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Full text of "A random historical sketch of Meeker County, Minnesota : from its first settlement to July 4th, 1876"

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M5<^^5{^ COUX'I^Y, jViii^i^e^^oa. 

FROM ITS FIRST SETTLEMENT 



TO 



JULY 4th, 1S76. 



BY A. C.SMITH, 

PRESIDENT OF THE BAR 

AND OLD settler's ASSOCIATIONS FOR 

SAID COUNTY. 



WITH AN ACCURATE 'maP BY 

HENRY L. SMITH. 



LITCHFIELD, MINN. 

BELFOY & JOUBERT, 

PUBLISHERS. 

1S77. 



PREFACE. 

or manuscript, be filed iu the office of the Librarian 
of Congress, to the intent that a complete record 
may thus be obtained of the progress of our institu- 
tions duringf the first century of their existence. 

And whereas, It is deemed proper that such rec- 
commendation be brought to the notice and knowl- 
edge of the peojDle of the United States — 

Now, therefore, I, Ulysses S. Grant, President 
of the United States, do hereby declare and make 
known the same, in the hope that the object of the 
resolution inay meet the approval of the people of 
the United States, and that proper steps may be 
taken to carry the same into effect. 

Given under my hand at the city of Washington 
this 35th day of May, in the year of our Lord 
1S76, and of the Independence of the United 
States, the looth. 

U. S. GRANT. 
By the President, 

HAMILTON FISH, 

Secretary of State. 



CHAPTER I. 



The region known as the " Big Prairie '" west of 
the •' Big Woods " has been known to white set- 
tlers but 2 1 years, and yet the twilight of uncer- 
tainty has already thrown its shadows, and the 
night of forgetfulness seems about to descend and 
forever obscure many little incidents which, al- 
though in detail seem of little consequence, vet all 
go to make up a readable history of anv commu- 
nity. 

The Centennial year of our great Republic 
seems to open up an opportunity, which the Pres- 
ident of the United States recommended to our 
people to improve and place in permanent shape for 
preservation, the historical data of the various 
counties and towns of the Republic. 



2 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

In a little while the venerable gentlemen who 
composed our first settlers will all be gathered to 
their fathers — "their children engrossed by the emp- 
" ty pleasures or insignificant transactions of the 
'• present age (or in the greedy pursuit of the 
"almighty dollar.) will neglect to treasure up the 
" recollections of the past and posterity will search 
" in vain for memorials of the days of the Patri- 
"archs" (Knickerbocker's History of New York.) 
Our history will be but a shadow, and the names 
of Ripley, Hall, Whitney, DeCoster, Campbell, 
Fitzgerald, Weymer, Salisbury, Dougherty, Atkin- 
son, VanNess, Mitchell, Dorman, Taylor, Evans, 
Skinner, Jewett, Kennedy, Stevens, Harvey, Pi- 
per, Caswell, Angier, Willis, Dart, Whitcomb, 
King, Greenleaf, Branham. Fitch, Ball, Hoyt, Gris- 
wold, Grayson, Stanton, Robson, Richards, 
Gorton, Wakefield, Heath, Warren, Willie, Kruger, 
Ralston, Schultz and a score of others will soon 
be enveloped in doubt and fi.ction, like those of 
" Romulus and Remus of Charlemagne. " 

Prior to 1855 the country now embraced within 
the boundaries of Meeker and Kandiyohi counties, 
in the State of Minnesota, was occupied by those 
denizens of the forest known as the Sioux Indians. 
This is their old stamping ground. The Mississippi 
River was the dividing line between the Sioux and 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 3 

Chippewas, and for centuries they are said to have 
nursed a deadly feud. The former heroes of this 
territory, the Sioux, were and still are, perhaps 
among the most powerful of the Indian tribes in 
the northwest. These, like all other ti'ibes are 
gradually losing their prestige and compelled to 
leave their reservations granted at some prior pe- 
riod, in apparent good faith. Their fate is inevita- 
ble. The only practical lav/ of what we call 
civilization is, that the inferior in prowess, yield to 
the superior race. The doctrine is cruel and inhu- 
man, not to say " savage, " but unavoidable and im- 
perative. Crowd the Indian to the wall — wait a 
time for further decimation, then drive them into 
still narrower limits and so on, till the Indian canoe 
with its solitary occupant, disappears toward the 
setting sun, and is finally lost to sight and sense, 
and the life of one race, whose glory was to hunt 
and fish, gives place to another more powerful, 
but with as little regard to moral and intellectual 
attainment except so far as it is enforced by law 
falsely denominated the law of civilization. Sta- 
tistics of the Indian war in Meeker county alone 
will justify what we say. The course and policy 
of the United States toward the Indian tribes, has 
ever resulted in peculation to the operators and 
death to the Indian, with no more prospect of civil- 



4 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

ization or christianization to-day, than one hundred 
vears ago. Government might quite as well en- 
force the practice of the '' Oneida Institute " on 
the American people, as to drive Christianity or 
civilization into the Indian in the manner it has 
sought to do for more than a century past. 

The w^ar-like Sioux — driven to the Rocky Moun- 
tains, are compelled to make their last fight (and 
no insignificant one at that,) for tribal existence. — 
In just one hundred years after the Declaration of 
our National Independence, the Government is 
engaged in the expensive, perplexing and perilous 
effort to drive the last nail in the coffin of Ameri- 
can Pagan existence. It will ultimately succeed 
Init at what cost time alone can determine. 

We are besfinninsf to realize the enormous con- 
tract we are pledged to fill. The strength, as well 
as the bravery of the Sioux, has been greatly mis- 
represented. They can certainly bring into the 
field 30,000 warriors, and twice as many troops will 
be required to thoroughly and quickly subdue 
them. With homes in the wilderness of the moun- 
tains and forests, strange to say they are better 
mounted [for this country and purpose than the 
United States' Army backed with 500 millions of 
annual revenue and 40 millions of people. They 
are equally well armed and superior shots. Finally, 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 5 

from th<i very nature of their individual style of 
fighting-, they are magnificent skirmishers — the best 
in the world; and necessarily the deployed line 
must be most frequently used in Indian vi^arfare. 

The fall of the chivalric Custer and his brave 
command, will be but a drop in the bucket of the 
sacrifice of human life and treasure. 

To understand the extent of the Indian war the 
Government has upon its hands, it is necessary to 
have a correct knowledge of the position and pow- 
er of the hostile .Sioux and their allies. In one of 
the late reports of the Commissioner of Indian af- 
fairs the location of the different agencies is giv- 
en, with the number and condition of the Indians 
on each reservation. The entire Indian population 
of the United States, exclusive of Alaska, is esti- 
mated at 295,084. In Dakota, Montana and Wyo- 
ming, there are nearly 70,000, divided as follows: 

DAKOTA AGENCIES. 

Men. Women. Total. 

Sisseton Agency (Sioux) : : 682 c;82 1,264 

Devil's Lake (Sioux) : : : : 434 586 1.020 

Grand River (Sioux) : : : 6,269 

Cheyenne River (Sioux) : : : 6,000 

Upper Missouri (Sioux) : : 1,600 1,395 2,995 
Fort Berthold (Gros Ventres, 

jMandan and Arickarees) : : 901 1,202 2,103 

Yankton (Sioux) : : : : : i?947 

Ponca : ::::::: 383 355 738 

Whetstone (Sioux) : : : : 2,350 2,650 5,000 



6 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUXTX. 

Flandreau special (Sioux) : : : roo 

MONTANA. 

Blackfeet Agency (Blackfeet, Bloods and 

Piegans) : ::::::::: 7.S00 
Milk River Agency (Sioux) : : : : : 10,62:^ 
At other agencies and wandering : : : : 14,000 

WYOMING. 

Red Cloud Agency (Sioux and Cheyennes) 9,177 



Total number in hostile country : : 68,638 

According to the estimates given in the same 
report, about sixty per cent, are women; this gives 
27,000 warriors within the Indian Territory, which, 
considering the number of bands that have never 
settled at any of the reservations, is a low estimate 
of their strength. According to the same calcula- 
tion the Sioux and Cheyennes, now openly at war 
would be able to bring nearly 22,000 men into the 
field. From all accounts received from the seat of 
war, one fact seems clear, and it is that the estimate 
made as to the number of Indians actually on the 
war path and operating against the troops is below 
the real number. 

Had the Indians been compelled, at an early day 
to adopt agriculture and stock raising for the chase 
— individualization of their property— submission to 
territorial government as wards of the nation — 
the sale of intoxicating drinks visited with the 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 7 

penitentiary,-had they at the same time been furnish 
with scliools and honest missionaries, the result 
might have been vastly different. 

Strange that a philosophy so false should have 
been pursued for a hundred years by the most en- 
lightened nation on earth, until annihilation be- 
comes absolutely necessary to close the scene. 

When we were a boy, we caught a young gray 
fox before his eyes were opened. We tamed him 
to the playfulness of a kitten, — but as he grew up 
a •' gray fox, " he, one morning, took our fingers 
with the meat, and the result was — annihilation to 
the fox. Such is Indian history. Moral suasion is 
useless — there are hardly exceptions enough to es- 
tablish the rule. 

CHAPTER II. 

On the old Government map of 1842 accompa- 
n}ing the official report of J. N. Nicollet and J. C. 
Fremont, of astronomical and barometrical obser- 
vations and surveys of the hydrographical basin 
of the Mississippi during the year 1S36, to and in- 
cluding 1840, and long before the territory now 
composing Minnesota was christened, and before 
St. Paul was dubbed " Pigs Eye, " this territory 
was appropriated to and known and divided up 
as resei"vations for different sub-Indian bands. 

The portion south of Fort Snelling and east of 



8 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

" Mankasa " (Mankato) was known as War-pe- 
ku-te country. All west of Mankato River, and 
southwest of the Upper " Minnesotah, " was 
known as the War-pe-ton and Sisseton country. 
The whole classed as Undine (or Spiritual) region; 
while the entire country west of St. Anthony, and 
north of the " Minnesotah " was known as the 
M-de-wa-kan-ton country, a little west of the cen- 
ter of which, in latitude 45, and longitude 95, Nic- 
ollet retained as the most beautiful lakes in Min- 
nesota, the romantic Indian name of Kan-di-yo-hi. 

The terms St. Anthony, Fort Snelling, Manka- 
sa, Le Sueur, Lac qui Parle, St. Peter, Kandiyohi 
and Blue Earth, all find a location on NicoUefs old 
map. The Coteau du Greene Bois, ranging 
north-west and south-east throug-h the centre of 
the State, constitutes the height of land from which 
streams flow in all directions. Small streams take 
their rise in Kandiyohi county and flow in all di- 
rections, the lakes being near the height of land, 
and are situate about 1,200 feet above the level of 
the sea. 

Meeker and Kandiyohi counties unquestionably 
constitute the Garden of the State, and few will 
be the circling years, ere these counties will teem 
with the richest gifts of Ceres and be dense!}- fill- 
ed with a thriving and enterprising people. 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 9 

dwellings will adorn the hillsides and peep from 
the numerous groves surrounding sparkling lakes 
and en-trance the beholder as he gazes on the fairy 
scene outspread before him. 

In 1S75, Meeker county alone sent her offering 
to " those who hunger for bread " to the tune of 
six hundi-ed thousand bushels of wheat, and in less 
than five years more, Meeker and Kandiyohi 
counties will be fully able to feed the entire State. 

In the sunimer of 1855, John W. Huy and Ben. 
Brown poled a canoe up the Crow or Hassan 
River in search of pine timber as far as the j^i'es- 
ent site of Forest City, and made a hasty explora- 
tion of the country. D. M. Hanson, Thomas H. 
Skinner, Fred Schultz and Dr. Riplev arrived at 
the site of Forest City about the same time, via 
Glencoe. 

The following spring the countv of Meeker was 
organized on paper — County Commissioners, D. 
M. Hanson, Dr. Frederick Noah Ripley and J. 
W. Huy; Register of Deeds, Milton G. Moore; 
Sheriff, Abijah Bemis. 

In March, 1856, Thomas H. Skinner and John 
W. Huy took possession of the town-site of Forest 
City, and subsequentlv had the same surveyed and 
platted. 

The followingr are the names of the several 



lO HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

towns in this county, with their Congressional 
designations and derivations: 

NAMES OF FIRST SETTLERS, ETC. 

(ii8 — 29 means Township 118, north of the 
base Hne, and 29 west of the fifth principal 
meridian, according to the United States survey, 
and so of the other towns hereinafter mentioned): 

118 — 29 — CoUinwood; so named by the first 
settlers who came from CoUinwood, Canada. For 
a few years prior to its actual settlement it was 
known as New Virginia. The first permanent 
settlements were made in May, 1866, by Oliver 
Rasnick, Jacob Hutchins, Thomas Hutchins, 
Henry Fuller and Geoi'ge Fuller. Town organ- 
ized May 8, 1866. 

O. Rasnick was the first Justice of the Peace. 

The first death in the town was a child of E. K. 
Counts. 

First couple were married in 1867, John Taylor 
to Miss Elizabeth Hutchins, and about the same 
time, Alex. Ramsey to Miss Margaret Hutchins. 

118 — 30 — Ellsworth; named at the suggestion of 
Jesse V. Branham, jr., after the unfortunate Col. 
Ellsworth whose tragic end occurred at Alexandria 
during the war of the rebellion, first settled in 
1856, by Dr. V. P. Kennedy, T. R. Webb and Dr. 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. II 

Russel Whiteman. Kennedy came in June and 
Webb in July. 

The first child born to Dr. Whiteman the fol- 
lowing year. The second were twins to Wm. H. 
Greenleaf, June, i860 — both dead. 

The second death was a man by the name of 
Halstead, in 1S63. The village of Greenleaf is 
embraced in this township and was founded in 
1858, by W. H. Greenleaf, Dana E. King and 
Bennet M. and Judson A. Brink. 

First school house built in 1S59; first teacher, 
Miss Lydia Angler. First and only lawyer, Mark 
Warren. Rev. J. C. Whitney preached the first 
sermon at Greenleaf, (Presbyterian). There is one 
Indian Mound in the Township which has not 
been opened. This town was originally attached 
to Rice Citv in 1S5S. — organized as a separate 
township September i, 1S68. This township was 
not exempt from incidents of the Indian war in 
1S63. 

Two weeks after the attack on Hutchinson, 
Caleb Sanborn having been killed at Cedar Lake 
the day before, a small party, consisting of Lewis 
Harrington, Frank Jewett, T. R. Webb, Dave 
Hern, Nath. Pierce, Daniel Cross and Silas Greene 
'came out from Hutchinson for the remains of 
Sanborn. When north of Cedar Lake woods, 



12 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

three guns were simultaneously fired by unknown 
hands, and Cross fell mortally wounded. Five of 
the party, less Webb, sprang into the double wagon 
and made their escape round the lake. Webb took 
to a small boat on the lake and paddled for Cedar 
Island where he was compelled to spend the 
night. The Indians lined the lake shore during 
Webb's retreat, but not till after he had reached a 
safe distance did he turn to the red skins and place 
his thumb to his nose — thus inviting them to come 
where he was if they wanted him. 

The next morning Webb returned to Hutchinson.. 
and as he approached town, met some fifty persons 
coming out to look up him and Cross. 

This party recovered the remains of both San- 
born and Cross and took them to Hutchinson. It 
was afterward ascertained that there were thirteen 
Indians in the skirmish. 

ii8 — 31 — Greenleaf; named after Hon. Wm. H 
Greenleaf, who first commenced improvements by 
the erection of a mill dam on the site of the 
village of that name, and the subsequent erection 
of a flour and saw mill. The first settlers of this 
Congressional Township were three brothers Wm., 
Herman and Charles Kruger, in the s^^ring of 
1857, originally attached to the town of Ness — 
organized as town of Greenleaf, August 27, 1S59, 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 13 

including 118 — 39, 30 and 31, except sections i to 
6 inclusive. 

When we first saw^ Wm. H. Greenleaf, he was 
standing up to his knees in the mud in the outlet 
of "Lake Willie," artistically laying up the sods 
with his hands, in a fruitless endeavor to prevent 
water from running down hill ! We are glad to 
say that he has had far better luck at other business 
since. 

Lake Willie was named after U. S. Willie, Esq., 
a young lawyer who lived a year or two at Forest 
City, and died there. 

Two gentlemen by the name of Orcutt and 
Pratt effected a settlement in this town in 1856, on 
land now owned by Vincent Coombs. They 
plowed about 3 acres, and while at dinner one day 
the Indians killed one of their oxen, which broke 
up their team, and becoming disheartened deserted 
their claims and went to Forest City where they 
remained till fall when they left the country. 
Branham and Whitcomb settled in 1857 and the 
McGannons in 1858. 

118 — 33 — Danielson, originally part of Acton, 
was organized distinctively March i3th, 1872, and 
named after Nels Danielson, who settled in this 
town in 1861, where he continued to reside till 
his death in 1870. His family still reside there. 



14 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

Noah White, Esq., first settled in this town in 1857 
but abandoned it in 1858, removing to Kandiyohi 
county where he has ever since resided and 
still resides. Noah, was the political " Moses " of 
Kandiyohi 'county for about 16 years. In long 
years gone by, when the Republican party wanted 
to concentrate public sentiment and obtain a full 
delegation from Kandiyohi county in State and 
District conventions, they had but to look up Noah 
White and the thing was fixed. 

The native mosquitoes and fleas of Kandiyohi 
county will be long and pleasingly remembered by 
various politicians of Hennepin county during the 
past decade. 

Having occasion to spend a beautiful moon- 
light Autumn night on one of these occasions, 
watching the Republican politicians, we enjoyed 
a nights rest on the soft side of a log with the bark 
on and an oak chip for a pillow, and as the silent 
watches of the night drove sleep from our eye lid, 
our position called to mind the words of a great 
philosopher: 

" Life is an inconceivably beautiful thing, so 
soon as we reach that point whence we can look 
out upon it through a clear conscience and a 
character well buffeted by experience. The one 
diffuses a pure, heavenly light over all the strange 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 



15 



and complex mass which meets the eye, the other 
tones down our enthusiasm without destroying the 
vigor. " 

119 — 39 — Swan Lake, was named after a lake 
of that name in this township — originally part of 
Kingston. The first settlers were men by the 
name of Ay res and Richardson in 1856, from 
Mexico, N. Y. They were surveyors. They left 
in 1862 and the Indians soon burned their cabin. 

After the Indian war, Isaac N. and A. W. 
Russel, were the first settlers in 1S64 or 5, and 
were followed soon after by a colony from 
Kentuck3^ 

The village of Dassel is embraced in this town, 
and was platted and settled in the spring or 
summer of 1S69, on the completion of the St. 
Paul and Pacific Rail Road to that place. It was 
organized as a separate town September 4, 1S66, 
and the name changed to " Dassel, " after a railroad 
gentleman of that name. The old farm or claim 
of Ayres and Richardson was sold and conveyed 
about 6 or 7 years ago to Mr. Harlow Ames. 

118 — 30 — Darwin, (organized April 5, 1S58,) 
takes its name from a man of the 19th century 
who was so unfortunate as to own stock or bonds 
of the St. Paul & Pacific Railroad Co., and not 
from the originator of the Darwin-ian theory. 



l6 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

that " all the world and the rest of mankind "' 
sprang originally from the monkey. 

Until the railroad was built this town was 
known as "Rice City," named by a partv of 
surveyors from Dubuque, who made claims on 
paper, and who laid out and platted a townsite 
which they named " Rice City, " in honor of Hon 
Edmund Rice, of St. Paul. John Curran was one 
of the first settlers of this town. 

119 — 31 — Litchfield, is named after another 
unfortunate stockholder of the Railroad company, 
who, it appears, resides in the rural village of 
London, England. The Congressional township 
was originally called " Ripley " from the lake of 
that name in said town, and the lake was named 
from the fact that near its banks one Dr. Riplev 
was frozen to death in the winter of 1855-6, and 
his remains found and buried in the spring of 
1S56. (See chapter,Dr. Frederick N. Ripley.) 

Two or three years later the name was changed 
to " Ness " in honor of Ole Halverson Ness, Esq. 
This name was taken from the name of the elec- 
tion or church district of Norway, whence came 
the first settlers of the town in July, 1856. 

Ole Halverson, of Ness, now called Ole H. 
Ness, Henry Halverson, Ole Halverson, of 
Thon, now called Ole H. Thon, Nels C. Hanson 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. I^ 

Guilder Olson and Amos Nelson, of Fosen, now- 
called Amos N. Fosen, were the first settlers, 
three of them had families. They settled on their 
present farms in July, 1S56. Amos N. Fosen, our 
present worthy County Treasurer, first moved into 
the town of Acton, hut soon found that town 
would not hold him for scarcity of land, and he 
therefore finished his claim and settlement in the 
town of Ness — he worked the first winter for Ole 
H. Ness, at splittincr rails, and was the first known 
rail splitter in the county. Henry Halverson huilt 
the first house — Ole H. Ness huilt the first barn 
and lived in it till the next season. 

Ole T. Halverson was the first child born in the 
town, to Flenry Halverson. 

Lutheran Church organized in 185S, but no 
building erected till Litchfield was founded in 1869. 

The first school district was organized in 1861 
and school house built. The first teacher was John 
Blackwell. 

The Jones family (so called) were the first five 
persons massacred in the Indian war, and were 
buried in this town in one broad grave in the cem- 
etery of the Lutheran Church. 

There are a number of small mounds similatinor 
Indian mounds in this town, mostly in the timber, 
and of evidently great age. None have ever been 



iS HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

explored. In 1869 the town of Litchfield was platted 
and settled, and the county seat was removed from 
Forest City to Litchfield by a vote of the people 
in the fall of 1S69. As before remarked, the town 
and village of Litchfield took their present name 
in honor of a Mr. Litchfield, of England. Mrs. 
Litchfield is said to have given $2,000 to the erec- 
tion of the Episcopal church, parish school and 
parsonage at this point. 

On the present town-site, Mr. Waller's shanty 
was the first structure erected, and the " Litchfield 
House " the first building of any size. These build- 
ings, however, were not on the original town-site. 

The first building on the town-site proper, was 
thatofTruls Nelson, on the opposite corner north 
of the Town Hall, and now occupied by John Pet- 
erson. B. F. Pixley's house was the second. Heard 
& Ward's store was the third. H. B. Johnson's and 
Joseph James' buildings next, and so on. 

Mrs. Marietta, wife of C. O. Porter, was the first 
woman on the town-site to reside. — Mrs. M. L. Pix- 
ley was the second. These ladies arrived in Litch- 
field respectively August 26th and 27th, 1869. 

There are now five church edifices here, to- wit: 

Presbyterian, Episcopal, Methodist, Christian or 
Campbellite and Swedish Methodist; also a union 
school house, costing three or four thousand 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTX. IQ 

dollars, and a Town and Masonic Hall,26x72 feet, 
costing, when finished, about four thousand 
dollars. Present population, twelve hund- 
red. 

LAWYERS. 

A. C. Smith, F. Belfoy, Chas. H. Strobeck, S 
A. Plumley, E. A. Camp1)ell, N. C. Martin and L. 
C. Spooner. 

PHYSICIANS. 

Drs. V. P. Kennedy, F. E. Bissell, and L. P. 
Foster. 

CLERGY. 

Rev. Messrs. T. G. Crump, Episcopal; J. S. 
Sherill, Presbyterian; I. H. Riddick, Methodist 
and F. A. Grant, Christian. (See Chapter on 
Churches.) 

Litchfield boasts a steam flour mill of 7 run of 
buhrs, owned by R. S. Hershey & Co. 

119 — 32 — Acton was organized April. 1S58, and 
originally embraced iiS — 32, and the south half 
of 120 — 32. Acton takes its name from Acton, 
Canada, where the Ritchie family came from 
when they first settled in Acton, in 1857. In 1857 
Robinson Jones, Howard Baker and mother and 
Abram Kelley settled here. Capt. Robinson 
and John Blackwell came in about the same time. 
All except John Blackwell had formed an acquaint- 



20 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

ance with each other in a lumber camp the previ- 
ous winter, on the upper Mississippi. Of the old 
settlers named, Abram Kelley alone remains. 

The first child born in Acton was to Peter Ritch- 
ie. Jones, Howard Baker and his mother were 
three out of the five killed by the Indians, August 
lyth, 1862, at the house of Howard Baker. 

120 — 29 — Kingston ; was named by Geo.. A. 
Nourse, Esq., a lawyer, then of St, Anthony, now 
residing in Nevada. This town was organized 
April 5, 1S58, aud embraced 119 — 29, 120 — 29 and 
121 — 29. 

Benjamin Dorman was the first man to turn the 
sod in this town, while m the fall of 1857, Mr. A. 
P. Whitney, Henry Averill and S. B. Hutchins 
took possession of the town-site of Kingston, on 
Crow River and commenced the erection of the 
dam, where now stands the Kingston saw and flour 
mill. Whitney is now in California, Averill has 
gone to parts unknown, and Hutchins resides in 
Wright County. 

Some six or eight young men — the aristocracy 
of Forest City — having heard of the arrival, and 
not having seen a lady for three or four months, 
joined in a "pleasure excursion " to Kingston, to 
see Mrs. Fitzgerald. This Avas the first pleasure ex- 
cursion that took place in Meeker County. On be- 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 21 

ing introduced to Madam Fitzgerald, she proved 
to be a very good, kind,straight-forward, plain-spo- 
ken woman, who remarked that the " skeeters had 
been av^-ful." Slightly elevating the crinoline, she 
exhibited an instep swolen and distorted by mus- 
quito bites, and assured the masculines present that 
that was not an over-wrought picture of her entire 
condition. The bojs returned to Forest City wis- 
er and more reflective, if not better men. 

In 1858 some flour had been stolen from Kings- 
ton, and a search warrant was duly placed in Sher- 
iff' Jewett's hands, with the view of finding the sto- 
len property. Examining various houses with the 
assistance of Deputy Sheriff' Maddox, they entered 
the house of Madam Morris Powers. Fearing 
the flour might be concealed In the cellar, the dep- 
uty descended through a trap door, whereupon 
Madam Powers stationed herself,wlth a tub of hot 
suds at the trap door,arfd with a tin dipper obstruct- 
ed the egress of Maddox, and he was not seen for 
about an hour. Maddox soon thereafter resigned 
his office. 

120 — 30 — Forest City received Its name at the 
hands of Thomas H. Skinner, who entered the 
town-site of the U. S. Government in February, 
1858. The town had been settled two and a half 
years previous, and among the first settlers were 



23 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

Wait H. Dart, David Mitchell, W. H. Vanness, T. 
C. Jewett, John Whalen, Edward Campbell, Dud- 
ley Taylor, John Flynn, T. H. Skinner, D.M. Han- 
son, Dr. F. N. Ripley. R. Schultz, Chas Johnson. 
J. W. Quick, Matt Standish, John W. Huy and oth- 
ers. 

The site of Forest City was originally intended 
to have been made farther up the river,in the town 
of Harvey, on the old Wigle claim (so called), now 
owned by Mr. Driver, and was to have been called 
by the Sioux name of Kar-i-shon or Krow. 

This town was organized April 5th, 1858, em- 
bracing the east half of 120 — 31 and 120 — 30. 

Of the first settlers above named, Dart, Mitchell. 
Vanness, Jewett, Campbell, Whalen, Schultz, and 
Mrs. Dudley Taylor, with their families, alone re- 
main. 

The log house now owned oy Mr. John Heath, 
was the first public house in the county, and was 
kept by Mr. and Mrs. Dudley Taylor. Mr. Taylor 
afterwards enlisted in the United States service — 
became disabled by the falling ot the deck 
of the steamer " Gladiator, " on the Tennessee 
river, and subsequently died in the State of New 
York, where he formerly lived. 

D. M. Hanson, a fine young lawyer, and an es- 
timable gentleman, with whom the writer was 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 23 

quite well acquainted, died in Minneapolis soon af- 
ter his return from Forest City, in the spring of 
1856. 

Dr. Ripley froze to death on the prairie seven 
miles south of Forest City, in the winter of 1856, 
and his remains were found in the spring, by Wm. 
S. Chapman, now of California, and buried near 
that beautiful lake adjoining Litchfield, which now 
bears, and will forever bear, his name. — (See Chap- 
ter, Dr. Frederick N. Ripley). 

Thos.H. Skinner died at Milwaukee, August 20th 
1863, ^^^ was buried at St. Albans, Maine ; aged 
29 years. Up to the time of his death, he was 
President of the Forest City Town Company. 

John Whalen and John Flynn came through the 
big woods in the spring of 1856, near Kingston, 
fording the Crow River at that point with the wa- 
ter shoulder deep. The river was swolen and the 
banks full from heavy rains, and they found it a vast 
deal easier to get into the river than to get out. 
Whalen finally drew himself out by a root on the 
bank, and Flynn was rescued by Whalen. They 
brought their bread from St. Anthony, and after 
selecting their claims, they started on their return 
fortheir families. They had one small loaf of bread 
two weeks old, and about the size of a ten-pound 
cannon ball, and of somewhat similar appearance, 



24 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

which was to last them to Monticello, and until it 
was necessary to use it, they wrapped it in a hand- 
kerchief and used it for a pillow. The first nig^ht 
out, some person stole it, and ihey had to go 
through the woods without eating. Staid at Mon- 
ticello one night, and were charged $6 each for 
supper, breakfast, and lodging on shavings. They 
returned with their families, and reached their 
claims Oct. 32, 1856. 

120 — 31 — Harvey. This town was named in 
honor of James Harvey, who settled in that town 
in i860, and subsequently resided at Forest City 
during the Indian war. 

Harvey was first settled by John and Thomas 
Dougherty in 1S56. They broke 25 acres of land 
that summer. A man by the nameof McCue came 
into the town about two weeks ahead of the Dough- 
ertys, but soon left. This town was originally a 
part of Forest City, but set off, and organized sep- 
arately in 1867. There were no marriages or deaths 
in this town till 1870. Dennis Dougherty and 
Mary Finnegan were married in May 1S70. Ed. 
Dolan, a child eight years old, died the same year. 
Thomas Dougherty was the first Justice of the 
Peace. 

Mr. E. O. Britt was among the first settlers of 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 25 

this town. His mother. Charity Britt, nee Tib- 
betts, came with the family from Maine. She was 
born in Litchfield, Maine, April 3d, 1773, and is 
consequently now 103 years of age — the oldest 
woman in the county, if not the state. She pre- 
empted 160 acres of land. 

The site of Foi'est City was first located within 
this township, and was to have been called by the 
Indian name of Kar-i-shon or Krow. 

120 — 32 — Swede Grove, was first settled in 1S57 
by N. E. Hanson, Nels Elofson, Hans Peterson, 
Peter E. Lund, Nels Weylander, Andrew Peter- 
son and John Rosencranz and a few others — 
most, or all with families. The town was named 
by N. E. Hanson and Nels Elofson, from the fact 
that this town was settled by Swedes. This town 
was originally a part of Acton — was organized by 
itself March 15th, 186S. Nels Elofson was ap- 
pointed Post-master in 1859. 

121 — 30 — Forest Prairie — is situate north of For- 
est City, in the big woods, and was named Forest 
Prairie for the same reason that the boy named his 
pony " Snow Ball " — because he was black as jet. 
It was called Forest Prairie because there was not 
a bit of prairie in the town. First settled in the 
spring of 1866, by Merrit B. Case, C. T. Groot, J. 
S. Reynolds, George Scrivner, ^.eorge Smith, Mr. 



26 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

Polk and by Stevens and Roach, mostly with fam- 
ilies. Next year the town was pretty well settled 
by the arrival of new-comers. This town was du- 
ly organized June loth, 1S67. Mr. Stoors was the 
first Post-master, in 1867. 

121 — 31 — Manannah ; was organized as a town- 
ship, April 5th, 1858, and originally embraced the 
west half of 120 — 31, 120 — 32, 121 — 31, and 121 — 

32- 

On the 15th of November, 1855, Chris Davis, 

Green Sykes, Ziba Caswell and Nathan C. Cas- 
well left Monticello, Wright County in search of a 
mill-site and farm-land, passing through the " big 
woods, " so-called, and struck the prairie near the 
present site of Darwin, thence north to what is now 
Forest City, thence down Crow River about 10 
miles, and thence on a straight shoot back to Mon- 
ticello. Trying it again, on the loth day of De- 
cember 1855. Ziba Caswell and N. C. Caswell 
started for the big prairie, and emerged from the 
woods near where Kingston now stands, thence up 
stream past Forest City, (then a City of "Magnifi- 
cent Distances, " no buildings obstructing the view) 
Harvey, Manannah, Union Grove and Swede 
Grove, thence returning, concluded to trade with 
" Uncle Sam " for some claims at Manannah on 
tick. Arrived at Monticello, December 24th, 1855. 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 27 

On this second trip, the only white men the}" met 
on the prairie, were Thomas H. Skinner and D. 
M. Hanson, who were in camp at Kar-i-shon. 

In 1856, Alonzo, Ziba, Silas, Albert and N. C. 
Caswell captured the town, and together with 
James Nelson, Edward Brown, and A. D. Pierce 
took up the claims around the old townsite, and 
built the first shanties in Manannah, backing their 
provisions from Monti cello. Ziba Caswell and one 
J. W. Walker surveyed and named the town-site of 
Manannah in December, 1856. The settlement 
was increased the same fall by the addition of Car- 
los Caswell, John Tower, Andrew Hamilton, and 
Li!cy Ann Lobdell, nee Slater, (See Chapter, "A. 
Wild Woman's History "). On the 4th of March, 
18^7, the Caswells put up the first building of any 
size, designed for a hotel. Prior to the organization 
of the town, the County Commissioners appointed 
N.C.Caswell Road Supervisor, April ■27th, 1857, 
being: the first ofiice ever held in said town. The 
first prairie broken by the Caswells, May 4111,1857. 

First marriage was James Nelson and Elizabeth 
A. Caswell, by E. B. Kingsley, J. P., in the spring 
of 1857. First child born was Hattie Estella Kim- 
ball. First death was Samuel Clvde. 

In 1857 J. W. Walker built a saw mill on Crow 
River at this point, which was carried off by the 



28 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

freshet in 1S59, and was never rebuilt. Two or 
three years since, Mr. N. C. Hines erected a fine 
flour and saw mill, a mile or two below the old 
site,and a fine village has sprang up in consequence- 

A stockade was erected at the old town-site of 
Manannah in 1863, to aid in the protection of the 
settlements of that region, and a few soldiers sta- 
tioned there by Col. Ney-Smith, of Wisconsin, be- 
ing a portion of his regiment. It was here, one 
fine sun-shiny day of that year, that we greeted 
Hon. M. J. Severance in his military blouse, sun- 
ning himself on a log as high private. He was in 
the line of his duty. 

This town was a point of tragic interest during 
the fall of 1862, connected with the Indian War, 
an account of which will be found elsewhere in 
this volume. 

121 — 33 — Union Grove ; was first settled in 1S56 
by Lyman Allen, Andrew Hamilton, and by two 
other men by the names of Baker and Haywood. 
Allen and Haywood returned to Massachusetts in 
i860. Baker is dead. Mr. Allen named the town, 
wherefore or for what is unknown. We have been 
])romised a sketch of the early settlement and in- 
cidents of this town, but have thus far failed to re- 
ceive it. This town was duly organized April 18, 
1S66. 



HISTORY OP^ MEEKER COUNTY. 29 

117 — 31 — Cedar Mills ; this town took its name 
from Cedar Lake, situate in that locality, and the 
lake received its christening at the hands of Nicol- 
let and Fremont, from the fact of an island in the 
lake covered with red cedar. It was hence desig- 
nated on the old map as Ran-ti-tia-wita, the Indian 
for '' Red Cedar Island Lake." 

This town was first settled in 1856 by Daniel 
Cross, who was killed by the Indians in 1862. The 
widow and family of three children still reside on 
the old claim. 

In 1S57 R.J. Brodwell, O. S. Merriam, Philand- 
er Ball, Geo. R. Jewett and a few others settled 
here. Mr. Nichols built a flour mill at this point 
in 1858, with three run of stone — capacity, 60 bar- 
rels per day. 

116 — 32 — Cosmos; was named by an eccentric 
gentleman, an early settler by the name of Hoyt, 
who was frozen to death four yeai's ago last win- 
ter, in an effort to go on foot to the Minnesota Riv- 
er. 

Dr. Kennedy says the word " Cosmos " is Greek, 
and the Dr. knows, and that it signifies " the uni- 
verse. " The Dr. is an original Greek scholar,and 
if he has deceived us, we shall never forgive him 
— never. We think the Dr. is right, for the Greek 
order of architecture pretty generally prevails in 



3© HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

this township, mostly of the plain Doric, which 
was invented hy the Greeks, and it was in this 
very town that the rigor of the seasons obliged the 
settlers to construct shelters from the inclemenc\ 
of the weather, and here they first learned to plant 
trees on end and then lay others across to support 
a covering. The bands which connected those 
trees at top and bottom, first gave them a clear 
idea of the base and capitol of pillars. 

Mathews and Eddy were among the early sett- 
lers, but it was not much settled till after the Indi- 
an war. This town and Cedar Mills were voted 
from McLeod county, and became legally attached 
to Meeker County in 187 1. 

This town is now settled up with a hardy, en- 
terprising people. 



CHAPTER III. 



All history, except of wars, is usually made up 
of little things, incidents, waifs floating on the 
stream of time, seemingly of no account as they 
pass, exciting, it may be, a smile, hardly worthy of 
a record, and yet in the fitful passage of a century, 
and the historian looks back for those little inci- 
dents with an interest that would not surprise us, 
could we realize a tithe of their importance, in the 
estimation of those who shall come after us. 

Had we a record of all the little historical re- 
miniscences, as they transpired, connecting the 
present with the past of ancient Jerusalem, we 
would probably not be surprised and mortified at 
so much of its present disgusting appearance of 
squallorand misery, bodily, mentally and morally, 

(30 



32 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

as almost leads us to doubt the integrity of scrip- 
ture, when we there read of its ancient splendor 
and magnificence. A few centuries of history lost 
to that ancient city, made up of little things per- 
haps, has produced more skepticism in the world 
than all the false doctrine that has ever been jDrac- 
ticed since the christian era. 

Waterloo and Austerlitz — so boldly emblazoned 
on the page of history, were never of a tithe of the 
importance, as the silent efforts of the people dur- 
ing the last century to peacefully qualify themselves 
and their children to maintain by education and 
intelligence, the vital principles of self-govern- 
ment. 

In a former chapter, we gave the date of settle- 
ment of each town in Meeker County, and the 
names of a few of the earliest settlers. We now 
propose a random account of circumstances and 
incidents such as we think will not only interest 
the readers at this day, but be of more material 
value in the future. In this we are not confined 
to civil and judicial histoi'y, for while we were con- 
sidered as " afar oft'" on the frontier, carving or 
trying to carve out a name and a future for our 
county, we found a national war of gigantic pro- 
portions in the South, and while congratulating 
ourselves that men and monev were all that would 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 33 

be expected of us, and that we were fortunateh' 
far removed from bloody scenes, an Indian war of 
savage ferocity suddenly burst over our heads, 
and came near to our total extinguishment. 

Between a depletion of men for the South, and 
self-defence on the frontier, there were few in 
Meeker County to indulge an idle hour. 

The summer of 1S56, BenjamlfT Dorman com- 
menced the fii"st farming operations, by breaking 
^he prairie sod. Morris Powers was the first to 
follow suit. Powers died the next season. Dor- 
man " still lives. " Their farms were situate be- 
tween Forest City and Kingston. 

The county was named in honor of Hon. B. B. 
Meeker, of St. Anthony — why or wherefore is 
unknown, unless, indeed, the Italian climate of 
the " Big Prairie, " the richness of her soil, and 
the beauty of the surroundings, were found typi- 
fied in the geniality of the Judge's temperament, 
and the quiet, good-natured rotundity of his per- 
son. Judge Meeker died at St. Anthony a couple 
of years since. 

The 4th of July, iS^6, was first celebrated west 
or the big woods, at Forest City. On the 22nd 
day of June, 1856, Rudolph Schultz, Chas. John- 
son and Jas. W. Qiiick ]>acked a liberty-pole out 



34 HISTORY OF MEEKE){ COUXTY. 

of the woods and raised it in Forest City, prepar- 
atory to the 4th. A small tin pan was well scoured 
with muck, and nailed on the top for a ball, and 
the stars and stripes were duly raised. . The flag 
was made of white cotton furnished by T. C. Jew- 
ett ; red flannel by Matt. Standish, and blue den- 
ims by John W. Huy — at a loss to each, respec- 
tively, of a "biled" shirt, one pair red flannel 
drawers, and o%e pair of overalls. What took 
place on the 4th of July, was never recorded. 

The first child born fti the count}^ in July, 1856, 
was Miss Sarah Jane — born in a camp wagon — to 
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Dougherty. The next, and 
first male child born, was Ole T. Halverson, to 
Henry Halverson. Both childien still live in the 
county. 

The first death in the county was a young man 
by the name of Frank Parsons, Nov. 12th, 1856, 
aged 20 years. He was buried on the town-site of 
Forest City. 

The first marriage in the county was Joseph 
Weymcr to Mary Dorman, in August, 1857, by 
the Rev. John Robson. They " still live. '" 

The first sermon preached was by Rev. John 
Robson, (Methodist) Nov. 1S56. He was from 
Boston, and in 1859 he returned to that city, and 
died at Melrose, March 5th, 1867. He erected, and 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 35 

operated the first saw mill at Forest City — it was 
run by steam. 

On the 33nd of March, 1858, A. C. Smith, Reg- 
ister of the U. S. Land Office, and John D. Evans. 
Receiver, arrived, with the archives of said office, 
at Forest City, and with others to the number of a 
baker's dozen, were feasted with fresh oysters in 
the log cabin of his honor the President of the 
Town Company, T. H. Skinner, and which w^as 
demolished some years since, by the vandal hand^ 
of Mr. Mallory. who now^ owns the ground on 
which it stood. 

The arrival of the U. S. Land Office at Forest 
City was considered an important era in the histo- 
ry of the county, and gave quite an impetus to its 
settlement. 

Of the early settlers in the county, many of them 
remain, while others have gone to parts unknown. 
or paid the debt of nature. There are from 75 to 
135 voters who now reside in the county who were 
here prior to the commencement of the Indian 
War. 

The financial crisis of 1857 and '58 did not facili- 
tate a very rapid growth to Meeker County. At 
the commencement of the civil war, she had about 
300 voters. No county in the State furnished 
more men in proportion to its population, than 



36 



HISTORY OK MEEKER COUNTY. 



Meeker — the first installment in 1861 and the sec- 
ond in 1S62-3. Over 125 men from the county 
found their way into the Union armies, many of 
whom were not credited to the countv or State, as 
they had previously removed therefrom, in conse- 
quence of the Indian hostilities — none were ever 
drafted — and Meeker County is yet credited with 
six three-year men, or 18 years service in the next 
WAR ! But three were known of the entire num- 
ber, to have been killed in battle, viz : 
Reuben Wait, Wellington S. Gates and William 
Johnson — some 10 or 15 died in hospital. 

The following is belie\ ed to be a very correct 
list of volunteers from Meeker County, with the 
number of their regiment in the State, so far as 
known : 



NAMES. 


REG. &c. 


NAMES. 


REG. kc. 


Angier, Albert 


Third. 


Kennedy, VP 


Fifth 


Allen, L. D 


Fourth- 






Atkinson, J B 


Capt. Artil. 


Lavi'rence, A C 


Fourth 






Luton, Henry 


Cavalry 


Bradshaw, J H 


Third. 


Little, G W P 


Cavalry 


Butler, Daniel 


Fourth 


Larson, Andrew 


Cavalry 


Brink J A 


Scout 
Fourth 


Mixter, Horace 




Baldwin. SD L 


Sharp Shoot 


Borjiusrode, R 


Fifth 


McCaun, Michael.... 


Fourth 


Bennett, Wm P 


Hatch Bat. 


'McGraw. Daniel 


Hatch Bat. 


Branham, EF 


Seconii 


McGiaw, Cornelius.. 


Hatch Bat. 


Branham, Wm 


2d Cavalry 


Murphy, James 


Eighth 






Mattson.Paul 


Sixth 


Campbell, Dim 


Second 


iMickelsoii, H 


Cavalry 


Campbell Wm M 


Cavalry 


Maybee, Chas 


Hatch Bat. 


(re-enlisted as Vet'n) 




McGafly, Henry 


Sharp Shoot 


Campbell E A 


Cavalry 






(re-enlisted as Vet'n) 


Second 
Second 


Nichols. Seth 


Fourth 


CI inton, H 


Nelson, Andrew 




Chapin Isaac 




Gates \VS 


Fourth 


Oaks, 


Second 



HISTORY OF MEPJKER COUNTX. 



37 



Cas-well, William 

Deiiry, Jiimes 

Deloiig, Albert 

DeCoster, F V .... 
Dunn, James W. 

Evans, Ed 

Eastman, Rul'us 

Fisher, Ja.sper 

Fitzgerald, John 

Flynn, Mif-hael 

Fallon. Thomas 

Fallon, John 

Foster, William 

Grayson, Thomas 

Howe, Frank 

Howe, Hfinry S 

Hutchins, Samuel 

Hall, Wm H 

Hutchins, Charles 

Hutchins, Moses 

Hoyt, Azro Buck 

Johnson, Lorain 

Johnson, William 

Jackson, Gilbert 

Johnson, Chris 

Koch, Wm 

Koch, Maximilian... 
Koch, Louis 



Cavalry Oleson, A. 



2d Cavalry 
Sc< ut 
4th, Ca) 
Fourth 

Brack'- Bat 
First 

2nd Cavalry 

nd Cavalry 

2ud Cavalry 

Fourth 

Fourth 

Third 

Hatch Bat. 

Hatch Bat. 

Hatch Bat 

Cavalry 

Fourth 

Second 

Second 

iGth Wis. 

Third 

Cavalry 

Second 

Second 

Cavalry 

Cavalry 

Heavy Artil 



Page, Phillip... 
Pal'e. Gecrge.. 

Pottle, Ben 

Pea body, Chas. 
Peterson, Ole . 
Peterson, John. 



Reef, Emanuel. .. 

Rhodes, Dan 

R'f!:, J(.s T 

Rogers, Leverson . 
Rogers, Jerome.. . 



Sholes jr., Geo. S. 

Stearii, Peter 

Schnltz, Carl.... 
Sahsbnry, J B.... 

Slark, Ftli.x 

Stinchiield, CH.. 



Taylor, Dudley. 
Taylor, All)ert.. 

Taylor, Joel 

Todd, Jerome... 



Waite, Reuben 

Walker, J W 

Whitconib, Geo. C. 
Whitney, Augustus. 

Wigle,JolHi 

Williariis, August us. 
Willis. William 



I Tenth 

Sharp shoot 
Cavalry Vet 
Fifth 
Hatch Bat. 
Si.xth 
Third 

Hatch Bat. 

Fourth 
Second 
Sharp Shoot 
Cavalry 

Second 
Cavalry 
5tli Cavalry 
IHatch Bat. 
Third 
Captain 

Fourth 
Tliird 

Fourth 
Third 



I Sharp Shoot 
ICapt. Cava] 
Fourth 
1 1st Cavalry 
Si.vth 
Third 



CHAPTER IV 



The Indian War formed a tragical episode in the 
history of Meeker County 

About II o'clock A. M., of Sunday, the i7tli of 
August. 1862, the first deliberate massacre of the 
brutal Sioux outbreak, took place 13 miles west of 
Forest City in the town of Acxox. 

Six Indians came first to the house of Robinson 
Jones, and thence to that of of Mr. Howard Baker, 
where they deliberately shot five persons, viz : 
Robinson Jones, Howard Baker, Mrs. Ann Baker. 
Viranus Webster and Miss Clara D. Wilson, (the 
last named, at Jones' house). This was the com- 
mencement of that terrible Indian scourge, which 
resulted in the massacre of about nine hundred 
whites, on the frontier of Minnesota in the fall of 
1862. 

(3S) 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 39 

The preliminary tragedy at Acton, was not the 
result of a drunken riot — but was the commence- 
ment of a premeditated design to extenninate the 
whites from this region of country, although prob- 
ably this early commencement, by an insignificant 
band, was not a part of the programme of Little 
Crow and other leaders. I allude to this, to correct 
errors which appear to have already been manu- 
factured into departmental history. The Secreta- 
ry of War reported to Congress, and all the pre- 
♦ tended histories yet written, craw fish to the fur 
traders, and allege a drunken broil as the commence- 
ment of the affair,and also make statements credited 
to the reports of a child afterwards found in Jones' 
house on the eve of the 17th, about 8 o'clock. 
Mr. John Blackwell, a reliable citizen, now- de- 
ceased, found a little grand child of Mrs. Ann Ba- 
ker, 18 months old, on the floor in Jones' house 
(the only one left or found in the house) and took it 
away — this child was too young to talk and was 
totally unconscious of its tragic surroundings. 

It was lying upon the floor where it appeared to 
have cried itself to sleep. 

Whether the Indians considered the child too in- 
significant to kill, or did not see it at all, cannot 
be known, the latter supposition is probably cor- 
rect. 



so HISTORY OF MEEKER COIXTY. 

One writer sa3'S that the child lay on the bed and 
witnessed the scalping of his sister, but this is a 
mistake. The bed had not been tumbled and no 
other act done indicating that the Indians ever 
went into the house, and the girl had not been 
scalped or mutilated in any way but lav partlv up- 
on her back in a pool of blood just wdiere she fell. 

After Baker and Webster ceased to breathe, theii- 
wives started for the house of Mr. John Blackwell. 
their nearest neighbor, Mrs. Baker carrving in her ♦ 
arms an infant child preserved from the massacre. 

When they reached Blackwell's they found no one 
at home, and proceeded on to the next neighbor, 
named Olson, a blacksmith, whom the Indians af- 
terwards killed. 

Late in the afternoon Blackwell, on horseback, 
came riding leisurely home, and learned from Ole 
H.Ness, Esq., whom he met on the prairie, the ter- 
rible news, which he at first could not believe, but 
Mr, Ness advised him to go to the house of Olson 
where the women then were and learn the particu- 
lars from them which he did, and learned from them 
that their husbands were dead before they left the 
house, and that two other persons, Robinson Jones 
and Mrs. Baker (mother of Ho wai'd Baker) were 
both shot, were both in great agony and evidently 
dying; that Mrs. Baker was lying in the house and 



HISTOKY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 41 

Jones in the yard near the house; that the latter came 
there from his own house but a short time before 
where he had left the said niece and child. 

The fate of those children was then problemat- 
ical, fearing the worst, the Indians having gone in 
that direction, Blackwell concluded at once, that 
to find out what had become of them was an im- 
perative dut}', and immediately rode back to where 
he had left Ole H. Ness and found him with Hen- 
ry Hulverson, A. Nelson Fosen and several others 
who had assembled and were discussing the mat- 
ter. 

The men were all in favor of going at once to 
the scene of the ti"agedy and securing, if alive, the 
girl and child. 

It was after dark when they arrived at Jones house 
and the child was found alive — the remainder of 
the story has been told, and needs not to be re- 
peated. 

The child was brought to Forest City and kept 
some months by Mr. and Mrs. Jewett and subse- 
quently placed in charge of Mr. Charles H. Ellis 
of Otsego, Wright county, since which time we 
have lost track of him. 

Jones gave the Indians no liquor, and while 
there was liquor in Jones' house, up to the time of 
the inquest on Monda}- afternoon, there was no ap- 



43 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

peanince of its having hec>n molested. At the time 
of the inquest all the liquor in the house was poured 
on the ground. 

To show the evident design of these Indians to 
commit the tragedy at this point, we give the tes- 
timony of the wife of Mr Howard Baker at the 
coroner's inquest conducted by A. C. Smith, then 
Judge of Probate and acting County Attorney. 
Her testimony was as follows: 

"About II o'clock A. M. four Indians came into our 
house, staid about 15 minutes, got up and looked 
out. had the men take down their gfuns and shoot 
them off at a mark, then bantered for a trade with 
Jones. About 12 o'clock two more Indians came 
and got some water; our guns were not reloaded; 
the Indians loaded their guns in the dooryard; I 
went back into the house, did not suspect anything 
at the time; supposed the}- were going away; next 
I knew I heard the report of a gun and saw Web- 
ster fall; he stood and fell near the door; another 
Indian came to the door and aimed at Howard 
Baker and shot; did not kill him at that time; 
he shot the other barrel of his gun at Howard and 
he fell. 

"My mother walked to the door and another In- 
dian shot her; she turned to run and fell into the 
buttery; thev shot at lier twice as she fell. 



IirSTORV OF MEEKER COUNTY. 43 

I tried to g^et out of the window, but fell down cel- 
lar; saw Mrs. Webster pulling her husl)and into 
the house, dont know where she was prior to this: 
Indians immediately left the house: while I was in 
the cellar I heard firing out of doors. 

Jones said the}" were Sioux Indians and that he 
was well acquainted with them. Two of the In- 
dians had on white men's coats; one quite tall, one 
quite small, one thick and chubby and all middle 
aged Indians, one had two feathers in his cap and 
one had three. Jones said "they asked me for 
whisky but I would not give them any.'" 

This testimony shows a deliberate intention to 
massacre Jones' family. The facts are, that Rob- 
inson Jones kept a sort of frontier public house and 
kept various articles of groceries, &c., with which 
he used to traffic with the Indians, with whom he 
was well acquainted, and obtained their furs and 
other proceeds of their hunting expeditions, and 
they had by some means got into his debt 40 or ^o 
dollars, which sum Jones had made arrangements 
to have paid out *;/ their annuities. 

Certain Indian traders claimed the monopoly of 
the fur trade, and had for some years been in the 
habit of making advances to the Indians with the un- 
derstanding that the Indians were to return to the 
traders the proceeds of the chase — the balance if 



44 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY, 

any to be jerked (in a manner only known to In- 
dian traders) out of the next succeeding annuities. 

Jones little traffic was interfering quite mater- 
ially with those traders, and was setting a bad pre- 
cedent, and this may, perhaps, furnish a better clue 
than whisky, to the destruction of Jones' family, 
and which in its results, produced far more than 
the traders bargained for. The Indians were dis- 
satisfied witli all the traders, and Jones with the 
rest. 

Any one who understands the Indian trading 
system, as sanctioned by the Indian Department at 
Washington, can fill up the balance of the picture 
— those who do not, will never know any more 
about the origin of the Indian massacre than they^ 
do now. • 

On Monday morning the iSth of August, news of 
the Acton massacre reached Forest City, and in less 
than an hour A. C. Smith. J. B. Atkinson, Milton 
Gorton and a few others accompanied by Airs. 
Gorton and Mrs. Jewett, were on their way to the 
scene of the tragedy — with increasing numbers 
they arrived at Acton some sixty strong — held an 
inquest and buried the dead. On their return in 
the evening, the whole community was in a pan- 
ic and appeared to be in Forest City. 

An inquest was held as above stated and while 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 45 

engaged with the inquest a" band of eleven mount- 
ed Indians came in sight of the place where the 
people were assembled, whereupon a detail oi our 
mounted men gave chase and drove them off into 
Kandiyohi county. 

Subsequent developments rendered it certain 
that those Indians had no hand in the Acton trag- 
edy, and in fact knew nothing about it at that 
time. 

On Tuesday, news arrived of the outbreak on 
the Minnesota River and Mr. Smith prepared a 
letter to Gov. Ramsey, demanding guns and ammu- 
nition, and of six or seven hundred people in For- 
est City, Jesse V. Branham sen., then 60 years of 
age, was the only one to volunteer and obligate 
himself to take it to the Governor in St. Paul — 100 
miles in twenty-four hours. 

Father Branham performed the service in nine- 
teen hours on Wednesday, on horseback, riding 
the first nineteen miles bareback ! 

The following is a copy of the somewhat laconic 
letter of the Judge. 

Forest City, Aug. 20th, (6 a. m.) 1S62, 

His Exellency, Alexander Ramsey, Gov- 
ernor, &c. — Sir — In advance of the news from 
the Minnesota River, the Indians have opened on 
us in Meeker. It is war ! A few propose to 



46 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

make a stand here. -Send us, forthwith, some 
good guns, and ammunition to match. 

, Yours Truly, A. C. SMITH. 

On receiving this letter about i o'clock A. 
M. . of the 2 1st, Governor Ramsey with a prompti- 
tude which has ever distinguished him in his offi- 
cial business, found Mr. Geo. C. Whitcomb in St. 
Paul (County Treasurer of Meeker County) and 
directed 75 stand of Springfield muskets with a 
suitable amount of fixed ammunition, to be placed 
in his charge, with transportation to Forest City, 
where he arrived about 1 1, a. m. of the 23d, 

In the meantime about all the people had left 
Forest City and but few were known to be in the 
County. 

On the morning of the arrival of these guns there 
were but thirteen men and three women on the 
townsite of Forest City, and nobody west of us. 
Their names are worth recording, for it was the 
decision of the little band at this point on the morn- 
ing of August 23d that saved all there was worth 
saving west of the Mississippi River. 

Their names areA. C. Smith. J. B. Atkinson, T. 
C. Jewett, Milton Gorton, Geo. S. Sholes, sen,, 
Thos. H. Skinner, James M. Harvey, Wm. Towler, 
Henry L. Smith, Thomas Grayson, Judson A. Stan- 
ton, Hamlet Stevens, Sylvester Stevens, Mrs. 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTX. 47 

Jewett, Mrs. Whitcomb and Mi's. Brown. 

During the week previous one hundred and 
seventy teams — mostly double,passed through For- 
est City on their way "out to the Mississippi 
River" — averaging from five to twelve persons to 
a team, with such goods and chattels as 
could be hastily packed on the wagon 
for immediate use. Seventy two of these had left 
on the morning of the 22d, and before the arrival 
of the guns — the persons above named had also 
discussed the propriety of vacating home and 
country, when Whitcomb hove in sight "over the 
hill by "Uncle Ikes" a bakers dozen of caps and 
stove pipe hats went up about as high as single 
arms could toss them. 

Whitcomb passed through Hutchinson and find- 
ing the boys there about as destitue as we, allowed 
them to subtract 31 of the guns and a part of the 
ammunition from his ambulance, leaving us but 44 

cruns and 2000 rounds. 

On Sunday the 24th, a military organization was 
effected and by the next day over thirty had joined 
and a portion were mounted, all comers were 
thereafter politely required to do military duty. 

The following is a copy of the article of com- 
pact, viz. 

"We the undersigned do solemly swear to bear 
true allegiance to the United States and the State 
of Minnesota and the officers which may be elec- 



48 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 



ted or appointed over us, to the best of our ability. 
in accordance with Captains commission issued 
TO G. C. Whitcomb, by Col. H. H. Sibley ! I 
bearing date August 20th, 1862, (mustered in, Au- 
gust 24th, 1862.) 

J. B Atkinson, 
O. B. Todd. 
J. HeMth, 
J. V. Bi-anhnm jr., 
S. W. White, 
Jas. Lang. 
Samuel Hutchins, 
A'bert Sperry, 
A. 0. Smith, 
J. B. Garrison, 
Thos. Grayson, 
Jos. Thomas, 
Oslog Olson, 
F. G. Gould, 
E. A. Ghapin, 
R. B. Ralston, 
Henry Jahn.son, 
A. Hamilton, 
H. Lutons, 
H. Behrmann, 



M. Gorton. 
A. F. Heath, 
Wm. Caswell, 
G. S. Sholes sen., 
Chas. D Mayhee, 
Sylvester Stevpns, 
Patrick Condon, 
J. H. Bradsliaw, 
Andrew Nelsor 
Dan. WfGraw, 
C. E. Payson, 
Thos. Ragan, 
H. Stevens, 
Alga Olson, 
Wm. Branham, 
Eli Gihbins, 
H. S, Howe, 
Lory Smith, 
Chas. Kruger, 
Nels Tornom, 



Jas. M. Harvey, 
O. W. Waggoner 
H.J. Hill, ; 

Jerome Rogers, 
Herman Kriiscr. 
Oliver Gibbins. 
T. C. Jewett, 
W. Johnson, 
Michael McGraw, 
Geo. R. Page, , 
Jesse F. Cobb/ 
Henry L. Smith, 
Alfred Mou.sley, 
A. B. Hoyt, 
D. Chapin, 
Wm. Wilcox, 
H. Mickelson, 
N H. Wliite 

D. M. Holbrook, 

E. Swoiitart, 



G. C. Whitcomb claimed to be Captain by virtue 

his receipt for the 
p under any other 



of Col. Sibley's commission and 
guns and refused to give them u 
circumstance. 



The following were thereupon elected officers, 



VIZ 



1st Lieutenant J. B. Atkinson, 



2nd do 
1st. Sergeant 
2nd do 
3d do 

4th do 
1st CorporHl 



H. Stevens, 
Wm. Branham, 
H. S. Howe, 
Dan. McGraw, 
F. G. Gould, 
A. F. Heath, 



2nd Corporal H. J.Hill, 



3d 

4th 
fitb 
6th 
7lh 

8th 



do 
do 
do 
do 
do 
do 



T. C. Jewett, 
Sam Hutching, 
J. M. Harvey, 
R. B. Ralston, 
N. H. White. 
A.B. Hoyt. 



The 44 Springfield Muskets were distributed to 
the men as far as they went — remainder unarmed, 
except with a few Belgian guns that had been re- 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 49 

ceived from some quarter, and as it was thought 
best to have the men armed, all mounted, and as 
we had but 1 5 horses and it was ascertained that a 
a party of skedadlers wei'e yet lingering in King- 
ston, a detail was made to the extent of all the 
horses on hand, with a man and gun on each, to 
go to Kingston and seize horses. 
The following were detailed for that pleasing duty. 

1st Lieutenant .T. B. Atkinson, 2nd Corp'l H. J. Hill, 

1st Sergeant Wm . Branham, 3rd do T. C. Jewett, 

2nd Serjeant H S.Howe, 4th, do Sam Hutchins, 

1st Corp'l A. V. Hoath, 5th do R. B. Ralston, 

O. B. Todd, G. W. Waefroner, 

C. McGraw. * Michael McGraw, 

H. Krnger, F. G. Gould 

A. Hamilton. 

Eight officers and seven privates — and this was 
the first militarv movement in the countv, and was 
made of the right material. 

They went to Kingston armed and equipped, 
whereupon the first Lieutenant declared martial 
law! ordered T. C. Jewett to occupy the Clear 
Water bridge and allow none to escape unless they 
could speak the word plain — very, very plain, 
w^hich one or two are said to have done — cab- 
baged 23 horses (the best to be had) and returned 
with their bootv to Forest Citv. 

Forage detail; B. Cobb, J. A. Stanton, DeLama- 
ter and Oliver Gibbins. 

Stock guard; W. H. Towler and Gottlip Reef 

Thus ended Sunday's exploits August 24th 1862. 



CHAPTER V, 



The Adjutaut General migilit well be excused 
in styling us "Irregular" when connected with the 
fact that the horses were cal^baged upon demo- 
cratic principles — no partiality being shown 
among horses or men — all were taken that could 
be found — in size of horses, from the Indian pony 
to the trace horse weighing i,6oo, with switches 
from 8 inches to 3 feet long, and soldiers to match 
from five feet two, to six feet eight, with weight 
from no to 240 lbs., some in stoga boots, and oth- 
ers in nature's moccasins. The Adjutant General 
must have been a man of extraordinary genius to 
have found any other name for us than "irregular." 

On Monday morning, August 25th, a detail of 27 
men was made for the purpose of visiting Monon- 
galia county — now part of Kan-di-yo-hi — in pursuit 

(50) 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 5I 

of Indians, returning on the 27th, having penetra- 
ted some thirty-five or forty miles west, and 
having seen no Indians but buried seven mutilated 
bodies in all and passed the ruins of three dw^ellings 
and quite a number of mutilated carcasses of dead 
cattle. 

The following is a copy ot Qiiarter Master's 
commission issued to James M. Harvey, Esq. 

Forest City, Aug. aSth, 1S62. 

I hereby appoint Jas. M. Harvey to serve as 
Qiiarter Master for "Meeker County Volunteers," 
and he is hereby authorized and empowered to 
exercise the duties of the office. 

On Wednesday the 27th ot August, the follow- 
ing named persons, residents of Manannah, left 
Forest City to obtain stoves bedding, provis- 
ions, stock, etc., to- wit: Linus Howe, David 
Hoar, Chauncy Wilson, Moody Caswell, Thomas 
Ryckman, James Nelson, Phillip H. Deck, Wil- 
mot Maybee, N. C. Caswell, Joseph Page and R. 
D. C. Cressy. Arriving at the house of Maybee 
the party took dinner, thence went to Manannah 
to the house of Carlos Caswell — saw no Indians — 
left a yoke of cattle in CaswelTs barn, intending 
to return and pass the night there, thence the par- 
ty went two miles to the house of Silas Caswell, 
and loaded Mavbee's two-horse waofon with bed- 



52 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

cling and provisions, whereupon Maybee and Page 
started with Maybee's team, and Deck and Howe 
with Deck's one-horse vehicle, on their return to 
the residence of Carlos Caswell, the balance of the 
party scattering for the purpose of recovering 
stock. Just as Maybee's and Deck's teams went into 
Caswell's door-yard, they were fired upon by a 
party of Indians concealed behind a pile of lumber 
and a fence, and some in a corn-field. 

Page was killed, and fell from the wagon, Deck 
and Howe rode about twentv rods, when they too 
fell, fatally pierced by bullets. Maybee ran his horses 
about forty rods, when he was headed off by the 
savages, whereupon he left his team and ran about 
thirty rods further, in the direction of the river, 
where he was shot and instantly killed. 

Those exciting scenes were witnessed by Wil- 
son and Ryckmanat a distance of about sixty rods, 
but they were in no condition to render the least 
assistance, their guns being on the wagon. 

The Indians about fifteen in number, after secu- 
ring the horses and wagons, started west, passing 
within thirty yards of Nelson and N. C. Caswell, 
who mistaking them for white men let them pass 
unmolested — but followed at a safe distance behind 
for about a mile, the redskins stopping once, ap- 
parently to form an acquaintance, but soon drove 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 53 

ofF at a rapid rate and were seen no more. 

The remainder of the party returned to Forest 
City — Wilson and Ryckman — via Main Prairie, 
which thev deemed quite the safest route. 

Howe, Alaybee, Deck and Page were among 
the best men in the county. 

Mr. Howe had been a county commissioner 
most of the time for three years previous. 

On the morning of the 28th, Lieut. Atkinson 
with a detail of 24 men was sent to Manannah; 
charged with the melancholy duty of burying the 
dead. 

On the 23d. Mark Warren Esq., county Atty. 
for Meeker county, was arrested at Monticello and 
returned to Forest City under guard, on the grave 
charge of being a '"Copperhead." Copperheads 
were supposed to be in league with the Indians as 
well as the South. Warren was furloughed at 
Forest City. 

On the night of the 27th, while Jesse V. Bran- 
ham jr., was standing guard at the creek just out 
of Forest City on the south, A. C. Smith, E. S. 
Fitch and Mark Warren taking^ a circuit of the 
guard, came up to sentinel Branham, and while 
conversing with the sentinel, Warren disappeared 
in the star-light and was not seen again till the 
next spring. When Warren departed Jesse duly 



CA HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

exercised his lungs in affectionate efforts for his 
return, but concluded not to follow him many 
miles south that night as it was too dark to use a 
needle gun! 

When Warren returned he had a couple of In- 
dian ponies and said he had been off on the plains 
as a guide for Col. Sibley. 

He was a singular genius — the world would nev- 
er have been complete without him. 

Educated as a lawyer in the office of Hon. J. M. 
McShafter, then of Vermont-r-since of California — 
he early settled on a pre-emption claim in the town 
of Rice City in this County, where he lived a 
number of years, was County Commissioner at 
times, exhibiting in business transactions a good 
sound judgment, made but little improvement on 
his farm, was at peace with all the world, no ene- 
mies, a democrat from childhood, his time was 
principally divided in his cabin between praying 
and swearing — 'twas difficult to tell which service 
he engaged in with the most zeal. 

He was one fall a Democratic candidate for the 
Legislature and instead of electioneering for votes, 
kept steady at his work, and one day while he was 
carrying the hod, tending mason at Greenleaf, the 
Hon. Thomas Cowan from St. Peter, who was 
that season stumping this Congressional District, 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 55 

arrived at Greenleaf and running against a man 
working mortar with a hoe, enquired for Hon. 
Mark Warren, candidate for the Legislature from 
this District. 

Mark looked at Cowan for a moment encased in 
black broad cloth and kid gloves, then dropping 
his hoe, raised both hands above his head and ex- 
claimed, loud enough to be heard half a mile, "I'm 
your man by G — d sir." Should friend V/arren 
still be in the land of the living,and his eye chance 
to meet this, he will be after us with a sharp stick 
for some part of his "descriptive roll." 

On the 30th, (Saturday) a detail was made of 
24 men to go to Hutchinson with the view of ob- 
taining the guns left there by Whitcomb, but the 
paucity of their defensive impliments Induced the 
Hutchinson boys to hold on to the guns. 

The detail returned to Forest City on Sunday 
the 31st. 

On the first of September another detail was 
made of 17 men of the company and several citi- 
zens for the purpose of visiting Green Lake, and 
for the ostensible purpose of relieving a family 
said to be on the island in said lake in a helpless 
condition. It probably should have been Nor- 
way Lake as there are no islands in Green Lake 
where a family could have been secreted. 



56 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUXTY. 

The history of this detail is not material as it re- 
turned the same day reporting a skirmish at Swede 
Grove with the Indians. Two Indians reported 
killed and one of our men Sam. Hutchins. w^oun- 
ded in the thigh by a musket ball. 

On the morning of the second day of September 
another detail of twenty soldiers and twenty citi- 
zens was sent out for the purpose of rescuing the 
family mentioned before, and as all could not be 
mounted it was thought best to go in wagons. 

The detail had proceeded as far as where Hoken 
Peterson formerly resided when they halted for 
dinner. 

Some of the boys being near home obtained 
leave to visit the house about one mile from camp, 
on promise that they would bring back watermel- 
ons for the whole company — after being gone a 
short time one of them came running back with 
his arms full of melons and crying Indians! In- 
dians ! ! The company being unable to see any 
Indians from their location in the low ground one 
of the party was ordered "to run his head out on 
the knoll," near by "and take a look." He did so 
and reported twelve Indians advancing from the 
timber near by, in the direction of camp, and after 
being ordered back by the CajDtain, looking 
around he saw some twenty or more mounted In- 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. <*] 

dians approaching on our west, and the teams 
were at once ordered to retreat in the direction of 
Forest City, And they did retreat for a fact. It 
was a race forUfe and home. 

Their ma-ma's didn't know they were out! 

Horses that were a Uttle slow, were renewed in 
their activity by the point of the bayonet. In the 
flight our amiable Captain lost his hat and was un- 
able to recover it, on account of two or three In - 
dians that were within a half mile of them. 

After this wild flight of some two miles, the 
teams were ordered to halt, as some of the horses 
were about giving out, and being considered safe, 
as the enemy were left at least one mile behind. 

They had only been halted for a moment when 
one of the teams came rushing by and one of the 
boys thinking he would be left, sprang for the 
wagon, striking the back of his gun on the side of 
the box — the gun "went oft"' wounding 0. B. Todd 
in the leg and barely missing D. Chapin, tearing 
his cartridge box and bayonet scabbard, to shreds. 

After resting a few minutes the party proceeded 
toward Forest City, without any further accident 
except the miring and leaving of one of E. O. Britt's 
horses, while with the other Mr. Britt came to 
Forest City in advance of the party and ordered 
all the women and children into the hotel of Lieut. 



58 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

Atkinson, and for the remainder of the men left in 
Forest City to come out and meet the company; as 
the Indians were coming into town. 

There were about a baker's dozen of men and 
boys left in Forest City, and arming themselves 
with whatever thev could find marched out 
towards "L'hicle Ikes" with Judge Smith at their 
head armed with an old double barrel bogus stub 
and-twist-shot gun, and three butcher-knives un- 
der the waist-bands of his pants. This was be- 
lieved to be the first, last and only time that the 
Judge ever commanded a company of Irregular 
Volunteer Militia, and is a full report of all of his 
military exploits. 

At the time Capt. Whitcomb made his last 
"double quick" toward Forest City and thought it 
safe to leave Britt's horse sticking in the mud 
with forty men at command — there were just two 
Indians in sight. 

There were various men among our people, 
who "lived fast", between the 17th of August 
and the 4th. of September, 1^862 — some in tragedy 
and som.e in comedy — far more peril to individuals 
than to companies of men, assembled for mutual 
protection. 

We could wish that we had a sketch of all such, 
including the hair-breadth escapes of men and fam- 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 59 

ilies; but the facts are not furnished us, and we 
cannot do justice to the parties in interest from 
rumors obtained at the time, or from our recollec- 
tion of circumstances. 

Few men had more difficulty in getting out of 
the prairie than our townsman Andrew Nelson — 
the following is but one week of his life: 

Mr. N. a native of Sweden and but slightly ac- 
quainted in this county, at the time, was a single 
man and residing in Monongalia county. 

On the 2ist of August 1862 he was engaged at 
Foot's place haying, with several other parties. 

About 4 p. M. his brother-in-law. Swanson, 
passed Foot Lake and gave the first alarm — Nel- 
son spent some time in assisting Swanson, who had 
a wife and three children to get under way — with 
but an ox-team — a load of hay had to be dumped 
and wagon body substituted for the hay rack — 
Nelson took charge of some 40 head of cattle, has- 
tily collected, which he intended to drive to. a 
place of safety. In all this he was delayed till 
dark and he had hardly got off the premises when 
the Indians were on the ground. 

Two cow-bells — 40 cattle and the darkness fa- 
vored Nelson and preserved his scalp. The Indi- 
ans were first^ discovered within ten paces and 
suppossing them to be white men, Nelson en- 



6o HISTORY OF MEEKER COUXTY. 

quires "how goes it ?" getting no answer, but hear- 
ing steps approaching he quietly slid into a corn- 
field close by. From the cornfield he ran into 
Mud Lake, where he found a desirable resting place 
for fifteen or twenty minutes, representing Aloses 
in the bulrushes — thence he started for Diamond 
Lake, but soon got lost, and Xelson is ready to 
swear, that he, that evening, sounded every "sloo" 
in the vicinity. 

In the morning he found himself on the bank of 
a creek — the outlet of Eagle Lake and but about 
40 rods from the house of Oscar Erickson, in 
which were four families, and the house surroun- 
ded by Indians. 

It was here that Mr. and Mrs. Foot, Erickson, 
Swanson and Carlson defended themselves until 
the Indians raised the siege, after killing Carlson- 
Nelson made a direct shoot for Diamond Lake, 
reaching there about 7 A. m.. — proceeding to the 
farm of J. H. Gates, where he found a number of 
Diamond Lake people who were preparing break- 
fast, but 'n\ consequence of the close proximity of 
the Indians, they started for Forest City without 
stopping to eat. 

Nelson lost his boots on the road and his feet be- 
came so sore that he wa? compelled to ride part of 
the way — From Forest City he went to Kingston, 



/ 

HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 6l 

where his feet were dressed up with rags, and 
moccasins by Mr. Davidson, the miller. On his 
return to Forest City, Swan Munson gave him one 
of his horses to ride and when almost half v^'ay 
back, met Atkinson with his squad, who ordered 
him to halt and sought to levy on his horse — Nel- 
son responded that he could not have the horse 
unless he took him dead or alive — A. said "come 
along" and Nelson joined the crowd and was sub- 
sequently out on every detail till the company was 
disbanded — at one time in Foot Lake region, Nel- 
son lay by the side of a log in the dark, with the 
Indians passing on the side of it in the road. 

He lost all trace of Swanson and family, and did 
not see them again until he met them in St. Pau' 
where they now reside. 

He did not, of course, succeed in getting any of 
the cattle. 

Swanson and family were in the house with 
Foot and Erickson, and was several times lost on 
the prairie in getting to Paynesville with his family. 

We have said there were four families in Erick- 
sons' house — they were Erickson's, Foot's, Swan- 
son and Carlson. 

When the Indians first came to Erickson's they 
asked for provisions, and young Carlson went 
with them into the potatoe patch to dig the pota- 



62 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUXTV. 

toes — it was here that young Carlson was shot,and 
when found he was dead, with the hoe in one 
hand and a couple of potatoes in the other. 

While defending themselves in the house, Foot 
was shot through the breast and Erickson through 
the bowels — Foot killed an Indian after he was 
shot, standing on his knees. 

The defence of Mr. and Mrs. Foot was so hero- 
ic that the Indians raised the siege and left. Sub- 
sequently Mrs. Foot came to Forest City and re- 
ported her husband in a dying condition, but 
strange to say, Foot was, two days later, brought 
into Forest City on a load of goods, where he was 
kindly cared for for a couple of days and sent to 
St. Cloud. 

Foot and Erickson still live. 

Our fellow townsman N. A. Viren and family, 
were in close proximity to these tragical scenes — 
his legs and his oxen did him good service. Fall- 
ing behind the crowd in consequence of the loss 
of an ox, ha besought his company to wait for him 
a little while, which they refused to do — when 
he overtook them, they were all stuck fast in the 
mud in the outlet of the lake just East of Master's 
place. 

Viren sounded the bank of the lake and finding 
hard bottom he drove into the lake and around the 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUKY. 63 

SLOO, and started ahead — the 'company called him 
to come to their assistance and haul them out. but 
he politely informed them that what "was sauce 
for goose was sauce for gander" and passed on 
and arrived at Forest City a day or two in advance 
of his company, who in consequence of the -delay 
lost most of their cattle and goods, and two of their 
company, Lawrenson and Backland who were 
killed and mutilated. 

Viren "still lives," a portly well fed gentleman, 
and Nelson says that while he repente'd of all his 
sins by the side of that log — he gave no prefer- 
ence to any particular sin ! ! and has no desire to 
live that week over again. 



CHAPTER VI. 



On the 34fth of August Capt. Strout was ordered 
to Forest City via Glencoe and Hutchinson but 
deeming Forest City the safest place, from his 
stand point, came up the Mississippi direct to the 
latter place, arriving on^the eve. of the 27th, and 
went into camp near the law office of Judge 
Smith. 

From a casual conversation, Capt. Strout re- 
marked that he was authorized to make a stand 
where he could do the most good and should stay 
at Forest City a week or ten days, if deemed nec- 
essary. On being informed during the evening 
that all the Indians then in the country were prob- 
ably at Swede Grove about ten miles out, the Cap- 
tain very suddenly came to the conclusion that 
Glencoe was a safer place for him, and therefore 
decamped at sun rise next morning for the latter 

(64) 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 65 

place, 44 miles south-east, and where no Indians 
had, at that time, been seen. 

On this fact being reported to head quarters, 
Capt. S trout was immediately ordered to return to 
Forest City via Acton, which he attempted to do, 
and arrived and camped in Jones' door yard in 
Acton on the eve. of September 2d, surrounded 
by timber and as was afterwards found out to his 
sorrow, two hundred and fifty Indians camped 
within two miles of him. 

Learning of Capt. Strout's movements by the 
arrival of a scout from Hutchinson (Thos. Cham- 
bers, Esq.,) and knowing that, at this particular 
time, a large force of Indians had suddenly ap- 
peared at Swede Grove, it was deemed advisable 
to intercept Strout, and divert his command to 
Forest Cilv w'ithout going to Acton, and as this 
was deemed a pretty hazardous undertaking a vol- 
unteer detail was invited, when J. V. Branham jr., 
Albert Sperry and Thomas Holmes immediately 
seated themselves in the saddle and just before sun 
set on the eve of the 2nd of September they started 
south through Rice City with the view of heading 
Capt. Strout on the Hutchinson and Acton 
road and inform him of the nest of hornets he was 
unconsciously running his men into. 

The rjute of Capt. Strout was principally on 



66 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

the old Pembina and Henderson Indian trail, and 
on the arrival of our men at that point, sufficient 
signs were discovered to satisfy them that Strout 
had already passed, and the boys had nothing to 
do but follow up the trail, and they did so, and 
found Strout as above related, in Jones' door yard, 
in one of the most dangerous positions that could 
possibly be taken, particularly with 250 savages in 
Swede Grove, two or three miles off, and no pick- 
ets set. 

The balance of the story we give in the lan- 
guage of one of the three scouts. 

About four miles out from Forest City they saw- 
coming toward them a party of five mounted men 
and not being able to tell whether they were 
friends or foes they halted — one of the boys says: 
'well what do you think ?" That looks blue,boys, 
but we won't run from five Indians anyhow — 
the five halted — we advanced a few steps and we 
halted — then the five advanced, and to our joy 
we discovered John S. Shields and four others re- 
turning from Rice City, where they had been 
looking after crops and not aware of the close 
proximity of Indians. 

Feeling greatly relieved we bade the boys good- 
by, after fully posting them up in regard to the 
operations of the Indians. 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 67 

On our wav to Acton we passed across^'tlie 
prairie East of Round Lake and West of Minne- 
belle, with darkness well settled upon us. We 
necessarily avoided all the groves of timber, not 
knowing what minute we would he'sent to our long 
home by a friendly missile from the gun of the red 
gentlemen. 

On they went until reaching the old Red River 
and Henderson trail (so called), when they com- 
menced to search for the tracks of Capt. Strout 
and his company — of whicl% they found no evi- 
dence until reaching the outlet of the lake near 
Evenson's when they halted and got down on their 
knees (for once in their lives) to look for tracks. 
Here they discovered tracks sufficient to fully sat- 
isfy them that Strout's company had passed as 
above related on their way to Acton. On they go, 
in darkness doubly dark, with nothing to change 
the midnight silence until theyreached the edge of 
the timber and the cabin where, on the 17th 
ult., poor Jones and the Baker ftimily met their 
fate without a moment's notice. 

On reaching the timber the darkness, which 
was total before, became a great deal more so, and 
only for our faithful horses the party would have 
been unable to keep the road, and right here two 



68 HISTORY MEEKER COUNTY. 

dogs sprang out with a howl that would have 
startled men in ordinary times — but at that time 
and under the circumstances narrated, hair had to 
be well rooted to hang to the scalp. 

After a silent ride of half a mile to where Strout 
was camped, with thoughts flitting from the loved 
ones m Minneapolis, to the anticipated danger 
that hovered over us, we came close up to the tents 
— but what do they contain? Friend or foe? — no 
picket cried "halt!" 

So we says "Tom* let us halt and sing out to 
them." 

Says Tom. "agreed." So we sang out "Who's 
there? Friend come up." When we halted we 
could have struck the tents with a stone, and no 
picket interposed. 

People may say what they please, but if there is 
any period in man's existence, in which the heart 
will voluntarily and uncalled for, go up to God in 
thankfulness for a safe deliverance, it will be under 
circumstances in which that little band of three 
had been placed between sundown and midnight 
during the travel of twenty miles. 



CHAPTER VII. 



HOW THE BOYS GOT OUT OF ACTOX. 



When Captain Strout was informed that a par- 
ty of Indians were camped about three miles off 
there was considerable excitement among the boys, 
-but few slept that night. The old condemned Bel- 
gian guns furnished Captain Strout's men by Uncle 
Sam to scare the red men with, and which most 
of the men thought they would have no use for, 
were quickly examined, and it was found that only 
about one m five had ammunition that would 
fit, and the boys were kept busy till daylight 
preparing ammunition that might soon be needed. 

By the time it was fairly daylight, breakfast 
was called, and while they were yet eating, they 
heard the firing of guns about two miles off, and 
knowing that they were the only white men near- 

(69) 



70 HISTORY OK MEEKKR COl-XTY. 

er than Forest City or Hutchinson, it was no hard 
matter to guess where the firing came from. 

On such an invitation it is needless to sav break- 
fast was cut short off, and all made ready for a 
march. 

Strout had 1iut five mounted men and these 
were ordered to advance and keep a half a mile in 
advance of the company and teams. Albert Sper- 
ry one of the five was to keep about two hundred 
yards in advance of the other four. 

The mounted men had proceeded about two 
miles m a southerly direction, when thev discov- 
ered the bright barrels of guns glistening on a hill 
about a mile ahead, and on the farm pre-empted 
by the wndow Baker just opposite Kelley's Blufi". 
Our meij continued to advance until within a quar- 
ter of a mile when they halted, and sent word back 
to Captain Strout that the Indians were just ahead 
and to prepare for a fight. 

As soon as the company came up the men were 
formed in open line and ordered to advance, 
which they did until they came within about two 
hundred yards of where the Indians had been seen, 
• when the Indians opened fire on the company, 
which the company promptly returned. 

About the third volley, private Getchell fell mor- 
tal! v wounded bv a ball through the head. About 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. ^\ 

this time a party of mounted Indians were 
discovered approaching us in the rear, on the road 
we had just traveled, and as they came down over 
the rolHiig prairie single file with horses and po- 
nies at full speed, whooping and yelling as only 
wild Indians can, it made a picture long to be re- 
membered by those who saw it. 

Instantly the second Lieutenant was ordered 
back with twenty men to protect the rear of the 
train. 

Fearing to make a charge most of the mounted 
Indians rode around and formed on the right of 
the comj^any, and a lake being on the left, Strout 
with his little band of sixty three men were com- 
pletely surrounded. 

After fighting some time, without any particular 
damage to either party, reminding the comman- 
der of what the Frenchman said of some of the 
first great battles of the rebellion, where nobody 
was killed on either side, "that it was one very civil 
war" but fearing Mr. Sioux Indians would soon 
receive reinforcements from another band known 
to be less than five miles off",, the captain ordered a 
charg^e in the direction of Hutchinson with fixed 
bayonets. 

This order w^as immediately obeyed under the 
lead of Lieutenant Clarke, every man came up to 



73 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

the scratch hke old v'eterans. So savs the official 
report. 

This was prohably the bravest act of the day — 
when we take into consideration that "Captain 
Strout's company was mosth'^ made up of business 
and commercial men and dapper-fingered clerks 
from Minneapolis and St. Paul, many of them 
hardly knowing enough about fire arms to load 
their own pieces, but the red men on the south did 
not like close quarters, and scattered in all direc- 
tions, and for a time it seemed as though the little- 
unpleasantness had ceased, and the teamsters think- 
ing: the road clear, started their teams on the run 
for Hutchinson, leaving all the compau}- that were 
not fortunate enough to climb behind, and the 
boys thinking it would be a poor show for broken- 
legged men, all hands started pell-mell after the 
teams, and for a short time it seemed as though it 
was a "Bull Run" on a small scale, and that, too. 
after they had beat the red man on a bayonet 
charge. 

The men did not want it understood that thev 
were running away from the Indians, at all, at all. 
but when they made the bayonet charge they 
came very near not stopping till they got to Hutch- 
inson, which reminds us again of an incident at 
"Bull Run," when one of the boys of a ^'erm6nt 



HISTORY OK MEEKER COUNTY. 73 

Resfimeiit was Ditleied to retreat; he obeyed or- 
ders and (no counter order being received,) he 
kept on retreating until he reached the north Der- 
by line and only halted then, in order that he 
misrht not do violence to international law. 

The Captain and his few mounted men soon 
broueht the boys to a halt, and order was restored 
in less time than it usualh took McClellan to re- 
orgfanize the army of the Potomac. 

The Indians seeing the Company on the run, 
put after them in full uniform, that is to say, they 
divested themselves of all that makes the man, to- 
w'it, "good clothing." 

Many of them \vhen first seen, had on black 
cloth suits and "biled" shirts. 

Before proceeding any further in the descrip- 
tion of the "days doings," we wish to mention one 
bright and noble oasis in the catalogue of Indian 
character usually made up of ambush and tr eachery. 

While the skirmish was hottest and just before 
the charge was made, one of the Indians, supposed 
to have been Little Crow, deliberately stepped 
upon the top of a fence, about one hundred and 
fifty yards in front of the Company, and waving 
his blanket, save some orders to the Indians in our 
rear. 

As soon as he mounted the fence Captain 



74 HISTORY OF MHHKEU COUNTY. 

Strout asked for some good marksman to take him 
oft. Two or three of his boys tried and all missed 
him, when the whole Company was ordered to 
fire at him, but it seems to have' been foi-e-ordered 
that he was not to die on that fence, for he stood 
the torrent of, and received the whole volley of 
sixty-three old Belgian bullets unscathed, where- 
upon Mr. Indian coolly stepped down from the 
fence, made a graceful bow, with a waive of the 

hand, as much as to say "thank you gentlemen." 
The whole affaii was so bold and graceful that 

our men could hardly refrain from giving the old 

red-skin three rousing cheers. 

About this time order was restored among the 

men, private Jes^se V. Branham Jr., one of the 
three volunteer scouts from Forest City the night 
before, having stopped to load his gun, was shot 
from behind, the ball passing through his left 
lung. Fortunately he did not. fall, but had strength 
enough to walk until he overtook the teams. He 
was supposed to be mortally wounded, but on the 
contrary he is now on his pegs and in fact healthy, 
residing at Litchfield. From this time a running 
fight was kept up for about seven miles, during 
which time Stone of Minneapolis and another pri- 
vate whose name we do not now recollect, were 
killed, and about one third of the entire company 
wounded. 



mSTOin' OF MEEKER COUNTY. 75 

When the company hailed at Cedar Mills for 
water and a little rest for the wounded, they found 
they had lost three men killed and left on the 
ground. 

The remains were afterward buried by the 3d 
Regiment boys. 

There were eighteen wounded, Captain Strout 
in his official report says: "The loss of the com- 
pany in this encounter was three men killed and 
fifteen wounded, some of them severely, all were, 
howe^'er, brought from the field." 

The reader will notice a material discrepancy in 
regard to the dead. That the 3d Regiment boys 
did not bury them, or Strout did not take them 
with him, requires no proof. 

Captain Strout continues, "in addition to this, 
the}" lost most of their rations, cooking utensils, 
tents, and a portion of their ammunition and arms. 
Some of their horses became unmanageable and 
ran away. Some weie abandonded, making with 
those killed by the enemy, an aggregate loss of 
nine. The loss inflicted on the enemy could not 
be determined with any degree of certainty, but 
Captain Strout was of the opinion that their killed 
and wounded was two or three times as great as 
ours,,"- — doubtful. 

About one half the savages were mounted, partly 



• 



76 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

on large fine horses, plundered from the settle- 
ments, and partly on Indian ponies. The latter 
were so well trained, that their riders would drive 
them at a rapid rate to within any desirable dis- 
tance, when both pony and rider would instantly 
lie down in the tall grass and thus conceal them- 
selves from the sharp-shooters of the Company, 
(of which there must have been manv, judging 
from the effect of the volley fired at the Indian on 
the ^ence.) 

The Indians engaged in the skirmish were esti- 
mated at about one hundred and fift}- to two hun- 
dred. 

From Mr. Cross of Cedar Lake our men pro- 
cured lint for the wounded, and proceeded on their 
way to Hutchinson, arriving at that point Wednes- 
day afternoon. 

Mr. Cross was killed by the Indians a few days 
after, as heretofore related. 

On arriving at Hutchinson, the wounded were 
placed in the Sumner House, where they received 
all the kind attention from both men and women 
ot Hutchinson that could be asked or desired, for 
all of which the boys united in a "•God bless them 
with long life and plenty of this world's goods to 
make them happy both here and hereafter." 

We have given a somewhat detailed account 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 77 

of the Acton conflict, as it was the only one that 
took place in the County deserving the name of a 
battle. 

Our report is made up partly from the official 
report of Captain Strout, but principally, and more 
reliably from the vivid recollection of Jesse V. 
Branham, Jr. Esq. one of the Forest Citv scouts 
sent out to head off Strout, and who was with him 
the day of the battle and supposed to have been 
mortally wounded by an Indian bullet. Strout's 
official report was a mixture of truth and folly, 
inconsistent with a just regard for the character 
of his soldiers, who cheerfully volunteered to take 
the field under all the adverse circumstances atten- 
dant on a hasty collection of men from work shops 
and the counter, totally ignorant of the art of war, 
and unused to the discipline of a military camp. 

Strout himself was as little qualified for the post 
he occupied, as were any of the men for the prac- 
tice of war. 

His pusillamious course when he first entered 
on Indian Territory, marked him as an ill-qualified 
and unsafe leader. 

Alluding to the different onsets of the Indians 
during the day, Strout says in his official report, 



78 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

"on none of these occasions, however, did a single 
man falter or attempt a flight." 

Branham says the teamsters ran with their teams 
and the men ran "pell-mell to keep up" and when 
Strout adds, in his report, that he had lost, during 
the battle, most of their rations, cooking utensils, 
tents, ammunition and arms, and nine or ten hor- 
.ses, it certainly looks as though Branham had the 
TRUTH on his side. 

The fault was with the Captain, not the men. 

It pains us deeply to feel compelled, in the light 
of historical truth, to speak of Capt. Strout as we 
do, well remembering the old adage, that to 
avoid speaking ill of those of whom we have but 
little reason to speak well, is the temperance of 
aversion, and seldom found in ordinary minds. 



CHAPTER Vlir. 



On the 24th, of Augvist, orders were issued to 
Col. B. F. Smith, commandant at Fort SnelHng, 
directing him to arm and equip the company of 
troops under command of Captain Strout then of 
the loth Regiment, and detail them to proceed "to 
Foi'est City and such other places in the vicinity as 
expediency might requnx, for the purpose of pro- 
tecting and assuring the inhabitants of that re- 
gion." As heretofore narrated in Chap. VI, p. 64, 
Strout arrived at Forest City on the eve of the 
27th of August, and w^ent into camp near the res- 
idence of Judge Smith, and stated that he could 
remain there if necessary till further orders. 

He was reliably informed that all the Indians 
then known to be on the frontier were at Swede 
Grove about ten miles west of Forest City. 

(79) 



So HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

On the 3d of September the stockade was built 
by the citizens then in Forest City — about 120 feet 
square, by planting a double row of logs on end, 
three feet in the ground and about ten feet high, 
with bastions — it was built and finished up in less 
than 24 hours and I venture to say on the quick- 
est time that any such edifice was ever erected 
in the United States — and well that we did so — for 
we were treated to a ceremonious call at 3 o'clock 
on the morning of the 4th by about two hundred 
and fifty Savages. 

Our hasty uncarpeted accommodations took the 
red devils by surprise. They had not previously 
discovered our accommodations, and at once gave 
up the idea of assailing us in quarters, and con- 
fined their operations to a little promiscous, careless 
shooting of old guns, and stealing horses, which 
unfortunately we had not secured within the 
stockade prior to their polite arrival. 

Some ten or twelve Indians lost their lives here 

that morning in consequence of the inexperience, 
and un-soldier-like careless shooting by our boys. 

The boys all meant well but they didn't know 
any better, and notwithstanding the assertion of 
dapper-fingered historians to the contrary, the In- 
dians falsified said history by carrying their dead 
from the field of carnarge before day. Only one 
white man was seriously wounded. 

A gentleman from Canada had arrived at For- 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 8l 

est City but a day or two before and was sleeping 
in the back of Mr. Hoyt's house and awoke just in 
time to see the Indians firing the front end of the 
house, and had the good kick to sHp out at a back 
window and secrete himself in a corn patch in the 
garden, and while in this interesting position saw 
five dead Indians piled into a double wagon by 
the side of the burning house. 

The next morning, at the request of this gentle- 
man, we gave him a letter to Gov. Ramsey which 
enabled him to get out of Minnesota, and have not 
seen him since, but we have heard that he is not a 
believer in "going west." 

The celebrated "crazy" Irishman came stroUingr 
into town some days prior to the attack, as a spy 
for the Indians, and had he been allowed to return 
to his employers, the attack would probably have 
been more successfully made some days earlier. 

Not being able to pronounce the word "Shibbo- 
leth" he was placed in 'durance vile' and ultimate- 
ly shipped under guard to Monticello — thence to 
St. Paul where he was magnified into a harmless 
martyr by the moccasin aristocracy of the Saintly 
City and thence was allowed to depart to parts 
unknown. 

This was the same "crazy" Irishman described 
by Mrs. Baker, and who passed Howaixl Baker's 



82 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

house just after the Indians, and who robbed the 
dead body of Baker of 50 to 70 dollars in gold. 

Six dwelling houses and one barn were burned 
at Forest City on the morning of the 4th, of Sep- 
tember, viz: of Wm. Richardson, Milton Gorton, 
James P. Hewlett. Dudley Taylor, A. B. Hoyt, 
William Richards and A. C. Smith. 

Mrs. T. C. Jewett, Mrs. Whitcomb and Mrs. 
Brown were the only ladies that remained at For- 
City the entire period of these exciting times. 

There were 12 persons killed in Meeker County 
and 13 in Monongalia the names of which were, in 
Meeker, Robinson Jones, Ann Baker. Viranus 
Webster, Clara D. Wilson, Philip Deck, Joseph 
Page, Linus Howe, Wilmot Maybee, ,NeIs Olsen, 
Caleb Sanborn and Cross, and in July 1863 James 
McGannon. In Monongalia three Olsen's, father 
and two sons, Anderson and son, Carl Carlson 
and son, Mr. Backland, Mr Lawrenson and the 
Lumberg family, and nine in McLeod County, 
contiguous to Meeker, viz: Mr. Spondy, wife and 
two children, one child of John Adams (taking 
John Adams prisoner) and four of the White fam- 
ily at Lake Addie. Mr. Adams was taken priso- 
ner Sept. 4th. 

Total killed in Meeker and vicinity, thirty-three, 
and probably some who have never been reported. 



HISTORY OF xMEEKER COUNTY. 83 

July I St, 1S63 McGannon was shot between 
Kingston and Fair Haven, probably by Little 
Crow in person, as this distinguished chieftain 
was a few days after shot by Mr. Lamson on sec- 
tion 30 Town iiS — 39 (Collinwood) Meeker 
County, and was found in possession of McGan- 
non's coat. 

The section on which he was killed is indicated 
on the map accompanying this book. 

The great native warrior, together with his son — 
young Crow, were quietly making a dinner of 
raspberries, when the Irishman's bullet called him 
to his final account. 

Little Crow and son were dining tosfethel- — and 
Lamson and son were out huntingr together 
— the hunters came suddenly in sig-ht of the In- 
dians and seeing them first, quickly resolved that 
white man must scoop Indian, or Indian would 
scoop white man, and suiting the action to the 
word, and being a good shot, Lamson scooped 
Crow — while his son aimed at young Crow, miss- 
ing him, but disabling his gun — whereupon young 
Crow fled and left the country — subsequently fol- 
lowed the trail of Gen. Sibley's army across the 
plains, as we were informed, and finally ran into 
Gen. Sibley's camp in pretty much the condition of 
Lee's army when he ran in into Gen. 



§4 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNT V. 

Grant's camp — to get something to to eat ! 

Little Crow was buried at Hutchinson without 
much ceremony, and without full knowledge at 
that time that it was in fact Little Crow. 

Little Crow was a small sized man and a savage 
chieftain of singular power and genius, always evil 
disposed to the whites, as was his father 30 or 
40 years before. With strong intellect and an un- 
l)ending will, but had become disgusted with the 
management of the war by the other chieftains of 
the hostile tribes. 

We have not heard of any new speculations in 
regard to Little Crow's remains for some years. 

The last we heard of them some live Yankee 
near Hutchmson had his bones in an old soap- 
box, and was trying to drive a sharp bargain by 
selling them to the Minnesota Historical Society — 
with what success we never learned — alas for hu- 
man — or rather inhuman fame and greatness. Re- 
port has it, that said Society is in possession of 
Little Crow's scalp (we doubt whether he was 
ever scalped) which had been carefully tanned 
and consequently will not decay — so that future 
generations can look on the polished top knot 
with a due amount of reverence. 

So far as the fact is concerned, it is of little con- 
sepuence whether the tanned scalp now in the 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 85 

archives of the State Historical Society ever 
covered Little Crow's pate or not, if after-genera- 
tions only think so, it is just as well, and the man 
who scalped Christopher Columbus, and could 
not find where John Rogers was burned Feb. 14th, 
1554, will be dead long before the fraud will be dis- 
covered, and as there is no prospect of his leaving 
any male heirs, posterity will not be likely to 
trouble itself about the fact. Another report has 
it, that one J. D. Farmer, of Spring Valley, Minn, 
became possessor of Little Crow's skull soon after 
his death and presented it to Dr. Powell of Lanes- 
boro, and that one Dr. Twitchell of Chatfield has 
thefbalance of Little Crow's "frame work," — doubt- 
ful. 



CHAPTER IX. 



The morning of the 4th, of September 1S62, was 
celebrated in Forest City by the early arrival of 
about 200 Indians They were evidently unaware 
of the existence of our stockade and appearances in- 
dicated that they intended to take the people b}' 
surprise. 

Coming into town at 3 a. m., some twenty or 
more mounted Indians advanced to about the cen- 
ter of the town-site and discharged a volley in the 
air — evidently intending to rouse the sleeping set- 
tlers, and during the panic, have things their own 
way. In this they were disappointed. 

With what we knew of the Indians in the coun- 
t}', an attack had for some two days, been deemed 
a moral certainty and we were as well prepared 
for them as we could have been — Guided solely h\ 

(86) 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 87 

the light of the '-volley In the air" some twenty of 
our men fired over the pickets of the stockade and 
five Indians 'bit the dust" and were subsequently 
loaded into a wagon at Hoyt's house. 

A picket guard surrounded the town, and most 
of them continued on the second beat, a list of the 
men standing guard that night has not been pre- 
served but J^mong them we find H. Stevens, Chaun- 
cy Dart, Andrew Nelson, Henry L. Smith Wm. 
Branham and Sylvester Stevens, with others. 

The Indians forded the river on the west and 
came in betwee;i sentinels Smith and Dart, who 
were the first to give the alarm, by the discharge 
of their pieces — this was immediately passed 
round the town by the entire guard and all started 
for the stockade, the Indians in the mean time giv- 
ing a grand war whoop and discharged a volley 
apparently in the air, as above stated. 

The moon having just gone down, it was re- 
markably dark and sentinel Dart in taking a b — 
for the stockade, suddenly found hiinself in a "coal- 
pit hole" where he lost his hat and gun — being 
some-what in a hurry he had passed along a few 
rods, when the ludicrous in his composition got 
the better of his fears, and he went back and recov- 
ered his hat and gun. 

Henry L. Smith in his b — passed his fathers 



88 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

law office and brought up at the Hotel barn, where 
the mail boy was fruitlessly endeavoring to saddle 
and bridle his horse, preparatory to starting to 
Monticello with the mail. 

Sentinel Smith assisted the boy in getting the 
horse properly equipped and started off, by which 
time diverse and sundry bullets, were remmding 
H. L. that no further delays were allowable. 

The Indians finding a pretty formidable stock- 
ade did not attempt to enter it, but confined them- 
selves to stealing such household goods as could be 
most easily carried off. Sixty horses were stolen 
that morning and four or five buildings ransacked 
and burned. 

The mail carrier came back from Kingston 
about 7 o'clock a. m. in company with C. F. Davis, 
to ascertain the result of the attack. 

A report of the nights doings was drawn up by 
A. C. Smith and signed by Whitcomb and sent that 
morning by mail to Gov. Ramsey. 

A little before daylight two families came to the 
stockade, from the school house, where they hat 
spent the night, viz: N. E. Tornbom, wife and four 
children — one of tliem Sophia — now the wife of 
John Lundberg (Sheriff^ (jf Stevens County) and 
Charles Magnus, wife and two children; also 
Mrs. (Hodgeson,) mothe of Ole (Ilodgeson.) 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 89 

The school house had been the nucleus for a 
band of the Indians, but not anticipating that any 
one was in the house, its occupants remained un- 
molested for nearly two hours. 

In the stockade that morning there were some 40 
men armed with Springfield muskets and about 200 
old men, women and children — most of them un- 
able to get out of the country. 

General Isaac Fletcher of Lyndon — late a mem 
ber of Congress from Vermont, once boasted on 
the floor of the House of Representatives at 
Washington that "no hostile flag ever entered on 
the soil of Vermont and returned to its original 
abode". 

We don't claim that the Sioux Indians entered 
Meeker County with a hostile flag — but we had a 
very good one at the top of our liberty pole, which 
entirely escaped our memory that night and the 
Indians took it down and ran off' with it. 

After day light some Indians were in the act of 
driving off" cattle when Sergeant Wm. Bran- 
ham, called for a squad of men to go out and head 
them off — six went out — three in a squad — the 
foremost consisting of Wm. Branham, H. L. Smyth 
and Aslog Olson; the cattle were saved, but Olson 
was shot through the breast, Branham in the arm, 
while vSmith remained unharmed. The rear 



90 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

squad countermarched to the stockade without 
waiting for orders,, the wounded men recovered. 

Lieut. Atkinson was on his way from Clearwat- 
er with suppHes, and was two or three miles out, 
when he learned of the attack and in the exercise 
of a sound discretion, conchided to start a new ho- 
tel in the hushes, and dumped his provisions and 
supplies and himself into the biggest grove of 
hazel brush and prickly-ash to be found. He sub- 
sequently changed.his mind and 'returned to Forest 
City. 

The Indians retired from Forest City about five 
o'clock in theynorning, dividing into three parties. 
The first took the Manannah road — the second 
due south (m the Greenleaf road and the third the 
Rice City road — simultaneously firing the residen- 
ces of Dudley Taylor, Milton Gorton and Wm. 
Richardson, situated each about a mile from town, 
one house on each road. . 

We have since been told, that at the Indian tri- 
als at Mankato, the chiefs admitted a loss of 
eleven at Forest Citv. We cannot vouch for its 
truth. From what was seen, and from examina- 
tions subsequently made we guarantee that seven 
were killed — how or where the other four lost 
their breathing apparatus, is more than we can tell. 

About ten o'clock on the morning of the 4th, 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 9I 

and about fi^-e hours after the disappearance 
of the Indians, Capt. Nelson and Lieut. J. B. 
Blanchard with Thomas Dunham, Henry Brad- 
ford, Fred Hilter Elder Brooks and some 30 oth- 
ers came in from Manannah, where it appears 
they were encamped the night before. They were 
from Monticello, Wiight County and came by 
way of St. Cloud and Paynesville to Manannah. 

Whether the object of their mission was for 
more than a tour of inspection is unknown. 
They made no stop at Forest City, and rendered 
us no service. 

Apprehensive of a renewal of the attack on the 
night of the 5th, or 6th, there was no sleep to the 
eye or slumber to the eyelid for the two succeed- 
ing nights, by those in Forest City, but no fur- 
ther demonstration was made by the Indians. 

On the 9th, of September Maj. Welch with 
aI)out 300 men — a portion of the 3rd. Regiment 
passed torough Forest City on their way to the 
Minnesota River, remaining at Forest City but one 
night, 

Capt. Petitt's company B. 8th Regiment hastily 
organized at Faribault, Rice Coimty, ai rived at 
Forest City, went into quarters there on the 15th, 
of September and was the first military organiza- 
tion sent to our assistance — twenty-_iine days after 



92 HI«TORV OK MEEKER COUNTY. 

the massacre at Acton, and after the main bod}' of 
the Indians had returned to the vicinity of the 
Minnesota River.. 

Forest City liad thus presented the only suc- 
cessful barrier to the passage of the Indians to 
Kingston — Fairhaven and Clearwater on the Miss- 
issippi River. 

The Indians show^ed no disposition to pass and 
leave m their rear the post at Forest City, unless 
they could first wipe it out of existence or take its 
possession from the whites. 

Capt. J. C. Whitney's Company C. 6th Regi- 
ment arrived at Forest City, Nov. 22nd, iS6a, and 
went into winter quarters in the stockade while 
Capt. Petilt's company occupied the hotel. 

Capt. Whitney's company was ordered to Fort 
Snelling, Feb. 26th 1S63, and again Sep. 25th '63 
he returned to Kingston — remaining about one 
month, when his command went across the plains 
to the Missouri River, as an escort to a supply 
train — returned to Kingston Jan. 5th 1S64, and 
thence for the south the following June. 

On the 27th of Feb. the day after Capt. Whit- 
ney left for Fort Snelling — Capt. O. C. Meriman 
arrived with Company B, 6th, Regiment and re- 
mained till the 26th, of April following. 

On the 24th, two days prior to the departure of 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 93 

Merimain's compan} , Lieut. Clark Keysor arrived 
with 21 privates and 4 non-commissioned officers 
of Capt. Dane's company E 9th, Regiment and 
occupied the stockade. Capt. Wilson's company 
of cavalry passed Forest City on the 8th, of May 
'63, for Fort Ridg-elv. 

On ther 9th, of June Little Crow and son 
crossed the Forest City and Clearwater turnpike, 
about four miles out from Forest City, with two 
horses stolen at vSilver Creek in the county of 
Wright. 

Lieut. Keysor being apprised of the fact, took 
eight men and went out on the Clearwater road 
with the view of following their trail, but returned 
next morning without success, having been in the 
woods all night and passed the places where Lit- 
tle Crow and son had eaten both dmner and sup- 
per. 

Little Crow and son forded the river three or 
four miles above Forest City early'on the morning 
of the loth, and passed on west — the trail could 
b£ easily followed. 

Knowing that two Indians were in the woods 
west of Forest City and that they would necessar- 
ily cross the river at or near the old fords, Thos 
Grayson, H. L. Smith, Jas.M. Harvey and Robert 
Holmes, volunteered to watch two fording places 



94 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY 



on the river between Forest City and Manannah 
on the night of the 9th, — but for some purpose un- 
known these parties went to Manannah and spent 
the night, on returnmg found the fresh trail as 
above stated, and at the same time appeared Capt. 
John Cady and five of his men en-rt)u(e for Paynes- 
ville. 

Cady selected two of his men and took the trail 
and finally overtook the Indians on the nth, on 
the bank of Lake '-Arthur" in Kandiyohi county, 
when a skirmish immediately took place in which 
Capt Cady was shot through the breast and killed, 
the balance of the party returned, bringing the re- 
mains of Cady to Forest City, where they were 
properly cared for and forwarded to his friends in 
Anoka. 

July Sth, Capt. Dane appeared and removed his 
men to the west bank of Long Lake near Kelly's 
bluff — the company \vent South in September. 

One or two companies occupied Kingston in 
the winter of 1S62-3 and a detachment under 
Lieut. O'Brien, was the last military organization 
stationed at Forest City. 

After the arrival of Capt. Petitt's company, the 
Forest City boys devoted most of their time in 
caring for personal property — stock, grain, &c., 
in different parts of the county and in which they 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. C)C 

did good service. Tlie company was disbanded 
by Gov. Ramsey on the 15th of October, 1S62. 

While in active service and until disbanded, the 
Government recognized and paid the officers and 
men. 

After the arrival of regular troops, many of our 
men, knowing our organization to be a mere rope 
of sand, pi'oposed to, and did go about their bus- 
iness, endeavoring to get ready for winter — get 
their families back — most of them had families 
which had been broken up, all of which seemed a 
very important duty. 

On the 6th, Whitcomb met the writer in St. 
Paul and informed him that he and a portion of his 
command had "nominated a candidate for the 
Legislature," the knowledge of which coming to 
the ears of Gov Ramsey, he promptly ordered the 
company to be disbanded. 

This proceeding deeply offended our doughty 
captain, who, on his return, took the orderly's book 
and marked the word "deserted" against the names 
of all his men, who were engaged in looking 'after 
their own property. 

Thirteen of the best men of the company were 
thus marked, why or wherefore is unknown, un- 
less the captain drawing pay for his entire com- 
pany neglected to pay the deserters, an easy way 



96 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUXTY. 

to net about $300.00. One of the last raids of the 
Indians in the county took place in August 1863. 
Jesse V. Branham, sen. Wni. Kruger, Charles 
Kruger and William Branham, one dog and two 
horses, visited the farm of Wm. Kruger, eight 
miles south of Forest City, for the purpose of 
harvesting wheat. 

The first night out, the men slept m the house, 
the horses were picketed within a rod of the 
house and dog stood sentinel — Kruger said he 
could be trusted. 

During the night a tremendous thunder storm 
rent the skies, and the dog deserted his post and 
returned to Forest City and two Indians ran oft' 
with the horses — the trail run a due west course 
passing Pipe Lake Station, when seventeen soldiers 
took the trail and followed it past the Kandij'ohi 
Lakes, overhauling the Indians about twenty miles 
out — the horses were picketed and the red men 
fast asleep. 

Thinking to have more fun with them than 
fighting — the soldiers surrounded the sleeping 
Indians before waking them up. 

As soon as the Indians discovered their posi- 
tion they pitched in among the soldiers and came 
very near whipping the crowd and died game, 
and father Bi^anham says, the soldiers sclaped the 



HISTORY OF MEEKEK COUXTV. Qh 

Indians and left their bodies on the prairie. Fath- 
er Branham has a poor opinion of "dogs" as a 
picket guard, and still less o'f Indians as play-mates. 



CHAPTER X. 



A WILD WOMAN S HISTORY THE SLAYER OF HUN- 
DREDS OF BEARS AND WILD-CATS. 



HoNESDALE, Pa., July 20th, 1S76. — "There" said 
Sheriff Spencer, as he pushed open the ponderous 
door of one of the cells of the county jail in this 
place, "There is a woman with a history." 

On a low chair in a cell in the jail at Honesdale, 
Pa., July 2oth, 1S76, sat a most singular looking 
person. A round, wrinkled, sun-burned face, 
small head crowned with thick, shaggy gray hair, 
that fell down over and almost concealed the 
blackest and sharpest of eyes; a slender body 
clothed in scant and shabby female garb, and 
lower limbs encased in tattered trousers. This 
was the occupant of the cell — Lucy Ann Lolxlell 

(98) 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 99 

XEE Slater, 1:)ette]" known thereabouts as "the fe- 
male hunter of Long Eddy." 

About 4=; years ago a family named Loljdell 
lived in Delaware county, N. Y., at what is now 
the village of Long Eddy on the Delaware river 
and Erie railway, then sparsely settled. Lumber- 
ing was the main business of the settlers of the vi- 
cinity. The Lobdells dwelt m a cabin in the woods 
where a daughter, the subject of our sketch, was 
born. Fyom the time this child was old enough 
to walk she was a great favorite among the hardy 
woodchoppers and raftsmen. They often took 
her off to the logging camp and kept her there for 
days at a time, and she early became inured to the 
hardships of their life. The lumbermen in those 
days were all good hunters, and always carried 
their rifles with them. Before Lucy Ann was eight 
years old ^they had taught her the use of the rifle, 
and she soon became as good a shot as there was in 
the settlement. At the age of twelve she could out- 
shoot any of the men, and handled the ax with the 
ease of an old chopper. Before she had reached 
the age of sixteen she had killed nutnerous deer, 
and an absence of two or three davs alone in the 
woods was for her not an uncommon thing. She 
once killed a full sized panther, and the hide of the 
animal is now in the possession of an ex-sheriff of 



g563i.6 



lOO HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

Wayne Co. Pa. Notwithstaning her masculine 
tastes Lucy Ann's name, as a girl and woman, 
was free from reproach. The breath of slander 
never reached her, and she could have had her 
choice of a husband from the most exemplary 
young men in the vicinity. But she had no incli- 
nation to marry and she rejected all offers. 

A raftsman named Henry Slater came into the 
settlement abouti 850. He formed the acquaint- 
ance of Lucy Ann and to the surprise of everybody, 
they were married Slater proposed to liucy Ann. 
and she told him that they would shoot at a mark 
with a rifle. If he beat her shots she would marry 
him, if not she would stay with her parents. The 
trial of skill took place and Slater was victorious. 

Slater proved a worthless scape-grace and neg- 
lected and abused his wife. A year after they 
were married Mrs. Slater gave birth to a daughter. 
Before the child was two weeks old Slater desert- 
ed both child and wife, leaving them in des- 
titute circumstances. Slater never returned, but 
was occasionally heard of in New York city, and 
on the Hudson river, a worthless, drunken, vaga- 
bond. 

The sorrowing wife wentiback to her parents, 
and after two years spent in trying to get along 
and maintain herself respectably by doing wo- 
man's work, but with poor success, she laid aside 



i 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. lOI 

the apparel of her sex, donned men's clothing, and 
taking her rifle went into the woods to earn a liv- 
ing for herself and child. 

For eight or ten long years she roamed the for- 
ests of Sullivan and Delaware counties, in New 
York, and Wayne and Pike in Pennsylvania, and 
spent two years in Meeker county Minnesota. 

She had cabins in various places, and would 
visit the old home about once a year, and only ap- 
peared in the settlements and villages to sell her 
game and furs and to procure ammunition. 

On one of her visits to her child when it was 
about four years old, her parents complained of 
having its care on their hands. She therefore took 
it away and placed it in the Delhi poor-house, and 
left her old stamping ground for New York and 
thence up the Hudson river — still in men's apparel 
— and, strange to say passed and repassed her 
husband on the Hudson River railroad without 
being recognized by him, her disguise was so com- 
plete. 

From Albany she passed west over the Central 
New York, and finally turned up in Minnesota, 
and says she taught three singing schools on the 
way, to provide means of transportation. 

She spent a short time in St. Paul, where she 
made but few acquaintances and among them was 



I02 HISTORY OP MEEKKR COUNTY. 

an Edwin Gribbel, who had' some dealings with 
her, but Edwin hadn't the remotest suspicion that 
she was a female, or he would perhaps have been 
less free with her. Gribble had reason to know 
that Lucy Ann was somewhat eccentric, not onl> 
on account of the wildness of her tastes, but in the 
way she dressed, her costume in the summer of 1856 
having consisted of a pair of calico pants, a calico 
coat and a calico vest and hat. In this cool but 
rather odd suit of clothes, Lucy Ann hung around 
for some time waiting for a chance to make a 
strike. At this time Gribble occupied a claim on 
the upper shore of Lake Minnetonka, near Cook's 
and adjoining him was a claim which had been 
jumped by a man, who employed Lobdell to oc- 
cupy it in his absence, and both of whom spent 
some time together upon that claim. The claim- 
jumper, however, finally disappeared, leaving Lob- 
dell alone to watch his land. This was about the 
time that Gribble and Lucy got pretty thick, tramp- 
ing together through the woods in pursuit of 
game, and sleeping together under the same blank- 
et when they woed the gentle goddess of slum- 
ber under the umbrageous forest trees around 
Minnetonka. But Gribble didn't dream that Lu- 
cy was a lone female, and hence he felt that his 
familiarity with her entitles hini to a suspension 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. IO3 

of public opinion until he can prove his innocence 
of any evil intention. Well, after hunting with 
Lucy for a while, and pleasing her with the elo- 
quence of his tales of love, and his experiences as 
a jurist and politician, Lucy got tired of waiting 
for the return of the claim-jumper and also of 
Gribble's pretty talk, and expressed an inclination 
to strike out further into the wilderness. And 
rio-ht here, Gribble did a handsome stroke of bus- 
iness. The claimant of the land failing to appear, 
it naturally became the property of the occupant, 
and Gribble thereupon purchased Lucy's right to 
the soil, and gave her that seventy-five dollar rifle, 
which she can-ied for so many years afterwards in 
consideration of a quit-claim to the land, which 
she made out and transferred to Gribble. Then Lu- 
cy with Gribble's gun on her shoulder, set out for 
Meeker County. 

She had the I75 rifle, and spent her first winter 
(1856-7) with another person both in male attire, 
on the old Kandiyohi town-site on the north of 
Kandiyohi lakes. 

The two were employed to reside on and thus 
hold possossion of the new town-site, by the Min- 
neapolis proprietors. Her companion spent the 
winter with her, but never for a moment suspected 
that he was wintering with a woman. 



lO-l- HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

At times, when provisions fell short, thev were 
compelled to live on squirrels for their meat. 

And on one occasion, her companion was com- 
pelled to visit the Mississippi river settlements for 
supplies, and before his return, she, failing to find 
the necessary squirrel, relied upon those brought 
in by the cat, her only companion, for supplies — 
the cat furnished squirrels when the rifle could not 
reach them. 

The last we heard of "puss" he was in the care 
of Noah White, of Kandiyohi countv; he was a fa- 
vorite in that settlement for a number of \ears and 
died of old age. 

The Summer of '57 Lucy Ann appeared in Man- 
annah, boarding a short time in a place, doing 
chores, chopping wood, hunting, washing dishes, 
etc., for her board. She was handy at anything: 
those with whom she was acquainted seemed to 
enjoy her company — her male apparel often re- 
quiring her to sleep in close proximity with others 
of the male gender — but with no indiscretion and 
with no suspicion that she was other than what 
appeared on the surface. 

For the purpose of completing her disguise she 
had assumed the name of La-Roi Lobdell. 

She ever seemed well pleased with her disguise, 
and the difficulty that would naturally interpose 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 105 

in resuming, without loss of character, her natural 
and appropriate raiment probably induced her to 
continue the deception. She claimed to have as- 
sumed this disguise, originally in order to better 
get away from home, without detection by a drunk- 
en husband. 
• vShe had but little money and was a splendid hunter 
and was offensive to none, and, as before remarked, 
was good company and a "hale fellow well met" 
with all the young people in the neighborhood, 
committing no indiscretions. 

In the summer of 1S5S, by accident. "Satan, 
with the aid of original sin,'' discovered and ex- 
posed her sex. The blue code of Connecticut 
was consulted, and the law was invoked to purge 
the community of the scandal. 

The county attorney, Wm. Richards, now of the 
city of New Yoik, filed an information against 
Mrs Slater before John Robson, Esq. J. P., then 
contesting the jurisdiction of this county with J. 
B. Atkinson, Esq., as judge of the only court we 
had, alleging "that, whereas, one Lobdell, being a 
woman, falsely personates a man, to the great 
scandal of the community, and against the peace 
and dignity of the State of Minnesota," and asked 
that she be dealt with according to law, that so 
pernicious an example might not be repeated in 



fo6 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

this land of bteady habits. U. S. Willie, Esq., a 
young lawyer from Virginia, then residing at For- 
est City, appeared for the prisoner, and A. C. 
Smith as counsel. 

The plea of xot guilty was interposed, and 
the legal evidence to prove the necessary fact 
could not easily be obtained, and was left in doubt, 
and the court, after taking the case under advi=e- 
me it, finally ruled that the right of females to 
"wear the pants'" had been recognized from the 
time of Justinian, and that the doctrine was too 
well settled to be upset in the case at bar, and 
Mrs. Slater was therefore discharged. 

This denoument had the effect to discredit 
her in the settlement, subjecting her to insult 
from the vicious on every hand. She became de- 
ranged pending the proceedings, and, as it were, 
an outcast in society — an object of commiseration 
and sympathy, and soon thereafter a public charge. 

On recovering from the mental shock, she 
expressed a willingness to return to her family 
and friends, but had no means save her rifle, 
and nobody in the settlement able to purchase 
that. 

Mrs. Slater was finally sent home at the expense 
of Meeker county, under the direction of Capt. A. 
D. Pierce, then of Manannah. 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. IO7 

Soon thereafter Capt. Pierce recei^-ed a letter 
from Mrs. Slater's parents, thanking him and the 
county most heartily for their kindness in returning 
her to her friends. 

In 1S59 she again appeared on her old stamping 
ground, "the basket," and still in male attire We 
conclude this novel romance in the language of the 
New York Times: 

She at times would recount her experiences in 
the forest, and asserted that in the eight years she 
had killed i 50 deer, eleven bears, numerous wild- 
cats and foxes, besides trapping hundreds of mink 
and other fur bearing animals. vShe had hand-to 
hand contests with both wounded deer and bear, 
as ugly seams and scars upon her body amply tes- 
tified. For two or three years after her return she 
led a mendicant sort of life through the valley, and 
finally entered the poor-house at Delhi, to which 
she had sent her child several years previously, 
This child, however, had some time before been 
taken out of the institution by a farmer of Da- 
mascus township, Wayne county, Pennsylvania, 
named David Fortman, and given a home at his 
house. 

In the spring of 1865 a young woman was let off 
an Erie railway passenger train at Basket station, 
or Long Eddy. She could not pay her fare any 



Io8 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

further, and said she had no particular point to 
which she was going. She gave her name as Mrs. 
Wilson, and said she had been deserted by her 
husband at Jersey City, where she had been living 
for some months. He was an employe of the Erie 
railway company, and had eloped with the daugh- 
ter of the lady with which they boarded. Mrs. 
Wilson said that she was the dausfhter of hiorhh" 
respectable parents, named Perry of Lynn, Mas^ , 
and that she had run away from home with, and 
married James Wilson, her parents having opposed 
the match. The station agent and others at Bas- 
ket station kindly offered to make up a purse for 
the unfortunate woman, and send her back to her 
parents, but she declined the offer, saying she was 
ashamed to meet them, and did not wish them to 
know of her whereabouts. She was in feeble 
health, and fearing that she might become a bur- 
den on strangers, she went to Delhi, and entered 
the poor-house. 

Lucy Ann Slater was still an inmate of the 
almshouse, and a singular attachment had sprang 
up between her and the new comer, Mrs. Wilson, 
probally owing to the similarity of cause which 
had forced them to become paupers. The follow- 
ing year both of them left the county house, and 
nothing was heard of ci'.her of them for two years. 



iiis'ion'S' OF meekp:r county. 109 

In the summer of 1S6S a party of fishermen discov- 
erd two strange persons living in a cave in Barrett 
township, Moni'oe county, Pa. Tliey were a man 
and woman. Soon thereafter there appeared in 
one of the villages a tall, gaunt man, carrying a 
rifle and leading a half-grown bear cub by a string 
tied about his neck. The man was bare-headed 
and his clothing was torn and dirty. Accompany- 
ing him was a woman about twenty-five years old, 
shabbily dressed, but giving evidence of more in- 
telligence than the man, who called himself Rev. 
Joseph Lobdell, and said that the woman was his 
wife. As they walked about, the man delivered 
noisy and meaningless ''sermons," declaring that 
he was a prophet of the new dispensation, and 
that the bear had been sent him by the Lord to 
guard him in the wilderness. For two years these 
vagrants wandered about that portion of the coun- 
try, living in caves, and subsisting on roots, berries, 
and game killed by the man. x'Vt last they were 
arrested and lodged in jail at Stroudsberg, where 
they were kept several weeks. While in jail the 
discovery was made that they were both women. 
Subsequently the authorities learned that they 
belonged to Delaware county, N. Y., and thither 
they were sent. This pretended man and wife 
were Lucy Ann Slater and Mrs. Wilson, who 



no HISTORY OF MEEKER COUXTY. 

had been leading this vagabond life for four 
yeai's. 

In the meantime Mary Ann Slater, the daugh- 
ter of Lucy Ann, who had been taken from the 
Delhi almshouse in 1859 or i860, had found an ex- 
cellent home, and had grown up to be an intelli- 
gent and attractive young woman. A young man 
named Stone lived near by with his widowed moth- 
er, whom he supported. He loved Mary Ann, 
and being a worthy and promising 3 outh, the fos- 
ter father of the girl saw no I'eason to oppose a 
match between her and the widow's son. The 
widow, however, was so strongly set against her 
son marrying the young lady that the whole neigh- 
borhood wondered. A number of young men in 
the neighborhood were jealous of Stone, and one 
dark night they waylaid Mary Ann. The outrage 
drove her almost insane, but Stone's affection was 
undiminished. He still pressed his claim for her 
hand. At length when their marriage seemed 
certain, Mrs. Stone revealed a state of affairs 
which fully accounted for her opposition. She 
told her son that she was not a widow, and that 
Henry Slater was his father as well as the father 
of Mary Ann. 

Lucy Ann Slater and Mrs. Wilson again Ici't the 
Delhi poor house, and have ever since been livmg 



4 
HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. Ill 

in caves and cabins in the woods. The former is 
at times entirely deranged. All last winter they 
lived in a cave ten miles from Honesdale, but they 
divided their time between Monroe county and this. 
Lucy Ann wandered into this village the other 
day, and out of common decency she was arrested, 
and was placed in jail where we found her 
at the commencement of this chapter. 



CHAPTER XL 



DR. FREDERICK NOAH RIPLEY. 



Dr. Ripley arrived at Siiakopee, Scott county, 
Minn., m September 1853, and resided at that 
place, boarding at the "Warren House" during the 
years 1853-4. 

He came from New York city, where he was 
educated, and where he left a mother and an inten- 
ded wife. 

In 1855, he first made his appearance in the 
small village of Minneapolis — a slightly built man. 
ot refined and gentlemanly appearance; possessing 
copious stores of useful and instructive informa- 
tion; richly endowed with all the natural gifts of 
an enlarged mind and liberal understanding; full 

(112) 



JItSTOKV OK MEEKER COUNTV. II^ 

(jf high hope!s and vigorous promise, who in his 
earlv manliood had left the land of his birth to seek 
that of his adoption in the far west. 

He had l>een induced to take this step by a col- 
lege class-mate, at that time a practicing young 
lawyer in Minneapolis — the late Hon. D. M. Han- 
son. 

Dr Ripley was a young and talented physician 
but recently graduated from a celebrated medical 
institution in the east, and was looking through the 
west for the purpose of selecting a home, where 
he could devote his entire time to the practice of 
his profession. 

About this time that portion of our Territory 
now comprising Meeker and McLeod counties had 
just been explored by a few citizens of Minne- 
iipolis, and considerable excitement existed in tjjie 
village, in regard to the favorable reports made by 
the pioneerb in relation to their visit west of the 
Big-woods. 

The doctor was strongly recommended to make 
a visit to the new -discovered region, to look up ;i 
claim and select a home, and in doing so made up 
his mind to settle — expecting to locate either at 
Forest City or on Cedar Lake, in the county of 
Meeker. 

Arrangements were made to have the supplies 



114 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

necessary for the ensuing winters use, stored at 
Forest City, at the same tnne the Dr. with one 
John McClelland now Register of Deeds in Beck- 
er county, were to remain on the claim at Cedar 
Lake, where they had established their camp for 
the winter. 

Ripley and McClelland left camp for Forest 
City, for supplies on the first day of March 1S56 — 
a distance of 18 miles. 

It was a delightful morning — the sun shone 
brightly and the snow was melting fast till 9, A. M. 
when a gentle breeze from the north-west started 
up — in a short time clouds began to appear and by 
12 M. a full-grown bli^jzard was upon them. 

They traveled as near a north-west course as 
they could calculate, until dark when they stopped 
in a small popple grove; gathering a pile of dry 
sticks, with which they started a fire, they camped 
for the night — imagination will tell how they 
spent the night, without food or blankets, and 
the thermometer down to 20 below zero and the 
wind blowing a hurricane, their only occupation 
was to hunt wood and keep up the fire till morn- 
ing when they again started out, as was supposed 
in a direct course for Forest City and traveled until 
about 9 o'clock a. m. through snow from one to 
three feet deep striking Cruw River, but whether 



FilSTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. II :; 

above or below Forest City they could not tell. 
and after a search for several hours both up and 
down stream the Doctor became discouragfed and 
both started to go back whence they came — this 
was about two p. m. — by this time the storm had 
abated and the sun came out just before night. 

About dark they accidently came to the place 
where they had camped the night before, but to 
their great disappointment the fire had gone out and 
their few remaining matches were found to be wet, 
they had no fire and as they started out without 
food, in anticipation of getting through to Forest 
City the same night, hunger and cold told on them 
terribly. The Dr. was badly chilled — both walked 
the grove for some time but concluded to strike 
out for camp as it was quite as easy to walk on 
the prairie as in the timber. 

Ripley showed signs of fatigue and quite fre- 
quently wanted to stop and rest — McClelland in- 
sisted it would not do to stop as he would freeze 
and McClelland was already aware that his own 
feet were partially frozen. 

Ripley was evidently freezing as at every step 
he seemed to get weaker and less able to pro- 
ceed and finally fell down in the snow — McClel- 
land helped him up and led him on for some dis- 
tance, until Ripley said "Mc. go ahead and if the 



Il6 HISTORY OK MEEKER COUNTY. 

teams have come into camp — have them come out 
after me. 

I McClelland very reluctantly left Ripley and 
made as rapid steps for camp as possible, knovvinj^ 
full well that he was takinoj a last farewell of the 
good man on earth. 

McClelland left Ripley about half a mile from 
what is now called Lake Ripley. 

The Dr. seems to have wandered back to the 
grove, where his remains were 'found in the 

. April following by Mr. William S. Chapman (now 
of California.) 

McClelland left Ripley about 8 o'clock .v. m. of 
the third day out and seven miles from camp. 
McClelland had a hard days work and got into 
camp about sun down with his feet badly frozen, 
where he lay nineteen days! before the ex- 
pected team arrived. Dr. Ripley was thirty-two 
years old. 

When McClelland was discovered in camp, he 
was in a dreadful state of prostration, was imme- 
diately removed to Shakopee and both legs ampu- 
tated above the knee. 

Dr. Ripley was of pleasing address and gentle- 
manly manners, below the medium height, light 
hair, blue eyes and talented — and had he lived 
could not fail to have made a valuable citizen. 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 117 

He belonj^ed to the Masonic order — was an hon- 
or to the craft and was beloved by all who knew 
him. 

His remains have not been, but should be re- 
moved to the cemetery at an early day. 

Previous to Dr. Ripley's pitching his tent west of 
the woods in Meeker county, he had pre-empted 
the East half of the South-west quarter and South 
west quarter of the South-west quarter of section 
30 and and Lots 7 and S of section 31-1 16-22- 
This pre-emption bears date October iS, 1855 — 
the public sale taking place October 24th. 1S55. 



CHAPTER XII 



CHURCH HISTORY PRKSK VTEK I AX CHIHCH. 



The first Presbyterian Church and society or- 
o-anized in the county was at Forest Citv bv Rev. 
J. C. Whitney, vvlio came to Forest City in the 
spring of 185S and organized a Presbyterian so- 
ciety Sept. 25th, 1859 and styled "The trustees of 
the Westminister Presbyterian society of Forest 
City." 

The first trustees were I. C. Dehnater. Richard 
Pool, A. C. Smith. J. W. Gnswold and A. W. 
Angier. 

Tlic onlv one of these men now remaining in 
the county is A. C. Smith. 

(118) 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. I I9 

In connection with this organization Rev. J. C. 
Whitney labored until the fall of 1S62. 

Lots for a church edifice were donated by the 
Town Company, and timber hauled on to the 
"round. 

Subsequently, in the fall of 1862 these timbers 
were used in building the stockade for defence 
from the Indians. 

The next organization was at Greenleaf in Sep- 
tember or October 1866 — Rev. J. C. Harding was 
Jocated there as a missionary, November 1866, 
and preached his first sermon Nov. 25th, 1S66. 

Society organized Feb. 17th 1S66, in connection 
with the St. Paul Presbytery. 

The first Trustees were Henry Hill. Wm. H. 
Greenleaf, James Gilpatrick, Dana E. King and 
John Curry — name and style "The first Presbyter- 
ian Church of Greenleaf." Trustees elected Nov. 
4th, 1 868. 

In July 1866, Dana E. King presented the so- 
ciety with lot 12, A. C. Smith with lot 11, and 
Judson A. Brink with lots 9 and 10 on being 
paid $25.00. 

This gave the society four lots on which a house 
was erected costing between $1,500 and $2.000 — 
of this $300 was furnished by the "church erection 
board." 



I30 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

Rev. Mr. Harding labored here till 1S70. 

In 1868 Rev'nds D. B. Jackson, W. C. Harding 
and J. H. Hunter were appointed by the St. Paul 
Presbytery, in session at St. Cloud in April of 
that year, to organize a church at Kingston. 

Church organized May 28th, 186S — name and 
style of, "The first Presbyterian church of Kings- 
ton." 

The Society never become a corporate body 
and did not erect any house of worship. 

Rev. Mr. Jackson labored here until the springs 
of 1871. 

The next and last Presbyterian church organ- 
ized in the countyjto this date ( 1S76} is at Litchfield. 

This town was located in 1869 by the St. Paul 
& Pacific Rail Road Company — on the line of its 
road and near the geographical center of the 
county. 

Rev. D. B.Jackson, preached the first sermon 
August 15th, 1869 in an unfinished 7x9 school 
house without either doors or windows. 

The Church at Litchfield was organized Jan. 
2nd. 1S70, by a committee from St. Paul "Presby- 
tery" consisting of Rev'nds D. C. Lyon, J. W. 
Farris and D. B. Jackson. 

Church and Society organized under the statute 
March loth, 1870 — name and style, " First Presby- 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 131 

terian Cliurch and Society of Litchfield." The 
following- were the original members of thi:^ 
church, viz: 

Mr. Achille N. Grenier, Mrs. Eusebia N. Gren- 

ier, Miss Rachel Amelia Grenier, Miss Isabella 

Grenier, Mr. Henry Hill, Mrs. Mary L. Hill, Mr. 

Henry Wilson, Mrs. Martha Gordon and D. B. 

Jackson. 

Of the above, at this writing (1876) A. N. 
Grenier, died in St. Paul — Mrs. Grenier is now re- 
siding in Paris, France — Miss Amelia married to 
Mr. Mathron, and resides in Marseilles, France. 

Isabella is the wife of Dr. Geo. W. Weisel and 
resides at Grand Rapids Michigan, Henry Hill is 
residing in the Black Hills (so called) while Mrs. 
Hill resides at Granite Falls, Yellow Medic 
County Minnesota — Henry Wilson died in Miss- 
ouri, and Rev. D. B.Jackson resides in Black Riv- 
er Falls Wis. 

All gone but one! Such are the changes of six 
years. What may it be during the next centur\ .' 

July 25th, 1870 the St. Paul and Pacific Rail 
Road Company deeded the lots on which the 
edifice now stands, and the present building was 
erected during the years 1870-71 — whole cost over 
$4.000, — of this sum one thousand was donoted 
by a lady in the East; five hundred by the 



132 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

church erection board $500 procured through the 
efforts of D. B. Jackson and two thousand by citi- 
zen subscriptions. 

The bell for the church was obtained during 
1872 — the money being raised by an excursion to 
St. Paul. The party came near destruction, as 
the train was partially thrown from the track, and 
one coach badly demoralized: 

An instrument of music was on the reSr coach 
and most of the party were in that coach and 
thus providentially saved from what would other- 
wise have been a sad disaster. 

The sofa was furnished as a present from James 
Campbell Esq. of Hartford Conn. 

The names of the different clergymen officiating 
in this church to this time are Rev. D. B.Jackson, 
W. C. Harding, Prescot Fay, A. J. Buel, and John 
S. Sherrill. 

Total present membership of the church 71, 
something over one-half still reside in the county. 

PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL CHURCH. 

Rev. T. G. Crump commenced holding Epis- 
copal services in the Masonic Hall in Litchfield in 
July 1870. 

At the time of the morning service on Sunday 
the 5th, and 12th, days, of March 1S71 notice was 
publicly given for a meeting of the male mem- 



123 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

bers of the Protestant Episcopal Church and con- 
gregation to be held in the Masonic Hall in Litch- 
field Saturday evening the i8th day of March a. 
D. 1871. 

Rev. T. G. Crump presided at such meeting and 
D. E. Potter was chosen secretary. 

A permanent organization \a as had, the foow 
iug persons were elected church wardens and 
vestry men. 

J. C. Braden Sr. Warden, C. H. Strobeck Jr 
Warden. 

Vestry— D. E. Potter. G. H. Chapman, H. G. 
Rising, J. M. Mitchell. B. O. Esping, W. S.' Brill 
and J. M. Waldron 

Rev. T. G. Crump, Rector. 

Four of the se\ en first vestrymen are now gone 
from the county. 

Present Wardens and Vestry, James C. Braden, 
Chas. H. Strobeck, Wardens. 

N. A. Viren, S. H. Wood, P. Ekstrom, F. E 
Bissel, W. S. Brill. S. A. Plumley, Vestiy. 

H. Stevens, Treas. J. H. Morris Sec. 

The lots on which the Rectory now stands were 
the gift ot Herman Trott Esq. Land Commission- 
er, and other parties connected with the St. Paul 
& Pacific Rail Road Company. 

The lots on which the church edifice and parish 



124 HISTORY OF MEEKEE{ COUNTY. 

school house stand were the gift of J. C. Braden. 

Mrs Ellen Auchmuty of New York gave $4000. 
toward the erection of the church edifice and Airs. 
E. D. Litchfield of London England gave $2,000. 

No other Episcopal church organization has ev- 
er been perfected in the county. 

METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH. 

Rev. John Robson preached the first sermon in 
Forest City, November 1856, (see page 34 of this 
]>ook.) 

Mr. Robson continued to preach in Forest City 
during the wmter of 1S56-7 and through the sum- 
mer of 1857. In May 1857, Wm. Walker, organ- 
ized a Sunday school, Wait H. Dart Superinten- 
dent. 

Rev. Thomas Hai wood was the first preacher 
on the Forest City circuit, in 1857. Rev. S. F. 
Sterritt, ot Monticello, Presiding Elder. 

First Quarterly Meeting held at Kingston, Oc- 
tober loth, 1 85 7. 

Official members present. Rev. S. F. Sterritt, P. 
E. Thomas Harwood, P. E.and E. H. Whitney, L. 
E. and B. Lyford. Stewards, E. H. Whitney, John 
Robson W. H. Dart, R. M. Eastman, and B. Ly- 
ford. 

J. W. Griswold Recording Steward. 

Second Qiiarterly Meeting held at the house of 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. I25 

John Robson in Forest City Jan. 25th 185S. 

Rev. C. C. Kidder supplied the Forest City cir- 
cuit in 185S. 

September 4th, of this year a legal organization 
was had, and a board of Trustees appointed con- 
sisting of Messrs John W. Griswold, John Rob- 
son, Wait H. Dart, E. H. Whitney and Rufus M. 
Eastman. 

To be known and styled as a ''Board of Trustees 
to hold in trust certain church projDerty located in 
the Tovs^n of Forest City, county of Meeker and 
State of Minnesota." 

Said organization was made a matter of record, 
in the Registry of Deeds in said county in Book 
B. of mortgages page 326. 

1861-2 Rev. S. Chubbuck occupied the Forest 
City curcuit. 

Mr. Chubbuck was at Forest City at the time 
of the Indian outbreak and while his connection 
with conference forbade his uniting with our 
'irregular" volunteer guards — he nevertheless 
shouldered the musket and did as good service as 
any man in Meeker County, until the meeting of 
conference when duty required him to leave. In 
the hours of danger Mr. Chubbuck was one of the 
coolest calmest men we had — showing no fear in 
the discharge of duty — brave but not rash, a man 



120 HisioH^ ov mki:ki:k c(>l•^■T^ . 

of few woinU. ho was a meilcl ot a christian i(en- 
tlc'inan. 

Aii»;iisl .|.th, 1862 a new Boanl o\ Trustees was 
appointed consisting of Messrs jolm \V. GnswoUl. 
Wait M. Dart, E. II. Whitney, Henry Keech and 
Allen (-ireen. 

In iS(): l\i.\. F. Berlin ureached at Forest Citv 
occasionally. 

In 1S64, :ie\ . l.e\i (ilcason performed snn- 
ilar service. 

In conseq>;otKe of the Indian War. there was 
verv little done hy this church u-v two or three 
Aears and no reports of i ^terest made. 

Under date o( iS'04-5 the Methodist Episcopal 
record contains the t'ollowinL:; entry: 

"Conference year 1804-5 I^<- ^ • ^I- S- Harrinian 
walked the Clearwater circuit w hen it was lari^e 
enough to kill a horse." 

No recorils for 1S6:; except that the Clearwater 
circuit was divided and the Forest City circuit 
ve-eslablish.eil. 

In 1866 Rev. Jesse Smith and J. W. Stunty. 
Mipplied the circuit. 

l86~. Mr. Stuntz continued at Forest City. 

1868. Rev. Mr. Fasio- occupied the ground. 

1S60. Rev. ThadeusJ. Woodworth was appoint- 
ed to the Forest City circuit, then composed of 



HISTORY OF MEEKEK C(n;N'rV. 12 7 

Forest City, Kingston, Silver Creek and Pleasant 
Lake. Qiiarterly meeting at Kingston Nov. 22nd. 

1870, Mr. Woodworth continued in charge. Rev. 
Charles Ciriswoid Presiding Elder. We find the 
following entrv in the church record: "\-oted to re- 
release J. W. Griswold' from, and appoint Judge 
Smith to the Board of Trustees of the Forest City 
church property — a board of Trustees was ap- 
pointed to hold church property in Litchfield — 
Rev. Charles Griswold, lost the report. 

The first Qiuirterly Meeting held at Litchfield, 
was Nov. 28th, 1869. 

In 1870, the name of the circuit was changed to 
"Litchfield" and Rev. Mr. Fnsigwas left in charge. 

187 1 -2 no records. 

1873, Rev. Isaac H. Riddick was located at 
Litchfield, also for the years 1874-5. 

1876, Rev. Samuel Wood was appointed to this 
station but soon resigned in consequence of bad 
health. 

Present membership of the Methodist Episco- 
pal church 62. 

The church edifice at Litchfield cost $3,000 of 
which $500, was donated by the Remington's of 
Ilion, New York, and the lots donated by Smith 
D. King. The house was erected in 1873 under 
the supervision of Rev. Mr. Copp. 



IZS lllsrOKV OK MEEK.EK COISIV. 

CHKlSriAN CIHItCll. 

This cluircli was ovgaiii/cd in 1871 with a incm- 
l)ership of 38 persons, by Elder L. Y. Bailey. 

Trustees — Chauncy Butler, (i. B. Lyon, V. H. 
Harris. 

Membership in 1876, about 40. 

Present otlicers Chauncy Butler, S. W. Leavett, 
y. H. Harris. 

The names of llu clergymen ofbciating in this 
church, Rev. L. V. Bailey, F. Grant. John Ains- 
worth and J. McReynolds. 

Sunday school number^ 50 chddren. 

This church owmis two lots of grouiul and has 
a church edifice costing $4.000 — no del t. 

Mr. Ovid Butler of Indianapolis Ind. contribu- 
ted .$1,000 toward the erection of the house. 

.SWEDISH .MKrHOUIST EPISC >1'AI- CllflUll OK 

Lire IIVlKI.l). 

was organized April 14th, 1874. 

Trustees — ^Jonas Peterson, Lewis Johnson, Peter 
Hanson, Peter Palm and Lewis Swanson. 

O.Gunderscni Presiding Elder, Swedish District 
Minnesota. 

Lewis Jt)hnson, Secretary. 

The church edifice for this church was built in 
187^, and cost about $2.000 — paid for by the con- 
trrcjjation. 



mscom oi' mkekkh covsrv. i2(j 

KOMAN LAT1H>IAC CIIlfKII. 

Was ortijanized nl Forest City, in the spiinj^ of 
1866 by Rev. Father Minolf of St. Cloud. 

The first sermon was preached in the sjjring of 

1S58 at the house of John FlyniT l>y Rev. Father 

Whitcomb of St. Cloud — the second by the same 

person at the liouse ui' John Dougherty ;:i the 

Town of Hawey. 

A church edifice was erected in 1866, at Forest 
City, costing $3.000 — individuals of all denomi- 
nations generously contributed to its erection — size 
40 by 60 feet. 

The lumber ((jv this building was hauled over 40 
miles l)y teams from (iilmaii's mills, beyond .St. 
Cloud, by the meml)ers of the church. 

Trustees in charge of the erection of the churrh : 
Patrick Casey, John Dougherty, Sen. Daniel 
Dougherty and M.J. Flynn. The society orgin- 
ally embraced about fifty' families. Rev. Father 
John Byrnes officiated in this church from 1867 to 
1870 — Rev. Father Arthur Hurley, from 1870 to 
1873 — Rev. Father Cahill from 1873 to 1875 '''"' 
Rev. Father McDermott since. 

Three hundred families now worship at this 
church. 

Present Trustees — Rev Father McDermott Prest. 

Patrick Casey, Treas. M.J. Flynn Sec. 



I-^O HISTORY OF MEEKEK COUNTY. 

This house is not now half large enough, to ac- 
commodate the congregation. 

This completes the record of the different 
chuches of this county to 1876. 



CHAPTER XIII. 



THE JUDICIAKV. 



During the early period which our historic- 
al reminicences extend, such a thing as a "Judi- 
ciary" or any necessity for law, was unheard of 
and unknown in the county. 

No county was ever settled by a better set of 
boys, and none submitted to the hardships of a 
new country one hundred miles from cvilization 
with better grace, and with less complaint than 
those who first opened up Meeker County, and 
remdeemed her soil from savage rule. 

No law was required, the intelligence of the 
settler=, their quietness and industry, and the ne- 
cessity which every man was under, to attend to 



132 HISTORY OF MEEKEK COUNTY. 

his own business, left theii tht^ughts free from law 
or necessity for law. 

Like our Pilgrim fathers, when landing at Ply- 
mouth — they regarded the "Decalogue" as both 
"law and gospel," from the first discovery of the 
prairie till the spring oi' 1858. 

The first thing the settlers were considered good 
for, was to be "taxed" — Law soon followed, and 
Blackstone & Kent could bo found at any man's 
door, who was willing to pay for it, and it was a. 
little remarkable that among the first cases tried, 
was one of "woman's right's," and which has been 
already sufficiently described in chapter ten of this 
book. 

From the spring of 1858, we were blessed with 
three courts — one presided over by Smith & Ev- 
ans, under the supervision of Thomas A. Hen- 
dricks, then commisioner of the General Land 
Office, one known as the District Court, presided 
over by Hon. E. O. Hamlin of St. Cloud, and 
thirdly, the one of all others, presided over by 
Judge Atkinson as J. P. 

Early in the summer of 1S59 Col. Allen now of 
the Merchants Hotel, St. Paul — not having much 
to do at that time, bethought him to make a bus- 
iness strike and came all the way from St. Antho- 
ny to Forest Citv to pre-empt a quarter section of 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 1 33 

tamarack swamp somewhere in back of St. An- 
thony. 

The Col. was able to furnish first class proofs of 
settlement and Improvements, consisting of a "half 
acre broke" — a chvelling house 12 feet square, one 
story high made of logs, with double board floor 
(i.e. one board with a hole bored through it) a 
double pitch roof (i.e. one board on top of the 
house, with some tar rubbed on jt) one door, (i. e. 
a place where you could crawl out or in) and one 
window with glass in it, (i.e. a hole between the 
logs and a broken junc-bottle placed therein.) 

The proofs were excellent, but just here the 
witness seemed to be tender-toed about swearing 
to the (then) requisite 30 days residence prior to 
pre-emtion. 

The Col. was fully equal to the emergency and 
promptly produced witness No. 2, consisting of 
about two-thirds ot a demijohn of Medicine, vul- 
garly termed "brandy," and as he was quite anx- 
ious to propitiate the judges, that the case might 
the more easily "slide through" and with the same 
patriotic motion that rail road men furnish free 
passes to cheap legislators, he made us a present 
of Demijohn and its unfinished contents. 

It is needless to add that the pi'oofs were deemed 
ample and complete, and the Col. returned to St. 



134 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

Anthony the owner of a "tamarack swamp," and 
with a somewhat higher opmion of legal technic- 
alities. 

The Col. tells us that farm lately changed hands 
for thirty thousand dollars. 

The testimony of witness No. 2, was carefully 
preserved and filed away in the store room, so as 
not to tempt "loungers to sudden attacks" — requir- 
ino- the use of suQh remedies, and to be brought 
out only on * state occasions," or when visited by 
governors, judges, rail road presidents &c. 

Had Thomas A. Hendricks been here at the 
time, he would probably — as in other cases — have 
required all the proofs to be sent up. 

The first Term of our District Court was to 
have been held in the fall of 1S5S— Hon. E. O. 
Hamlin Judge 4th Judicial District, but the roads 
were so bad, the judge could not come to 
time, and on the appointed day, the legal wisdom 
of the county met in Judge Smith's back office — 
then used as a store room — to wit, Wm. Richards 
County Atty. (not then admitted to practice) T. 
C. Jewett Sheriff; and Smith cSl Willie then con- 
stituting the Bar Association. 

Col. Allen's demijohn stood in an old candle- 
box under the table, when Esquire Richards per- 



. HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. I35 

emptorilly directed the sheriff to open and adjourn 
the court, pursuant to law. 

Jewett was inexperienced — never having done 
anything of the kind before asked Richards what 
he should say. 

"Say after me, sir," says Richards. 

"Proceed sir," says the Sheriff. 

"'Ere ye 'ere ye 'ere ye," says Co. Atty. 

"'Ere ye 'ere ye 'ere ye," says the sheriff, — "The 
District Court for the County of Meeker is now 
open — all persons having any business in this 
court must appear and they shall be heard — God 
save the Queen," says the county attorney. 

•■D d if I'll do it sir" says the sheriff, "this is 

a free country and you've got an old English form 
that won't work here. 

At this point in the ceremony Richards looked at 
Willie, who had discovered the demijohn under the 
table — had exploded the cork and elevated "the 
substance of things hoped for," and obtained a 
goodly portion of "the evidence of things unseen," 
and had lowered the same to half mast — and at 
once with offended dignity, which none but those 
who knew Richards could appreciate — enquired of 
Willie what he was about. 

"Oh ! nothing," says Willie, in his usual style, 
and stroking his moistened mustache, — "go on with 



136 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

your court, this is only the first informal call, ot 
the calender, and ceremony is entirely unneces- 
sary" — again flourishing the demijohn, as a barber 
would cut a figure eight with his razor, and in its 
descent securing another liberal portion of the "evi- 
dence of things unseen." 

It is needless to add, to those who knew Rich- 
ards, that he left, in disgust, forgetting to adjourn 
the court and it is not quite certain that that court 
has ever been adjourned. 

The first District Court held in Meeker county 
was in October 1859— Hon. E. O. Hamlin Judge, 
and was held in Judge Smiths office. 

The bar consisting spiritually of Messrs Smith 
& Willie — Materially of Geo. B. Wrights old draw- 
ing board 3 feet by 7 — and the first case tried was 
that of John Pfeifer vs Peter Steirne — and as the 
case was reported in Harpers New Monthly 
for Nov. 1 86 1, I give the substance of the report 
from that work. 

"When Meeker County, Minnesota, was new 
before lawyers found their way out there, two 
Dutchmen, Pfeifer and Steirne (brothers-in-law), 
undertook to cheat Uncle Sam by pre-empt- 
ing two claims with one cabin, each furnishing 
half the lumber, the cabin to stand on the line be- 
tween the two clamis. Before the claims were 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 137 

pre-empted the brothers fell out. Steirne under- 
took to carry away his half of the lumber, when 
Pfeifer shot ^Steirne. Steirne complains of Pfeifer 
for an assault with nitent to kill, and Pfeifer settles 
up by giving Steirne a chattel mortgage on two 
yoke of oxen (all the property either party had in 
the world except a wife and several children e;ich.) 

"When the mortgage came due Steirne takes the 
cattle and Pfeifer replevied them, on the ground 
that the mortgage w^as given to compound a felony 
and was void. 

"Maturing the mortgage, two pettifoggers ar- 
rived at the county seat, one Smith, a frontier law- 
yer and a notorious wag, and Willie, a clever 
voung lawver from Western Virg-inia. 

"Pfeifer having the actual possession of the oxen, 
delivers one yoke to Smith for his fee, and Steirne, 
having the cattle in expectancy, mortgaged one 
yoke to Willie also to secure his fee. 

"The case was tried by His Honor, E. O. Ham- 
lin, then on the bench of the Fourth District, at 
the October Term, 1859, at Forest City. Being 
but one spare room in town, the court adjourned 
to give the use of the room to the jury. About 1 1 
p. M. jury sent for the Court and informed the 
j.udge that there was no possibility of an agree- 
ment. The judge thereupon instructed the sheriff 



138 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

to take the jury to the tavern and give them a sup- 
per and then shut them up again with the case. 

"At 4 o'clock A. M. the jury sent for the Court, 
and gave in a sealed verdict, and were discharged 
from further attendance on the Court, with the 
judge's thanks. When the court convened at 9 a. 
M. the verdict was opened, and read as follows: 

"Jury find for plaintiff, three cents damages. 
("Signed) Geo. S. Sholes, Foreman.'" 

Atkinson affirms that those supplies have not 
yet been paid for. 

The following is a list of the Jurors m this case. 

Geo. S. Sholes Sen, A, B. Hoyt, John C. Scrib- 
ner Alexander Lee. T. R. Webb, Thos. Dough- 
erty A. C. Maddox, Sam'l L. Getchell, Geo. W- 
Baird Edward Brown John Blackwell Charles 
Duffy. 

At this term of court Wm. Richards Esq. 
county Attorney "nunc pro tunc", was admitted 
to practice as an attorney and counsellor, on his 
own motion, assuring the court that although an 
Englishman, he was nevertheless a man of good 
moral character, attached to the constitution and 
the principles of a Republican Government, 
and could prove it by all the boys in Jim's bar- 
room — and as material was somewhat scarce for 
lawyers west of the woods, trusted that his appli- 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. I39 

cation would be favorably considered. The 
Judge casting a longing eye over the pau- 
city of the Bar, remarked "did you ever" and di- 
rected the clerk to "swear him in." 

Thus much for the introductory history of the 
District Court. 

Something is due to our ''Supreme Court," pre- 
sided over at times by Judges Butler, Ritchie, Geo. 
Frid, Robson, Griswold, Atkinson, Stevens, Walk- 
er, Campbell, Hutchins and a host of others. 
Jurisdiction depended somewhat on who got hold 
of the case first. 

In 1859 a case came before Judge Ritchie of 
Acton. Mark Piper and Nathan Butler acted as 
attorneys. 

Piper made a motion to "quash the summons" 
on the ground that the letters, s. s. were not at- 
tached to "The State of Minnesota Meeker Coun- 

ty " _ 

This was a poser for Butler and his argument 
therein was not the most lucid, but the motion was 
overruled and judgment entered for PI' ft' for the 
value of ont^ "Opossum supper" proved to have been 
unfortunately eaten on some formei occasion 
in the early history of the county by the defen- 
dant. 

Subsequently both attorneys enquired of us 



140 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

what connection those magic letters had in the di- 
agnosis of the case. 

If we remember rightly we informed them 
that the s. s. stood for -'simplicity simplified," refer- 
ring to the "code'' and that no case could be pros- 
ecuted without recognizing "the code" by the ad- 
dition of the s. s. 

The same summer we had a case before Hutch- 
ins, J. P. of Kingston, in which our old friend Fitz- 
gerald appeared as both client and counsel against 
VIS, and moved to dismiss on the ground that the 
justice had never given a bond, and as the justice 
had quite forgotten whether he had or not, for- 
bade any futher proceedings. 

Fitzgerald came into court with a club two feet 
long and size of a sled-stake — hence the sobriquet 
"Shillala Fitzgerald" which he carried ever after to 
the end of his days. 

IniS63jewett sued Hoken Peterson for .I4.00 
sheriffs fees in some former case. Hoken came to 
us to see what we would defend him for, and war- 
rant the case, and after an hours p irley, in which 
we commenced on $3,000, secured on real estate, 
we finally struck off the three ciphers and closed 
a contract and sealed it at $3. 

Jewett found out, by some means how the case 
stood, and soon after meeting Hoken he offered to 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. I4I 

settle and pay his own costs for $2.75. Hoken 
having an eye to finance, promptly settld'd, and by 
not paying his lawyer anything, thereby saved 25 
cents. Jewett would have found it a telling business 
had the suit been before any one else but "Jim" 
Atkinson, who always regarded the fee bill as the 
"chief end of law," and mulched Jewett about six 
dollars. 

J. B. Atkinson, Esq. was chief justice of Meek- 
er county most of the time from 1S58 to 1S70, usu- 
ally re-elected at any time, when he saw a major- 
ity in his favor — his term of office never expiring 
when his party was in a minority! 

His jurisdiction was extensive — never governed 
by imaginary or isothermal lines. 

His District was bounded East by the big- 
woods, South by the Minnesota river, West by 
Big Stone Lake and Ncrth by Sitting Bull's camp. 

When the summons was disregarded, a warrant 
was dispatched, and the fellow always came. 

The judge was easily fatigued into granting 
short adjournments, particularlv when both par- 
ties and all their witnesses were boarding at his 
hotel. On one occasion two parties, one man and 
one woman were arrested for an assault and bat- 
tery. Two days were spent in trying to prove the 
case against the man while the testimony clearly 



1^2 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 



\ 



showed the complainant was the guilty party. 

The court, nevertheless, imposed a fine of five 
dollars on the defendant who was perfectly good, 
while county orders were worth but 30 cents on 
the dollar and the court was bound to have pay 
for his time against a responsible party. 

Fine, $5.00; Costs, $45.00. taxed up on both 
sides and included in the judgement. 

The next morning the woman appeared in 
court without counsel whereupon F. Belfoy (who 
had prior to this time settled in the County,) re- 
fused to appear for the prosecution and the wom- 
an fought the complainant, flaxed him out, and 
was discharged. 

Once only, in our recollection did judge Atkm- 
son find himself at the wrong end of the 'judicial 
nippers." 

The circumstance grew out of the Indian War. 

Jewett was a member of the organization 
termed by the Adjutant General ''Irregular Volun- 
teer Militia" but at Forest City, for brevity, styled 
the "Guerrilla Guards." 

Jewett had not answered roll call for some days 
owing evidently to indisposition, inclining that 
way. Whitcomb was captain and our judge first 
Lieut, a corporals guard was dispatched for Jew- 
ett and he was somewhat unceremoniously led by 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 



'43 



the collar from his house to company quarters 
and kept under guard over night. 

On the 8th, of October Smith filed his com- 
plaint with Judge Griswold, setting forth that 
\Vm. Branham, Geo. W. Waggoner and Cornelius 
McGraw did on the 7th day of the same month 
"wilfully and without lawful authority" come un- 
bidden into the dwelling house of deponent and 
seized deponent by the arms and dragged him 
therefrom." 

On this complaint a warrant was issued by 
Judge Griswold returnable forthwith at the office- 
oi A. C. Smith,, who appeared as prosecutor, and 
Judson A. Stanton was appointed to execute the 
warrant. 

The "Guerrilla Guards" consisted of about 35 
men and boys, while Capt. Pettit was now sta- 
tioned here with a full company of U. S. soldiers 

Apprehending difficulty in making the arrest at 
Whitcombs quarters. Judge Griswold had made 
a call on Capt. Pettit of which the following is a 
copy. 

To Capt. G. F. Pettvt: 

Co. B. 8th, Regiment, Minn. Vol's. 

'^Sir: — Circumstances are such as to compel me 
to issue a warrant against, and to deal with, accord- 
ing to law, one Wm. Branham, Geo. W. Wag- 



144 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

goner and Cornelius McGraw for a gross breach 
of the peace, as is alleged. 

Circumstances are also such as, to render it 
more than probable that said warrant cannot be 
duly served without the aid of the military arm of 
the State. 

You are therefore, directed and required to ren- 
der to the special officer in charge of the execution 
of said warrant, such military assistance as he may 
need for the the faithful discharge of his dutv. 
Respectfully, J. W. GRISWOLD. 

Justice Peace, M. C. M. 

Stanton thought he could arrest the boys with- 
out help — by others, it was thought doubtful — the 
sequel will show that Stanton had made most 
proficiency in the study of human nature. 

He went to Whitcombs quarters and seperately 
whispered to the culprits, that Smith had a basket 
of apples at his office and would like to treat hi? 
friends and had sent him to invite a few of them, 
following close behind them, as they passed into 
the office — Stanton cooly locked the door — drew 
forth the warrant and in his inimitable suttering 
style, respectfully informed them that they were his 
prisoners. 

At this moment Judge Griswold sat at the head 
of the table "looking more law" than any Lord 
Coke ever dreampt of, — Smith at the foot with 
the "code" under his arm, and Capt. Pettit with 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. I45 

Lieuts. HoUister and Shaw on either side in full 
uniform, evidently the most dignified tribunal ever 
assembled in the county. 

When Stanton's "ruse" was understood by the 
company present, order for a time was difficult to 
be preserved. 

For certain reasons, in connection with the rest 
of Whitcombs boys, Stanton soon had business at 
Clearwater, and the court assigned the prisoners to 
the keeping of "Uncle Ike Delamatter," whose age 
and venerable looks were sure to protect him from 
insult. 

Whitcomb and Atkinson defended the prison- 
ers bravely, but the judge held them to bail for 
their appearance at the next term of the District 
Court to answer to an indictment for false impris- 
onment. The case has not yet been disposed of, 
and so far as we know, the prisoners are yet in 
the legal custody of "Uncle Ike. " 

Some deny the correctness of this report, and 
we confess to two strong reasons why it might 
well be doubted — first the known fact that Judge 
Atkinson was never before found at the pinching 
end of the judicial nippers and secondly this was 
the only occasion known in the history of the 
county, when Jewett wasat all backward, or need- 



146 HISTORY OF XfEEKER COUNTY. 

ed any help, in getting into a muss ! 
Legal proceedings in the county could be re- 
counted to most any extent and perhaps with some 
degree of interest, but the printer reminds us that 
our book is about large enough, and we will be 
compelled to desist. In many of the cases the 
udicrous predominate and while the old saw 
holds good that — 

"A little nonsense now and then, 
Is relished by the best of men-" 

We are reminded that it is not quite safe to go 
in for too much of it. Kandiyohi county was at- 
tached to Meeker for judicial purposes from 1857 
to 1870 and we have a quantity of judicial and oth- 
er "nuts to crack" at the expense of that county, 
but we must desist, as we do not like to depri.ve 
Kandiyohi of her own future history. 

The first person ever sentenced to the Peniten- 
tiary from this county was a man by the name of 
Roberts in 1869 for twenty-two months — Judge 
Vanderburgh presiding — Roberts thanked the 
Judge cordially for the brevity of the time fixed, and 
hoped he (the judge) would call and see him if he 
ever came to Stillwater! 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 147 

Populaiion of Sleeker County. 

Ill ISOO 92S|IIn 1S70 6 090 

In 1S62 at time of outbreak, 1.200| In 1875 s'oSO 

In 1865 l,229||rn 1876 "lo'sOO 



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148 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 



The area of land in Meeker County is 381,588 ac. 
Deducting 81,588 acres for timbor and meadow 
lands, and we have 300,000 acres for cultivation. 

From the foregoing table we find, in 1875, 
32.469 acres in grain crops of all kinds and pota- 
toes, producing 864,208 bushels. At this rate 
this County has the capacity, when fully settled 
up, of producing in similar a proportions, not less 
than 8,000,000 bushels, and of supporting 250 run of 
buhrs! 

Our lands are much diversified, affording ever}' 
facility for farming that the husbandman can de- 
sire. The eastern and northern parts are gener- 
ally timbered with oak, maple, linden, ash etc., the 
balance of the land is prairie, with groves of tim- 
ber skirting the largest lakes. The surface is 
gently undulating, and the soil is deep, rich, black 
sandy, and loam. 

The County is admirably watered by numerous 
lakes and streams. 



Wlteat Elevators in tbe County. 



Prciprietor. 


Locaiion 


Power. 


Capacity. 


W. F David«on 


Litchfield 

Darwin, 


Steanis 


75,000 


Ch;iuncv Butler 


Horse 


30,000 
10 000 


.T. M- Hnwfird 


Horse 


W. F. Davidson 




12.000 


u 


Dassel 

Swede Grove... 


Steam 


50,000 
.50,000 


n 













Total capacity in Bu-ihels. 



2J7,000 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUXTV 



149 





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HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 



Area of IWeeker Ooiinty. 



Town. 



Acton 

Collinwood 

Cediir Mills.... 

Cosmos 

Darwin 

Danielson 

Dassel 

Ellsworth 

Forest City... 
Forest Prairie. 

Greenleaf 

Harvey 

Kingston 

Litchfield 

Mananiiah 

Swede Grove... 
Union Grove.. . 



Grand Total 



Acres land. 



19841. 
19284. 
23532. 
22487. 
205.'v2. 
21970, 
19692 
18494. 

2i9&e. 

22777. 
24306. 
33047. 
21511. 
2.5361. 
2215.5. 
2i318. 



86 
01 
S3 
61 
86 
67 

'si 

50 
31 

84 
84 
40 
82 
92 
18 
,99 



381583.45 



3129.82 

3758.37 

676.61 

542.35 

2449.40 

974.08 

3275.66 

4524.74 

884 37 

582 47 

19.')8.23 

464.08 

13.36.99 

2895.42 

31.31 

590.si6 

706.26 



Acres water. Total acre 

2297 iTCs" 

23042.38 

24209.44 

23029.96 

23002.26 

22049.7.5 

22967.66 

23019..55 

22846.87 

22806.78 

24736.07 

249.30.92 

34:'89 39 

24407.24 

25393.23 

22746.04 

23025. '25 



28781.02 



410369.47 



The Lakes vary in size from Washington lyake, 
2435.52 acres, to the lakelet of 40 acres or less. 



witii an area of 



\. Lilst of County commissioner**, from tbe Orfiran 
iZHtlon of the County. 



1856— Ttios H Skinner, F N Rip- 
ley and J Buy 

1857— J T Kinnison, John Wigle 
and J W Griswold 

1858--J Wiirle, J T Kinnison and 
T G Gould 

1858-9— A P Whitney, John Wigle, 
Mark Warren, Peter Ritchie, 
Ziba Caswell and J V Bran- 
ham, Sen 

1859~Peter Ritchie, Mark Warren, 
John Wigle, Chas Low, Robert 
Lang and J W Dame 

1860-B M Whitney, Mark Warreu 
and liinu.s Howe 

1861— J C Whitney. Peter Ritchie 
and J V Branham Sen 

186-2— Chas E Cutts EB Kingsley 
E A Ch.ipin, E H Whitney, Jas 
B Atkinson and Sam Taylor 

1863— Geo. S SUoles Sen, H Hall and 
Moody Caswell 

1864— Geo S Sholes Sen H Hall, 
Michael Johnson and F Mc- 

1865-0--G S Sholes, Sen., H. Hall 
and Ziba Caswell 



1867.-1VIJ Flyun, HHall and Ziba 

Caswell 
1868-W H Dart, S Y Gordon and 

A N Fosen 
1869-Wm E Graham J B Atkin- 
son A N Foseu 
1870-J B Atkinson, W E Graham 

and H Halverson 
1871— J A C Waller, Evan Evanson, 

H C Bull, Patrick Flyun and 

N CHines 
1872— Evan Evanson, N C Hines. 

Patrick Flynn, H C Bull and 

Cliauncy Butler 
1873--C Butler, .\ C Bines, Evan 

Evan.son, Patrick Flynn, and 

Henry Clay 
1875 -C Butler, Evan Evanson. H 

Clay, B F Spaulding, and Jos 

Hubbard 
137.5— Kvan Evanson, H Halverson, 

H Clay; Jo.s Hubbard aud B F 

Spaulding 
1876— Evan Evanson, H Halverson 

Jos Hubbard, Louis Rudberg 

and B F sp^'ulding. 



HISTOKY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 



151 



On psifre 9 of this History, we gave the name of D M Hanson as one of 
the first Connty Commissioners the recortl does not so show. 

Herewith we give the names of the* other Coun- 
ty Officers, viz : 



AUDITORS. 



1858-9 T H Skinner, Reg of Deed? 
KX-oJflcio. 

ISGO-landpart (.f62D P Delamatter 

1862-3-4 Jas M Harvey. 

1864 M W Piper, appointed. Res- 
igned in 1805. 



1865 Charles E 

Resigned. 
1865-6-7-8-9-70 

Jun. 
1871-2-3-4 John Blackwell 
1875-6 Hamlet Stevens. 



Cutts appointed' 
Jesse VBrauham, 



ATTOKWfEYS. 



1858-9-60 Wm Richards. 
1861-2 Mark Warren. 
1863-4-,5-6 AC Smith. 
1867 Thos S Brown resigned, Henry 
Wilson appointed 



1869 part of '70 Henry Hill. 

1870 Chas B. Howell, 
1871-2 F Belfoy, 
1873-4 C H Strobeck, 
1875-6 E A Campbell. 



REGISTERS OF DEEDS. 



1850 Milton G Moore. 
1857-8-9 60 T H Skinner. 
1861-2 TCJewett. 
1863 T H Skinner till he died. 
1863-4 Hamlet Stevens. 



11865 EH Whitney. 

11866 JasM Harvev. 
11867-8-9-70 John Blackwell. 

1871-2-3-4-5-6 N AViren 



CliERKSOF COURT. 



1860-1-2-3 J A Stanton. 
1864-5-6 J M Harvey. 



1867-8-9-70-71 John Blackwell. 
1872:.3-4-5-6 S W Leavitt 



JUDGES OF PRORATE. 



18.57 H N Baker. 


1869-70 John M Waldron. 


1860-1-2.3 A C Smith. 


1871-2 C B Howell. 


1864 E H Whitney. 


1873-4 F V DeCoster. 


1865 JasM Harvey. 


1875 John Blackwell, till he died. 


1866-7 CB Jordan. 


1875-6 S A Plumley. 


1868 Henry Wilson. 





SHERIFFS. 



1856 Abijah Bemis. 


l864-5-6-7Geo S Sholes Jr. 


1857-8-9 T C Jewett. 


1868-9A ASanford. 


1860-1 ES Fitch. 


1870-1-2-3 Wm M Campbell. 


1862 John Wigle. 


1874-5-6 N J March. 


Part of 1862-3-4 J B Atkinson, 





CHAPTER XIV 



In conclusion ^(f what we promised on the 4th, 
of July, 1876, we have but little to add. 

As a primal history it has been a much more dif- 
ficult job than we anticipated and yet we regret not 
the labor. For the innumerable facts, names and 
dates, we think our book is reliable and will prom- 
ise a fund of material for the future historian, far 
better qualified than ourself, for the task of putting 
it together in readable shape — we have endeavored 
to do no injustice to any one — we have had noth- 
ing to refer to but our memory and an imperfect 
diary of events as they passed, and. if we have suc- 
ceeded in doing a good thing for Meeker County 
we shall feel amply compensated for the time we 
have spent. 

Our printer boys have aspired to have the en- 

(152) 



HISTOKY OF MEEKER C ' XTV. 1 53 

the job^doiie up at Litchfield — printing — l:)inding 
and all, and if they can make anything out of it 
we shall be })leased t«) have them. 

If the punctuation is not in all cases strictly i i ac- 
cordance with the "Merrill School Book Law" our 
readers will bear in mind that the boys had a 
double font of commas, semicolons, dashes capital 
letters &c., and it was thought best to have the 
thing punctuated a little too much, rather than not 
enough— then again we never was a good proof 
i-eader, and there are now and then typographical 
errors, but none so bad b\it what the reader can 
readily understand the sense — we know the good 
people of Meeker County will criticise us lightly 
for our faults, and feel kindly toward us for our 
good intentions — and as for outside criticism we 
care not a fig — they'll waste their inkfand paper — 
if every county will get up as good a one as we 
have done, what a noble fund will be in store for 
the future historian! 

We conclude this chapter with a brief recital of 
the celebration at Litchfield, July, 4th 1S76 — the 
close of the first century of our national existence. 

A canopy was erected on block sixty-eight in 
Litchfield, covering something over one acre of 
ground, and it was occupied by something over 
four thousand people. 



154 HISTORY OF MEEKER COU-VTY. 

OFFCERS OF THE DAY. 

Hon. A. C. Smith, President. Vice Presidents: 
W. W, Hobb, Acton; Isham Collins, Collin wood; 
T. Pennoyer, Ellsworth; Geo. »S.. Sholes, Sen. For- 
est City: J. K. Polk, Forest Praire; John Sampson, 
Greenleaf; John Dougherty. Harvey; Caleb Hull, 
Dassel; Isaac Wheeler, Cedar Mills; N.J. McDo)i- 
ald. Cosmos; M. Henderson, Darwin; Charles 
Hanson, Danielson; Orin Whitnev, Kingston; G. 
B. Waller, Village of Litchfield; O. H. Ness, town 
of Litchfield; Charles Maybee, Manannah; Hans. 
Peterson, Swede Grove; Jos. Hubbard, Union 
Grove. Chaplain, Rev.J. S. Sherrill; Orator, Hon. 
Wm. L.Kelley of St. Paul; Reader of the Declar- 
ation of Indipendence, Chas. H. Strobeck Esq, 

Chief Marshall: Col. J. M. Howard; Assistants: 
Capt. J. B. Atkinson, Capt. Per Ekstrom. 

The procession was formed under the direction 
of the Chi«f Marshall, in front of the Lake Ripley 
House, at 10:30 A. M., marched up Marshall Av- 
enue to 6th, street, thence to Sibley Avenue, thence 
down Sibley Aveuue to Weisel St, thence to Hol- 
comb Avenue, up Holcomb Aveuue to the bower. 

ORDER OF PROCESSION. 

1st. — Litchfield rifles preceeded by martial music. 

2nd. — Fire Company. 

3d. — Societies Represented. 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. icr 

4th. — Gen. Sherman's Rag Muffins, preceded 
bv the Litchlield Brass Band. 

5th — County Officials; Officers ot the Day; 
Reader Orator and Clergy. 

6th. — Citizens generally preceded by Atwater 
Band. 

Opening prayer by the chaplains. 

The Star Spangled Banner, preceded by a brief 
historical sketch of this old patriotic =ong and of 
the American flag, by the President of the day*. 

Reading Declaration of Independence by 
Charles H. Strobeck, Esq. 

Hail Columbia, by Litchfield Brass Band. 

Oration by Hon. Wm. L. Kelley. 

Music by Atwater Band. 

Grand Centennial salute, by the Litchfield Rifles. 

Auld Lang Syne, full chorus — both bands- 
Martial music and the entire Congregation stand- 



ing. 



Prayer and Benediction. 



^•The first colors spoken of in connection with 
the American revolution were significantly enough 
called ''Union flags." No account is given of the 
devices upon them. They are frequently spoken 
of in the newspapers of 1774. 

The Connecticut troops fixed upon their standard 
and their drums in 1775 the latin motto in letters 



156 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

of gold, literally, "God who transplanted hither, 
will support us/' Each regiment was distin- 
guished by its color — blue, orange, &c. 

July iSth, 1776, Gen. Israel Putnam unfurled at 
Cambridge, Massachusetts, on the joyous occas- 
ion of the reception in that town of the Declara- 
tion of Independence, a standard bearing this mot- 
to on one side, "An appeal to Heaven," and on the 
other "Qui Traxstatit Sustixet.'" The flag 
was flung to the breeze amid the roar of cannon 
and the shouts of the people. 

In September, 1776, Col. Moultrie unfurled 
a large blue flag displayed in South Carolina, and 
was used at the taking of Fort Johnson, James 
Island; the crescent in the emblem of sovereignty. ' 

A standard with a white ground, a pine tree in 
the middle, and the motto "Appeal to Heaven," 
was adopted in i775 ^^ ^^^ ^"^S '^^ '^^ floating bat- 
teries. . 

On January 2nd, 1776. the day that gave birth to 
the new American Armv, the flag desig-nated as 
"The great Union Standard" was hoisted. This 
was the basis of the National flag of the present 
day. 

In J 776, was adopted the standard to be used 
by the Commander-in-Chief of the American 
Navy, being a yellow field, with a hvelv repre- 
sentation of a rattlesnake in the middle, in the atti- 
tude of striking. Underneath were the words, 
"Don't tread on me." This standard furnished 
the basis of the rattle-snake flag of the rebels, of 
Jeff. Davis' Confederacy, and has proved a dis- 
grace to its paternity. 

The same year the flag of the Batteries was 



HISTORY OF MEEKER Ci)VSTY. 157 

adopted by the cruisers of the Massachusetts col- 
ony. 

June 14th, J 777, Congress passed the following 
resolution : 

''Resolved, that the flag of the thirteen States 
be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white, that 
the Union be thirteen stars, white, in a blue field, 
representing a new Constitution." 

This resolution was made public Sept. 3d, 1777- 
The first flag made in pursuance of it, was first 
used at the surrender of Burgoyne, October, 7th 
of that year. 

The first change in the National colors was di- 
rected in the following enactment of Congress, 
approved Jan. 13, 1794, 

•■Be it enacted, &c., That from and after the first 
day of May. 1795 the flag of the United States 
shall be fifteen stripes alternate red and white, and 
the Union be fifteen stars white in a blue field." 

This was the flag of the United States during 
the warof 1812 and '14. 

In 1818 it was again altered, and a return was 
made to thirteen stripes, adding a star for each 
State admitted, the star to be added on the 4th of 
July following the admission of the new State — 
the stripes thus ever representing the original thir- 
teen States and the stars the present number of 
States. The length ot the flag should be in pro- 
portion to its width, less the width of one stripe, 
or equal to the width of tw^enty-five stripes. The 
dimensions would therefore be "twenty-five by thir- 
teen, the blue or union square at the upper head 
corner, is» of course equal in width to seven stripes, 
(a white stripe coming next to it underneath) it 
should in length equal ten, (or two-fifths of the 



158 HISTORY OF MEEKER COUXTV. 

flag,) the stars should be arranged in perpendicu- 
lar rows. 

The language of the American flag is as follows: 
The stars represent the new constellation of States 
rising in the West. The idea was taken from the 
constellation Lyra, which in the hands of Orphe- 
us signifies harmony. The blue in the field was 
taken from the edges of the Covenanters banner 
in Scotland, significant of the league covenant of 
the United Colonies against oppression, involving 
the virtue of vigilance, perseverence and justice. 
The stars formerly in a circle, symbolizing the pur- 
petuity of the Union, the ring like the circling ser- 
pent of the Egyptians, signifying eternity. The 
thirteen stripes showed, with the stars the number 
of United Colonies, and denoted the subordination 
of the States of the Union, as well as equality 
among themselves. 

The whole was the blending of the various flags, 
previous to the Union flag. The red flag of the 
armies, and the white of floating batteries. The 
red color, which, in the Roman day, was the signal 
of defiance, denotes daring, the blue, fidelity, and 
the white purity. 

The flag planted by General Scott on the Na- 
tional Palace in the city of Mexico, had thirty stars 
m the Union, 

On July 4th, 1876 the National Banner throws 
37 stars to the breeze, and is known as the Con- 
stellation OF Liberty, It is for you young 
men of the rising generation, and those who come 
after us to see to it that there are no falling stars 
from this Constellation. 

And now a word as to the song — 



HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. I59 

THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER. 

If the Freach hymn of Liberty, the Marseillaise, 
was composed under exciting circumstances the 
Star Spangled Banner was inspired by events no 
less patriotic by our distmguished countryman, Mr. 
Francis S. Key, an able and eloquent lawyer an ac- 
complished gentleman, a man of noble and gener- 
ous impulses. During the war with the British in 
1814, Mr. Key was residing in Baltimore, and 
hearing of the detention of a dear and intimate 
friend he started to obtain his release. He went 
as far as the mouth of the Patapsco river, which 
enters the Chesapeake Bay, and is about eighty-five 
miles north of the Potomac river. Here he was 
arrested and carried on board a British man of 
war belonging to the British fleet stationed oppo- 
site FortMcHenry, the bombardment of which he 
was compelled to witness. The English admiral 
boasted before Mr. Key that he would take the 
Fort in a few hours, and the city of Baltimore 
within the two succeedmg days. The bombaid- 
ment continued the whole day and the following 
night, without making an impression either on the 
strength of the works or the spirit of the garrison. 

Our patriotic countryman stood on the deck 
watching through the smoke which sometimes ob- 
scured it, the banner of freedom waving from the 
fort. At length night came, and he could see it no 
more. Still he watched until at length dawn be- 
gan to bring objijscts around into distinctness. With 
beating heart he turned toward the Fort, and there 
waving m the morning breeze, high and uninjured, 
was the banner, with its stars and stripes, the ban- 
ner of freedom and independence, then in its ear- 
ly days, It was at this moment of joy and tri- 



l6o HISTORY OF MEEKER COUNTY. 

umph' that Francis Scott Key, under the influence 
of patriotic excitement composed the Star 
Spangled Banner. After Mr. Key had been hber- 
ated, and the British had retired from Fort Mc- 
Ilen'ry, without attempting the attack on the city 
of Baltimore, he completed his patriotic hymn, 
which was enthusiastically received then, and has 
ever since been considered as one of the national 
songs of our country. 

E N D. 



ERRATUM. 



In compiling the names of the County Officers, 
the Senators, Representatives and Treasurers were 
madviertantly omitted. Wc give them here : 

iTlEiniirKS OF THF, r^KGlSI^ATURE. 

From the Seaatarial and ReprP!<entativ>e Dixfn'ct, of which 
Merker fhmiUi Formril a P.irt: 



SK\ A TOKS. 



1857-S R. M. Richardson 
18=^9-60 — C. C. Andrews 
1861 — Sam. Bennett. 
1862 — Sam. Bennett. 
1863 — Chas. A. Warner. 
1864 — Chas. A. Warner. 
1865— G. D. George. 
1866 — G. D. George. 
1867 — II. L. Gordon. 
1S68— H. L. Gordon, 
1869 — Dana E. King. 
1870 — Dana E. King. 
1871— W. T. Bonni'well 
1872 — Charles E. Cutts. 
1873 — Charles E. Cutts. 
1874— Charles E. Cutts. 
1875 — Andrew Nelson. 
1876 — Andrew Nelson. 



K E P R E S E N r .\ T I V E S. 



18^9. 
1861- 
1862- 
1863- 
1 86.4- 
1865- 
1866- 
1S67- 
- 868- 
1869- 
.S70- 
1S71- 
[S72- 

1874- 

1S75- 
1876- 



8 — J. B. Atkinson. 
6c^U. S. W^illie. 
— V. V. Kennedy. 
— V. P. Kennedy. 
-C.F.Davis. 
-Henry Hill. 
-Henry Hill. 
— D:ina E. King. 
—Dana E. Kingr. 
-J. B. Salisbury. 
-D. Pile. 
-B. Abbott. 
— W. II. Greenleaf. 
— W; H- Greenleaf. 
— W. H. Greenleaf 
—Andrew Nelson. 
—Louis Rudberg. 
-N C. Hines, 







T»tl 


ASI'KI 


'.tl'^. 




1858 


J A SiMlllt)!! 


" 




l-^/i) 


Hehi-y Hili. 


' 


1809 


ChiisECnIfc. 






1871 


Henry Hill. 




1860 


W H Groeiileal'. 






1872 


H Stevens. 




1861 


W H Groeiile^.f. 






1873 


H Stevens. 




1862 


Geo C Wliit.-omh. 


Ri'signed. 


1874 


A N Fosen. 




1S63 


A C Smitli nppoint 


e.l. 




1875 


\ N Fosen. 




1864- 


.'■..6-7.8.9 J V Bran 


)i:itn. 


Ren. 


H7t'> 


A V Fr>-en. 





X- c 




( 



1 



DEC 2 4 1931