing an increase of 300 in 
the average attendance of to-day over that of 1877, under the same 
nominal enrollment. There is no longer a school census taken, and 
the number of children between the ages ot 5 and 21 in the city 
cannot be given. The estimate is nuide of about 4,000 ; but if the 
proportion of enrollment to total number of school age was main- 
tained now as in years past, the number would be considerably in 
excess of 5,000. 

The work of the parochial school appears in connection with the 
history of the various parishes by which they are maintained. 



When the county of Fillmore was created out of Wabasha county 
by special act of territorial legislature, approved March 5, 1853, the 
new county thus created was organized for judicial purposes and 
divided into electoral precincts. One of these precincts was called 
the Winona precinct, and included within its limits the territory 
embraced in the level bottom lands on the west side of the Missis- 
sippi river in .latitude 4:4 degrees north, longitude 14 degrees and 30 
minutes west from Wasliington, and known as Wabasha prairie. 
Tlie life of Winona precinct as thus constituted was of short dura- 
tion. By special act of territorial legislature, approved February 
23, 1854, Fillmore county was in turn divided and the present 
county of Winona formed, its boundaries fixed as now existing, and 
Winona designated as the county seat. Under the provisions ot 
this act, a special election was held April 4, 1854, within the several 
precincts as then designated by the county commissioners of Fill- 
more county, for the purpose of choosing county and precinct officers. 
These commissioners were Henry C. Gere, Myron Toms and Wm. 
T. Luark. The precinct officers to be elected were, two justices ot 
the peace, two constables and one road supervisor. Under the 
Fillmore county administration the precinct officers were appointed 
by the governor of the territory, and for Winona precinct were, 
John Burns and John M. Gere, justices of the peace ; Frank W. 
Curtis, constable ; and Geo. W. Clark, road supervisor. These 
ofiicers held their seats until the regular territorial election, on the 
second Tuesday in October, when Geo. W. Gere and Wm. H. 
Stevens were elected justices of the peace and F. W. Curtis, con- 
stable. The terms of office for which these gentlemen were elected 
expired by operation of the special act of February 23, 1854, order- 
ing a special election to be held April 4 ensuing. The judges of 
election were appointed by the Fillmore county commissioners, the 
election held as ordered, and Winona precinct, besides casting her 
vote for the regular county officers, elected for herself as justices of 
the peace Wm. II. Stevens and Geo. H. Sanborn, and for constable, 


Frank W. Curtis. No official record of this election is on tile in the 
office in this county, as the returns were made to Fillmore county. 
The Winona county commissioners, elected /\.pril 4, 1854, met at 
Winona, the seat of government for the new county, April 28, of 
that same year, and the following day, April 29, 1854, redistricted 
the county. By this partition Winona county was divided into six 
electoral precincts ; one of these was named Winona and described 
as township No. 107 north, range 7, west of the tifth princij)al 
meridian. As will be noted by the description, the precinct of 
Winona, as then formed, was identical in its boundaries with the 
present township of Winona, including the corporate limits of the 
city of Winona. The offisiial term for which these offices were filled 
in April expired when the regular election for the territory was held 
the ensuing October. The official returns of this election — the very 
existence of which seemed unknown until they were unearthed for us 
by ex-county auditor Basford from among the musty archives of the 
county records — give the following as the result : justices of the 
peace, S. K. Thompson, A. C. Jones ; constables, F. W. Curtis, 
A. C. Smith ; road supervisor, Enoch Hamilton. It does not 
appear from any records in the office of register of deeds, or from 
any acknowledgment upon any instrument extant, or from the 
memory of any one familiar with those times, that A. C. Jones ever 
qualified as justice of the peace or exercised the functions of that 
office. There is abundance of parole evidence to show that G. H. 
Sanborn continued to exercise the authority of justice for months 
after the October election, and in connection with S. K. Thompson 
"preserved the peace" in Winona precinct. 

The election of 1855 returned Henry Da}^ and John Keyes, 
justices ; Harvey S. Terry and W. H. Peck, constables ; and Wm. 
Doolittle, road supervisor. 

The officers elected in 1856 were: justices of the peace, G. E. 
Tucker, I. B. Andrews ; constables, Harvey S. Terry, C. C. Bart- 
lett ; road supervisor, Asa Hedge. This was the last precinct 
election in which the residents within the city limits took part. The 
term of office for which the above election was held ex])ired with 
the charter election held Monday, April 6, 1857. 

From the formation of Fillmore county, March 5, 1853, until 
the charter election for the newly incorporated city was held, four 
years and one month later, the settlers on Wabasha ])rairie were 
subject only to such general laws and regulations as had been enacted 


by territorial authority for the government of such communities as 
were uninvested with corporate rights and privileges. This day had 
passed by for Winona and she was now to enter upon the larger and 
more responsible work of creating a city government, and adminis- 
tering its affairs, answerable only to herself within the limits of her 
corporate franchises. Before entering upon this phase of the history 
of Winona, it is necessary that some idea should be given of the 
growth in population and the material progress made by the little 
community from the date of its planting to the eve of its incorpo- 
ration, and for this purpose a brief reference to these matters will be 
all that is necessary. 

The population of Winona county at the date of its organization 
is generally placed a little below 800 — a slow growth, and one not 
destined to be much accelerated during the year and a half that fol- 
lowed. The attractions of southern Minnesota, to which Winona 
has ever been the chief gateway, seemed generally disregarded, and 
the rush of settlement was farther north along the Minnesota river ; 
the St. Paul press growing so eloquent in its descriptions of the 
beauty and fertility of that valley as to attract the attention of pro- 
spective settlers to that region. The protracted occupation of this 
section of Minnesota by the Indians, their final removal not having 
been effected until the autumn of 1853, had much to do in prevent- 
ing the early settlement of southeastern Minnesota. But when the 
vast territory lying west of Winona was opened to settlement in the 
summer of 1855, and the government land ofl&ce established here in 
November of that year, the change from the dull inactivity of the 
previous year was almost marvelous. The influx of population, the 
rapid increase in the number of business houses of all kinds, the 
activity manifest in every department of trade, the impetus given to 
all speculative movements, the number of buildings in course of 
erection, all testified to the fact that a new day and a better one had 
dawned upon the prospective metropolis of southern Minnesota. The 
condition of affairs at the close of the year 1856 may be summed up 
as follows : The population had increased from about 800 in Decem- 
ber, 1855, to 3,000 in December, 1856. There had been erected 
during the year 290 buildings of all kinds, among them three good 
churches, a large four-story warehouse, a commodious hotel (the 
Huff House, now standing), a steam flouring-mill with Ave run of 
stones, a large three-story banking building, besides scores of others 
of less note, yet decidedly creditable to the young city. An idea of 


the value of real property may be had from these specimen quota- 
tions of sales of real estate, taken from the columns of the "Winona 
Republican " of that date : "A lot on Second street, between Center 
and Lafayette, 40x100 feet, $1,600 cash; two corner lots on Walnut 
street, $1,800; a lot, 80 X 140 feet, corner of Second and Center 
streets, $6,000." The manufacturing establisliments were two steam 
saw-mills, one steam planing-mill, one steam flouring-mill, one cabinet 
manufactory with steam power. The river was open to navigation 
from April 8 to November 17, and during that time there were 1,300 
arrivals and departures of boats. A tri-weekly line of steamers was 
maintained for greater part of the season between Winona and Du- 
buque, and the forwarding and commission business for that season 
aggregated $182,731.96. There were fourteen attorneys-at-law and 
nine physicians waging war against crime and death, and about 150 
business houses, stores, shops, etc., distributed as follows: Dry goods, 
14 ; groceries and provisions, 16 ; clothing. 7 ; hardware and tin, 6 ; 
drugs, 5 ; boots and shoes, 4 ; furniture, 4 ; books, 2 ; hat and fur 
store, 2 ; wholesale liquors, 2 ; hotels and taverns, 13 ; eating-houses 
and saloons, 10 ; lumber yards, 5 ; blacksmith shops, 3 ; warehouses, 
4 ; brickyards, 2 ; livery stables, 2 ; sign painters, 3 ; watchmakers, 
3 ; butchers, 2 ; wagon and carriage shop, 2 ; fanning-mill maker, 1 ; 
gunsmith shop, 2 ; bakeries, 2 ; dentists, 3 ; gaugenean artist, 1 ; 
banking-offices, 6 ; real estate and insurance, 10 ; printing-offices, 2 ; 
harness shop, 2 ; barber shop, 3. To these may be added five 
churches and two schools, and you have a fair summary of Winona 
business at the close of the year 1856. The original plat of Winona, 
surveyed June 19, 1852, by John Ball, for Erwin H. Johnson and 
Orrin Smith, was so set apart and recorded under the revised terri- 
torial statutes of 1851, in accordance with the town site act passed 
by congress May 23, 1844. This original plat was bounded on the 
north by the Mississippi river, on the east by Market street, on the 
south by Wabasha street, and on the west by Washington street. It 
comprised a square, each side of which was six full blocks. This 
plat was enlarged from time to time by " additions," until at the 
close of 1856 the platted area on Wabasha prairie covered a tract of 
ground fully two miles in extent from east to west and nearly half 
that distance from north to south. The principal of these additions 
was never recorded as such, and is generally known as Huff's survey 
of the city of Winona. This survey and dedication was made in 
1854, and extended from the oi-iginal town plat on the east to Chute's 

WEsroNA CITY. 427 

addition on the west, a total length of seven blocks and a fraction, 
and covering an area considerably larger than the original plat itself. 
This addition does not now appear on the maps as such, and for years 
has been included and its blocks numbered as a part of the original 
town plat. The more important of the subsequent additions were 
Laird's addition and subdivision, immediately east ol the original 
plat. These covered an area of about 80 acres in extent, fronting 
north on the river and extending some half-dozen blocks to the 
south. Hamilton's addition, lying east of Laird's, was the largest of 
any of the plats, original or additional. It comprised an area of 160 
acres, extending westward beyond the macadamized road leading to 
Sugar-loaf Bluff, and running backward eight or ten blocks from the 
river. Within its limits are some of the most populous sections of 
the city. These, with Taylor & Go's addition, and Sanborn's and 
Hubbard's, all on the south, and Chute's addition on the west, were 
platted and dedicated before the close of the year 1856. Beyond 
the limits of these additions but little building has been done, save 
in the Polish quarter just east of Hamilton's addition, and in the 
vicinity of the wagon-works just west of Chute's addition. The 
latter of these settlements, in what is known as Evans' addition, is 
rapidly building up, and will some day be a populous portion of the 
city, lying, as it does, in the immediate vicinity of the manufactur- 
ing establishments recently located in west ^Vinona. 

That the county seat of Winona county was destined at no 
distant day to become a city of no mean proportions was very early 
accepted as a fact by her citizens, and preparations for investing her 
with corporate rights and privileges were not long delayed. As 
early as JSTovember 11, 1856, the "Winona Kepublican," in a brief 
editorial, called attention to the matter of securing a city charter, 
and suggested the necessity of taking definite action, alleging that 
the movement would be heartily supported by all the members of 
the territorial legislature from the southern Minnesota districts. A 
meeting of the citizens was accordingly called for Saturday evening, 
January 3, 1857. The response to the call was quite general. The 
meeting was held in Central Hall, and organized with Edward Ely, 
better known as Elder Ely, in the chair. W. "0. Dodge was elected 
secretary, the business of the hour stated, the measure of incorpora- 
tion approved, and after considerable discussion as to corporate 
boundaries, etc., a committee was appointed to draft a charter, and 
report the same at an adjourned meeting to be held on the following 


Saturday oveniiii^. The members of that committee, three only of 
whom are now residents of Winona, were : G. W. Curtis, W, 
Newman, C. IJ. Berry, William Windom, M. Wheeler Sargent, 
John Keyes and Edward Ely. On Saturday evening, the 10th inst., 
the citizens met, pursuant to adjournment of previous week, to hear 
the report of their committee. Hon. C. H. Berry, on behalf of the 
committee, presented the report, which at their instance he had 
drafted, together with an abstract of charter. The only question 
upon which differences of opinion arose was as to the proper limits 
for the proposed incorporation. Some were in favor of quite 
extended corporation boundaries, others advocated a comparatively 
limited boundary. The report favored extending the boundaries of 
the city to include the causeways over the slough at the east and 
west ends of town, the following reasons being adduced : That, as 
the maintenance of good approaches to the city more nearly con- 
cerned the citizens of the corporation than those outside its limits, 
the control and repair of the roads over the sloughs, by which access 
to town was only possible, should be under the care of the city ; 
that the vote of the county outside the city limits being in excess of 
that polled within the city, it would not be wise to allow the county 
vote, which might or might not approve the expenditures for main- 
taining these causeways in good repair, to control a matter so 
essential to the interests , of the city; that as the city would certainly 
reap the most benefit, it was only just that she should incur the 
responsibility of the increased outlay ; that it was a question whether 
the county had any right to appropriate moneys for a work so nearly 
sectional in its character ; and that in any event the more liberal 
policy would be for the city to assume the burden, leaving the 
county authorities free to assist in bearing it if at any time they saw 
fit. It was also represented that by extending the corporate limits 
a larger proportion of property-holders whose lands would be 
increased in value by their nearness to a large city would be taxed 
to defray the city expenses. The reasons of which the above is a 
brief summary were approved, the report adopted, the abstract of 
charter commended and returned to the committee with instructions 
to complete the draft and submit it as a completed charter for the 
adoption of the citizens at a meeting to be held the following Saturday 
evening, January 17, 1857. This was accordingly done, and the 
accepted charter was forwarded to St. Paul, where it came before the 


territorial legislature, passed, and the act formally incorporating the 
city of Winona was approved March 6 of that same year 1857, and 
became law immediately after its adoption. 


By the provisions of this act the extreme southeastern limit of 
the city was established just where the western boundary of Winona 
township touches the south shore of the Misissippi river. From 
this point the boundaiy line of the corporation was run due west 
four miles, thence north two miles, thence east to the middle of the 
Mississippi river, thence in a southeasterly direction down the 
middle of the stream to a point due north of the place of beginning. 
The ground thus inclosed within the corporate limits of the city 
formed an irregular four-sided figure ; its south boundary a right line 
four miles long, its west boundary a right line two miles long, its 
north boundary a right line running east about one and a-half miles 
to the shore of the river, from which point it followed the irregular 
shore line southeasterly to the west line of Winona township. The 
city was divided into three wards. The first ward embracing all 
that portion of the city lying west of Washington street. The 
second ward extending eastward from Washington to Lafayette 
streets, and the third ward including all between Lafayette street and 
the city limits on the east. The wards thus established were each to 
constitute an electoral precinct, the judges of election for which (at 
the ensuing charter election) were to be appointed by the county 
commissioners, as was the case in all precinct elections. The charter 
election was ordered to be held on the first Monday in April, polls 
to open at twelve o'clock and close at four o'clock, and the officers 
to be chosen were, one mayor, one recorder, one justice of the peace, 
one marshal, one assessor, one attorney, one surveyor and two 
aldermen for each ward. The mayor, aldermen and recorder to 
form the city council. 

Tuesday, April 7, 1857, the first charter election for the city of 
Winona was held, when the following vote was cast. 


Mayor R. D. Cone 291 

M. Wheeler Sargent 405 

Recorder E. A. Gerdtzen . ". 331 

James White 323 

Treasurer J. V. Smith 401 

H. B. Upman 291 




Marshal E. A. Batclielder 293 

G. W. Horton 213 

N. n udson 106 

P. B. Palmor 142 

Attorney H. W. Lainberton 439 

•. D. S. Norton 246 

Surveyor L. Pettibone 274 

H. B. Cozzens 417 

Justice Thomas Simpson 414 

H.Day 276 

Assessor First Ward, 0. M. Lord 97 

" " (I H. Blanchard 41 

Second Ward, A. P. Foster 107 

" '• V. Simpson 94 

Third Ward, I. Hubbard 109 

" " P. P. Hubbell 291 

Aldermen First Ward, W. H. Dill 94 

" " I. B. Andrus 81 

" " I. D.Ford, M.D 58 

" " P. V. Bell 43 

Second Ward, Tim Kerk 124 

" " G.W.Payne 113 

" " Sam Cole 88 

" " Geo. H. Sanborn 80 

Third Ward, J. Bolcom 217 

" " Jacob Mowery 205 

" " E. H. Murray 127 

" '' G. Lautenslager 1 27 

From these returns it appears that the maximum vote cast was 
for marshal, for which office 754 votes were polled ; the vote for 
recorder being the minimum, 654. The average vote was about 685 
to 690. The third wai*d vote was equal to the votes of the first and 
second ward in the ballot for aldermen, and led those wards in the 
vote for assessor, 400 votes being cast in the third ward for that 
office and only 339 in both the others. The usual proportion of 
population to voters would have given Winona at this time a census 
of 3,770 souls, so that the estimate of 3,000 population for the city 
was probably not much out of the way. 

The city limits were not long unchanged. The following year, 
1858, the act of incorporation was so amended as to change the city 
boundaries on the south and east. By this change, and an imma- 
terial one made nine years later, the southern boundary was fixed 
to conform in some degree to the south shore of lake Winona, and 
some quarter-sections were taken off the western end of the corpo- 
ration as originally bounded. By these acts about one and one-half 
square miles were taken from the area of the city as established by 
act of March, 1857. By act of Februai-y 10, 1870, a fui-ther curtail- 
ment of a quarter of a section was made, at which time the tract in 


tlie extreme west end of the city, known as the fair-ground, was set 
outside the city limits, and these are the only changes made in the 
boundaries of the city since its incorporation. The ward changes 
have not been numerous. February 15, 1865, the boundary line 
between the second and third wards was removed two streets east of 
that upon which it was originally established and Market street 
made the division line. When the whole act of incorporation was 
amended, Marcli 1, 1867, the boundary between the first and second 
wards was moved one street east and Johnson street became the 
separatmg line. February 28, 1876, a radical change was made 
The city was divided into four wards, and their boundaries respect- 
ively were, for the tirst ward, that portion of the city lying west- 
ward between the center of Washington street and the city limits ; 
second ward, that portion lying between Washington street on the 
west and Walnut street on the east ; third ward, that portion extend, 
mg from Walnut street on the west to Yine street on the east, and 
the fourth ward, that portion lying within the city limits eastward 
from the center of Vine street. These changes were aU made by 
special act of Minnesota legislature and are the only ones made in 
the several ward boundaries to date. 

Several changes, some of them quite important, have been made 
from time to time in the list of city officers, both as regards the 
nature of the office and the status of the officer. Under the original 
act of incorporation the elective officers of the city were : one 
mayor, one recorder, one treasurer, one marshal, one attorney, one 
surveyor, one justice of the peace, one assessor and six aldermen 
Some misapprehension concerning the election of assessors must 
have occurred at the first charter election, as three assessors were 
returned, one for each ward, a thing not contemplated by the act. 
The term of office for aldermen and justice was fixed at two years, 
all otlier official terms one year. By the act of March 8, 1862, the 
number of justices was increased to two, and the recorder, though 
still an elective officer, was denied any vote or voice in the proceed- 
mgs of the council, his duties being to keep a report of the council 
proceedings, to make an annual estimate in August of the current 
expenses for the year and of the revenue necessary to be raised 
therefor. A radical change in the list of elective officers was made 
by the act of March, 1865, which defined said officers to be a mayor 
two aldermen from each ward, two justices of the peace and city 
treasurer. The offices to be filled by appointment of the council 



were • recorder, marshal, assessor, attorney and surveyor, and the 
first regular meeting after tlie charter election was designated as tlie 
time and place of appointment. All terms of othce, except those 
of aldermen, which remained unchanged, were fixed at one year, the 
rule to apply to ottices filled either by election or appomtment. -By 
act of 1867 the original act was so amended as to virtually consti- 
tute a new one. By the later act the ofiicers to be chosen by the 
people were: mayo^, two aldermen for each ward, two justices of 
the peace, a treasurer and an assessor. The terms of office were as 
before established by act of March, 1865, with the exception of lus- 
tices of the peace, whose term was fixed at two years. The officers 
to be appointed by the council were : recorder, marshal, surveyor 
attorney and street' commissioner. All ]>ersons otherwise quahfied 

to vote for county and state officers were made eligible to vote at 
any city election ^in the election district, of which at time of votog 
they had been for. ten days resident, and were also qualified 
thereby to hold any city office to which they might be elected. All 
officers, elected and appointed, were required to take an oath of olhce, 
and- bonds were to be given by the marshal and treasurer. The 
city justices were given exclusive jurisdiction over all cases and 
complaints arising under the ordinances, police regulations, laws and 
by-laws of the city; the powers of the council were fully set forth 
in externa, and they were duly empowered to act in all matters per- 
taining to the peace, cleanliness and safety of the city, as also to 
the security and public conduct of the citizens. This " act ' vir- 
tually the one under which the city authorities now act, was dec ared 
to be of a public character and not contravened by any general law 
of the state confficting with its provisions, unless so expressly stated 


in the enactment of such general law. By act of February, 1870, 
council was restrained from incurring an indebtedness in excess of 
$10,000 for any specific purpose without first submitting the same 
to the voters of the city and receiving the sanction of two-thirds of 
the votes cast, for and against the measure. By special act of April, 
1876, aldermen were prohibited from receiving any compensation for 
their services, either directly or indirectly. A new departure in 
making up the ofiicial list of the. city was taken in 1877, by 
authority of an act passed that spring. Under this amendment the 
officers to be elected were : a mayor, treasurer, recorder, assessor, 
attorney, marshal, street commissioner, surveyor, physician, two 
aldermen for each ward and two justices of the peace ; the council, 
as heretofore, having authority to appoint such additional officers as 
in their judgment the interests of the city required. The term of 
all officers elected by the people was fixed at two years, and of those 
ajjpointed by the council one year. The experiment did not prove 
satisfactory, and in 1879 this act was repealed by an amendment, 
making the officers chosen by the people to consist of mayo*r, treas- 
urer, assessor, whose terms of office were for one year ; and two 
aldermen for each ward, and two justices, whose terms, as before, 
remained fixed at two years. By this amendment city justices were 
clothed with all the rights pertaining to justices elected under the 
general laws of the state, as well as the exclusive jurisdiction before 
given them, over all actions and complaints arising under the laws, 
ordinances, by-laws and police regulations of the city. 


SB 'DiSl JO 3iiud8 OJ joud Xij.) ,>m ui spjBAV 33JHI Xiuo aasM ajaijx 

111° 2-" 




^^^^.~ - " - - . .-• -g 


c3 o)^^ w c3 o o c; :S - rt "w—- ■■ •- ■ 





t-EI'^^ E?E?^^ SCO S^^ -s ^^^ =S a^ oJ S S IJ aJ^.^'g^ o o »c 

_ r- r- ^ t-^ g >J Pi ^ .- K- -^ 


§ S a a S S a a^^-^ a a^-.^. a a-;^ 

.s-£^ c o e s 3 5 = c.-.~ ' 


g :^s2cc2caal|aa|aJJil.' JcS 

H^ HtfT, n^n-nTtfr^.— ti-^CCr/.,— ir-<rD^^rT-!frt r^ — ^4^— -frtp 

o o 

. . . .J2J3 . .43 .'^^ -S-^ - - 



,^ <i <; -j; -s; -«; -C W W H t-i W W H W >-i i-s' -^' < ^' < -^' < ► 


"^"=11^'^' a a^^ a aws^S^^ 

I i i 

? CO cc 

s g s 

^ z ^. ^. ^. 

d d W W" B 

O O O Q P Q 

-< a 

o ^ 

3 13 PS 

o c, c :^ 

^ g 

;s t IS cs 
g; g g 1-3 


^ ^ ^ .§ 

> > > o 

w w w S 

« Q O « O 

^ s5 ^ 
2 2 2 

I a w 5 I 

> K -< W ,^ 
it; si tf" si t-a" 

d £ 
I "^ 

a > 

■o -c a 

^ S^ 3 

^ is ^ 

fc "S • "S 

5 5 5 

2 S 

:S C 3 a> 
o o p 42 

P^ Pk P>^ 

o o w 

CU Pm >-; 

c > > 

•^ 2 2 

w ^ 

'to W) 'bo "tie d 

in K w a 5 
fe fe &; fe fi 
«!-<-< «i as 

a a 

"S) o 

S 1 

a g g u 

a s. a I 

a a a ^ 

W ffi IB P^ 

> > > <i 


s I J :t 2 

^ $ f ^ s 

00 <T5 1^ 

i i i 

s 3 

»C «C> ^ op <-* So 
4 I <A 2 at ^ 
00 £ 00 00 £ So 

- c^ 





Minnesota was settled by the French in 16^0, and in 1763 they 
ceded the territory to Great Britain. 

In 1766 it was explored by Capt. Jonathan Carver, of Connecti- 
cut, and in 1783, about one hundred years from the present time, it 
became a part of the United States and was included in the ISTorth- 
western Territory. 

Minnesota contains the summit of the central tablelafids of the 
North American continent, where, within a few miles of each other, 
are the sources of rivers which find their outlets in Hudson's Bay, the 
Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Gulf of Mexico ; and it has more than 
fifteen hundred miles of navigable rivers, the sources of which are 
one thousand six hundred and eighty feet above the level of the sea. 

The first human inhabitants who occupied this land were the 
Mound Builders. Who and what they were, whence they came, or 
their ultimate fate, is wrapped in an impenetrable mystery that 
bafiies the most industrious scrutiny of antiquarians. Many plausi- 
ble theories are advocated by writers, yet by what means they dis- 
appeared will never be known, for, beyond a doubt, they disappeared 
centuries ago. 

Following their era, comes the Aboriginal period, or the period 
when the red race were in possession of this region, and probably 
all the American continent, when it was discovered in the eleventh 
century. The nation which occupied this spot and the region round 
about, from the period concerning which any tradition exists, was 
the Dahcotah, or Sioux, one of the most powerful of the Indian 
nations of North America. 

In 1834 they consisted of seven distinct bands, known as the 
"M'day-wakentons," or People of the Lakes, whose summer resi- 


deuce was in villages, the lodges being built of elm bark laid upon 
a framework of poles. 

The authority of the chiefs in olden times was very great, but 
from the date of the first treaties negotiated with government it 
began to decline, until finally the chief was merely considered to be 
the mouthpiece of the soldiers' lodge, the members of which consti- 
tuted the onl}^ real power of the bands. 

Old Wapashaw, long since dead, was the leading hereditary 
chief of the People of the Lakes, and in all intertribal afftiirs of 
importance his word was law, not only with his own particular 
band, but with all those belonging to the same division. 

But it is not necessary to speak at length of the red race in this 
work, as their character, history and customs are too well known. 

They seem doomed to disappear before the settlement of the 
white man, and there is something very sad in the way they have 
been dispossessed of their ancestral heritage by the palefaced 
intruder, however lightly they may be regarded by those who have 
mingled with them on the frontier. 

The first settlement of this part of Minnesota is due entirely to 
the French. In the year 1654 two adventurous young men connected 
with the fur trade followed a party of Indians in their hunting excur- 
sions for two years, and were probably the first white men that ever 
penetrated the country of the Dahcotahs ; and upon their return 
to Quebec they gave such rapturous accounts of the lands they had 
seen and the nations they had become acquainted with, that both 
trader and ecclesiastic burned with desire to "go up and possess the 

The discoverers of the Northwest were the very opposite of those 
who settled on the shores of Massachusetts bay and Connecticut 
river. The latter were men of calm, even temperament and stern 
faith ; the former were men of excitable temperament, stimulated 
by their nation and their creed to explore new lands. The latter, 
looking up to heaven, acknowledged no superior but the ever-blessed 
Redeemer, and looked for no other conquest than that of their own 
evil desires, content to till the land around their immediate settle- 
ments, to study the divine word, and to train up their children in 
the admonition of the Lord. The former were taught that the con- 
verting the heathen to the religion of Rome, and to conquest in 
behalf of the sovereign of France were particularly meritorious. 
Hence the colonists of Acadia, accompanied by their priests and 


bound by no social ties, were ever ready to desert their families and 
homes to seek for Lands where wealth might be obtained for their 
employers, or the glory of their church. 

Either accompanying the missionary, devoted to a life of pov- 
erty, or in his immediate rear, came the trader, devoted to, a life of 
gain, so that a chapel was hardly surmounted by a cross before 
a trading-house stood by its side. It was not until 1683 that a 
trading-post was established on this side of the Mississippi river. 

Nicholas Perrot, a native of Canada, who had been familiar 
from childhood with the dialect and customs of the Northwestern 
savage, together with all the excitement of border life, in company 
with twenty other bold, brave spirits, in that year visited the vari- 
ous nations, and with great enterprise opened trade with them. 

There is a tradition that the aged Mesnard started to carry tl^e 
religion of Rome to the far west, and, after residing several months 
on the southern shore of Lake Superior, he started on a journev, 
accompanied by one person only, for the bay of Che-goi-me-gon, and, 
becoming separated from his companion, he was lost in the forest. 
Tradition has it that he was killed by the Dahkotahs, and that his 
cassock and prayerbook were kept as amulets by them for many 
years. This, however, did not deter others from making the same 
venture, and Claude Allouez, also a Jesuit, visited the shores of 
Lake Superior in 1665. At that early day there were rumors of a 
large mass of copper on the northern shore, but he did not succeed 
in finding it. He pushed on his explorations until he reached the 
island of La Pointe, the ancient residence of the Ojibways, and he 
has been regarded as the first white man who trod the soil of Minne- 
sota. While he was preaching to the Ojibways on Lake Superior 
he heard accounts of Jean Nicollet, who in 1639 had advanced on 
a mission to the Winnebagos so far that he discovered the Ouiscon- 
sin river, and, floating down it, he heard from the Indians of a 
"great water," and also accounts of a powerful nation, called by 
the tribe Naudowessioux, meaning "enemies" in the Ojibway. and 
the mighty stream was called the "MeseSeepi," signifying "great 
river. " 

De Soto discovered the Mississippi in 1541, but the discovery 
was well-nigh forgotten until over a century had passed, when it 
was again discovered from the north by Joliet. 

The Sioux, or rather the Dahkotahs — the term Sioux being a 
nickname given them by the early voyageurs for the sake of con- 


venience — are the aborigines of this part of Minnesota, and Perrot 
being commissioned by De La Barre, then commander of Canada, 
"Commandant of all the West," pushed on his enterprise, until 
coming to or near the mouth of the Ouisconsin (Wisconsin) river 
he established a post which was known as Fort St. Nicliolas. 
He was also commissioned to establish alliances with the loways 
and Dahkotahs on the west side of the Mississippi river. Proceed- 
ing up the river from Fort St. Nicholas in fultillment of his commis- 
sion, he landed near the site of the present city of Wabasha, and 
erected a rude log fort, it being the first European structure in all tliis 
vast region, and a generation before New Orleans was founded 
two thousand miles lower down the great river. 

This primitive establishment within the limits ot the state, upon 
some of the old maps is appropriately marked as Fort Perrot, so 
called from its founder. During the winter of 1683-4 Perrot and 
his party proceeded up the river to visit tribes above the lake, and 
were met by a large delegation coming down on the ice to meet him. 
Upon meeting his party they returned, and escorted the Frenchmen 
to their villages. Perrot opened trade and negotiations with them, 
and seemed to accomplish all things required according to his instruc- 
tions, yet it appears that for some reason he abandoned the port for 
several years, returning to it in 1868. With a party of forty men 
he returned and resumed trade with the Dahkotahs, and in 1689 
formally claimed the country for France. The first official docu- 
ment pertaining to Minnesota was given by Perrott, and is worthy 
of preservation. I insert it in this work for that purpose. It reads : 
" Nicholas Perrot, Commandant for the King at the post of the Nadoues- 
sioux, commissioned by the Marquis Governor and Lieut. Governor of all New 
France, to manage the interests of commerce among all the Indian tribes and 
people of the Bay des Prcants, Nadoucessioux, Mascoutines, and other western 
nations of the Upper Mississippi, and to take possession in the Kings name 
of all the places where he has heretofore been, and whither he will go. AVe, 
this day, one thousand six hundred and eighty-nine, do in the presence of the 
Kev. Father Marest, of the Society of Jesus, Missionary among the Nadeous- 
sioux ; of Monsieur de Boueguillot, commanding the French in the neighbor- 
hood of the Ouisconche on the Mississippi ; Augustine Legardeur, esquire ; 
Sieur de Caumant; and of Messieurs de Seur, Herbert, Lemire and Blein! 
Declare to all whom it may concern that being come from the Bay des 
Preants and to the Lake of the Ouiskonches, and to the river Mississippi, we 
did transport to the country of the Nadouissioux on the border of the river 
St. Croix, and at the mouth of the river St. Pierre, on the bank of which were 
the Mantanwans, and farther up the interior to the northeast of the Mississippi 
as far as the Menchokatoux, with whom dwell the majority of the Songes- 


ketous and the Nadouessioux, who are to the northeast of the Mississippi, to 
to take possession for, and in the name of the king, of the countries and river 
inhabited by the said tribes, and of which they are the proprietors. 

The present act done in our presence, signed with our hand and sub- 

Then are given the names of those ah-eady mentioned. This 
record was drawn up at Green Bay, Wisconsin. 

During the year that Perrot returned to Minnesota, Frontenac, 
who was then governor of Canada, issued an edict that all French- 
men in the upper Mississippi country should return to Mackinaw, and 
Perrott, with others, was obliged to leave his post and return. 

From these accounts we learn that the first French establishment 
in Minnesota was on the shore of Lake Pepin, and just at the foot 
of the same, quite near to the present city of Wabasha, This lake, 
called by Hennepin "The Lake of Tears," was afterward named 
"Pepin," after the Dauphin of France and son of Louis XI Y. 

The fort was built upon the ground now occupied by the residence 
of Judge Yan Dyke. It was identified by Capt. F, W. Seely, of 
Lake City, as agreeing with statistics from the "United States Army 
and Navy Magazine," which he holds in his possession, Capt, 
Seely has very kindly furnished me with these investigations which 
I here subjoin. He says : "My first knowledge of it was acquired 
• twenty-seven years ago, when pheasant hunting in the chaparral 
near the present site of the Yan Dyke residence. While coursing 
through the dense growth of young oaks, I stumbled upon a ridge 
some eighteen inches in height, running in a straight line and 
parallel to the crest of the slope overlooking the river. My curiosity 
being excited, I followed it for some ten rods, until the dense growth 
of young timber obliged me to abandon the investigation. Of one 
thing, however, I was satisfied, namely, that the ridge was the 
work of men's hands, and, as I then believed, of the Indians, The 
work, commencing at the crest of the slope before mentioned, and 
ten rods south of the Yan Dyke residence, bent westward for about 
eight rods, when it makes an obtuse angle and runs parallel to the 
crest and directly through the location of the house, for a distance of 
ten rods or more. (Some of the work within the yard inclosing the 
house has since become obliterated by the grading of the premises, 
but at the time I first discovered it, was distinctly traceable through 
its whole length.) In 1864 I became possessed of a copy of the 
'Army and Kavy Magazine' — April number — which contained a 
complete history, amplified from French sources, of the early 


occupation of this country by adventurous Frenchmen from Canada, 
and inchided a precise history of old Fort Perrot, established in 
1683 'near the modern village of Wabashaw.' My thoughts 
reverted at once to the old fortification which I had discovered, and 
I am convinced that it would prove to be the remains of the old fort. 

"Some few years since, in company witli Mr. AYalton, editor of 
Wabasha " Herald" (without having in the meantime been near 
the ground since my first exploration, and having since that time 
added to my knowledge of military engineering by ten j^ears' service 
in the United States army, as an ofhcer of artillery), I visited the 
locality, which I found without any difficulty or delay, and found a 
portion of the old work (outside of Mr. Van Dyke's enclosure) as 
perfect as when I first saw it, twenty-five years before. Applying 
my knowledge of engineering to the location, I was then more than 
ever convinced of the correctness of my conclusions. 

'•Let any person with the least knowledge of defensive works 
stand on the veranda of the Van Dyke numsion, and look over the 
surroundings, and he must be convinced that it is the natural location 
for such a work as Fort Perrot, and the only one between that 
point and the lake. Westward from the fort was a gently sloping 
prairie, at that time probably clear of chaparral, which is of later 
growth, and which did not afford any cover or lurking-place for 
•attacking parties. Every foot of the ground within range, covered 
by the small arms in the loopholes of the palisades, the flanks of 
the inclosure similarly covered and protected, and facing the river, 
where the bateaux were moored, an abrupt slope to the watei-, easily 
guarded and defended. 

"The first separated from the semi-hostile village of Wabashaw 
by the broad arm of water, the modern 'slough,' which prevented a 
too intimate contact with the savages. The ground occupied by the 
work, much li ujher than the surrounding country, naturally commanded 
every approach, even the Indian village itself Here a few words 
as to the construction of the early frontier forts may not be inappro- 
priate : First, the bank was outlined, then a ditch was excavated, the 
earth therefrom thrown up on the inside^ forming a parapet, in 
which were planted palisades (split trunks of trees), set close together 
and loopholed for small arms. Inside the wall thus formed were 
banquettes — shelf-like places, whereon the defenders could stand 
while discharging their small arms through the loopholes. Inside 
the inclosure were quarters, store and trading-house, and sometimes 


a chapel^ all constructed of logs. Siicli works, when located in good 
comfnanding positions, afforded ample protection against marauding 
savages of those earl j days. In course of time, after being abandoned, 
the timbers of the old forts would rot away, but the excavations, if 
unmolested, would endure for generations. And so today, two 
hundred years since the construction of old Fort Perrot, portions of 
the works can be distinctly traced." 

One of the most picturesque scenes in North America is the 
approach to Lake Pepin. For miles, as the steamboat ascends the 
Mississippi, it glides through an extended vista, crowned in the 
distance by an amphitheater of hills which define the basin of the 
lake ; and in summer the islands in the river are covered with 
luxuriant vegetation, while tall cedar-trees, standing like sentinels 
along the bluffs, make an impression upon the mind of the traveler 
which a lifetime cannot erase. Again these steep walls of stone, 
with their fanciful outline of castles and ruined battlements, recede, 
and beyond are lovely prairies sufficiently elevated to be secure from 
all inundation, and these must have been entrancing spots to the 
ancient voyageur after a long and wearisome paddle in his frail canoe. 
From the magazine to which Capt. Seely alludes we learn that "just 
heloio Lake Pepin, on the west shore, is one of those beautiful 
plateaus," which so captivated Nicholas Perrot that he "landed" 
there in the year 1683 and "erected a rude log fort." Now it is 
evident that Capt. Seely cannot be mistaken in his conclusions in 
regard to the situation of this fort, from the fact that the plateau 
spoken of is the only one from the grand encampment to Point du 
Sable, and it being just at the foot of Lake Pepin, and nearly opposite 
the mouth of the Chippewa river, was just the place for an edifice of 
that kind. There is no other point of land sufficiently large to erect 
a fortification this side the lake either ; consequently our conclusions 
cannot be erroneous. The "slough" to which Capt. Seely alludes, 
at the time the fort was built, undoubtedly formed the main channel 
of the Zumbro river, which, from various causes, has been turned in 
its course, and now empties its waters in the Mississippi three miles 
lower down. 

In 1685 it became necessary for Perrot to visit the Miamis to 
engage them as allies against the English and Iroquois of New 
York, and it was for that reason undoubtedly that the fort was 
abandoned. It appears that the Foxes, Kickapoos, Maskoutens 
and other tribes, had formed a plan to surround and surprise the 


fort (luring Perrofs absence, and then use the munitions of war 
against their enemies the Sioux. A friendly Indian informed Perrot 
of this and he returned with all possible speed. On the very day 
of his arrival, three spies had preceded him and obtained admission 
under the pretext of selling beaver-skins, and they had left, report- 
ing that Perrot was absent and the fort was only guarded by six 
Frenchmen. The next day two other spies came ; but Perrot, in 
view of his danger, devised an ingenious stratagem. In front of the 
doors of the buildings, on the open square within the enclosure, he 
ordered all the guns to be loaded and stacked, and then the Frenchmen 
were made to change their dress after certain intervals and stand 
near the guns ; thus he conveyed the impression that he had many 
more men than the spies had seen. After this display the spies were 
permitted to depart, on condition that they would send from their 
camp a chief from each tribe represented. Six responded to the 
demand, and as they entered the gates their bows and arrows were 
taken away. Looking at the loaded guns, the chiefs asked "if he 
was afraid of his children." Perrot replied "that he did not trouble 
himself about them, and that he was a man who knew how to kill." 
" It seems, "they continued, "that you are displeased." " I am not,'' 
answered Perrot, ' ' aUJiough I have good reason to be. The Good Spirit 
has warned me of your evil designs. You wish to steal my things, 
murder me, and then go to war with the ISTadouaissioux. He told 
me to be on my guard and that he would help me if you gave any 
insult." Astonished at his knowledge of their perfidy they con- 
fessed the whole plot and sued for pardon. That night they slept 
within the fort, and the next morning their friends began to ap- 
proach with their war-whoop. Perrot, with the fifteen men under 
his command, instantly seized the chiefs and declared they would 
kill them if they did not make the Indians retire. Accordingly one 
of the chiefs climbed on top of the gate and cried out, "Do not 
advance, young men, or you will be dead men. The Spirit has told 
Metamineus [the name which they gave Perrot] our designs. The 
Indians quickly fell back after this announcement and the chiefs 
were allowed to leave the fort. The fort was afterward abandoned 
until 1688, when he again reached Fort Perrot. In 1690 Perrot 
visited Montreal, and after a brief stay again returned to the west, 
establishing posts at various times as occasion required. 

From these accounts it is evident that Fort Perrot was the first 
one erected west of the Mississippi, and that we cannot be mistaken 


in regard to the position of tlie fort. In 1695 a second post was 
built by Le Sueur on one of the islands near the mouth of the St, 
Croix, and a few miles below the modern town of Hastings. This 
fort was erected as a barrier to hostile tribes,, and the Indians were 
so strongly impressed by the power of France that the fort became 
a center of commerce for the western parts ; but in 1696 the 
authorities at Quebec decided to abandon all their posts west of 
Mackinaw, and the French were withdrawn from Wisconsin and 
Minnesota, Le Sueur, however, nothing daunted by this edict, 
applied to the king and obtained permission to return to Minne- 
sota in search of mines which he believed would prove rich and 
productive ; but upon his return to America the ship in which he 
sailed was captured and carried to an English port. After his release 
he again proceeded to France, and in 1698 he obtained a new license 
to take fifty men to the supposed mines. He arrived at a post not 
far from Mobile, on the Gulf of Mexico, in December, 1699, and 
the next summer with a felucca, two canoes and nineteen men he 
ascended the Mississippi, On September 14 he sailed through Lake 
Pepin, and on the 19th entered the river St, Pierre, now called 
Minnesota. Ascending that stream he reached the mouth of the 
Blue Earth, and there, near the present site of the modern town of 
St, Peter, established the third post of the French, This post was 
completed on October 14, 1700, and called Fort L'Huiller, after the 
farmer- general in Paris, who had aided the project. 

When forts are spoken of in connection with these explorations, 
the reader must not imagine them built with walls of masonry and 
buttresses and angles with ordnance protruding therefrom. In those 
days there was neither time nor facilities for such work, but picture 
to himself a rude log cabin surrounded by a few pickets of logs and 
sticks, which would seem but slight protection from the arrows of 
the savage. 

Le Sueur spent the winter of 1700 in the Blue Earth valley, and 
in April following commenced work at the mines, which were about 
a mile above the fort. In less than a month he obtained thirty 
thousand pounds of the substance found, four thousand of which he 
sent home to the king of France. In February, 1702, Le Sueur 
returned to the post on the Gulf of Mexico, and in the summer 
following sailed for France in company with the governor of 
Louisiana, who was a cousin of his by marriage. The next year the 
workmen he had left at Fort L'Huiller also came down to Mobile, 


being forced to retire by the hostility of Indians and lack of supplies. 
For twenty years the posts in Minnesota were abandoned by the 
Canadian government, and the only white men seen were soldiers 
who had desertedund vagabond voyageurs, who, in both taste and 
principles, were lower than the savages. 

It was at length perceived that the eye of England was on the 
j^orthwest. A dispatch from Canada says: "It is more and more 
obvious that the English are endeavoring to interlope among all 
the Indian nations and attach them to themselves. They entertain 
the idea of becoming masters of North America, being persuaded 
that the European nation which becomes the possessor of that section 
will in course of time be also master of all America." 

To thwart these schemes, which in time were accomplished, the 
French proposed to reopen trade and license traders for the North- 
west. On June 7, 1726, peace was concluded by De Signery with 
the Sauks, Foxes and Winnebagoes, at Green Bay, and two French- 
men were sent to dwell in tlie Sioux villages, and to promise that, if 
they would cease to fight the Ojibways, trade should once more be 
resumed, and a "black robe" come and teach them. In the follow- 
ing spring preparations were made to carry out these pledges, and 
both traders and ecclesiastic made arrangements to accompany the 
convoy. The Fox nation at that time were giving the French a deal 
of trouble, and in order to hem them in and prevent further diffi- 
culty it was decided to build another fort in the valley of the Upper 
Mississippi, which was the fourth and last post erected by the French. 



Ox the Wisconsin shore, half way between Fort Perrot and the 
head of Lake Pepin, there stands a prominent bluff, four hundred 
feet high, the last two hundred of which is a perpendicular limestone 
escari)ment. Opposite the Maiden's Kock, as this bluff is called, on 
the Minnesota side, there juts into the lake a peninsula, called by the 
French Point du Sable. It has always been a stopping-place for 
the voyageur, and here the party landed and proceeded to build 
the post. The stockade was one hundred feet square, within which 


were three buildings, probably serving the uses of store, chapel and ' 
quarters. One of the log huts was 38x16, one 30X16, and the last 
25x16 feet in dimensions. There were two bastions, with pickets 
all around twenty-live feet high. The fort was named in honor of 
the governor of Canada, Beauharnais, and the fathers called their 
mission-house St. Michael the Archangel. 

Maiden Rock derives its name from a beautiful legend connected 
therewith. These legends are peculiar to the Indians, owing, no 
doubt, to their having no way of transmitting tlieir lore other than 
tradition. I introduce sevel'al in this work, not so much for their 
intrinsic fitness, as from a hope that such promulgation may tend in 
some slight degree to perpetuate among us sentiments of respect for 
the once powerful and still interesting nations, whose traditionary 
legends are among the most curious and interesting to be found in 
the history of any people. The legend of Maiden Rock, or 
Lovers' Leap, as I shall call it, is romantic and beautiful. I present 
it here in juxtaposition with the fort because of its proximity and 
the fact of its being told perhaps for generations before the fort was 


Unchanging hearts which idols make 
Of hearts as true though frail as they, 
Are ever doomed to bleed and break, 
And learn their gods are but of clay ! 
But though thrice shattered to the dust, 
And all deformed the image lies, 
The true heart in its boundless trust, 
Will deem it kindred to the skies ; 
For love though tarnished by the fall 
Survives to every age the same, 
And wigwam, cot and lordly hall 
' Lights with its sanctifying flame. 
And, like its great Original, 
Is prompt to shield and slow to blame. 

Let us recall this legend hoar 
Of old Lake Pepin's sylvan shore 
Which floats adown tradition's stream 
Not as a vague and shadowy dream, 
But, as a high heroic theme, 
A stern reality of yore, 
Which hallowed once can die no more 
Than the fixed star's eternal beam. 


Eecord may fade and i)ile decay, 
And town and rampart waste to dust, 
And nations rise and pass away, 
And time blot out their names with rust, 
While deed and sacrifice sublime 
Live freshly in the memory then, 
Defying all the assaults of time, 
While live and beat the hearts of men. 

Ah ! Indian maid, thy heart was tried 
Long, long ago, as legends tell ; 
When in its fresh and virgin pride 
Love oped its gushing founts all wide, 
And sealed thee as the martyr bride 
Too rashly loving, and too well. 

Oh ! she Avas graceful as the fawn. 
The young, the peerless Weenonay, 
And lovelier than the dappled dawn 
On the blue skies of flowering May. 
Of all the tribe, she was the flower, 
The sweetest of the wildwood bower, 
And hers the star which ruled the hour. 
And braves of fame and chiefs of power 
On her enchanting beauty hung. 

But only one of all the band 
Had touched her heart with love sublime. 
Though few in years, his deeds of fame 
At war dance and at feast were sung. 
And cowering fear came with his name, 
When whispered by a hostile tongue. 

She used, when pensive twilight brought 
Sweet moments of romantic thought. 
To hear him wake the warbling flute. 
And to her mood the measure suit. 
Warmed by her smiles, with vigorous start 
First love upgrew within his heart ; 
And the wild i)assion of his soul 
Did brook no barrier nor control. 

But brothers ten of stern decree 

Did promise her, in revelry. 

To chieftain old with ample fame, 

Who wore the proudest war-bird jilume, 

And terror ruled where'er his name 

Did tales of great achievement prove. 

And chronicled with former wars. 

On brow and breast were glorious scars. 


A beautiful lake is the Lake of Tears, 

And wild fowl dream on its breast unscared ; 

The golden brooch of costly price 

Is dim with its radiant wave compared. 

And tribesmen dwelt on its banks of yore, 

But a hundred years have vanished thrice 

Since hearthstones smoked upon its shore. 

Edged by a broad and silvery belt 

Of pebbles bright, and glittering sand 

The waters into music melt, 

When breaking o'er the pebbly strand. 

Victors in many a forest fight, 

The bird of peace has taken flight ! 

The tree on which she framed her nest. 

Smoothed the bright feathers of her breast, 

Is shorn of its broad, leafy shield. 

Profaning hands the bark has pealed ! 

Encamped the predatory horde ; their only cheer, 

Parched maize and smoked-dried flesh of deer. 

Oft, brothers, have the paths of war, 

From home and country led us far, 

And council on this shore had met, 

And ominous of coming strife, 

Clashed tomahawk and scalping-knife. 

And Wapashaw, with eye of skill. 

Took measurement of slope and' hill, 

And tents were pitched by his command, 

On swells of undulating land 

Well guarded on the weaker flank 

By water and opposing bank. 

The sentinel was shown the bounds, 

Wherein to pace his lonely rounds. 

A signal by the chief was made 

To close the council, and obeyed, 

Yet promptly with one voice decreed, 

That Weenonay, the chieftain's daughter. 

Should wed the brave, whose brow with might 

Came decked and armed for the fight. 

And she with savory nourishment, 

And gourds of cooling water, 

Was bade to cheer and grace the feast. 

While her light form of forest tone 

Breathed a low and whispered moan. 

The chieftain urged his suit again. 

And Sire again renewed the strain, 

And bade her bridal robes prepare, 

Nor dare to look on Neemooshe, 

Whose bride of moons she ne'er should be. 


A thing of beauty is the slender vine 

That wreaths its verdant arm around the oak, 

As if it there could safely intertwine, 

Shielded from axe or lightning stroke, — 

Thus the maiden clung unto her love. 

While scalding tears and sobs outbroke 

From her o'er-labored bosom, while her ears 

Were filled with tones that did not soothe her fears. 

She sought her warrior firm and true, 
And then resolved, come weal, come woe. 
With him to flee, and free to go 
Where they might roam from day to day, 
Till life should peaceful pass away. 
Love hath more devices far. 
When instant need to rescue calls, 
Than all the strategy of war 
Investing long beleaguered walls ; 
With stealthy step and agile limb 
The unconscious sentinel is passed. 
And now she stands alone by him 
On whom her soul's great stake is cast. 

Comely to look on was the youthful pair : 

One, like the pine, erect and tall. 

Was of imposing presence; his dark hair 

Had caught its hue from night's descending pall ; 

Light was his tread, his port majestical. 

And well his chieftain brow became a form 

Of matchless beauty. And Weenonay, 

Ah, what of her? Bright shapes beyond 

This darkened earth wore looks like those she wore. 

Graceful her mien as lily of the pond 

That nods to every wind that passes o'er, 

Softer than ripple breaking on the shore 

By moonlight was her voice, and in her breast 

Pure thought a dwelling found — the bird of love a nest. 

Safely the guarded door is passed, 

The outer picket gained at last ; 

And now the uncovered way they take 

With the soft speed of startled deer. 

When bounding hoofs are winged with fear, 

To gain the skiff upon the lake. 

Gained is the lake and light canoe. 
But as they (piickly push from shore, 
With whoop and yell and wild halloo, 
Louder than battle's stormiest roar, 


A hundred dusky forms are seen 
Rushing along on either hand, 
Now plunging through the tangled green, 
Now madly leaping on the strand. 

Now, lovers, every sinew strain, 
Let no false stroke your speed delay, 
Your fierce pursuers on you gain ! 
Row for your lives, away ! away ! 

The eastern beach is gained at last, 
But scarcely have they sprung to land 
And vanished in the forest vast. 
Ere their pursurers gain the strand ; 
They leap like wolves, a howling band, 
Up the steep bank and follow fast. 
The maiden speeds her lover past, 
And fleetly leads upon the trail; 
Yet higher, nearer swells the roar. 
She turns — a rocky steep is near. 
Which lifts its flinty summit high — 
A landmark, desolate and drear, 
Piercing the blue encircling sky — 
And leads her fearless lover there. 
Not to surrender, but to die. 
Far, far below, a depth profound, 
The lake sends up a murmuring sound, 
Meet place beneath the cloudless skies. 
For love's last solemn sacrifice. 
Far down from crag to crag swift leaping. 
With eagle plume and eye of fire, 
Weenonay sees her wrathful sire ; 
Above, one lightning glance he threw, 
Then notched an arrow to the string. 
And firm his trusty bow he drew ; 
The maiden sprang before her lover. 
His form with her light form to cover, 
That when the whizzing shaft should fly, 
She, she alone, or both might die. 
Still came the sire, his bow on higli, 
Nor shook his hand nor quailed his eye ; 
And well the desperate lovers knew 
His arm was strong, his aim was true. 

All bootless now the daughter's prayer. 
The parent heart is dark and stern. 
No throb of mercy softens there. 
But fiercest fires of vengeance burn. 


In vain she warns her maddened sire, 
That sooner than give up her brave, 
The}'^ both would seek a fearful grave. 
And slumber in the embrace of death, 
Far down the shelving gorge beneath. 
He heard, but deigned her no reply, 
And bade her brothers quickly fly ; 
They come ! and from that beetling hill 
In close embrace the lovers leap ! 
Two forms are flying down the steep — 
A sullen sound, and all is still. 

The warriors stand like wolves at bay, 

When baulked all sudden of their prey ; 

But as that sound greets the quick ear 

From the steep brow, they blanch and start, 

And a strange awe of chilling fear 

Creeps through the chief's bold heart. 

Little dreamed he, relentless brave. 

That this, his soft and timid dove, 

By the transforming power of love. 

Would the bold, tameless eagle prove. 

One hurried glance he gives below. 

Then calmly readjusts his bow, 

And on his awe-struck warriors calls. 

Far down that steep, by the sylvan lake, 

Two hollow graves they quickly make. 

And there they laid them side by side 

In their fearful wedlock, bridegroom and bride. 

And ever yet, in the leafy June, 

When full on the lake shines the round, bright moon, 

And the winds are hushed and the waves are still. 

And the echoes sleep on the sacred hill, 

Two forms steal out from the covert shore. 

With shadowy bark and spectral oar ; 

And with never a wake or ripjjle, glide 

Slow and serene o'er the silvery tide ; 

But the whoop and the yell, and the wild uproar 

Of fierce pursuers, are heard no more. 


The following legend,' translated from the Sionx bj Baptiste 
Eocque, and written by Miss Cora Clark, of Toledo, Ohio, is given 
as a sample of the traditions that have been handed down from 
ancient generations : 

In the old Indian days of the North Red River country, when an eagle's 
feather was worth a pony, and one feather might be added to the warrior's 


head-dress for each scalp taken, many were the young braves who made 
solitary and dangerous trips to the Rocky mountains to seek along appalling 
abysses for the aerie of that noble bird, the eagle. When once a warrior had 
sighted a nest, he most jealously guarded the spot against intrusion, and, with 
Indian obstinacy, clung to his right of discovery. 

Een-moo (the Panther), a young and brave Sioux, left the camp of his 

people and took his course with the sun toward the land of its setting. Young 

Een-moo's heart and limbs were strong ; he knew no fear, either of the deadly 

enemies in his way, or of the heights and depths of the mountains. He was 

alone but for his pony, his bow and arrows and a knife ; he carried also one 

buffalo-skin and a blanket. Een-moo rea(,-hed the mountain country in peace ; 

the enemy had not crossed his path, and he had turned not, save to send an 

arrow in search of game. He placed his horse and blanket where none mio-ht 

discover them, and with his arrows, his buffalo-skin and his knife at his 

back, he went on further up the mountains. He stood at length midway 'tween 

earth and sky, and in rigid silence surveyed the scene before him. As he stood 

thus, the cliff spirit touched his eyes, his feet, his limbs; his eyes received the 

fire of an eagle's gaze, his feet and limbs the strength and swiftness of its 

pinions. Then came the climbing of dizzy heights, from which he peered into 

the cloudy chasms, searching the perpendicular sides for a chance shelf on 

which might be the rude angular works of an eagle's nest. This, the object of 

his strenuous efforts, was finally before him. His quick eye had cau<^ht si<^ht 

of a projection upon the face of a huge wall beyond the black depth^that lay 

at his feet. Indistinct at first, it had slowly assumed bolder outlines, and as if 

to confirm at that moment his almost assured hope, there was a movement a 

majestic rising and falling, and the huge bird had left her nest. Een-moo's 

frame was on fire ; his eye flashed along the upper edge of the cliff and then with 

equal speed marked out a course by which it might be attained He must 

traverse miles and miles of rock; but, nothing daunted, he commenced with a 

bound the perilous expedition. He- rose and fell ; he went under and over 

down, down, up, up, up, and he stood above and a little over the nest With 

folded arms, compressed lips and heaving breast he looked down, a long long 

distance down, and counted six eggs ; he looked further to the black rock' floor 

below. At this moment, from another position among those upper rocks 

another dark form appeared. A Cree warrior knelt with one hand pressed 

against a jutting stone, the other on the ground, and with eyes whose fire could 

be equaled only by that of the brave above him, he counted the same six 

eagle eggs. 

Neither saw the other, and day after day they crept stealthilv to their 
respective places watching closely the nest, and afterward still more' zealously 
the growth of the young birds. That the larger feathers might attain their 
full value, the birds were left unmolested until just ready to leave the nest 
The momentous day for action set by Een-moo came at length, and with the 
earliest eastern light he began his preparation. He cut his buffalo-skin into 
long, slim strips, from which he twisted a light rope. When he reached the 
spot the old bird had not yet gone for morning food. He had not Ion- to wait 
however, for her to rise from her nest, when he sent an arrow to the noble 
mother s heart. Attaching the rope to the rock above, he cautiously descended 
by it toward the nest. 

578 HISTORY OF wabasha county. 

With all his previous preparation and present caution he could not save 
himself, for there was a flaw in the rope, and when within a few feet of the 
landing, the cord, which alone connected him to all living thinjjs, snapped, and 
he was precipitated among the afl'righted birds. For a moment his strong 
Indian heart was daunted. He looked above, below, and saw no way of escape. 
It was but a moment ; with his inborn tact he soon set upon the only i)ossible 
means of escape. He saw in the movements of the frightened eaglets a strength 
that might be put to use. AN'ith his natural alacrity and fortitude he immedi- 
ately put into action liis desiierate thought. With a stick from the nest he killed 
one of the six birds and dropped it l)elow, nor did he for an instant watch its 
dizzy fall, for he knew he nuist follow. He then, with strands from the rope 
left in his hands, tied an eagle to the back of each ankle, to the back of his 
neck and one to each wrist, in such a way that their wings were free to move and 
in a natural condition. He raised his arms, made his body and limbs perfectly 
rigid, closed his eyes and let himself go from the rock. The birds, conscious of 
falling, tried with the greatest efforts to keep up, so that Een-moo not only did 
reach the ground in safety, although dizzy and half-unconscious, but found 
himself borne a considerable distance from the base of the cliff. He returned 
to find the old bird and one young one, and liaving secured the desii-ed feathers 
from the seven birds, proceeded to his liorse, and thereupon took his home- 
W'ard way, anxious, after so long an absence, to receive from his family the 
honor of his success. At night he was loth to stop, but much wearied he crept 
into a bear's cave to take a rest, having a knife and arrow ready, expecting the 
return of the animal. 

Meanwhile with the early-rising sun the Cree Indian appeared, having 
made his preparations also to secure the birds that morning; but what was his 
consternation to find the nest empty, and not only that, but to see hanging 
from above a broken Indian rope. Filled with anger and mortification at this 
seeming robbery, he hastened to the summit of the cliff and made close exami- 
nation of all the tracks, which soon told the whole story; but of the manner 
of escape he knew not, but knew that the enemy warrior was then on his w&y 
to the Eed River country, the land of the Sioux. He determined to be re- 
venged, and to yet secure the eagle feathers. Late that night Een-moo roused 
from slumber to find a dark object bending over him; before he could move 
one wrist was seized and a knife was descending, when with his free hand he 
caught the descending wrist of his foe. Neither Indian would release the 
other, so that they kept their rigid positions until daylight. In the gray dawn 
the fierce eyes of the foes met, — one a Sioux, the other a Cree, both young, 
brave, and of equal strength. The Cree claimed a right to the eagle feathers 
now in the possession of the Sioux, but Een-moo told him that he also had the 
right to them. They therefore agreed to settle the quarrel by gambling for the 
feathers. They came forth into the day, took ten arrows, and after arranging 
the mark, proceeded with the shots. Een-moo lost in succession each set of 
feathers, his pony, his blanket. He then in desperation put at stake his side 
scalp for one set of feathers, and thereupon won in succession each set of 
feathers, his pony, blanket and knife, and those of the Cree ; then the Cree 
put up his side scalp for a set of feathers. This Een-moo would not accept, in 
admiration of his enemy, but offered to give him half the feathers. This was 


done, and not only this, but the two exchanged friendship. As it was neces- 
sary, however, that there be a conflict because representatives of contending 
tribes had met, they agreed that at the full of the next moon they would each 
bring to that spot thirty warriors who should by a battle avenge the quarrel ; 
but as to themselves, one would rpide a white horse and the other a black one, 
and although they must appear as foes, one would not injure the other, as in 
reality they were eternal friends. 



In writing the history of any nation, county or town, it is de- 
sirable that it should be done before all traces of the facts related or 
the eye-witnesses of the events recorded should have passed away, 
in order that their accuracy may not be disputed. These records of 
the early history of Wabasha and this part of Minnesota, are all the 
more useful since the times which they chronicle have become already 
historic ; and, as we take into consideration the manner in which 
these bordermen held themselves amenable to the laws, being men 
of education and intelligence, we wonder not that they held the 
respect and fear of the savage tribes with whom they trafficked, or 
at their success among them. Men of brave, bold hearts themselves, 
the savage, so long as his rights were not infringed upon, could 
imitate, admire and respect the white man. The Indians have no 
heralds, no colleges, in which the lineage of their great men can be 
traced ; they have no parish register of marriages and births, by 
which to ascertain their ancestry ; no monuments of their own art, to 
commend to future ages the events of the past ; no Indian pen re- 
cords the deeds of their warriors, their chiefs, and their prowess, or 
their wrongs. Their spoilers have been their historians ! And 
although reluctant assent has been awarded to some of the noble 
traits of their nature, yet, without yielding a due allowance for the 
peculiarities of their situation, the Indian character has been pre- 
sented, with a singular uniformity, as being cold, morose and 
revengeful, unrelieved by any of those varying lights and shades 
which are admitted in respect to other peoples no less wild and un- 
civilized than they. Forgetting that in the annals of the Hebrews 
their second monarch did not scruple to "saw his prisoners with 


saws," and to "harrow them with harrows of iron'- ; forgetful, like- 
wise, of the scenes at Smithfield under the direction of our own 
British ancestors, and later, of the persecutions of the Quaker and 
the terrors of witchcraft ! But the poor untutored Indian has been, 
and is still, denounced with one accord as a monster of unapproacha- 
ble barbarity ! As though the summary tomahawk were worse than 
the iron tortures of the harrow, and the torch of the savage were 
hotter than the faggots of Queen Mary ! Tliere has been none to 
weep for the poor Indian, while his wrongs have been wholly ignored 
and unrecorded. The Indians have no writer, no scribe, to relate 
their own side of the story ; and yet the annals of men probably do 
not attest to a more kindly reception of foreigners than was given to 
the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth by the faithful Massasoit and the 
tribes under his jurisdiction; nor did the "forest kings" take up 
arms until they too clearly saw that either their visitors or them- 
selves must be driven from the soil which was their own, derived, as 
they believed, from the Great Spirit himself; and that nation is yet 
to be discovered that will not light for their homes, the graves of 
their fathers, and their family altars. No ! and until it be forgotten 
that by some christians in inftmt Massachusetts it was held to be 
righteous to kill Indian'^ as the familiars of Agazel, or until the 
early records of even tolerant Connecticut, which disclose the facts 
that the Indians there were seized and sold as slaves in British West 
Indies, or until the rivers Amazon and La Plata shall have washed 
away the bloody history of the Spanish-American conquest, and 
until the fact that Cortez stretched the unhappy Gautimozin naked 
upon a bed of burning coals is proved to be a fiction, let not the 
American Indian be pronounced the most cruel of men ! 

The fort established by Perrot was still in existence in the time 
of the French and Indian war, and was occupied as a military 
post at different times, until these lands were ceded to the English 
in 17G0. After the peace of 1763 between France and England was 
declared, Jonathan Carver, of Connecticut, conceived the project of 
exploring the northwest, and leaving Boston in June, 1766, he 
arrived at Mackinaw, then the most distant post of the British, in 
August, and from that point pursued the usual route to Green Bay, 
where he arrived on the 18th of the same month. The French post 
at that point was then standing, although much decayed. In com- 
pany with several traders, he left Green Bay and proceeded to "a 
town on the Mississippi, near the mouth of the Ouisconsin, called 


bj the French, La Prairie du Chien. It was a large town, con- 
taining about three hundred families. At a small stream called 
Yellow river, and just opposite Prairie du Chien, the traders, who 
had thus far accompanied him, took up their residence for the win- 
ter, and from that point Carver, with a Canadian voyageur and a 
Mohawk Indian for companions, proceeded in a canoe up the Mis- 
sissippi. They reached Lake Pepin on the first of November, land- 
ing a few miles below. Carver was very much struck with the 
appearance of the surrounding land at this halting-place, and he 
says, while his companions were preparing dinner, he " took a walk 
on land," and the surface of the country struck him as very peculiar. 
He thought "it must be the site of some vast artificial earthwork." 
This was undoubtedly below Wabasha, at what is now called Sand 
Prairie, also a part of the "Grand Encampment," where mounds 
and relics of the prehistoric age have been found, many of which 
are traceable and easily seen. It is worthy of remembrance, that 
Carver was the first to call the attention of the civilized world to the 
existence of ancient monuments in the Mississippi valley. In liis 
account of this ground, he says : '*0n the first of November I 
reached Lake Pepin, a few miles below which I landed, and while 
the servants were preparing dinner I ascended the bank to view the 
country. I had not proceeded far before I came to a fine level, open 
plain, on which, at a little distance, I perceived a partial elevation, 
that had the appearance of an entrenchment. On a nearer inspection 
I had greater reason to suppose that it had been intended for this 
many centuries ago. Notwithstanding it was now covered with 
grass, I could plainly see that it had once been a breastwork of 
about four feet in height, extending the best part of a mile, and 
sufiiciently capacious to cover five thousand men. Its form was 
somewhat circular, and its flank reached to the river. Though much 
defaced by time, every angle was distinguishable, and appeared as 
regular, and fashioned with as much military skill, as if planned by 
Vauban himself. 

"The ditch was not visible, but I thought, on examining more 
curiously, that I could perceive there certainly had been one. From 
its situation, also, I am convinced that it must have been designed 
for that purpose. It fronted the country and the rear was covered 
by the river, nor was there any rising ground for a considerable way 
that commanded it ; a few straggling lakes were alone to be seen 
near it. In many places small tracks were worn across it by the 


elks or deer, and from the depth of the bed of earth by which it was 
covered I was {ible to draw certain conclusions in regard to its great 
antiquity. I examined all the angles and every part with great 
attention, and have often blamed myself since for not encamping on 
the spot and drawing an exact ])lan of it. To show that this descrip- 
tion is not the effect of a heated imagination or the chimerical tale 
of a mistaken traveler, I find, on iiupiiry, since my return, that 
Monsieur St. Pierre and several traders have at different times taken 
notice of similar appearances, upon which they have formed the 
same conjectures, but without examining them so minutely as I did. 
How a work of this kind could exist in a country that has hitherto 
(according to the general received opinion) been the seat of war to 
untutored Indians alone, whose whole stock of military knowledge 
has only within two centuries amounted to drawing the bow, and 
whose only breastwork, even at present, is the thicket, I know not.