Mill on the Willow: A History of Mower County, Minnesota

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Mill On The Willow
A History of Mower County, Minnesota

Library of Congress No. 84-062356
Printed by Graphic Publishing C o . , Inc . , Lake Mills, Iowa 50450
The last page of Mill on the Willow is now finished . Very few weeks remain before 1 984 will become "Once
upon a time. "
It was 132 years ago last July 4th when Jacob McQuillan nailed a coffee mill t o a tree in Racine Township.
This marked the first homestead claim in Mower County. There have been thousands of epic happenings in our
county since that date in 1852. In 416 pages we have tried to provide an overall verbal picture of the years. We
are grateful for the many stories and pictures which have been volunteered to make this book possible.
There was a common thread which ran through the histories of churches, schools, farms, businesses and
villages. They were begun with strong faith and then over the succeeding years they endured hardships. Now
present generations look back over the past with gratitude and anticipate the future with confidence. We have a
deep respect for the character of those who began and for those who carry on the heritage of Mower County.
We have leaned heavily on many during the months we developed this history. The A ustin Daily Herald
allowed us to dig into their old files and to reprint the stories we found. Mrs. Harold J. Davison, Vern Judd, the
Mower County Historical Society and others let us borrow many historic photos. Harold Rochford furnished us
much material and assistance. In over four score years Harold has acquired a broad knowledge of Mower
County history and the acquaintanceship of hundreds of individuals . His memory of events was infallible and his
cooperation was invaluable.
Four hundred plus pages seemed a huge obstacle as we compiled our material. Then, during the final
months, the number of pages available became inadequate. Regretfully, there were biographies and stories for
which we could not find space.
The people of Mower County are fond of many sports. To do justice to the county sports history we would
have required another hundred or more pages. We bequeath the opportunity for a history of Mower County
sports to a future historian.
Though we have tried very hard to be accurate, we know there will be errors and omissions. We apologize for
the defects and thank the many people who have cooperated with us so freely.
Mower County has a fine heritage with people of character and a future to anticipate.
Richard Stive1'8
Richard Stivers
Deanne Aherns
Arlene Bonnes
Mike Chaffee
Robert Foss
Eleanor Foss
Mrs. Margaret F . Guckeen
Polly A . Jelinek
Nate Johnson
Kemma Johnson
Committee Meeting
Standing, left to right: Richard Stivers, Margaret Merritt, PoDy
A. Jelinek. Seated: Mike Chaffee, Mrs. Wm. B. Malone.
History Committee
Le Roy Area
Lansing Area
Sales and Distribution
Sales and Distribution
Editorial Assistant
County Government
Austin Schools
Ella Marie Lausen
Monica Lonergan
Mrs. Wm . B . Malone
Margaret Merritt
Carroll Plager
Jane Roden
Richard Terry
Adrian Tinderholt
Bonny Williams
Nathan Johnson
Century Farms
Rural Churches al!d
Rural Schools
Austin Businesses
Editorial Assistant
Sales and Distribution
Business Manager
Brownsdale Area
Mower County / Austin History-Section I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Mower County Fair-Genealogical Society . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Milwaukee Railroad . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
American Red Cross, Mower County Chapter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ; . . . . . . . 49
Country Life (Agriculture related organizations and sUbjects) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58
Mower County Government . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124
Mower County/Austin History-Section II . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131
City Government, Austin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152
Education in Austin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156
Austin Daily Herald-Austin Utilities-Park Board . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 166
Churches in Austin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 171
Music in Austin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 192
Austin-Mower County Public Library-Ladies Floral Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 200
Businesses and Professions in Austin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 204
Industry - George A . Hormel & Co . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 239
Clubs and Organizations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 253
Mower County / Austin History-Section III. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 293
National Guard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ,' . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
The Townships-(History of the 20 townships , their cities and villages,
churches, schools and Century Farms) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 307
Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 406
Index . . . . , . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 407
Mower County / Austin History - Section I
This first section is the story of Mower County and Austin in the early years . In another part of this book a section on
Townships will include the histories of towns and villages . Much of the specialized history on farms will be in the Agriculture
section. Therefore, this section covers the stories and photos which are of general interest to all readers.
Many times the newspaper editors of the early days wrote in a direct and comfortable style. It might be called journalism
with the shoes off. We have adopted this style with the hope that reading it will be like a trip back to the old homeplace.
Section I covers a period of years into the 1 870's . This provides the background for the remainder of the story. The
focus of our history is on the period beginning in 191 1 . For this reason there is a lapse between the 1870's and 191 1 .
A thousand pages would not furnish a complete history of Mower County. We know that when this volume is finished
we will have omitted more than we have inserted. This leaves an opportunity for the next individual or group to add to
the chronicle.
Previous historians have been lavish in their praise of this county and the people in it. We, who have written these
pages have developed a new respect for the thousands of people who have made Mower County a good place to live. '
E. N. J.
It would be difficult to improve on the description of
the area which we call Mower County, as given in the
1 9 1 1 Mower County History.
"The buffalo, the elk and the deer, for centuries
roamed the wild prairies and woodlands. Fishes basked
in its rippling streams ; the muskrat, the otter and the
mink gamboled upon the ice in winter. Ducks, geese and
other aquatic fowls, in countless numbers, covered the
streams in summer. The prairie wolves howled upon
their hillocks. Cowardlike, they were always ready to
attack and destroy the weak and defenseless . Pocket
gophers went on their interminable underground operations.
Grouse and prairie chickens cackled, crowed and
strutted in all their pride. "
"Blizzards and cyclones swept unheeded across its
domains. The autumnal prairie fires, in all their terrible
grandeur and weird beauty, lighted the heavens by night
and clouded the sun by day. Age after age added richness
to the soil and prepared it to be one of the most productive
fields of the world. "
Those Who Claimed-and Those Who Possessed
There were nations which claimed the area which
embraces Mower County from the time of Christopher
Columbus . Yet the actual use and possession of this
region was by various tribes of Indians .
On May 4 1493, Spain made a papal grant, making
indefinite claims to lands north and northwest of her
settlements in Mexico, Florida and the West Indies.
With the arrival of the English, Mower County was included
in their claim to the lands west of their Atlantic
coast settlements. Likewise, France claimed this region
as a part of the lands south, west and southwest of their
Canadian settlements.
The first definite claim to this territory was made by
LaSalle at the mouth of the Mississippi on March 8,
1682, in the name of the king of France. Even more
definite was the French claim made by Perrot near the
site of Trempealeau, Wisconsin, on May 8, 1689.
In 1 763 France turned her authority over to Spain.
October 1, 1 800, Spain ceded the tract to France. France
did not take formal possession until November 30, 1803.
Previously, on April 30, 1803, the United States had purchased
this territory from Napoleon in the Louisiana
Purchase. The transfer from France was completed on
December 20, 1 803.
In succeeding years this region was part of Indiana, a
part of the Louisiana territory, part of Missouri territory
and then June 1834, to April 1836, it was a maverick,
assigned to no territory but under jurisdiction of Congress.
From 1836 until June 12, 1838, Mower County was a
part of Michigan territory, then a part of Wisconsin
territory. The territory of Iowa next claimed jurisdiction
until December 28, 1846, ;nd was included in the first
proposal of the boundatii':'> ',;.hen Iowa applied for statehood.
Again, from December 1846, until March 3 , 1849,
Mower County was a land without an official proprietor.
The Minnesota territory was established in March,
1849, and finally on May 1 1 , 1858, Minnesota became a
state. Mower County now had formal recognition and a
permanent legal status.
Indians Leave Their Hunting Grounds
The area in Southern Minnesota which included
Mower County was familiar ground to all the Sioux
Indians living along the Mississippi River. Their annual
hunting parties visited the region.
Many battles were fought here. The Sacs and the
Foxes were not far away, and the Chippewas occasionally
braved the wrath of their enemies and came here for
The first negotiations with the whites was in 1 824. A
delegation of Sioux and Chippewas went to Washington
to see the "Great White Father," President James
The decisive treaties were the Traverse des Sioux, July
22, 185 1 , and the Treaty of Mendota, amended and
signed by President Fillmore on February 24, 1853.
Under the Mendota treaty the tribes received
$1 ,410,000, which included funds for the settling of
debts, educational funds, and funds for opening farms
and for goods and provisions. The balance of $ 1 , 160,000
was to remain in trust with the United States at 5 %
interest. This provided for an annuity paid annually for a
SO year period beginning July 1 , 1 852.
The removal of the Indians in the lower counties began
in 1853. The Indians went up in detachments to one of
the reserves, usually the Redwood Reserve. Some returned
to their old hunting grounds in southern Minnesota,
only visiting their reservation at the time of
annuity payments.
As far as can be determined the first history of Mower
County was published in 1876. It was titled "Early
History Of Mower County. " This book gives a listing of
many "first events" in the county. One event they missed
was that of Jacob McQuillan as first settler. However, it
gives a concise picture of these earliest days. Excerpts
from this early history follow.
In the fall of 1852 the first claims in the county were
taken by some hunters and trappers from Iowa, along
the Cedar River, near where Austin now stands, but they
left during the winter.
The first permanent settlers in the county were Hunter
Clark, Austin Nichols, Chauncey Leverich, John Tiff, A .
B . Vaughan, Woodbury, George Squires , Moses Niles
and others in 1853 ; R. B. Foster, L. Ebbin, Mary and
Orlando Wilder, Robert Dobbins, S. P. Bacon, John
Robinson, Lewis Patchin and many others in 1854.
The first settlements were made on the Cedar, Upper
Iowa and Root rivers. In the year 1855 a tide of immigration
set in, and the population of the county began to
assume proportions of some magnitude. The prairies
became dotted in every direction with claim shanties .
Claimants often joined in building a home, locating it
where the corner of their lands joined. In this manner
one building would answer and hold four claims, as the
law required that a building be on each.
The first house built in the county was a log cabin built
by Hunter Clark in the fall of 1853, near the bank of the
Cedar River and north of the cemetery.
In the fall of 1 853 Austin Nichols took a claim and
built a log house on the east bank of the river, near where
Engle Mill once stood. The next year he improved the
water power and built a saw mill. This he sold with his
claim to Chauncey Leverich. For a long time Austin was
known as Leverich's Mill. His was the first house within
the limits of the city of Austin and the first mill in
the county.
In 1854 Robert Dobbins took a claim and built a log
house where the brewery now stands, and broke some
land. This was the first land broken in the city of Austin.
The first deed recorded in the office of Register of
Deeds is from Alexander Nigus to B. J. Brown dated
March 14, 1856, conveying 31/2, NP14, Section 21 , Town
102 Range 18: consideration $125.
The first bill allowed by the County Commissioners
was to Lewis Patchin for four days services as Commis-
sioner on the Rochester and Iowa State line Territorial
road, amount $ 19.00.
The first Territorial road laid in the county was from
Winona to Austin, striking the county at Frankfort and
terminating at Austin. This is the road which furnishes a
crossing over the railroad track south of the depot, and
intersects Bridge St. (2nd Ave. N . E.) at its terminus on
the west side of the track in the city of Austin. The road
was laid in 1856.
The first death in the county was Mary Robinson, aged
two years, in 1855. The first marriage was Caleb Stock to
Miss Watkins. The second that of David Aultfather to
Miss Phelps, both in 1 856.
The first four births in the county were Mary E. Patchin,
daughter of Lewis Patchin, March 13, 1855; Annette
Powers , daughter of Calvin Powers, Sept. 22, 1 855;
Colbert H. Lott, son of Abe Lott, Oct. 10, 1855; Austin
Bemis, son of Geo. H. Bemis, Dec. 17, 1855.
The first school in the county was taught by Miss
Maria Vaughan, in the town of Austin, in 1855.
The first person murdered was Chauncey Leverich, in
1856. He was attacked by two men, Silvers and Oliver, in
his own saloon. He ordered them out. They went, and
dared him to come out. Just as he stepped out of the door
Silvers struck him over the head with a steel wagon
spring, from the effects of which he died.
The first church in the county was built at Frankford.
The first service preached was by Rev. Mr. Holbrook, of
Iowa Conference, M. E. Church, at the house of Samuel
Clayton, one mile north of Austin, in the winter of
Cedar Valley U Diversity
May 23, 1 857, the Territorial Legislature passed an act
incorporating the Cedar Valley University, to be established
at Austin. A. B . Vaughan, J. F. Cook, V. P .
Lewis, R . L. Kimball and sixteen others were the incorporators.
This institution has not gotten under way yet.
Also, the same date, an act to incorporate the LeRoy
Academy, to be established at LeRoy, in the County of
Mower, was passed. The incorporators were N. P. Todd,
Wm. Caswell, Wentworth Hayes, S. P. Bacon, W. B .
Spencer and George Peck Jr. What became of this institution,
whose object was to "promote the elevation of the
youth," we know not.
Early Mills
The first mill was of the primitive kind made and used
by the Indians . It was located on the west side of the
Cedar River, about twenty rods above Engle & Co. 's
mill. A white oak stump was hollowed out in the shape of
a mortar, and with a wooden pestle the grain was
pounded fine. The first steam mill was built by Asa
Marsh and J. Bougard in 1 857.
Loyalty and Patriotism
The loyalty and patriotism of Mower County has never
for one moment been doubted. Ever since its first settlement
the people have not forgotten the noble example of
their ancestry, and have never failed to observe the Anniversary
of the National Independence. The first celebration
of our National holiday in this county was held at
Austin, July 4th, 1857. Ormanzo Allen delivered the
address . From this time until the present, each return of
the day has been observed in some appropriate manner.
July 4th, 1 859, D. B. Johnson Jr. , was the orator of the
day and David Blakely (now ofthe St. Paul Pioneer Press
and Tribune) was the reader. I am told he became so
strongly enthused with the spirit of 1 776, that he read the
Constitution of the United States instead of the Declaration
of Independence, without discovering his mistake
until the next day, when informed by some of his comrades.
When the dark clouds of civil war passed over our land
in 1 86 1 , and the first call for troops came, Mower County
very nobly and cheerfully responded. At that time the
county was very sparsely settled by men of moderate incomes,
who were just commencing to build and secure
themselves homes in this new country. As evidence of
their patriotism it is only necessary to refer to the official
records, showing a credit of 401 soldiers to Mower
County, which offered a bounty of fifty dollars, afterwards
increasing it to one hundred dollars, to all volunteers
who had or should enter the service, also an additional
hundred dollars to all veterans enlisting.
The noble women of Mower County were true and
loyal. As a token of their love and fidelity to this noble
cause, they presented the first company of volunteers a
beautiful silk flag, which afterwards waved over many a
hard fought battlefield, from Lookout Mountain,
through Georgia to the sea. The remembrance of this
"dear old flag" will ever live embalmed in the memories
of the few who yet remain of the first company of volunteers
from Mower County, and will be treasured up as a
relic, to descend to their children who come after them.
Its faded folds, now bullet pierced, are carefully preserved
by Lieutenant George Baird.
John E. Mower
The second Minnesota territorial Governor Willis A .
Gorman signed the act organizing Mower County on
March 1 , 1 856. At the same time the county was named
in honor of John E. Mower, a member of that territorial
Mower was born in New Vineyard, Maine, in 1815. He
was of English heritage. The family left Maine and
settled in St. Louis, Missouri. He married Gratia A .
Remick there.
In 1843 he and his brother, Martin, acquired a large
tract of forest land at St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin, establishing
themselves in the lumber business.
In 1845 Mower moved to Stillwater, taking his family
down the river on a raft of lumber, which was to build
their home. It was the second frame building in that
The Mower brothers built a large house at Arcola in
1847. This house, of Greek architecture, has been accepted
in the National Register of Historic Places.
John Mower was elected to the fifth and sixth Territorial
Councils, and again in 1875, was a member of the
Minnesota State Legislature. He was a Democrat
running in a largely Republican territory.
John Mower died June 1 1 , 1 879, and is buried in Fairview
Cemetery, Stillwater, Minn.
R esearched by Mildred Malone
The following is given in the book of English Surnames
by Mark Anthony Lower.
"In the life of Hereward the Saxon, who flourished
about 1070, an opponent of William I in England, one of
the last of his race who withstood the Norman conquests,
are found several names as Laefrick the Mower, from his
having overcome 20 with a scythe etc. It would appear
that the earliest Mower ancestry were of the old Saxon
race. "
From the book "Mower Family History "
by W. L. Mower
Mower County was included in the original limits of
Wabasha County (then spelled Wabashaw) , which was
one of nine counties created by the first territorial legislature
in 1849.
Governor Alexander Ramsey, the first territorial governor,
divided the Minnesota territory into three judicial
districts. Mower County, then unpopulated, was included
in the third judicial district. Court for this district
was held at Mendota, with Judge David Cooper on the
Wabashaw County comprised practically all of the
southern part of Minnesota. Its northern boundary was
the parallel running through the mouth of the St. Croix
and the mouth of the Yellow Medicine rivers. Its
southern boundary was the Iowa line, its eastern the
Mississippi and its western the Missouri River.
In 1851 the territory was divided into 9 counties.
Wabashaw County then had a western border just west of
Austin, approximately where the Mower County border
is today. The county to the west was Dakota. This west
border line was defined as "a line running from Medicine
Bottle's village at Pine Bend, due south to the Iowa line."
The exact line was impossible to verify as Medicine
Bottle tepees were differently located at various times,
always, however, being within a few rods of the bend in
the river.
Rice County was created in 1853 and included the
present Mower County and also a part of the present
Rice County, a portion of Waseca County, most of Freeborn
County and Steele County, about a third of Dodge
County and small portions of Fillmore and Goodhue
February 20, 1856, the legislature created Mower
County together with 10 others . March 1 , 1856, Governor
Gorman, "agreeable to the act ofthe legislature, and
upon representations made to him that Mower County
was sufficiently populated to warrant its being duly furnished
with county government, organized the county,
and appointed a temporary board of county commissioners,
consisting of George White, Philip Howell and
William Russel!. "
These commissioners met April 7, 1 856, in the village
of Frankford, and presumably located the county seat
temporarily in that place. The only officers appointed
were Register of Deeds and clerk of the board of commissioners,
Timothy M. Chapman; treasurer, Lewis
Patchin; judge of probate, C. J. Felch; surveyer, Moses
Armstrong and sheriff, G. W. Sherman.
1 9 1 1 Mower County History
"Come along, come along, make no delay.
Come from every nation, come from every way.
Our lands are broad enough, so do not be alarmed;
For Uncle Sam is rich enough to buy us all a farm . "
The McQuillan party sang this song as their ox-drawn
wagons rumbled along the single wagon trail as they
headed into Minnesota territory. It was the 4th of July,
Jacob McQuillan Sr. was 60 years old . His party included
his wife, Maria, nine of their younger children, a
grown son Jacob Jr. and their eldest daughter together
with her husband, Adam Zadyger.
The family had been a long time on the trail from their
former home in Delta, Ohio. The previous night had
been spent beside a spring at a site which would later
become the town of Spring Valley. There had been one
settler at that place, a bachelor who lived in a crude
cabin beside the spring.
The land in Minnesota territory was not yet officially
open for settlement. The Indians had signed a treaty in
1 85 1 , but the U . S . Congress had not yet approved it. The
official survey would be made in 1853.
Traveling westerly through the prairie grass, the
McQuillans came to a valley with a beautiful spring of
good water and groves of trees. Mrs. McQuillan made
the decision, "We will go no further. " They were on a
site just across the line from Fillmore into Mower
County. It was in the area of the future village of Hamilton.
Before he unhitched his oxen, Jacob McQuillan Sr.
nailed their coffee mill to a tree. It was their symbol of
"squatters rights" to land, the first claim by a white
settler in Mower County. When surveyed the homestead
was at Section 1 , Township 103, Range 14, Racine
Township .
The details o f that day were given i n a 1 935 letter from
Franklin P . McQuillan to a nephew in 1 935. He said,
"We prepared camp for the night, and Father was going
to get some firewood from an oak that seemed to be
partly decayed at the bottom. When he struck it with his
axe a piece came out and it proved to be a bee tree. From
that time on we had plenty of honey. "
"The coffee mill, which was all iron, had a hopper
which would hold one large teacup of unground coffee.
Later we had it fastened to the window casing in the
kitchen. When grinding, you had to hold a cup or bowl
under the mill to catch the coffee. I was only three years
old at that time."
The continuing story of the McQuillan experience in
Hamilton is given in "A Letter To My Daughters, " the
story of Lucinda McQuillan Eppard as prepared by May
Benson in 1978. Lucinda was a daughter of Jacob
McQuillan Sr. , and was 10 years old at the time the
family arrived by the spring in Hamilton.
"The McQuillan clan set to work immediately to build
poplar log shelters on their claim. They then began to
break the rich, dark loam , which was 12 to 40 inches
deep. With their simple implements and oxen the
plowing was not easy.
" Lucinda's father and brothers hunted the abundant
game, fowl and elk. She learned the necessary skills of
pioneer women: spinning wool, knitting socks and caps,
sewing woolsey-linsey shirts, dressing and curig old
game, gathering and preserving fruits, nuts and berries.
Jacob and Marla McQuillan
The first spring they found maple groves where the
family tapped the syrup.
"The land was surveyed and the McQuillans moved
across the line into Fillmore County in 1854. Two parcels
of land totaling 600 acres were 'proved up' by Jacob Sr.
and Jacob Jr. in Sumner Township.
"Unfortunately, two months after the younger
McQuillan claim was filed, the same land was listed to a
Daniel T. Booth . This later entry provides verification of
the land dispute between the McQuillans and Booth. At
one time friends of each prepared to meet in an armed
confrontation, until a scout from the McQuillans found
out the Booth forces outnumbered them. "
"The continuing land disputes over the years are said
to have ruined both the old man and his son, and in the
end Booth kept possession. "
We conclude the McQuillan story with excerpts from a
paper titled "Local History-Hamilton Village":
"McQuillan Sr. , 'Old Pap' as the newcomers called
him, was a wonderful singer and quite religious in his
way. When the Methodist Church was established he
took a prominent part in the music."
" During their stay on the farm a great misfortune
occurred. Their youngest daughter, a girl about 14 years
of age, suddenly disappeared. No trace of her was ever
found. This may seem strange, but local government was
poorly organized. Hunters, adventurers and the Indians
were on the constant move along Bear Creek. They were
not hostile to the settlers; only a constant annoyance with
their begging and stealing. She may have been stolen by
the Indians. Her brother, Franklin, later spent considerable
time going back to Ohio to see if any trace could
be found, but without any result. "
"Old Pap went back t o Ohio on a visit when h e was 75.
While he was there he was crushed to death by some
barrels of syrup. Mrs. McQuillan went to live with her
son in Aitkin, Minn. "
After Jacob McQuillan Jr. lost out in the lawsuit over
his land, he made application for the position of postmaster.
The source of mail and supplies was from
Decorah, Iowa. The post office was called Elkhorn,
because he had an elk head over the door of his cabin .
Later he sold out to Mr. Corey, who took in travelers . He
charged 40 cents per night for a room and two meals.
Lucinda McQuillan Eppard
Daughter of Jacob and Marla
The late Ed Plantikow of Austin was a grandson of
Lucinda McQuillan Eppard . Two of his children, Margaret
Plantikow Bjork and John Plantikow are Austin
citizens. They are great-great-grandchildren of Mower
County's first settlers, Jacob and Maria McQuillan.
This village was situated in the southwestern part of
Sumner Township, Fillmore County. It lies on the north
bank of the middle branch of Root River. Adjoining the
town are the "Hamilton springs" that continues boiling
up, fresh , clear and sparkling water at the rate of 1 , 500
gallons per minute.
In location it can truthfully be said the village of Hamilton
was a success, and the non-arrival of the hoped for
railroad alone blasted its prospects.
The first house erected was put up in 1 853 by Adam
Zadygar. In 1855 Daniel Booth, from the New England
states, arrived and had the village of Hamilton platted
and recorded.
Immediate steps were taken to secure a post office,
and in 1856 an office was established under the name of
"Elkhorn. " Jacob McQuillan Jr. was appointed to
handle the mail.
Hamilton, in the year 1856, was metropolitan as far as
a gang of organized thieves were concerned. They were
bound together by an oath that they would support,
stand by, and defend each other. They would steal anything
that could be carried off but made horses a
The gang was made up almost entirely of home talent.
It was with the utmost difficulty that the honest members
of the community ridded themselves of the pests . They
organized what was termed a "vigilance committee. "
Upon one occasion this last mentioned association
turned out, and after collecting the population of the
village together, made the announcement that, as they
had received sufficient evidence, they were now prepared
to "lynch" those who had committed the depredations.
At this, one hundred shooting irons were brought into
view. Imagine their surprise when a number of the most
influential citizens broke from among the crowd and
made for the woods as fast as boots and hair standing on
end would take them.
This matter involved not only Hamilton and the town
of Sumner, but also this entire portion of the county.
Fillmore County History
Even before Austin Nichols there were expeditions
recorded into and thru the Austin area. The first was in
1835 when a detachment of United States Dragoons
marched from Fort Des Moines through Mower County
and on to Wabashaw's village. These were U . S . soldiers
assigned to guard the frontier. On their return trip they
camped on the banks of the Cedar River, near the
present site of Austin.
In the winter of 1836-37 a group of military from Fort
Snelling were on a hunting expedition. They camped in
the area which was years later known as Horace Austin
State Park. This was a 55 acre tract located across the
river and west of Hormels, at the south end of Main St.
The hunting party from Fort Snelling included Dr.
John Emerson, the post surgeon. His negro slave was
Dred Scott. It is interesting to note that 20 years later, a
Supreme Court decision regarding Scott's status as a
slave was one of the factors leading to the United States
Civil War.
February. 1912-A ustin Daily Herald-Freeborn County
has a miserable case before it. A lot of hoodlums took
the law into their own hands and tarred and feathered a
man some months ago. There is no excuse for tar and
feathering in Southern Minnesota. no matter how great
In the winter of 184 1 a large hunting expedition centered
around this same area. The leader was H. H .
Sibley, of the American Fur Co. Later Sibley was to
become Minnesota's first governor when statehood was
Sibley had with him a large number of Indians. Their
objective was to get skins for the American Fur Co. The
Indians built a stockade, the first structure to be erected
in Mower County. Their hunt was successful. At the
season's end they had more than 2,000 deer, 50 elk, 50
bear, five panthers and some buffalo hides.
In addition to Austin Nichols, another white settler
came to this area in 1853. "Hunter" Clark staked a claim
and built a log house on a piece of land which is within
the present boundaries of Oakwood Cemetery. William
Baudler arrived before Austin was platted, and he lived
in the cabin with Clark. Later Baudler acquired the farm
south of the cemetery. Several of Baudler's descendants
continue to live in Austin.
the provocation. The arm of the law is long and powerful
and criminals get their just dues. It's generally the lawless
element that adopts the lawless method of visiting
punishment upon offenders.
Step back in time 131 years so that you can have a different
look at this land which we now call Austin. The
following is the story of a 14-year-old boy who hunted on
this site in 1 853. His name was S. D. Mead.
"The first white man to come to Austin was Austin
Nichols, who came as a hunter in 1 852. He built a cabin
near the mouth of the Dobbin creek and hunted until
cold weather came on. He then returned to his home in
Clayton County, Iowa. "
"In the fall of 1853 he came back, and I came with
him. I was then 14 years old. "
"That winter w e took nine buffalo skins and many
deer, mink, otter and beaver. What I killed, Nichols gave
to me. When I reached home I sold them for $190 in
gold. "
" I got one elk near where the C . M . & St. Paul depot
now stands. It measured nine feet from tip to tip."
"I have never again hunted in a place where game was
so plentiful, and where such a great variety was to be
found. At that time we could go out and kill a deer in an
hour any time of the morning or evening. Prairie
chickens were plentiful. Geese and ducks could be found
any place in the river. Now and then a panther was to be
found. Prairie wolves were everywhere . "
In 1 855 Mead and his father moved t o Austin with
four other families, Robert Autis, Lynn Gifford, Wilson
King and Widow Lockwood. His story continues .
"0. W . Shaw's residence stands o n the east side o f the
first 20 acres of land ever broken in Austin. "
" A little south of where the packing house now stands
there was a maple sugar camp where Indians made
sugar. The Sioux Indians had their village on the bank in
front of the O . W. Shaw residence, a little to the south. "
(In 1 984 that would be approximately where children
slide on sleds in winter, near the lagoon. )
I n the winter o f 1 855 and '56 there were 200 Sioux who
wintered in the bottom lands back of the Gibson Hotel.
There was heavy timber there then. The whites and
Indians were always friendly. "
There was a Mr. Solner who ventured into this land
about the same time. His description follows.
"The Indians were here in large numbers. A camp of
the Winnebagos was not far from Six Mile Grove, while
the Sioux were near Deer Creek. As each camp numbered
four or five hundred Indians, it looked as if there
might be trouble. Afterwards we learned that this was
neutral ground."
"We saw one buffalo in the section known as the Towhead,
and a herd of two or three hundred elk and deer. "
The above narratives were taken from a column of
"Reminiscences" which ran in the Austin Daily Herald
in a half dozen chapters during 1908.
In 1 854 a few settlers came from Wisconsin. John
Robinson settled at High Forest; A. B . Vaughan at
Lansing; and a Norwegian, whose name is not remembered,
at Brownsdale.
John Robinson had built a cabin. Into this building,
not larger than 12 x 14 feet, four families moved and
lived with him until they could build houses for themselves.
Thus far, everything had moved along without accident
or incident worthy of note. In July of this year there
was a heavy rainstorm. Root River, swollen by the rain,
overflowed its banks and deluged the surrounding
country. It came about three o'clock in the morning, so
suddenly that the settlers had barely time to save their
lives. They did so by wading through the water, in many
places up to their waists, and carrying their children to
dry land.
They lost nearly all their household goods, which at
that time, were almost impossible to replace. At the end
of a few days the settlers, who had been living in a cellar,
returned to their desolated cabins.
As an evidence of the suddenness of the storm, it may
be in taste to remark that C. F. Johnson, afterwards
proprietor of the Johnson House, did not have time to
secure his pantaloons. They were borne away by the
turbulent flood, the only pair he possessed at the time.
Illustrated Historical A tlas.
State of Minnesota. 1874
In 1855 the popUlation of Mower County began to
assume proportions of magnitude. During this year the
immigrants poured in so rapidly from other states that by
the beginning of the next year the county contained
about 500 inhabitants . At the end of 1956 there were
With this great influx of settlers, towns became necessary.
Austin, High Forest, Frankford, LeRoy, Hamilton
and Brownsdale sprang into existence in rapid succession.
Many of the lots were sold before the towns were
platted, thus laying the vendors liable to a fine of $25.00.
"Austin is on a handsome plain, gradually rising from
the Cedar River. In the center it is quite elevated, affording
fine views and excellent drainage. Numerous fine
groves checker the near and distant landscape, but
timber for fuel is not plentiful."
The quotation above comes from a paper bound
"Early History of Mower County, Minnesota," by R. N .
Paden. I t was compiled by authority of the Board of
County Commissioners, and printed in 1876, the Centennial
year of the U . S . The paragraphs which follow
have been taken from Paden's history.
"The original claim on which the city of Austin is
located belonged to Austin Nichols, after which the town
is named. He took the claim in 1853, and in 1854 sold it
to Chauncey Leverich, who entered the land September
14th, 1855."
"At the time these plats were recorded there were
thirteen houses in Austin. The location of the county seat
at this place gave it a decided advantage over other towns
in the county, and since that time it has had a steady
growth . The population at the present time is 3,000."
"The city is well supplied with hotels, there being at
least five others besides the one at the depot."
"The Cedar River furnishes good water power within
the city limits, on which the first mill of a primitive kind,
was made and used by the Indians. It was located on the
west side of the Cedar about twenty rods above Engle &
Co. 's mill. A white oak stump was hollowed out in the
shape of a mortar, and with a wooden pestle the grain
was pounded fine."
" In November, 1858, they started up a water mill for
grinding corn, and attempted to grind wheat but made
rather poor flour. The first wheat ground was for Mr.
Rose, of Rose Creek. At that time there was no other mill
nearer than thirty miles. "
" A . B . Vaughan built the first store in June, 1855, and
was the first merchant. Yates & Lewis were the second
merchants. The first building erected for a hotel was in
1855, built by C. Leverich on the present site of the
Grand Central Hotel. In 1856 the hotel was purchased by
Solomon Snow and Geo. E. Wilbour. It was afterwards
known as the "Snow House. "
"The first public school was in the winter of 1855-56,
in a log house on Water Street (4th Ave.), taught by a
Mr. Sweton. The first sermon was preached in the old
Leverich house, October 26, 1 856, by the Rev. Stephen
The Queen City Flour MIlls was an original location of Chauncey
Leverich's sawmUl, 70S 4th Ave. N.E., Austin
Austin Nich9ls sold his land claim to Chauncey Leverich
in 1 854. For a year or two the emerging settlement
was known as Chauncey's Place or the Leverich Mill.
Chauncey Leverich was the founder of Austin. He was
a young man, under 30 years of age, tall and powerfully
built. He came from Vinton, Iowa, with his young wife,
With a sharp eye to business, he pre-empted 160 acres
upon which he selected a site for a sawmill. By early 1855
he had completed the mill at a place which would now be
at 70S-4th Ave. N . E. The vacant site adjoins the dam
on the Cedar River. This land was later to become the
location of the Campbell Flour Mill. The Hormel Co.
also owned the property at a later date. In the 1960s
Clifford Greenman operated his heating and refrigeration
business there. Now the site of Chauncey Leverich's
mill is owned by HUD.
Austin was laid out in the fall of 1855 by Leverich ,
A. B . Vaughan and G. W. Mason. They also platted it
the next spring, but did not immediately take the plat to
be recorded
A Race To the County Seat
In 18561. B . Yates solicited the help of County Supervisor
M. K. Armstrong in a secretive plan. Armstrong
told this story in his personal history of Mower County. It
was retold in the 1956 Centennial edition of the Austin
Daily Herald.
"Mr. Yates called on me at High Forest, on the 14th of
April and wished me to proceed with him speedily and
secretly the next day to Austin. By arriving in the night
he could lay out his property to enable him to get his plat
on record first, as the only village of Austin. "
"We started next morning o n horseback. The distance
was 30 miles, untraveled and uninhabited. The rain had
been falling almost incessantly for the last week, and it
continued to storm heavily throughout the day. We
reached the Cedar River at nightfall, as wet and hungry
as wolves. "
" Here we stopped and I packed my papers and instruments
in my carpet bag to prevent them from being seen
and to give the appearance of a traveler. Yates secreted
the tripod in an old hollow tree to avoid carrying it into
town. We swam the river and went into the village."
"That night I examined the ground in order to make a
plat for them to take and record in case of emergency.
Yates recrossed the bridge and brought the tripod into
town unseen. "
"The next morning, when w e were seen staking out
lots nearly half a mile from the town, the old proprietors
'Smelt a rat.' Vaughan and Mason started on foot, with
their plat for the county seat of Frankford. They had
been gone two hours before Yates and Lewis saw the mischief,
whereupon they immediately started on horseback
with their plat."
"Yates and Lewis arrived at Frankford 20 minutes in
advance of their fellow racers. Judge Felch was sent for
three miles distant, to come and take acknowledgement
of the plats. When he got in town, Vaughan and Mason
had arrived. They slipped their plat into his hands first.
He, however, considered himself employed by the other
party first, and accordingly did so."
Hence the Yates and Lewis map was filed for record as
Austin First, at 7 o'clock p.m. The other as Austin
Second at 7 o'clock and 30 minutes.
Tragedy Stril{es
Chauncey Leverich had erected the first frame
dwelling in Austin. The dwelling was also used commercially.
There is a question whether it was the hotel,
saloon, grocery store or a combination of the three. The
location is known. The building was on the southeast
corner of the intersection of 2nd Ave. N.E. and 1st St.
N .E. This was formerly the corner of East Bridge St. and
Chatham Sts . Most recently the Austin Hotel was on the
It is ironic that the man who initiated Austin was also
the victim of the county's first murder. There are three
versions of how this happened. We will give the one most
frequently told.
According to M. K. Armstrong, Leverich had just
opened a saloon and was entertaining friends. Two
townsmen, Horace and William Oliver, too boisterous. Leverich put them outside, whereupon
they began pounding the side of the building. As Leverich
stepped outside, one of the men struck him in the
forehead with a heavy object and he fell to the ground,
his skull fractured. This happened in August, 1856.
Leverich lived for a few days. Silver and Oliver had
time to plead guilty to assault and battery. They were
fined $20 and $10 respectively. They then left town
before Leverich died. They escaped the murder charge.
Leverich was buried on the south side of his building.
Later his body was moved to Oakwood Cemetery. The
place he was buried was unmarked. In the Centennial
year, 1 956, a trace of records located the site. A marble
slab was placed with the following inscription,
"Chauncey Leverich." " Here I Will Pitch My TentHere
I Will Found A City." Another plate reads,
"Austin, Minnesota Centennial, July 4, 1 956." Just
below this inscription, in smaller lettering, "Open Time
Capsule In March, 2056."
Chauncey Leverich's tumultuous two year career in
Austin had a positive impact. The settlement he started
has become the city he may have visioned.
Chauncey leverich now Des In Lot #170, Oakwood Cemetery, Austin
The July sun shone brightly on a cluster of frame
houses and business places. A rustic trail came into the
town from the east and then swerved north through the
center ofthe little village of Austin, Mower County, Minnesota.
Jim Ackley was hacking down the weeds and
brush on the trail which the villagers called Main Street.
L. N. Griffith, the new postmaster, was urging Ackley to
hurry. The stage coach was due.
Griffith's little frame post office had just been completed.
Jonas Haney was busy installing boxes for individuals.
A newly posted sign announced that the box
rental would be ten cents for three months . Complaints
had been heard about the high cost. Cash money was not
easy to come by in 1857.
Finally there was the sound of wheels and hooves as
the stagecoach came down the Territorial road. (2nd
Ave. N . E . , formerly East Bridge St.) The stage driver,
N. M. Wilder, carried the mail pouch into the post
office. Griffith unlocked the pouch, took out the Austin
mail, stuffed in the outgoing mail and relocked the
pouch. It was ready for Wilder when he would pull out
toward the north. (The old Territorial road went on 1 st
Drive N . W . , previously called Lansing Ave.)
Meanwhile the stage coach passengers had a story to
tell. Early that morning the trail had passed through a
swampy area. Unable to get through with his burden of
passengers, Wilder had requested the tired travelers to
walk. After a one mile hike they had been able to climb
back aboard.
Was this the Snow House?
It was an early Austin hotel
(Ven! Judd Photo Collectioll)
The dusty and travel worn stage riders headed for
Austin's one hotel. The Snow House was operated by
Solomon Snow and George Wilbour, who claimed that it
was a "first class hotel. "
Four lodging rooms held the normal register of guests.
When pressed by an increase in guests the " school section"
was opened. This would accommodate a number
willing to occupy the eleven beds with hay filled mattresses.
A total of forty could be taken care of in the Snow
The breakfast bill of fare was pork, biscuits and dried
applesauce. For dinner there was fried pork, biscuits and
applesauce and supper was more of the same. Occasionally
they had beef, which qualified their "first class"
Waiting For the Wagon
The people of Austin were awaiting another arrival on
that July day. Aloysius_ Brown, the storekeeper, was
expected back soon. Two days before he had left for the
mill at Chatfield to renew his supply of cornmeal and
flour. Supplies in the village were running low. It was
(Vern Judd Photo Collection)
These Austin CItizens may have been waiting for a supply wagon
past midday when Brown's ox drawn wagon moved into
Brown was assured of payment for the supplies he
would bring back. On deposit in the store were a number
of sacks. Each sack had the name of a resident, the
amount of meal or flour needed and gold coins to cover
payment. Sometimes the requests exceeded the supply
received. Then Brown would distribute as judiciously as
Brown was respected as an honest man by his customers.
The first services ofthe Catholic Church were held in
his home.
There was a regular supply of beef for the little town.
W. A. Woodson took care ofthis need from his farm two
miles out of Austin. He brought in dressed beef and
drove from house to house to make his sales. Steak was
selling for 25ft per lb .
(Ven! Judd Photo Collectioll)
Headquarters building Is on left above
Austin citizens took a special pride in a new two-story
frame building. Located about 50 yards south of Brown's
store, this unpainted structure had an important status
in the community. It was called " Headquarters. " Most
of the social and official functions of the village took
place here.
The town's first concert was to be held at Headquarters
the next Sunday. Lyman Sherwood and his brother
were to sing, accompanied by John Hallot. Already the
Congregational and Methodist churches were holding
Sunday meetings at the new building. The Baptists were
also making plans to meet there.
There was a rumor that a man named Blakely wanted
to have space at Headquarters to start a newspaper. The
lower floor of the new building was not yet in use, but
George Hayes was considering establishing a mercantile
business there.
Austin Grew Rapidly
After just two years Austin had over 100 citizens. Two
doctors had come in 1856. Dr. Olenzer Allen was the
first and was also the first druggist. Dr. J. N . Wheat
came shortly thereafter. Life for a pioneer doctor required
a rugged routine in keeping with the lifestyle of
these early day Mower County inhabitants.
At dusk of this summer's day we look back down the
streets of the little town. Mrs. Sarah Bemis is closing her
millinery shop, as is George Mitchell at his new furniture
store. A clanging can still be heard at Winfield Loveland's
blacksmith shop.
The kerosene lamps are lit. Thanks to Aloysious
Brown there will be fresh bread on the tables of Austin
village tonight.
(Names and many pertinent details were takenfrom
the Mower County Histories of 1 884 and 1 9 1 1 .
E. N. J. )
The romance of pioneer life is probably often overstated.
The following account, given by one of Austin's
first doctors gives a realistic picture of early pioneer life.
The doctor's reminiscence was given at a Centennial
event held on Washington's birthday, Feb. 22, 1 876.
" Dr. J . N . Wheat responded by telling a little of his
own experience in the winter of 1 856. The snow was four
feet deep on the level and drifted badly in places. The
snow was so crusted that a man could walk upon it
without difficulty, only breaking through occasionally.
" He was called professionally to attend a patient in the
Vanderwalker neighborhood, a settlement some 4 or 5
miles northwest of Austin. Here he found 23 persons:
men, women and children, inhabiting one log house,
14 x 16 feet, without floor or windows, unless the two
small lights of glass framed in the logs might be called
such. With stools for chairs and a box-like manger filled
with dried prairie grass for bed, and without bread or
vegetables for food.
" Here were three persons dangerously sick. In order to
give them proper attention he found it necessary to make
the journey every other day on foot, often breaking
through the snow crust and sinking to the body. He was
in great discouragement.
"Sometimes, though starting from home early in the
morning, he would not reach his destination until near
noon. Then he would dine with the family on slapjacks
and molasses, the doctor being company and expected to
" It is but justice to the doctor's perseverance, if not to
his skill, to say that the patients recovered. The inmates
of the log house swarmed the next spring as soon as the
snow melted and houses could be built. They found
homes in about the same neighborhood."
Forty mounted men rode into Frankford on a Monday
afternoon in mid-January, 1857. Though tired frQm two
days of travel, they were grim faced and determined.
Armed with an assortment of revolvers, knives and rifles,
they rode past the cemetery, a log schoolhouse and up to
the log structure which was Lewis Patchen's hotel.
Facing them were an equally grim group of armed
citizens of Frankford. The forty from Austin had arrived
to attempt the rescue oftheir sheriff, and a homesteader,
named Bemis.
How had this confrontation of settlers in Mower
County developed? Ever since, and even before the
organization of the county, there had been a division of
two county factions. On the east was Frankford. Thirty
miles to " -,e west was the Austin area, the other population
center. The struggle for political control of the
county had stirred the wrath of the two sides. The immediate
bone of contention now was the location of the
county seat.
The following paragraphs tell the events leading up to
the showdown.
1 1
Geographic Division Caused Political Split
Mower County, in the territory of Minnesota, was very
young in January, 1857. Just four and a half years earlier
the first county settler, Jacob McQuillan, had established
a land claim by nailing a coffee mill to an oak tree
a half dozen miles north of Frankford. In 1854, Lewis
Patchen had been the first settler in Frankford.
In the west of Mower County a frontiersman named
Austin Nichols had established a claim in late 1 853 or
early 1 854. Later in 1 854 this claim was purchased by
Chauncey Leverich. Austin was laid out in 1 855 but was
not platted until the spring of 1856.
During the years of 1 855 and 1856 settlers were rapidly
establishing their claims in the Frankford area and the
Austin area. Between the two were miles of prairie.
The geographic division became a political split in
1855 at the time of the first Minnesota legislative election.
The candidate for the Republicans was A. B .
Vaughan, the first Austin storekeeper and postmaster.
His opponent was W. B. Covell, a Democrat and Frankford's
first lawyer.
First Legislator-Vaughan Won Polls, Covell Won
In October, 1 855, the polls for the Mower County
legislature were located in High Forest. A board with its
ends on two barrel heads was placed, under an oak tree.
This was the judge's desk. Ninety-seven votes were polled
and Vaughan received a majority. However, Covell
quickly went to Houston, received a certificate of election,
and reported in at the legislature. Vaughan reported
in too late. Covell was qualified as the first legislator
from Mower County. These events may well have
been the first major reason for the dispute between the
east side and the west side of Mower County. All of the
political assignments went to the east side. Frankford
was designated as the county seat. No doubt this was a
new irritant to the people around Austin.
West Side Won 1856 Election
On October 14, 1856, the west side of Mower County
proved their numerical superiority. The Peoples Party
represented the west side and the Union Party chose candidates
from the east side. Out of 374 votes cast the
Peoples Party had a majority of forty-six votes. Only the
position of surveyor went to the east side.
There is little doubt that at this time the west side
rejoiced in their newfound political strength. The new
commissioners were George Bemis, the Austin homesteader;
William Spencer, LeRoy and Horace B.
Blodgett. There was pressure on the commissioners to
move the county seat. They were aware that this could
not be done legally without a countywide election.
Blodgett found a technicality to circumvent the law. His
resolution said in effect that the April 7, 1856, county
board proceedings had not properly recorded their action
to situate the county seat in Frankford. He, therefore,
proposed that the county seat should be located in
Austin until otherwise provided by law. Bemis and Blodgett
voted for this resolution and Spencer was opposed.
This action was taken on Monday, January 7, 1857.
The Plot Thickens
The removal of records is based on an old letter written
by Mrs. Charles Lamb, Frankford. " Not in the still of
the night, but at noonday when the officers were taking
their dinner and smoking their pipes in quietude, they
came, stealing noiselessly into their vacant rooms and
silently marched away with what comprised our county
seat. "
The action which followed reads like the plot for an
early day silent movie. Jesse Yates, A. B. Vaughan and
George Bemis were the villains. All were newly elected
officials. Yates was yet to be sworn in as sheriff and
Vaughan was to be probate judge. Bemis had already
acted in the capacity of chairman of the county board.
These were the three who took the little tin box and the
book of county board proceedings. They climbed in a
sleigh and headed for Austin. That night they stayed at
the Tattersoll House, in High Forest. Bemis kept the
record book under his coat and Yates gave the little tin
box to the landlord, Mr. Tattersoll, for safekeeping.
The history book record of the chase reads as follows:
Tin Box Was Elusive
"In a short time Sheriff Sherman arrived with a posse
from Frankford. Yates, Vaughan, Bemis and the landlord,
Tattersoll, were arrested for grand larceny. He then
posted guards around the hotel and went to obtain a
search warrant, as the landlord would not give up the tin
box. "
"While the sheriff was gone, Yates made a bargain
with a W. Sykes to remove the tin box from the hotel.
The reward to Sykes was to be $20, with $5 down.
"The evening was cold and Yates soon induced the
guards to come in to take a drink, and they became quite
convivial, and supposed as long as they watched the
persons under arrest, that their duty would be performed."
To make a long story short, Yates soon walked out of
the hotel, eluded the guards who followed, and got the
tin box from Sykes. After hiding the box outside, he gave
a diagram of the location to John Patterson and C. C.
Hatchett. The tin box was carried back to Austin and
hidden in the R. L. Kimball hardware store. Frankford
officers arrived in Austin with a search warrant, but the
tin box was secure in the basement under a few bushels
of potatoes.
The next morning Yates and Bemis evaded detection
long enough to hide the county's record book in the snow.
The spot was marked "by a certain process more effectual
than elegant. " The book remained there a short
time and was taken back to Frankford and carried by
Mr. Bemis during the time of his arrest, closely guarded
beneath his coat and vest.
Arrest of Yates and Bemis Angers Austin
It was not until the following Saturday that the Austin
citizens heard of the arrest of Yates and Bemis. It was
then that the forty armed men lit out for Frankford,
arriving on Monday, January 14. People from the east
side rushed into Frankford prepared for war. For a long
time a collision was feared and a guard was placed over
the prisoners at night.
At one point during the legal proceedings an offer was
made by the west side to return the tin box and record
book if Yates and Bemis would be released. The east side
Peace Prevails
Yates and Bemis were bound over to appear at the
next term of the Fillmore County Court. They were
released on the payment of a $3,000 bond.
The location of the county seat at Austin was decided
by a vote of the people on June 1 , 1857. Yates and Bemis
made their appearance at the next session of the Fillmore
County Court, where the case was dismissed.
In that June election the citizens of Frankford voted
for Brownsdale as county seat in one final attempt to displace
Was the loss of the county seat eventually responsible
for Frankford becoming a ghost town? All we know is
what is recorded. By 1870 Austin had a population of
2,040. Frankford's population increased to a maximum
of about 300.
In September, 1867, the first railroad engine to
operate in Mower County reached Austin from
Owatonna. Shortly the two were connected.
The coming of the railroad had a great impact on the
small towns of Mower County. Many of those towns
which had railroad connections grew. Some of the towns
without the railroad declined . Rail lines never came to
Frankford. The final question remains. If Frankford had
continued as a county seat, would its population have
increased to a level which would have insured a rail line?
There is no answer.
Those of the Mower County volunteers who are in the
9th Regiment have been spending a few days with their
friends before going South. They left yesterday for
Winona where they will take the boats for Dixie.
On Saturday a sumptuous supper was gotten up for
them at the Lacy House, which was furnished them free
of charge by the citizens of this part of the county. After
the supper the boys repaired to the new building of Mr.
Lewis' and there tripped the fantastic toe until near
Sunday morning.
Just before leaving a barrel of apples was rolled out to
them and they departed in good spirits, all well satisfied
with the treatment they had received from the good citizens
of Austin and vicinity.
Minnesota Courier. O ctober 7. 1 863
The Mower County R egister began publication in
Austin on July 2, 1863. The Minnesota Courier and the
Register competed for subscribers in Mower County for
six months. Then the Courier published its last issue on
January 6, 1864.
A glimpse of travel condition in 1 863 is captured in the
following item from the October 29th issue of the Mower
Coun ty Register. The editor is commenting on a Preston
Republican article which had given a glorified description
Mower County Soldiers of Civil
War era-Their Identity Is unknown
( Vern Judd Photo Collection)
of the stagecoach to LaCrosse, Wisconsin.
"Mr. Republican: Do you know what kind of a line the
'Western Line' is? It is simply an imposition, and the
persons who stick up posters of the 'splendid lines of
stages west to Austin' ought to be booted. There is no
stage from Preston west to Austin. It is true that Mr.
Phillips runs one horse hitched to an old rickity buggy
that is hardly strong enough to carry the driver and mail.
"The western connection is most miserable, and calls
loudly for reform. A good line of stages would pay, but
they will not pay under such management as this which
Phillips has had. Austin people are tired of this imposition
and wish a change . "
We are in favor of the legislature granting a $ 100
bounty to every person who may volunteer for the war
from now on. Mower County has given about 325 to the
army, more than one third of the voters of the county,
and is now draining ourselves of our able bodied population.
In all probability we shall be entirely exempt from the
draft by the first ofJanuary. We have no large towns, nor
rich citizens. Mower County is true to her country, and
will make up her quotas by volunteering if sufficient
bounty is offered. There are counties in the state which
have not furnished half their quota.
Mower County R egister. October. 1 863
The tragedy of the Civil War reached into the lives of
Mower County citizens. The following is an excerpt from
a letter written by Platt Dutcher to his father, Silas
Dutcher of Lansing. The soldier gives details following
the battIe of Williamsburg. It was published in the
Minnesota Courier on May 28, 1862.
"I visited the battlefield this morning, and what a
sight. They have been burying the dead for two days, and
have not yet buried all. I saw seven dead rebels behind
one log, lying just as they had fallen. No one knows yet
how many were killed on either side as they are not all
gathered in yet. They are scattered all through the
woods, and dead horses lay thick around them.
"Our battery was taken and retaken two or three
times. They charged upon our battery, coming on the
run and yelling at the top of their voices. The Fifth North
Carolina Regiment was at the head.
"The Fifth Wisconsin Regiment was deployed as skirmishers
in front. When the Fifth fell back on the reserve,
they thought they had us certain. But we came up in line
and poured into them when only 10 rods from us. Their
colonel at their head fell, after which all that were able to
turn back went a little faster than they came up. I had a
fair view, and they fell like grass before the scythe.
"We took a great many prisoners. They are hard looking
fellows. No uniforms at all . "
Mr. S now of this place sold 40 acres of land, near
town, on Monday last for $12.50 per acre. The same land
was purchased a few weeks ago for about half this sum.
We hear of several others who have bought farms in
the county within the past week or 10 days. From present
indications Mower County will receive her share of the
immigrants that are now pouring into our state.
Minnesota Courier, July, 1 0, 1 861
On Friday last we learn that two negroes, fugitives
from Missouri, passed through town on their way to
Canada. They were mounted on horses, which they took
from their masters to assist them on their journey.
Those who saw them say they were fine looking
fellows, and worth in Missouri, from eight to twelve
hundred dollars each.
Minnesota Courier. September 4. 1861
Editor of the Courier, Sir:
I will give to every Volunteer that may join any Company
now forming in this county from Pleasant Valley,
Grand Meadow, Racine, Frankfort and LeRoy, a bounty
oftwo dollars for single men, and to every married man,
five bushels of wheat for the use of his family. Volunteering
to be from this date to the 31st inst.
Please publish and send me 20 papers.
Respectfully, B . F. Langworthy
Minnesota Courier. A ugust 13, 1 862
In our advertising columns of today will be found an
advertisement from a couple of soldiers soliciting correspondence.
Now is your time, girls, on your nerve, and
our word for it, you will win.
"Wanted-Correspondence. Attention Girls. Pity two
of 'Old Rosies Boys' who have served 25 months faithfully
and cheerfully for Father Abraham, and whose
1 4
trembling hands have penned these few lines for the
purpose of winning a correspondence with an unlimited
number of the fair sex.
Photos exchanged if desired. Thomas Honey, Stephen
Haines, 2nd Minnesota Volunteers, 3rd Brigade, 3rd
Division, 14th A.C. , Nashville, Tennessee . "
Minnesota Courier, A ugust 1 9. 1 863
(Harold J. Davison Photo CollectiorZ>
Austin's Main Street rebullt after 1869 fire
lst National Bank on right across Courthouse Square
It was the night that Main Street burned. A northwest
wind had brought subzero temperatures, and most of
Austin's citizens were asleep. At 1 1 :00 P.M. one person
came down Main Street, glanced in the window of Case
and Shepley's Store, saw flames and raised the cry of
"fire . " From house to house the call was relayed, and
men, women and the older children rushed out to battle
the flames.
Most of the people carried buckets and a few had tubs.
A line was formed and the bucket brigade went into
action. The water came from partially filled basements of
business buildings. Seepage of water into these cellars
had formed natural cisterns.
It was soon apparent that the fire in the Case and
Shepley Store was out of hand. The strong wind was
steadily increasing the danger to all of Austin. One band
of workers tore down the building belonging to J. F.
Atherton, and this prevented the spread of flames in a
westerly direction.
The fire swept into the brick building on the corner of
Main and Bridge Streets, which had just been purchased
for the First National Bank. The danger to East Bridge
Street (2nd Avenue N . E.) increased. To save buildings
on the street it was necessary to tear down the frame
building which was occupied by Friedrich and Sammans
Meat Market.
The heat on the west side of Main Street was so intense
that it scorched the fronts of buildings from J. Levy's
Store to Headquarters. G. Schleuder and Woodward &
Dorr began to move goods from their buildings, but the
danger passed and the west side of Main Street sustained
no further damage.
Finally the disastrous fire of March 3, 1869 was
brought under control. Years later, Tom Dugan, the
chief of the volunteers , said, "Everything was destroyed
in the path of the fire except Bill Simpson's Saloon, and I
don't suppose we should have saved that." C. N . Beiseeker
added, "The water froze in the tubs as we emptied
the buckets. "
I n the wake of the fire the town surveyed its damage.
Three two-story brick buildings and two frame buildings
were destroyed. The $50,000 loss was only partly insured.
Injuries were relatively minor. George Bishop had one of
his hands frozen. Alex Fleck had one of his toes frostbitten
and Major Van Valkenburgh jammed one of his
big toes in his hurry to help somebody move a heavy box.
( Vern Judd Photo Collection)
Austin school building bullt In 1865
This was the first permanent school, later sold to the Methodist
(Harold 1. Davison Photo Collection)
Threestory school bullt In 1870
This building later burned. It was located between lst Ave. N. W
and 2nd Ave. N.W., on the site of the present Austin High School
Reprintedfrom Nov. 24. I 870-Mower County R egister
"First-Austin had an actual population, a few
months since, of 2,040 as returned by the census taker.
We would be safe, we think, in claiming 2, 100.
" Second-With the exception of ourselves, (and one
or two others) the people are a mighty good kind of
people. Mostly of American descent with a sprinkling of
an excellent class of Norwegians and Germans. There are
six churches in town,and eight church organizations.
The Baptists, Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Episcopals,
Lutherans and Catholics each have quite good
church edifices in which to worship. The Methodists and
Universalists intend to erect handsome buildings next
spring. The Baptist, Methodist and Congregational
churches probably take the lead in point of membership.
"Third-Our schools are ofthe best, and liberal wages
are paid to our teachers. An elegant schoolhouse is just
about completed, at a cost to the town of about $40,000.
"Fourth-Improved farms within a mile of town are
worth about $50 to $100 per acre. Unimproved land near
town is very high, and but little for sale. Village lots of
course vary in price according to location. Residence lots
are worth from $100 to $300 each; business lots from
$500 to $ 1 , 500 each.
( Vern lucid Photo Collection)
First Courthouse cost 56,450
This buDding, built In 1868, Is now occupied by Hastings Shoe
Repair on the original site, the N.W. comer of Main Street at lst
"Fifth-Building lumber is quite reasonable in
price-good commonly being worth $20 per thousand
feet. Mechanic's labor is worth from $2 to $3 per day-the
latter figure being freely paid in the fall of the year.
"Sixth-We consider Austin as healthy a town as there
is in the southern part of the state. Dry wood is worth $5 a
cord; green can be bought at from $3.50 to $4. Coal will
soon be furnished us in abundance at from $5 to $6 per
ton, which will, undoubtedly, be by far the cheapest fuel
we can use.
" Seventh-The prospects of a glorious future for
Austin, are as brilliant as that of any other Minnesota
inland town that we know of. She already has two railroads
viz: The Milwaukee & St. Paul, and the Iowa
"The country about, in a circumference of twenty or
thirty miles, depends upon Austin as its trading point.
The town has doubled in popUlation during the last two
years, which we think it is very likely to do again in the
next two. Enterprising, energetic, go-a-head men from
the East, are invited to call upon us, and see how they
like us. We will welcome heartily any number of them. "
(Harold J. Davison Photo Collection)
D. B. Smith was first Mayor
Smith Is the gentleman In the foreground
J. W. McClug, St. Paul, prepared a statistical review
of the counties in Minnesota in 1 870. His inventory tells
an interesting story about Mower County.
He says that there were 2,351 horses, 6 , 341 cattle, 42
mules, 2,709 sheep, 1 ,427 hogs, 220 carriages, 165
watches, 25 pianos, 30 church organizations with 10 or
12 church buildings . The Methodist and Baptist were the
most numerous.
At that time 384,631 acres assessed at a value of $3.53
per acre. In 1867 there had been 24, 247 acres of wheat
which produced 181 ,494 bushels. There was 3,016 acres
reserved for schools.
1 6
When the people were counted h e found 3,216 in 1860,
5 , 1 50 in 1 865 and over 10,000 in 1 869. At that time the
majority were Americans, but there were also over 1 , 500
Norwegians, over 600 Irish and over 400 Germans.
In the previous national election Mower County voted
1 . 239 for Grant and 469 for Seymour.
Comparison of Land Areas-1870 With 1984
McClung said that Mower County had 460,000 acres
in 1870. About one-fifth of this acreage was timber and
oak openings, four-fifths was high, rolling prairies,
abounding in springs and streams of living water, but no
In 1 984, Carroll Plager, Austin, prepared a somewhat
similar analysis. Now Mower County is known to have
708 square miles, which breaks down to 453 , 120 acres.
Of that total 10,000 acres are occupied by municipalities,
15,000 by roads and streets, 380,000 is cropland and
some 50,000 acres for wooded areas and unimproved
A match game between the State Line Club of LeRoy and
the Austin Baseball Club was played on the common in
Austin, on Monday afternoon last. It was an exciting
contest, and some good playing was made. The Austin
club won by a score of 49 to 36 . A fuller report of the
game is crowded out. Each ofthese clubs have now won a
match game over the other. A third game is to be played
in a few weeks.
A ustin Register. July 13. 1871
The following items tell something of the difficulties
encountered by the farmers in the early days. They are
reprinted from issues of the A ugust. 1874, A ustin Register.
"About one year ago a financial panic was in order,
and things looked pretty blue. If another horse disease,
financial panic or something else doesn't turn up before
long, people in this section will be pretty well fixed.
"One of the trials and tribulations of the pioneer
farmer came under our observation one day last week. A
farmer residing 1 5 miles from Austin, started with a load
of hay drawn by one yoke of oxen. He came to market his
hay in this city.
" After getting along pretty well on his road, in turning
out for another team, the hayrack struck a burr oak,
breaking the reach of his wagon. The hay had to be
unloaded in order to repair the broken reach. Then it
was again pitched on and the farmer proceeded on his
" He reached Austin some time after dark, where he
offered his load for sale. With a painful scarcity of
buyers, he finally sold his load for four dollars, two in
cash and two in trade.
" Upon driving to the barn to unload, the farmer found
that he had lest his pitchfork. Here was another dilemma
not anticipated and one that might disgust any man. Not
a whimper of complaint issued from the lips of this
pioneer farmer. If this is not Christian forbearance we
are no judge of the article. "
"After careful examination we think the small grain
will yield better this season than many anticipated a few
weeks ago. Grain has matured well under the circumstances,
and come to reaping, we find that it stands
thicker on the ground than expected.
"We were surprised to see so many Sabbath breakers
yesterday. We counted five machines at work within an
area of three miles. We think if those gentlemen have no
respect for themselves, they ought to have for their
neigh bors. "
" While binding oats on Thursday last, we were all at
once induced to get around a little livelier than usual by
the sight of a rattlesnake, which was crawling out from
between my feet. I had just raked up the bundle, put the
band under it, bound it and threw it aside, when I was
astonished at the sight of the miserable reptile. I at once
took revenge by setting my heel over his head . "
" We served another likewise the same afternoon. The
third one made his disappearance by way of it hole. The
January, 1 912-A ustin Daily Herald- "/ grow tired. "
said a good active helpful woman of A ustin, "hearing
about hard times and the high cos!. of living. Just try to
following Saturday afternoon we put five more out of
existence. How is that for one-half day in the harvest
Mr. Comstock says he likes Minnesota pretty well, but
would like it much better if the tormented rattlesnakes
would only keep out of sight. He never saw one until he
came here last week, and he doesn't wish to see another.
Of course they are quite annoying to strangers. "
get someone to do some work for you, or put them in the
way of earning some money and you will find how dfficult
it is and how little interest is taken. "
"There have been more improvements made in this
vicinity this summer than during the past five years.
More land changed hands, more broke up, and a greater
number of houses built and repaired. Go where you may
and you will see acres upon acres of land newly turned
over, new fences built etc. It is safe to say that Mower
County is improving fast. "
"Barley i s about all stacked and a portion of it
threshed . Everybody now is busy at work cutting their
wheat and oats. Another week hence, fine weather will
see the greater portion of small grain in the shock.
"Everything seems to go smoothly. The beautiful
weather, who could even wish it more favorable, it being
so cool and mild . Although at the beginning of harvest it
was severely hot. The mercury stood at 108 degrees in the
shade on the 25th of July.
"Help is plenty. Notwithstanding the crowds of people
that come from the grasshopper country, and also from
Wisconsin, they command their regular $3 per day. We
think if our brother Grangers would take this matter into
consideration they might reduce harvest wages to its
actual value. Farmers can't afford to raise wheat at 75
cents and pay such enormous prices for help.
"If they would agree on one price reasonable for both
parties, say about $2.00, which they would pay, and no
more, they would get just as much help as they do now."
J. M . Weiser was the Brownsdale correspondent to the
Austin Register. The following two items were in the
issue of June 3, 1875:
"On Saturday night this village was regaled with the
fiercest wolf music it has ever been our fortune to hear.
Some ofthe howlers passed through Main Street and the
row which they raised amongst themselves and the town
dogs was fearful to hear."
"On Sunday W. T. Setzer and N . R. Pal meter captured
seven young ones on the prairie near Waltham.
The demand for them as pets or curiosities is likely to
prove as remunerative to the captors as though there was
a bounty on their scalps.
"Mrs. Amos Colby, last Sunday morning, while in the
cellar picking up potatoes for breakfast, brought her hand
unwittingly too near a massasauga, who took her by the
hand savagely and then tried to bite her a second time.
His length was about ten inches with no rattles . An
outside application of tobacco, and internal use of
alcohol counteracted the effects of the poison.
"Mr. Reuben Rollings, living half a mile from the
Colbys, had one of his cattle bitten about the same time,
which we learn has since died ."
The above items were reprinted in the A us tin Daily
Herald in June, 1975. Within a few days a letter was
received from Mrs. Harry Skov, Dexter, with a sequel to
the item about Mrs. Colby. Her letter follows:
"Mrs. Amos Colby was my grandmother. My mother
was Grace Colby Tanner. I well remember my mother
telling about that snake bite and how my grandma
screamed . Grandpa ran down into the cellar, saw what
had happened and killed the snake. He sent my Uncle
George who was a small lad then, for help. No telephones
"There was a small bottle of whiskey kept for just such
things, but the chew of tobacco was furnished by a neighbor.
"Another time grandma had just taken a large pan of
cornbread from the oven. She heard sounds and looked
up to see three Indians by the window. Quickly she put
her two small daughters under the dining room table,
telling them to be very very quiet. She then returned to the
kitchen, cut three pieces of cornbread and handed each
Indian a piece. After they had eaten the pieces one
patted his stomach and pointed at the rest of the cornbread.
Grandma quickly handed it to him and they left,
making a sign of friendship.
"There were many trying times in those days also. "
Pathmakers in every direction are at work on the highways.
For the present such highways are a terror to frail
vehicles . If our road workers would not heap the dirt so
high, and make their roads so narrow, they would have
better roads.
"As most of the roads are constructed there is a
narrow track in the center with sides so steep that a
wagon driven outside of the track is in danger of up-
1 8
setting. The consequence is deep ruts and mudholes do
there abound . If the same amout of dirt were piled half
as high and twice as wide, allowing some escape from a
single track, the hole would be packed hard and
smooth and ample drainage effected. "
J. M. Weiser. Brownsdale correspondent to
the A us tin Register. 1875
"A few days ago, in digging a well in the eastern part
of the town of Pleasant Valley, Section 13, at a depth of
30 feet, a vein of coal five feet in thickness was struck
under a heavy bed of clay. The coal, it is said, resembles
the soft coal of Iowa, and burns clear and bright. "
"The place of discovery i s o n the ridge running north
and south through the eastern part of Pleasant Valley. It
is about half a mile east of E. R. Campbell's place.
Should this coal vein prove to be extensive, it will be one
of the best things that has turned up in this part of the
state for the development of Southern Minnesota.
"With all of the money now sent abroad for coal kept ..
at home and distributed among our people, a new
impetus would be given to all kinds of business. "
" Saturday, June 3, will long be remembered by lovers
of baseball in LeRoy. The occasion being a match game
of baseball between the Champions of LeRoy and the
Mourners of Osage."
"The Mourners came preceded by intelligence that
they intended to play a couple of imported players. Our
boys have had similar experience, heretofore, and lost no
laurels by it. They came on the field confident in their
ability to sustain the name they have chosen. And well
they did, snatching victory from almost certain defeat.
"At the end of eight innings it was 8 for the
Champions and 1 1 for Mourners. It was here where our
Austin's First Band
(Vern Judd Photo Collection)
1 9
boys showed their indomitable pluck. They went to bat
determined to die game, if die they must. The result was
four earned runs, leaving them one ahead.
"The Mourners still had their inning to play. Our boys
were equal to it. The result being that a man never got to
first base.
"The game was characterized throughout by fair
playing and friendly feeling. Our boys feel it an honor to
have defeated so able a club. They also feel it a pleasure
to contend with such cOUlieous gentlemen. "
Austin R egister-June 8. 1876
View of Austin In the 18708
This photo was probably taken
from the top of the high school
(Harold J. Dcwisoll Photo Collection)
(Harold J. Da vison Photo Collection)
George Baird's home, bullt In 1859
(V('", Judd Photo Collection)
The Olson Furniture Store
Busines s stayed in the famlly through son-In-law W. R. Earl. location
was S.E. comer of Main Street at Ist Ave. N.E.
(Harold J. Davison Photo Collection)
Austin's first photographer
Studio was on Ist Ave. N .E., across from courthouse square
(Harold J. Davison Photo Collection)
Dr. Samuel Paine Thornhill
One of Austin's early physicians
(Ve", Judd Photo Collection)
looking down north Main Street, Austin, In the 18808
Grandstand-Mower County Fair
photo taken in the 1950s
"Fair time!" Mother, father, sister, brother, each has
a special feeling of nostalgia when it is time for another
Mower County Fair. It is one county-wide event which is
looked forward to and enjoyed by almost everyone; town
or country. Anyone who grew up in Mower County can
recall events at the Fair which were special.
The Mower County Fair has a story which goes back
120 years. Citizens began to talk about this need early in
1863. County Commissioners R. C. Heath, A. Beach and
G. T. Angell called a meeting on September 22, 1863 to
discuss the formation of a County Agricultural Society.
This was the first step toward getting a fair, as the
Society would then be recognized by the Minnesota State
Fair. Also, the Society would receive books, agricultural
documents and other items of interest.
Ths Society's purpose was to improve agriculture,
create new ideas, develop the county and educate young
The Society was officially formed at the Austin post
office on September 22, 1863. Officers and directors
were elected and a formal constitution was drafted .
Under this constitution any family could have an annual
membership for $ 1 .00 or a lifetime membership for
The first fair in Mower County was held in Lansing on
October 1 1 and 12, 1 864. Every village in the county had
the opportunity to offer a premium and the highest
bidder would have the privilege of hosting the fair. Much
to the disgruntlement of Austin citizens, Lansing offered
the highest premium. They hosted the first fair.
People from the surrounding counties were invited to
the Mower County Fair. The $ 1 .00 membership to the
society entitled the family to admission to the Fair, and
also allowed the holder to enter livestock and goods. Individuals
were admitted for 2516 .
Officers of the Society said that the first fair was a
success, and began planning for the following autumn.
The 2nd Mower County Fair was held October 10 and
1 1 , 1 865. The grounds were improved to provide a place
for exhibiting. A track was added for a women's
equestrian display and for exhibition of trotting horses.
Public officials addressed fairgoers on agricultural
In spite of all efforts to encourage participation, the
1865 fair was not a success and the Agricultural Society
was dissolved.
The revival came in 1 868. A meeting for all interested
citizens was held in Austin's brick school house on July 3 1 ,
1868. The new Agricultural Society was formed with a
constitution and by-laws which promoted agriculture,
horticulture, stock raising and the mechanical arts. A
county resident could again become a member for $1 .00.
The new Society made sure that agriculture was the
dominant part of the revived fair. They offered $400 in
premiums. A race track was provided for the speed trials
of "fast nags," but it was strongly stated that the races
would not monopolize the fair.
The new society held its first fair on October 14 and
15, 1868. Owing to the short time the society had for
preparation, the bad state of the weather, and the exciting
political times, it was feared the fair would be a
failure. However, the clouds cleared away and the
officers prepared temporary grounds on the. public
square. Then some splendid cattle were brought together
with horses, hogs, machinery, wagons, buggies and other
The Austin Democrat said, "The fair may be
considered as a perfect success. The fact was plainly
demonstrated that we can have one of the best fairs in the
State next season. Success will attend the Mower County
Agricultural Society. "
Interest in Fair Again Declines
For several years the Mower County Fair continued
satisfactorily, but then interest faded. Then, in 1882,
citizens urged the Agricultural Society to join with the
Farmers' Alliance. This was a progressive group which
promoted farmers' interests.
At a meeting of the Farmers' Alliance on July 5, 1882,
the committee voted to aid the Agricultural Society in
soliciting funds to purchase permanent grounds for the
County Fair.
Fair Grounds Purchased
Early in 1 883 the Agriculture Society purchased the
Austin Driving Park for use as a county fairgrounds. The
cost was $ 1 , 800. Plans were made to improve the fairgrounds
by repairing the floral hall, dwelling house,
stables and judges stand. They also hoped to erect a new
grandstand and 90 rods of board fence. The Society
began the sale of membership tickets early to finance the
$600 of improvements. A $2.00 family ticket entitled
freedom of the fairgrounds during all the days of the fair.
Family members also could enter goods and livestock
without further fees.
Suddenly, on September 3, 1883, the Basford block in
downtown Austin crumbled . The premium list was being
printed by Mr. Basford, and the type was destroyed .
There was not enough time to reprint the 40-50 page
book before Fair time. Officers of the Fair decided that
this loss, together with accompanying circumstances, required
that they cancel the Fair.
1884 Fair was Successful
Finally, in 1884, Mower County's first successful fair
was held on the grounds of the former Austin Driving
Park. This was the first of a succession of prosperous
County Fairs to be held at that location.
Entries at the Fair during this period were in Flowers
and Vegetables, Grain, Flour and Seeds (wheat, barley,
corn, peas, clover, timothy, buckwheat, flax and hops) ,
Dairy and Household Articles (butter, cheese, honey,
molasses, baking and canning, wine-blackberry, grape,
gooseberry, strawberry, raspberry, currant, rhubarb,
tomato) .
Also in Plowing, Horses, Cattle, Poultry, Domestic
Manufactures, Farm Implement (democrat wagon,
plows, bob sleds) , Dairy Household (churn, brooms,
cistern pump, washing machines) , Furniture, Leather
Goods (boots, harnesses, saddles) , Carriage and Buggies
and Fine Arts (painting, photos, ambrotypes, penmanship,
needlecraft) .
Through the succeeding years the fair changed in
organization, length, style and format. The fair
broadened its scope to include commercial . and trade
concessions. Forms of entertainment were added to
broaden interest for the entire family. Circuses, carnivals,
rodeos, zoos and other professional entertainment
and novelty items became a part of the Mower County
1940 Officers
A . O . Starks served as president and Ben Huseby as
secretary at the 1 940 annual meeting of the Mower
County Agricultural Society. Elected to the board then
were Herman Lerud, William Murphy, Russell
Thompson, Ormanzo Peterson, Gunner Youngdahl,
Oscar Erickson, N. C. Goodwin, Alvin Baudler and
Richard Rahilly. Alvin Baudler was then elected president;
Goodwin, vice president; P. J. Holand, secretary;
Lerud, treasurer, Murphy, Thompson, Peterson,
Erickson, Youngdahl and Rahilly, directors.
During 1941 a number of improvements in the fairgrounds
were made with the help of the NY A. A fire
destroyed one of the exhibition buildings in 1 942, and it
was replaced the following year.
Grounds Expanded and Crane Pavilion Dedicated
The original fairgrounds was 25.6 acres. The Galloway
pit was added in 1948 with 5.6 acres, the Dee property in
1949 with 7 . 1 acres, the city pit in 1 951 with 9.4 acres,
the Zerkel property, across the street to the south with
5.0 acres and the Mickelson gravel pit of 2. 1 acres.
The livestock exhibit building on the fairgrounds was
dedicated in August, 1948 and named the Crane Livestock
Pavilion. It became the home of the National Barrow
Show and of other livestock exhibitions. The
building burned in 1955 and was replaced. It continues
to be the home of the National Barrow Show and other
4H has been a part of the Fair's cooperation with
youth for many years. In 1945 the FFA (Future Farmers
of America) was invited to participate with livestock exhibits.
These programs for the youth continue to be an
important part of the fair. The Children's Farm Yard is
another feature for the young.
In cooperation with the Hormel Company the Midwest
Steer Show, Midwest Market Hog Show and, earlier, the
Fat Lamb Show, have been an integral part of the fair.
The Best County Fair Plant in the State
P. J. Holand, secretary ofthe Fair for 34 years, wrote a
news article for the Austin Herald in 1953, Mower
County's Centennial year. An excerpt follows:
"It is no wonder that the Mower County Fair is a big
institution. The preparations for the exposition are in
process all year around . The physical plant is by far the
finest county fair plant in the state. Our people have seen
to it that it is and what's more-they want to keep it that
Many Dedicated Fair Board Members
As previously mentioned , P . J . Holand served as secretary
of the Fair Board from December 1 940 through
1974. Others who have served on the board since 1940
are: Guy Wold, Lew Reeve, Nordeen Torgerson, Harry
Saunders, Carl Kehret, Richard Rahilly, George Reppe,
Art Anderson, Myron Aultfather, Roy Miller, Merrill
Chesebrough, Dennis A. Deneen, Glenn Jahns, Harvey
Sathre, Gene VanDenover, John Halverson, Joe
Gislason, Earl Subra, Oliver Hagen, Omer Wangen,
John Larick, Don Weseman, Arthur Bustad, Carroll
Plager, Richard Wehner, Dale Rugg, Joe Raine and
Harold Mayhew.
Present officers are: Robert Radloff, Austin, president;
Jerry MacVey, Brownsdale, vice president; Ella Marie
Lausen, Austin, secretary; Roy Hayes, Austin, treasurer;
George Moline, Austin; Loren Hanson, Grand Meadow,
Norbert Schroeder, Grand Meadow; Richard Grass ,
LeRoy; Donald Sorenson, Dexter; and Jack Maas,
Austin, directors.
The fair will celebrate its Centennial in 1984. The
lOOth Fair on the same site.
Early Mower County Fair
No autos In this picture taken around the tum of the century.
Early church Now Fine Arts Gallery
This was formerly the Christ Episcopal Church, Austin, given to the
Historical Society by Mr. and Mrs. H. E. Rasmussen.
The Old Country School
Excelsior DlsI. #12, bunt In 1870.
Milwaukee Junction
The board walk leads to the railroad exhibits. The Indian Museum
on the right.
Young Exhibitors
Game and Fish Building
Photo probably taken In the 1940s
These boys and young men are showing their calves In the 1920s.
The Dairy Cattle Barn
Rahilly Museum
This building displays the Johnny Mears collection of horse drawn vehicles.
Mower County Fair-1910
Mower County Historical Society Museum
Dedicated in 1949, this building honors the G.A.R. Civil War
veterans and the pioneers of Mower.
The Mower County Pioneer and Historical Society had
an unusual beginning. It came about because of an idea
suggested at an honorary dinner.
In August, 1 947 the Mower County Fair acknowledged
and honored the farmers who had resided on their farms
in the county for a half-century. Portraits were taken of
these fifty-two farmers, men and women. Then they were
the featured guests at a dinner. Minnesota's Govenor
Luther Youngdahl was the main speaker.
During the course of the dinner the suggestion was
made that a pioneer association be organized . This idea
was then presented to the honored guests, and they enthusiastically
endorsed it.
On September 30. 1 947 a grou p of half-century farmers
and Austin businessmen met at the Crane Pavilion on
the fairgrounds. At that meeting they formed the Mower
County Pioneer and Historical Society. They also discussed
the possibility of erecting a pioneer building.
Those at the meeting were Richard Rahilly, John Skinner,
Mrs. Clara Sayles, J. H. Aultfather, Mrs. S. H .
Warrington, Jay Daane, George Reppe, Guy Wold,
Robert Bagley, Nels Goodwin, Gunnard Youngdahl,
Charles Fox, N. F. Banfield, Leonard Decker, Will
Phillips and P. J. Holand .
A committee was appointed to draft by-laws, make
plans for a pioneer building and to work out membership
plans. This group included Richard Rahilly, chairman;
N. F. Banfield, Mrs. Clara Sayles, J. H. Aultfather and
Mrs. S. H. Warrington.
Between the years of 1945 and 1947 the historical
mementos were displayed in a large tent at the east end
of the fairgrounds.
On October 8, 1 947, in the Austin High School auditorium,
Richard Rahilly was elected temporary chairman
and P. J. Holand, temporary secretary. George Reppe
was appointed finance chairman and instructed to begin
plans for a membership and fund drive. The goal was
construction of a pioneer building on the fairgrounds. As
a result there were soon 900 names on the active and
honorary membership roll.
In 1 948 GAR funds were contributed to the building
fund through McIntyre Post #66, W.R.C. Judge Martin
A. Nelson was instrumental in arranging this gift.
Bids were let for the Mower County Pioneer and
Historical building on April 26, 1949. The building was
dedicated August 9, 1949. Present at the dedication were
Judge Nelson, Governor Youngdahl, former governors J .
A. A . Burnquist and Hjalmer Peterson. Father D . A .
Cunningham gave the dedicatory address. A dinner
followed at the Queen of Angels hall. Speakers were Will
Phillips, a 50 year farmer, J. H. Skinner for the pioneers
and Roy T. Anderson, who represented the war veterans
of the county.
This new Historical Building fulfilled a dream for the
half-century farmers and was also a Minnesota Territorial
Centennial project for Mower County.
Assignments for the Society's committee were made in
October, 1947. Serving with Richard Rahilly and P. J .
Holand were Walter Varco, Myron Aultfather, Robert
Bagley, Will Phillips, Art Anderson, Mrs. C. B. Sayles,
John Skinner and Mrs. S . H. Warrington.
On November 12, 1949 the first permanent establishment
of the Mower County Historical Society was
formed. Officers were Richard Rahilly, president; Mrs .
Charles Gilligan, vice president; P. J . Holand, secretary,
Ella Marie Lausen, assistant secretary; Guy Wold,
treasurer; Anna Roble, Lucy Touissant, Mrs. C. B .
Sayles, Mrs. S . H. Warrington and Mrs. Henry Arett,
Over the years the county events were commemorated
by additions to the new Historical Center. The Christ
Episcopal Church, one of the early Austin churches, was
placed in the Center in 1953 as a Township Centennial
project. A granite fountain, which had at one time served
at the head of North Main St. , was placed in the Historical
Center in 1955. It commemorated the Territorial Act
which defined the boundaries of Mower County. In 1 956
the 100th anniversary of Mower County's government was
honored by the dedication of a horse drawn vehicle
museum. An M4 Sherman Tank was the Minnesota Centennial
project of 1958. It was dedicated to the desire for
world peace.
The GAR Post building in Grand Meadow became a
part of the Histroical Center's properties on March 18,
1960. This building remains at its original Grand
Meadow location.
The Historical Center, in the southeast corner of the
Mower County Fairgrounds, now includes twenty nine exhibits.
Some of the buildings have been moved into the
Center, while others have been constructed on their site.
In addition to exhibits mentioned previously the Center
displays the following:
A log cabin from Frankford Township.
One room rural school built in 1 870.
Windmill used on a farm from 1922- 1971 .
Replica of Six Mile Grove Lutheran Church, Nevada
Township. This replica was a Bicentennial project of
the Six Mile Grove congregation.
The Kehret Wayside Chapel, moved in from the
Kehret farm west of Austin.
The original farmhouse which remained on the fairgrounds
when Mower County purchased the grounds
in 1883.
Original Hormel building, built in the 1 890s as a part of
George A. Hormel Packing Co.
Losby Communication building, erected in 1 975, it
contains old and new telephones and the extensive
equipment required .
Herald Williams Sr. Indian Museum, contains a rare
collection of Indian artifacts.
Fire-fighters gallery of fire fighting equipment and
Early heavy construction equipment.
The Milwaukee Junction depot, railroad section crew
vehicles, boardwalk, suburban train coach, baggage
coach, steam locomotive, Hormel refrigerator car
and a caboose. _
1884 Mower County courthouse dome, with courtroom
Blacksmith shop, which houses blacksmith equipment
from the Hormel Co.
Old Headquarters Building, built in Austin in 1 856. A
community center, which housed the city's first
churches, school, newspapers etc.
One of the original fair buildings.
The following are persons who have served the Historical
Society in many ways such as the historical board ,
committees etc. Celia Patch, Mrs. S . L. Young, Mrs .
Richard Rahilly, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Rasmussen,
Martin Bustad , Mrs. Merle Lamon, Doris Harder,
William Sucha, Mrs. Bert Roebuck, Mrs . Willis Danielson,
The Geo. A. Hormel Co. and the Milwaqkee Railroad.
They have worked for the betterment of the Mower
County Historical Society.
The 1 983 Board of Directors is Gene VanDenover,
president; Roxanna Weseman, vice president; Ella
Marie Lausen, secretary and treasurer; Jerry Wesley,
Jiles Baldus, Ross Graves, Geraldine Rasmussen and
Arthur Christgau.
Herald Williams found his first arrow in 1 890. He was
helping to spread gravel along the new Milwaukee railroad
tracks in the right-of-way between Granada and
Fairmont, Minnesota. The arrow he found at that time is
marked, and can be found in the center of a large frame
of arrows in the museum at the fairgrounds. The finding
of this arrow led to a passion for collecting other Indian
After moving to Austin he found many arrows in this
vicinity. There had been several Indian campsites in the
area along the banks of the Red Cedar River. Large ones
were located at Todd Park and the present site of the
Queen of Angels Church. Most of the arrows he found
along the Cedar River were on the east side. Also many
between Todd Park and the LaBar Fur Farm. One of the
choicest arrows was found at Martin Lake near
Williams and his wife, Floy, traveled all over the United
States in search of artifacts. They also dug for some
pottery at a site near Hot Springs, Arkansas. Just south of
Custer State Park, Nebraska he found a metal arrow
imbedded in a vertebra in a sandblow.
Metal arrows, spears, knives and scrapers were
fashioned by the Indians out of metal barrel bands which
had been discarded by the soldiers on their way out
West. Discarded metal snoose box covers were also used
by the Indians to make decorations for their costumes.
The secret in making arrowheads is almost a lost art.
The Indians from North and South Dakota migrated to
Wisconsin in search of flint to use in making spear points
and arrows.
As Williams collection grew it was meticulously placed
in large frames and cases aI}d housed in the basement of
his family home. He spent hours showing his fine
collection to local groups and visitors.
Feeling that his collection should be more accessible
to the public, Williams donated it to the Mower County
Historical Society. The county fulfilled an agreement to
build a brick building in the Historical area at the Mower
County Fairgrounds.
Included in the Williams collection are many beautiful
spearpoints from the Easter Islands, valuable bowls,
Pipestone pipes, beadwork, grinding bowls, axes,
hammers and tools and clothing used and worn by the
Indians. There is also a 10 foot canoe which was built by
the Cree Indians in the Hudson Bay area of Canada.
Herold J. Williams Sr.
Along with his fine collection of Indian artifacts, Mr.
Williams also donated a beautiful rock collection and a
large collection of sea shells.
Many rifles were made in Milwaukee and shipped up
the Missouri River to the Indians. The rifle on display in
the museum was found under a dead horse after the
Battle of Custer.
The wooden Indian was given to Mr. Williams by Jay
Hormel and the totem pole was carved by Ernest Storry
of Austin.
WUllams' Indian Museum
Air View of Mower County Fairgrounds
January. 1 9 12-A ustin Dai(v Herald-How would you
like living in a tent in this weather? Down by Dobbins
Creek bridge. one manfighting tuberculosis. has lived in
a tent all winter. His little canvas home is banked with
snow to the eaves. a path shoveled to the highway and the
smoke from his fire rises cheeifully each morning to tell
the passerby that he is still keeping up his bravefightfor
1972 marked the beginning of an organization, the
first one ever in the County of Mower and the city of
was initiated by a group of eight people with the chief
aim to stay together and thus help each other with our
Family History researching and encourage many others
with same interests to join with us.
In the Constitution the purpose of this group is stated
The first officers elected were: Pres. Mrs. Roy King,
Vice Pres. Mrs. Rachel Holt, General Secretary Shirley
Thompson, Corresponding Genealogist Mrs. Rachel
Holt, Historian, Richard Hall, Parliamentarian, Mrs.
Dick Conway.
During the years members have participated in many
worthwhile projects. The society has recorded information
from tombstones in all cemeteries in Mower County
and has published the recorded vital statistics information
in volumes, TOMBSTONE TRAILS. These are
available for researchers with ancestral roots in
The Society and its members have provided the Mower
County Public Library at Austin, with books, microfilms,
magazine subscriptions etc. to further genealogical
research and family history discovers for many library
The Mower County Genealogical Society publishes a
newsletter in Nov . , March and July which is sent to many
gen. societies, libraries, including the Library of
Congress, in Washington, D.C., Historical Societies in
the U . S .
The Publication contains many interesting materials
and research helps for genealogists as well as local club
news. Co-editors are Mildred Malone and Monica Lonergan.
A very successful Southern Minnesota Genealogical
Conference was sponsored by our society and held at
Austin Community College. This offered an opportunity
for many attending to learn more to help them in their
Genealogical Researching.
The following item is taken from the March 25, 1 8 75
issue of the A ustin R egister.
"The enterprising officers of the First National Bank
of this city have recently had attached to their fine new
burglar proof safe a new patent lock, additional to the
regular safe lock. It is regulated by a chronometer, which
is set at the time the bank officials desire to open the
safe-say nine 0 'clock a. m. Until that set hour arrives,
no human power under heaven can unlock that safe. It is
a big thing and will pretty effectually do away with the
Every year an interesting exhibit is provided for the
Mower County Fair where members can display their
research accomplishments and offer help to those
viewing the display.
Our society is not only geared to Genealogy alone,
much emphasis is placed on gaining historical facts which
is an integral part of family history research. Therefore
many of our members were anxious to volunteer their
services in researching material for the preparation of this
County History Book, " MILL ON THE WILLOW."
Our society has grown through the years and as it has
grown so has the knowledge in and practice of family
history research by the people of Mower County who have
received help and encouragement from the members of
The Mower County Genealogical Society.
MildredR. Malone
Historianfor MCGS.
Mrs. Douglas Nielson
Mrs. Hope Buringa
Mrs. Richard Conway
Mrs. Beulah Duholm
Mrs. Audrey Fell
Mrs. L. M. Flannery
Mrs. Stanley Grundy
Mrs. Lawrence Guckeen
Richard Hall
Mrs. Richard Hall
Mrs. Rachel Holt
Mrs. Roy King
Roy King
Mrs. W'm B. Malone
Holly Newman
Mrs. Robert Qual
Mrs. John Thill
Mrs. Edna Thomas
Mrs. Benny Thompson
1983-1984 OFFICERS
Vice President
Corresponding Sec.
Lillian Fetterly
Jim Burroughs
Thelma Hamilton
Monica Lonergan
Richard Hall
Mildred Malone
Eunice Harris
Pamila Ross
necessity of Mr. Burglar's holding a pistol to a bank
official's head in the dead of night accompanied with the
very mild request, to "go down at once and open that
safe, or I will blow your brains out . . . It would be very
hard on the bank man (f he should carry his threat into
execution-but that can 't be helped. The safe is locked
for the night, and threats and violence will avail the
burglar nothing. The list price of this little protection is
$450. It is a very .fine piece of mechanism, and is as
accurate in its workings as the .finest kind of watch . . .
Painting Windows shortly after purchase - 1971
Prior to 1 868 the poor people of the county were cared
for by citizens and reimbursed by the county. At that
time a 1 SS acre tract of land was purchased in LeRoy
township and equipped with all necessary buildings. In
this way the "paupers, " as they were called, could have a
suitable home at a lesser cost to the county. It was called
the "Poor Farm. " In 1 876 this property was exchanged
for a similar farm in Lansing Township , three miles
north of Austin .
A new facility was given the more dignified name of
"County Home." The County Commissioners provided
fuel and repairs for proper upkeep. The inhabitants,
however, raised many garden crops. In a large measure
they produced their own food supply, and enjoyed doing
This arrangement continued until 1964. At that time
there was less need for a County Home. The facility was
then judged a suitable facility for delinquent and homeless
boys. It became the Minnesota Sheriffs Boys Ranch.
New cottages and school buDding at Austin Boys' Ranch - 1973
The Minnesota Sheriffs Boys Ranch was the
brainchild of the State Sheriffs Association. They
formulated the idea of a home for delinquent and homeless
boys in 1 962. In September, 1963 they appointed a
Boys Ranch Committee; by-laws were drawn up and the
Minnesota Sheriffs Boys Ranch was incorporated.
The first annual meeting of the Board of Trustees was
held September 27, 1 963 and officers elected. A site
committee was appointed to find a site for the proposed
Boys Ranch. Sheriff Doyle Lindahl of Mower County
served on that committee, and together with Commissioners
Werner Wuertz and Ralph Turner met with the
site committee at the KSTP Radio Station. They
prepared a presentation, complete with photos, of the
County Home and the city of Austin. The committee was
impressed and agreed to a ninety-nine year lease from
Mower County. The lease was signed March 18, 1964.
In the summer of 1 965 the Minnesota Sheriffs Boys
Ranch in Austin was opened with two boys enrolled.
In 1963 Sheriff Carmen Halstenson (on right) and three members of
VFW Post #1216 present a pony to four early residents.
On November 22, 1 972 Minnesota Sheriffs Boys
Ranch purchased the property from the county of
Mower. The purchase agreement was signed by R. C.
Buechner, chairman of the County Board; Graham
Uzlik, County Auditor and Donald Eustice and Kermit
Hedman, President and Secretary respectively of Minnesota
Boys Ranch.
In 1972- 1973 the organization built two new living
units, a school and an. arts and crafts shop building.
Buildings carry the names of people that have played a
prominent role in the development of the Ranch. The
main building, the former County Home, carries the
name of Carmen Halstenson, formerly Sheriff of Mower
County. Other buildings were named after Kermit
Hedman, Sheriff of Ramsey County, Donald Eustice,
Sheriff of Waseca County, Stan Hubbard KSTP and
Hubbard Milling and Hormel for their contributions.
In 1974, the organization became Minnesota Sheriffs
Boys Ranches with the addition of a boys ranch in Isanti,
Minnesota. This ranch was built on the site of a former
NIKE missile base. Through the efforts of Senator
Hubert Humphrey and others, the site was acquired
from the federal government. In 1 976, a Girls Villa was
opened in the former St. Augustine convent in Austin. In
1 98 1 , the organization became Sheriffs Youth Programs
of Minnesota with the addition of a family counseling
office in the metropolitan area and the licensing of six
continuing treatment foster homes around Southern
Minnesota. June 1 , 1 982 marked the opening of the
newest branch, a short-term intervention program for
children and families, which serves sixteen boys and
The organization now has holdings worth several
million dollars, employs over 100 persons and serves approximately
150 different children each year. Approximately
forty boys are in residence at the Austin Ranch at
all times.
James E. Fischer is the current Executive Director of
Sheriffs Youth Programs and has headed the
organization for twelve years. Ira Rogers was the first
director and was followed by Charles Carver in 1967. The
Austin Ranch celebrated its fifteen year reunion in
September, 1 980 with sixty-five boys and staff members
A reporter from Dubuque wrote a story about Austin
in 1876. It was published in the Austin R egister on April
"In the southern part of Minnesota, on the banks of
the Cedar River, is Austin with a population of 3,000
people. "
"The residences are principally frame buildings, but
some of the finest are of brick. There are large, imposing
structures enclosed with lattice work fences or substantial
iron, which presents a very citified appearance. The
lawns in front of these dwellings tell plainly what care is
taken of them.
"The walks in front of the residences are splendid, but
in the business part of the city they are a little shaky, and
need new ones in many places. No advice do I wish to
offer the citizens of Austin, but I think it would be a good
plan to level the sidewalks on the principal business
"In the western part of the city stands the schoolhouse,
a magnificent brick building three stories high. As you
near the city from either point of the compass this
building is the first to salute your gaze.
"In speaking of the business houses of Austin , I will
simply state that there is room for doubt whether any
town in Minnesota, not larger than Austin, can equal it
for the beauty of its fine brick blocks. The town has a
metropolitan look about it, and is surely on the way to
metropolitan fame."
Old No. 1. This was the first locomotive of the Milwaukee Road. It was built in
1848 by the Norris Works, Philadelphia, PA.
3 1
Pioneering Then and Now - 1867 to 1984
Today the quadrangular red Milwaukee Road logo is a
familiar sight to the people of Mower County, Minnesota.
It is the trademark displayed on all the equipment
of the railroad which has served the community for over
one hundred years. This logo has undergone a number of
changes over the years , just as the railroads made rapid
strides to meet the needs of a virgin land through the
period of settlement, development and industrialization.
When the railroad arrived in Austin in 1867, the population
of the entire Minnesota territory was somewhere
near 15,000 settlers. Most of these were land-hungry
adventurers from the eastern states of New York, Pennsylvania
and New England who swept over the state
with the first land sale in 1848.
Because of the adaptability of the rich soil to agriculture
and grazing, very soon the need for a mode of
transportation to open areas of commerce arose.
Immigration and the great westward push was in
progress . The settlers had arrived by covered wagon.
Now they also had the railroad for themselves, their livestock
and their personal property. Swiftly the railroads
met the needs of our pioneering, westward-ho, people. If
ever there were mixed trains, then these railroad cars
must have been a prime example. Women and children
occupied the coach cars while men rode with the livestock.
We are not told much about meals in those early days.
Apparently, before the advent of dining cars, stops were
made where there was a cafe. Many used the covered
wagon dining method , they brought with them dried
meats and hard bread.
In May of 1857 the M innesota territorial legislature
approved an act creating four railroad corporations and
granting them alternate sections, six miles in width on
each side of the roads (in line with the debated liberal
land grant of 1854) .
The Minneapolis & Cedar Valley Railroad, incorporated
on March 1 , 1856, was the first predecessor of the
Milwaukee Road in Minnesota. It was formed to build a
railroad from the Iowa state line near the Cedar River
through the Straight Valley to Minneapolis. About
$600,000 was expended for grading and masonry work
between Minneapolis and Faribault. However, combined
problems of fraud, mismanagement and default led to
On March 10, 1862, the Minneapolis, Faribault &
Cedar Valley Railroad was incorporated and acquired all
the rights and property granted by the state of Minnesota
to the Minneapolis & Cedar Valley. On February 1 ,
1864, the name was changed to Minnesota Central
The Minnesota Central meant business, and in 1864
built from Mendota to Wescot (Radio Center) , from
Mendota to Minneapolis and Wescot to Faribault in
1865; from Faribault to Owatonna and Mendota to St.
Paul in 1866. That same year the Minnesota Central was
sold to the McGregor Western, and in 1867 became a
part of the Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway.
Meanwhile the Mower County Register had been
encouraging the dreams of a railroad for this area. The
following are excerpts from that paper;
October 14, 1863
Chief Engineer Shepard of the Minneapolis and Cedar
Valley Railroad, informs us that M. Chamberlain has
purchased seven thousand tons of iron for the road, and
that the same will be shipped as early as possible next
April 4, 186 7
A correspondent o f the Milwaukee Sentinel writes
from Cresco, Iowa as follows: The railroad stopped here
last November because overtaken by the frosts of winter.
With the first balmy breath of spring it will gather up its
skirts and march on to the goal at Austin, just across the
line, in Mower County, Minnesota. There it will connect
with the Minnesota Central, from St. Paul and Minneapolis.
No time will be wasted in this operation. The contract
to Austin, 55 miles , is let to the Iowa and Minnesota
Construction Company, and by them sub-let to Messrs.
Green & Mather. During the winter ties are being
unloaded at the rate of 1 ,000 per day.
Two views of first train In Austin. The wide smokestack was used for
wood burning locomotives. (Davison Photo)
Finally, on September 16, 1 867, the long-awaited first
regular passenger train arrived in Austin. It was close on
the heels of the gangs who had just completed the laying
of the rail from Faribault to Austin.
The story of the arrival was in the Mower County
evening the first regular train arrived at our depot. The
track h ad been laid since Thursday, but none other than
the construction train had greeted our vision. We could
but faintly realize the fact.
A ten year's residence in Austin without railroad
advantages, yet not without plenty of promises, led us to
insanely wonder if it were not a dream. But at this
present writing we are satisfied it is a reality! We have
seen the locomotive, the long train of cars attached ,
heard the whistle loud and clear, seen the iron rails upon
which they move, the depot buildings, round house,
water tank, etc . , stare us full in the face, and we know it
cannot be otherwise than true.
We welcome this great developer and civilizer,
heartily, sincerely, and wish our railroad folks much
Selah Chamberlain, President
of the Minnesota Central,
and also one of the directors of
the M ilwaukee and St. Paul
Railway, came in upon that
train in company with Superintendent
Shepard. They departed
the following morning
for a trip along the line of the
uncompleted section of the
road. Mr. Chamberlain stated D. C. Shepard. First
Superintendent I. & M. that the connection would be DIvision.
made in thirty days, without fail. He was referring to the
line building up from Iowa by the McGregor & Western
to a meeting point with the Minnesota Central. That did
happen within the thirty days, and on October 14 of that
year when the Minnesota Central passed over the connecting
rails at Adams, Minnesota, joining the two roads
that had been building toward each other for two years,
the identity of the road of which Mr. Shepard was Superintendent
was lost, and it became a part of what was
known as the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul system .
The line work to Chicago was accomplished on
November 18, 1867 and that completed the I & M
Division of the Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad, the first
and only railroad from the Twin Cities and the Northwest
to Chicago.
Also in 1 867 the line between Owatonna, Minnesota
and Cresco, Iowa via Austin was completed. Through
train service from the Twin Cities via Austin , Cresco,
Prairie du Chien and Milwaukee to Chicago was established-
the first Milwaukee Road main line between the
Twin Cities and Chicago.
The Milwaukee Magazine, in 1922, had an article
telling about conditions in the early days of railroading.
It was written by S . S. Johnston, Secretary of the Minnesota
Central and McGregor Western Railroad
Veteran's Association. The following paragraphs are
excerpted from this 1922 article.
Railroading in the early days and now are very much
different. In those days the engines were all wood
burners and an average of 30 miles to a tank of wood was
good and on some occasions we had to dig the wood out
ofthe snow and throw it once or twice over before tossing
it up on the tank . Some work for the train crew.
A full month meant 31 days and 31 nights and you had
to work out your own salvation and occasionally at the
end of a 24 hour day you had to turn around and make
the return trip without the required rest. No crew would
be sent to relieve you, get back as best you could as at
that early day we did not have good and competent dispatchers
and operators to assist us over the road. In the
Map of the Milwaukee Road in 1868
(No. -12 . Novembor 22, 18&.)
--..... ------. . -----. .. -_._ .
Deoorah Branoh.
--ciOiNG NoRTH. -- ----NOiiiii01SMiOI- iiTATrU N8:--M18N020I i"lOaar- -- ---I '
STATIOX8. (iOlNG 'iOUTH. -- --
I'r AM - AM PM.----I . :: . . ':: . .::=I.! .-uc. H . ... . Dl'L :n;1IOS'.' .. : .::_ ..
_ ::: --- . - ---- . ----- W.06 bI14O v ._ Cal ma ,' . Ar 12 11.1 8.36: . . _ .. - ----- ..
, 'PlI I'll ,: Drr. - .u/ 1'11 -- --- ---------- - --- - . 2011.06 3 . __ Con"yer _. 9 11.00 a.20\ ----- ---- ...
_____ . ____ . ____ .'bU.cIW OLY . . Cbl . \r 4,;4 ' . 111'1' ----- --- - - - -. - - . t612.2O 12 Ar. _ _ Dacor.b . . . Lv 0 bl0lb2.16 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ..
__, __,_ '_ _ ,_
- - _ __ . -' .. :0.:..:.' - - ::.: .:..:..:..:: I'M PM . AM PM =11=.:c ,= -&-&0.11.16;:..;.:: L. Rock Lll .. od_\r. ';'j ..':...:t:> = 1= :.:.:.:.:!= -iD.UY:-bDaTIY-.ic.jifl!,iud.y. . c i>.i1' except liaiiiraay-r.l>'';iIY, .xcO
::::: -:::: ::::: f:5& ::::: :::: ::D;:::;:rt:11 ::, I: iO:2 :::::c::: :..: _ ___ . _ _ _ ___ - M,d.y . . . t . ca
o, . , " . ... .
::::: :-::: ::::: J:J: l
:.J)a':::;:e-:-,r IA:J:1L:::I::::: ::::: Through Car Service. - - " 1" - _ _ _ _ _ 1$: 1: IUOArN McGregorLv 214 :: -.. -, - - - - - - -- . . - r '-- -- A M PM - VA c." PH' DU O.D'V - AI I'M' --1-- -- "
' " . _ _ _ _ _ bl180 clO3O O Lv __ Chloago __ Ar 495 7 . 00 7. 00 _ _ _ . . _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ . .
_ _ . , _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 2.t6 1 . 80 8 " . Mllwaukee _ " 410 3.20 _ _ _ _ _ _ . . ____ . .- - - - --- _ to t6 181 " - Madison -- " 314 11 . 15tll1 _ _ _ _ _ 1 __ - - - - - - 1 . . _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 10.20 tH.30 279[Ar Prdu Chlen Lv 216 t? 36 t7 20 _ _ _ _ _ - - - . ___ _
. - _ - - - 11ro1!10.16 9 20 28I
ArN McGregOr Lv 214 b6 U,b5 00 _ _ _ . . __ _ _ ::": ' .-::_0_ AM_ _, ______ _ II_I AM_I!!01II_-- :..:.:.: . . . . _, _ _ _ _ . : AM PM AM 1. 0 .t at. DlV. PI A1d I PM __ ' " . _ . _.. . . _ _ _ _ _ _ I 8 . 51 t.1O.- _ _ _ LI.. )lcGregor . . _'r. 16 8.65: 6.06, _ _ _ . . _ _ _ - . .. ..
.. _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ,b9.40,b111. b9.lkli 0 " N McGregor " H' e . ' 4.60' 5 . 30 . . . _ _ . . .
_ _ _ . . _ _ . . _ . 10.OS! . . _ _ _ , . : _ . . , 6 .. . . .. . OI. .,. I _ . . . I.\' "'I e 10_ .. . . 1 01 . . . ' . .
_ _ _ . . __ . 10.1 11.3Z 9 8 " . . nuIMh . .. " i e . lo . H . 51 . - - .
.. _ . ,_ . . . AM :l1.t6IO.08, H' '' .. . . )\oooll. __ . . .. ,,1(1 I U '.I I'M . .... ...... . ::::t : f : : )g: JX i r :: (jr.lIiU::liw :: l ': 4.U .::: ,:. : - . :
__ . . _ ___ . . 1' . ... _' 12.13 10 . 37 241 " __ po.h llle . , , ' lUI 516 360 . . __ , - - -
- _ . . _ ,_... ___ 1 28 \O .5 80". C tuh._ . . " ltl4 5 10, 8.8 - 1- - . . - .. --
_ ___ .. 1 . . . . - 12.48 11 07 85 " . _ u lo . . _ . " I\'Y f 171 .261 . .... . - .. - .. - - -- - ----- ---- 1.00 IUI!I 42 Ar l Calm ar { LV 178 f to 3.11' .. 1----- ----- . . . . _ _ _ _ ' ..... 1 60 1I. Lv I Ar f2li1 12 45 - - - - - - . . -- - --
___ . . _____ 1 ___ .. 1 5811.45 451 " _ Conov er .. Lv I\,O f 17,12 371 __ . --- - -.. - .. _: ______ _ _ 17 12 03 b2 " Rldgeway . . _" 16 f oo'I2 1R - ---- - - .
_____ ___ .. 1 . . ___ 2.37 12.23 61! " __ -- - .. - " 154 3 t011U7 .. - - - " - " -
_ .. _____ .1 __ . . 3041256 721 " .Llme Jldllg.- " 142 3 , 15111 271 - .. - . . . - -- .
GOING NOR'.l'll.
No. 1 ba8 Day t.:olichea North McGregor to St Pu.ulj one Uoach Austin
l1lnneapo1ie. Pasijcngertl from Chicago via Dubuque hav PuBiDan 81ee
Chicago to Dubuque; Day Coache! Cbictl

o to Calmar: 01\ via Milwaukee, bal e d
hieDi Day Coacbes Chlcqo to Mi
No. a has Pullman 81ccr,lu,", Car Illld Vay Cotlcbcti from North McGregor
C.lm.r; C., M. &: St. P. S eeplog C.r from North McOregor to St, P.u\. Da
Coaches from CalmsI' to St. 1'ou l and Mlnneapolliji (tlJrough coache8 fro
Dav.nport). (P oeugero from Cbicago vi. Dubuqlle bove 'Day
Chicago to Dnbuquc, Dubuque to CalmlH" and Calmar to St. Pllui aud lodi
apolla. C., M. & :;t. P. Sleclllng Car Dubuqne to St, Paul ; or vlu MUwauk
bave Parlor Car and Duy Coacbes Ohlcago to Milwaukee ' Day Coach
Mllwukee to Calmar and Calmar to ::i t . PKlIl and Mlnneapolt8. ' C., M. & Bt.
Sleeping Csr North McGrcgor to :it. Pau1.)
No. 2 ha. Day Coacb St. Paul to Milw.ukee, viII Pr.irl. UII Chien'
Mlnneapo1l8 toDavenportj Bnd Coachcs Caimar to Chicago. via Dubo
NO', 4 hao C" M.& St.l'.lI.eJllllg Cur 8t. I'oul 10 Norl-II MeOregor, (fur Dubu(l'' "'
Day l"oKche8 MlUllcapolll! tlild Ht. Punl to C'altunr' IJullmunSlecpiugCarandDa
COllcbes from C.IOl.r to North McOregor. (1'hl. leeph'R Cor goeo tbrou
10 Madioon, Wio'
Ind the co.cbe. to Cbic.go, via Dubuque .ud to
vi. Pr.lrie du Cb en.)
NOTE.-Betweeo AIl.tin, SL. I'.ul and Mlooeopolls, Noo. a.od 4 run doUr .
.. ___ ... __ . _ 25212.37 87 [ " ____ Ilonair ____ " 148 32711 tOl . . . \- .. ---- .... ______ _ . ___ 3.11 102 77 \ " _ . . _Cb ter . . __ " 187 3.03 11 13 -- --.. --- - -
..... ____ . _____ S 85 1 22 8. " _ . . _ Le Hoy ____ " 130 2 f70 6f -. . - - - - . . - -
. . -.. .. --- ;;:;.; I'I : :: ::::-}: I:':: -- :: i l HP =\ nl ::::::---" --
. .
-----,,0 ., 420 2.05 103 " __ Hooe C,eek " , 112 2 05 10. 07 __ --"' 1 - 1 -----------------------------1 ::::: :::::f,:1 I11l t f - Auoth' {I !o4Itl rs\e& I h :-:-I- A FI" S T . CLASS "lf EA .. .. ___ I 2.15 .OO 265 114 " - Ram.ey . . Lv, 101, I 05 920lb2.5&, __ . . _,. "" ... , ... _ .. _ ___ . . I'M b.05 300 116 " ____ Laoolng_ ... ", 98112 5&\ 9 10, I'M .. 1
.. ' _____ Ar. 5 82 3 22 125 " Bloom'g Prairie " I H91 12 33 8 f7'
" .. - 'I ' __ . . . _ . ... 51\8 a f5 1:l5 " __ . . AII",m . . . " \ 80,12 10 822 . .... .
.. ' .. ,__ _ 608 3 52 198 " ... 80Uleroctl . . " 76:12 02 8 13 . . , IN THE DINING CAR
! . . -\- . . .. 1U.M . 06 14:\ " . OwutOUHU. -" 'i I:l1.4H 8.00 . I
. . .. . . 7.08 f.18 1491 " ... M usion but pining ;
llut where is the man that can live without dining,
1867 ii _ 1867 .- . ,." .,_ 1
Fall Rmmtnc" . 1
0. WI:DatD4 T, Sept. lit" . . I"',
'''ereaAer-, TPaiD .... m, ..... ... NIo_' " 1
1I'1lJI. .II, , . '
- -.... . /.
r..ue )finn.apoli. 7:10 . I H'. l'aIl1.7.15A " IblAWDDa 1\:00 ... ..
JeOWIIto."NI:tl5 .
Arrin at Min\Oapoti. 4:66 P. II. I Ill. raul4 P . .. .
Thp Time from mtdnight to no.on i8 shown by LIGHT faced figure . HUrl the hme t
)inkin" diree&OOIiaeCrtion. at. Ow"tun ... with
TraioB or Wiuona . ,. P .. er Ihilrond for
Wi.o"", IA(l .. JiJIIJ4ul; ... C/I,cnflO. and aU
pcin" EMt and 1'1011111.
Above: Timetable of January 15, 1886. RJght: The first timetable of
September 11, 1867 as It appeared In the Mower County R egister.
J, ..i r:&'i.!.7:tll' .... .. , AIT;'e &t Jlbln "'1'-
t... e )linD.apol .. 7:U ... .. , Arti,.. d Allolio
,,:25 P. If. .
TICKETS ror thell . Tr.lno .hould b. pnr
eh'lIfted of V""t. r. C. GEORGE, Aenl. AI Our.
bank k (}O.'A Northwestern "; x prett8 Oftic, Kt.
Paul, and ot iUbcsoto Central Depot, AlluDe.""
ii .
Tickel. for .11 olher Trnino, iocluding
Through Tickets for E .. lern Poinl., can be
p l1rchast>d as above, Rnd 81RO from e. 14. WOOJ),
A '"1 )1 inae ta \' olley Railroad, al Depol in
\'cst SI. 1'8ul.
U. C. RlIE I'.\JW.
Gen'. l'lup\ MInn. C\llrnl II 0 ilwn,l'.
early days salaries ranged from $40.00 to $80.00 per
month for the highest paid men.
The early history of railroading records some instances
of unprecedented hardships and encounter with the raw
elements, and victory over it through the sheer might of
brawn and will. Such is an early account from the Milwaukee
Employee Magazine of April 1 9 14 .
Burled In the Drift
Snow troubles began early for the raUroads. This old picture from
the MUwaukee Road archives shows what raHmen were up against In
the early days. This scene Is somewhere on the former Iowa and Minnesota
January 7th and 8th, 1873, will be remembered as the
greatest blizzard Minnesota and the northwest has ever
experienced since railroads entered that territory: That
winter stands today as the biggest fight against cold and
snow, the longest blockade and the greatest mortality
among those unfortunates who were caught in its awful
In those days we had only the pilot plows, flat car
plows and shovels with which to fight the snow. Even
now, should its like occur again, the wonderful rotary
would find itself up against a hard proposition to get
through the monster snow banks of '73.
On January 7th , train No. 1 on the I&M Division came
to Austin on time, stopped twenty-five minutes for
dinner and changed engines. The thermometer was
hovering around SO degrees and everyone thought that
winter was going to leave. We pulled out for St. Paul on
time, 101 miles distant, with five cars and little Niles
engine 4 1 , a 14 x 22, 24-ton. Running time was four
hours and forty-five minutes with fifteen stops. We had
about 100 passengers.
The I&M , like most prairie roads of that day was laid
on top of the ground over hill and dale, with some pretty
deep cuts. When about half way to the first station north
of Austin, I called my fireman's attention to a very dark
streak across the northwestern sky, and remarked that it
was coming up fast. In less than ten minutes the storm
struck us in all its fury.
The wind was not less than sixty miles an hour and
almost stalled us in spite ofthe little engine working to its
utmost. We arrived , however, at the station and found it
almost impossible to stand up against the gale. I was
obliged to hold on to the cars to reach the baggage car to
confer with the conductor. The snow was hard and sharp
and it took the combined efforts of the crew to get the
spout down for water.
The next station was eighteen miles away, with numerous
deep cuts, but mostly downhill. My supply of wood
was low for such a storm, but we lit out and were one
hour and twenty-five minutes going the eighteen miles.
Neither of us laid off a minute, stopping several times to
clean out the ash pan and to shovel out the cuts which
were filling from the north side. The little Niles got all
there was due, with 1 30 pounds of steam-the last stick
of wood went in when we were two miles from Owatonna
and we got there with very little fire or steam. It was ten
below zero, with the blizzard and cold increasing. The
way freight was at Owatonna, and all hands concluded
the best thing to do was to tie up, but headquarters
advised us to try to get through with the two engines. So
with the freight engine, a 16 x 24 30-ton engine, which
we considered a great deal of power, and by setting out
one coach, we thought we could go through anything.
After an hour of freezing, hard work piling both tenders
high with dry oak wood and a big supply in the baggage
car for the coaches, we started. You must remember that
in those days there were only wood stoves in each end of
the coaches, which took constant firing to keep the
passengers warm. There were no storm windows or vestibules
to protect against wind or snow and the engines
had no side curtains. The wood in the tender was buried
in snow, and the windows frozen over so that it was a case
of head-out-of-window to see anything ahead. In the
increasing storm it was impossible to see anything or to
look out more than a minute or so, against the cutting
wind and snow. For seven or eight miles we did fairly
well , but the first cut stalled us and then all hands and
some passengers took shovels and we finally dug out.
Then we backed up a mile or so and went for it, got
through and that's all. We repeated this several times
and at the end of two and a half hours, we reached Faribault.
There we replenished our wood and water supply
and got orders to take the wood train engine which laid
up at that point. We set out another coach to make
another try. It was now 28 below zero, and the storm
fiercer than ever. The snow was so hard you would not
break through anywhere, walking over it. A number of
our passengers left the train, concluding it was better to
remain in a hotel than to take the chance of being laid up
in a snow drift. With three cars and three engines and the
balance of the passengers , we made for it again. The next
fifteen miles was in our favor as the country was thickly
wooded, and we made the run to Northfield in good time.
Then we began again the previous experiences of digging
out, bucking and backing with the little pilot plow,
robbing the station agents of their wood , etc. We finally
reached St. Paul at 3:00 a.m. We were three hours
housing the engines and before the close of the day the
snow was ten fe et deep against the engine house doors,
and it was 3S below zero. All business was suspended,
trains were abandoned, with dead engines in some cases .
One train was two days with its passengers in a huge drift
without fo od , except what lunches they happened to have
and the fuel exhausted in an effort to keep the women
and children from freezing to death.
The third day it let up, cleared off and all hands went
to work shoveling out the yards, engine house, depots ,
streets, etc. The wind had been so strong that in many
instances, the real estate fr om neighboring fields was
packed in with the snow so tight that it took picks as well
as shovels to remove it. On the fo urth day, with a crew of
two hundred men, fo ur engines and supplies, we tackled
the main line, and this was the hardest proposition of
snow bucking we had ever been up against. In some
places the wire on the telegraph poles was just visible.
Three engines and a big crew were working towards us
from the east and after three days we got together, took
what people they had and went back congratulating ourselves
that once more the main line would again do
business between the Twin Cities, Prairie du Chien and
Milwaukee. But all signs fa il in good weather fo r before
midnight it began again, almost as bad as the first storm.
For a day and a night it raged , with the thermometer
going down to its old lowest mark. We kept undercover
until the worst was over and then started out to do all
over what we had accomplished in digging out the road
before. We were, however, worse off this time on account
ofthe previous deep cut with perpendicular sides, so that
we had to dig out and load the snow on flat cars and haul
it out to a fill where we shoveled it off. This took us until
February 3, when we started our first trains through.
Those were days of dreadful suffe ring throughout the
country. Almost every town ran entirely out of the neces-
sities of life. Numberless instances of heroism on the part
of the railroad men were reported . I remember one in
particular. Our train No. 2 left Austin with about fifty
passengers and fo ught the storm as far as Ridgeway,
stalling a fe w miles east of there in a long cut. For fifty
hours it was at the mercy of the elements, the crew giving
their attention to caring for the passengers. On the
second day a party of seven or eight was formed to go to
the relief of this train, each man carrying a sack of food
strapped to his back. After two or three miles of almost
superhuman work, all gave up the task but two, James
Wilson, conductor, and his brakeman, whose name,
unfortunately I have forgotten. They continued on, tied
together with a rope, over two hundred fe et long. One
would go forward until he found a telegraph pole and
then signal to the other to come on. In this way, despite
the blinding blizzard, they reached the train with badly
frozen fa ces and fingers. They were joyfully welcomed .
General Lawler was on the train and rewarded the men
handsomely for their heroism. The passengers and crew
were relieved the next day when the railroad company
sent sleighs to take them to Calmar. Tw enty Five Days
Making a Round Trip of One Hundred Miles by B. N.
Lewis, Engineer, I. & M. Division, 1866-1886.
The back shop at Austin was built in 1872, with
additions made in 1904 and 1911. In 1874 a thirteenstall
roundhouse was constructed . Seven more stalls were
added later and an electrically operated turntable was
installed. The Austin shops became major repair center,
and the roundhouse crews were pressed into long hours
of service because of the many locomotive repairs made
there. Austin was indeed a railroad town with two passenger
trains daily north to Minneapolis and south to
Chicago, as well as several freight trains.
By August 1879 the Southern Minnesota line boasted
two Minneapolis to Chicago trains. The original line via
Austin-Calmar became a secondary line, with Minneapolis
-LaCrosse to Chicago having become the main line.
Sleeping car service was available on overnight portions
of the trip. Jackson to Austin trains connected with
The "Through Express" passed Austin about noon in
both directions , and thirty minutes was allowed in Austin
fo r meals. An Austin-Mason City daytime passenger
provided connections at Austin. Also, there was an
overnight train between Mason City-Austin and the Twin
Cities passing Austin northbound at midnight and
southbound at 3 a.m. These trains carried coaches only,
and did not operate on Sunday. (History from Jim
Scribbins' Passenger Trains Serving Austin . published in
Rail Fan Magazine.)
The Southern Minnesota Railroad was bought by the
C.M. & St.P. in 1880, and taken over for operation in
August, 1880.
In 1886 the C.M. & St.P. moved its shops fr om Wells
to Austin and built a wye track at Ramsey to provide a
turnaround for locomotives to run into the Austin
MUwaukee Roundhouse Crew In 1884
Standing: John HoweUs, Frank Ottentrom, BUI Todd, Pat Caine, Mike Mayer, Chas Miller, Ira Padden, Cogswell, Ivar Thompson, Frank
Kenney, Darby McDermott, Hugo Auer. Sitting: Gus Lunberg, Chris Carlson, Chas Ople, John Effinger, Jake Mauch, Dave Turner. Back:
Godfrey Lauffie. (Davison Photo)
Gen'I No. ..... .... 8JL File 11 .. No._ _____L .
....6 (7/U::7.(;::. (:d;d. !.l:) t.<;:.!/J:;r,!.(N.t3.('"
.......................... .. , Ir-:r.M: .................. .
......... ,.a._ _ .J.J.l. ... &. . .B..'I!..-E. ..IJ /.y. .o a. .......
. ' '' t
4 'l w
4 y
In 1909 the Chicago, MUwaukee and Puget
Sound Railway was established to operate raU
facUlties In Washington, Idaho, Montana and
the Dakotas. Borrowing the parent raUroad's
trademark, the Puget Sound raUroad used
this symbol until It was absorbed Into the
Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul in 1912.
Agreement for Removal of Machine Shop
Wells to Austin, Sept. 15, 1886
Agreement for Construction and Maintenance of
Overhead Foot Bridge . July 9, 1895
Gen'I No . . ' C C :\ File V No. 6 1
---....- ..Q .:.1I(.. .& . .8' . .P. .. B'.Y . .GQ. ..........
... .... .. .... ..... . .. (/L/ .. ;; . . . . . . . . .
.. ,z,), .undice in the city during the past few
months. This is Austin's on(v yellow streak.
1 1 6
Severe thunderstorms In May 1982 with excessive tillage operations
caused severe soU erosion on this farm north of Dexter.
were identified as our most serious problems. In 1981
Secretary of Agriculture, John Block, suggested ways of
working on these three major concerns. Target areas
were identified for erosion control with the most needy
areas receiving top priority. Mower County was excluded
from the southeast Minnesota target area.
The eighties began with serious governmental deficits .
In spite of the recognized need for more funds for erosion
control , programs were reduced, including conservation.
The USDA, however, did increase funding for costeffective
erosion control measures , such as minimum
tillage. A few farmers in this county have begun experimenting
with minimum tillage on their own. This practice
shows great promise, and as their success becomes
publicized, the practice may soon become conventional.
Much has been accomplished in Mower County, but
much more needs to be done. The following needs illustrate
this truth :
G rassed waterways . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 604 miles
Gully control measures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 810 miles
Tile drainage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15,500 miles
Terraces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 190 miles
Minimum tillage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185,000 acres
The Soil Conservation Service, USDA and the University
of Minnesota are currently making a complete
survey of the county. It will reveal soil types and conditions
to a depth of five feet. The published results are
scheduled for 1 985.
District Conservationist is the title of the individual
directing the program in Mower County. The five men
who have served in this capacity are, in order of service :
Larry Streif, Norm Nellen , John Beyer, Arlo Habben and
Gene Vincent.
February, 1898 Austin Herald - Real estate seems to be
commanding a good price here. We understand that a
half/at on Main St. sold for $400 last week.
The Mower County ADA (American Dairy Association)
was formed in 1956 for the express purpose of
promoting the consumption of dairy products. Publicity
is given to the wholesomeness and nutritional value of
milk, cheese and ice cream. The ADA is represented at
cooking schools, at the malted milk stand at the County
Fair, and in store handouts. The primary ambassador
has been the County Dairy Princess. She makes many
radio, television and parade appearances . She also presents
the ribbons to winning exhibitors at dairy cattle
shows .
The Dairy Princess Contest is an annual event, and
was begun in 1 954 . This was several years before the
County ADA was organized . It was started by B. J .
Huseby o f the Mower County Farm Bureau and was
sponsored by them for several years . The County ADA
then assumed responsibility for it. The Sacred Heart
Auditorium in Adams has been the site for the contest
and banquet every year. Business interests sponsor girls
for the Dairy Princess Contest. There are usually fifteen
to twenty contestants . The highest number was twentynine.
Over the years 600 girls have participated . The
greatest number served at a banquet was 6 14 in 1 963. At
that banquet 700 half pints of milk, 40 pounds of sliced
cheese, 90 pounds of cottage cheese and 90 quarts of ice
cream were consumed .
The Dairy Princess Contest winners have fared well in
advanced competition. Five have been named regional
Wilfred and Mary Bissen
Mr. Bissen led the Mower County A.D.A. for approximately 20 years
winners, which is the prelude to state competition. They
were Eleanor Maley 1954, Ruth Marie Peterson 1 955,
Marlys Dammann 1957, Betty Jax 1959 and Karmen
Larson 1 965. Three have been named Princess Kay of the
Milky Way, the state champion. They were Eleanor
Maley, Ruth Marie Peterson and Betty Jax. Ruth Marie
Peterson had the honor of being the first American Dairy
Princess .
The following are the Mower County A.D.A. Princesses from 1954:
1954 - Eleanor Maley
1955 - Ruth Marie Peterson
1956 - Katherine Bartlett
1957 - Marlys Dammann
1958 - Jacqueline Krueger
1959 - Betty Jax
1960 - Kathleen Sheedy
1961 - Nancy Weydert
1962 - Lonetta Murphy
1963 - Marie Flickinger
Ford Times, 1911
1964 - Diane Klassen
1965 - Karmen Larson
1966 - Coral Larson
1967 - Shirley Weness
1968 - Rita Whalen
1969 - Marlene Schloo
1970 - Nancy Parmenter
1971 - Janice Wolfgram
1972 - Janelle Meier
1973 - Rene Linlo
1974 - Kathy Miller
1975 - Shauna Hanson
1976 - Susan Meier
1977 - Marna Rockwell
1978 - Diane Severson
1979 - Cheryl Schaefer
1980 - Dennis Heydt
1981 - Carolyn Oswald
1982 - Mary Ulland
1983 - Lisa Brown
Under the spreading chestnu t tree, a stubborn au to
Till, wet with perspiration then, he quits in sheer despair.
And Smith, an angry man is he, with trouble on his
He cusses softly to himse(f, and crawls beneath his car.
And wonders why it didn 't bust before he got s o far.
The carburetor seems to be the cause of all his woe.
He tightens ha(f a dozen bolts, but s till it doesn't go.
And then he tries the steering gear, but finds no trouble
1 1 7
He squats beside the road to give his brain a chance to
And ponders on his training at the correspondence
And then he starts the job once more, until by chance tis
The cause of all the trouble is-he's out of gasoline.
FreebornMower Electric Cooperative headquarters, located east of Albert Lea
It has been said many times that "electricity is the
farmer's best hired hand . " Few , if any, will challenge
that statement. Electricity is a model servant. It is clean,
silent, versatile and easily controlled. It replaced the old
gasoline engine for many chores. A simple flip of the
switch starts the water pump, grain elevator, silage
unloader, milking machine, feed grinder or yard light.
Examples in the home are just as numerous-washing
machine, dishwasher, vacuum cleaner, freezer, furnace,
radio and TV just to name a few.
Mu nicipal and private utilities seemed eager to supply
electricity to businesses and urban dwellers, but
reluctant to do so for farmers in the rural area. They
insisted farmers would not use enough electricity to
justify the construction and maintenance of the necessary
lines. When pressed for cost estimates, the quotations
given were far in excess of what farmers believed were
justified . The alternative was to organize a cooperative.
The seed was planted December 20, 1935. Willis
Lawson, county agent at Albert Lea, asked J. H. Hay,
deputy commissioner of agriculture, to talk to a
gathering of four hundred farmers about the procedure
under which an electric cooperative could be organized
in Minnesota. This state was one of only seven states
which had been given the "green light" for electric
cooperatives .
The possibility so impressed the group that they incorporated
as Freeborn Co-op Light and Power Company
that same afternoon .
At approximately the same time Mower County
farmers expressed a similar interest in organizing. F. L.
Liebenstein, county agent, provided leadership . More
meetings were held . On December 8, 1936, the Freeborn-
Mower Light and Power Association came into
existence. The M ower County group of organizers
1 1 8
included : Stephen Lickteig, A. E. Henly, Pete Hanna,
Harold Murphy, Alvin Baudler, F. S. Lightly, County
Agent F. L. Liebenstein and Assistant County Agent
Clarence Powell .
I n 1 960 the name was changed t o Freeborn-Mower
Electric Cooperative. Organizers were confronted with a
wide assortment of questions and comments. Many were
skeptical and ridiculed the plan . Some asked "Won't
birds be killed when they sit on your highlines ?"
Events moved along rapidly. By August 1, 1937, the
board had secured an office in the Home Investment
Building at Albert Lea. Lewis Brown was hired as
general superintendent . With a borrowed desk and an
empty nail keg for a chair, the firm was in business.
Freeborn-Mower Electric Cooperative secured a
wholesale power contract with Interstate Power Company.
Records show the first power bill was paid April 2,
1 938. It amounted to 3,600 kilowatt-hours for a total of
$69. The Austin Municipal Plant supplied power to
cooperative members in M ower County. Their first
power bill, paid in August 1 938 was for 1 , 610 kilowatt
hours for $43.05.
Now a member of Dairyland Power Cooperative,
Freeborn-Mower has purchased its energy from this
source since 195 1 . Dairyland Power traces its history
back to 1937. Representatives of ten electric distribution
co-operatives met to discuss a common problem ; how to
obtain adequate wholesale power at reasonable rates .
They formed a federation, to be known as Tri-State
Power Cooperative.
On December 2, 194 1 , Tri- State merged with
Chippewa Falls Cooperative to become Dairyland Power
Cooperative . Twenty-seven cooperatives , located in
Minnesota, Wisconsin and Il1inois comprise Dairyland
Power. They control the generation, transmission and
distribution of electricity. This cooperative effoti makes
it possible to deliver electricity at cost to the members of
the local cooperatives, such as Freeborn-Mower Electric
Cooperative .
Dairyland Power ranks as the largest cooperatively
owned generation and transmission system in the world .
Today Freeborn-Mower has nine substations on the
Dairyland system . It has 2,200 miles of line and serves
5,400 members . All but the four northeast townships of
Mower County are served . These townships are served by
Peoples Co-Op Power out of Rochester, Minnesota. The
bill for the month of November 1982 was $515,000 for
the use of 13,000,000 kilowatt-hours. The number of
employees has increased from three to thirty-five. Only
four men have served as manager of the cooperative.
They are, in order of service , Lewis Brown, Arvid Waller,
Ellis Christianson and Ronald Steckman.
The following are the men from Mower County who
have, or are now serving on the board of directors : John
C. SchottIer, Austin, 1 937-4 7 ; William Garbisch ,
Brownsdale, 1 937-74 ; Vance Hotson, Lyle, 1 939-59 ;
Ernest Dammann, Elkton, 1 940-53 ; Carl Knudson,
LeRoy, 1 94 7-69; Archie Wilson, Rose Creek, 1953-60; B .
M . Christianson, Blooming Prairie , 1 969-75 ; Byron
Huseby, Adams, 1969 to present; Clinton Becker,
Waltham, 1974 to present; and John Grass, LeRoy, 1975
to present.
The Mower County Crop Improvement Association
was organized October 20, 1949. Articles of incorporation
and by-laws were approved and officers elected. The
five directors chosen were: H. J. Holst, Nathan Goodwin ,
Harold Radke, Armin Schroeder, and R. L. Zimmerman.
H . J. Holst was elected president; F. L. Liebenstein,
secretary; and R. L. Zimmerman, the official delegate
to the Minnesota Crop Improvement Association.
Limited amounts of new variety seeds were alloted to
the county associations. The first for Mower County were
twenty-four bushels of Shelby oats and 108 bushels of
Monroe soybeans. The yields from these plantings made
more seed available the following year. Growers wanting
seed placed their names on a list and names were drawn
by an allotment committee.
Strict production practices are applied to growers of
certified seed. R. L. Zimmerman and Nathan Goodwin
were the first to qualify as registered seed growers . Small
grains are rated on yield , standing ability and resistance
to rust and wilt. Maturity date and moisture content are
additional considerations for corn. The number of varieties
appraised include thirty-one of oats, sixteen of soybeans,
four of barley, three of wheat, three of corn and
two of flax.
Un' Da! IS waking yourself in church with your own
1 1 9
Freeborn-Mower Electric Co-op Board of Directors for 19 , left to
right, seated: Carl Knudson, Raymond Jerdee, Wm. Garblsch, Henry
Bjerke. Standing: B. M. Christianson, L. T. Schoen, Eddie Fossey,
Gordon Yost and Palmer Hanson
William Garbisch earned the title " Mr. Mower County
REA" by serving as president of Freeborn-Mower Electric
Cooperative for twenty-six years , 1 940- 1966 .
Membership in the association has ranged from twenty
to twenty-five. The current officers include Sheldon
Lukes, president; Don Angell, vice president; Roger
Jahns, treasurer; and Harlan Johnsrud , secretary. In
addition to the first three named, Leo Bernard and Don
Staley are serving as directors .
Egg producers of Mower and Freeborn Counties
organized in the fall of 1977 for the purpose of promoting
eggs to consumers in their immediate area. This was a
new type of organization. They called their group Egg
Mates, because both husbands and wives were involved
in the promotion of their product. Since 1 977 both Steele
and Dodge Counties have joined the organization . They
have demonstrated the ease and versatility of using eggs
for main meals and snacks at fairs, show's and in grocery
Egg Mates is a promotion group for the Minnesota
Egg Council . It is funded by a checkoff by Minnesota
Egg Producers. Lisa Wiese of Mower County was the
first to serve as chairman of this group .
"Blessed are they who have nothing to say. and who
cannot be persuaded to say it. . . -James Russell Lowell
A group of Mower County cattle feeders at the Midwest Steer Show
The first beef cattle organization
in the county was the
Mower County Beef Feeders, organized in 1 952. Arthur
Anderson served as the first president. Feed and cattle
supplies, rations, carcass grades and feedlot management
were popular discussion topics at their meetings .
Interest always seemed to reach a new high the evening of
the annual banquet with 289 attending the first banquet.
The number increased in later years . The Association
had 103 members that first year. The next fifteen years
averaged about eighty-five members . Farm tours were
popular during the summer and fall months. Support
was given the 4 - H beef auction at the County Fair.
Awards included jackets and T-shirts (with a Mower
County label) and aluminum show sticks to beef winners
at the Mower County Fair, State Fair and the Junior
Livestock Show.
The Mower County Beef Improvement Association
was organized in 1969. Twenty-six beef cattle producers
comprised the membership list. Don Weseman served as
the first president and Myron Aultfather as vice president.
The program was designed to make genetic improvement
through effective use of records. Records and
observations were collected to improve reproductive
efficiency, mothering ability of cows, rate of gain, feed
efficiency, conformation as it contributes to carcass desirability
and longevity. The records collected to accomplish
this goal included identification of every animal in
the herd, date and birth weight of the calf, weaning
First gaffer: "My w(fe says (f I don 't give up goff she 'll
leave me. Second gaffer: "Gee, that's hard luck . . . First
gaffer: " Yes. r m going to miss her . . .
weight and grade (adjusted to 205 day age) , yearling
weight and grade (140 days after weaning) and reproductive
performance and longevity. The program was
supervised by the University of Minnesota Extension
The present organization, Mower County Cattlemen's
Association, was organized March 27, 1 978. It combined
the interests of both feeders and producers. Unlike the
first . two organizations , it is affiliated with both the
Minnesota and National Cattlemen's Association. The
first officers were: Harold Kramer, president; Nyles
Peterson, vice president; and Harlan Peck, secretary.
Others who served on the board of directors were Christy
Olsen, Robert Gleason, Don Sorensen and Gaylord
Winfield. There are thirty active and as many associate
members. Glen Medgaarden is the current president.
Others who have served as an officer or director include
Don Weseman, Dean Hamlin and Rodney Sprau.
The annual selection of a County Beef Princess began
July 26, 1979. Julie Warn was the first winner. She was
followed by Kelly Reuter in 1 980 . Luann Olsen in 198 1
and b y Cathy Anderson in 1 982. Luann had the additional
honor of being named Minnesota Beef Queen. Her
father, Christy Olsen, was elected president of the state
association in 198 1 . Her mother, Helen Olsen, was
named Cowbelle of the Year, for the auxiliary of the
organization. Nels Lee was elected state delegate from
this area in 1980. Christy is presently serving as the beef
representative on the National Livestock and Meat
Board . The County Beef Princess for 1983 was Connie
Knutson .
Several members have received honors. In 1980 Myron
A.ultfather was named the Outstanding Beef Performance
Man of the year in Minnesota. In 1982 Frank
Duerst was honored at the Minnesota State Fair for
exhibiting Red Polled cattle at that fair for fifty years .
The two social events of the year are well attended .
They are the steak cookout at Brownsdale and the prime
rib banquet at the Sacred Heart Auditorium at Adams.
Members support the Midwest Steer Show at the County
Fair with entries and trophies for county winners . They
also help by moving the steers in and out of the show
arena for the benefit of the judge. A refrigerated showcase
at the county fair is used to display the wholesale
and retail cuts of beef. In this way the public is better
informed, and will be enticed to eat more beef. Purebred
producers are encouraged to production test their herds
by weighing and grading their calves at weaning time and
again as yearlings . Members join with other cattlemen to
meet with legislators at the state capitol .
"The Republicans have their split right after election and
Democrats have theirs just before an election. - Will
An account given by Mrs . R . L. Kimball at the "Early
Settlers Reunion" held in the 1 880s. Mrs . Kimball was
the wife of the first Mower County Register of Deeds.
"The crusade against whiskey began in Austin in the
winter of 1 856 . At that time not a saloon was to be found
in the place, but some ofthe merchants were anxious, no
doubt to supply every want of their customers. So they
went into a general assortment business, and in the back
rooms might have been seen various barrels and kegs .
With propriety they might have been labeled crooked ,
judging from the appearance of those patronizing that
department. "
" Feeling anxious that our young village might be built
on a good foundation, the women drew up the following
' ' 'We, the ladies of Austin , feeling that the evil of
intemperance is becoming fearfully great in our village,
and knowing that if the poison were not brought here
there would be no temptation placed before our husbands,
brothers and sons. Consequently the evil would
be entirely suppressed . Therefore, we beg of every man
who feels an interest in our town to pledge himself not to
sell the accursed drink.
" Resolved , That we will in no way patronize such merchants
as will not pledge themselves not to deal in intoxicating
liquors. That we will in no case, unless compelled
to do so by strict necessity, buy any article of such
persons . "
When you approach a town in Mower County you will
see two tall structures : the water tower and grain elevator.
The need for each is obvious .
In addition t o grain storage, the elevator companies
render a number of services . Most of them grind feed ,
mix and deliver rations . They also dry grain , sell name
brand feeds, seeds, chemicals and fertilizer. The elevator
is the hub of the business wheel in most towns.
Until 1878 wheat was the primary crop in this county.
Mower County was an important part of the "wheat
belt. " In contrast, the average production of grains for
the four year period 1 979- 1 982 was 20, 659,000 bushels of
corn, 4, 666,000 of soybeans , 1 , 207, 250 of oats and
188, 500 of wheat. Only negligible amounts of barley and
flax were grown . Yearly grain harvests total 26 , 72 1 ,000
bushels .
The storage needs for these grains are satisfied by
fourteen elevators in thirteen towns plus on-farm storage
facilities. The elevators have a total capacity for
9,000,000 bushels. Facilities on farms offer storage for
nearly twice that amount or 1 7 , 500,000 bushels. The
combination of the two are equal to the need.
Raising grain began with the first settler in 1 852. The
first grain storage facilities were called warehouses. The
first elevator was built in Rose Creek in 1870. Of the
fourteen elevators now operating, four are Co-ops and
four are owned by the Huntting Elevator Co.
The name Huntting and grain elevators in Mower
County are synonymous. Four generations of Hunttings
have served the business. They are, in sequence,
Wm. F . Hunrting, Chas. E. Hunrting, James Hunrting
and James Hunrting Jr. The latter two are currently
managing the company. James Sr. began with the firm in
1 927 and James Jr. in 1 95 1 .
Counties vary widely i n the proportion o f grain sold as
a cash crop or feed to livestock. Farm income in Mower
County comes almost equally from the sale of grain and
sale of livestock . In 1 98 1 , for example, $63,674,000 was
received for grain, $64,078,000 for livestock and
$843,000 in the form of government payments, for a total
cash income of $ 128,597,000.
1 2 1
Movement of grain has changed drastically. Horse
drawn wagons made farm to elevator deliveries until the
early thirties . Tractors have the honor now. On marketing
day grain was formerly shipped by rail in hopper
cars, 3500 bushels per car. Trucks are now used exclusively,
850 bushels per truck. They can be loaded in
The Hunttlng Elevator In Rose Creek was buUt In 1870
Laura and James Hunttlng
James Hunttlng Jr.
four minutes and unloaded in less time. A truck can haul
as many as three loads a day to the river at Winona.
1 981 was a banner year in several respects. The
average corn yield was 128 bushels per acre, the highest
ever recorded . The average yields of other grains were
also excellent; 36 for soybeans, 42 for wheat and 72 for
oats. It was the only year grain production exceeded
thirty million bushels. The record reads 30,387 ,000
Clement Grain Co., Grand Meadow buUt In 1977
bushels. Land values also peaked at $ 1709 per acre. This
is quite a change from the $370 average in 1 972.
Stephen Pitzen
Adams Co-op, Adams
Delmer Sorgatz
Harvest States Co-op, Elkton
Kenneth Koenig
AustIn Grain Co., AustIn
Bm Carmen
Clement Grain Co., Grand Meadow
1 22
Allan Swenson
Brownsdale Co-op, Brownsdale
James Baudoin
Hunttlng Elevator, Grand Meadow
Randy Stephenson
Dexter Elevator, Dexter
Earl Von Bank
Huntting Elevator, Lansing
Patrick Kavanaugh
Farmers Co-op Grain & Stock, Lyle
Larry Larson
Sargeant Grain Co., Sargeant
Charles Ekle
Hunttlng Elevator, Lyle
Gene Erpelding
Cargill Elevator, Waltham
The Grange was the first major farm organization in
the U nited States. Officially the name is Patrons of Husbandry.
When the Grange was founded in August of 1867 the
stated objective was to found a farmers' lodge that would
put beauty into farm work, bring farm people together,
glorify the farmers' tools, be of service to the community
and enrich family life. The Grange became a strong voice
in the correction of oppressive shipping rates charged
farmers by the railroads. It supported an income tax and
the election of United States Senators. The Populist
Party, a strong minority political force of the late 1 9th
century, had its origin in the Grange effort.
The Mower County Pomona No. 1 was organized April
20, 1 9 1 2 . Fifty charter members were obtained by organizer
Charles B. Hoyt of New Hampshire. For some
mysterious reason the charter of Mower Pomona No. 1
. was not recorded by the national office. The oversight
created some dissatisfaction and the county organization
remained dormant for 12 years.
Upon reorganization different names of locals
appeared. County Pomona No. 1 was reorganized July
2 1 , 1 930 and Waldo Johannsen was elected master.
Elkton No. 652 was organized September 29, 1 930. Mrs.
Fred Lincoln was sent as a delegate to the state meeting
which was held in Austin in 1 93 1 . Mention is made of an
annual July 4th picnic. This was an annual event for
many years .
Adams No. 673 was organized by Waldo Johannsen on 1 23
L10yd Crum
Racine Elevator, Racine
Don Morgan
Hunttlng Elevator, Rose Creek
March 14, 1934 with 48 charter members. " Interesting
literary programs were sponsored by Pomona lecturer,
Mrs . William Rugg" according to the annual report.
The 1 935 state convention was also held in Austin.
Otto Klingman became Pomona No. 1 master and served
unti1 1 938. He organized Frankford Grange 710. Ralph
Otto followed Klingman in 1938 and continued in office
until 1 944 . Valley Grange 746 was added in 1 945 with
Fred Loucks elected master.
The state report shows that 29 charter members were
inducted into the Minnesota Seventh Degree Club at the
national convention held November 18, 1 939 in Peoria,
Illinois. Three of the inductees were Mower County
members; Mr. and Mrs. William Rugg and Miss Estelle
The oldest proceedings of a state meeting included in
Mower County records was of the Minnesota State
Grange session for 1912 held in Minneapolis. The organization
had been in the state 43 years at that time. The
report shows resolutions for education , good roads, rural
credit, parcel post, protection of migrating birds and
requirements to label and tax oleomargarine.
The report of the 1913 state meeting held in Austin,
lists several Mower County members in state office.
Proceedings of the 1 922 Grange shows 6 Mower
County members holding state office. In 1 929 Carl
Kumlin was elected master at Pomona No. 1 in a reorganization
that included Brownsdale, Corning and
Concord granges.
The years 1952 and 1953 seem to be the peak period
for Granges in Mower County. The following are listed :
Adams, Concord , Dale, Elkton , Frankford, Lansing,
Lyle, Fairview and Valley.
As of 1 983 only one Mower County Grange remains an
active unit. Concord Grange has regular meetings and a
full slate of officers . A number of members have joined
from Granges which were active previously.
Henry Jensen of Rose Creek, now a member of Concord
Grange, is on the state executive committee.
The Grange has contributed much to the culture and
progress of Mower County. Many of its members have
provided leadership at local, state and national levels.
Grange exhibits have been outstanding features at the
Mower County and the Minnesota State Fairs . They
demonstrated a spirit of competition and of excellence.
Mower County Government
First page of County Records
The County Board of Commissioners serves as the
governing body of the county. It has specific financial,
legislative and administrative control over the personnel
and functions of the county government.
In 1 858, Minnesota Counties were governed by a
board of supervisors consisting of the chairmen of the
boards of supervisors of each township. There are no
records available of meetings of such a board in Mower
County from 1858 to 1860. The present commissioner
system came into being in 1 860, and the three commissioners
met in January of that year.
At the January 7, 1868, meeting, the board divided the
county into five commissioner districts in place of the
former three. District One consisted of Udolpho, Red
Rock, Waltham and Pleasant Valley Townships . District
Two embraced Racine, Frankford and Grand Meadow
Townships. District Three was composed of Adams,
I.e Roy and Bennington Townships. District Four consisted
of Nevada, Lyle and Windom Townships. District
Five was Austin and Lansing Townships.
By 1 9 1 1 , the number of townships had increased to the
final twenty and the county commissioner's districts were
divided as follows : (1) Dexter, Sargeant, Waltham ,
Udolpho and Red Rock; (2) Frankford , Racine, Pleasant
Valley and Grand Meadow; (3) LeRoy, Bennington,
Clayton, Lodi and Adams ; (4) Marshall, Windom,
Nevada and Lyle; (5) Austin and Lansing.
Following is a list of the men who have served as
County Commissioners since 1 91 1 :
Frank E. Hambrecht 1896-1916 Milo D . Morse 1935-1958
John R. ohnson 1904-1914 C. H . Dugan 1935-1950
William Christie 1904- 1916 Simon Bohn 1937-1944
W. H . Goodsell 1906- 1918 Leonard Decker 1 94 1 - 1 960
Charles L. Schwartz 1908-1920 H. O. Austinson 1945-1956
P. Lawson 1915-1918 Robert Shaw 195 1 -
A. Hotson 1917- 1924 Robert Finbraaten 1957-
J . H . Krebsbach 1917-1920 Luther Larson 1957-1960
Hans P. Johnson 1919-1922 Ralph B. Turner 1959-1964
S. D. Thompson 1919-1920 Phil Golberg 1961- 1976
Jacob J . Gjerness 192 1 - 1924 Werner E. Wuertz 1 96 1 - 1 964
Jacob J. Herzog 1923-1934 C. W . Taylor 1964-1964
D. A. McKee 1923-1930 Webster Johnson 1965-1970
O. W. Cummins 1925-1932 Clifford S.
L. M. Eggen 1925-1928 Christianson 1965-1976
G. S. Burnham 1925-1932 Richard Buechner 1971- 1978
Iver Iglum 1929-1936 Art Vogel 1977-1982
George F. Brown 1931- 1934 Richard Cummings 1977-
Henry Schlichting 1933- 1957 Mary Keenan 1983-
Thomas Dunlap 1933-1940 Duane Hanson 1979-
County Officials In 1891
Left to right: A. Requa, county treasurer; S. S. Washbum, probate
judge; Fred Wood; Chas. H. Wllbour, auditor; Tom Belslnger; Eugene
Wood, register of deeds.
(Harold J. Davison Photo Collection)
County Auditor
The office of county auditor was created to take effect
in 1 859. The business now performed by him had previously
been done by the register of deeds and clerk. The
auditor's office is involved with all finances ofthe county.
In addition, the auditor serves as clerk and secretary for
the county board and handles election ballots and related
procedures .
The auditors since 1 9 1 1 have been as follows:
George Robertson
O. J. Simmons
C. M. Hubbard
County Treasurer
1903-1915 C. L. Tollefson
1 9 15- 1923 Graham R. Uzlik
The county treasurer maintains a record of and
collects personal and real estate taxes. This office also
keeps a complete set of books and records of county
finances and is in charge of investing county funds . The
treasurer countersigns checks made by auditor for disbursement
of funds.
The county treasurers since 1 9 1 1 have been:
s. A. Smith 1 903-1 922 Richard Peterson
A. M. Smith 1922-1923 Donald J. Sandeen
Cassuis C. Terry 1923-1957 Eileen Tapager
Mower County Courthouse 1884
1 970-
(Vem Judd Photo Collection)
Register of Deeds/Recorder
The county recorder records and files (for a fee)
mortgages , loans , deeds, contracts, military discharges
and other legal documents and registrations. These files
provide a permanent public record for present and future
Past registers of deed/recorders since 1 9 1 1 are:
Eugene Wood 1887- 1918 Purl M. Enger 1942-1976
John S. Wood 1 9 18- 1935 (name of office
George L. Jennings 1935 - 1 940 changed to Recorder)
Mrs. Marie Jennings 1 940- 1 942 Charles W. Enger 1976-
County Attorney
The county attorney is the legal advisor and counsel
for the county not for the people of the county. He prosecutes
criminal cases; advises, issues subpoenas for, and
assists the grand jury.
The following have served in this office since 191 1 :
Otto Baudler
A. C. Richardson
Wallace Sieh
Probate Judge
1 9 1 1 - 1 935 Fred W. Wellman
1 935- 1 947 Fred Kraft
Since 1 9 1 1 the probate judges have been:
Henry Weber, Jr.
Carl Baudler
1 9 1 1 - 1937 Paul Kimball, Jr.
1 98 1 -
1 954-
1 25
Mower County Courthouse, facing Main Street 1984
Probate Registrar
The probate registrar is an officer of the court who
assists individuals and families with informal probate
proceedings which is a simplified method of settling an
uncomplicated estate. This office was established in
1 976.
Shirlee Dowd 1976-
County Surveyor
V . A . Nason served as county surveyor from 1 909 until
1932 when the position was abolished .
The county coroner investigates deaths caused by
suicide, homicide, accidents and cases of death from
natural causes not attended by the individual's regular
physician . Those serving since 1 9 1 1 are:
Dr. A . E. Henslin 1 9 1 1 - 1927 Dr. Herbert Fisch 1 954- 1 958
Dr. H. F. Peirson 1 927-1931 Dr. George Stahl 1958-
Dr. B. J. Cronwell 1 93 1 - 1 953
County Clerk of Court
The clerk is in charge of all court records, civil,
criminal and justice. He handles passports and marriage
licenses and records all vital statistics including birth and
death reports.
The following have held this office since 1 91 1 :
George S . Burnham
L. A. Sherman
William P. Plzak
William D. Sucha
1907- 1 923
Joseph Morgan
Dale Rolfson
Joseph Morgan
County School Superintendents
1971- 1 974
1 974-
Those who have served as county superintendents
since 1 9 1 1 are:
Grace B . Sherwood 1909- 1913 Edith I . Vest
Eunice L. Rice 1913- 1 923 Mable I. Robinson
Elizabeth R . Dora Tollefson
Horstman 1923-1927
County Nurse
Susanne Radermacher 1932-1965
Ann S. Angerbeck 1 964-
Veterans Service Officer
1 927- 1 935
1 935- 1 949
1 949-1966
Prior to 1 945, the two veterans organizations in Austin
provided counseling service and assistance in obtaining
benefits to veterans . The veteran service officer of the
American Legion Post was Paul D. Sommers and for the
Veterans of Foreign Wars , Paul L. Lattin .
The Minnesota State Legislature passed an enabling
act in 1 944, permitting county boards to secure and
employ a county veterans service officer. Following are
the names of the veterans service officers to date:
Frank E. Dunsmore 1945-1975
Chester Cottingham 1976'1981
Greta Kraushaar 1981-
Zoning and Planning
The county planning director, working with an appointed
planning commission, adopts and modifies a
comprehensive development plan. The goals and objectives
of this plan are implemented through zoning,
capital improvement programs, incentive measures and
state and federal aids.
The Mower County Planning Director also acts as
executive director for the Mower County Housing and
Redevelopment Authority. The authority owns and operates
96 units of elderly housing and four units of family
housing, located in seven communities throughout the
The directors have been: I
Phil Shealy 1966-1972
Daryl Franklin 1972-
Environmental Health and Sanitation
The responsibilities of this office relate to enforcement
of county and state laws, analytical services, technical
and informational assistance relating to pollution, health
and sanitation.
Since 1959, the following have held this office:
Jack Lake
Donald Ronning
Travis Haakenson
1959- 1964 Lawrence Landherr 1969-1974
1964-1965 William Buckley 1974-
County Social Services (previously called Welfare)
Working with a board, the director carries out federal,
state and county welfare policies using programs such as
food stamp, general assistance, Aid to Dependent Children,
Medicaid and others . The Social Services Office
also determines eligibility based on program guidelines
an9 requirements .
The directors have been:
Willard L. Held
Harold Mickelson
Leo H. D. Dahn
1939-1942 Harold Mickelson
1943-1944 . Robert W . Schulz
County Assessor (combined with the City of Austin in
The county assessor's office appraises the value of all
real property in the county. They also prepare the necessary
charts, tables , data and land valuation maps
The following individuals have held this office:
Alden W . Malcomson 1947-1970
Richard L. Anderson 1970-
Civil Defense
David Christenson
Roy Roach
1959- James Weber
1960- 1965
1 26
In 1 966 the Mower County and the City of Austin civil
defense organizations were combined .
County Engineer
Appointed by the board of commissioners, the county
engineer works with the state highway department, town
boards and city and village councils in planning
highway programs.
The following three men have held this position:
Alva C. White
G. Everett Carlson
1922- 1938 Raymond M.
1938-1972 Guttormson 1972-
Court Services Director (formerly the Probation Officer)
Court Services provides services to the county court,
criminal and family division and , on occasion , the district
R. L. Thompson
William D. Sucha
1946-1951 Mel Smith
1951-1958 John Jette
Mower County Poor Farm Superintendent
John R. Lewis 1922- 1924 Earl J. Rice
Thos J. Halvorson 1 928- 1930 Frank Warner
Ole A. Gorvin 1931- 1936
Mower County Home
1 944-1946
Run by A . A . Sculley from 1 947 to 1 964. In April,
1 964, it became the Sheriffs Boys Ranch.
County Sheriff
The county sheriff enforces all state laws , criminal and
civil , and assists the county attorney. He is in charge of
the county jail and prisoners and appoints deputies as
needed, with county board approval . The. sheriffs office
collects delinquent property taxes and serves mortgage
foreclosures, subpoenas and other legal documents.
Mower County JaD . 1905
Sheriff Wayne Goodnature-
1978 to date
Pictures of the sheriffs of Mower County from the
iMlrlod 1856 through 1977 were restored and posted in
the Law Enforcement Center by AI Reinartz. The
Mower County Law Enforcement Center has a photo
gallery showing almost aU of the Mower County
sheriffs from 1856 to 1977. Missing Is the first sheriff,
G. W. Sherman, who served from Aprll to October,
1856. Also missing Is George Bishop, 18591861. The
complete lIsting to date Is as follows: G. W.
Sherman, Aprll to October, 1856; J. B. Yates, 1856
1859; George Bishop, 18591861; E. D. Fenton,
1861.1865; W. F. Grummons, 1865.1867; Dan J.
TUbbs, 1867.1869; Allan MollIson, 18691873;
George Baird, 1873.1875; R. O. Hall, 18751878;
H. B. Corey, 1878.1885; Allan Mollison, 1885.1895;
John C. Johnson, 1895.1905; Nick Nicholson, 1905
1927; Ira Syck, 1927.1943; Arnold Eckhardt, 1943
1947; AI Reinartz, 19471963; Doyle Lindahl, 1963
1967; Carmen Haistenson, 1967.1977; Nolan Dugan,
1977.1978; Wayne Goodnature, 1978 to date.
AI Rebtartz-Mower County SheritJ from 1947 to 1963
Al Reinartz is a native of this area. He was born in
Lansing Township. Early in his career he was a fireman
and engineer on the C . M . & St.P. Railroad . From 1 933
to 1 943 he was with the Minnesota Highway Department
as a motorcycle patrolman.
Reinartz then returned to the C . M . & St.P. for four
years . In 1 947 he was elected sheriff of Mower County.
The following is just one incident which happened
during Reinartz' 16 year career as sheriff. It is the story
of a murder investigation which began June 29, 1 95 1 .
" We got a call for help from the mayor of Lyle. H e said
that a murderer was at large in the area. Don Bulger and
I left immediately. As we got near Lyle I noticed a small
man wearing a winecolored shirt and khaki trousers . He
was carrying a gun , and walking along the tracks . I recall
thinking that he was out looking for the gunman . "
"There were a lot of people around the elevator, and
the mayor came forward . He pointed down the tracks to
the little man I had seen previously. 'That's him ! ' he
Deputy Paul Johnson, Peter Allegrla and Sheriff AI ReinRrtz 1951
Sheriff AI Relnartz escorts burglar Arnold Bransted Into Stillwater
Prison 1953
said. I had Deputy Bulger go around to approach from
the other side of the elevator, then I called out to him to
drop his gun. He walked a bit further, and I hollered at
him again. He stopped and looked at me, then he
dropped his gun. We handcuffed him, and I asked for
volunteers to go back with the captive and Bulger. They
all wanted to go. I could have used a bus . "
Reinartz continued, "The prisoner's name was Peter
Allegria, 35, from Texas. He was one of a group of rail
road workers, 'gandydancers . ' The victim' s name was
Floyd S. Collins, 40, of Champaign, Illinois. There was
one other with gunshot wounds, Bacilio Espinosa, 72,
from Chicago.
"Allegria couldn't speak English. He had no previous
criminal record. The railroad crew had been picking on
him, and that morning he had quit. He then bought a 22
rifle at the hardware store, and waited for the crew to
return. He had planned to get a few more also.
"Wallace Sieh , the county attorney, wanted material
witnesses, so we picked up 18 of the railroad workers ,
and kept them in jail. With our regular customers , we
had about 40 prisoners. It was a bit crowded and hot,
and we wanted them in good humor when they testified .
We kept them well supplied with cigars, candy and ice
cream. They were there about three weeks, and we paid
them a couple of bucks a day.
"Allegria was sentenced to life imprisonment," said
Reinartz. "I checked on him a year or two later and they
transferred him to St. Peter, as being criminally insane.
He is now deceased . "
Following his years as sheriff, Reinartz was employed
in the office at St. Olaf Hospital. He and his wife ,
Lorraine, live i n their home near downtown Austin.
When we passed his home during this last summer we
found AI up on his tile roof making some repairs.
Patricia Kathryn Piper
Pat Piper's family home and early education was in
Delavan and Blue Earth , Minnesota. She has a BA
degree from the College of St. Teresa, Winona, Minnesota,
and an MA from Catholic University of America,
Washington , D . C .
1 28
Piper has varied teaching experience in private schools
and religious education programs at all levels. She was a
member of the Rochester Franciscan Order for 22 years ,
and continues to be active in the field of education. She
pioneered programs for the retarded, including two-day
activity centers.
Since August, 1 969, Pat Piper has been the director of
the Christian Education Center, Austin. In 1 983 she was
elected a Representative to the Minnesota State Legislature.
She is presently a candidate for re-election to the
term beginning in 1 985.
In 1 978 Pat Piper was a member of a team which
wrote, directed and produced a five segment TV religion
program for children. In 1 977 and 1978 she was a parttime
instructor at the College of St. Teresa, Winona,
Special honors for Pat Piper include: the 1 971
Bishop's medal; Austin's Woman of Achievement in
1971 and in 1 968 she was listed in Who's Who Among
Young American Women.
Piper has published articles in several religious education
journals including Living Light, Learning With,
Religion Teacher's Journal and the book, There 's More
Than One Way to Teach Religion, Ryan and Neighbor
(Paulist Press, 1 969) .
Pat Piper has served on numerous boards and committees.
She has been a frequent speaker to church and
civic groups in several states.
Pat Piper
Leo J. Reding
Leo J . Reding was born June 6 , 1 924 south of Austin in
Austin Township. In 1 927 his father purchased a farm in
Red Rock Township where he grew up. He went to school
in Rose Creek and graduated in 1 942. He then worked on
the home farm for three years, went to St. Thomas
College and received a degree in Biology and Physical
Education in 1 948.
For two years Reding taught and coached at St.
Augustine High School (Pacelli High). He started work
at the Hormel Company in June, 1 950. In 1 984 he continues
to work at Hormels and is a member of Local 9
Union .
During his years of employment at Hormels, Reding
was president of St. Augustine P.T.A. and chairman of
the Mower County DFL. In 1 968 he was elected First
Ward Alderman. In 1 970 and 1 972 he was elected Mayor
of Austin. In 1 974 Reding was elected to the Minnesota
House of Representatives and served for eight years .
In discussing his years in the legislature, Reding felt
the biggest challenge in his career was a bill he carried in
1975 to put police and fire departments under the Public
Employees Retirement Association (PERA) . The bill was
carried over until 1 976 and was finally approved.
Reding was married to Marian A. Thommes in 1 949.
They have five children and two grandchildren.
Leo Redlng
In the spring of 185 7 Joshua L. Davidson, in company
with H. C. Bolcom. J. F. Cook. and D. M. V. Stuart.
put up the old "Headquarters " building. where
Dunklemann 's store now stands. The brush was mowed
ofl Main Street. so the stage might pass this building.
Mower Co. Trans. A nnual 1892. p. 38
State Senator Tom Nelson
Tom Nelson, 45, 1 206 Fifth Avenue N . W . , Austin, is
serving his third term in the Minnesota Legislature.
Nelson received his Bachelor's Degree in Education
from Mankato State University. He taught in the Austin
Public School system for 12 years . Nelson was elected to
Austin's City Council in 1 974.
In 1 976 Tom Nelson successfully ran as a DFL candidate
for the Minnesota Senate. He represents District
#31 . He was re-elected in 1 980 and 1 982. During his
term beginning in 1 980, Senator Nelson was chairman of
the education subcommittee of the senate finance committee.
Nelson is now the Majority Whip for the Senate
DFL Caucus . He is chairman of the Education Aids
Committee and the Legislative Commission on Employee
Relations. He is also a member of the Senate's Finance
Committee, Employment Committee and Rules Committee.
Tom Nelson
It was under construction in 1922 from material dredged
,from the river. Horace A ustin State Park was named for
a man who never lived here. He was governor of Minnesota
from 1870 to 1874. He lived in St. Peter until he was
elected. and in St. Paul until his death.
The United States in the Twentieth Century has been involved in four major conflicts and in each of these,
men and women from Mower County have served and died. It is in memory of those who gave their lives that
this Honor RoIl is dedicated .
Anderson, Harry T.
Anderson, Osper J .
Ball, John W .
Beck, Conrad R .
Belden, Harry O .
Blough, Orval J .
Britt, Coy C.
Christensen, Arthur W .
Cotter, Maurice
Damm, Olaf B .
Dietrich , Arthur H .
Dietrich , Henry A .
Doyle, John Harry
Dralle, Herman M .
Earl, Charles H .
Estby, Edwin O .
Aldahl, James
Allen, LeRoy E.
Andersen, Raymond
Anderson, Merlin A .
Anderson, Reuben A .
Anker, Robert
Arett, Ralph F.
Armstrong, Jack E.
Armstrong, Wm. E.
Asper, Verde
Baier, Franklin, Jr.
Balfe, Matthew F.
Barry, Adelbert A. Jr.
Beckel, Donald L.
Beckel, Lloyd K .
Beeman, Page
Belden, Arnold
Bell, Marion L.
Beneke, James R .
Biebl, Leo F .
Bond, Harold W .
Braun , Leo B .
Buehner, Robert K .
Bump, Raymond
Conley, Lynn
Crowell, Wendell H .
Cummins, Leo F .
Dahl, Carrol E.
Dahlgren, Burr K .
Dankert, Fred 1 .
Davis, Vernie E.
Derenthal, Everett D.
Diedrick, John
Donovan, Richard T.
Dudas, Leslie L.
Du nn, Raymond R .
Badgeley, Gene
Ballantyne, James L .
Blake, Howard A .
Block, Robert S .
Brandt, Arnold N .
Casper, Richard A .
Christensen, J a n P.
Freese, Elmer E.
Gagne, Joseph J.
Gehling, Donald A .
World War I : AprU 6, 1917 to November 1 1 , 1918
Felten , George A. Juhl, A nton
Finkelson, Nels E. Kelley, Julius 1 .
Frederich, John C . Knutson, Alfred
Frisbee, Earl 1 . Kubicek, Joseph A .
Griffin, Floyd W . Lee, Adrian I .
Hansen, George P . Lyon, Leon F .
Harris, Nay B . Malone, James G .
Hays, Earl E . Mechenich, Harry J .
Helgesen , George Meighen, Thomas V . W.
Higbie, Everett C. Mullenbach, Peter
Higham, James Nagel, Albert L.
Hofland, Elmer A . Osborn, Manley B .
Jacobson, Walter G . Osheim, GHbert
Jaeger, Henry G . Palmer, Sam
Johnson, Charles S. Peterman, Elmer
Johnson , George A . Pettit, Irwin
World War IT: December 7, 1941 to December 3 1 , 1946
Ehlert, Percy H. Krogel, Norman R .
Eull, Alban M . Larkoski, Paul
Estby, Grant Larson, LuVern
Flanigan, Raymond H. Lenz, Ervin H .
Flanigan, Robert Loecher, Donald F .
Francis, Lyle N . Lynch, John T.
Graff, Chester F. Meister, M arvin
Graves, Clarence Miller, Harold A .
Haley, Howard F . Miller, Phil A .
Halstead, Raymond L. Montgomery, Glenn L.
Hammer, Gordon L. Nasby, Kenneth
Hanson, H oward Nelson, John H .
Hanson, Raymond H . Nemitz, Jack W .
Havens, Earl W . Norton, Archie
Heimer, Nicholas Olson, Alden K .
Heuton, Donald Olson, Edward
Hilmer, Randolph H . Olson, Walter
Hines, Richard B . Olson, William H .
Hobbs, Hilmer W . Ostrander, James E.
Horeck, Robert M. Pease, Arthur O .
Horsfield, Harold Peck, David N .
Houff, Clayton Peterson , John W .
Hovland, Vernon L. Peterson, Lawrence R.
Hunter, Lorraine N. Peterson, Melvin E.
Jacobson, Clifford E. Peterson, Orion D.
Jacobson, Ralph E. Pick, George D.
Jilek, Richard W. Pinke, Herbert
Jochumsen, Vinal J . Rakow, Floyd E.
Johnson, Leonard R . Ranum , Merwyn A .
Jones, Martin R . Ray, Thomas M .
Kallevig, Alvin Reynolds, William F.
Kamp, Wilmer 1. Ring, Merritt L.
Kirtz, Leonard P. Rother, Paul
Koloen, Wilbur Samuelson, Sherwin
Kramer, Willard Sayles, Dorn C .
Kroc, Clement J . Schmidt, Harold W .
Korea: June 27, 1950 to January 3 1 , 1955
Cahill, Harold E.
Carr, LeRoy F.
Earl, Ray O.
Heuer, William F.
Jacobson , Sherill O.
Jensen, Sylvester Lamp, Gaylen D.
Judd, John C. . Moe, Vernon E.
Kolb, Isidore E. McAlister, Harold R.
Kosel, Donald R. Saxton, Gilbert D.
Vietnam: August S , 1964 t o May 7, 1975
Gilbert, Stanley D.
Haney, Charles 1 .
Hansen, David W .
Helland, Jerry 1 .
Hinkle, Norman L .
Hugtveit, Larry A .
Jerdet, Dennis C .
Johnson, Stephen D .
. Kearby Jean A .
Maas, Roy F .
1 30
Matheis, Richard A .
Meakins , Charles H .
Mees, Wayne E .
Michael, Leo G .
Nelson, Theodore R .
Pickett, Leonard I .
Pinkava, Willie E .
Quarstad , Oscar A .
Samuelson, Walter A .
Schaffert, William T .
Schmitt, Peter
Tatham, Glenn
Thompson, Iver A .
Torgerson, A nton
Tunell, Earl L.
Warrington, Ralph A .
Wendorf, Frank W .
Whiteside, Ray L .
Wilson, George W .
Woodle, Loren H .
Schmidt, Leland
Schumacher, Richard H .
Schwartz, Ervin
Scott, George E.
Sharbona, George
Smith, Kenneth D .
Snell, Richard D .
Stanton, Roy S .
Steinke, Ernest
Stier, James
Stolzenberg, James L.
Strong, Boyd T.
Svejkovsky, J oseph
Swain, Alman L.
Swanson, Gordon W .
Szyszka , Walter
Teisinger, Harold G .
Thilgen, Jean H .
Thomas, Elso 1 .
Thompson, Delbert S .
Timmermann, Heinz J .
Torgerson, Sydney
Tryon, Roy E.
Tukua, Jule C.
Vaale, Truman E.
Valentine, William
Vogel, Lewis A .
Wagner, Nicholas P .
Wagner, W ilfred
Wakefield, Robert E.
Wells, Howard E .
Wenel, Leo R .
Wendell, Lawrence 1 .
Winkels, Gilbert
Woodward , Edward G .
Schunke, Gerald
Theophilus, David C.
Triplett, Russell O.
Wentzel, David W .
Richardson, Philip O .
Riles, Donald E.
Stroub, Steven J .
Tenhoff, Tracy S .
Wilson, Daniel K .
Mower County / Austin History Section II
A chronicle of life in Austin and Mower County in the 40 year period preceding World War II.
Still on it creeps,
Each little moment at another's heels,
Till hours, days, years and ages
are made up
of such small parts as these,
and men look back.
Joanna Baille
Intersection of Main St. and Bridge St. (2nd Ave.) from courthouse
tower In 1909.
(Harold J. Davison Photo Collection)
"Mower County is situated in the southeastern portion
of that sweep of country known as southern Minnesota.
It is a prosperous county, a rolling prairie surfaced with
rich deep soil. The county has advantages which have
placed it in the foremost ranks of Minnesota's agriculture.
"The cities and villages of the county have had their
part in the general and commercial upbuilding of the
" It is indeed in its men and women that Mower County
takes its greatest pride.
"Austin, the Pearl City of southern Minnesota, is
located in one of the most attractive portions of the great
Northwest. It has a population of 6 , 960 according to the
1910 census. It is large enough to enjoy all the advantages
and improvements found in much larger centers .
"Austin is preminently a city of homes. A large portion
ofthe residents own their own homes. The residences are
the pride and joy of the city.
"The schools of Austin are of the highest efficiency.
The S outhern Minnesota Normal College, founded in
1897, is located here and has a yearly enrollment of over
1 , 000 pupils.
" Austin is a city of churches. The clergymen rank high
in preaching ability and in personal worth and influence.
" Austin is a prominent business and commercial
center. Retail trade covers twenty-two blocks of our
l 3 1
Laying of the cornerstone for a new post office In 1910. The building
was completed In 1912. St: Olaf Lutheran Church In background.
(Harold J. Davison Photo Collectio1l)
"The streets of Austin are worthy of mention. There
are many miles . of cement sidewalks with many
boulevards, which give a substantial appearance.
"The city has kept pace with its growing population
and the improvements ofthe day. The residents here find
every convenience afforded much larger cities. "
With a change i n population figures and i n college
name the above description could have been a Chamber
of Commerce release in 1 984. It is not. It is an extract
lifted from the 1 9 1 1 History of Mower County.
There are experts who say that the world has changed
more since 1 900 than in all the previous years of recorded
history. We would not challenge this when speaking
about modern conveniences, machines and computers .
Yet we share with Mower County' residents of 1 9 1 1 a
similar appreciation of home, school, church and community.
We hope that the following pages will give the reader
an understanding of the challenges, handicaps, joys and
fears which former Mower County generations have
Having set the scene for 1 9 1 1 we step back 15 years to
a time preceding the turn of the century. Mrs. Guy
Rolfson, an Austin resident, has written a child's-eye
view of Austin. Mrs. Rolfson, the former Helen Sullivan,
is now 99 years of age.
The funeral procession for Mayor George H. Sutton was a solemn
occasion In 1909.
I was a little girl in Austin when kerosene lanterns
were atop wooden poles on Main Street. The lanterns
shone dimly on horse drawn buggies, dirt streets and
wooden sidewalks.
Our house stood at the corner of Moscow St. and
North Sixth St ., now 3rd Ave. and 10th St. N.W. To the
south was the green grass, to the north were the woods
and to the west a road led to my Uncle Sullivan's brick
yard. To the east was prairie land to the Will Adams
On the east side of the block was the frog pond. This
pond was an abandoned clay or sand pit which had been
used for Uncle Pat's bricks. The water in the pond had a
green scum . Each night in the summer we would go to
sleep listening to the croak of the fr ogs. Mother told us
never to handle them or we would get warts. We handled
them and we got warts .
It was not unusual to see covered wagons go by our
place. A horse always trotted alongside the wagon. A cow
was tied to the back and pots and pans hung on the rear
of the wagon . They camped overnight on the hill above
the brickyards. Mother said that they were homesteaders
bound for the Dakotas to take up land;
Dan Leary, the lamplighter, lived on Grove St. (4th
Ave. N.W.). Each day Dan drove around the main
section of town in his sprint wagon. He carried kerosene
cans, stepladders and all the equipment needed to fill the
lamps, trim the wicks and clean the chimneys. The
kerosene lamps stood atop of quite tall poles. Dan was
burned badly one time. He had spilled kerosene on his
clothes and a lighted match set fire to them.
The St. Ledger's owned a farm that bordered the west
edge of Austin. A long lane, called St. Ledger's Lane,
ran from 11th or 12th St. N. W., through the field to the
pasture land along Turtle Creek. Each day in the grazing
season Herb St. Ledger collected cows from their various
owners who lived around the high school. Practically
everyone had a cow and one or two horses in their barns
in town. He would drive cows past our place down to the
lane, open the gate and turn them in . The only thing
In 1911 Southern Minnesota Normal CoHege had over 1,000
(Vem Judd Photo Col/ection)
unusual about that was that he was riding one of the
cows .
"Peg Leg" Barnes lived on Grove Street. John had lost
his leg in the battle of Bull Run during the Civil War. He
came to our house fr equently and each time he relived
the battle. He would get so excited he would shout and
stomp his foot on the floor. From his knee down was just
a wooden leg.
This honor guard headed one of Father DevOn's St. Patrick's Day
(Harold J. Davison Photo Colle ction)
Do you remember Johnny Mears? He had two hacks: a
black one and a white one for weddings . Every St.
Patrick's Day Father Devlin urged the men of the church
to take the pledge. Then he staged a temperance parade
down Main Street. Johnny Mears always led the parade
mounted on a beautifu l horse.
Austin once staged a winter carnival. An ice palace
was built at the intersection of Main St. and Lansing
Ave. (1st Ave. N.W.). The palace was built with blocks
of ice from the Cedar River. There was also a big
toboggan slide near there, which went out onto the river.
People dressed in gay toboggan suits and went skimming
down the slide. There were also skaters dressed in bright
colors. Danny Guiney was the most outstanding figure
The big toboggan slide which was a winter attraction at the tum of
the century. It was operated by Harry Fortney, an uncle of Ferris
Fortney, Austin. (From Ferris Furtlley)
Just off Brownsdale Ave. (8th Ave. N.E.), and on the
banks of the Dobbins, was Zunk's Beer Garden. When I
was a little girl Mrs. Zunk took me down to the sandy
shore of Dobbins Creek and showed me where the little
tables used to be set. She told me of the food she prepared
for the gay young people who came up river on the
steamboat, the Belle of Austin. The bandshell where
German musicians once played was still standing.
Downtown merchants in those early days included
Dunkelmans, McBrides, Rademachers , Dalagers, Hall
and West, K. O. Wold Drugs, Matt Fisch, R. R .
Murphy, Loucks, Schwans, Urbatch, Brieback , Zenders
and W alldecker the gunsmith.
by Mrs. Guy (Helen) R olfson
Francis Meany, a retired Austin dentist, can tell many
interesting events in the life of a boy growing up on the
east side of town . These happenings occurred in the first
decade of the 1 900s.
My father ran the Democratic party in the third ward
and served three terms as alderman. That was before he
took out his final citizenship papers in 1896 . He ran Tom
Meany's Saloon on Railway Street (10th St. N .E.) . I was
born in 1895 in a little house just behind the saloon.
The saloon was sold after my father died in 1 905. One
night a fire started and the East Side Fire Department
was called in. They saved all the whiskey and cigars, but
the saloon burned down.
I had three older brothers who had a reputation for
being fighters . It seemed like everybody on the east side
wanted to lick a Meany. My older brothers were pretty
tough, so they tried to take it out on me. It seemed like I
fought every day of my life just to keep alive. I didn't
know what I was fighting for. I must have had a hundred
fights . I did not win many, but there were darn few that I
lost. We either wore each other out or somebody stopped
There were definite boundaries within Austin. At least
as far as the boys and girls were concerned . There was
1 33
The Belle of Austin toured the Cedar RIver for Sunday school picnics
and other gala occasions. Harry Fortney Is at the helm. Josiah Fortney
holds Vera In the background. Names of boy and dog are unknown.
(From Fen-is Furtney)
Dutchtown, east of the Milwaukee tracks. The west side
was everything west of Main Street. Then there was the
toughest section of all, the 'bloody third ward . ' That
covered the area bordered by the river on the west and
the Milwaukee tracks on the east.
In those old days the best looking girls lived in the
third ward, but one of those uptown birds had better not
cross the lines and come visiting them.
I attended the Columbus parochial school . My class
was the first to complete high school at Columbus. There
were no interscholastic sports , but we had our own
Our gym for basketball was the basement of the
school . There were hot water pipes at both ends of the
floor. When you shot a basket you ran the risk of being
burned. The baskets had to be set close to the ceiling so
you couldn't arch the ball. You banked it off the ceiling.
Our sides were usually the Irish against the Dutch. I
was half of each , so I would play on the side I thought
could win. The Irish janitor decided when it was time to
stop playing. He usually didn't stop it if the Irish were
I guess I made an impact on the administration of
Columbus School. When Father Devlin handed me my
final report card he said , "Francis, if there were seven
more like you in school we would have to close it. "
by Dr. Francis Meany
Jimmie Ward beside his plane, the Shooting Star. He provided a one
plane alrshow on July 25, 191 1 .
(Harold J. DavisofJ Photo Collection)
Jimmie Ward, flying in his Curtiss Biplane, the
famous "Shooting Star, " gave the greatest exhibition of
aerial aviation ever seen in Minnesota at the Fairgrounds
on Tuesday evening. Leaving the field shortly after 7
p.m. , his machine rose gracefully over the crowd and
departed westward into the light of the setting sun.
Gradually he rose higher and higher over the disc of the
sun. Onward he flew into the purple distance until the
machine became a purple blur. Then with a sweeping left
turn, in one downward glide he returned to the field
amid the cheers of the enthusiastic audience.
In this cross country flight Ward attained an altitude
of 2, 100 feet and covered a straightaway distance of five
miles in 12 minutes. It was undoubtedly the record flight
ever made in Minnesota.
The show was under the auspices of the Austin
Commercial Club and given by the Glenn Curtiss Airship
Co. , New York City. Admission was 50 cents and 2,000
watched from inside the Fairgrounds. Many more
watched for free from outside.
A irshow was held July 25, 1 911.
Reprintedfrom the A ustin Herald
* * *
The newspapers of 191 1 used more than one headline
per story. The following had a headline and then a lengthy
subhead. Only a small part of the main story is reprinted
here, from the Herald of August 6th.
A NIGHT OF TERROR. Driven to Take Shelter in
the Tree Judd Palmer of Le Roy Sees Charles Shambo
Drop Into Flood and Drown-Flash of Lightning
Reveals the Drowning Man as he is Swept Away by the
Raging Torrent-Survivor Remains All Night in a Tree
Which Threatens Every Moment to Fall-Rescued in the
Morning-Much Damage by Cloudburst at LeRoy. (end
of subhead)
A section of the old dam went out, spreading floods
over the lowlands. It swept away bridges and made those
who watched the storm remember it as a night of terror.
* * *
Going to the movies was popular. The December 30,
191 1 advertisement for a prominent Austin theater was
as follows :
1 34
IDLE HOUR THEATER-"The Lost Freight Car . "
A n original and sensational railroad drama, telling of
how a carload of silk was lost and found. Also how the
same thing happened to two hearts.
"The Girl and the Motor Boat." We have had many
scenes in automobiles, but we believe this is the first time
a girl has been shown in a motor boat going twenty miles
an hour.
Concert by the Nerhaugens-7: 30 to 7:45. Shows-
7:45 to 8:45 and 8:45 to 9:45.
Farmers were receptive to ideas for improving farm
methods. Here is a report on such an opportunity. The
date was February 9th-FARMERS INSTITUTE
The speakers and their subjects were as follows : In the
A . M . : C. E. Older-"Windbreaks in the Front Yard , "
John Christgau-"Preparation and Cultivation for Corn
Growing," W. F. Schilling-"Breeding and Feeding of
Cattle. " In the P . M . : John Christgau-"Good Roads , "
W . F . Schilling-"The Dairying Business. "
One farmer asked how t o cure rheumatism i n swine.
Christgau created laughter when he said that he was
suffering from it and knew no cure.
* * *
April 8, 1912. A delegation of ladies from the Civic
Improvement League called upon the city council Saturday
night. All cigars were laid aside. The ladies whispered
among themselves and then one announced , "We
do not object to smoke. In fact we rather enjoy the smell
of cigars. " The cigars were all rekindled , and one of the
ladies remarked, "Men are more apt to grant our request
if they can smoke. "
The ladies asked the council to devise and put into
operation a plan for collecting the garbage of the city.
Mrs. W. H. Albertson, Mrs. J. E. Malloy and Mrs .
A. W . Wright made short addresses.
Members of the council spoke in favor of the movement,
and the matter will come up for action at a
meeting April 1 6 .
* * *
A ustin Herald
The muddy streets were a hazard before paving came. This picture
was taken on Oakland Ave. McDonald's Is now on the comer where the
house Is shown. (Harold J. Davisoll Photo Collectioll)
The popularity of automobiles was increasing the need
for good roads. The "Red Ball Route" was the predecessor
of Highway 218. This item appeared in October, 1 913
in the Herald.
In 1913 city omclals manned wheelbarrows and tar kettles to lay a
few creosote blocks on Maple St. (lst Ave. N.W.) Left to right above:
City Clerk Frank Cronin, Fire Chief Nels Jensen, Editor John Skinner,
Alderman Charles Rlley, Fred Gleason, John Hare, Louis Shepley,
Mayor A. C. Page, Ralph Crane, Alderman Ira Padden, George Umhoefer,
Sheriff Nick Nlcholsen, Gunder Teeter, Grant Balley In masquerade
and City Engineer Oscar F. Welssgerber.
(Hllrold J. Davison Photo Collection)
RED BALL ROUTE-A great road movement has
been inaugurated to connect St. Paul and St. Louis, Mo.
It comes straight down from the cities through Blooming
Prairie, Lansing, Austin, Lyle, St. Ansgar, Charles City,
Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Keokuk etc . , to St. Louis .
The entire route is to be marked by a 3 foot wide band
on the poles, and with a red ball, six inches in diameter,
on both sides of the pole.
The entire length of the route is 536 miles.
This early vintage Ford had no seat belts to hold a passenger In the
car when going over a bumpy road.
I n November o f 1 9 14 the Herald had a news story
concerning an auto fatality a few miles south of Austin
on the road which then went to Mitchell, Iowa. The site
of the accident was at a steel bridge near the "old
Shepherd farm . " A man, sitting in the back seat of an
auto, was bounced out, landed in the ditch and died of a
broken neck.
A Mr. Clark, who lived on a nearby farm said, "the
accident was caused by the condition of the road, for he
has seen two other accidents there within the last two
weeks. There is a sharp dip in the road at the south end
of the bridge. Two weeks ago he saw a big car pass in
which a woman sat in the rear seat. As the car went off
the bridge , the woman was thrown clear out of the car
and landed in the brush at the side of the road . The car
continued on as far as the Brownell farm before she was
missed. She was not seriously injured . "
"Within a week h e saw another accident there. I n the
rear seat sat a man, and beside him was a case of beer.
As the car took the jolt the man saved himself from
going, but the case of beer went clear out to the fence.
Every bottle but one was broken in the case. "
Again the importance of good roads is shown i n the
following story of October 17th about a political rally at
DEXTER'S BIG RALLY-Republicans Start the
Political Ball in This County.
Ex-Governor Van Sant explained Republican doctrine
to a splendid audience in Miller's Hall at Dexter, Friday
Had the roads been passable a hundred automobiles
would doubtless have lined the streets of the village.
Fully that many had promised Mr. Fairbanks that they
would drive their cars to Dexter and help make the
Dexter Republican Club's first 1914 rally a huge success.
The automobiles had to be left at home, but the people
came anyway, for the hall was packed to the doors.
Dexter had "gathered there her beauty and her
The Fiske Orchestra entertained the company with a
couple of selections. Then Ex-Governor Van Sant was
fittingly introduced by Charles Fairbanks, the local
Mr. Van Sant held up the banner of Republicanism as
a rallying flag under which all who had been Republicans
could gather.
The bars were closed in Mower County almost 3 years
before prohibition was adopted over the entire United
States. This story ran on Dec. 3 1 , 1915.
25 SALOONS TO CLOSE-The Licensed Saloons of
Mower County to End New Year's Night.
At eleven o'clock Saturday night, January 1 , 1 916, 25
saloons in Mower County will close their doors for three
years, and we believe forever.
In this city 14 places will close, at Adams - 3, Rose
Creek - 2, Waltham - 2, Dexter - 1, Sargeant - 1 , Elkton
- 1, and Johnsburg - 1 .
It has been 1 7 years since Austin has had its saloons
closed. At that time a brutal murder, shortly before
The Moreland Garage at 121 North Main St. was Austin's flnt. The
car on the left Is a Columbia. He also sold Ford and Cameron automobUes
and Wagner Motorcycles.
At the Evergreen Farm (E. V. Ellis Farm)
Left to right: Mrs. L. D. Baird, Mrs. C. L. West, Mrs. H. A. Avery,
Mrs. Warren Holmes, Mrs. George Hirsh, Mrs. Oscar Ayers, Mrs.
H. O. Basford, Mrs. F. I. Crane, Mrs. Gus Schleuder, Mrs. Joe
Schwan and Mrs. Van Valkenherger.
(Harold J. Daviso" Photo Collection)
Never Sweat Club - October, 1912
Back, left to right: Mike Bell, Frank Haney, S. A. Smith, A . Hotson,
Ed Feeney, Frank Ryan, Dell Lee, John Manning, W. F. Clay, Lee
Sargent. Seated: Pat Reilly, Tom Bums, Jack Scallon, Bill Smith, H .
Kendrick, Max Erdman, Lew Goetsch, A. Arens, A. Elmer, J. Taylor,
J. Murphy. On ground: Wm. Bell, Sec. Treas. and Eat Officer, President.
(Harold 1. Davison Photo Collectioll)
1 36
election, brought the results. There was no sustained
public sentiment to enforce the laws so as to prosecute
the sewer rats who violated the will of the people as
expressed at the polls.
Austin did not vote dry at the recent County Option
election, but it was made dry by the county vote.
The Adams Review says of the condition there,
"Adams has harbored saloons continuously for 48 years,
and the severance of relations between the thirsty ones
and the open saloons will no doubt be a shock to many."
Photographer Henry Fairbanks took the photo, the flnt Oashllght
picture taken In Austin. Back row, left to right: Ben Hormel, Bub
Woodward, and Frank Tichy. Second row: (unknown) , Ed Kelley, Gert
Horban, J. S. R. Scovill, Jim Tichy. Third row: (unknown) , Mrs.
Fenton, Mrs. Scovill, (unknown) , Swanson, Geo. Fenton. Front rowl
Fred Fenton, W. Bassler.
(Harold J. Davison Photo Collectio,J)
AI Kellogg and Tom Rochford at the real estate office at 121 North
Main St. (From Hurold ROc/lford)
The rapid increase of autos this year has been significant
of what has been going on over the state. According to a
report just given out at the Secretary of State, Julius
Schmahl, the number of autos which will be registered in
Minnesota will be 150,000 by the first of the year.
Austin Herald, July 1 1 , 1 916
Austin Sends the Boys Scores of Boxes of LunchesBusinessmen
of the City Contribute Baseballs , Bats,
Mitts and Mats-Many Austin People Go to Albert Lea
to See The Second Regiment On Its Way-City Decorated
With Flags and Bunting-Albert Lea Provides
Austin doesn't expect her boys to go hungry on their
way to the Mexican border, and afterward to raid b ake
shops as some companys have had to do in order to have
something to eat. Captain Johnson can order all of the
stuff needed to keep the boys in good shape. Besides this,
the ladies of Austin cooked up enough food for all of the
boys, and this was taken to Albert Lea.
A ustin Herald, A ugust 1 0, 1 91 6
Interior o f the Citizen's National Bank, located at 401 N. Main St.
ThIs Is the address of GUdner's ln 1984. The Citizen's bank evolved Into
the Fanner's Merchants State Bank, the Austin State Bank, Northwestern
State Bank and now. Norwest Bank.
(Ven! Judd Pilato Collectioll)
The Austin Transfer had the first motor transport service In Austin.
Harold Rochford has Identified Tom Vandegrift as the man standing
on the left and Clarence Bolton on the right.
(Harold J. Daw'soll Photo Collectio1l) 1 37
30 Pans of Sand Cleans Up $ 1 . 98 For One Man-A
stranger came into town Wednesday night carrying a
satchel. He overtook one of our citizens and said, " I
heard you have found gold herel" The Austin man said
he understood so, but had not seen anything himself.
The stranger said he had come 500 miles.
There are a score or more of miners who have come
here to wash the sands. They are a secretive lot, and
don't want to talk about what they find. Some of these
men can be seen any day with a pan made of black iron,
stooping over a running stream, washing out a pan of
It is interesting to watch the men at work. As the
amount of sand grows less and less, even the spectators
become anxious and carefully scan the pans for a speck
of gold , for now the miners are washing out free gold .
On Wednesday, Roy Holmes and the writer went along
with one of these miners, and he promised to show us .
We went up the Cedar, and the miner told us to dig dirt
anywhere and he would wash it out. As he washed, there
was a good sprinkling of the metal. The miner, in 30
pans, washed out $ 1 . 98 worth of gold as weighed at the
Gleason and Johnson Jewelry Store this morning.
Austin Herald, July 15, 1 91 6
Mower County's people were swiftly engrossed in the
excitement which swept the United States at the
beginning of the First World War. A wave of p atriotism
swept over the county. After the war the Austin Herald
published a book which gave a detailed account of the
part which Mower County played in the war. The following
paragraphs have been extracted from Mower County
In The World War.
"April 6 , 1 9 1 7 will glow upon the pages of history.
There were boys who came laughing along the street that
day, coming from school with their playmates , who
before the end of the month were to be in the uniform of
their country. There were boys whose names were to be
entered upon the rolls of a nation's heroic dead before
another spring should come to the fair lands of Mower
County. There were boys at work on the farms who had
never been beyond the boundaries of the county who were
destined to guide aeroplanes over the city of Paris. Boys
who had never seen a larger body of water than the Cedar
River were to cross and recross as sailors on mighty warships.
Boys who had never fired a gun would fight with
the deadly machines on the battle scarred fields of
France and Flanders. "
"On April 1 9th we celebrated Loyalty Day and Mayor
Anderson issued an order that all vacant lots must be
cultivated . The same day all the amateur wireless apparatus
which had been in use by a number of boys was
ordered to be taken down. On April 23rd the board of
education met and voted that senior students who
enlisted or went to work on farms were to be given a years
credit and granted their diplomas at commencement.
Thirty-three boys the next day went to work on the
farms. It was said that our high school looked like a
female seminary.
"On May 1st the newspapers carried instructions on
how to knit socks for the soldiers . Guards were placed at
the City water supply in Austin. An amusing incident
connected with this watch was the theft of the watchman's
revolver while the man slept. It was afterwards
recovered from small boys who had committed the
"Guards were thrown about the Hormel Packing
Plant. On May 10th came the order 'Save the Fats' in
which housewives were warned against any waste in
cooking. Only three course dinners were allowed to be
served . On May 1 1th was published the announcement
that Congress had decided on conditions of the draft.
This measure gave the greatest surprise. "
During the following months almost every individual
in Mower County became involved in the war effort to
some degree. All of the clubs and organizations found
some way they could help. Speakers for Liberty Bonds
spoke throughout the country extolling the patriotism
exhibited in the purchase of war bonds.
There was some evidence of disloyalty in the county
and stirred the anger of the "loyal American. " In one
case the "patriots" painted yellow streaks on the house
and yellow bands around the horses in the barn.
Several men were arrested for disloyalty by Sheriff
Nicholsen and Chief of Police Wengert of Austin who
gave them a good common sense talk.
"There were public hearings given the men who would
not take their allotments of war funds, but the threat of a
public hearing generally brought the slackers to a
realization that the patriotic people of Mower County
were in earnest, " was the report given in the county history.
In the autumn of 1918 a flu epidemic swept the
country. At first it was called Spanish Influenza. The
Governor Burnqulst and Mor Bady inspecting Company "C" on
Governor's Day.
Varco Home Guard
1 38
deaths from the disease in Minnesota for three months of
1918 were as follows: October, 2,088; November, 3 , 1 93
and December, 1 , 995.
Company G, 2nd Regiment of the Minnesota National
Guard was mobilized for federal service on July 15, 1917.
During the next two months the unit was dined, toasted
and honored to the fullest degree. 149 men and officers
entrained for Camp Cody on September 27, 1917. They
left to cheers and some tears, loaded with fruit, boxes of
food, thousands of cigars and cigarettes and loads of
smoking tobacco. A more complete history of Company
G is included in another section.
During the course of the war there were 12 contingents
of draftees which left for service. They were given
farewell banquets, entertained and escorted in parade
formation to the railroad station. There were thousands
at the station as the first group left.
5,263 Mower County citizens registered for service in
World War 1. 265 were accepted at camp; 582 in general
service, 3 1 3 were deferred for agriculture and 30 deferred
for industrial reasons .
Company C Home Guards
"Company "C" of the Seventh Battalion of the Home
Guard of Minnesota was organized for the purpose of
assisting in the protection of the state while the soldiers
of the Republic were engaged in fighting a foreign foe .
Company " C " bears the distinction o f being one o f the
largest infantry companies in the world. Nearly 500
Mower County men were enrolled on its regular and
auxiliary rosters at the same time. It turned out 349 men,
uniformed, and partially armed, at the time of its inspec-
Gnmd Meadow Red Cross Branch, Surgical Dressing Workroom.
Taopi Red Cross Group
tion by the governor of the state. Its members were active
in loyalty work and were leaders throughout the county
in patriotic activities. " So said the Mower County World
War history.
64 Gold Stars were in the windows of Mower County
homes. 1 3 were killed in action, 13 died of wounds
received in action, 1 was drowned in France, 1 was killed
in an accident in the U . S . and 36 died of disease.
From a distance of over 60 years one wonders if we will
ever again witness a time of patriotic excitement as that
of 1917-18. Perhaps it was the last time in history when
the glory overbalanced the horror of war for the citizens
of Mower County.
Waltham's biggest crowd ever gathered in the village
Wednesday night to take part in the raising of Old Glory,
presented to the village for being the first to go over the
top in the third Liberty Loan . A hundred autos brought
people from all parts of Waltham Township. The event
was pulled off in fine shape, and reflected credit on the
people in charge, which consisted of Oscar Erickson,
Mayor H. W . Ibling, E. J . Mark Hanna and A . D .
Schaefer .
When the crowd came they found a flag flying within a
hundred feet from where the flag raising was to take
place. Another American flag floated from the staff of
the village schoolhouse. After the flag was raised
Wednesday night it gave the village three large beautiful
national banners. It gave the village a splendid patriotic
appearance as you came into it from any direction.
The Brownsdale band was present and played some
fine selections during the exhibition drill of the home
guard under J . M . Nicholson. Mrs. Webb can feel proud
of her organization.
A ustin Herald. July 5. 1918
Austin will probably never know another Thanksgiving
Day like the one this year, for it was a victory
Thanksgiving we celebrated. A year ago things looked
dark for this old world of ours. Civilization and humanity
were all but crushed by the Hun and his war machine.
This holiday found the Hun crushed. The Kaiser, author
of the world's greatest tragedy, is shorn of his throne and
his power, hiding in a neutral country. A year ago the
world was red with blood.
Thanksgiving dawn came this year to Austin to find
the earth white with snow. Yet, of a city of 10,000 people,
only 2 , SOO assembled to offer praise for the greatest
victory that had come to the American soldier and his
Allied comrades in arms. It was the greatest that had ever
been celebrated in Austin.
Eight of the protestant churches of Austin set aside
their religious differences and forgot for the nonce their
creeds , and united for a service at the Methodist Church.
The interior was profusely hung with American flags,
and across the quarter rail hung the flags of our Allies.
St. Augustine Church, that seats 1 ,000 people, was
crowded by worshippers at their Thanksgiving patriotic
service. There was special music for this occasion. The
Reverend E. H. Devlin, preached a patriotic sermon, in
which he told of the many things for which this n ation
should be thankful.
St. John's Lutheran Church also observed the day with
a sermon by the Reverend Milbrath. .
Austin Herald, November 29, 1918
The dream of reformers became a reality at midnight.
The wartime prohibition act, passed during the struggle
with Germany to conserve food, went into effect. Under
the act the sale of all intoxicating liquors becomes a
crime against the United States.
The swansong of boose in America is about the
sweetest music this old world has heard since the
Morning Stars sang together.
Austin Herald. July 1. 1 91 9
Home ofthe $10,000 Rooster Has Been Mutified at
Expense of$3 ,Soo
All roads will lead to the Oakdale Farms at Le Roy on
August 10th. On that day it is estimated that from
2S,000 to 40,000 people will assemble here to inspect the
greatest of all poultry farms. There will be a special train
going from this city to Le Roy to accommodate all the
people who cannot go by auto. There will be few autos in
this and the adjacent counties which will not be in Le Roy
on that day.
Every room in the Le Roy hotels have already been
reserved by prominent editors of poultry journals and
other journals to write up the big event. The Associated
Press will have two representatives present. All this fuss
over some feathered chickens. Not the plebian barnyard
Leghorns, but the patricians of the world's best flocks .
This farm spent the sum of $10,000 for advertising last
year. The remark was made that the money was wasted ;
Cy Thomson said it paid so well that his advertising bill
this year will be greater than the $ 10,000.
Austin Herald. July 12. 1 91 9
Hormel Company Closes Early to Help the Cooks
Mr. Jay Hormel called on Mayor Hirsh on Tuesday
evening, and offered to cut off all the consumption of gas
at the plant at 2:00 this afternoon so that cakes, cookies
etc . , might be prepared for Christmas . Mr. Hirsh called
up some of the would-be gas consumers of the Third
Ward, and they were much pleased with the program.
The plant will be closed all day tomorrow, so that the
turkeys , ducks and geese, and all the other fixings of the
Christmas dinner will come to the table piping hot. "It
was our best Christmas Gift," said one woman who had
been worrying how they were going to have a M erry
Christmas on cornflakes and canned ham .
Austin Herald. December 24. 1919
City Council Grants Permission to Reduce Lighting
of Streets
"The coal situation is serious!" said William Todd,
superintendent of the Water and Light Plant, addressing
the city council Friday night. "We are not out, but we are
short, and prospects are not good for getting more. " Mr.
Todd said that he had been instructed by the board to
bring this situation to the council, and to ask permission
to reduce the street lighting on moonlighted evenings.
Council, on motion, moved to grant permission for the
reduction .
A ustin Herald, August 7, 1 920
Olmsted With Census Figures Unannounced Threatens
to Outstrip Mower County
The 1 920 census figures were announced for all the
counties of the state with the exception of Olmsted.
Mower County ranks 1 5th in population with 25, 993. In
the census of 1910, 18 counties of Minnesota exceeded
Mower in population.
Prohibition has caused one quick-witted local troubadour
to make this lament in one of the hotels on
Wednesday night.
"Thirsty days has September, October, April and
November. May and June are thirsty, too, except for
those who have home brew.
Austin Herald, October 4, 1 920
The Unlvenlty of Southern MInnesota had "America'. Greatest
Aviation School" In the early 1920&.
Main Street, Austin, In the early 1920&.
(Harold J. Davison Photo Collection)
1 40
The moonshine manufacturing industry, which has
been carried on under cover in Mower County, was
dragged into the open yesterday. Two federal agents,
acting in conjunction with the local and county authorities,
constituted a "slip between the cup and the lip. "
Today eight persons are scheduled t o appear i n court
here, while many others , deprived of their source of
supply, will be forced to obtain liquid refreshments elsewhere.
Sweeping through the county yesterday, supplemented
this morning by a series of raids in the city, resulted in
the serving of many warrants including three women in
the city. Seizure of a large quantity of mash, several stills
and a varied assortment of Iiquorous products . At noon
the raids had produced a total of over 50 gallons of
moonshine, besides a quantity of other Iiquorous
"This is one ofthe biggest single hauls we have made,"
said one of the federal agents.
In the raid in the county yesterday the party found a
shed with an elaborate double still in full operation.
Brine mash was busily cooking in two copper cookers .
Each sat on individual oil stoves . From the top of the
cookers connection led to copper coils, each 15 feet long.
This condensed the vapor which passed through the big
coolers constructed from vinegar barrels. At the terminal
of the condensers a clear, colorless fluid dripped intermittantly
into stone jars. This was the finished product.
A ustin Herald, October 28, 1921
Cy Thomson was one of the most public spirited
citizens in Austin during the years immediately
preceding 1 92 1 . He provided cigars to the young men
leaving for wartime service. If a local civic event needed
something extra to make it a success it was Cy Thomson
who would find and provide it. His money for benevolences
seemed inexhaustible. Then came the revelation.
Cy Thomson was a crook.
Thomson wrote his own autobiography. A few paragraphs
have been extracted for this history.
Ransome J. (Cy) Thomson began, "Once my story was
written up in magazines as a story of success. It told of a
farm boy who came to the city, and by industry and
honesty had carved his way to a position of trust and
integrity. It told of the leader in the community, the
teacher in the Sunday school , of the man who was
consulted in every business enterprise. It told of the man
who was a welcome guest of industrial executives of the
state. Governors and high officials were glad to sit at my
table. "
"I laughed with my tongue i n m y cheek when I read
these articles. I alone knew the secret of the million
stolen dollars which had bolstered my fortune. Fool that
I was, I thought that I could be clever enough to conceal
these funds always . "
Thomson was first employed at the Hormel Packing
Plant as a scaler in the fresh meat department at $12 per
week. In the spring of 1 907 he asked Mr. George Hormel
for a more responsible job . Hormel suggested that he get
training in bookkeeping and accounting. He took a
course at Mankato and was reemployed with Hormels.
Two years later he was promoted to the position of
" It was early in 1 9 1 1 that my first theft occurred . A
Mrs. M ary Hollingshead from South Dakota mailed in
$800 in currency for the purchase of shares of stock. The
stock was issued immediately, but the money was placed
in transit. It was still in transit 10 years later when the
crash came."
Thomson began to invest in various ventures such as
his poultry farm in Le Roy, "Affairs were moving rapidly
for me during this period and I purchased the entire
D. W. Young poultry stock and equipment from New
York state, including a $10,000 rooster, winner of a long
string of prizes at the Madison Square Garden.
"I enjoyed the complete confidence of the Hormel
executives. When one of my superiors moved up I was
promoted to assistant comptroller. I had an intimate
knowledge of funds which were supposedly in transit. I
plunged more deeply than ever.
"I next branched into the dairy business with a 160
acre farm between Lansing and Blooming Prairie. Many
breeders in M innesota were in a furious competition to
have the finest buildings, most expensive animals and
best equipment. With animals of this type selling for
$1 ,000 to $3,000 a head, it was a costly race to enter.
The day finally came when Cy Thomson's embezzlement
from the Hormel Company was uncovered . He
describes the events of Saturday, July 9, 1 92 1 .
"I knew before I started from my desk. The call came
from Hormel's office following a mail controversy with a
Boston bank . I knew instinctively before I saw Mr.
Hormel's grave face and the accusing eyes of his
directors. The exposure which I had been fighting for ten
years was at hand.
"My first remark when I entered the room was,
'Gentlemen it's all over, the jig is up . ' An hour later I
went to the company's general journal with one of the
Hormel officials and made the last entry I was ever to
make on the Hormel books. It was an entry charging
R. 1 . Thomson with $ 1 , 187,000 and crediting the various
banks where the shortages existed . "
Thomson was jailed on Monday, July 1 8 . The Herald
stated , "All last night guards were on duty watching
every exit of Mr. Thomson's beautiful home on Nassau
St. They were concealed on porches of the adjoining
homes. At about 1 1 p.m. the door opened and a party of
Albert Lea visitors came out and said 'goodbye' and
invited Cy and his wife to come over and see them.
He thanked them and said, 'We'll be sure to come. '
There were dramatic repercussions i n Austin. The
Herald said , "Recently Thomson put over the Oakdale
Trail from the Twin Cities to Chicago, and blazed the
way with black, white and yellow stripes on every
telephone post."
"Cy Thomson has been the mystery man of Austin.
1 4 1
This Model T Ford Sedan was used by Cy Thomson In promoting the
Oak Dale TraIl. This was a new highway which was posted from
MInneapolis to Chicago.
(Harold J. Davison Photo Collection)
Everyone has asked where Cy got his money. There is
great regret and sorrow at his downfall , for he had
endeared himself to the whole community by his public
spirit and generosity."
A few days later the mood had changed. The Herald
said, "Cy Thomson knew that a crash of the Hormel
Company would be disastrous to Austin . No greater
crime in the commercial world was ever committed than
that of the man whom we have honored and applauded . "
O n July 1 9th George and Jay Hormel were i n Chicago
in conference with bankers from New York, Boston,
Chicago, Minneapolis and St. Paul. George Hormel told
them the story of the company's struggle and attainments.
At 4 : 20 p . m . that day a telegram was received at
the Herald. With the code word, "Released" the Herald
knew that all was well. The bankers would stand behind
the credit of the Hormel Packing Co.
Cy Thomson's wife died during his 9 1h years of imprisonment.
The governor refused to give him a leave to
attend the funeral. When he was released he worked on a
farm in the Minneapolis area. Details of his later years
are dismal. For all intents and purposes Cy Thomson's
productive life ended at the age of 34, when he made his
last journal entry with the Hormel Company.
Lars Ellingson, 7 1 , Leaves Largest Sum in History of
County for Church
Extension-Provides Against Heirs Protesting Will
The Little Cedar Lutheran Church of Adams Township
and the Norwegian Lutheran Church Extension
Fund will benefit to the amount of $50,000 under the will
of Lars Ellingson of Adams. The will was admitted to
probate yesterday.
Mr. Ellingson came to America a poor homeless boy
when 1 7 years of age. He lived in a frame shanty for a
number of years and then built a frame building. By
1 9 1 9 he had one of the finest farm properties in the
county. All was earned by hard work and thrift.
The will closes with warning that if the beneficiaries
under the will contest, or attempt to contest the same,
they would automatically forfeit the bequest made to
them .
The executors of the will are Anders Torgerson,
Nordeen Torgerson and N . F . Banfield Sr.
A ustin Herald, May 23, 1922
Aged Grand Meadow Farmer Slain While SleepingWife
Still Unconscious-Brutal Attack Discovered by
Daughter Late Yesterday Afternoon-Slaying Occurred
Wednesday Night-Hope to Revive Aged Woman
Leading to Identity of Slayer-Bloodhounds on TrialSlayer
Escaped in Automobile-Only Slight Clues Are
One of the most gruesome murders that has ever
occurred in the county was revealed yesterday when the
body of John Wagner, 72, retired farmer
of Grand
Meadow, was found in his home, his face crushed by the
blow of an ax. His wife was found lying on the floor
beside the bed, unconscious from the blow struck by her
The aged pair was found by their daughter, Mrs. Alvin
Sorom. The inquest was still in progress at Grand
Meadow this afternoon. A report from Grand Meadow,
at 3 p.m. this afternoon stated that Mrs. Wagner is still
alive, although this morning doubt was expressed that
she would live until noon.
A ustin Herald, July 14, 1922
Damage, which it is estimated , may reach a total of
$120,000 was caused by a devastating fire late Saturday
night. The fire destroyed the building and stock of the
Austin Furniture Company, and damaged the building
and stock of George Hirsh. There was also losses to other
neighboring suppliers.
The fire was started with an explosion in the furnace,
was the opinion of A. M . Ousley, who said today that the
rear end of the firebox on the furnace had blown out.
The insurance on the building and stock of the furniture
company did not exceed $30,000 he said.
The body of Peter Peterson, who was killed near
Lansing last week, when a ditch in which he was working
caved in, was on the second floor toward the front. A
desperate effort was made to take the remains out of the
flames. F. H. Mayer, who had charge of the remains,
had ladders run up to the second story windows . Reach-
ing in with a fireman's hook, he dragged the body toward
the window, but the dense, suffocating smoke forced him
to come down the ladder.
A fireman followed him and attempted to take it
through the window to the street. He called for
assistance, and another climbed a ladder. It was then
that the explosion occurred . The smoke and gas accumulating
with the fire made a terrific blast. The front
windows, doors and frames were ripped out, and the rear
wall ofthe building was blown out. Firemen were thrown
back by the force of the explosion, and practically all of
them suffered minor injuries.
A ustin Herald, February 5, 1923
Six years ago the late J . N . Nicholsen wrote a letter to
Congressman Sidney Anderson, calling attention to the
fact that all of the cities had received war trophies , yet no
artillery graced the courthouse lawn of our city. He asked
that Congressman Anderson take steps to assure for
Austin a piece of German artillery as a momento of the
On October 3 1 of this year the War Department got
around to reply to that letter. Now there is a possiblity
that such a trophy will be secured for Austin. The letter
explained that a large quantity of such trophies is now
available, and that it has been left with the governor of
each state to determine how they should be distributed .
The expense involved would be the transportation to
Austin which it is estimated will be about $90.00.
Austin Herald, November 24, 1924
(Editor's note: In due time a large piece of German
artillery was placed in Horace State Park in front of what
is now the swimming pool. During World War II it was
drafted into service on the side of the Allies as scrap
The first of the cases fought by offenders who were
arrested at Le Roy Saturday, as a result ofthe appearance
of two speed cops in the village, was dismissed when the
case came to trial yesterday.
The arrests had created a sensation in the village.
Before the trial was called yesterday the courtroom was
filled. Merchants left their places of business, farmers
came to town, working men laid off and people came
from across the .state line to attend the trial. Among the
spectators were students of the high school class in
Civics , taking advantage of the opportunity to learn
about legal procedure.
County Attorney Otto Baudler appeared to prosecute
the cases.
The case of Ed Bergerson was the first trial . Officers
testified that the speed attained by the defendants had
varied between 20 and 25 m.p.h. The testimony having
been heard , the judge dismissed the case.
Criticism of the arrests is voiced in a current issue of
the Le Roy Independent which says, " It is hoped that the
experience just gone through will have a tendency to
make the automobile driver a little more careful in the
future, and a recurrence of the trouble will be averted . "
A ustin Herald, May 1, 1925
Every seat in the Chatauqua tent was occupied last
night, although threatening skies, flashing lightning and
thunder indicated that rain would fall before the entertainment
of the evening would close. Not only was every
seat on the benches and the reserve chairs occupied, but
it was necessary to bring in more chairs for late comers .
Someone said that the radio's coming would kill the
Chatauqua, "because we get just as good lectures , and
just as fine music while sitting in our own home. " But the
radio was not working very well last night, even as it does
not work well on some other nights when the program we
most desire to hear is being broadcasted.
There is something else about a Chatauqua beside the
splendid programs brought to our city at less than lOt
per number. You don't get on the radio the companionship,
the mingling ofthe crowd of your fellow people, the
sociability which one finds when 1 500 or more of your
neighbors and friends are gathered together with the idea
of having a good time.
The radio is a wonderful thing, but it is impersonal.
Do you recall the days when only horse drawn vehicles
came to the Chatauqua? The long line of hitching posts
and chains used to reach halfway around the park. Now
there are no horses, or if there is one it is tied far from the
parking lines of the autos. Someone said years ago that
the coming ofthe auto would kill the Chatauqua. People
would not go to a Chatauqua when they could go for a
ride. The Chatauqua continued to grow, and one of the
sights of the city is the moving of hundreds of autos to the
Chatauqua grounds .
A ustin Herald, June 11, 1925
"Paddy" Ryan, champion of the rodeo and former
Austin newsboy arrived here this morning, and was met
at the C . M . & St. P . station by a delegation which took
him to the Fox Hotel, where he will make his home
during his stay in the city.
"Paddy" is the same lad that left us some years ago to
become great in his chosen profession ; breaking live
horses , riding steers and in other ways trying to see how
near he can come to having his neck broken.
If he gets time he will go over his old route and peddle
the Heralds once more, making the route mounted on
one of his broncos.
Ryan will have a part in the big doings on Monday,
when it is expected that 10,000 people will come to the
Austin Herald. September4. 1926
A tentative contract for the purchase of an AmericanLaFrance
pumper, 500 gallon per minute capacity, was
entered into today by the Mower County Farmers Fire
and Lightning Insurance Company. The pumper has six
cylinders, and is 72 horsepower, and carries the endorsement
of the best fire fighting engineers of the country.
Those on the committee for purchase were Alvin
Baudler and H. F. Keyser. The company having control
of the pumper will be known as the Farmers Fire Protection
To each person taking out a share, a certificate of
membership will be issued. The pumper will be used to
serve members only. The City of Austin has offered to
furnish space for housing the equipment and will supply
experienced men to operate the truck and direct the work
of extinguishing fires:
Austin Herald. October 31. 1926
Armed with a gun and in quest of osculatory loot,
Austin's kissing bandit, even when he had his victim in
his power, lost courage. As far as is known the kissing
bandit got no loot.
The existence of a moron who has been following
young women in Austin was admitted today by Superintendent
S. T. Neveln, who said that reports had come
to him from girls who had been followed by a man.
Apparently it was the same individual in each case. In
some cases it had been noticed that he had been armed
with a gun.
Th" Austin Op"rll House, buUt In 1884, was located In the 400 block
on North Main St. The AustIn Bootery now occupIes the buUdIng. The
superstructure was removed In the 19208.
1 43
The moron followed a teacher, whose name was not disclosed
. The sidewalks were slippery, and flight was
impossible. He grasped the girl, and put his arm about
her waist and said, "Give me a kiss and I will let you gol "
Although she was unable to resist, the kissing bandit
evidently lost courage. He did not take the kiss that was
A ustin Herald, February 1, 1927
This view was taken on Kenwood Ave. (4th St. N.W.) foDowlng the
1928 tornado. Austin High School Is In the center and FrankUn School
on the right.
(Harold J. Davison Photo Collection)
The storm destroyed this buDding, the Smith and Decker Plow and
Harrow Co., comer ofMUI St. and St. Paul St. (3rd Ave. N.W. and lst
St. N. W.) The business had been started shortly after the ClvD War by
Seymour Johnson and A. A. Smith.
(Harold j, Davison Photo Collection)
It was a real twister, the tornado, the horror, the storm
that is feared whenever the weather conditions are as
they were yesterday with its intense sultriness , frequent
sharp and brilliant electrical storms following each other
from southwest to northeast all day, for twenty-four
hours before the destructive storm dropped its gyrating
horror upon the city and in five minutes left a track of
death and destruction.
Even potatoes were said to be uprooted and scattered
about the ground in the swath of the tornado. Trees lay
prostrate upon the ground everywhere from the Iowa line
to Austin and crops were threshed as if with a flail.
1 44
It struck the fairgrounds in the southwest part of the
city working destruction among the wooden buildings,
lifted for a moment and then struck around the vicinity
of the old Normal school buildings. It passed on to the
Franklin school where it tore out all of the windows.
Then it hit the Public Library and St. Olaf Lutheran
Church, tearing its beautiful cathedral glass to little
pieces, stripping the roof of almost every shingle and
wrecking the tall steeple so that the place was barricaded
for fear the steeple would fall .
Then through the business section it tore its way,
crashing plate glass, tearing roofs from buildings,
throwing down brick walls, tearing the trees of the courthouse
grounds with a ruthless hand . Hundreds of autos
standing in the street were wrecked by the driven debris
of buildings ruined in the path of the storm.
On the storm passed, increasing in destructive forces
as it approached the north end of the city, where theatre,
industries , brick apartment houses and homes were
crumbled like buildings made of cards.
Directly in the path of the wind , the Motor Inn at the
corner of Water Street and Chatham (4th Ave. N . E. and
1st St. N . E. ) , was completely demolished and one man
was killed . The victim was Gus Neubauer who is survived
by his widow and one young son. Neubauer had been
employed at the Motor Inn for only a week.
Death rode the storm as it came into the fourth ward
at the north end, where a happy boy was nearly beheaded
by being struck by the flying wreckage of his home.
And then, when the terrible storm had passed and the
sun came out through the clouds of the west, a beautiful
double rainbow was thrown across the dark clouds that
were piled on the eastern sky, clouds that had ridden
with the monster that man knows as the tornado.
On the heels of the storm came the volunteer workers .
Wherever there was rumor of humans being buried
under wreckage men worked cutting their way through
timbers, iron, brick and stone. Men worked with rapidity
and in earnestness that has never been equaled here.
From workshop and home, from business and professional
office came men to lend their aid in the work of
The city ambulance and many autos were soon making
trips to and from St. Olaf Hospital where all the doctors
of the city were kept busy for hours caring for the
As soon as dusk came martial law was proclaimed .
Company H was ordered out and put on patrol duty
throughout the ruined portions of the city, assisting the
city police force which was augmented by 20 extra
officers. The men of the American Legion to the number
of lOS volunteered their duty, giving the city perfect
police protection .
The Ladies Auxiliary of the Legion at once established
a free canteen where they served coffee and sandwiches
to the hungry and to those whose work required their
constant attendance on duty during the night.
(Many other clubs and individuals also provided their
Austin Herald, August 21, 1928
(Note : The casualty list recorded four dead the day of
The tornado destroyed the Motor Inn at the comer of Water St. and
Chatham St. (4th Ave. N.E. and Ist St. N.E.) A newly hired mechanic,
August Neubauer, died when the building collapsed.
(Harold J. Davison Photo Collectio1l)
the storm and one died the following day. They were:
August A. Neubauer, 40 ; Harold Bumgarner, 12; Laverne
Roberts, 1 9 ; Mrs . Harry Johnson and Marvin Baumgarner.
There were 18 seriously injured . The earliest
estimate of damages was set at $625,000. )
" One hog in a million" passed along the conveyer on
the killing floor ofthe George A. Hormel & Co. here this
morning. The arrival of the millionth hog was earlier
than usual. Three times the plant here has slaughtered a
million hogs, but heretofore the millionth hog did not
click the register until near the close of the fiscal year.
Austin Herald, October 1 7, 1928
Hog callers, violinists, dancers and musicians are
making their entries for the $50.00 in prizes that are
being offered to contestants in the old time fiddlers ,
musicians, hog callers and dancers contest that will be
held Wednesday, December 12. Twenty have signified
their intentions to compete in one of the most unique
affairs to be staged in this city. Those who enter the contest
will not be charged admission, and they will also be
permitted to attend the dance free of charge.
An old time dance with circle two steps, square
dances , one steps, quadrilles and prize waltzes will
feature the occasion.
The "fiddle fest" is a community affair which will
include on the program a long list of varied talent
including fiddlers, cloggers, hog callers, mouth organ
players, chicken callers and other amateur and professional
performers .
Austin Herald, December 11, 1928
The short skirts of women have brought about a civic
improvement that all the laws of the state, the charter of
1 45
This buUdlng, at the corner of Main St. and East Mill St. (3rd Ave.
N.E. ), was the last to remove Its outside iron stairway. The main reason
was the coming of short skirts and the barber shop below. The building
Is now occupied by WaUace's.
(H(lrold J. Davison Photo Collection)
the city and the ordinances and resolutions of the city
have failed to effect-the elimination of the last outside
stairway in our business section.
When the brick building was erected on the corner of
Mill and Main Streets, some forty years ago, an outside
stairway was built from the Mill St. walk to the second
story. The old wooden one was later replaced by the
present open iron-work construction.
That type was satisfactory while the women folk wore
long skirts, and the only objections came from those who
wanted all the outside stairways removed, as they obstructed
the sidewalks.
City after city council tried to have them removed and
in time all disappeared except the one now being torn
down. "There were several reasons why we decided to get
rid of the old landmark, but the chief one is because of
the women's style of dress , " said one of the interested
parties this morning. "Women who are long on modesty
and short skirts simply would not go up those steps .
There is a barber shop with a stairway opening directly
under those stairs, and there were always a number of
men standing about. We think they will now find some
other place more to their liking, for all the attractiveness
of the spot will be gone. "
Austin Herald, July 29, 1929
The pioneer famUy of Jacob S. Decker settled on 320 acres east of
Austin In 1857. In 1930 the land was given to the City of Austin by
E. W. Decker. It Is the site of our municipal airport.
(Harold 1. DCII'isol/ Photo Collection)
Austin has been fortunate in the matter of gifts and
endowments. Among the valued accretions of the city
which have served to enhance its beauty are the YWCA,
given by Mr. and Mrs . George A. Hormel ; the Shaw
BoY-S...--gymnasium, given by the late O. W. Shaw and the
adjoining land, given by the late N. F. Banfield; Dreisner
Park, given by Marcus Dreisner; Lafayette Park, given
by Mr. and Mrs . Thomas Beatty, E. G. Tompkins and
Lafayette French; Galloway's Park, former site of the
University of Southern Minnesota; Horace Austin State
Park, formed from land given to the State by former residents
of the city; the peninsula extending into the park,
given by George A. Hormel and Co. ; the boy scout camp
at Waseca, by E. A. Everett of Waseca, and camp
buildings by Mr. and Mrs. George A. Hormel ; the
Carnegie library, made possible through the donation of
Andrew Carnegie.
Now comes the gift of an airport by E. W. Decker of
Minneapolis, as a memorial to his father and mother,
Mr. and Mrs . Jacob S. Decker, pioneer residents of this
Herald editorial. May 2. 1930
A vexing problem is settled with the announcement of
the Albert Lea census. The population of the sister city is
10, 169 and that of Austin is 12,276 . Rochester's population
is 1 3 , 722.
Austin Herald. May 2. 1930
Over 1 ,500 farmers of Mower County gathered this
morning for the annual Farm Bureau picnic, that got
underway at the E. A . Carll farm four miles north of
Austin. Ideal weather and the promise of a varied
program attracted farmers from all sections of the
county. Over 1 , 500 were already assembled by noon
today. Others were still arriving for the afternoon program
of the organization.
The power of the Farm Bureau organization, with the
strength that it has illustrated during the last few years
was emphasized by the speaker, E. W. Tompkins,
secretary of the South Dakota Farm Bureau Federation .
The heavy burden of taxes, and the need of readjustment
was urged by the speaker. "The farmer is being taxed far
beyond his capability or his ability to pay," he said.
Austin Herald. June 20. 1930
Imagine the disappointment of robbers early this
morning who took pains to break into the elevator north
of Lansing and carried away a heavy safe, and worked
laboriously to open its doors, only to be rewarded with a
glimpse of the old , and comparatively worthless records
of the Lansing town board.
1 46
The robbers are believed to h ave broken into the
elevator between 2 and 3 o'clock this morning. They then
entered the section house of the Milwaukee Railroad
near the village, where they secured a ten pound hammer.
The safe in the elevator, that weighs approximately
400 pounds, was carried by the robbers the distance of a
few hundred feed from the elevator. There they used the
stolen hammer to force its doors to yield .
The safe was found this morning at the spot where the
robbers had opened it.
Austin Herald. October 6. 1931
Farmen gather for a foreclosure sale during the days of the
Depression .
A proposal to reduce the taxes of Mower County 20 % ,
by following an economy program was voted at a meeting
of the county Farmers Tax League at Adams, Saturday.
The largest crowd attended since the organization was
started .
Farmers packed to its capacity the Krebsbach Hall in
the village of Adams. It is estimated that the attendance
exceeded 500 members . They discussed the following
economy measures: the reduction of salaries of all county
officials , including the county agent and county nurse;
the temporary elimination of county aid for the county
fair; the practicing ofthe strictest economy matters in all
school , road and all public matters, and the postponement
of all new projects that increases the burden of
A resolution was proposed as follows: "Whereas, the
farmers of Mower County are by now in serious financial
straits, due largely to the low price of the things they have
to sell, and the relatively high price of the things the
farmer has to buy: and whereas the taxes which the
farmer is required to pay have not been reduced to fit the
radically reduced income of the farmer; and whereas the
present and actual situation of the farmer requires a substantial
reduction in taxation if he is to survive the
present economic depression. Therefore, be it resolved ,
that it is hereby demanded that the township, county and
state tax levying units reduce the taxation not less than
20% for the year 193 1 , and each year thereafter, until
such amount of reduction is replaced by taxes on
property, or incomes not now taxed, and by taxes collected
from tax evaders . "
A ustin Herald, March 2, 1931
Following are some of theitems advertised in the
Austin Daily Herald on May 5, 1 932:
The Gamble Store-First line automobile tires - 4
ply - $3 . 18 to $4 . 30. First line - 6 ply tires - $4 .65 to
$7. 93 . Third line tires were as cheap as $ 1 . 79.
Mier Wolf and Sons-Barton electric washer - $59. 50.
3 piece bedroom suite - $49. 50. 8 piece walnut dining
room suite - $29. 50. 2 piece living room suite - $29.50.
Porcelain gas range - $29.50.
The Golden Eagle-Men's suits, formerly $25.00, now
$14.75. Top quality suits and top coats, were $30.00,
now $ 1 6 . 50.
Kasaks Grocery Store-lO Ibs . sugar - 45i; cheese -
16i lb . ; P . & G. soap, 10 bars for 25i ; beef roast - 15i
lb . ; pork chops - 14i lb . ; dairy bacon - 23i lb . ;
oranges - 2 doz. for 33i ; strawberries - 2 quart box -
29i .
Cleveland Hardware-coaster wagon - $2.85; 16"
lawnmowers - $5.85.
Classified advertising-Real Estate - 4 room modern
bungalow - $2,000.00 by C. A. Wseman.
The Swimming Beach, Austin, 1930
The Cedar River has been a very useful stream of
water, particularly for the kids. The grownups have put
it to use also. It has furnished power to grind feed . Ice
from the river was once used to preserve meat and other
food products. Unfortunately, it has also been a trough
used as a drain for untreated wastes. However, for the
kids it has been a place for adventure. Many remember
growing up in close contact with life on the Cedar. Much
of our spare time was spent alongside the river, on the
river, or in its cooling waters .
In the time within my memory, the 1 920s and 1 930s,
the "Beach" was the center for summer bathing. The
Beach was a well sanded area beside the river which is
now the parkng area off North Main St. The sand was
1 47
deep enough so that a kid could burrow into it and keep
cool on a hot summer afternoon.
There were two "pebble-dashed" bath houses, supervised
by young athletic-type individuals. Clothing went
into little wire baskets, handed to an attendant and
stored in shelves in an enclosure.
A wooden pier extended into the river. The diving
tower was placed on the pier, with diving boards at two
levels. We spent time each day trying to perfect our swan
dives and jack-knife diving performances . Also a full
measure of belly flops.
We wore a motley array of swimming garments. Mine
was a blue cotton with orange piping around the arm
holes. It cost 49i, a gift from an uncle who thought it was
about time I got wetted down. The most stylish suits were
two-piece with belted shorts and gym-style top. The older
generation thought they were immodest. I hesitate to
think what their reaction would have been to the modern
swimming attire.
One of the hazardous attractions on the beach was a
high wooden structure, intended to be used for water
sleds. It was used for its intended purpoSe for about one
year after being imported from Beaver Lake near Ellendale,
Minn. For a few years it remained near the river and
young boys tested their climbing skill on it. Eventually it
became a ski slide west of town . Later the Hillcrest golf
course was at that site.
After their dog paddling days the swimmers at the
Beach had about two places they could swim to after they
left wading depths. The first goal for the novice was a
point we called the "rocks. " This was a spot on the west
bank about 50 yeards distant. The next achievement was
the "bridge . " That was probably about 1 50 to 200 yards
north of the Beach. Now the course of the river has been
diverted, but at that time there was a bridge which
crossed the channel . In the 1920s the bridge was for
pedestrians . Then a steel bridge was erected and autos
could proceed along Fox Drive.
That bridge was an off limits challenge to divers .
There was supposed to be some old wooden pilings submerged
in the river depths. This provided the challenge,
so we dove off the bridge on occasion. The floor level of
the bridge was about 10 feet above water level . A minor
challenge. The metal cross beam about 10 feet higher was
a greater challenge, but accomplished frequently. The
epitome of challenges was to go off the top of the bridge.
It was seldom, if ever, done. There was supposed to have
been a boy named Zook who did it, but I am not sure.
Frank Rayman's boathouse was another 75 yards
north of the bridge. He sold candy and pop, but his
prime purpose was to rent boats and canoes. The cost
was 1 5i per hour for rowboats and 25i for canoes. I
could never afford the cost of a canoe, so did not acquire
that skill.
The water in the Cedar was swimable thru June and
July. During the "Dog Days" of August the swimming
area was covered with a green film and the seaweeds
invaded . Then we usually went up river to swim. Overnight
hikes up river were frequent. It was boys who predominated,
so we usually went skinny dipping.
One time we came across a submerged wooden box
with bottles of home brew in it. It tasted so bad that I
have had no craving for beer through the years .
The Cedar River in the Beach area was also a part of
the winter scene. The city provided a large skating area
and it was well used. One of the bath houses became a
warming house. A loudspeaker blared forth music which
was appropriate for the occasion. A string of lights
around the rink accommodated us during the evenings .
Clement weather found the rink very well populated .
There was a slope behind St. Olaf Hospital that was
used for sledding. With a good start we could go out unto
the river ice and keep going for a long way.
It is good that our younger generations will have a new
swimming pool very soon. It is needed and will satisfy our
needs for several years . Riverside Arena also provides the
facility for ice skating. However, I still feel fortunate that
I grew up in a time when Old Man Cedar belonged mostly
to the kids.
Nate Johnson
Construction of pavement on No. 9 highway between
Austin and Albert Lea, and Austin to Spring Valley will
be put under way this fall, it was announced by J. T.
Ellison, chief engineer of the State Highway Department,
St. Paul, Saturday. It will cost approximately
$20,000 per mile to pave the 47. 7 miles between Albert
Lea and Austin, and between Austin and Spring Valley.
The construction of two bridges within this city will cost
about $45,000. (Later this route was redesignated
Highway #16.)
Austin Herald. August 10. 1932
January 1, 1 933-The first child born in 1 933 was
James Catherwood Hormel, son of Mr. and Mrs . J. C .
Hormel . The prizes given b y merchants for the first 1 933
baby were turned over by Mr. and Mrs. Hormel to the
girl scouts for distribution to the needy.
A ustin Herald
A. E. Hoover, Pleasant Valley, farmer, and a first
cousin of President Herbert Hoover, who entered the
national limelight when, with three other farmers, went
to Des Moines to secure a compromise on the foreclosure
of his farm. He had missed one semi-annual payment of
$400 on a $14,000 mortgage, and was faced with eviction
and loss of part of his personal property.
Through a compromise he will be able to remain on
the farm as a renter. Mr. Hoover's father and the president's
father were brothers. Hoover says that he, like the
president, was born in West Branch, Iowa.
Austin Herald. January 19. 1933
Found asleep on the counter of an Austin store, with a
keg of 3 . 2 beer near him, and his pockets filled with nine
cans of sardines ; such was the predicament of a man who
is in jail here today facing a burglary charge.
The keg of beer had been carried from the basement.
When the intruder prepared to leave the building he
apparently found that all the doors were locked so that
they could not be opened from the inside. Previously he
had barricaded the rear door securely so that he would
not be interrupted . Now he found that it would be a difficult
task to remove his own barriers . Tired of his labors ,
he evidently stretched out on the counter to take a nap.
Mrs . Melde came to the cafeteria about 7 :00 Sunday
morning. She unlocked the door leading to the grocery
store, and was surprised to see a man asleep on the order
counter, using the order clerks' pads as a pillow. He was
not disturbed until policeman Hamilton came.
Austin Herald. September 11. 1933
A view of Horace Austin State Park. Monkey cage on right.
A popular notion that peanuts are a monkey's favorite
food was discounted today by Fred Mann, custodian of
the Horace Austin State Park, who explained what is
being fed the five monkeys here. "They like corn and
wheat more than anything else. "
Before they were sent t o Austin, the five monkeys
apparently did not receive the best of care, and they
arrived here thin and hungry. They have been eating
almost constantly since their arrival.
They are African monkeys . Two of them are less than a
year old , while the other three are between one and three
years of age.
Unless people stop annoying the monkeys, it may
become necessary to cover the cage for certain periods of
the day and give the animals a rest. Spectators seem to
expect the monkeys to perform all day long. Some have
resorted to the use of sticks and other methods to keep
the animals in action.
Children seem to have a better understanding as to
how to treat the monkeys .
March 23rd-For the first time in history, an Austin
High School basketball team wins the state championship.
A parade, fireworks and speeches are part of the
celebration here in honoring the team and its 24 year old
coach, Dick Arney.
March 27th-Austin's population is 1 6 , 160 according
to a survey made for the preparation of a city directory. A
strictly corporate population is 1 5 , 106 with 1 ,054 living
in the suburban districts.
March 28th-A project to build homes costing about
$400, and constructed of sectional walls was started here
and is financed by J. C. Hormel .
April 1 6th-Frank Ellis, union business manager, was
taken for a ride after being attacked with a pistol and a
club by an assailant at Ellis's home south of Austin. He
was left on the steps of Naeve Hospital, Albert Lea, after
having been beaten severely.
April 1 9th-A blaze that swept throug the Crane
Lumber Yards, City Feed Store building, and for a time
endangered a considerable section of the city, causes
damage estimated at $ 1 50,000. Crowds watched flames
leap 50 to 75 feet in the air from the lumberyards.
July 1 9th-Rural electrificiation centering on Austin is
included as one of the major projects recommended by
the state planning board.
August 8th-The 1 ,555 Mower County farmers who
applied for 1 935 corn-hog contracts will receive benefits
totaling $267,008, or an average of $171 per contract.
November 4th-Because of the heavy damage, game
warden Herman Baudler starts deporting beaver from
Mower County.
December 22nd-Four persons are killed instantly as
passenger train demolishes automobile. The four, all of
the Taopi community, John Wimmer, Monica Wettstein,
Leo Hughes and William Jordan.
Austin Herald
Austin's last Civil War veteran, Francis Walrod, 96
years and six months old, died at the Old Settler's Home
in Minneapolis this morning at 7 o'clock.
Mr. Walrod could also lay claim to other distinctions .
He lived in Minnesota for 83 years, and was one of the
state's longest residents. He was one of Southern Minnesota's
first settlers.
He was a young man when the Civil War broke out,
and at the age of 24 he enlisted in the First Minnesota
Heavy Artillery, Company B . He served until the close of
the war.
Last Decoration Day Mr. Walrod, who's memory was
unusually accurate for a man of his age, reminisced on
his early experiences. One of his most interesting recollections
was a trip he made with his father in 1854 to a
settlement which later became Austin. He camped here
overnight along the Cedar River. The first settlers came
to Austin in 1853, and when Mr. Walrod saw this community
it consisted of only three shanties near what is
now the Fox Hotel.
Austin Herald, January 29, 1936
(Note: Norwest Bank is now on this location.)
A testimonial dinner o f the lst District B ar Association honoring
Justice Martin A. Nelson. Left to right: Martin A. Nelson, Austin's
Judge S. D. Catherwood, Chief Justice Charles loring, Ex-Chief Justice
Henry GaUagher, Justice C. R. Murphy, Justice Julius J. Olson, Justice
Harry A. Peterson, Justice Luther W. Youngdahl, Justice Thomas
GaUagher and Judge J. D. Meighan.
Martin A . Nelson closed his campaign for governor
before an enthusiastic crowd in the Armory here Saturday
night. He offered voters the alternative of "good
liberal government under Republican administration or
the panaceas and the extravagances of the Farm-Labor
party leaders. "
Spontaneous applause punctuated the remarks of the
Republican gubernatorial candidate, who spoke in an
Armory appropriately decorated with banners and
(Three days later Martin Nelson, Austin, was defeated
by Elmer Benson for the governorship of Minnesota. On
the same date Franklin D. Roosevelt overwhelmed
Alfred Landon, the Kansas governor, who had opposed
him in the presidential election.)
A us tin Herald, November 2, 1936
The name of Austin will be heard all over the world
late this summer, when the 1 ,000 watt amateur radio
station, W9TPZ, now under construction, goes on the
The powerful station is the project of Pete Hanna and
Herb Ferris, both well known local radio men. The
station house has been constructed in the open field on
the Hanna farm south of town, and a 55 foot tower is
being built on the site. A rotable antenna will surmount
the tower.
There are only two other 1 ,000 watt amateur stations
in Minnesota; one in Minneapolis and one in Duluth.
Present plans call for the opening of the station as soon
as rural electrification lines reach the Hanna farm . This
should be sometime early in August.
Austin Herald. May 22. 1937
City Sets Example for Entire Nation
Austin stepped up the longest strides of its building
history to end 1 937 with a remarkable achievement-the
construction of 1 90 new homes. This equals the former
homebuilding peak set in 1935.
Behind these 1 90 homes lies a backlog of successive
years of big building, and it is a new high point in
something that has been going on for years . To show how
stable construction has been, one need only turn back to
1936 when 150 new homes were built, and 1 935 when the
city saw 1 90 new residences, or 1 934 when 1 12 houses
were erected .
The value of these 1 90 homes could be conservatively
valued at $570,000. This is on an average of $3,000 per
home. There were quite a few homes that were
constructed for less than $3,000, but this could be easily
upset by many homes whose prices ranged all the way
from $4 ,000 to $ 10,000 and up.
(All 1 90 homes were pictured individually in the
special home building section of the Herald .)
Austin Herald. December 31. 1937
Waldo Lamb who served in the Union Army before he
had reached his 16th birthday, died yesterday at the
home of his daughter, Mrs . A. G. Anderson, Brownsdale
village . His most cherished memory was the time in
Washington when he shook hands with Lincoln . He also
enjoyed recalling how in 1864 he cast his vote for Abraham
Lincoln for president. He had not then obtained his
majority, but was permitted to vote because he was a
A resident of Mower County for more than 70 years ,
Mr. Lamb could remember the time when the communities
of Austin, Brownsdale and Lansing were all approximately
the same size.
He was the youngest member of the GAR in Mower
A ustin Herald. February 10. 1938
Actual value ofthe homes in the Austin Acres is far below
what it cost the government to build them , it was
learned here today after the Federal Farm Security Administration
had submitted tentative prices for purchase
1 50
to the homesteaders. It is understood that the actual value
of the property will probably be not much more than half
of what the federal government spent on the project.
The total cost of the Austin Acres project, including 44
homes and community facilities , has been given as
$214,000 by the Farm Security Administration, Washington.
This would be an average expenditure of $4,860 per
home. It was understood today that the actual value of the
average home will not be more than $2,500.
Prices to be charged the individual homesteaders will be
based on the appraised value of the property, with the
appraisal of three Austin men as a basis.
Meanwhile, preparations are going forward to set up a
non-profit corporation of homesteaders , which will take
over from the government operation of the project .
Austin Herald. October 22. 1938
Four "Cream Can" bandits, who had pleaded guilty to
attempted robbery of the State Bank of Sargeant, were
today sentenced to 18 years each in a federal penitentiary
by Judge George F. Sullivan in the federal court in St.
The men , William Rigby, Walter Morneau , Virgil
Dollimer and Edward Mrozik, members of a notorious
gang that was broken up by Mower County peace officers
when trapped in the Sargeant bank on May 17th , were
subject to maximum terms of 20 years.
"Men of this type should be removed from preying
upon society, " the judge commented .
The attempted burglary at the Sargeant bank took
place early in the morning on May 1 7th. Deputy Sheriff
Lon Enochson and Austin policemen Maynard Pratt,
Albert Fuller and Elton Smith were notified by telephone
of the robbery and sped to Sargeant.
Trapped in the bank, the bandits came out shooting.
The officers and the robbers emptied their guns. Rigby
and Morneau , both wounded, were captured not far
from the bank. Two days later, Dollimer, weak from lack
of food and bleeding wounds, was arrested near Pratt,
Minnesota by Sheriff Ted Halvoston of Steele County.
Mrozik was taken by F . B . I . agents on July 1 1th at a
cabin on Lake Vabnias, Ramsey County.
The gunfight and breakup of the bandit gang at Sargeant
was perhaps the most sensational capture in the
history of Mower County. For a year the men had raided
banks and post offices in Minnesota and other northwest
states, and were objects of an extensive hunt by federal
agents , postal inspectors , crime bureaus and sheriffs .
They used cream cans filled with water to keep paper
money from burning whHe burglarizing safes. That was
why they were called "creatp. can" bandits.
Austin Herald. October 27. 1939
Machinerv for the conscription of Mower County men
for training in the government armed services is already
being set up here, it was revealed today.
County Auditor C. M. Hubbard, Probate Judge Carl
Baudler, and Clerk of Court L. A. Sherman have been
requested by Governor Harold Stassen to recommend
men well qualified to serve on the local draft board. The
duty of the board will be to determine the status of all
men drafted.
The men, the government said, should have these
qualifications: reputable highly respected citizens ; over
40 years of age; men with fam ily; men with knowledge of
the prod uctivity of the county; and it is preferable that
they be men not holding public office or otherwise
engaged in public activity.
The governor asked that they recommend not less than
six men fo r consideration and appointment on the draft
board .
A ustin Herald, August 19, 1940
Austin area fa rmers threw a party last night. Austin
was their guest. It was the 3rd annual Appreciation
Night at the Austin High School Auditoriu m.
About 1,500 swarmed into the auditorium last night
fo r an evening of entertainment and speechmaking. This
was evidence of what Park Dougherty, representing
business, called a new relationship between rural and
urban fo lks.
"In the old horse and buggy days ," Dougherty said,
"The farm and city relationship was purely a business
proposition. Today, with the new mode of life, there is a
new relationship. We are all neighbors . Each of us knows
the other's misfortune . Our pros perity is linked . We are
bound by a firm fr iendship."
Myron Aultfather spoke for the fa rmers at the event,
and bid the Austin guests welcome. "Farmers in the
"We fe ar our village of Brownsdale will acquire an
unenviable reputation fo r rowing. The black ey es and
broken noses of one week are not given time to heal
befo re the next week furnishes new victims.
"L ast week Will Day of Austin and Robert Norris of
this place had a dispute about a bill claimed by Norris to
be due him. They proceeded, in what has become the
fa shion these days, to punch it out of each others ' noses.
"Both, we understand, were considera bly worsted,
and we don 't suppose that the disputed bill is a bit larger
in the ey es of the one, or a bit smaller in the ey es of the
other, than it was before.
M. l. Weiser, correspondent to the
Austin Register, 1876
Austin area," he said, "are just plain lucky to live near
Austin and to have the cooperation they enjoy . You
Austin people are usually the host to us . This is our
effort, and we hope you have a good time ," Mr.
Aultfather said .
Austin Herald, Fe bruary 7, 1941
A large crowd gave Company H an affectionate and
rounding send- off at the Milwaukee Depot here last
night, as the National Guardsmen under command of
Captain R. R. Roach entrained for Camp Claibourne,
Louisiana for a year or more in the army.
More than 3000 persons either visited the armory, saw
the troops as they marched to the depot with fl ags flying
and bands playing, or jammed the platform at the railroad
station to wave a final farewell.
It was more than just the departure of 86 men and 4
officers fo r training at camp. From the answering of
roll-call in the armory to the time the train rolled fr om
the station there was the color of a more serious objective
than peacetime training. An Owatonna guardsman,
leaning from an open window, shouted , "We'll get Hitler
for you"!
Crowds lined the street all the way from the armory to
the depot, as the guardsmen marched , accompanied by
members of the American Legion and Veterans of
Foreign Wars, who almost 24 years ago were given a
similar fa rewell when they left for duty in the First World
Wives, sweethearts, parents and fr iends remained as
near to the tracks as possible, and the platform was a
solid mass of people. There were some moist eyes and
display of handkerchiefs. However , for the most part it
was a cheerful crowd , and most of the tearful leavetakings
and final embraces had occurred earlier in the
privacy of homes. It had been arranged that way.
Austin Herald, Fe bruary 26, 1941
May 22, 1861- "A llen Mollis on, one of our very best
young men, started on Monday last fo r Faribault to volunteer,
under the three year, or during the war, call of the
President. Allen is a steady, temperate moral young
man, and has the ground work fo r the ma king of a good
soldier. Should his company ever be called upon to do
any fi ghting we have no doubt but that Allen will acquit
himself' to the entire satisfaction of his many friends. A
subscrip tion was started about nine o'clock on Sabbath
evening, at the Hotel, and a very liberal donation given
him fo r 'pin money. ' ..
Min nesota Courier
City Government-Austin
In 1868 the Village of Austin set up a municipal
government with a mayor and three aldermen. The
administration of that first village council 1 16 years ago
was in the hands of Mayor G . M . Cameron and aldermen
B. J. Valkenburgh , J. B. Yates and Jacob Johnson.
In 1871 the village charter was changed . The office of
mayor was abolished and the number of aldermen was
increased to six. These aldermen then chose one of their
members to serve as council president. The six aldermen
represented the three wards of the village. For the first
time the election was held in each ward . Formerly,
aldermen were elected at large.
In 1873 the municipality became a city and the
governing body took the name of "city council. " That
same year the charter was amended to give each ward
three aldermen.
In 1876 the office of mayor was restored and the
number of aldermen reduced to two from each of the
three wards . The term of office for aldermen was
increased to two years . Three aldermen were to be
elected every other year.
In 1887 the new charter provided for an alderman-atlarge
and election of one alderman from each ward .
Another new charter in 1 904 established the biennial
election system with a complete change ofthe city council
made every two years . The present system of mayor,
alderman-at-large and two aldermen from each of the
three wards was also adopted .
City Administration BuDding, Austin
Mayors of Austin
G. M . Cameron, 1868; W. L. Austin, 1869; and J . F.
Cook, 1870.
In 187 1 , by amendment of the village charter, the
office of mayor was abolished and the number of aldermen
were increased from three to six. The six aldermen
then chose one of their members to serve as council
Sylvester Smith, council president, 187 1 ; G. G .
Clemmer, council president, 1872; and D . B . Smith ,
council president, 1873 to 1875.
1 52
In 1876, the office of mayor was restored and the
number of aldermen reduced to two from each of the
three wards .
P. O. French 187677 J . H. Anderson 191618
E. C . Dorr 1877-78 George Hirsh 1 91820
E. C . Dorr 188185 George Hirsh 1 92224
E. P. Van W. D . Owen 192426
Valkenburgh 187879 E. B. Carter 192630
H. B . Gall 187981 Jacob Becker 193032
Lafayette French 188588 Jacob Becker 193842
O. W. Gibson 188891 Harry Poll 1932 to April 1933
C. H. Johnson 1891 94 H. J. Marcusen April 193338
C. H. Johnson 189596 Tony Rockne 194248
C. H. Johnson 190203 Merril Rolfson 194854
Lyman D. Baird 189495 C. R. "Baldy" Hansen 195462
F. I. Crane 189699 Roger Svejkovsky 196264
Alex S. Campbell 189901 Fayette Sherman 196468
Alex S. Campbell 191012 Robert Enright 1968 70
C. L. West 190102 Robert Enright 197583
C. F . Cook 190306 Leo Reding 1970 75
George Sutton 190610 Tom Kough 1983
A. C . Page 191216
Aldermen Who Have Served Since 1940
Claude Moore 1940-42 Sid Russell 1962 75
Roy Roach 1940-41 Ray Bates 196266
Oliver Nasby 1940-48 Lowell Einhaus 196480
Vern Cullen 1940-43 Norbert Schmitt 196674
Frank Peck 1940-49 Tom Kough (1966 70
Tony Rockne 1940-42 (198183
Wm. J . Enright 194054 Leo Reding 196870
Ralph Haydon 1941 46 Ken Kellogg 196872
Bob Shaw 194250 Gary Nemitz 197081
John Jennings 1942-46 William Deblon (1 970 75
Andrew Anhorn 194350 (197781
" Doc" Cook 1946-47 Bob Bateman 197273
David Neiswanger 1946-48 George Boyenga 197377
Chet Bowers 1947-48 Tom Nelson 197577
Race Crane 1948-49 M. J. "Si"
Robert Babcock 194851 Simonson 197577
George Dugan 194858 Robert Dahlback (197579
Herald J. Williams 194951 1983
Ernie Diederich 194966 Howard Jenkin 1975 79
Irwin Johnson 195060 Ken Fossey 1977-79
Fred Coleman 195055 Donna Robbins 1977
Erling Runquist 1951 54 Jim Flannery 197981
Wayne Austin 1951 54 Louis Anthonisen 197983
Jerry Lund 195460 Mike Enfield 197982
Ernie Jacob 195460 Peter Grover 198 1
Charles Jones 195556 Don Sorenson 198183
George Weiss 195662 Bryan Toney 198 1
Rudy Nelson 195862 Harry Willmott 198283
Denver Daily 196068 Gerald Henricks 1983
Art Vogel 196075 Richard Pacholl 1983
Robert Enright 196068 Chet Nelson 1983
1984 Organization Schedule
Members of Common Councll
Tom Kough Mayor
Bob Dahlback Alderman at Large
Gerald Henricks Alderman 1st Ward
Peter Grover Alderman 1st Ward
Donna Robbins Alderman 2nd Ward
Richard Pacholl Alderman 2nd Ward
Bryan Tony Alderman 3rd Ward
Chester Nelson Alderman 3rd Ward
City Officials
Darrell Stacy
Kristie Busse
Richard Benzkofer
Kermit Hoversten
Richard Murphy
Dan Miller
Donald Hoffman
Daryl Franklin
City Administrator
Asst. City Administrator
City Recorder
City Attorney
City Engineer
Fire Chief
Chief of Police
City-County Planner
Members of Standing Committees
Finance and Federal Funding
Streets, Sidewalks, Curbs, Highways
Ordinance, Health
Fire Department, Public Safety
Park and Recreation
Airport, Light, Water, Railroads
Sewage Treatment Plant - Sewers
ot ham; Wranglers@ smoked franks; Di Lusso@ genoa; Range Brand@ bacon, plus
many other products marketed under the familiar Hormel@ brand name.
The Daughters of the American Revolution is a National
Society which was incorporated by an act of
Congress on December 2, 1895. The local chapter of the
National Society D . A . R . is named Red Cedar, and was
organized May 3 1 , 1 921 .
Clara Ober was the first Regent and Helen Vance the
first S ecretary. Other charter members were: Florence
Avery, Lila Baird, Alice Bemis, Gertrude Catherwood,
Julia Cook, Sarah Gilmore, Harriet Hardy, Laura Hurlburt,
Marion Jenks and Rose Sasse.
The Red Cedar chapter has been faithful in promoting
and contributing to the three objectives of the National
D . A . R . These objectives are; historical, educational and
Red Cedar aids in the maintenance of the three DAR
owned schools, Jamase in South Carolina, K ate Duncan
Smith in Alabama, and St. Mary's School for Indian
girls in South Dakota. We share annually in the maintenance
of Sibley House, which was obtained by the
Minnesota DAR. The house was restored and opened to
the public as a museum in 1 910. In 1937 Minnesota
DAR obtained the nearby Fairbault House as a museum .
Locally, in 1 922 a bronze plaque was placed o n the
post office in memory of Mower County World War I
veterans . After the post office was torn down the plaque
was placed on display in the Mower County Historical
In 1 929 Red Cedar Chapter planted a memorial grove
of sixty-four elm trees at Todd Park. Also they placed a
bronze marker on a large native boulder nearby which
lists the names of the Mower County men who gave their
lives in World War I . Most of the trees have been
removed due to the elm disease, and a ball park has
replaced the trees. The marker is still there near the
middle entrance on the west side of Todd Park.
Flag Day, June 14, 1 936, a flag and flag pole were
dedicated and presented to the City of Austin.
In 1 946 three Red Cedar trees were planted near the
river in Horace Austin State Park. In April 1 959, when
the Hotel-Motel Corporation purchased that part of the
state park, the trees were moved just south of the present
Country Kitchen.
In 1 977 an ash tree was planted near the courthouse
dome at the fairgrounds, and the next year a sunburst
locust was planted near the Historical Building.
The requirements for membership are that an individual
be a proven descendant of a person who aided the
American cause in the American Revolution.
Officers are elected for a two-year term in the local
chapter. Mrs . Maurine Aultfather Goetsch is the
immediate past regent and Mrs . Marie Judd is the regent
by Maurine Goetsch
Zonta International is a service organization of executive
women in business and professions. As leaders in
their communities they devote themselves to civic and
social welfare.
Zonta was-founded in Buffalo, New York on November
8, 1 9 1 9 . The Austin Area Club was organized November
16, 1 950, receiving their charter December 26, 1 950. The
charter members were: Beulah Austin, Alice Bigelow,
Margaret Blomily, Bernadine Brill, Amelia Carlson,
Mae Duffy, Gladys Emerson, Edith Guyor, Rephah
Hirsh, Laura Mae Hockett, Marie Matison, M abel
McCue, Dr. Elizabeth McKenna, Edith Murphy, Jane
Olson, Mabel Olson, Susanne Rademacher, Geraldine
Rasmussen, Alice Riley, Evelyn Staley, Mary Stromer,
Dora Tollefson , Elfrieda Uzlik, Zelda Sommer, Joyce
Stephenson and Beatrice Witt. In 1 982 three charter
members were still active: Rephah Hirsh, Geraldine
Rasmussen and Dora Tollefson.
The purpose of the organization is : (1) to encourage
high ethical standards in business and professions. (2) to
improve the legal, political, economic and professional
status of women. (3) to encourage, promote and
supervise the organization of Zonta Clubs throughout the
world. (4) to increase the service and value of Zonta
Clubs to their respective members and communities . (5)
to promote the broad spirit of good fellowship among
Zontians and Zonta Clubs. (6) to work for the advancement
of understanding, good will and peace through a
world fellowship of executive women in business and
Zonta has an emblem which is a composite of five
Sioux Indian symbols . The name "Zonta" is derived from
the Sioux Indian language and means "Honest or Trustworthy.
Local Zontians have worked together with others of
Zonta International on service projects in cooperation
with National and Worldwide Agencies.
More than two-thirds of the Austin Zonta Club service
gifts remain in Austin. The support has extended to such
groups as: Austin Community College, St. Olaf Hospital,
YWCA , Austin Public Library, Meals on Wheels,
Christian Education Center, Victim's Crisis Center,
Public Broadcasting, American Red Cross, Special Olympics,
Girl Scouts, American Field Service, Minnesota Eye
Clinic, Parenting Resource Center and the annual fireworks
display on Independence Day. Their main project
for earning service money is the annual nut sale. They
also take part in the YWCA craft sale, and have had
several spring style shows.
The Austin Club in 1 982 has fifty-six members. Esther
Plehal, an Austin member, has served as District VII
Governor and Florence Vogel as District Secretary. The
district encompasses seven midwestern states and two
provinces in Canada.
by Gerry Oswald
198283 0mcen
Left to right: Mn. Stephen (Shirley) Wright, Roger Bllese, Mn.
Robert (Beverlee) Stephenson and Robert Guy.
The Austin Cotillion Club was organized in December
of 1919 according to the first by-laws written, however,
they were not signed , so it is not known who started the
club or who the first officers were. The earliest records
available are from Nov. 6, 1923 with 35 couples belonging,
who are as follows: Mr. & Mrs . W. E. Albertson,
Mr. & Mrs . Oscar Albertson, Mr. & Mrs . George
Anderson, Mr. & Mrs. John Anderson, Mr. & Mrs.
M. D. Boswell , Mr. & Mrs . O. J. Bucklin, Mr. & Mrs.
C. D. Bigelow , Mr. & Mrs. E. W. Corey, Mr. & Mrs.
W. M. Crane, Mr. & Mrs. V. S. Culver , Mr. & Mrs .
Bliss Cleveland, Mr. & Mrs. John Detwiler, Mr. & Mrs.
Joseph Dodd, Mr. & Mrs . Leonard Decker, Mr. & Mrs .
Charles Errett, Mr. & Mrs. E . D. Fox, Mr. & Mrs . Jay
Hawkins, Mr. & Mrs. George A. Hormel, Mr. & Mrs. E.
W. Hoffman, Mr. & Mrs. Carl Jones , Mr. & Mrs.
A. E. Johnson, Mr. & Mrs. Tom James , Mr. & Mrs.
Spencer Jordan, Mr. & Mrs. Paul Knopf, Mr. & Mrs .
E . A. Meyer, Mr. & Mrs . J. L . Mitchell, Mr. & Mrs .
Martin Nelson, Mr. & Mrs. J. W. Nicholsen, Mr. & Mrs .
Fred Rayman, Mr. & Mrs. J. Z. Rogers , Mr. & Mrs.
F. G. Sasse, A. M . Smith & Mrs. Kolb , Mr. & Mrs .
R. A. Woodward , Mr. & Mrs. F. L. Williams, Mr. &
Mrs. H. W . Hurlbut, Mr. & Mrs. W. N . Sinclair.
The purpose of the Cotillion Club was strictly social
with dinner and dancing. A couple was able to join by
invitation only with 100 % approval by the membership
committee. Records were vague as to where the events
were held , but it did vary from the K-C Hall on 2nd Ave.
NW, Elk Hotel, Harrington Hotel, and sometimes the
YWCA. Later the parties were held at the Elks Club
Rooms which were upstairs over what is now the
Sherwin-Williams Paint Store, 204 - 1st St. NE. The
committee for each dance was made up of women who
did all the cooking except for meat and gravy which was
cooked by either the Peoples Bakery, Austin Bakery, or
Federal Bakery. Occasionally the records mentioned the
bands that provided the dance music namely; the Fisch
Band, Jolly Miller Band , and the Red Walsh Band by
1 937. The club delighted in having costume parties,
formal dress dances and sometimes picnics at a member's
By 1 955 changes began to take place in locations and
in the by-laws . The membership was increased to 50
couples with the dinner-dances being held at the new
Elks Club on 1 st Ave. and N. Main St. and at the Austin
Country Club, but now the Clubs cooked the meals with
the committee making the dessert. Charge for meals in
the 1920's was $ 1 . 00 a plate compared to $7.50 to $ 10 . 00
a plate in 1983. In 1 960 some of the dances were held at
the new Red Cedar Inn, Austin's only new hotel in many
many years. Then back to the Elks Club and the Austin
Country Club. Todays most popular bands are the
Rhythm Section, Rollo Sissel and the Dixielanders.
The women held the office of President and Secretary,
while the men handled the office of Vice President and
Treasurer. Today 33 couples belong and pay annual dues
of $25.00 which pays for the band. Dinner usually ranges
around $ 1 5.00 a couple with 5 to 6 dances a year.
The 1982-83 officers are: President Mrs. Robert
Stephenson, Vice President Rodger Bliese, Secretary
Mrs. Stephen Wright and Treasurer Robert Guy.
An interesting note is that the 1 982-83 president,
secretary and treasurer all were born and grew up in
Austin, M N .
I t i s a most unique social club i n that i t has been active
longer than any other social club in the area-from
1919 to 1 984 without a break.
Several women met at the Austin Y.W.C.A. in September,
1 96 1 , in response to an invitation by Mrs .
Harold Umhoefer, District President ofthe Federation of
Women's Clubs, to explore the possibility of organizing a
new club in Austin. After several organizational
meetings, the women decided to file an application for a
charter to be known as the Austin Federated Women's
The first officers were: President, Mrs . Don Kofron;
Vice President, Mrs. Richard Lembrick; Secretary, Mrs.
D. L. Vanderhaar; Treasurer, Mrs . W. Kirchdoerfer.
Some other early members were Mrs. John Trollen, Mrs.
Merlin Vanderwege and Mrs. Richard Saterbo.
Although the original purpose of the club had been to
foster personal growth through the study of the humanities,
as membership grew, the club began to use comunity
resources for programs and extended thetr
interests into community service. They have raised funds
through sales sponsored by the State Federation and by
rummage sales and have assisted in such community '
projects as the Hormel Nature Center , the Artist in
Residence, and Foreign Student Aid Scholarships.
The foIIowing women have served as club president:
Mrs. Don Kofron, Mrs . Richard Le mbrick, Mrs.
W. Kirchdoerfer, Mrs. Richard AIley, Mrs . Marvin
Braends , Mrs. James Mittun, Mrs. Rudy Nelson, Mrs .
Richard Saterbo, Mrs. Arnold Brustad, Mrs. John Crist,
Mrs. Robert Boomgard, Mrs . Robert Hartle and Mrs .
Orner Wangen .
by Florence Petersen
Honors Dinner, Apr1l 2, 1982
Members of A.R.C. active for 30 years
Left to right: Robert McCloskey, Margaret Ann McCloskey, Kay
LIvermore , James LIvermore, Phyllis Torgrlmson, Florence Peterson,
Clarence Peterson.
The Association for Retarded Citizens, Mower
County, was organized about thirty years ago. It was
then caIled the Austin Association for the MentaIIy Retarded
. A group of our children were retarded , but trainable.
We, the parents, gathered at the courthouse for our
first meeting.
We had advice and assistance from Harold Mickelson,
the county welfare director, and also Francis Hanson,
our first public school psychologist.
At this time there was very little help available for the
mentaIly retarded children. There were large state institutions
or a few private homes, if parents could not keep
them home. Only those who were considered educable
were ad mitted to schools.
The Austin Public Schools did have several special
education classes for the educable retarded. They
included those whose IQ's ranged fr om fifty to eighty.
We had two retarded sons who were in these classes
fr om 1947- 1951 . In the fa Il of 1951 they, along with
several other children were put out of these classes because
they were tested below fifty IQ.
The State Legislators of Minnesota had passed a
ruling that schools could have classes for the trainable
retarded . We were encouraged to form a parents group
and a class here in our schools.
Clarence and Florence Petersen, Anna Swanson, Ted
and Lois Haack were the instigators. We caIIed parents
and put a notice in the Herald. We called a meeting at
the courthouse in March, 1952. There were thirty-five
parents at our first meeting. Our children were of school
Oak Grove ActivIty Center
age, but few had ever been given an opportunity to go to
school. At this first meeting, Florence Petersen was
elected president; Bea Jorgensen, vice-president; Marie
Precht, secretary; Jim Livermore, treasurer.
Our first task was to ask the school board to start a
class fo r the trainable retarded with IQ's below fifty . We
had a very compassionate school board . The Superintendent
of Schools was Leif Harbo, and board members
were Brooks Cutter, Roy Tedrow, Dr. Peter Lommen
Sr. , Mrs. Myrtle Grise, Kleo Gildner and Harold
Westby, chairman.
Our first class of pupils, age six to fifteen, was
held in the St. Olaf Parish House. We had fifteen children,
so we ran two half-day classes . The fol lowing year,
with a reduced attendance, we had eight pupils in allday
sessions .
In 1953 a new fa cility was provided . Our Austin
Activity Center was started in the abandoned Woodson
School. We were allowed use of the building rent fr ee.
The twelve pupils were taught by their mothers.
In 1957 the rural Oak Grove School became available.
We accepted the opportunity to purchase the school for
the amount due on the mortgage, $10,500.00. Funds for
the project were raised by sponsored events, such as
Luther CoIlege Band and Choir concerts; a circus and
sale of Christmas cards. Additional monies were received
fr om the United Way and from clubs, churches and individuals.
The Oak Grove School building was burned down by
an arsonist in 1965. The construction of our present
building was made possible through a bequest in the
amount of $28,000 .00 from the Cena Wiggins estate,
through community contributions and from fu nds received
from the insurance on the building which was
destroyed. This building serves forty-five handicapped
individuals. It is supported with state funds. An open
house was held October 6, 1966, with Governor Karl
Rolvaag as a special guest.
Our organization is now called the Association for
Retarded Citizens, Mower County. We are affiliated with
the state and national associations, and receive funds
from the United Way, from fund raising projects and
from groups which occasionally use the building. We
sponsor a track and field day for our retarded citizens .
Some were given funds to attend conventions. There is an
annual prom. We also send about twenty-five to camp
each summer.
Officers in 1 982 were: Keith Downing, president; Joan
Worlein, vice president; Dean Fuller, treasurer; Carol
Fritze, secretary.
Our efforts at present are to continue the services now
available to our retarded citizens. We assist them to live
in their communities, to function at their greatest
capacities and to live as normally as possible.
Art and Travel Club
Past Presidents pictured In October 1968
Front, left to right: Mrs. JuUa Baudler, Mrs. Glenn Nelson, Miss
Mabel Olson. Back: Mrs. Geraldine Rasmussen, Mrs. V. Engelson,
Mrs. H. Kannady, Mrs. W. Campbell, Mrs. O. D. Bowlby.
The Art and Travel Club is a cultural club. The chief
purpose is to enlighten the members on art and travel
In the beginning of the Twentieth Century, to be exact
in 1903, a small group of women banded together at the
home of Miss Elizabeth Hormel to organize a club to
study the arts . Miss Hormel was made president, and the
club was named "The Arts Club . " Several years later it
was renamed the "Art and Travel Club . " Eight women
joined to enhance their lives and that of other women in
the community, and they were: Miss Elizabeth Hormel,
Mrs . S. S. Washburn, Mrs . F. O. Hall, Mrs. L. D.
Baird, Mrs . Wm . Earl, Mrs. Ida Smith Decker, Mrs .
H. A . Avery and Mrs. Grace Baird Detwiler.
The Club met at members' homes, and light refreshments
were served . Each member was given a topic to
present. Sometimes three or four papers would be given
at a single meeting. Dues were fifteen cents a year, later
raised to twenty-five cents a year, and today it is six
dollars a year. This includes a printed program booklet.
Miss Elizabeth Hormel was a sister to George Hormel.
When George and his wife moved to California, their
home was given to be used by the Y.W.C.A. Women's
clubs, and the Girl Scouts. The Art and Travel Club
welcomed this as a meeting place, allowing them to in-
crease their membership. This year there are thirtyseven
active, two associate and four honorary members .
They meet from September through May on the third
Tuesday of the month .
In 1910 the club joined the General Federation of
Women's Clubs and were members for twenty years .
They discontinued affiliation in 1 930 to devote more time
and money to their own club's programs.
Some programs are given by members, foreign exchange
students, educators, business, professional
people and travelers. In this way we visit Brazil, Africa,
China, Europe, Mexico and Alaska. We have field trips
to the Mower County Museum, Fairgrounds, Hormel
Nature Center, etc. We study porcelain paintings ,
churches of the world, genealogy, early fashions, women
physicians, Minnesota State Parks, and have various
other programs.
The proper attire for women when this club was
founded were bustles and bows and women always wore
hats and gloves . Ermine stoles and otter or seal sacques
were also popular. Today the mode of dress is
unrestricted .
The members are proud and pleased with their club
and enjoy the carefully planned programs and friendship
of this cultural association. This year, 1982, marks
seventy-nine years in existence and may it continue many
more years in the future!
Memorials have been given to the library and the
Y.W.C.A. in memory of deceased members.
The present President is the Fifty-fifth President to
serve. Past Presidents are as follows :
Miss Elizabeth Hormel
Mrs. 1. Avery
Mrs. R. E. Shepard
Mrs. John Hormel
Mrs. Carlton Fairbanks
Mrs. L. D. Baird
Mrs. J. H. Skinner
Mrs. F. E. Knopf
Mrs. P. H. Friend
Mrs. A. W. Wright
Mrs. Lulu Hendryx
Miss Ann Merrick
Mrs. F. G. Sasse
Mrs. R. R. Murphy
Mrs. C. A. Hegge
Mrs. F. O. Hall
Mrs. Swisher
Mrs. E. H. Meyers
Mrs. W. S. Johnson
Mrs. C. D. Bigelow
Mrs. Eunice Rice
Mrs. Reginald Coleman
Mrs. Cora Baudler
Mrs. E . W. B uggell
Mrs. W. B. Grise
Mrs. Henry Weber
Mrs. H. E. Rasmussen
Mrs. H. V. Plunkett
Mrs. E. Schuttee
Mrs. Kenneth Rosenthal
Miss Elizabeth Gill
Mrs. A. W. Johnson
Mrs. P . O. Lees
Mrs. D . L. Warren
Mrs. Harold Umhoefer
Mrs. W m . Campbell
Mrs. Glen Nelson
Mrs. O. W. Bowlby
Mrs. E. G. Anderson
Mrs. Melvin Hauge
Mrs. Harold Kannady
Mrs. Victor Engleson
Miss Mabel Olson Mrs. Paul Helm
Mrs. Edward Hryniewiecki Mrs. Leland Engen
Mrs. J. M. Pugh Mrs. Lowell Johnson
Mrs. Anna Moore Mrs. Harvey Goetsch
Mrs. Nina Hartje is serving as the present President.
"We Care" is a support group for divorced , separated
and widowed people. These people share their stories
and gain strength from each other.
"We Care" in Austin is part of a state-wide organization
which was begun in Minneapolis in 1 970. There are
fifteen centers in the Twin Cities , and one each in Red
Wing, Rochester, Albert Lea and Austin.
Austin's " We Care" center held their initial meetings
in 1 98 1 . The organizers were: Billie Thomson, Cathy
Johnson and Pastor Phil Formo.
"We Care" is under the umbrella organization ,
"Fellowship for Renewed Living." The group meets each
Thursday at 7 : 00 p . m .
By M ay 18, 1 922, fifty men of Austin had signed up as
prospective members of a Kiwanis Club in Austin. On
that date the club was officially launched at the Young
Women's Christian Association's club room . James
Bramham presided. The main business was to set weekly
meetings at 1 2 : 04 P . M . on Wednesdays .
The C harter Day celebration was July 1 2 , 1 922. It was
a big d ay in Austin. The club had been meeting regularly
the past two months, and they were now ready for their
official b aptism, the awarding of the charter.
One hundred visitors came to Austin from out-of-town
Kiwanis clubs. The program included a tour of the city,
trip through the Hormel packing house, and a 6 : 30 banquet
and charter presentation at the Country Club .
As the newly elected first president, James Bramham
defined the clubs goals. He said, " It is the purpose of the
Austin Kiwanis Club to map out a definite program of
work with some worthwhile objectives, and accomplish
one goal at a time in our effort to promote the welfare of
Austin and its citizens . "
The next evening the Austin Herald devoted two
columns on the front page to describe the new Kiwanis
Club's celebration. Sixty-five charter members were
listed by name and occupation.
The Austin Kiwanians had a special enthusiasm in
1 928. One of their members, Rev. D. R. Martin, had a
son who achieved national prominence in the Boy Scouts
of America. The club was instrumental in helping the
young scout through their backing of his endeavor.
On the basis of a national competition, David Martin
Jr. was chosen to be one of three scouts who would
accompany explorers Martin and Osa Johnson on an
expedition to Nairobi, British East Africa.
Prior to David' s jaunt to Africa he was the guest of
honor at a Kiwanis Club meeting. He was introduced as
"Lindbergh the Second . "
On his return David joined with the other two scouts in
writing a book telling of their adventures. "Three Boy
Scouts in Africa" competed successfully with the
fictional hero stories of that time.
New rest rooms for the Mower County courthouse
basement was the Kiwanians' project for 1 93 1 . The club
petitioned the Mower County Board and the Austin City
Council, requesting renovation of restrooms which were
"not suitable . " By the end of the year the renovations
had been completed.
The club was holding regular meetings in the Fox
Hotel. A . C. Richardson was president; Dr. P. A .
Lommen, vice president; George Ewoldt, treasurer and
C. C. Terry, secretary.
For four years the Austin Kiwanians had been working
for a new swimming pool for the city. The need was there
because of the conviction that, "the river was not
sanitary to swim in. " The opening of the new $60,000
swimming pool in 1 939 reflected the completion of the
club's efforts.
The Austin Kiwanis Club was 2S years old in 1 947.
The master of ceremonies, whom we were unable to identify,
said, " It has taken years of hard work to make this
club one of the best. Going through the records we find
that the activities which have been engaged in would fill
volumes. Boys and girls, and underprivileged children
have been our chief interest. Many dollars have gone to
these activities , raised by kittenball games and our Mile
of Pennies fund. "
Charter Members Honored In 1947
Described as "probably the handsomest men In our fair city," 9
charter memhers of the Austin Kiwanis Club were given recognition at
their club's 25th anniversary banquet.
Front, left to right: Dr. P. A. Lommen, Attomey A. C. Richardson,
F. H. McCulloch and Dr. John Havens. Back: Henry Drost, F. L. Liebensteln,
Bliss Cleveland, Dr. F. L. Rayman, John Mayer and C. C.
Terry. All were charter members except John Mayer, who was the club
president In 1947.
The club put on a city-wide contest in December to
collect funds for the Salvation Army Christmas Fund.
They also assisted the Salvation Army in the salvage of
clothing and household goods for a burned-out family.
The agriculture committee bid and bought a baby beef
in the 4-H Club auction. They gave a good price to a
young farm girl who had some hard luck in raising her
Bryan Baudler noted that a check of the records for
the past 50 years showed that the Austin Kiwanians had
contributed an average of $ 1 ,000 annually to benevolences
. Money had been earned by auctions, peanut
sales, petunia sales, gumball machines and the Mile of
Pennies cans.
In April the board of directors authorized the
purchase of 50 trees to be planted at the Hormel Arboratum.
Carroll Plager, the 50th Anniversary committee
chairman, recruited men to do the planting.
1983-84 omcers
Left to right: Malcolm McDonald, 2nd vice president; Donald
Jensen, president; Joseph Collins, 1st vice president.
The Kiwanis Club found a novel new project. They
began the distribution and sales of a winter survival kit.
The kit was being, and still is, assembled by the Cedar
Valley Workshop, Austin.
The survival kit contains items such as "space brand"
emergency blanket, Ray-a-V AC disposable flashlight,
aluminum cup, stove, two lO-hour-rated candles, a vial
of "strike anywhere" matches, individual servings of
broth , coffee, tea, hot cocoa and breakfast bars.
Club members sold these kits throughout the area at
$ 10.00. They were particularly valuable when placed in
the family auto as an emergency measure.
The Noontime Austin Kiwanis Club sponsored the
organization of a new club in Austin, the Early Risers
Kiwanis Club. Their charter meeting was held at the
Holiday Inn on October 1 8 , 1 975. Edward B. Kehret Jr.
was their first president.
A new Maple Sugar shack was provided for the
Hormel Nature Center. Our club members built the
8' x 12' building. Guidance and construction space was
provided by the Vocational Technical school . The cost of
materials, including furnace, was $2,200.00. The
building was completed by the time the sap began to run
at the Nature Center.
Several local groups, plus Kiwanis members, helped in
the sap "harvest." Benevolences for the year ending
September 30, 1982, totaled $4,429.35.
Dr. Roger Downing, a veteran member of the Noontime
Club , was instrumental in organizing a new Kiwanis
club for retired Austin citizens, the Golden K Club .
Their charter banquet was held in June, 1 98 1 , with wives
and many fellow Kiwanians as guest. Their first officers
were President Clifford Blowers, V. P. George Gulbranson,
Treas. Mike Chaffee and Secretary Harold Fredricks.
Their 1 984 officers are Pres. Denver Daily, V. P. John
Ganser and Chaffee and Fredricks continuing in their
former capacity.
May 18, 1983-Founder's Day Dinner
The Noontime Kiwanians, their wives and guests cele-
Board of Directors
Left to right: John Beckel, Tom Grebln (treasurer) , Gene Roden
(secretary) , Jack Dibble and Norm Stuewer. Not pictured: CUff Hess,
Jim Mueller, Bob Fitzgerald, Randy Mlckleson and Duane Dahlback.
brated the 6 1 st anniversary of their Founder's Day on
May 1 8 , 1 983 . The Austin Community College Choir
presented a musical feature. The guest speaker was
humorist John Rice, Rochester. Honored guests included
1st District Lieutenant Governor Paul Lutzke, Rochester.
In 1 984 fifty Austin men are active in the continuing
history of the Noontime Kiwanis Club. They share their
goals and traditions with the Early Riser's Club and the
Golden K .
The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States of
America came into existence in 1913 as a result of amalgamations
during the years 1899 to 1913, of five separate
foreign service organizations who had the same ideals
and similar requirements for membership. Those organizations
came into being entirely independent of one
another and without knowledge of one another at the
time of their origin. Those organizations were:
1 . The American Veterans of Foreign Service, chartered
by the State of Ohio October 10, 1 899;
2. The Colorado Society of the Army of the Philip
pines organized at Denver, Colorado and becoming the
National Society of the Army of the Philippines on
August 1 3 , 1 900. The name was changed again to The
Army of the Philippines in August 1909 ;
3. The Philippine War Veterans organized at
Altoona, Pennsylvania on July 7, 1 90 1 ;
4 . The Philippine War Veterans organized at Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania in October 1 90 1 , and reorganized
on April 27, 1 902, as the Foreign Service Veterans;
5. The American Veterans of Philippines and China
Wars organized on July 24, 1902, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The Philippine War Veterans, Altoona, Pennsylvania;
the Foreign Service Veterans, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
and the American Veterans of the Philippine and China .
Wars, met together on September 10- 1 2 at Altoona and
formed the Eastern Society of the American Veterans of
the Philippine, Cuban, Puerto Rican and China Wars.
In 1 903 the name was changed by plebiscite to the
American Veterans of Foreign Service (Eastern Branch) .
In September, 1 905, the original American Veterans
of Foreign Service of Columbus , Ohio, amalgamated
with the Eastern group formed in 1 903 to become one
society known as the American Veterans of Foreign
Service. In August, 1913, at Denver, Colorado, the Army
. of the Philippines and the American Veterans of Foreign
Service united under the temporary name of the Army of
the Philippines, Cuba and Puerto Rico.
Over the years, the organization's name was changed
by plebiscite and General Order number One to the
present day Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United
States. At the encampment in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
in 1 91 4 , the name and constitution were formally
adopted. On My 28, 1 936, the Veterans of Foreign Wars
was incorpprated by Congressional Charter.
It is interesting that none of the five original organizations
could call itself the parent organization. Each
amalgamation recognized that separate . and distinct
organizations were merging for their mutual benefit and
did not recognize that any of the amalgamating groups
were in any way subordinate to any other. All of the
societies were composed of small groups of overseas
veterans who formed local chapters to perpetuate their
spirit of comradeship and service known only to those
who have shared the dangers and hardships in the actual
zone of combat.
During the year 1 924, a number of Austin veterans of
overseas wartime service discussed the desirability of
forming a local organization. Upon investigation, they
came to the conclusion that the Veterans of Foreign
. Wars best fulfilled their wishes. After a period of recruitment,
enough veterans had expressed their desire to
become members and on August 15,' 1924, the Austin
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1216 was instituted by a
degree team from the Albert Lea Post 447.
Lieutenant OIaf D. Damm 1891-1918
First Mower County Resident to die In World
War I.
At the time of the institution considerable debate and
discussion took place concerning a name for the new
post. The final result was the naming of Post 1216 in
memory of Olaf B . Damm. When Company G of the 2nd
regiment, Minnesota National Guard left Austin in June,
1917, for Camp Cody, Deming, New Mexico, it was commanded
by Captain A. C. Page with 1 st Lt. Olaf B.
Damm as second in command . During training in trench
warfare, including the throwing of hand grenades under
the supervision of British and French instructors , one of
the trainees accidentally threw his grenade sideways
instead of forward . The grenade landed in the trench
beside Lt. Damm who was killed, the first casualty of the
war from Mower County.
Ray S mith was elected Post Commander following its
establishment. Other officers were: Ray Sanders, Senior
Vice Commander; Guy Larson, Junior Vice Commander;
Arthur Christgau, Quartermaster; W. W. McDonald,
Adjutant ; Victor Christgau , Post Judge Advocate;
Charles M. Deasy, Chaplain; Dr. P. A. Robertson,
Surgeon ; Ray L. Jensen, Officer of the Day; Axel
Hansen, Post Service Officer. Trustees elected were:
Henry I. Church , Earl Lucus and Frank Gill.
Other charter members of the post were:
Royal P. Deasy Joseph Church
Llwellyn W. Howells Ray Makepeace
Henry Kobes Leonard Heisey
Walter Peterson Ira Syck
Tom A. Smith Ben Christenson
Ed Dalquist Albert Stryhn
Charles Peterson Hans Paulson
Everett K . Ayers George L. Wilson
Walter F. Bartell Arthur Braaken
Walter Anderson Vier B. Stillwell
Stanley C. Ward
The first concerns of Smith and the fledgling organization
were raising funds and enlarging the V . F.W. Post
membership. Dances were held and often after the meetings
the auxiliary would serve coffee and a little lunch
since their meetings were on the same night as the post's.
Many ways of raising money were tried because the post's
share of the dues wasn't enough to pay the cost of renting
a meeting place. Early meetings were held at the G . A . R .
Hall and a member had t o arrive early t o build fires in
the two pot bellied stoves that provided heat. In 1 928,
just four years after being formed , the Austin V . F . W .
Post 1216 was host t o the Minnesota Department annual
Guy Larson was elected the second Commander of
Post 1 2 1 6 . Guy was a city fireman and during his term of
office it was decided to rent the hall over the Austin Fire
Station No. 1 for meetings . They continued to hold meetings
there until 1939 when the post moved to the Knights
of Columbus Hall on Bridge Street.
V.F.W. Post 1216 Officers, Executive Committee and Committee
Chalnnen for the 1928 MInnesota Department Encampment held at
Austin. Top Row, left to right: Kenneth Howard, louis Howells, Ray
Smith, Ray Jensen, Leonard Heisey, Everett Ayers, C. F. Brooks,
E. C. Meister. Middle Row: A. C. Page, Vere Stillwell, Fred Draegert,
S. C. Ward, Ed Lamping, Charles Peterson, Adolph Johnson, George
Jennings, Hans Paulson. Bottom Row: Vernon Thomas, Rev. Harry
Poll, Fred Weed, Earl Smith, Commander William I. Smith, Paul
Sommers, G. G. Youngdahl and Dr. Paul A. Robertson.
In 1 94 1 , the post meetings were held in a room located
over the old Erickson Hardware Store on Mill Street. In
1 946, the meetings were held in a room located above the
Gambles Store which was at the site of the present 100
building in downtown Austin. Post 1216 later moved to
its present headquarters on Fourth Avenue Northeast.
Through the years, the Austin V . F . W . Post has been
active in civic and veteran affairs. The Austin Veteran's
Council was organized in 1 95 1 to provide assistance to
needy veterans. The first official burial detail of Post
1216 was organized in 1 939 under the leadership of the
then Post Commander Paul Lattin to give proper ceremonial
rites to deceased veterans.
The post has annually sponsored the Junior Travelers
baseball team, which captured the 1 973 state championship
under the coaching of Robert Arnold and Robert
Dahlback. In 1 952, the V . F . W . Department convention
was held in Austin for the first time. The successful event
was repeated here in 1 962. The local V . F . W . newspaper
was established in 1 958 under the editorship of Bernard
Schmidt, and has received several department and
national awards for excellence .
Unity Chapter #29, Order of the Eastern Star, had its
inception in the hall of Fidelity Lodge #39, AF & AM, on
March 19, 1 890 . Sixty persons were present to organize
the chapter. C. L. West, a past Worshipful Master,
called the meeting to order; Charles Mayhem, a worthy
Grand Patron of the Grand Chapter OES of Minnesota,
explained the workings of the chapter. The Masonic
standing of all present was ascertained , after which Mr.
Fobes , Worthy Patron of Halcyon Chapter, Albert Lea,
explained the obligation . Worthy Grand Matron Louise
E. Jacoby explained the duties of officers , and candidate
Mrs. Mary Davidson was initiated . Thus began the Unity
Chapter #29.
The group was under dispensation until May 28 , 1890;
the first officers were Abbie Crane, Worthy Matron, and
Eugene Wood, Worthy Patron. The name " Unity" was
Qullting Committee, 1895-99
First Row: Clara Urbatch, Emma Day, Carrie Johnson. Second
Row: Mrs. S. Smith, Elizabeth McIntyre, Hattle Earl, Elizabeth
Schwan, Julia Emerson. Third Row: Catherine Smith, Nettlle Ellingson,
Edith Robinson, Mayme Ober, Bethany Klnny, Emma Wheeler,
Emlly Blrum. Very Back-Top: Lucy Cushing.
chosen because the group had united in the purpose of
forming the chapter, and it has been significant through
the years since the chapter has remained united in
carrying on the purposes and ideals of OES, working
together. raising funds for all national, statewide and
local projects such as purchasing necessary equipment
and furnishings, enjoying good times together and
making lasting friendships.
The Eastern Star is the largest fraternal organization
for men and women in the world and is dedicated to
charity, truth and loving kindness. The government is
vested in three bodies: General Grand Chapter with
headquarters in the International OES Temple in Washington
DC; the Grand Chapter in each state; and
Subordinate Chapters in various cities within a state.
Austin's Unity Chapter has contributed generously to
all state and international projects: a Clubmobile,
Victory Wing at Fort Snelling, the Masonic Cancer Hospital,
the Masonic Home with its OES chapel, the
Masonic Care Center, the Shrine Hospital, the OES
International Temple Fund and the EST ARL continuing
project with scholarships amounting to thousands of
dollars each year. (This latter is a National OES project
and, as of 1 98 1 , Minnesota chapters alone have given
$442,420 toward 1 , 135 awardees.)
Throughout the years fundraising methods have
changed with the times. Quilt block committees were
popular in the early days, as were dimity balls, calico
parties, book parties, hard-time dances and taffy pulls.
These gave way to card parties, style shows and in more
recent years, cake walks, silent auctions, ice cream
socials, Christmas Lane teas, luncheons, the sale of
candy and kitchen wares and now, the annual chow mein
luncheon and the collection of newspapers for recycling.
26 1
Past Matrons Night 18 November 1940
First Row: WIUlam Peterson, Harold Umhoefer, Carl Voelker, Dr.
M. J. Hardy. Second Row: Dorothy Westby, Bernice Sherman, Gertrude
Thompson, Maudtl Clark, Audrey Fell, Julia Johnson, Lutie Gill.
Third Row: Bess Todd, Ruth Boyd, Beth Robertson, Eloise Williams,
Cora Dovenberg, Bessie Jordan, Isabel Hoffman, Maude Bell, Celecta
Schroeder, Allee Cronwell, Oddney Donavon. Back Row, L to R: Jane
Todd, Clara Luskow, Ethel Volkman, Grace Brooks, Rose Bluhm,
Doris Elefson, Estella Bruns, Rose Butzke, Edwyna Perry.
Bethel #20 of Job's Daughters was organized in 1936
under the sponsorship of Unity Chapter. The AREME
Club for single women within Unity Chapter was organized
in 1 922, and about that same time the Past Matrons
formed a club to confer the initiatory degrees annually;
eventually this became a monthly dinner club that includes
Past Patrons. These clubs have contributed to
Unity Chapter in money, memorials and time, serving
the chapter in countless ways.
In recent years Mizpah Chapter #36, Brownsdale, and
Columbia Chapter #58, LeRoy, have consolidated with
Unity Chapter.
Unity Chapter has been honored by having its members
elected or appointed to serve the Grand Chapter of
Minnesota and the General Grand Chapter. At the time
of her death in 1 949, Jane Todd was serving a 9-year
term to which she had been elected as Right Worthy
Grand Trustee of the General Grand Chapter. Three
members of Unity Chapter have been elected and served
as Worthy Grand Matron of Minnesota. They are Jane
Todd, 1 9 1 1 ; Gloria Falconer, 1967; and Caroline Olson,
1978. Harold Umhoefer served as Worthy Grand Patron
in 1 94 1 . Other appointments include Grand Chapter
officers, Pages, Grand Representatives, District Instructors,
Tellers and various committee members.
As of November 1 , 1 98 1 , Gloria Falconer, past Worthy
Matron of Unity Chapter and past Worthy Grand
Matron of the Grand Chapter of Minnesota, has received
an appointment as a committee member of the General
Grand Chapter, OES, for a three-year term.
A udrey Fell, A u stin
In the Austin area members of the Masonic Order who
have entered Shrinedom belong to either the Austin Area
Shrine Club or to the Osman Oriental Shrine Band, or to
both . The Austin Area Shrine Club was chartered by the
Osman Shrine Temple of St. Paul, Minn. , on February
6, 1 946 , and the Osman Oriental Shrine Band on July
13, 1 955.
These two groups contribute approximately $3,000
annually to such local agencies and institutions as the
Salvation Army, United Fund, Christian Education
Center, Senior Citizens Center , Parenting Resource
Center, Victims Crisis Center , Austin Public Library and
Minnesota Coaches' All-State Football Game as well as
to Masonic-related organizations such as the Shrine
Crippled Children's Hospital and the Shrine Burn
Hospital. The groups also cooperate through their Shrine
Circus program in which approximately 300 area
children participate each year. Another fundraising
activity is their annual Charity Auction held each fall.
The Austin Area Shrine Club meets the first Monday
of the month at area restaurants on a rotational basis.
Officers for 1 982 were Chester Ullman, president; Neil
Hanson, vice president; James Maxfield, secretarytreasurer.
The Osman Oriental Band meets Thursday evening
each week. Its officers for 1 982 were Neil Hanson,
president; Vernon Peterson, vice president; Malcolm
McDonald, secretary-treasurer; and Lloyd Johnson,
music director.
WendeD Menslnk - ASCS Director
There have been surpluses of grain and livestock for a
half century. Some question the term-"surplus . " They
contend that so long as one person goes to bed hungry we
do not have a surplus. The problem, they say, is distribution.
That is an over-simplification of the problem. Many of
the people and countries that have a need for food are
without funds to pay for them. Therefore, the conclusion
is that agriculture's success is also agriculture's distress.
Problem began in 1920s
Crop surpluses, mainly wheat and cotton, became a
real concern in the 1 920s. Then the severe depression
which began in 1 929 added to the problem. Along with
the general decline in purchasing power there was a
decline in the demand for wheat. This was ironic,
because wheat would have been an appropriate food for
those with a low income. Meanwhile, more wheat was
being planted in violation of the "laws" of supply and
Headquarters for ASCS, SCS, FHA
In Mower County this buDding houses the Agricultural Stablllzation
and Conservation Service, the SoD Conservation Service and the
Farmers Home Administration.
The U . S . Congress decided to do something abut sur
pluses, and they chose wheat for their policy experimentation
. Three farm organizations favored different solutions.
The Grange advocated export debentures . The
Farmers Union wanted price fixing, and the Farm
Bureau suggested a two-price plan called McNaryHaugenism
. The latter was the approved plan for the
Agricultural Marketing Act of 1 929.
The plan was to hold the U . S . price at a level higher
than the world price. It was expected that other markets
would absorb the surplus, which amounted to one-third
of the U . S . production. What happened? Instead of
permitting domestic prices to be fixed by a protective
tariff, the exported surpluses tied the U . S . prices to
world price levels. Acreage control was voluntary.
The Federal Farm Board
A Federal Farm Board was formed to help achieve the
aims ofthe 1 929 Act. The Board had two lines of action :
a. to improve merchandising, b. to stabilize the flow of
commodities from the farm, thus limiting price fluctuations.
Loans were offered to individuals and cooperatives,
with wheat accepted as collateral. A $500 million
operating fund was established to complete the task.
To make a long story short, the fund was exhausted in
193 1 . Wheat prices dropped to their lowest point in
history-25ft per bushel in December, 1 932. The average
for the year was only 43 % of "parity prices . "
The conclusion : if demand cannot b e increased, then
no measure will improve farm prices unless it provides a
more definite control of production.
Farm Income at Rock Bottom During Depression
The rock bottom of the depression was in 1 932. The
foIlowing data reveal the seriousness of the farmer's
problem . Cotton sold for 6ft per lb . , wheat at 25ft per
bushel, hogs were 2 1/2ft per lb . and corn brought 10ft per
Some corn was used as fuel as it was cheaper than
coal. Terminal markets refused to accept straight loads
of ewes or thin cows . Their value was less than the freight
costs. Net farm income had been 9 billion dollars in
1920. It was only 2 . 5 billion in 1 932. Foreclosures were
38.8 per 1000 in 1 933 as compared with only 3 . 1 per 1000
in 1 9 1 9 .
Farmers became militant. They used force to keep
milk from being marketed and to prevent mortgage
sales. B anks were closed temporarily throughout the
nation in 1 933. Millions were unemployed . President
Roosevelt , in his inaugural address, said , "This nation
asks for action, and action now . "
Direct Payments to Reduce Crop Acres
The Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1 933 was the first
legislation to authorize direct payments for reducing
crop acres. It was not the first time the idea had been
used. In 1621 the tobacco growers in Virginia colony
reduced their planting and burned a portion of their
previous year's crop to support prices .
Control agreements with producers earned direct payments
on basic commodities. This included wheat,
cotton , field corn, hogs, rice, tobacco and milk . Soon the
list was expanded to include rye, flax, barley, grain sorghums,
cattle and peanuts, then sugar beets, sugar cane
and potatoes. Eventually the list grew to more than a
hundred commodities ,
The 1 933 Act provided authority to continue the twoprice
program. The President was empowered to inflate
currency. In addition to reduction of planting there were
a substantial number of acres of crops burned . Processing
taxes were assessed to fund many of the programs.
Wallace's Corn Hog Producer's Committee
The corn-hog program was the last of the major
adj ustment programs. Secretary of Agriculture Henry
WaIlace promoted the formation of the National Hog
Producer's Committee, which took in 25 producers. They
recommended immediate removal of 4 million pigs under
. 100 lbs. in weight. Also the elimination of 1 million sows
about to farrow. Premium prices were paid for the pigs
and a bonus offered for the sows.
The pigs which weighed less than 80 lbs. were utilized
for grease and tankage. Meat products from the pigs
weighing 80 to 100 lbs. were purchased by the Federal
Surplus Relief Corporation . .
Actual purchases totaled 6 . 2 million pigs and 222,000
sows. The program continued from November, 1 933
until May, 1 934. Public relations was a problem . It had
been easier to convince producers to plow under crop
acreage that it was to have them slaughter pigs and sows.
Some farm people felt the drought of 1 934 was a form
of divine punishment for their destruction of food .
The Ever Normal Granary
Henry WaIlace actively promoted the policy of an Ever
Normal Granary. This idea of saving for a "rainy day"
was well accepted . New storage tanks for on-farm storage
became popular.
On January 6, 1 936 the Agricultural Adjustment Program
of 1 933 came to an abrupt halt. The Supreme
Court ruled it unconstitutional. They said that production
taxes could not be used to force production controls.
The 1 933 Act was quickly replaced by the Soil Conservation
and Domestic Allotment Act of 1 936-the
"Soil Bank . " Mandatory controls were accepted legally
when they were called "marketing quotas . "
. The following soil conserving practices were offered on
a cost-share basis: permanent vegetative cover, forest
trees , water reservoirs , stripcropping, terraces, water
diversion , stream bank stabilization, wildlife habitat,
water runoff control measures, shelter belts and livestock
water facilities. In general, the cost-share levels were not
less than 50 % and not more than 75 0/0 .
Natural Disaster Relief
Emergency measures were authorized when farmland
was hit by a natural disaster. Farmers who qualified for
such assistance could receive up to 80 % of their cost in
restoring a farm to its former condition. Local ASC committees
made that determination .
Beginning in 1 938 wheat was stored and distributed by
the CCC (Commodity Credit Corporation) . It controlled
the domestic market through its stocks and price support
loans. Wheat was furnished for export and exporters
were paid a subsidy in kind.
The Federal Crop Insurance Corporation was formed
also in 1 938 . They offered an all risk policy-coverage
for damage from planting to harvest.
Federal Government the Farmers Decision Maker
Crop support and marketing controls had , in effect,
made the Federal Government the decision maker for the
nation's farmers. After Pearl Harbor the WFA (War
Food Administration) , was organized to meet the emergency
needs of wartime.
Following World War II, the Production and Marketing
Administration replaced the WF A. Field services
were provided to aid in program oversight. War ravaged
nations which absorbed our surplus production aided the
planners. The post-war adjustment period to peacetime
production levels was almost as difficult as gearing
up for war with 90 % parity.
1949 Legislation Gives Milk Price Support
Legislation passed in 1 949 required the Department of
Agriculture to support the price of manufacturing milk
at between 75% and 90 % parity. This assured an adequate
supply of milk and milk products.
In general , "parity" means that price which will give
agricultural commodities the same purchasing power
which commodites had in the 1 910-1914 base period .
This is in terms of goods and services which farmers buy.
In practice "parity" works like this. If 100 lbs . of milk
would buy one bushel of corn during 1 910-1914, then the
same amount of milk should also buy a bushel of corn
today. The CCC bought carlots of butter, natural
Cheddar cheese and nonfat dry milk at announced
prices . These prices were to result in a national average
price to farmers which was at least equal to the announced
support prices.
Minimum Support Prices in 1982
Legislation in 1 982 established the minimum support
price of $ 1 3 . 10 per cwt. for milk containing the national
average milkfat (3 . 67) . It also provided for 50i per cwt.
to be deducted from commercial sales for the period
October 1 , 1982 through September 30, 1985. This
action is designed to induce producers to cut back on
production. A second 50i deduction is to go into effect
for the period from April 1 , 1 983 to September 30, 1 985.
This second reduction is to be refunded to producers who
reduce production by 8.4 % .
Authorization was granted to the CCC to release dairy
products to the states for distribution to needy households
through food banks . Cheese was made available in
December, 1 98 1 , butter in June, 1 982 and nonfat dry
milk in May, 1 983 .
Acreage Allotments Discontinued
Acreage allotments were discontinued in 1 958 in favor
of lower supports and unlimited production. Since 196 1 ,
ASCS (Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service)
has run a full circle of emphasis from cropland
acreage diversion to unrestricted production and a
market oriented farm policy.
1983 PIK Proram
The 1 983 PIK (Payment In Kind) program is designed
to encourage farmers to further reduce crop acreages of
wheat, corn, sorghum, upland cotton and rice. Producers
participating for a commodity will receive an
amount of that commodity for their use or sale. This is
their payment. Stocks will come from the farmerowned
reserve, regular loan stocks or CCC holdings. To
participate a farmer must enroll and be in compliance
with the 1 983 acreage reduction program for the crop
and the paid land diversion program . Acreage withdrawn
under PIK must be devoted to conservation uses .
For PIK diversion, farmers may sign up to divert 10 to
30 percent of crop acreage base. The 30 % maximum
level will be reduced by any acreage voluntarily diverted
for cash payment. If bid is accepted a farmer may divert
Austin Daily Herald- With Jay Harmel leading the procession
on his pony, the parade to the annual Harmel
picnic got under way the morning of July 28, 1 906.
the whole crop acreage base on a bid basis. Whole bid
base means the producer will reduce planted acreage
of the crop to zero and devote an equal acreage to conservation
uses. The bid specifies the percent ofthe farm's
program yield per acre that is acceptable as compensation
for participation. The lowest bids are the first
accepted. The bid applies on the total PIK acreage
diverted if it is accepted. In no case will the total amount
of acreage withdrawn exceed 50 % of the total crop
acreage base in the county.
After all signatures are obtained and the contract
signed by the county committee, it becomes final and
binding on both the CCC and the producer. For the
10-30 percent of base PIK , compensation will be the
farm's program yield times 95 % for wheat, 80 % for
corn, grain sorghum, times the PIK acreage. The PIK is
issued in terms of No. 1 wheat, except No. 2 for soft red
winter wheat. It is No. 2 yellow corn and No. 2 grain sorghum.
Substantial Participation in PIK
Participation in the PIK program in Mower County is
substantial. Five crops are involved in the PIK program,
corn, wheat, sorghum, cotton and rice. Only corn and
wheat are of concern to Mower County farmers. Soybeans
are not in the program.
Of the 380,00 total acres of crop land , 1 92,00 is corn
land and 7,000 is wheat land. The land put into the PIK
program was 92,000 of corn and 3,000 of wheat.
Many Programs Tried-No Perfect Solution
Over the years there have been countless revisions in
acreage allotments and in payments which have served as
bait for participation. Crop prospects and the carry-over
of commodities still dictate reductions each year. Those
who make the decisions continue to believe they are
dealing with temporary rather than chronic overproduction.
Weather has exerted the single greatesf influence on
total yield. New varieties and improved technology the
second greatest.
Many times the programs designed to reduce production
have resulted in an increase. The farmer's reaction
to lower margins has been to farm more acres so that he
can achieve the same total income.
The requirements for war time have had more influence
on price than has reduced acres.
All programs have used average yields, experience and
weather conditions as their base. Problems invariably
arose because weather has been abnormal more often
than it has been normal. It has been too hot, cold, wet,
dry or there has been an early frost. It is likely that this
variable will continue to frustrate the program designers
in their search for farm income parity.
George Peterson carried the flag. The packinghouse was
closed for the day. The Rev. Henry Harmel spoke and
Fred Ulmer put on the vaudeville show.
1982 Officers, left to right, front row: Ardys Wangen, Gloria Larson, Gertrude Jacobson, Arlene Bednar, Deanna Bakke. Second row: Arden
Haug, Jeanette Hemes, Adys GObert, Brad Larson, Joyce Crowe. Hazel Sater. Back row: Kenneth l\ljoen, Ozzle Hlghum, Donald Aakre, Larry
Crowe, Leland Larson, Ivan Christianson, Ramona Swenson, Lloyd Swenson, Nina Harije, Arnold Sater
Our Sons of Norway Lodge began at an institutional
meeting at the Austin Holiday Inn on May 24, 1 972.
About 1 50 people attended the first meeting and officers
were elected. Rudy Nelson was the man that got people
enthused about starting a Sons of Norway Lodge here
and , by unanimous vote, he was elected the first president.
The name "Storting" was selected for the Lodge. This
means a Parliament or meeting of the people in Norway.
Rudy Nelson and the new officers were able to secure the
Senior Citizens Center as the meeting place for the
Austin Lodge. This has proved so satisfactory that we are
still meeting there. The Storting Lodge is a strong supporter
and contributor to the Senior Citizens Center.
During these past ten years, we have increased our
membership from the original 251 charter members to
455 adult members and twenty-nine juvenile members.
We celebrate Syttende Mai each year. That is " 1 7th
May" - Norway's Independence Day. Leif Erikson Day
is celebrated in October.
Four Norwegian classes have been sponsored by the
Lodge. The first one was taught by Thena Sorkil in 1 974,
and the others were taught by Arden Haug in 1982. Rev.
John Halvorson and Sterling Thompson gave short
monthly Norwegian lessons at every meeting in 198 1 .
A Sons of Norway Dance Group was organized in
1979, and has performed at various places. A group of
women met each Tuesday afternoon at the Sons of
Norway room to learn Norwegian crafts in 1 980 and
198 1 . Our local Drill Team installed officers in 1982. A
Past Presidents
Left to right: Ivan Christianson, Kenneth l\ljoen, Arnold Sater,
Lloyd Swenson
small Sons of Norway Choir has sung together a few
The main purose of the Sons of Norway Lodge is to
foster closer ties with our Norwegian heritage, and to
keep alive the Norwegian language and crafts . The Sons
of Norway is now an International organization and has
an extensive insurance program.
Austin had the privilege of having the Sons of Norway
district convention here in June 1978. This convention
drew approximately 750 people from Minnesota, Iowa,
North and South Dakota.
The international headquarters office is located in
Minneapolis. The Chief Canadian Office is in Toronto,
Ontario, Canada and the Norway Service Center is in
Oslo, Norway. A monthly magazine, entitled Viking, is
published and sent to each member by the international
The officers have served the Austin lodge well over the
past ten years , and we have had an interesting and varied
program of speakers and musical talent.
The names of the presidents over the years are as
follows: Rudy Nelson 1972; Ivan Christianson 1 973 ; Ken
Mjoen 1974; Fred Paulson 1 975 and 1 976 ; Arnold Sater
1977 and 1 978; Ken Mjoen 1 979 and 1 980 ; and Lloyd
Swenson 1981 and 1 982. These men haye led our lodge
through steady growth in members and enrichment of
our Norwegian heritage.
McIntyre Woman's Relief Corps 27, Auxiliary to the
Grand Army of the Republic, McIntyre 62, Minnesota,
was organized in Austin on April 5, 1887. It is the oldest
women's patriotic organization in the world . Eligibility
was set aside so far as kinship was concerned. Any loyal
woman of good moral character and correct deportment,
who has not given aid and comfort to the enemies of the
United States of America and who is a citizen of the
United States is eligible for membership in the Woman's
Relief Corps.
Work began at once. Every corps gave aid to comrades
and their families. To the sick they gave assistance and
cared for the children. To those who lost a son or husband,
they gave courage and help.
The first meetings were held in the GAR Hall, located
on the present site of the north wing of St. Olaf Lutheran
Church . The hall was originally the property of the first
Presbyterians. In 1884 it was sold to John V. Owens for
$200 .00. Owens, being public-spirited, allowed its uSe by
the GAR Co. G . 2nd Regiment, Minnesota National
Guard. It was known as the "Armory Hall" or the "Old
Pres byterian Church ."
The first president of Mcintyre Corps was Elizabeth
McIntyre, wife of the late Comrade McIntyre. The Corps
was named in honor of her husband. Others were:
Elizabeth Sutton, Lida Sutherland, Anna E. Stanley,
(wife of the pastor of the First Baptist Church) , Margaret
Engle, (wife of William Engle) , Sarah Woodward ,
Lou ise Engle, Lottie Baird , (wife of Fred Baird) , Mrs.
Grace Baird Detwiler, Nettie Maxwell, Helen Christie,
Margaret Ingalls, Jeanette Mollison, Maggie Goodwin,
Hattie Majors, Lena Johnson, Katie Johnson, Marietta
Bump, Nellie Robinson, Mary Beacy, Carrie Haley,
How much is a trillion dollars? Well. a million dollars is
a stack of$1 . 000 bills eight inches high. A billion dollars
is a stack of $1. 000 bills higher than the 555foot
Washington monument. A trillion dollars is a thousand
stacks of$1 . 000 bills. each higher than the Washington
monument. Our national dept in 1984 is over a trillion
Olive Pierce, Emma Dorr, Mary Lovell . Mattie Fairbanks,
still a member, served the order as secretary more
than fifty years ago.
The Rev. W. Stanley, speaker for the instituting
program , commended the women on their project.
Comrade Burt D. Roebuck, who died April 14, 1934 ,
was the last survivor of McIntyre Post. In 1 923, when the
list was fading, the comrades deeded their GAR Hall to
the McIntyre Corps . In the 1 940's the corps sold the
building and lot to St. Olaf Lutheran Church .
The Woman's Relief Corps continued its aim . Goodwill
was the purpose of its origin . They gave aid to comrades
and their dependents, helping to restore them in body and
The work increased through the years. On Memorial
Day 1 906, the Relief Corps dedicated a monument to all
soldiers. Mrs. Oscar Mattice was the prime worker in
achieving this goal . A total of $12,000 was collected for
the memorial. The Corps continued to serve the Minnesota
Soldiers Home by sending canned fruits and
jellies, and they gave to other projects as was the custom.
The latest memorial to the GAR, and to the pioneers
of Mower County, is the Mower County Pioneer and Historical
Building at the fairgrounds . Built in 1949, it was
dedicated to celebrate the 100th anniversary of
Minnesota becoming a territory. McIntyre Corps and the
Pioneer Society each gave $10,000 to the project. Additional
funds were raised by receiving life memberships at
ten dollars each. The total cost was $25,000. Mcintyre
Corps also gave $900.00 for a bronze plaque, which
hangs over the fireplace in the building.
From Aitstin Herald. April 1 7. 1956
"ff you discriminate against me: because I am dirty. I
can wash myse(f; or because I am bad. I can reform and
be good; or because I am ignorant. I can learn; or because
I am ill mannered. I can improve my behavior . . .
"But fyou discriminate against me because of my color
or race. you discriminate against something God gave
me. and over which I have no power . . .
The Board of Directors of The Phllomathlan Club at their first annual dinner meeting, held In the Fox Hotel In January 1957. Seated, left
to right: Dandelet, Giovanetti, Erickson, O'Malley , Tollefson, Hanson, Rund. Standing: McDermott, Tesar, Krause , Gavin, Geraghty,
Wallace, Msgr. Jennings , Msgr. Cunningham, Healy, Bock, Pierce, Stenger, O'Shaughnessy , Hogan
On February 14, 1907, eleven women met at the home
of Mrs. Thomas Pridham to better themselves intellectually
in the study of Stoddard's Lectures. Mrs. Pridham,
wife of a young attorney, was elected President. Msgr.
E. H. Devlin agreed to serve as advisor. The organization
was named the St. Augustine Reading Circle.
Charter members were: Mrs. Thomas Cronen, Mrs. J.
E. Rogers, Mrs. William Bell , Mrs. Frank Cronen, Mrs.
Frank Rademacher, Mrs. Joseph Zender, Mrs. Thomas
Cummings, Mrs. Thomas Colleran, Mrs. Frank Christie
and Mrs. Mary Christie. Mrs. Louis Giovonetti joined
the circle the fo llowing year.
The Reading Circle became The Philomathian Club in
1920 and has continued to meet on the first and third
Wednesdays of each month. A program committee outlines
the year's study, which has encompassed every
imaginable subject-including current and historical,
religious and secular.
The object of the club has been to work for personal
enrichment and community betterment, and their response
to civic and community needs has been generous
over the years.
The Philomathian Club Library was organized under
the direction of Mrs. L. P. Roeder in February, 1946, in
order to make Catholic reading materials available to the
public. The club also broadened its objectives to sponsor
and work in the library. Religious stock for sale was
added in 1948.
Consisting of 8S books at the time it was set up, the
library was open one day a week in the basement of
Donovan's Furniture Store. Ten years later, in its
location at 110 East Water, the borrowers could select
fr om over 4,000 volumes.
After the fire in the Grand Hotel , the Philomathian
Library & Church Goods Store moved to Bridge Street,
across fr om the Austin Hotel, and later expanded in a
site behind Fantles store.
Today in its present location at 303 North Main Street,
the Philomath ian store offers an ecumenical service to
the community unequaled anywhere in the area. It is
staffed entirely with volunteers and profits are used
primarily to aid religious education. The first $10,000
was given to the Diocese of Winona toward the educ ation
of priests. Since then Pacelli High School, Catholic
parochial schools, the Christian Education Center, the
migrant program in Hollandale, Sheriffs' Boys Ranch,
Girls Villa and Meals on Wheels have received regular
monetary grants. Philomath ian is also responsible for
bringing speakers such as Dr. Kublar Ross, Mary Reed
Newland and others to Austin as a gesture of gratitude to
the community.
Philomathian Club members are automatically associate
members of the Philomathian Library & Church
Goods Store.
On February 17, 1981, the Philomathian Club celebrated
its seventy- fifth anniversary with a luncheon at
Sacred Heart Hospice. Bishop Loras Watters of Winona
was the honored guest and speaker. A history of the club
was read and old minutes book and historian's scrapbooks
were displayed. "Philomathian" means "lover of
learning. "
In Front of the Center
BUI Downs, 1st Congregational Church, Harriet Burgstahler, Center
Board Chairman and Pat Piper, Center Director
The Christian Education Center is an ecumenical
resource center located at 301 -D, 4th Avenue NE,
Austin. It is a unique ecumenical concept with a consultative
staff of experienced religious educators. The
Center has an extensive resource library of films, audiovisuals,
books and other necessary helps for interested
Representatives of Catholic Parishes in Mower County
gathered for months in the late sixties, formed a board
and discussed ways of working cooperatively in religious
education. A small staff of Franciscan S isters was
assigned to the board in the summer of 1 969. As committee
members struggled with a plausible concept an
ecumenical resource center began to evolve. The office
was opened in Austin on 2nd Avenue NW. A year later
the center moved to an old store on 4th Avenue NW, and
in the spring of 1 978 moved to the present location. The
facility was designed and remodeled with urban renewal
In the spirit of co-operative sharedness the center
offers a skilled secretary who will do typing, mimeo and
copy work for church and volunteer groups . The center
also shares their meeting rooms for public use and many
groups meet there regularly.
The center's budget is now approximately $40,000,
coming in part from church pledges. Twenty-two area
churches pledged for the 1 982-83 school year, and are
considered members of the corporation. Other sources of
income are gifts, memorials, donations from users of the
facility, audio-visual rentals and expenses for the
printing service.
Pat Piper has been the Center director since its
beginning. Joan Lilja is the resource consultant and
Janet Modderman is the secretary.
The Center Corporation is governed by a board of
fifteen directors each elected to serve a three year term.
They meet quarterly. At the present time Harriet Burgstahler
is board chair, with Phil Gardner, vice chair,
Diane Keenan is secretary and Charles Kamilos,
The Austin Branch of the Co-Workers of Mother
Teresa was organized in the fall of 1 972.
Notices were placed in the newspapers and various
church bulletins, inviting anyone interested-man,
woman or child-of any religion to meet at the Christian
Education Center to learn more about Mother Teresa
and what was expected of her Co-Workers .
A small group assembled for the first meeting and it
was agreed to meet monthly to share experiences and
opportunities of service in the community and to pray for
the poor and those who work directly with the poor.
The International Association of Co-Workers of
Mother Teresa consists of people of all religious denominations
around the world who seek to love God in their
fellow men through wholehearted free service to the
poorest of the poor wherever they find them and who
wish to unite their lives in the spirit of prayer and sacrifice
with the work of Mother Teresa and the Missionaries
of Charity.
In answer to Christ's plan to love one another as He
loved us, Co-Workers should become sensitive and responsive
to the needs of their family, their next door
neighbor, those in the street, in their towns, in their
country and the whole world by putting their understanding
love into action, no matter how small the action
may be.
"You cannot do what I do in Calcutta, "Mother Teresa
says, "but I cannot do what you can do in Austin. "
Mother asks u s t o find those who need u s and get to
know them personally. We must go to those who have no
one, she says, those who suffer from the worst disease of
all-the disease of being unwanted, unloved , uncared
for. Thus we Austin Co- Workers visit the nursing homes,
seek people out on a one-to-one basis. We visit housebound
people and work with Meals on Wheels. We seek
out the refugee families who have come to our townVietnamese,
Hmong, Cuban and Laotian-and help
them to settle and adjust to a new lfe. We make quilts
and provide clothing for the Spanish American migrants
who come to our area every summer, some of whom
decide to stay here and go to school so they can get
themselves out of this awful rut. They need help in
adjusting to a new culture and they need friendship .
Once a month the Austin Branch meets at the Sacred
Heart Chapel for prayer and meditation, asking God's
blessings on Mother Teresa and her Missionaries of
Charity who work with the poorest of the poor.
Mother Teresa says: "Look to your own family first. "
There may be someone there who is hurting, who needs
your understanding and love.
The Co-Workers of Mother Teresa in America was
founded in New York City in October of 1971 . Mrs.
Maurine Patterson of Austin was one of the founders. It
was she who organized the Austin Branch and she has
kept it going ever since.
The Austin Foresters originated June 14, 1 899, with
Elizabeth Keenan as the first president. Other charter
officers were: Mary Cooper, vice president; Nellie
McCormick, recording secretary; Annie Craney, financial
secretary and Catherine Cotter, treasurer.
This Austin women's group is associated with the
National Catholic Society of Foresters , which was
organized in Chicago in 189 1 .
The primary purpose of the organization is to promote
principles of love , benevolence and Catholic action.
Members may take part in the Forester's fraternal insurance
organization, or confine membership to social
activities. Forester ladies are affiliated with diocesan and
national courts.
The society sponsors a number of annual events which
Lansing - The state roadfrom here to A ustin, has been
recently worked and more dirt filled in. The rain that
followed this work made a very nice boulevard of mud.
There is also a like condition on the same road between
here and Blooming Prairie.
"The Six-Town News, " May 24, 191 7
include; family Christmas party, mother-daughter
banquet, and various picnics, suppers and social events
for members and guests .
The Forester members are active in visitation of the
sick . As a group they join in offering prayers, attending
wake services and the funerals of fellow members.
Monthly meetings focus on prayer, recreation and
Forester women are involved in volunteer work at the
hospital, Senior Citizens Center and the Meals on
Wheels program .
1 982 officers were: Violet Meyer, president; Anne
Gravenish, recording secretary; Jan Averbeck, financial
secretary and Lois Beckel, treasurer.
The Hormel Legionnaires of A ustin were recognized as
the fastest and strongest basketball team in the
northwest between 1 9 1 9 and 1 924. During the 1 924
season they played a schedule of 14 games, winning all of
them. Team members included Coggins, Cipra,
Maynard, Wengert, Erickson, Dugan, Laslett and Cress.
Theta Chapter of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society
was organized at a meeting held at the Leamington Hotel
in Minneapolis on December 7, 1 946 . Initiation was held
at 6:00 p . m . followed by dinner and election of these
officers: Amanda Horvei, president; Esther Frost, first
vice-president; Rosalind Fisher, second vice-president;
Harriet Nordholm, recording secretary; Hazel Murray,
corresponding secretary; Clara Mitchell, parliamentarian;
and appointed treasurer was Mrs. Blanche Black.
Theta Chapter is one of fourty-seven chapters in
Minnesota and in the last ten to twelve years , chapters
have been organized outside the United States. The
purposes of the Society are:
1 . To unite women educators of the world in a genuine
spiritual fellowship.
2. To honor women who have given , or evidence a potential,
for distinctive service in any field of education.
3. To advance the professional interest and position of
women in education.
4. To initiate, endorse, and support desirable legislation
in the interests of education and some women
5. To endow scholarships to aid outstanding women
educators in pursuing graduate study and to grant
fellowships to women educators from other countries .
6. To stimulate the personal and professional growth of
members and to encourage their participation in
appropriate programs of action .
7. To inform the membership of current economic,
social, political, and educational issues to the end
that they may become intelligent, functioning members
of a world society.
Charter members of Theta Chapter were: Rachel
Anderson, Lorna Bates , Blanche Black, Beulah
Buswell, Rosalind Fisher, Esther Frost, Lena Grinley,
Amanda Horvei, Ruth Sampson Lunde, Clara Mitchell,
Hazel Murray and Harriet Nordholm. Currently, the
chapter has forty-three members.
The chapter meets five or six times a year for brunch,
tea or dinner. Programs are arranged by the committee
chairmen , using the theme as adopted by the society at
their international convention.
The society holds international conventions in August
of even-numbered years and four regional conferences
during the summer of each odd-numbered year. State
conventions and workshops provide information and inspiration
for chapter members. A memorial service is an
essential part of a state convention.
Theta Chapter has engaged in joint meetings and
projects with other chapters in Minnesota and Iowa and
with other organizations. In 1 951 with the Austin Education
Association and the AAUW, the chapter sponsored
a recruitment tea for the purpose of interesting students
in teaching as a profession. Eighty students, ninth grade
through junior college attended. Financial support was
given to the Future Teachers of America and to the
Community Ambassador Program.
For some time the chapter granted scholarships to
selected individuals, but recently has contributed to the
revolving aid fund at the Austin Community College.
In 1 957 the society gave to Eleanor Carlson, an
Austin Junior High teacher and Theta Chapter member,
a $2500 scholarship toward her doctorate in educational
Since 1 965 the Society has undertaken several successful
projects through the Delta Kappa Gamma
Foundation, which is supported by contributions from
state organizations, chapters, individual members and
friends of the society. Among these projects are the
Seminars in Purposeful Living; scholarships for
advanced graduate study; research on pioneer women
educators; and the Project North America, which
provides scholarship grants to Navajo students.
Membership in the society is by invitation. There are
four classes of membership: active, associate, honorary
and reserve.
by Amanda Horvei and Claribel Grant
Fifteen retired teachers met on July 7, 1970 at Maude
Vest's home for the purpose of organizing a local branch
of the National Retired Teachers Association.
Mrs. Inga Crogg, Minnesota State director of the
N.R.T.A. came from St. Paul to help with the organization
of the group . She listed the following purposes of a
local group which are: 1 . to help retired teachers maintain
identity with the teaching profession and to further
the course of education. 2. to advance the interests of
retired teachers in the state and local communities. 3. to
foster good fellowship among retired teachers. 4. to
cooperate with State and National Retired Teachers
Association. Mrs . Crogg stated that four meetings are
req uired of local associations.
When it was decided to form a local organization, the
following officers were elected: Genevieve Quigg, president
; Ruth Lunde; vice president, Harold Hastings ,
treasurer; and Frances Baxter, secretary. Dues were set
at one dollar per year. All present joined, thus becoming
charter members. Refreshments were served by Maude
Vest and Frances Baxter. .
The following are charter members: Effie Apold,
Beatrice Barry, Frances Baxter, Oddny Borchert, Mildred
Daane, Marguerite Daily, Harold Hastings ,
Bernice Johnson, Ruth Lunde, Fanny Lyle, Genevieve
Quigg, Edna Rolands, Hildegarde S chneider, Thena
Sorkil and Maude Vest.
As of November, 1982, the membership is about
seventy-five. The last meeting in the spring the retiring
teachers are entertained at a potluck supper.
One of our charter members, Mildred Daane, now
Mrs. Oliphant of Rochester, has been president of the
Minnesota State Association. Claribel Grant is president
of the S . E. R . E . M . chapter. We are affiliated with a
national, state and S . E. Associations.
by Ruth L unde
19112 Officen, left to right: Mn. Wesley LeBarron, Marlon Knutson,
Mn. Arnold Christianson, Mn. Terrel Hoopmen, Dorothy Cummings
and Rose Deutschman. Not pictured: Carol Reed, Gladys Lillie, Mrs.
Ethel Hassing, Lorna Bates and Mrs. Berdln Larson
Like many local organizations of United Church
Women, the Austin group came about because of the rich
Christian fellowship experienced in the annual observance
of the World Day of Prayer. Church women from
several denominations had joined together for this observance
since 1 940 . Mrs. Reginald Coleman, wife of the
pastor of the Presbyterian Church, was the guiding force
through these years and the service was usually held in
that church .
The women continued to meet throughout the years .
At a meeting held at the YWCA on November 20, 1 947,
proposed bylaws were discussed and the following
officers were elected : Mrs. A. H. Meyers , president;
Mrs. Reginald Coleman, vice-president; Mrs. L. H.
Williams, secretary-treasurer. The bylaws were officially
adopted at the first annual meeting of the council which
was held January 15, 1948. The name and bylaws have
been revised several times. In 1 967 we became known as
CHURCH WOMEN UNITED and are a part of the
national organization.
In the very beginning the purpose of the organization
was to promote an understanding and fellowship among
the women of all churches in Austin and surrounding
areas . Our goal continues to be the same. We work
together on activities of common Christian concern
which may be more effectively carried out by all church
women working together in a community.
The churches in the Austin area who have representatives
on the executive board at the present time are:
Christ Episcopal, Faith United Methodist, Fellowship
United Methodist, First United Methodist, First Congregational,
Our Saviors Lutheran, Queen of Angels
Catholic, St. Olaf Lutheran, Sterling Christian, Westminster
Presbyterian, Red Oak Grove Lutheran, Salvation
Army, St. Augustine Catholic and St. Edward's
Church Women United has an annual luncheon in
January as well as Board of Manager meetings
throughout the year. The most important events of the
year are three celebrations which are: World Day of
Prayer in March, May Fellowship Breakfast and World
Community Day in November. The celebrations are held
at different churches with local people taking part in the
programs which have been prepared by women in many
different countries . It is a real joy, knowing that on the
same day all over the world, we are united in the same
celebration sharing our faith, time, talents, and gifts .
Our offerings are used by National Headquarters as
well as given to many worthwhile organizations in our
own community.
St. M ark's Lutheran Home Auxiliary was organized
and had their first meeting on June 1 1 , 1 963. Ladies
from the churches belonging to St. Mark's Corporation,
who founded the home, and anyone else interested make
up the members of the auxiliary. At the present time
there are seven churches in the corporation .
The first officers of the auxiliary were: Mrs. Stan
Ankeny, president; Mrs. Howard Madsen, vice president;
Mrs . Ole Benson, secretary; and Mrs. Harland
Sorenson, treasurer. Meetings are held at St. Mark's
Lutheran Home the fourth Tuesday of each month.
The purpose of this organization is to render services
"Why are there so many small towns in Iowa? Because
they are needed to prop up and partition the cornfields . . .
27 1
to St. Mark's Home, its residents, and personnel. The
churches involved provide programs and refreshments
each Tuesday in the month or months assigned to them.
. Bingo is held for residents on the second and fourth
Wednesday each month. Fruit prizes and helpers are
provided by the auxiliary. A bazaar is held each year on
the fourth Tuesday in October. Proceeds are used to buy
something for the home. A patio party is held in August
and a Christmas party in December.
Through various activities the auxiliary helps make life
at St. Mark's more enjoyable for its residents.
by Frances Larson
" Why are peop/j! in Lyle called Laplanders? Because the
Iowa and Minnesota farms lap over in this area . . .
The Austin Town and Country Garden Club was
organized at the Y.W.C.A. on October 3, 1 961 by Mrs.
Frank Kilgore of the Austin Garden Club and Mrs .
W. L. Hedegard of the Austin Hoe and Grow Garden
Mrs . Earl Padelford was elected Charter President and
is still an active member.
The purpose of the club is to promote a greater interest
in gardening; to exchange ideas and experiences for
growing new and better flowers and vegetables and to
benefit the members and the community.
The club is affiliated with the First District Horticulture
Soci,ety and the Minnesota State Horticulture Society.
Several members have received "Award of Merit" certificates
from the state society. Two members have received
" Distinguished Service Awards" for their contributions
to the advancement of horticulture in their community
and state.
The monthly programs are for the most part educational
and pertain to nature in some way. The meetings
are held on the second Monday of the month.
During the National Bi-Centennial a tree was planted
on North Main Street as an honor to Mrs. Padelford .
There have been many bus trips to outstanding gardens
in the state and surrounding area. Each year members
plant and care for city flower beds on 14th Street N . W .
and by East Side Lake.
For many years the club participated in showing and
helping at "Panorama", a horticulture and craft show at
the Austin Armory. The club members also exhibit at the
Mower County Fair.
Five members became accredited horticulture judges.
They attended a school promoted by the Minnesota State
Horticulture Society. They have judged many county
Mrs. Earl Padelford was Charter President
fairs and 4-H shows in Southern Minnesota. A book on
horticulture is presented to the Austin Public Library in
memory of all deceased members.
There is always time for picnics and parties just for
One afternoon in 1 963 thirteen ladies met at the home
of Mrs. Ed Struck, 1 208 S . W . 4th Street, Austin, Minnesota.
On that day the Austin Violet Club was formed.
The purpose of this club is both educational and social.
They strive to gain more knowledge of many phases of
African Violets.
The first meeting was at the home of Mrs . Frank
Kilgore , 606 S . W . 1st Street. The club met on the first
Tuesday of each month. The officers were: Mrs. LeRoy
Schultz, chairman; Mrs. Roy Harrington, secretarytreasurer;
and Mrs. Martin Crosby, program chairman.
The club membership soon increased to twenty.
At each meeting a paper was read on the care of
What was the firefly 's reaction when he sat down on the
electric fence? He was delighted.
violets . Early projects included a violet show and a violet
plant sale. The group ordered plants and cuttings from
books. Field trips were made to Minneapolis, Mason
City, Stewartville and other growers in this area.
Over the years the club's violets have been shown at
banks, rest homes and hospitals. They have placed books
in the Austin Public Library, and have made donations
to the Hormel Nature Center and the Salvation Army.
Although their membership has been reduced , they still
meet for coffee. Their conversation looks back over the
years on the good times they had and the interest they
have taken in raising African Violets .
In 1 928. Austin advertised itse(f as the "Gateway to the
Ten Thousand Lakes . . .
A Moose Lodge was first started in Austin in 1913. It
was known as Booster Lodge #1245 Loyal Order of
Moose. For some unknown reason this lodge was disbanded
in 1916.
In 1 947, Alvin Anker, a member of Minneapolis
Moose Lodge #38 , began to enlist local citizens so that a
newly chartered lodge could be established in Austin.
With the help of then State Director Frank DeChambeau
and Chet Doxey from Minneapolis, an effort was
set forth to sign up members. One hundred names were
needed to form a charter. On March 7, 1 948, a class of
one hundred and fifteen men were initiated as charter
members into the Loyal Order of Moose, Austin Lodge
#1 1 80 . The first officers were: Niel Nielsen, Past Governor;
Alvin Anker, Governor; Floyd Barton, Junior Governor;
Jack Siestma, Prelate; David Talmadge, Secretary;
Robert Hoilien, Treasurer; Ed Summers, Sgt. At
Arms; Vern Ellison , Inner Guard and Ed Kerling, Outer
Guard . Richard Conway, William Stark, and Tony
Rockne were Trustees.
In 1 949 the lodge rented the upstairs at 206 1/2 Mill
Street, and in 1955 they purchased the building. In 1 959
remodeling was started . January, 1 960 saw the grand
opening of new lodge quarters on the main floor. The
club continued to grow. Ten acres were purchased at 70 1
18th Avenue N . W . , and October, 1 979 saw the grand
opening of our present new Moose Lodge .
Austin Lodge has three members that have received
the Pilgrim Degree of Merit. This is the highest degree to
be attained. They are Alvin Anker June 15, 1 957, Floyd
Tobar June 13, 1 970, and Sylvester J. Schaefer June 12,
1976 .
The purpose of our fraternity is to help the children
and the aged. In 1913 the cornerstone was laid for the
beginning of Mooseheart, our Child City, located at
Mooseheart, Illinois. This is a home for sons and daughters
of deceased members. There they receive the best
medical care, and are educated and trained in a vocation.
On completion of education\ilany receive scholarships.
Child City has its own farm, post office and bank .
It is a private community which is taken care of by the
older children to a large extent.
In the twilight years a Moose member and his wife may
wish to go to the City of Contentment which is called
Moosehaven. This is located on the banks of St. John's
River, Orange Park, Florida. Here they receive the best
of medical care. They can work in flower gardens, relax
or go fishing on one of many pontoons . It is a place to do
as one pleases and enjoy life as a senior citizen.
Austin Lodge has furnished the Golden Age Club of
Austin with a place to meet for the last thirty-two years .
Here each Wednesday, they meet to play cards and have
coffee and a snack. Potluck dinners and occasional
evening dances are held by the club.
Austin Moose Lodge sponsors youth bowling, hockey,
baseball, dirt bike racing, girls softball , footall, etc. A
campership is given to Camp Courage each year, and
donations are made to Girls Villa, Sheriffs Ranch and
other charitable organizations .
The Golden Rule has become the axiom of the Moose
Degree Team
Front, left to right: George Greer, William LaPorte, Peter Hageland. Back, left to right:
Leonard Gess, Alvin Anker, Kermit Olson, Robert Harris.
The Cardiac Rehabilitation Group was formed in July
1 98 1 . The group began with five members: Wanda
Wilson, Del Staples, Marie Casey, Nori Anderson and
Bob Chrz. Membership now numbers fifty and is
growing each month . Anyone having heart problems is
welcome to participate. The group meets once a month
at a local eating establishment for breakfast.
The Cardiac Rehabilitation Group started because
people were eager to continue the friendships made in
Phase II of the Physical Therapy Group at St. Olaf
Hospital. The group has a monthly Group Therapy
Session at St. Augustine's Church in Austin. The first
annual picnic was held in July 1 982, at one of the members'
home. The picnic will be continued as an annual
event. Holiday parties are well attended. Doctors and
wives, the nurses and therapists from St. Olaf Hospital
are guests at these functions.
While this is a social organization , its main purpose is
for people with heart problems to support and encourage
each other. It represents all ages, and touches all occupations.
Included are a Catholic Priest, a county treasurer,
many Hormel workers, salesmen, housewives and
many other vocations. This is not a disease that can be
defined by white collar or blue collar distinction.
Group Therapy sessions are informative. Speakers are
scheduled on subjects covering problems of the heart.
There are new methods, new medicines, and always
something interesting to learn about.
The first appointed chairman of the Cardiac Rehab
Group was Marie Casey, with co-chairperson being
Eileen Tapager.
A couple of direct quotes illustrate the value of the
Cardiac Rehabilitation Group:
"I would never walk and exercise as faithfully, if I
didn't have the group for support"-Father Charles
Quinn, St. A's
"As a spouse of one of the heart patients, I too, feel
that I have gained much insight into the d isease and
problems of the patient and
how it affects family
life"-Bev Staples
"I always did walk and exercise before, but I find it
much more enjoyable to take these daily walks with
others of the group that also have heart problems"
-Bob Chrz
Heart disease is an emotional, as well as , physical
disease, which is why this group is so important.
The T.O. W, (take-off-weight) club was organized in
1 980 as one of many activities at Mower County Seniors
Inc. The club is under the direction of Mrs . Irene Ellingson,
and is designed to help each other lose weight.
The first meeting was held in the lounge September 2,
1 980 . Meetings are held every Wednesday morning with
weigh -ins and business. Dues of ten cents a week were
established, and the following officers volunteered: Irene
Mower County Register Jan. 8. 1866 - "It has been
suid thut it is u weut misfortunefor a man to be blind. as
Ellingson, president; Adeline Hudechek, assistant president;
Marcella Block, secretary; Irma Dee Gardner,
treasurer ; Ella Brimacomb, weigher; Rachel Holt, assistant
weigher; Vi Heslip, weight recorder ; Pauline Nelson,
assistant weight recorder. Twenty-nine people were
Rules and prizes for Best Weekly Loser were discussed
and approved at the next meeting. Low calorie recipes
and diets were discussed. Exercises are to follow each
meeting. Best Loser for the Month was approved .
A special event is September's annual celebration.
Prizes go to the number one loser of the year, and to the
second, third and fourth. A traveling trophy is given to
the highest loser which is held for one year. This year's
celebration was held at Bridgeman's.
Present slate of officers are: Adeline Hudechek, president;
Vivian Hall, vice president; Vi Kycek, secretary;
Mayme Peck, treasurer, Voral Zdenek , weigher; Marion
Hall, weight recorder. Average membership is nineteen
with some members having reached goal. The present
dues are fifty cents a month.
We now have thirty-one members. The oldest is ninety
years old, and the youngest is fifty-five. Inez Knutson,
who directs exercise classes, is seventy-two years old .
by A deline Hudechek
it deprives him of the greatest of all enjoyment. The sight
of women. The reverse is true as to deafness. "
The Austin YMCA was founded in 1 951 and chartered
in the State of Minnesota on February 1 , 1 952. The
YMCA originally operated out of an office in Shaw Gym .
Later it was moved above the Goodwill Store in downtown
Austin. In 1 963, $723 ,000 was raised to construct
the first phase of a full facility YMCA. The 34 ,000
square foot facility included a six lane pool, a gym , two
shower-locker rooms, a fitness center, multi-purpose
room and office and administration area. In 1973 an
expansion program raised $700,000 and two additional
locker rooms and four racquetball courts were constructed
After the completion of the 1973 addition, all available
property was occupied by the physical plant and parking.
Further expansion required that additional property be
acquired. In 1976 the YMCA Board of Directors raised
$72 ,000 to purchase 60,000 square feet of property north
ofthe YMCA . In 1 978 , 47,000 square feet of additional,
adjoining property was donated to the YMCA .
In 1 982 a 23 ,000 square foot Super Gym was added to
the Y facility. In addition to the new building areas, the
entire 1 964-65 original unit was retrofitted with more
efficient lighting and a new larger parking lot constructed.
The cost of the 1 982 expansion program was
$ 1 , 450 ,000 and included all construction and related
costs and fees.
The Austin YMCA is a community recreation center
serving boys and girls, men and women and families as a
unit. The Y membership includes nearly 3,000 members.
Over half of the members are youngsters. About 1 0 % of
the Y's youth membership is participating through the
support of the Partner With Youth Program which
guarantees all young people the opportunity to participate
without regard to financial ability. The YMCA
membership includes over 44 0/0 women and girls . The
Austin YMCA is a participating member of the YMCA
of USA.
The Austin Family YMCA is an association of members
joined together in service fellowship, self-development
and leadership. The YMCA's primary commitment
is to the service of youth and the enhancement of a young
person's sense of self worth through participation in
physical, social and recreational activities conducted in a
constructive and wholesome atmosphere. The YMCA is
also committed to the service of adults and families. The
adult plays a unique dual role in the YMCA by functioning
as patron and volunteer. Within the YMCA structure,
adults utilize and provide YMCA services . Hundreds
of adult YMCA members annually serve on committees
and boards, teach classes, coach teams, counsel
youth and voluntarily assist the Y with administrative
and program tasks.
The following individuals have served as president of
the YMCA Board of Directors since the inception of the
YMCA: Dr. Tracy Barber, 1 952-53; Jack McGrew,
1954-55; Ted Colescott, 1 956-57; Clifford Berthiaume,
1957-58; Lee Kittleson, 1 959-6 1 ; James R. Williams,
1 962-63; Dr. T. S. Thompson, 1 964-66; Phil Chamberlain,
1 967-68; Ed Bork, 1 969-71 ; Bob Wells, 1972-73;
Dick Schlange, 1 974-75; Bob Thatcher, 1 976-77; Jack
Strobel, 1 978-79; John Lasher, 1 980 ; Arlan Burmeister,
198 1 ; Dave Reynen, 1 982; Meem Asp, 1 983 .
Marie Zahradnik, left, presents a "Lady Ikes" check to Tom Belton
for city beautlflcatlon In 1963.
The Lady Ikes were organized September 14, 1 959.
Thirty-seven initiates signed the charter at Kingswood, a
dining club on the Hormel estate. Organizers were
Richard Dorer, Del Larice Olson and Lee Cumberland,
all of Minneapolis and Laurine Stephans, Winona. Larry
Streif and C . R . Hansen sponsored the new group.
This Red Cedar women's chapter is an auxiliary of the
Izaak Walton League of America. Their aims are to
promote the conservation and wise use of America's
natural resources.
Chapter 10 gave them 100 seedling evergreens , which
were planted and cared for on the late Fritz Norton
property. When these trees matured they were given to a
farmer to use as a shelter.
The Lady Ikes planted two trees on an island in the
Cedar River. Then, on Arbor Day, they planted trees on
the east side of the East Side Lake.
Another project has been, the clean-up along the banks
1978 . Marie Casey was a weekly prize winner with this 7 lb. waUeye.
of the Cedar River from 2nd Ave. N . E . to Oakland Ave.
They have also placed several bluebird houses in Mower
Over the years the club has donated conservation
books to the Austin Public Library, planted a red maple
tree at the Hormel Nature Center, given funds for
beautification in Austin and helped in the cleaning of the
game and fish building at the Mower County fairgrounds.
One of the Lady Ike's major concerns is for legislation
to protect our land and resources , both in Minnesota and
over the entire country. They have consistently encouraged
our state legislators and national congress to
provide protective laws.
There are many other areas where the Lady Ikes have
given financial, moral and physical assistance in fulfillment
of their goals . Their pledge is "The wise use of our
natural resources . "
b y Mary Zahradnik
The organizational meeting for a club of young
married women was held on Friday, October 28 , 1 939 at
the Austin Y . W . C . A . Mrs. M. E. Cook presided. She
consented to sponsor the club. Named the Young Married
Women's Forum, the club was under sponsorship of
the Y . W . C . A . Mrs. Harold Halverson was the first
president and Mrs. W. J. Nargan , sec.-treas.
Based on provisions of their constitution their purpose
is to preserve and stimulate friendly interests and activities
of young married women, and to contribute to
worthy causes and community projects. The membership
is limited to 55, and new members must not be over 35
years of age at the time they join.
In February, 1 956 , a new constitution was adopted
which changed the club name from Young Matrons to
"Y" Matrons . The age limitation for joining was
dropped, but club objectives remained the same.
"Y" Matrons meets at the Y . M . C . A . building the 3rd
Monday from September thru May. December and May
are dinner meetings. An outing at the Culton cottage in
Waterville is usually held each summer.
1 982 officers are: President, Ethel Mae Nicol; V ice
President, Margaret Bjork; Secretary, Cratice Boyd and
Treasurer, Helen Dixon. 50 ladies presently comprise the
membership of "Y" Matrons.
From left to right: MarceUa Hoban, Fern Mitchell, Marlon Hoban, EUa Prestegard, Dorothy Phelps, Violet Nelson, Ruth Walker. Back: Norm
Ekedal, Edna Gjermund80n, Lawrence MltcheU, C. E. Phelps.
The first meeting of record of the Photo Fun Camera
Club was held at Violet Nelson's home on Saturday evening,
March 22, 1 958. Some time prior to that date a
group assembled at Eleanor Christensen's home to discuss
the possibility of organizing the club.
Charter members who organized the club were:
Eleanor Christensen, Marion Hoban, Leland and Nettie
Engen, Edna Rolands, Violet Nelson and Inez Eggerstrom
Objectives of the club included : (1) association for the
mutual enjoyment of photography (2) encouraging the
advancement of members in the knowledge and practice
of photography (3) making mutual contributions to the
progress of photography.
Photo Fun Camera Club is affiliated with North
Central Camera Club Council (N4C) and the Photographic
Society of America (PSA) . During the years
Camera Club membership has been extended to many
interested photographers in both the Austin and Albert
Lea areas.
"It is not what you possess, who you are, the position you
hold, or where you are located that makes you happy or
unhappy. It is what you think about it.
The current officers are: Kenneth Tyrer and Floyd
Viall, co-presidents; Harold Carlstrom, vice president;
Eleanor Tinderholt, secretary and Lewis Brown,
treasurer. Marcella and Marion Hoban are historians .
Members participate in the monthly meetings by
sharing technical tips, presenting photo travel programs
and judging and evaluating members slides. Studio
nights give members an opportunity to use their
There are the fun times, too, such as camera club
outings both day and overnight.
The Photo Fun Camera Club has many opportunities
to be involved in community projects. The club developed
a Bi-centennial slide story of Mower County and
adjoining counties. Slide shows have been given at
Austin's Oak Park Mall and Helmer Myre State Park,
Albert Lea. Each year the club coordinates the slide
exhibition at the Mower County Fair.
by Marcella Hoban
"The only d(fference between a rut and a grave is the
depth of the hole' "
198182 Officers Installed
Left to right: Chris Rockers, pres. ; Joy Bergstrom, vice pres.; Kathy
Dlaz, sec.; Arletta Plnke, treas.; Mary Hangge, governor, Linda Gries,
NALS representative.
The MowerFreeborn Association of Legal Secretaries
is a tri-Ievel, non-profit, non-union, non-partisan organization
based on the principle of service to legal secretaries,
attorneys , the courts , and the general public .
Our local chapter was founded in 1963. We are an
affiliate of the Minnesota Association of Legal Secretaries
(MALS) and the National Association of Legal
Secretaries International (NALS) . NALS has over 24,000
members in the United States , Canada, and other
countries, with our headquarters in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The NALS motto is professionalism plus excellence
equals excellence .
Our association continually strives t o upgrade the
knowledge of its members through legal education
training programs and the Professional Legal Secretary
certification program. During the course of a year each
of the local chapters hosts legal education seminars,
workshops , or an annual state convention. The National
Mower County Secretaries entering the courtr90m for a day In court.
Association of Legal Secretaries sponsors a course for
secretaries interested in obtaining certification as a professional
legal secretary (PLS) .
Our elected officers- for the 1982- 1983 year are: Chris
Rockers , president ; Mary Hangge , vice president; Kathy
Diaz, secretary; Arletta Pinke, treasurer; Gayle Wedeking,
governor; and Linda Gries, NALS representative.
Our chapter consists of members from Mower and
Freeborn counties. We hold our local monthly meetings
on the first Monday of each month at one of our offices.
A guest speaker is invited each month who relates to
various subjects of interest to legal secretaries and their
Any secretary working in the law office, bank, trust
company, abstract company, savings and loan office, or
corporate legal departments is eligible to be a member.
by Chris Rockers
The earliest available records of the Woman's Christian
Temperance Union are dated September 1908. The
group formed was known as the Austin Central WCTU.
They had twelve members.
At that time, as now, it has two purposes. The first is
to eradicate the evils of liquor traffic . They also help to
bring the message of God's kingdom to all . Its motto is
"Purity in the Home and God in Government. "
The WTCU i s a worldwide organization of Christian
women of every race and nationality . There are unions
founded in sixty-seven countries. As the years passed ,
Austin's WCTU has expanded its department work and
tried to help better the moral standards of the city. Many
letters have been written to legislators regarding the
passage of bills . Members have protested the sale of beer
at the fairgrounds and liquor advertising.
In recent years, the WCTU has centered a great deal of
emphasis on education . In 1953 the union paid expenses
of a state narcotic worker for a week in the public
schools . In 1954 they paid a part of the expense to send
two boys to a WCTU sponsored camp. Members believe
that if every boy and girl is taught the truth about alcohol
and narcotics , few would become alcoholics or drug
In 1956 the membership totaled fifty. Mrs . H. C .
Medinnus was president; Mrs. C. Moore, vice president;
Mrs. Henry Drost, secretary and Mrs . Guilbert W .
Jarvis, treasurer.
From A ustin Herald. April 1 7. 1 956
HIlI Climb at LIttle Falls, MN
The Austin Stump Jumpers Four Wheel Drive Club
participates in four-wheel drive events such as drag races
and hill climbs.
The club was organized in 1 973 by Ray Halsey, Bruce
Braun and Jerry Serempa of Austin and Paul Miller,
Hayward . Their interest in four-wheeling inspired them
to find others with a similar enjoyment of the sport.
In 1 976 the club was incorporated and were joined
with the M idwest 4-Wheel Drive Association . Initially
the club had twelve families , with only two or three participating
in the drive events .
By 1 977 the Stump Jumpers had grown to a membership
of 35 families. They then sponsored an annual event
known as Dirt Fever. Held again in 1978 and 1 979, Dirt
Fever was co-sponsored with the Southern Minnesota
Four Wheelers of Owatonna. This event included drag
races and a hill climb for 4-wheel drive vehicles. The
event was sanctioned by the Midwest 4-Wheel Drive
Since the discontinuance of the Dirt Fever as an
annual event the membership has declined to about 20
families .
The club has also sponsored Road Rallies in Austin
and St. Charles , Minnesota. In 1 98 1 and 1 982 there were
Stumper rallies at Oak Park Mall, Austin.
Drag Races at Lansing, IA
The Stump Jumpers have been active in community
projects. They have helped with the Austin Diabetes
Bike-a-thon by placing crossing guards for the last five
years . The club has planted trees for the Cedar Valley
Conservation Club for 4 years, and have helped in the
Austin Meals-on- Wheels program for 3 years. They have
transported blood for the American Red Cross, raised
money for the Sheriff s Boys' Ranch and have participated
in telethons for cancer and muscular dystrophy.
The Stump Jumpers enjoy trailriding in Whitewater
Park, and have leased 2 acres of land for a campground
near Alba, Minnesota.
A problem which now faces the club is finding a place
to trailride near Austin . They have been in contact with
Congressmen and Senators requesting assistance. Their
goal would be to open an area for four-wheel drive,
camping and recreation.
The primary requirement to become a member of the
Austin Stump Jumpers is to own or have access to a
four-wheel drive vehicle. After the initial membership fee
of $5.00 the annual dues are $4.00 .
Interested individuals should contact the Austin
Stump Jumpers, P . O . Box 1 1 5, Austin, MN 55912.
by Debra Burma
The Austin Road Runners were organized in April ,
1 982 to promote running and physical fitness as a lifelong
goal. Dick Dixon and Tom Torgerson, Austin,
initiated the club.
Club members emphasize the fun and exhilaration of
running. Non-running members of their families join
them in such activities as picnics and potluck dinners.
The club publishes a monthly newsletter which is sent
to all members. The letter runs articles on running, fit-
ness, diet and general internal club information. Local
race results and a list of future road races are included.
Annual dues are $5.00 . Application can be made to
Dick Dixon, 7 1 1 1 st Ave. S . W. , Austin, MN.
The Austin Road Runners stimulate and motivate
each other. The emphasis is on the running and not the
by Dick DL\WI
Left to right: K. Meyer, Mike Spear, Irene MeUke, WUbur Jones, Helen Sjokln, Carrol rues, Erma and John Hawkins, francis rues, Joe Srp, Lois
The Austin Camera Club was organized in March,
1938. In the early years A. Lon Enochson did much to
establish the club as a successful organization . During
this initial period he served in several capacities, such as
director, president and secretary.
The primary aim of the Camera Club is to provide technical
photographic assistance, to furnish opportunities
for competition and to bring together club members
socially. Membership is open to anyone interested in
photography. Meetings are held each month .
Extra curricular activities include indoor and outdoor
photo sessions. These have ranged from short indoor sessions
to all-day outdoor outings and overnight campouts
in one of the state parks.
The club has been active in community activities. Their
participation in the Mower County Fair is noteworthy.
The annual photo show in the old church building at the
fair has a large representation of club members' excellent
photos .
The Austin Camera Club is affiliated with the Photographic
Society of America (PSA) , and the North Central
Camera Club Council (N4C) . The latter organization
covers a nine state area. The Austin club has been a host at
one of the council's annual conventions. Harold Carlstrom
, Austin, was active in the organization ofthe group,
and served one session as president. Carrol Ries , another
local club member, also served a term as president of the
North Central Council.
In the forty-four years from 1938 thru 1 982, many
members have had an active part in the Austin Camera
Club activities. A partial list would include: W. H. Nordin
Sr. , Erling Runquist, Harry Louk, Mahlan Sissell, L. W .
Murphy, Harlan Sorenson, N . V . Torgerson, Vern Judd ,
Ralph Madison, A . L. Foss, Marion and Joe Srp, Dr.
Roger Huebner, Russell Harding, Lois and Lloyd
Brechtel, Vera Carlstrom , Manly Hammer, M erwyn
Spear, Catherine and Robert Baudler, Erma and John
Hawkins, Wilbur Jones , Frank Cafourek , Marcella
Hoban, Dorothy Peterson, John Gieske, David Sundal
and Francis Ries.
Arlan P. Kuhn is the only active charter member.
1982 officers of the Austin Camera Club are Allen
Schulz, president and Gerald McCormick, secretary.
by A rlen Kuhn
The Mower County Council of Social Agencies was
organized in the early 1950's. Ralph Schloming, then
Program Director of the YMCA, was the moving force in
recruiting representatives from a number of social agencies
who would form a nucleus for the development of a
council. From its inception, the council's major purpose
has been the improvement of services of its member agencies
by providing a forum in which program information is
shared and through which inter-agency communication is
Various short-term projects have been undertaken by
the council over the years : social service directories, community
needs assessments and the mustering of support
from individual social agency professionals to establish
and to enrich the service resources of the community.
While the council does not offer a direct social service to
consumers , it has had positive impact on such services by
offering supportive help to the individual representatives
from its member agencies.
Current membership reflects representation from 32
agencies. Approximately 18 agencies were participating
in the early formation of the council. Membership is
broadly based among agencies who deal in "people services"
and who employ service personnel. Child Care,
Corrections, Scouting, Library, Red Cross , Social Services,
Mental Health , Senior Citizens , Migrant Services,
Vocational, Parenting Recource Center, School Counseling
and Guidance, and Veteran's Service are some illustrations
of the range of agency representation .
Over the 30 years of its existence, the council has
reflected the many personnel changes occurring within
member agencies. The agencies represented in the 1 950's
are still represented in the 1980's, along with many new
agencies whose services have been welcomed into the
community. Perhaps the phenomenon of the "old"
alongside the " new" is evidence that the community is
healthy. The need for support and growth of the social
agency professional is universal and continuing.
Organized in 1 975, the Solo Parents and Adult Club is
associated the the National Solo Parents.
The first meeting was initiated through a 1 974 advertisement
in the Mower County Shopper. Twenty-two
individuals met at the home of Cletta Gamy on a cold
winter evning.
Meeting first in homes of members, the club expanded
in membership, and found a meeting place in the Christian
Education Center. When this building was torn
down, the growing club found space in the basement of
the Elks Club.
The Parents and Adult Club enables parents without
partners to meet together. They have mutual problems
concerning themselves and their children. By an exchange
of ideas and knowledge they help each other. Through
educational programs and through their social contacts
their lives and that of their children are enriched.
The club's monthly calendar highlights activities such
as bowling, golf, roller skating, hay rides and several types
of picnics and potlucks . At Christmas there is a program
with a S anta Claus to bring gifts and goodies for the children.
Members of the club combine to attend various social
functions in the community and surrounding area. Two or
three times annually they sponsor dances for area clubs
and single adults.
Two local delegates are sent to each of the three annual
conventions-the National, State and Tri-State.
Membership to the Austin Solo Parents and Adult Club
is open to anyone over 19 years of age who is divorced,
legally separated, widowed or who has never been wed .
The annual dues includes the newsletters, calendars and
National membership.
1975 Officers
Left to right, seated: Chris Nelson, Pat Johnson, Martha Drake.
Standing: Ray Boysen, Dick Orchard, Marie Turner.
The club now meets in the basement of the V . F. W. club
rooms every Tuesday at 8 : 00 p.m. 1 982 officers were: June
Kenyon , president ; Elaine Smith , vice president; Ann
Benson, secretary and Marion Huntley, treasurer.
The Austin Solo Parents and Adult Club extends an
invitation and a welcome to all individuals eligible for club
by Elaine Smith
"Little Lost Decibels" - 1971
At Sumner School - 198081
In 1 967 a program for hearing impaired children was
initiated by Fred Jepson, Director of Special Education in
the Austin Public Schools . In conjunction, ten families
started a supporting organization called "Parents of Little
Lost Decibels . " S ix more families joined shortly thereafter.
Membership included families from Mower,
Waseca, Freeborn and Steele Counties.
As the concerns of the club expanded to include all
ages , the name of the group was changed to "Austin
Association for the Deaf. "
Initially the "Parents of Little Lost Decibels" held
monthly meetings . There were also summer and winter
social events. The goal of monthly meetings was to have
programs which would aid parents in understanding the
needs of their hearing impaired children. This was
augmented by authoritative speakers.
Funds were raised to purchase equipment which would
be helpful for the classrooms of hearing impaired
children. These efforts were aided by community groups
such as the Northwestern Singers, Forte Milers, Minnesota
Sheriffs Association. Also businesses including
Queen Fashions, Apollo and Austin Memorials.
In 1 982 the program for the hearing impaired children
was cut in the Austin Public School system . Children now
attend Minnesota S chool for the Deaf, Faribault, LeRoy
Public School and Blooming Prairie School. Over the
years seven teachers have taught the hearing impaired
Since reduction in the scope of the Austin school
program , the association meets three times a year. Additional
meetings are held if required .
The Austin Association of the Deaf is grateful to individuals
and groups who have been involved in this
pioneer program. It is their hope that their efforts open
doorways to help hearing impaired children and adults .
by Cindy Reid
Agape Halfway House, Inc. , is a non-profit agency of
Mower County. It is located at 200 S . W. 5th Street . Agape
is licensed under regulations of the State of Minnesota,
and conforms with Austin city codes. Its purpose is the
rehabilitation of chemically dependent individuals .
Agape is also a member of the Association of Halfway
House Alcoholism Programs of North America, Inc.
The organizers of Agape were: Jack Thill, Dr. Larry
Maier, Gary Wagenaar, and Herman Klapperich. The
Articles of Incorporation were signed on the 25th day of
September of 1974 . Members of the original Board of
Directors were: Jack Thill, Douglas Larson , Ole Nelson,
Corrine Lebens, Doris Stahl, Edmund E. Smith, John
Walsh, and Fr. Dan Corcoran. The Hormel Foundation
gave a check for $ 10,000.00 for initial financing in June
1974. Agape is a Greek word meaning love.
The house itself is an older residential home converted
essentially as a resthome. There are sixteen beds, a large
eating area, two lounges, a large living room, a recreation
room, kitchen, a meeting room and six bathrooms .
The philosophy of Agape is much the same as that of
AA. We strive to know ourselves better, learn to use the
spiritual part of our lives and that of other human beings.
We help each other learn to deal with living problems and
by sharing with each other we gain confidence and acceptance
of ourselves.
The program takes from four to six months to learn and
actually use in a progressive living program . We request
the final decision when a client is ready to be discharged .
We serve both male and female age sixteen and older.
Each client must pass an interview before acceptance.
Our residents come from throughout the United States .
Most are referred to us by chemical dependency treatment
centers .
The 1 982 staff consisted of Robert C. Marxen, director;
Robert L. Sorensen, counselor; Merle Bjork, resident
manager; Marlene L. Murray, secretary and Regina
Bottema, cook-housekeeper. There are also two part-time
by Marlene L. Murray
The Austin Art Group had its beginning in 1 959
through the efforts of Thelma Bowlby, Mary Johnson and
Sally Groh. They felt the need for such a group in the
Austin community. Organization efforts were expedited
in order to accept an invitation to exhibit at the 1 960
Minnesota State Fair.
In addition to previously mentioned individuals, the 26
charter members were: Elaine Miller, Delphine Dernek,
Doris White, Haven Matti, Esther Flom, Richard and
Mickie Hall, Maybelle Pauley, Rae Korfhage, David
Weiderman, Richard Morgan, Maybelle Johnson, James
Winn, Ella Duenow, Arlene Bjork , Louis Kotlarz,
Arlene Hein , Mary Peterson , Jacolin Martin, Joy Stevens
Stancl, Virginia Strate and Kenneth Riska. Many of
these charter members remain active after 22 years.
The purpose of the Austin Art Club is to create an
interest in art throughout the surrounding area. This has
been facilitated by art exhibits and art appreciation programs
at monthly meetings . There have been several field
trips to art museums in Minnesota. In earlier years the
annual Rochester Art Exhibit brought the group much
encouragement .
In 1 960 the Austin Art Group assumed responsibility
for the annual art exhibit at the Mower County Fair, in the
Fine Arts Exhibit Building.
Through the years, members have displayed their
works in local restaurants and resthomes and at St. Olaf
Hospital, Austin Medical Clinic, Adams Medical Clinic,
Social Security Building, Oak Park Mall, and the Cedar
Shopping Mall. This has given the public an opportunity
to enjoy and to purchase works of art created in this area.
The Art Group has sponsored a Wildlife Art Exhibit
annually the past four years. It has brought honor both to
the local artist and the statewide artist.
The Austin Art Club encourages membership to people
interested in any phase of the arts. Active artists or
students of the art are equally welcome.
Matchbox Children's Theatre had its beginning in
1 975, when a local man, Bill Libby, put into reality his
dream of having a "live theatre" for Austin area
children . Through the Austin Park and Recreation services,
he and Janet Anderson, produced their first play,
Sleeping Beauv.
A group of interested citizens encouraged this theatrical
endeavor. The MCT became an independent nonprofit
organization during the Bicentennial of 1 976 . It is
the only B icentennial Horizon Project from Austin that
was recorded in the Minnesota Almanac Time Capsule. It
is now in the M innesota Historical Society collection
which will be opened July 4, 2075.
The fall season began in the Austin Community College
theatre with a roar-Androcles and the Lion.
The artistic goal of MCT is to continue to produce the
best quality childrens' theatre that can be had . The board
members feel that fine theatre experience will inspire and
stimulate the creativity and humanity of young people.
Austin Area MCT is one of the very few opportunities
available for children in Mower County to experience "live
theatre. " It develops an awareness and an interest in all
forms of art, as well as an appreciation for fine entertainment.
The scripts which are chosen try to incorporate
adults and children in the plays presented .
E. Moehlman. who recently moved here from Lakefield
and is located at 610 Freeborn Street, has gone into the
manufacturing business. Mr. Moehlman makes children's
toys and his specialty is toy soldiers. He has all
kinds so any child can have a regiment of play soldiers
and all officers needed.
"Mower County Transcript-Repu blican, "
Nov. 21, 1 9 1 7
As of now, we are in the ninth season of shows. We
average about 1 , 500 children and adults in attendance at
the six performances for each show. This includes three
shows on weekends and three shows on school days for
children who are bused in from surrounding communities.
This enthusiastic response from our children,
parents and teachers reveals that we have a growing
audience here.
We also offer puppet theatre plays, which tour schools,
shopping centers, art festivals and parks in the surrounding
area. Upon request we will present photo slides to any
school group , club or organization to help promote MCT
for our children .
The first president was Jean Taber. Other charter
members were: Tom and Vicki Honer, Gloria Nordin,
Paula Sherman, Janet Anderson, Susie Richardson, Jan
Adams, Dick and Mickie Hall, Michael Bednar, Iris Weis
and Cathy Mayer.
The present board members are: Janet Anderson .
Cindy Bellrichard , Cindy Dibble, Dick and Mickie Hall.
Dave Dahlquist, Mary Conway, Penny Kinney, Char
Pinke, Jan Thomas, Linda Sershen, Sue Heimsness, Kris
Rasmussen and Norman Wallace.
An order was issued April 30, 1 918, that no 0111'. flof were to get a B or C book at a later date.
The first Austin serviceman to lose his life as a result of
enemy action was announced December 23rd. He was
Jack Armstrong, 23, a 2nd class machinist with the U . S .
Black Market Problems TackIed-1943
January 27th a Mower County Wartime Food Management
Committee was activated and called a meeting
of meat dealers to help find a solution to a most pressing
problem, the black market.
February 20th-the Herald announced, "Don't hoard,
but buy all the canned goods you will need next week,
because none may be sold legally from midnight until
March 1 st . Serious food rationing, the first in American
history. Sugar and coffee are already doled out on
coupons. Tonight the unrationed sale of canned goods
and vegetables stops . On about March 28th meat
rationing will start. Soon rationing of butter, canned
meats and canned fish will be rationed.
In February Austin voters approved an airport project.
Authority was given for a $135,000 bond issue to acquire
land for a new site for the airport.
Attempted Removal of Sheriff Receives Publicity
During 1 943 and 1 944 there was a continuing effort to
fire Mower County Sheriff Arnold Eckhardt. It was
alleged that the sheriff solicited a bribe in connection
with the slot machines in local clubrooms, and that he
neglected to enforce gambling laws. The petition for his
removal was signed by five members of the County Board
of Commissioners .
The action was a continuing controversy until May,
1944, when Governor Thye decided not to remove
Eckhardt from office because the charges were inconclusive.
In December, 1944 the Austin City Council decided to
purchase nine acres of the Marcusen property for a
baseball park.
1945-The Year The War Ended
War was very much in the local picture the first part of
the year. People gave a pint of blood and got a button.
There was a bond drive set off with rallys. Rationing on
new commodities were still in affect; sugar was especially
short. Cigarettes were hard to get and a few women
smoked pipes.
The free world celebrated on May 8th as Victory came
in Europe. Then on August 14th Japan accepted the
Allied surrender terms.
In Mower County blowing whistles and ringing bells
signaled the war's end. In Austin the celebration opened
with a two-day holiday. Autos went through the business
district with horns blowing. One celebrant who
evidentally had saved them for the occasion set off firecrackers.
With faces wreathed in smiles people collected
in groups on Main Street. After two days of restless
suspense the news brought relief to those who waited
1 35 Mower County men gave their lives in World War
II. During the year more than 2,000 Mower County
servicemen and women were demobilized.
Following VJ Day, scarce items began to appear on the
counters. A few nylon stockings were sold . Now automobiles
appeared , but only for display purposes in
dealers showrooms. All commodities except sugar
eventually were removed from rationing.
Terp Destroyed
A Thanksgiving Day fire destroyed the Terp Ballroom.
The loss was estimated at $ 140,000.
Airport Issue
Most controversial question of the year was the airport
issue. There were those who argued that the city should
purchase the site at Lansing for the airport. Others felt
that the Decker Airport should be developed further.
AHS Basketball Champs in 1946
In March, 1 946, the Austin High School basketball
team won the state basketball championship. The team,
coached by ave Berven, defeated Lynd High School in
the final game.
On April 8 there were 1 ,668 more people employed in
Mower County than in 1 940.
In May the Hormel Company announced the average
wage of its employees had reached 52.26 per week and
average goal wage of $60 per week would now be
sought as the next objective.
August 15: Infestation of corn borer in Mower County
has taken hold more rapidly than expected F. L. Liebenstein,
county agent, reports .
August 22: Action is taken to postpone opening of
public school here until September 1 6 because of Minnesota's
polio epidemic.
Nov. 5: Albert Reinartz elected sheriff defeating
incumbent Arnold Eckhardt. Wallace Sieh chosen new
county attorney.
January 16, 1 94 7: Newly elected Judge Phil
Richardson, 29, presided over the municipal court after
his appointment by Governor Luther Youngdahl.
March 27: Three doctors who had practiced in Mower
County for more than 50 years were honored at a dinner
in the Fox Hotel. They were: Dr. A . E. Henslin, 8 1 ; Dr.
O. H . Hegge, 75; and Dr. G. J . Schottler, 76.
June 6: John Lafferty parachuted to safety near Decker
Municipal Airport when an acrobatic plane he was flying
went into an inverted uncontrolled spin and crashed.
July 1 4 : Austin Bowl opened officially giving Austin a
modern bowling alley.
Montgomery Ward Store and Mix Cleanen fire - 1947
August 29: A four-day labor festival sponsored by
Local 9, United Packing House Workers, CIa opened at
the fairgrounds . Mayor Hubert Humphrey of Minneapolis
spoke at the festival.
December 1 9 : Fire causes $350,000 in damages; the
largest in the city's history destroying the Montgomery
Ward Store, Mix Brothers Dry Cleaning establishment
and Wellmann Prescription Shop.
February 6, 1 948: A spread rail caused the wreck of
three cars and the engine of the GreatWestern passenger
train #31 about 2 1/2 miles south of Lyle.
April 22: A $3,500 airplane hangar fire was touched
off when a 1 5-year-old boy and a 1 5-year-old girl built a
fire in the cockpit of Paul Hull's airplane in order to keep
June 4: Austin rain making aviators peppered a rain
cloud with dry ice near Rose Creek and were forced down
in Grand Meadow in a rain storm.
September 2: LaVonne Luthe, Lansing 4-H girl, was
named Minnesota Health Queen at the Minnesota State
November 1 7 : The Austin airport resumed full operation
under the direction of Glenn Hovland, new
A pril 26, 1 949: Dick Riedel formerly of Austin and
Bill Barris landed their plane at Fullerton, California
setting new endurance records of 1 ,008 hours aloft.
April 29: J. C. Penney Company announces it will
occupy a large new building to be constructed by M . F.
Dugan on the site of the former Montgomery Ward
August 9: Mower County Pioneer Historical Building
is dedicated in ceremonies opening th Mower County
August 1 5 : P. G. Holland, secretary Mower County
Fair, approaching 103 ,000 persons passed through the
gates of the Mower County Fair setting a new record .
August 30: Care of Mower County polio patients thus
far this year have cost the Mower County Polio Chapter
$29, 246.
September 6 : Enrollment in Austin Public Schools hits
a new high mark of 4, 787; a gain of 103 students over the
previous year.
September 26: The County Fair officials decided to
drop harness racing from the program because it has
been a money loser.
December 30: Sheriff AI Reinartz announces the
series of burglaries committed in and near Austin
recently have been solved through the investigations of
two youths arrested at Ft. Dodge, Iowa.
"Gone With The Wind" Again In 1950
It was as though the high winds were playing games
with Austin's Hiway Theater. On October 10, 1 949 a
destructive wind caused heavy damage to the theater
sign. The movie showing was "Gone With the Wind. " In
the spring of 1 950 the theater was again in the path of the
storm . A 55 mile per hour gale caused damage, blowing
down the screen and fencing. The picture scheduled for
that opening weekend was "Return of October. "
July 1 2 : The Mower County Commissioners began
feasibility studies for a new courthouse.
August 30: Mower County draft board received call for
16 inductees. The first call received since the outbreak of
the Korean War.
September 29: Walter E. Ruether, president of the
United Auto Workers , spoke in Austin before a crowd of
1 , 000 persons.
Serious Bus-Truck Accident In 1951
February 19: Two women passengers were killed and
21 persons injured in a bus-truck accident north of
Austin between a Jefferson Lines Bus and a Southern
Truck Lines semi-truck. It caused the death of two and
injury of 2 1 . Before daybreak on that Monday, February
1 9 , the bus northbound out of Austin riding on icy pavement
and cutting through thick fog suddenly piled into a
massive semi-truck inert on the side of the highway with
no gas in its tank. The trucks parking lights threw a red
blur into dark fog while the headlights shone from an
Austin Cab Company taxi, parked on the wrong side of
the shoulder to deliver an emergency can of fuel to the
truck. The bus slithered way over to the right and
slammed against the opposite side of the truck peeling
off the left side of the bus, then plunged into the ditch; a
tragic tangle of human flesh and rolling stock. Claims of
$300,000 to $400,000 were allowed in court action .
November 13: Many township and village elections
were postponed because of the heavy snows. Elections
were held in about half of the community.
1952 Murder in Lyle
Pete Alegria, Brownsville, Texas, a Milwaukee Road
gang member killed Floyd S . Collins, Champaign, Illinois
at Lyle and wounded Bascillo Espinosa, Chicago.
August 2 1 : One of three boars which escaped from the
Hormel stockyard was shot by Officer Heye Hemmen on
the Great Western tracks near College and Jay after a
long chase.
September 23: Leslie Caron, 20, ballet dancer and
actress from Paris, France and George A . Hormel II
were married in the Little Church of the West in Las
Vegas, Nevada.
George Hormel II and movie actress .Leslle Caron. The couple
received nationwide publicity when they were married In 1952.
Oc-t-ober 6: Paul Lightly, Oakland, an Austin FFA
member took top price of $207. 50 at the 14th annual
production tested boar sale at the Mower County Fairgrounds.
October 3 1 : Six pranksters received fines of $20 for
turning over outhouses in District 101 in Lansing
Township. It was one of the quietest Halloweens in years
city and township officers said.
November 2: A bronze star with oak leaf cluster and a
citation were presented to Mrs . Arnold Brandt, 100
South First Street, for her husband, Lt. Col. Brandt.
Col. Brandt was a prisoner in North Korea.
Harbo Report Stresses Year of BuDding
"The outstanding effort of the 1 952-53 school year is
the start of construction of a vocational school building,"
said Supt. of Schools L. S. Harbo. Other construction
included completion of Woodson and Banfield schools.
Also nearing completion was an addition to Neveln
School which had previously been destroyed in a
February 5th gas explosion. The blast fatally injured
George E. Spicer, 36, St. Paul and also injured two other
workmen. Nearly 400 children were marched to safety by
1 1 teachers. The blast was traced to a cracked gas line.
Building Boom Peaks in 1955
December 30, 1955: The building boom reached a new
near peak in Austin in 1955 when 267 homes were spread
for contract. Most homes started in 1 950 were 388.
Rose Marie Peterson is American Dairy Princess
Rose Marie Peterson , Princess Kay of the Milky Way
and American Dairy Princess will add a new national
flavor next week. She will leave Minnesota Sunday and
will go to Bogota, Columbia where she will appear daily
at the International Dairy Fair under the auspices of the
dairy industries system international. The Lansing farm
girl will represent the U . S . Dairy Industry at the request
of the department of agriculture.
Centennial Celebration in 1956
The celebration was the biggest thing Austin had ever
seen. It was a time for the tribute to those pioneers who
first settled along the Cedar River. The conclusion of the
observance will be sometime in 1957 when the time
capsule is secured beneath the marker of Chauncey
Leverich's grave.
Congregational Church Burned
There were several destructive acts in the city in 1 956 .
The old First Congregational Church was burned on
April 9th and the Jones Building on April 22nd . The
arson was admitted by a 22-year-old Austin man.
The roof of the municipal airport hangar blew off and
landed in Trailer Village across the road on March 26 .
The most controversial issue of the year was whether or
not to place flourides in the city water for the protection
of children's teeth from tooth decay. By a vote of 4,667 to
2,563 the issue for flourides was defeated .
The climax of a building project costing over one
million dollars occurred June 24 and the new wing of St.
Olaf Hospital was officially opened on the beginning of
the hospital's 60th year.
Brownsdale residents balloted five times in an attempt
to merge their district with Austin. The vote failed and
the students went to Rose Creek and Glenville for the
year. In the Elkton area five districts joined the consolidated
district and at LeRoy 18 districts consolidated .
Brownsdale community completed their building
housing their library and fire station. The centennial
celebration capped their year.
Austin's First Triplets-1957
Eric, Mark and John Sundet were born October 19, to
make medical history here. The Harold Sundet's are
more than satisfied with what 1 957 brought them . Eric
weighed 7 lbs. 8 ozs . ; Mark 6 lbs. % ozs . ; and John is 6
Ibs . 1 oz. at birth.
Far reaching was the venture to sell stock in the Austin-
Hotel-Motel projected to bring Austin on the map for
conventions and other events requiring space for dining
and sleeping. The drive went over the top and the city is
considering a site on Lansing Avenue (First Drive N. W.)
which will take several acres of land from Horace Austin
State Park, which has been deeded to the city.
Commanding widespread attention was the conversion
of the J. C. Hormel home into Kingswood ; a restaurant
by George A. Hormel II.
The belt line made great strides in 1 958, speeded by
long, dry autumn season.
The Minnesota Press Women made Mrs. Geraldine
Rasmussen press woman of the year.
Mower County got its 13th village, Racine, a 102-yearold
community in the northeast corner of the county.
A new Hormel Institute Building was started.
A six-year-old Brownsdale school district hassle was
settled with Brownsdale voters agreeing to merge with
Gateway to Horace Austin State Park
The park area was deeded to the city when the Red Cedar Inn was
buUt In 1959.
Jay C. Hormel Home became Klngswood Restaurant In 1958
This stately mansion, located east of Austin, Is 360' long, has 97
rooms, including more than 30 bathrooms. Construction began In
1925. Additions were made to the main home several times.
The floor In the formal living room and the former office of Jay
Hormel ls teakwood. The "Gold Room," upstairs bedroom In center of
the home, has an area enclosed with ornate woodwork Imported from
an old church In France.
French and English refugees were cared for In this home during
World War n. The home Is now owned by Gerard Schools of
MInnesota. (I'/ormCltio" .filrtlished by Mrs. SharD" Jensen)
This Is Austin's first motor bus, called the "jitney." The converted truck was
put Into operation In 1915 by S. L. Young.
The Austin Post Office from 1912 to 1964. An addition, which
doubled the working area, was completed In he early 1930..
Dean Hotson was a rural man carrIer for many years.
Ray Garvey was AustIn's veteran bus driver.
Beginning In the days of the "jitney," he continued
through the years when Austin had as many as 14
modem buses In operation. During this latter period the
Austin Bus Lines was owned by James Schmieder and
then was operated by drlver.owners; Harold Allen,
William Gaughran, Lee Cummings, Stanley Bakke,
Harry Larson, Melvin Olson and Kenneth Kenfield. The
buses made theIr last tour of Austin In 1957.
Post office personnel In the early 1900s. Eme Howe Is lady In front
row, Harry Rutherford second from left, Oscar Flnbraaten, top of
steps. Group also Includes Frank Keams, Bill Johnson and Frank FlaIa
Edith Morey
One of the questions which provided public controversy
during the mid- 1 960s was whether or not Edith
Morey should remain as a teacher in the Austin Public
School system. Many parents expressed their opinion
that Miss Morey was a superior teacher. School officials
maintained that she did not follow the required procedures
in her methods of grading and examinations.
Miss Morey challenged dismissal procedure through
legal proceedings.
In June, 1965 the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled for
a second time that the Austin School Board had failed to
submit evidence to support dismissal charges . Miss
Morey was then retained in a non-teaching capacity.
Chicago Great Western Station
At 5:10 a.m., Thursday, September 30, 1965, the CGW passenger
train No. 14 left Austin for Minneapolis, ending all passenger service to
Austin. The CGW came to Austin In 1885.
Other 1965 News Events
On September 3, 1965, a burning cat ignited a barn
fire on the Chris Schiech farm near Waltham.
In October the Chicago Great Western passenger train
made its last trip through Austin.
Two fires in November destroyed the Cashway Lumber
Store and Oak Grove Activity Center. There was
$200,000 damage.
Hormel Co. and Union Make Joint Announcement
The biggest news story for Austin residents in 1 966 was
the announcement December 14 by Fayette Sherman,
vice president of industrial relations at George A .
Hormel & Company and Frank W. Schultz, president of
Local 9 UPW A, of the withdrawal of 52 week notices
issued March 7 to 320 Austin plant employees.
Local 9 in July made the firm a number of proposals
which the union said were reasonable and realistic and
which would work toward a gradual solution of the
problems which had existed at the Austin plant.
Austin State Junior College-Fox Hotel and Sears
Classes started in September at the new Austin State
Junior College.
An old Austin landmark, the Fox Hotel, closed its
doors after better than 70 years in business in October.
Soon after the wreckers took over to make way for the
new Austin State Bank.
The new Sears, Roebuck & Company shopping complex
opened in October.
. Fire Destroys Nelson's Supermarket in 1967
Top story for 1 967 in the Austin area was the fire
which gutted Glen Nelson's Supermarket January 7 with
damage estimated at $ 1 , 500,000. The blaze sent several
families fleeing for shelter in sub-zero weather.
January, 1967, was also the month for Greenman
Plumbing & Heating fire which hit January 29. Gutted in
the blaze was the old Hormel Mill, long an Austin
landmark .
Second place story was the announcement November
24 of a $2.5 (m) apartment, shopping complex to be built
near the YMCA by a St. Paul firm.
Courthouse demolished
Midtown Austin took on a different look after the old
Victorian Mower County Courthouse was leveled in the
spring of 1 967. The high white dome which had been
dominating the skyline since the early 1 880s was no
The building was demolished and the brick and stone
was hauled to the Mower County Fairgrounds for fill .
The dome and other historical items were also hauled to
the fairgrounds where they are now on display.
$4.7 MUlion Dollar Bond Issue
Top story for 1 970 in the Austin area was the approval
of a $4 . 7 (m) bond issue by Austin School District voters
April 29.
Monies were used for construction of a new Austin
Area V ocational-Technical School and swimming pool at
Ellis Junior High School and remodeling of the present
Vocational School for high school use.
That same year voters in Rose Creek, Adams and
Elkton School districts approved consolidation of the
three schools. A similar move towards consolidation by
Hayfield and Dodge Center voters was turned down
March 10.
_ Marigold Dairy/Austin Herald Annex
This building was purchased from the Marigold Dairies In the 19508
and was converted to a pressroom annex to theAustin Daily Herald. It
was destroyed by fire In January 1970. The Herald then purchased and
converted another Marigold Dairy buDding for their newspaper
A new Crossroads Center was opened in Austin. The
new shopping center .included Piggly Wiggly, Osco Drug,
Kinney Shoe and Fabricland . The Northwestern State
Bank also occupied their new facility in the autumn.
Austin's biggest fire in 1 970, the A ustin Herald Annex
blaze, brought a news story right to the news staff on
January 6th. The fire knocked out press facilities until
November 1 970, when the Herald was published for the
first time in its new quarters in the former Marigold
building. Damage in the blaze was estimated at
Twin Towers Constructed
The Twin Towers in Austin was made possible through
a 4 million dollar loan from the U . S . Department of
Housing and Urban Development. One tower is ten
stories high and the other nine, with a total of 165 units .
The project also included another 40 housing units in the
city . Construction was begun in 1971 and completed in
The Austin Senior Citizens Center was established in
1971 .
In September, 1971, a fire of unknown origin
destroyed the Huntting feed mill at Grand Meadow.
St. Olav Hospital was organized by Drs. O. H. and C. A. Hegge.
This first Austin hospital was dedicated on August 4, 1897.
With a sllght change In spelllng this was St. Olaf Hospital In the
19208 and 308.
This Is St. Olaf Hospital In 1984. It was completed In 1976.
The Hormel Company Almost Left Austin
The top news story for both 1977 and 1978 was the
tumultuous efforts by the Hormel Company and CIa
Local No . 9 to negotiate a union contract which would
assure the construction of a new packing house building
in Austin.
The tension was heightened by events such as the
layoff notices to 325 employees on September 10, 1977
and the decision to build a 10 million dollar gelatin plant
in Davenport, Iowa instead of in Austin.
The darkest day was on May 26, 1978 when the
company announced that negotiations would cease and a
decision had been made not to rebuild in Austin .
However, negotiations did resume and a new proposal
was offered on June 22nd. On June 27th the union
ratified a new three year contract by a 1,324 to 502 vote .
The entire Austin area breathed a sigh of relief .
Devastating Floods
Austin's worst flood in recorded history came on July 6
& 7, 1978, with a record 19 ft. 5 inches. Hundreds of
citizens were evacuated from their homes and 1,000
homes and businesses were damaged.
On July 17th another record breaking torrent came
down the Cedar River following 9 inches of rain at
Waltham . The flood waters reached a crest of 21 feet, 9
inches at the sewage treatment plant. Again hundreds of
people were forced to evacuate their homes.
Flood control became a matter of civic concern and
groups were formed to investigate ways and means.
Mower County in the 1980's
A historian wrote in 1884 that the Mower County
pioneers had "witnessed a trackless wilderness and
prairie transformed into a beautiful country filled with
an enterprising people. " In the ensuing hundred years
these same farmlands have been transformed into acres
which yield four and five times what was produced per
acre in 1884. The enterprise of our farmers has remained
constant .
Today's farm would seem a miracle of ingenuity to the
1884 farmer . The modern farm home also reflects all of
the conveniences which have been added to our society .
Even so, the very efficiency of the modern farmer has
produced a result which could not have been anticipated
a century ago.
The farmers in Mower County have been a part of the
evolution which has occurred in agriculture throughout
the United States . The number of farmers has declined
rapidly in the last two decades. Meanwhile, the size of
the individual farms have doubled and tripled in size.
In 1960 Mower County had a population of 48,498. In
1980 the county's population was 40, 390, a decline of
Towns and VUlages
The changes which have taken place on the farm have
also had an effect on Mower County's towns and villages .
With a reduction in commerce with the farmers, many of
the village residents have become commuters to occupations
in nearby cities. In this way they continue the
meaningful lifestyle they have established in the pleasant
towns of the county .
Mower County citizens can be proud of the schooling
which is provided to their children and young people .
Education has been centralized in the county's population
centers with the consolidation of the 1940s . The
Community College and the Vocational Technical Institute
in Austin provides area opportunities for post high
school education .
One of the primary goals in the county is to provide
sufficient job opportunities for the young men and
women we educate . Achieving this goal would be a big
help in maintaining the health of our economy with the
vitality of youth .
For many years Austin has been a city of home owners .
These homes reflect the pride and care of the citizens .
This has been just one facet of a healthy and civic
minded city .
Austin's economy is dependent on several factors, but
one industry has had the greatest impact for over 90
years . This is the George A . Hormel Company . It is the
city's principal employer . For many years Hormel's labor
relations with the Local P-9, representatives of plant
employees, has had mutual benefits. The Hormel
Company has had a constant and efficient work force;
the best in the meat packing industry . During these same
years the Hormel employees have had the most liberal
wage and benefits among contemporary packing house
workers .
The City of Austin has been influenced by changes in
industry in much the same way that new farm methods
have affected the county . In 1960 Austin had a population
of 27,908. The 1980 census showed a count of
23,020, a decline of almost 18% . Industrial production
requires less workers.
Downtown Austin - 1984
One section of popUlation has shown an increase .
There are an increasing number of senior citizens. The
city was prompt in anticipating the housing needs of
these older people . In 1973 the Twin Towers was completed
with the help of the V . S . Department of Housing
and Urban Development. In 1982 the Pickett Place was
completed with the assistance of the same V . S . housing
authority .
Private developers have also been active in building
several condominiums: such as The Cedars, in downtown
Austin; The Oaks, north of Oak Park Mall and East
Lake Villas, overlooking East Side Lake, construction of
which was begun in July, 1984.
Old Hormel Plant, closed In 1982, continued to be demolished In
Large Shopko store opened In Oak Park In Spring of 1984
Old Headquarters buIldIng moved to Fairgrounds In 1983
In a move initiated by George and Nolan Dugan, this 128-year-old
Austin business buIlding and community center made Its fourth and
6naIjoumey. The buIlding was at one time a blacksmith shop operated
by Tom Dugan, an ancestor of George and Nolan.
23,000 sq. foot super gym added to Y.M.C.A. ln 1982
Roy and Helen Holmes at their Sprlng Farmnow
AustIn Country Club
(Harold J. Davison Photo Collection)
Mower County Population (1980 Census)
40, 390-51 . 3% female . The age breakdown shows
7 . 0% under 5 years of age, 72.30/0 18 years and over,
15.8% 65 and over . The median age was 33 .9.
Grand Meadow
Pleasant Valley
Red Rock
3 0 1
1858 brIck home to b e preserved a s a hIstoric buDding at original
location In arena west.
Grand Meadow
Le Roy
Rose Creek
Austin Country Club 1984
(Caroll Plager Photo)
11 ,717
The records reveal 1 1 , 145 families, 14,969 households
with an average of 2.65 persons per household .
(News items in this section were digested from the
Austin Daily Herald)
Early National Guard Armory
This was headquarten for .Company G In the early days. It was
located on the northeast comer of Main Street at Oakland Avenue.
The local National Guard through its many changes in
designation and mission , dates back to the Civil War and
the formation of a military company which became the
Mower County Guards, Company K , 4th Minnesota Volunteer
Infantry. This 32 man company left Austin on
October 15, 186 1 , and joined the 3rd Minnesota Regiment
at Fort Snelling. The unit participated in the battle
ofluka, Mississippi, on September 19th and 20th , 1862,
in which six men from Austin were wounded.
A man who volunteered for duty in the Civil War
received more in benefits than the draftee. He received a
bounty of 25 dollars, one month's pay in advance, and 75
dollars at the end of his term of service together with 160
acres of bounty land. H;is family received assistance
during his absence. The man who was drafted received
1 1 dollars per month and no bounty.
Company G In 1882
The first local National Guard Company , Company G ,
was organized in 1882 as a cavalry troop. A year later it
was reassigned as part of the 135th Infantry Regiment,
Minnesota National Guard. At the time it was organized ,
the company officers were: Captain J. S. Anderson , 1st
Lieutenant H. W. Elms and 2nd Lieutenant Frank Richards.
In 1898, Company G volunteered in a body for duty in
the SpanishAmerican War. The company was brought
up to wartime strength by the enlistment of additional
men and became part of the Twelfth Minnesota Volunteer
Infantry. Company G, office red by Captain Fred
B. Wood, 1st Lieutenant Alfred C. Page and 2nd Lieutenant
Nicholas Nicholsen; went into quarters at Camp
Ramsey (State Fairgrounds) , April 29, 1898, and was
mustered into United States service May 6. During the
summer Company G , as part of the Twelfth Regiment,
received training in camps in Tennessee, Georgia and
Kentucky. The war was quickly over however , and they
returned to Camp Mueller near New Ulm, September 17,
1898. Following a thirty day furlough , Company G was
mustered out of federal service on November 5 , 1 898.
Company G, M.N.G., June, 1910
Captain A. C. Page was In command
Raids across the international border into Texas by
Mexican revolutionary bands led to the dispatching of
U.S. troops. On June 23, 1916, all National Guard units
were ordered to be ready immediately for duty on the
Mexican border. On June 26, Company G entrained for
Fort Snelling and the next day was at Camp Bobleiter as
part of the 2nd Regiment. On July 15 , 1916, the
company left Fort Snelling for Llano Grande , near Mercedes,
Texas , going by the way of Albert Lea.
The' pay the men received may seem very low by
present standards. They were paid two dollars a day until
mustered into Federal service , after which they got
$16.50 per month plus clothing , food and medical care.
If they were sent to the Mexican border , they would get
an additional twenty percent. Corporals , on the other
hand , receiVed seventy cents a day and sergeants a
On January 24, 1917, Company G arrived home,
Motorcycle Corps, 1916
Minnesota National Guard TraInIng at Camp Perry, 1910
The National Guard at the Mexican Border - 1916
coming down from Fort Snelling on a special train . That
evening they were the guests of honor at a banquet at the
M . E . Church and a dance at the armory . The company
officers were: Captain Peter Johnson , 1st Lieutenant
Frank Draeggert and 2nd Lieutenant Smith.
Armory Served Over Fifty Yean
Dedicated In September, 1912, this armory on lst Ave. N.E., Austin,
gave good service until October, 1963.
The United States declared war on the Imperial
Government of Germany on April 6, 1917. Immediately
thereafter an enlistment drive was started to bring Company
G up to its peacetime strength of 100 men. The
company at that time numbered 60. On May 2 1 , Captain
Peter Johnson received the following message: "The
Secretary of War directs that existing organizations of
the National Guard , not in Federal Service , be recruited
to maximum strength . Proceed at once to comply with
this request ." Signed, Col . W . T . Mollison . To meet this
request required the recruitment of an additional 80
men .
The Minnesota National Guard was called into federal
service July 15, 1917, by proclamation of President Wilson
. For the third time in its history, Co . G was mobilized
for the service of the country . By the same
proclamation the guard was discharged from the state
militia and became part of the United States Army on
August 5th . At the time of mobilization the officers of
Company G were: Captain Alfred C. Page , First Lieutenant
Olaf B . Damm and Second Lieutenant George A .
All the churches of Austin united in giving Company G
a banquet on July 28. There were also benefit dances at
the Armory , pavement dances in. the city streets ,
smokers , banquets and luncheons. All honored Company
G and raised money for a fund used for sick
benefits and extras that Uncle Sam didn't provide .
August 9th , was "Pie Day ." Pies came in by the dozen
from Austin bakers and by the hundreds from the
women of Austin , each vying to make the best pie .
On August 24th, seven men: Horatio Stalcup , Aaron
Saeger , Claude Winn, Henry W . Pittsley , William B .
Hyde , Charlie Mohs and Glen R . Tatham went to Fort
Snelling as part of a SO man regimental quota and were
transferred to the 1st Regiment Minnesota Field Artillery
. They sailed from Mineola , Long Island , on October
18, 1 917, and arrived at St. N azaire , France, on October
31st .
It wasn't until September 27, 1917, that Company G
paraded from the flagstaff in front of the courthouse to
the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul depot. There they
boarded the train that took them and the rest of the
Second battalion, Second Regiment south for training.
The entire Second Regiment met at EI Paso, Texas. On
the next day, October 2nd, they reached Camp Cody,
Deming, New Mexico. There they became the 136th U. S.
Infantry. The company spent almost a year at Camp
Cody drilling and training . During that time some of the
men were taken as replacement troops. In September,
1918, they moved to Camp Dix, New Jersey, sailing
October 12, to Glasgow, Scotland, then going to
LeHavre, France, as replacement troops.
With the Minnesota National Guard mustered into
Federal service, the Minnesota Commission of Public
Safety was organized and charged with maintaining the
peace and defending the state. To meet this responsibility,
the commission on April 28, 1917, issued Order
No. 3 making provisions for the organization of a Home
Guard. Company C of the 7th Battalion, Minnesota
Home Guards was stationed at Austin commanded by
Captain J. N. Nicholsen . Other officers included 1st
Lieutenant George E. Anderson and 2nd Lieutenant
J. E. Detweiler. Doctor Emory C. Rebman, who had
been a private in the company, was commissioned first
lieutenant and surgeon and assigned to the Seventh
Battalion .
Company C had the distinction of being one of the
largest infantry companys in the world, with nearly 500
men enrolled in its regular and auxiliary units . On one
occasion, 349 uniformed and partially uniformed men
turned out for inspection by the governor of the state.
In December, 1917, responding to a mobilization
order by the Governor, Captain Nicholsen and 154 men
went on ten days of active duty in Saint Paul. They performed
guard duty to prevent rioting during a strike by
street car workers in the Twin Cities. Company C was
demobilized after Armistice Day.
The local National Guard unit was redesignated as
Company H effective May 1, 1 921. The Company G
designation was transferred to Hutchinson, Minnesota.
Company H was a heavy weapons company commanded
by Captain Walter E. Tollefson . The armory, which was
in service then, had been completed in September of
1912. Through the efforts of Tollefson and his men,
funds in the amount of $26,000 were raised and thc
armory was doubled in size.
The first mobilization of the local National Guard unit
for state service was on May 23, 1934. A good indicator
of the readiness of the guard is shown by the fact that the
first notice to mobilize was received at 2: 30 in the after-
noon on the 23rd; mobilization was completed at 5:25
and the unit was on duty at the tractor building in Minneapolis
by 4:00 the following morning. Company H was
mobilized by Governor Olson to prevent further violence
in connection with a Minneapolis truckers strike. They
were transported to the Twin Cities in a large moving van
belonging to the Kough Taxi Company, a small truck
from the Stern's Taxi Company and seven taxicabs.
Company H, 135th Infantry, Minnesota National
Guard was placed on active duty on January 14, 1 94 1,
and mustered into federal service on February 10th with
a strength of four officers and ninety-two enlisted men.
The company was led by Captain Roy Roach along with
Second Lieutenants Bill Pribble, Byron Bradford and AI
Nelson. The First Sergeant was Arnold Brandt. For the
next fifteen days they called the Austin Armory home.
Guard duty, military tactics, crew drill as well as K . P.
became part of the normal daily routine. Sleeping accommodations
were set up in the armory and actual
military life became a reality.
Company "B", 135th Infantry, MInnesota National Guard at the
34th Division Review July 2, 1941. Camp Clalborne, La.
On February 25, the local National Guard company
again made the march to the depot responding to their
nation's call,-the fourth time in 59 years. They were
sent to Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, which was then little
more than a sea of mud. There they participated in the
largest peacetime maneuvers in United States history.
Following Pearl Harbor and United States entry into the
war, Company H was sent to Lake Pontchartain as a part
of the southern coastal defense.
On January 11, 1 942, the company arrived at Fort
Dix, New Jersey and replacements were assigned to bring
the company up to 205 men. While waiting for transportation
overseas, they took part in drills and training on
the firing ranges. Company H, commanded by Captain
Byron Bradford, sailed from New York on the S . S.
Aquatania on April 29, 1942. After stops at Halifax and
Belfast they arrived at Grenick, Scotland . There the
troops were transferred to three smaller ships to be transported
to Londonderry, Northern Ireland, on May 12,
1942. Training at various camps in Northern Ireland
continued until October 17, 1942.
The next stop for the company was North Africa and
the landing at Oran, where they faced the crack Afrika
Corps . Following the end of the fighting there, they took
part in the landing at Salerno, Italy, in the fall of 1 943,
and began the long campaign up the Italian boot.
Naples, the Volturno River and Mont Cassino followed .
As part of the 135th Infantry they were the first unit to
enter Rome . Pisa, Florence, Bologna and the Po Valley
were next on the schedule for Company H, taking them
up to the surrender of Germany in May of 1945 .
The men of the 1 35th, including Company H, were in
combat for 600 days; the most days for any outfit during
44 months of war . Of the original 84 men who left Austin
for Camp Claiborne, 19 were still with the company when
they left Italy on October 22, 1945. Approximately 1,100
men passed through the roster of Company H during the
war . They mustered out at Camp Patrick Henry,
Virginia, on November 3, 1945 .
In April of 1946 the Department of the Army announced
plans to form the 47th (Vikings) Infantry
division in North Dakota and Minnesota . As part of that
division, Company H, under the command of Captain
George N . Roope, was granted Federal recognition on
June 30, 1947. Two officers and 24 enlisted men
answered the first role call. From 1 947 to 1950, a succession
of very able officers commanded the company .
Following Captain Roope they were: Captain Charles
Willard, Captain Delmer E. Pepper, First Lieutenant
later Captain Sidney W . Russell and First Lieutenant
Clyde F . Seiver .
Through the latter half of 1950, the Company H
schedule of training and inspections was accelerated in
preparation for war mobilization. The company was
called to federal duty for the fifth time January 16, 1 95 1 .
Three officers, a warrant officer and 87 enlisted men,
under the command of Captain Sidney Russell, left by
train for Camp Rucker, Alabama . There they were
trained to fighting strength and then split up to fight in
the Korean War . Company H did not return to Austin as
a unit . As each guardsman's enlistment expired, he was
mustered out at the camp in which he was serving .
The local company was again activated as an active
peacetime reserve unit of the Minnesota National Guard
and received Federal recognition on January 16, 1 953.
Recruitment was stressed and by the end of 1 953 the
company could claim six officers and 87 enlisted men .
First Lieutenant Jack Lake assumed command of
Company H on May 8, 1 953. Following Lieutenant Lake,
company commanders from 1 953 to 1962 were: Captain
M. Boeck, Captain William E. Buechner, Captain David
Inspection bt the Old Armory May 9, 1955
F . Reinhartz and Captain Clair A .Tenhoff. For the most
part these men came up through the ranks to lead the
men of company H .
On February 21, 1959, Company H, then commanded
by Captain Buechner, was redesignated as Combat
Support Company, 2nd Battle Group, 135th Combat
Arms Regiment, 47th Division . On April 2, 1 963, the
Austin guard was again redesignated . They became a
detachment of the Rochester based 4th Battalion Headquarters
Company, 1 35th Infantry Regiment . Lieutenant
James Cherwinka was the detachment commander .
New National Guard Armory
This modem armory was erected at a cost of $260,000. It Is situated
east of Austin adjobtbtg the airport.
Later that year, on October 13, the local guardsmen
moved into a new $260,000 armory at 800 21st Street
Northeast. The old armory, which had been first occupied
in September of 1912, had fulfilled its mission, both
for army and for community use.
A tornado hit parts of Southern Minnesota during the
early evening of Sunday, April 30, 1967. Because of a
great deal of damage at Waseca, Minnesota, the local
National Guard unit was called upon to provide security .
They arrived at Waseca at two in the morning of May 1,
1967, and remained there for two days . They patrolled to
protect property and aided in the cleanup .
In January, 1 972, the local guard became Company B ,
47th Supply & Transport Battalion. They were authorized
to add one officer and 60 enlisted men to the force.
Captain Gerald Kramer commanded the group which
now had an impressive array of over 80 vehicles. The unit
has received numerous high awards, including the Eisenhower
Trophy for 1 982 as the best unit in the State of
Minnesota . Also in 1 982, they received a Superior Award
from the National Guard Bureau for the best training of
all units in Minnesota .
In 1983, Captain Stanley C . Bergan commands Company
B which has five officers, one warrant officer and
161 enlisted personnel . Also included are seven full-time
employees . The Platoon leaders are 2nd Lieutenants
Donovan K. Hague , Michael R. Goetz, Russell Tesmer
II and James E . King . The warrant officer in the maintenance
section is CW03 Robert W. Tretter .
The Unit Administrator is SFC Thomas A . Wacholtz
and the Training NCO is SFC Gary E. Miller . NCOs and
Platoon Sergeants are 1 SG Robert A . Thome , SSG
Douglas G . MacIntosh, PSG Garry E . Ellingson, P SG
Eugene E . Salisbury , P SG Lucas G. Luna , PSG Larry A.
Waters and SSG Stephen J. Drees .
The other enlisted personnel in the company are:
James J. Adams, Allan J . Anderson, Randy W . Anderson,
Reuben F . Anderson, Rudolph W . Anderson ,
Steven D . Andrews, Gregory L . Arens , Rueben Avelar,
Joseph A . Baldus, Ivan N . Bartholomew, Steven J . Bartl
y, Joseph Bellrichard, Robert Bellrichard , Wayne Bellrichard,
James M . Best, Mike H. Bradford, Gary D .
Butts, Everett C . Carlson, David A . Carpenter , David F .
Coughlin, James C . Crichton , Clair E . Dagestad , Dennis
J . Dagestad, Earl L . Davis, Scott A . Deike, Charles J .
Dibble , Donald A . Dieser , Anthony S . Dodge , Keith J.
Dodge, Jannette M . Eck, Carl A. Ellis , Charles E. Ferguson,
Paul J . Foran, Ronald L. Frazer .
Julian A . Gehrke , Robert D . Giles, Robert D . Glowac ,
Jr . , John P . Goergen, John M. Grant, Karon A . Grebin ,
Michael E . Greenlee, Paul C . Greenlee , Douglas E.
Groh, Douglas J. Guse, Robert E. Gwin , Charles A .
Halsey, Dennis G . Hamberg, Axel M. Hansen II, Leroy
J . Harty, Jr ., Robert J . Hebl, Kimberly L . Hegna, Bruce
P. Hemphill, Paul D . Henschel, Kent J . Hessling , Daniel
L . Hoerter , Robert A . Holland, Richard D . Holstad ,
Patrick F . Huinker, Rodney W . Hutchinson , John
L . Jensen , Kendahl Jochumsen, Delbert C. Johnson ,
Gordon A . Johnson , James A . Johnson, Norman D . Johnson,
Michael G . Jones, Roy C. Jons, Michael A . Judd .
David W . Kamp , Frank A . Karnes, Wayne H . Kenitz,
Jay G. Kestner, Douglas L . Kinny, Kristine K . Klock,
Richard J . Kramer, Joseph E . Krebsbach, Darrell A .
Kroneman , Richard C . Kubat, Robert E . Kvam ,
Vrnell A . Larson, Bradley L . Lee, Danny A . Lee,
Rlchard E. Lehto , Glenn R . Lemcke, Curtis W . Lerum,
Orrin R. Lerum, James V. Lewison, John R. Lochner ,
Steven L . Long , Mark C. Luna, Robert C. Luthe, Shaun
M . Lynch, Karen R . MacIntosh, Peter D . Marks ,
Dennis L . Maschka, Donald G. May, Jerome C.
McCrthy, Robert C . Mead, David O . Miller, Donovan
C. Mltchell, Delmar D . Mullenbach, Dennis Mullenbach,
Lee A. Mullenbach , Randy S . Murphy.
Patrick P . Nelson, Paul A. Nelson, William C. Nelson,
Donald L . Nerad , Barbara J . Neste, Donald M . Nordine ,
Randall P . Odegaard , Steven M. Olson, George C .
Percival, Richard J . Peterson, Robert M . Placek,
Clifford D . Pratt, Kenneth M . Pruka, Ray M . Quintanilla
, Robert L . Ragan , Kelvin J . Retterath, Robby L .
Rogers , Clint B . Russell, Duane L . Ryks, Kenneth D .
Ryks, Daniel J . Schiltz, Michael H . Schreiber, Suze A .
Schwarzrock , Cali J . Scruton, Gene W . Seavey, Michael
A . Shifflett, John A . Shinego, Alfred M. Simon, Jr . , Kelly
J. Smith, Marvin W . Smith, Richard L . SpinIer , Sandra
L. Stewart, Ted R . Stewart, Raymond L . Swain.
Timothy N. Talbert, Daniel J . Tate, Wayne O . Thorson
, Daniel O . Toenges, David M . Tveter, Ted S . Ulwelling,
Brian L . Voogd, David A . Welch, Philip J . Wells,
Donald F . Wench, Donald L . Wendorf, ,Roger D . Wenigar
, Robert J . Wetterberg, Dale A . Wetzel , Gary D .
Wilde , Martin J . Williamson, Mark D . Wittmer and
Darwin E . Ziegler .
TraInIng at Camp Ripley, loading an 81 motor. Left to right! G..,
Nemitz, Darrell A. Thoen, Duane D. Orth and PhD Gardner.
National Guard troops disembarking at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska for
ArctIc Weather Training.
Township 101 North Range 16 West of the 5th P. M.
RailRoad _ Jch o o l it
Wason. Road = Churcn
Corp.Line __ .........
Creek Ce m. .
School Districts I/J1I/InmmJJh
Rural Routes
According to one source, Adams Township, was
named by an early settler, William Madden . He chose
the name for a very good friend of his from New York
State . Other information indicates it was named in honor
of John Adams, second president of the United States
and his son, John Quincy Adams, the sixth president. It
is bounded on the west, north and east by Nevada, MarshalI
and Lodi Townships and on the south by MitchelI
County, Iowa .
The first settler in the township was Thomas Knudtson
who came in 1855. He built a log house on his claim in
Section 2. The township of Adams was organized in
May, 1858. The first town meeting was held on the open
prairie in Section 16. At this meeting the folIowing offi-cers
were elected: township board, Mathias Rooney
(chairman), Mathew Carey and Reynold Olson; treasurer,
P . F . Rooney; clerk, Wm . Madden; justices of the
peace, William Madden and Stephen Heimer; constables,
Ole T. Jacobson and John Sanders .
Johnsburg Store 1984
St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Johnsburg
St. John the Baptist Catholic Church
The first settlers who arrived in the Johnsburg area
came in 1855. Many of the initial settlers came from the
German community of Johnsburg, in McHenry County,
Illinois. In later years large groups came from Wisconsin,
especialIy from Fond du Lac County . Other Germans
came from Illinois, and a large group of Irish families
from eastern United States . Since Johnsburg lies less
than a half mile north of the Iowa border, many of the
early members of the parish were residents of MitchelI
County, Iowa .
The first religious services were held by Fr . George
KelIer in 1853, in the home of John Fagans, who lived in
Section 28. In February 1858, Fr . KelIer was appointed
the first pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in
Faribault, Minnesota . He was the first missionary priest
to serve Catholics in the Johnsburg area, and came once
each month to hold services .
Under the direction of Fr . KelIer, a 16' x 20' log
church of oak timbers and hand-split shingles, was constructed
in 1859. In 1860, a 1 2' x 14' addition was built
on to the church . This was the first Catholic church in
the county, and was named in honor of St . John the Baptist.
The church was built on the farm owned by John and
Gertrude Heimer, who donated the use of their grounds
for religious use . On October 26, 1860, the Heimers sold
ten acres of the farm, including the church site, to Nicholas
and Anna Maria Huemann for $10. On April 12,
186 1 , the bishop of St . Paul, the Most Rev. Thomas L .
Grace, purchased the ten acres from the Huemanns for
Fr . KelIer remained in Faribault until 1870, but he
was assisted by various priests, among them Fr . Clement
Scheve . The journeys from Faribault ended in 1867,
when Fr. John McDermott, the first resident priest, arrived
in Austin . St. John's parish was placed under his
charge .
The second church, a frame 30' x 60' structure, was
built in 1868. This new church with a cost of $4,000 included
a steeple and belI and a sacristy measuring twelve
by thirty-two feet. The cost of the church was borne by
sUbscription of the parish members .
In 1869, Fr . Claude Genis took over the responsibility
of the parishes of St . Augustine in Austin and St. John in
Johnsburg . He remained in the county until October
1874. He was succeeded by Fr . John Pavlin . Under his
direction a frame schoolhouse was built on church
property in 1874. An apartment was constructed in the
rear of the schoolhouse which served as the home of the
first resident priest in Johnsburg, Fr . Bernard Baumann,
who came in September, 1 875. Fr. Baumann was succeeded
in December, 188 1 , by Fr . Alois Stecher who remained
until September, 1 883.
On May 25, 1883, the articles of incorporation for the
parish of St . John the Baptist were signed by Bishop
Thomas L . Grace and .Vicar General Augustin Ravoux of
St. Paul and Fr. Alois Stecher, Patrick Gilligan and
Mathias Krebsbach of the Johnsburg parish . On March
20, 1884, for $5.00, Bishop Grace transferred to the
Church of St. John the Baptist title to the ten acres he
had purchased in 186 1 .
$ 1 ,000.00 was raised at a parish picnic to construct a
new rectory that year. This was the new home of Fr.
Nicholas Schmitz who succeeded Fr. Stecher. He
remained in Johnsburg until June, 1890. This building
functioned as the rectory unti1 1909.
The present brick church was constructed in 189 1 .
When Fr. Schmitz left, n o priest replaced him until
October, 1892, when Fr. Johann Gratz arrived. He
served until April , 1894.
Fr. Victor Schir arrived in 1894 and a new brick, twostory
schoolhouse was constructed in 1905 at a cost of
$5,000. A convent for the nuns was made up ofthe rooms
on the west side of the school. The first teaching sisters
came in September, 1904, from the Sisters of St. Francis
in Milwaukee. In 1914, the Sisters of St. Francis in
Rochester took charge of the school. A matching twostory
addition was constructed in 1914, on the south side
of the school. The school was closed in 1967 when the sisters
were withdrawn.
In succeeding years the following pastors served St.
Fr. John Dolle - 1908-1 914
Fr. Fred Reichl - 1914-1917
Fr. Mathias Graeve - 1917-1920
Fr. W . B . Bender - 1920 (6 months)
Fr. Joseph Kock - 1921-1930
Fr. Francis Schimsek - 1930-1939
Fr. Richard Speltz - 1939-1943
Fr. Herman Boecker - 1 943-1947
Fr. James Fasnacht - 1947-1952
Fr. George Smith - 1952-1966
Fr. Stephen Majerus - 1966-1 967
On December 1 , 1976, Fr. John Mountain, who had
arrived in June, 1 967, was given a new assignment, and
with his leaving St. John's Church no longer had a resident
priest. Fr. William Bertrand of Adams was immediately
assigned the Johnsburg parish in addition to his
duties in Adams. Fr. Bertrand served until June, 1981,
when he was replaced by Fr. Robert Herman, the current
pastor at both parishes.
In November, 1 977, the last rectory of the parish was
sold to Kevin and Denise Blake. In the summer of 1977,
the furnishings of the rectory plus numerous articles
from the school and church were sold at public auction.
At the same time, the north five acres were sold to
Nathan and Dorothy Mullenbach.
The old schoolhouse was remodeled into a church hall
in 1 980 after a large addition was built on the west side.
An annual September ham and turkey dinner draws a
devoted following. A 1 25th anniversary celebration was
held on July 1 , 1984 to commemorate the construction
of the first church in Johnsburg. A parade, a history
book, contests, games and lunch are planned.
by Gene Noterman
St. John's Cemetery, Johnsburg
There is no certain date as to when the Johnsburg
cemetery was established. The first Catholic settlers
came to the locality in May, 1855.
The cemetery is located in the southeast quarter of
Section 32 of Adams Township in Johnsburg. It is situated
on the north side of the old schoolhouse and west of
the church and old rectory. In years past, the cemetery
was enclosed by tall stately spruce trees most of which
have now succumbed . Some remain on the east front.
The southeast corner of the present cemetery was the
original cemetery. Most of the original stones or markers
are gone now, but some show dates from the early 1870's.
In the center of the cemetery, on a slight mound , is the
burial site of Fr. Victor Schir, a former pastor of the
parish. He is the only priest buried there. A large, grey,
granite monument marks the grave.
The cemetery is the burial grounds for the parish of St.
John's Catholic Church of Johnsburg. Officers of the
cemetery association are: Nathan Mullenbach and Cyril
A large stone grotto is located on the east edge of the
grounds. In the center of the grotto is a figure of Christ
lying in repose. Above Him, in a niche, stands a statue of
Mary, mother of Christ. On top of two low flanking walls
are statues of two angels, facing the center of the grotto.
The grotto was constructed by Fr. Joseph Koch in 1 922
with assistance from schoolboys and Anfin Koch, who
split the stones collected from the area fields and river.
Total cost of the grotto, including the statuary, was
$461 .
by Gene Noterman
School District #6
School District 6 was organized in 1858. The first
schoolhouse was a small building in Section 29 built of
logs and covered with hay. The first school term was
taught by R . M. Rooney in the winter of 1858-59. The
following summer, the school burned in a prairie fire.
Another log building was erected on the same site and
Mr. Rooney was again the teacher. After burning down a
second time, the site of the school was moved to Section
32, a half mile south. A substantial frame schoolhouse
was built. The first teacher in this schoolhouse was Nils
Board members in 1942 were: Henry Smith, S. J .
Krebsbach and J. J . Klockner.
School District #7
School District 7 was organized in 1858. A schoolhouse
was erected in 1868 in Section 8. Later in 1884 the
building was moved to Section 9, across the road . This
one acre was bought from Paul Anderson for the school.
In 1915 it was moved to the village of Adams . It was then
used for the parochial school there.
Some who served on the school board were: Nels Johnson,
Hans Hanson, Eric Veness, Severine Rogue and Iver
Tiegen. Teachers after 1906 were: Ollova Morgen,
Mamie Schow, Carrie Tiegen, Nellie Hanon , Carrie
Keifer and Ida Johnson.
Information on District 7 was given by Mrs. Daisy
Johnson, Adams. Her brother Arnold Severson who attended
this school had these interesting reminiscences of
the years he spent attending the school.
The Seversons lived three miles from the schoolhouse
so they would walk that distance every morning and after
school . He remembers carrying his lunch in a tin pail and
of one family that always brought "sirup sandwiches"
which were pretty well soaked up by noon. A boy was
hired to start the fire and was paid 10 cents a day for the
job . Mrs . Eunice Rice would come to visit the school at
least once during the year traveling in a horse and buggy.
She would tell of her experiences in her travels and
brought an ostrich egg to show during one of her visits.
School District #71
School District 71 was organized in 187 1 . The first
school was held the same year at the home of John
Fagans. Robert Carter was the first teacher. In 1872, the
first schoolhouse was erected in Section 25. The first
teacher there was Lizzie Boding. A later building was
located in Section 26.
School District #72
School District 72 was organized in 1871. The first
schoolhouse was built in Section 22. Catherine Madsen
taught in this first school. Later it was located in Section
North side Main Street, Adam. - 1984
T.he village was platted January 30, 1868, by Selah
Chamberlain but not incorporated until March 2, 1887.
The first officers were: Mathias Krebsbach, president;
H. Carey, recorder; J. W. Carr, E. A. Knutson and
Michael Krebsbach.
Municipal Utilities
In the summer of 1897, a water works system was put
in with well, tower, tank, pumping station and sufficient
mains to practically cover the village. In 1902, a complete
sewage system was installed. In 1 958, this system
was updated with a modern disposal plant.
The first public school in the village of Adams was
built in 1869. It had two rooms and could accommodate
100 students. Increasing enrollment led to the addition
of two more rooms over the years. In 1903, the Catholic
3 10
Southland mgh School, Adam.
parochial school was built and when it opened it took
about half ofthe public school students which greatly relieved
the overcrowding.
In 1916, rural Districts 7, 105, 65 and 100 voted to
consolidate with the Adams School District and bonds
were issued to build a new school building. In the fall of
1917 the building was completed facilitating a four-year
high school. The first senior class graduated in the spring
of 1918; the three members were: Mary McGravey, Gert
Schneider and Rosie Zilz.
Over the years, increasing enrollment mandated additions
to the school and improvements in the curriculum .
A full-time kindergarten was added and a remedial reading
teacher was employed in 1 966.
Adams Health Care Center
Volunteer Fire Department
The fire department was organized on June 17, 1898
and was known as Adams Hose Co. No. 1 . The active
members were to be not more than 25 in number and no
member was to be under 18 or over 50 years of age.
Dances were held regularly in Sabel's Hall to raise
money for the department and practice was held regularly
each week.
Mose Karsbug served as Chief of the Volunteer Fire
Department for 32 years.
Post Office
The first post office was in the farm house of John
Ingen in 1859 when the mail was delivered by stage
Adams postmasters and the date of their appointment
are: Harold M. F. Ingens , July 25, 186 1 ; W. E. Davis,
August 19, 1868; George Corbitt, Apri1 2 1 , 1873; Samuel
Sweningson, April 17, 1877; A. Betram, December 3,
1877; A. D . Harris, May 17, 1880; Patrick M . Rooney,
April 29, 1886; Mathias Krebsbach, January 10, 1888;
Andrew Torgerson, February 2, 1 889; Anton King,
November 25, 1 893; James Slindee, December 7, 1897;
Erick L. Slindee, December 30, 1 898; Anna Slindee,
January 23 , 1924; Bennie J. Huseby, April 1 1 , 1929;
Joseph A. Heimer, June 12, 1934; Alphonse G. Krebsbach,
January 15, 1939.
. Adams Creamery Association
The Adams Creamery Association has successfully
served the farmers of the area for 70 years.
The Farmers State Bank
The Farmers State Bank, constructed in 1914, is
located on south Fourth Street. When the bank opened
on April 1 7 , 1915, it was one of the most modern in the
country. The teller cages were built of Italian marble and
green Vermont marble. The interior has changed very
little. The marble is still in use today along with the safe.
Major remodeling of the basement provided space for
modern machines, offices and a kitchenette.
The Torgersons have been associated with the bank
from the start. A. Torgerson, was an early settler in
Adams and for years operated a grocery store before
going into the banking business. In 1 930, N . V. Torgerson
became president and held that position until his
death in 1 967. Vance Torgerson, who was associated
with his father, is now bank president.
First National Bank
The first bank in Adams opened January 4, 1898. William
W. Dean, Sophronia Dean and J. D . Schmidt of
Northfield ; were the owners ofthe Bank of Adams, a private
bank. The brick building was on the west side of
Fourth Street, a short distance north of Main Street.
On January 1 1 , 1906, the private bank was dissolved
and merged into. the First National Bank of Adams
under federal charter. It was capitalized at $25,000 and
later increased to $30,000. In the same year, the Dean
family purchased a private bank in Rose Creek.
The bank outgrew its quarters on Fourth Street and in
1923, a new building was built on the northeast corner of
Main and Fourth Streets. Purcell and Elmslie of Minneapolis
and Chicago were the architects.
The prairie style of architecture, which used terra
cotta and stained glass in the design, attracted quite a bit
of attention from the area newspapers at the dedication
on November 1 1 , 1924. The new building was featured in
two national architectural pUblications : "The Western
Architect," November 1927, and "The Diebold News" in
1925. The bank building was also pictured in several
books of American architecture.
The Krebsbach family involved in the operation of the
bank at this time were Michael Krebsbach, vice president;
Arthur Krebsbach, assistant cashier and John H.
Krebsbach, a member of the board.
Five years after the bank moved into its new quarters,
the crash of the stock market in October 1 929, signaled
the start of the great depression. The bank closed on
August 1 , 1932, and Herbert E. Skinner was appointed
as receiver.
The building became the property of the village of
3 1 1
Adams in 1937. It has been used as a municipal liquor
store and council chamber. In the basement are public
meeting rooms .
Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church
The parish of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Adams was
detached from that of St. John the Baptist in Johnsburg
in 1888. By this time there were over 150 families belonging
to the Johnsburg parish which covered an area
including Rose Creek, Adams, LeRoy and Johnsburg.
Bishop John Ireland of St. Paul, to facilitate the split of
the Johnsburg parish, on September 12, 1886, purchased
from John and Catherine Lawler of Prairie du Chien,
Wisconsin, four lots in Block 15 in Adams for a dollar.
On this site in 1886, a new frame building was constructed
to serve as a church. Fr. Nicholas Schmitz of
Johnsburg, who directed these activities, served as the
first priest ofthe parish, at the same time attended to his
duties in Johnsburg. A two-story house, the rectory, was
constructed west of the new church on the same block.
Fr. Schmitz purchased the two lots on which the rectory
was built from the Lawlers in 1887, for $50.00.
In 1890, Fr. Joseph Goergen replaced Fr. Schmitz and
served both parishes until 1892 when Fr. Johann Gratz
assumed the parish in Johnsburg. Fr. Goergen lived in
Adams and continued to serve the parish and the church
in LeRoy until his death on February 15, 190 1 . Fr. Fred
Reichl was then transferred to Adams and under him the
parish was incorporated under Minnesota law. The men
who signed the articles of incorporation on February 3,
1902, were: Bishop Joseph Cotter and Vicar General
James Coyle of Winona; Fr. Reichl, Thomas Madden
and Nicholas P. Schmitz of Adams. In the same year,
plans were finalized for the construction of the new
church. The church, said to be designed by a woman, is
an imposing red brick structure on a limestone foundation
built facing east. The design of the church shows an
influence of the Gothic style of architecture.
On August 1 5 , 1902, Bishop Cotter presided at afternoon
ceremonies for the laying of the cornerstone. A
church fair was held for four days, starting on November
24, 1902, and proceeds totaling nearly $ 1 ,000 were raised
for the new church . The dedication ceremonies were held
for the $18,000 structure on May 19, 1903, with Fr.
Reichl and Bishop Cotter having charge.
The old frame church was moved directly south of the
new church and was remodeled into a school. The living
quarters of the Sisters of St. Francis of Rochester who
taught there, were constructed on the rear of the schoolhouse.
This was the first Catholic school in Adams, previous
to this the students attended the public schools. Fr.
Reichl left in 1914, and was succeeded by Fr. George
Jaegen who served until 1 920. During his pastorate a new
rectory was constructed in 1915. This house presently is
the convent for the sisters.
Other priests serving Adams were: Mathias Graeve,
from 1920 to 1 929; Herman Boecker from 1 929 to 1932;
Joseph Schneider, from 1932 to 1945; and Paul Britz,
from 1 945 to 1 947. In 1947, Fr. Alfred Frisch came to
Adams and during his time the parish in LeRoy was
under Adams with Fr. Schamm and Fr. Kellen serving as
assistants at Sacred Heart. During this time major
changes came about in the parish. A new rectory was
built south of the church in 1950, with the sisters converting
the old rectory into a convent .
The present rectory was purchased in 1967, from
Adolph and Ethel Huinker, and it is situated directly
north of the convent across Main Street. The old rectory
was converted into the school library , meeting rooms and
classrooms. A new school of fo ur classrooms and a large
auditorium were constructed in 1951, and was attached
to the south and west side of the church . And in 1957, an
addition of fo ur classrooms was built on the west side of
the school.
Fr. Richard Barden succeeded Fr. Frisch in 1957, and
Fr. Barden was fo llowed by Fr. Leonard Clasen in 1959.
During the pastorate of Fr. Barden, the church windows
were repaired, and Fr . Clasen had the entire church interior
remodeled in 1961. Msgr. Raymond Snyder
replaced Fr. Clasen in 1965, and he served until 1969.
Fr. Cl ayton Haberman served fr om 1969 to 1974. From
1974 to 1975, Fr . James Russell served and he was
replaced by Fr. William Bertrand, who served until
1981. Our present pastor is Fr . Robert Herman.
In 1960, property was added through vacation of portions
of Sixth Street and South Street. In 1983, a new
roof was applied to the church and the stained glass windows
in the church were renovated .
Fraternal organizations began with the activity of the
Catholic Order of Foresters organized in Adams on
March 4, 1901. This later ended its activities, with the
men now participating in the Knights of Columbus,
which was locally chartered on April 1, 1954. The ladies
of the Sacred Heart parish began assistance to the
church with the Willing Workers Society. The group was
reorganized during the pastorate of Fr. Frisch , and now
coordinates its activities with the Winona Council of
Catholic Women. The name of the society is the Sacred
Heart Council of Catholic Women. The council has
served large banquets for area organizations.
Three men fr om the parish have become priests, they
being Fr. Raymond Krebsbach, Fr. Bernard Karst, S.J.,
and Fr. Raymond Steichen. Among the women who
became nuns were Mary Bambery, Sr. Maurice; Sr. Rita
Eisterhold; Bernardine Ewald , Sr. Cosmas; Dolores
Ewald , Sr. Noel; Esther Ewald , Sr. Cecile; Loretta
Ewald , Sr. Damian; Katherine Fassbender, Sr. Mildred ;
Sr. Lucille Hass; Sr. Barbara Klapperich; Alvina Krebsbach,
Sr. Marie Terese; Mary Krebsbach, Sr. Rosamond;
Mathilda Krebsbach, Sr. Angela; Sr. Elene
Lo echer; Sr. Joan Lewison; Delores Peterson, Sr. Monica;
Margaret Rooney, Sr. Nicholas; Celestine Vogt, Sr.
Joseen; and Marcella Winkels, Sr. William. Three other
women served as nuns but left after a time. They were
Mary Josephine Dvorak, Sr. Caran; Aloysia Krebsbach ,
Sr. Merced es ; and Winifred Winkels , Sr. Xavier.
by Gene Noterman
Little Cedar Lutheran Church
The Little Cedar Lutheran congregation was organized
November 26, 1859, by Rev. C. L. Clausen at a meeting
in the Helge Erickson Floen home. The first church was
built in 1863 of logs donated by members. It was located
in Section 4, not far from the Little Cedar River thus the
Little Cedar Lutheran Church
name adopted by the congregation .
On October 12, 1867, several congregations joined to
fo rm a parish. These churches were Little Cedar, St.
Ansgar, Rock Creek, Six Mile Grove and Blooming
Prairie. The Rev. P. G. Ostby was called as assistant to
Rev. Clausen. The old log church was replaced by a
fr ame building dedicated in 1876 .
In 1877, another parish alignment was made with Six
Mile Grove, Mona, Lyle and Little Cedar joining and
calling Rev. B. B. Gjeldaker as pastor. In 1881, Rev. J.
Muller Eggen became pastor, serving until 1900. He was
succeeded by Rev. William A. Rasmussen, who accepted
the call with the understanding a parsonage would be
built. In the same year , Little Cedar and West Le Roy
became a parish served by Rev. Rasmussen.
The cornerstone for a new church was laid September
1, 1907, and the first service held March 22, 1908 . This
church was debt free when completed. It was dedicated
March 28, 1909. Rev. O. C. Myhre was pastor during the
building program , serving until 1915, when Rev. C. B.
Runsvold was called.
In 1919, another parish consolidation took place with
Little Cedar and Marshall congregations uniting. This
has continued up to the present time.
Pastors in recent years have included: Rev. O. C.
Brenna, 1919-1927; Rev. Alfred Breveik; 1928- 1947;
Rev. Luther Berven, 1947-1 950; Rev. M. L. Witte , 1950-
1957; Rev. Truman P. Mohn, 1957- 1962; Rev. Wayne
Quibell, 1963- 1976; Allen L. Gunderson 1977 to the
present. Rev. Nancy R. Wigdahl has been the associate
pastor since 1980.
The Little Cedar congregation dedicated a new Education
Building on April 5, 1964 and a new parsonage was
built in 1968.
On September 8, 1975, a special congregational meeting
was held where it was voted to organize a building
program for a new church . A generous gift of $90,000
from the estate of Ida Rudlong provided initial fu nding.
Groundbreaking services were held on April 27, 1977,
and work on the church progressed rapidly. The last services
in the old church were held on Christmas Day 1977.
The first services in the new church were delayed by a
snowstorm but were finally held on January 8, 1978.
Kramer Farm
The Kramer family came to the United States fr om
Germany in 1946, first settling in Marytown, Wis. Anton
Kramer moved to the Adams area in 1878, purchasing
160 acres in Section 36, Adams Township from Anthony
Loftus in June of that year.
Anton's son, Fred, bught the farm in 1943 and in
1967 ownership passed to his two sons Harold and Gerald
Kramer. The two families, Gerald and Elaine Kramer
along with Harold and Ruth Kramer have homes on the
original property.
Njosj Anderson Farm
Hans and Mildred (Hanson) Njos were the first owners
of the original 160 acres in Section 9, Adams Township.
Their daughter Anna married Paul Anderson and were
the second generation to farm the land .
Their son Andrew and his wife Anna passed the ownership
on to their son Arnold and his wife Alice Anderson,
the fourth generation. Today the farm is owned by Kim
and Deborah Anderson, grandson of Arnold and Alice.
Kim and Deborah have three children: Heather, Paul
and Jesse; the seventh generation to live there.
Arnold Anderson says that in the early days there were
no trees on the property, only brush and long grass.
There were no fences, the cattle roamed as they found
grass. On one occasion while the mother went to fetch
the cows, she was knitting as she walked and when crossing
a stream she stumbled and lost a knitting needle. She
cried so hard because she knew it would be extremely
difficult to replace it and winter was soon to come. Most
of the clothes were hand made and everyone knitted
much of it.
Austin comprises congressional Township 102 north,
Range 18 west, except that part included in the city of
Austin and received its name from Austin Nichols, its
earliest settler. The township is well drained by the Cedar
River and its tributaries , Rose, Dobbins and Turtle
Creeks. Water and timber were the determining factors
in the settlement of a new country, and Austin Township
was better provided with both than most. The soil is rich,
dark loam mixed in some places with sand , but very productive
and prime agricultural land.
Varco Station
Varco Station was started by Thomas Varco in 1875. It
was located three miles south of Austin on the Milwaukee
Railroad . The two block village boasted a grain
elevator and , up to the middle of the nineteen hundreds,
the railroad would deliver freight to the Varco Station.
Two Rivers
One of the main highways in the early days was the
territorial road from Dubuque to St. Paul (part of it is
4th Street SW today) . At the junction of Turtle Creek
and the Cedar River, the town of Two Rivers grew.
Also known as Milton , the town was comprised of
seven blocks platted in 1857. It was south of the Calvary
Cemetery and at one time had a hotel and a mill.
Two Rivers lost out to Austin in the battle for business.
Cedar City Cemetery
The land for the Cedar City Cemetery was given by
David Chandler who pre-empted the land and gave
three-fourths acre of his farm. It was surveyed in 1879
with 42 lots.
The first burial was of a man named Robinson, assistant
editor of the Mower County Mirror. There were
burials many years before the surveying. The first
records of burials were recorded in Mower County in
1870 at the Clerk of Court's office.
Strips of land were purchased and added at various
times. A large new section was deeded Sept. 4, 1957,
from Mr. and Mrs. Claude Brown. It was platted and
ready for sale in 1962.
3 1 3
Cedar City Cemetery - 1982
The association is led by Mrs. Mildred S ayles, president;
Mrs. Cyrus Hanson, vice president; Mrs. Leonard
Heiny, treasurer and Mrs. Roxanna Weseman, Actuary.
The board of trustees are: Don Weseman, Albert Gemmel
and Dan Attlesey.
Cedar City is a beautiful resting place and well supported
by all its members.
by Mrs. Donald Weseman
Rose Creek Cemetery (Enterprise)
In 1864, Moses and Marietta Rolfe offered a plot of
ground to be used as a cemetery. The only stipulation
was that a fence be built and kept in good repair. The
fence was to be a board frame, three boards high. It was
replaced by a wire fence in 1872. The cemetery is in Section
24 about three and a half miles south of Austin on
the banks of Rose Creek.
The first meeting was held at the home of Ezra Ames.
Those present were: Thomas Varco, Mason Parmenter,
Moses Rolfe , Harvey G. Prouty, John W. Rose and Horace
Greene . .
At the time of organization some of the lots sold from
three to five dollars a lot (4 graves in a lot) . Some of these
were paid for in labor at the cemetery. There was a provi1915
Towrlship 102 North. Range 18 West of the 5th P. M.
Ra ilRoafi __ Scho oi .hh
Wa 90n Roa d = Church
Corp.Line .- ......... .J{o u-se.:J
Creek Cern.. .
Sc hool District.s I,m;;m;;))})}),
Rural Route.s
sion for a Potters Field in the original plan. However,
that has been eliminated .
The first burial was a baby of David O. Pratt's earlier
in 1 859. Rueben Gregg often told of the burial of David
Austin, his wife and son. They were first buried in a field
on the Gregg farm and were exhumed and reburied in
the cemetery about 1882. Mrs. Austin's stone gives her
date of death as June 19, 1859. Tradition claims Mr.
Austin was a soldier in the Revolutionary War but there
doesn't seem to be any evidence to support the story.
The present officers are:president, Ella Marie Lausen;
secretary, Mildred Sayles; treasurer, Marvin Rieken;
sexton, Raymond Sayles; trustees, Kenneth Corson and
William Sayles.
The Happy Thought Club
One afternoon in June, 1905, Mrs. Frank Pike invited
the following ladies: Mrs. Thomas Varco, Mrs. Bell
Varco, Mrs. Cora Brooks , Mrs. Cora Green, Mrs. Etta
Varco and Mrs. Clara Sayles, to her home to discuss
ways and means to help with the improvement of the
Enterprise Cemetery. These ladies knew that all people
connected with the cemetery would have to be brought to
a full understanding ofthe cemetery's condition and that
ways for betterment were needed .
They organized a society with the following officers:
president, Jennie Pike; secretary, Cora Green and treasurer,
Etta Varco. A large group of ladies met at the
home of Mrs. Etta Varco, and Mrs. Thomas Varco
named the club, "The Happy Thought Club. "
The building o f a tool house was the first improvement.
The first extra money was made by the sale of a
quilt and an ice cream social held at the schoolhouse in
September. The proceeds from the quilt were $32.00 and
from the social, $8.00. For the next few years the ladies
made aprons, pillow cases, scrap bags and other articles
that could be sold. The proceeds went to the cemetery
improvement fund.
The following year, all graves were leveled off making
the mowing much easier. In 1 907, new hitching posts
were erected and new rings added to existing posts. In
the spring of 191 1 , a new arched gate was placed at the
west entry. The gate, with the cemetery's name on it, cost
$ 1 1 6 .40.
The present officers are: president, Lona Anderson;
vice president, Ella Marie Lausen; secretary, Marlyn
Sayles; treasurer, Louise Hall.
by Monica Lonergan
Grandview Memorial Gardens
Grandview Memorial Gardens is located on Highway
218 south. It was started in 1945 by Ray Johnson and
Roy Anderson under the name of Grandview Memorial
Parks of Mankato, Minnesota.
In 1 952, it was incorporated under Chapter 306 of
Minnesota statutes as the Grandview Memorial Gardens,
Inc. of Austin.
The first burial was a veteran, Raymond G. Bayer, on
January 25, 1950, with 10 more burials that year. A
3 1 5
memorial i n honor of Raymond was installed at the base
of the flag pole at the entrance to the gardens.
Calvary Cemetery
The first burial in Calvary Cemetery occurred on
December 28, 1863 . However, a tombstone in the oldest
section lists "DIGNAN" with dates for the father, born
1800 - died 1858. Records list three early burials in 1866 ;
Permelia A . Bero, John and Bridget Rutherford.
Land records show the transfer of 28 acres, lying south
of Turtle Creek, purchased by Rev. Claude Genis from
Daniel B . Johnson , Jr. and his wife Lois A . The transaction
changed by deed, land in Section 10 of Austin Township
to Rev. Genis and the Bishp of St. Paul, Rt. Rev.
Grace. The purchase price was $600.00. One of the
previous owners had been Chauncy Leverich.
The St. Augustine Cemetery Association was incorporated
in 1 904. Elected to. serve on the board of Trustees
were E. P. Kelly, J. J. Furlong, P. H. Zender, James
Keenan, Father Edward H. Devlin, Thomas Revord and
Edward Cotter.
In 1 938, the Queen of Angels parish was established so
the name was changed from St. Augustine's Cemetery to
Catholic Cemetery. In 1950, when the bishop of the diocese
became an ex-efficio member of the Catholic cemeteries
in the diocese, the name was changed to Calvary.
Early in 1 946, several persons proposed the erection of
a monument to honor those who were killed in service
during World War II. The association agreed and on
Memorial Day, 1 947, the memorial was unveiled and
dedicated to those men who gave their lives for their
The stone reads: "In Memoriam World War II, To
our boys who gave their lives that others might live. "
Twenty-seven names follow the second line. At the bottom
are the words, "Greater love than this, no man
hath. "
St. Augustine's (Calvary) Cemetery - 1905
More land was purchased in 1 954 from Martin Bustad
and added to the cemetery. There are approximately
4,000 graves in the Calvary Cemetery. The current board
members are: Herman Goergen, Father Charles Quinn,
John Mayer, Sr. , Father James Russell, Harold Butler,
Francis Guiney, Father Donald Zenk, John Mayer, Jr.
and Howard Fischer.
South River Street Extension Group
Alice Anderson moved to South River Street (4th
Street SE) in the fall of 1948. She had been active in an
extension group in Blooming Prairie and wanted to continue.
Mrs . Engen of the Mower County Extension
Office encouraged her to form a group in her new neighborhood
Alice found about 15 neighbors interested in joining.
The purpose was to sharpen their homemaking skill,
make their lives better and learn to know their neighbors
. Of the twelve members now in the South River
Street Extension Group, four are charter members. They
are: Florence Malcomson, Dorothy Angell, Alice Anderson
and Sophie Jensen.
The Woodson School, District #26
The first school in this district was taught in the home
of M. J . Woodson by his son, Henry, in the summer of
1858. The teacher was paid $10 a month. James Johnson
was the teacher for the following year.
In 1859, a log house was built in Section 10. George
and Oliver Bemis gave the logs which were cut and
brought to the spot by M . J. and W . A . Woodson and
H. Van Winkle. Abbie Litchfield was the first teacher.
Later a frame schoolhouse was built on the southwest
corner of Section 1 1 .
The Cedar City School, District #28
School District 28 was formed at a meeting held at
D. L. Chandler's house in 1856 or 57. The first officers of
the district were: D . I. Chandler, George Phelps and
Cedar City School
3 1 6
Welcome Osborne. A log schoolhouse was built in the
summer of 1857 in Section 32. Deland Richardson was
the first teacher. In 1862, another schoolhouse was
erected in Section 28 with Mary Hoag as the first teacher.
The last schoolhouse in this district was a large brick
building with a basement and furnace. It has been torn
Two of the board members in 1 942 were Earl Subra
and Paul Wehner. The teacher was Mildred Crilly.
The Enterprise School, District #29
District 29, known as Varco Station, erected its first
schoolhouse in 1857. It was built of logs and constructed
by people of the district in the southwest corner of Section
23. Money was raised by SUbscription to complete
the building. The first teacher was Deland Richardson.
Enterprise School - 1885
John Flood, schoolmaster. Top row: Jenny Hart, Lissie Sayles,
Eugene Hart, Will Shepley, Charley BrowneD, Orrle Hart, Andrew
Erickson. Second row: Inez Prouty, Johnnie Dixon, Eddie VaD, IsabeDe
VaU, Frank Pratt, Mabel Varco, Maggie VaD, Rachel Brooks, Roy
Varco, Edna Pratt. Third row: Hattie VaU, Blrdlne Varco, Eugene
Parmenter, Johnnie Erickson, Amy Varco, Mamie VaU, Carl
This building burned in 1864 and a stone house was
then built in Section 25. Forest March was the first
teacher there. In 1879, this building was torn down and a
frame building erected . Mary Hood taught the first session
in this schoolhouse.
In 1942, Mrs. O. Miller was the teacher. Board members
were: Albert Hanson, Lester Berry and Herbert
Cecelia Mueller tells of the activities at the school:
"Enterprise had many things going on through the years .
Funeral services were conducted there. The Grange and
other agricultural societies held meetings at the school to
teach farmers about using fertilizers for better crops and
introduced other new ideas. Election meetings, dances,
picnics and family reunions made the Enterprise School
a busy social center. This was also one of the schools
where the girls from the Normal Training School came
for their practice teaching. " Cecelia Mueller taught the
Enterprise School in 1927 and 1928.
The Pleasant View School, District #55
The rst school in this district was a claim shanty
located tn the southwest corner of Section 8 built in 1865.
The teacher was Elizabeth Stone. A frame school building
was built in Section 17 in 1869. The teacher was
Mary Scullen.
Pleasant View School 1906
Helen McShane, teacher. Standing: Minnie Nicols, Albert ComU
Iska, James Cotter, Waiter Menzie, Margarlte Cotter, francis J.
Gerlach, Horace Wood, Eva Clough, Walter Elmer, Ellzabeth Nicols,
Ethel Wood, Mary Wood, Ethel Lightly, F10retta Elmer, Tracy Nicols,
Alta Jablna, Margarltta Gerlach, Casey Harrington. SItting: Clair and
Lloyd Cotter, MarshaU Menzie, Josephine Gerlach.
In 1906, Helen McShane taught this school. In 1942
board members were: Francis Gerlach, Stephen Lickteig
and George Hillier. The teacher was Mrs. Georgena Bli
An interesting note was added by John Reagan Austin
on the Pleasant View School. "A. O . Dinsmoore owned
several sections of land in Austin Township and had
tenant farmers . He built the school of barn siding and
taught the school for his own children and all the others
in the area."
The Prairie View School, District #128
The schoolhouse was in the eastern half of Section 2 1 .
I t was built in 1 900. Pearl Bowers was the first teacher.
The Aultfather Farm
David Aultfather came to Mower County in 1856 and
purchased 120 acres in Sections 33 and 34. He purchased
this land from the government, paying $ 1 .25 an acre.
The original land patent was made out to Alexander D .
Callendar, a private i n the War o f 1 8 1 2 . This warrant
was assigned to John H. Tunisson and by him to David
Aultfather. The patent was signed by President James
Buchanan and the Recorder of the General Land Office.
The land that David Aultfather bought was largely a
wooded area. Later this was cleared and another forty
acres was added to the original tract. David was married
July, 1 857 to Pamelia Foster, who had come as a pioneer
Standing left to right: Geo. F. Aultfather, James H. Aultfather.
Sitting: Wm. J. Aultfather, David O. Aultfather, Miss Clara
Aultfather, Mrs. VUena L. Vest, Mrs. Laura C. Duerst, Andrew J.
Aultfather, Chas. F. Aultfatber.
to Lyle Township in 1854 with her parents, Mr. and Mrs.
James Foster. David and Pamelia's first home was a log
house. In 1866, David erected a frame house which still
stands . The David Aultfathers raised nine children each
of whom received 160 acres when they started on their
own. At one time David Aultfather owned a total of
1 , 500 acres in Mower County.
James H. Aultfather received the original 120 acres in
1898 plus the forty acres that were added to the farm. He
later added 95 acres. Another eighty acres he owned
jointly with his sister, Clara.
He was married in 1901 and built his house near the
older home built in 1866.
Mr . and Mrs. James H. Aultfather founded the Clover
Lawn Farm, known for its purebred Red Poll cattle
Poland China hogs and Percheron horses. They were th parents of two children, Myron C. Aultfather and Dorothy
M . Aultfather (Mrs. Kenneth K. Rosenthal) .
In 1 948, James H. Aultfather retired and sold the Red
Poll cattle and Poland China hogs to his son Myron and
his wife Florence, who had moved to the horr:e farm a few
years before.
In 1953, Mr. and Mrs . Myron Aultfather purchased
150 acres adjoining their farm and previously owned by
Myron's aunt, Clara E. Aultfather.
In 1 976, Myron and Florence's only child, Shirley,
moved back from California to Clover Lawn Farm, with
her husband, Harlen D. Peck and two children, Ruston
and Ro?dell. They now live nearby on land purchased by
Myron tn 1956 and are also associated with Clover Lawn
Farm .
In 1 972, the farm was given recognition at the Minnesota
State Fair along with other Century Farms.
Mr. and Mrs. Myron Aultfather still live on the original
farm first owned by Myron's grandfather, David
Aultfather. The younger Pecks make the fifth generation
to be associated with Clover Lawn Farm .
The Hillier Farm
John and Mary J. Beattie purchased the first 80 acres
of this Century Farm in 1875. Two years later another 80
was added . Both of the pieces were in Section 8. Their
daughter, Martha, married George Hillier. They took
over the operation of the farm in 1 905.
In 1957, the third generation, Oliver and his wife
Grace Hillier, became the owners of the original Beattie
Farm. Today, their son and daughter-in-law, Dave and
Carolyn own one of the original forties and farm with his
This farm has always had livestock on it; milk cows,
sheep, feeder cattle. At present David and Carolyn have
purebred Landrace hogs .
Three generations of Hlliers - 1952
The Sheldon Sayles Farm
James King Sayles and his wife Lucinda Brown Sayles
came to Mower County from Tioga County, Pennsylvania,
and settled on an 80 acre tract of land in Austin
Township, Section 25, on April 22, 1879. They passed
this land on to their son, Cyrus Brown Sayles on March
6, 1882.
On March 12, 1917, the farm was purchased by grandson
Claude Hartland Sayles from his father.
After fifty years, on February 6, 1967, the property
was transferred to great-grandson Harlow Brown Sayles,
and on March 2, 198 1 , great-great-granddaughter Patty
Jane Sayles became an owner of a portion of the land.
The 80 acres now is farmed as a unit of the Jane Brown
Farms by great-great-grandson Sheldon Brown Sayles
and his wife Cathie Jane Sayles, with the assistance of
James King Sayles
great-great-great-grandsons Chad Brown Sayles and
Jeffrey Brown Sayles .
The Dean Sayles Farm
James and Lucinda Sayles were the first owners of the
160 acres in Section 25, Austin Township. They purchased
it in 186 1 . James and Lucinda Sayles had one
son, Cyrus, who inherited the farm.
Cyrus and his wife Clara (Ames) Sayles had eight sons:
Claude, Loren, Carleton, David, William, Walter,
Leonard and Herbert. All were born and raised on the
family farm. Five of the boys farmed in the area.
Walter and his wife Mildred, bought the home place
from his father on March 18, 1939. Walter passed away
in 1 959 and his widow sold the farm to Walter's greatnephew
Dean Sayles and his wife Debra, on Jan. 4, 1979.
Mr. and Mrs. Cyrus B. Sayles and eight sons
Top row: Claude, Loren, Carleton, David, Wlillam, Walter. Bottom
row: Leonard, Cyrus B., Clara, Herbert.
The first settlement in Bennington Township was in
the spring of 1856 by a group of men from New York
state-Robert, Edwin, Lucius and G. T. Angell; Austin
and E. J. Hutchinson; Ira Emerson and E. J. Kingsbury.
Some of them moved on west and south but finding no
3 1 8
more suitable land they returned and put up temporary
shelters in the southwest part of the township in Section
When Minnesota was admitted as a state in 1858, the
township bore the name Andover and since it had not
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been organized the northern part was attached to Frankford
and the southern part to LeRoy Townships. In the
fall of 1860 the first meeting ofthe voters in the township
was held at the home of Robert Angell and the following
officers elected: E. J. Kingsbury, chairman of the board ;
William Kelnar and Stephen Guy, supervisors; Ira
Emerson, clerk; G. T. Angell, justice of the peace; William
Cooper, assessor.
The township received its name from Bennington ,
Vermont, renowned for a battle of the Revolutionary
Bennington Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church
The Bennington Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran congregation
was organized May 15, 1896 and the cemetery
established in 1897. The cemetery is located in Section
2 1 , 3 miles east of Grand Meadow to the Frankford
Town Hall and then 5 % miles south on Mower County
Road 14.
The land was donated by Ole Bratrud . Charter members
were Rev. O. A. Bu, Nils T. Miland, Olaus Thorson,
Gunnuf H. Hadland, Oscar N . Hegg, Matt Iverson,
John Bjerke, Simon Holt, Tom Miland, Emil Ruud,
Conrad Benson, Halvor Dalen, Peter Dalen, Thorstein
Engerud, Hans Gilbertson, Johannes Ronglie, Ole
Sween and Albert Bratrud.
The Bennington , Bloomfield and Ostrander congregations
merged in 1958. The Bennington Cemetery Association
was formed in 1947. Sigurd Miland serves as
The first burial was Ole Sween who died in 1897.
AugeU Cemetery
This deserted cemetery is in the corner of a field in Section
3 1 . Several broken stones are pushed into a pile. The
readable stones list members of the Angell family.
District #3
District 3 was the first school in this township. It was
erected in 1860 in Section 30. Mary McKinney taught the
first year of school in this building. Later a new modern
building was built on the same site.
District 18's first schoolhouse was built in 1875 in Section
12. Later it was moved a half mile west of that site.
When Estella Weidman taught in this district the board
.members were: Elmer Groby, Mrs. Dulcie Mayland,
Claude Card .
District #85
District 85 was organized and the first schoolhouse
built in 1874. Clara Mehurin was hired as the first
teacher. In 1942 Frances Hamlin taught. Board members
were: Mrs . Georgia Bratrud , Rosevelt Thorson and
Abner Holt.
District #92
The first District 92 schoolhouse was built in 1875. It
was in Section 25. The first teacher was Katie Mehurin.
Albert Nelson was the teacher in the 1940's . Board members
were: Albert Johnson, Christ L. Christenson and
Ingeman Iverson.
District #95
The schoolhouse in District 95 was first located in the
southwest quarter of Section 8. Later it was located in the
northwest corner of Section 9.
District #102
The first schoolhouse in District 1 02 was built in 1877
on the northwest quarter of Section 34. N. O. Borswold
was the first teacher.
District #118
The school in District 1 18 known as the West Bennington
School was in Section 17 in the west side. It was
located five miles south and a mile west of Grand Meadow.
Elizabeth Forbes Dahlgren taught in this school in
1927. She rode horseback from her home in Grand Meadow.
The school was sold and moved into Grand Meadow
to be made into a home.
The Schuyler Speer Century Farm
Speer Homestead
Mr. and Mrs. Elgar Speer on their 45th Wedding AnnIversary
Schuyler H . Speer was born in Tyre, New York, on
Sept. 30, 1828. He married Elizabeth Roberts of Newbury,
Ohio, on July 7, 1858. To this union 12 children
were born: Celia, Burdette, Katie, Lizzie, Fred, Allie,
John, Ethal, Stella, Hattie, Franc and Oscar. Fred and
Oscar died at an early age.
They settled near Union, Wis . , traveling back and
forth with team and buggy from Union to Moscow,
Minn. Their son, Burdette, was the first white male child
Mayvls and Kenneth Speer and son Kevin
born in Moscow Township, Freeborn County in 1856. He
later became blind at an early age.
Schuyler Speer served in the Civil War. When discharged
from the Army in Illinois, he walked all the way
home to Minnesota. The soles of his shoes were completely
worn out.
In 1875, they settled in Bennington Township, Section
3 1 .
The farm had changed ownership many times before it
was purchased by Schuyler Speer on October 23, 1875.
Grain was the main crop: Wheat, barley, flax and oats.
They also milked a mixed breed of cattle.
On December 15, 1892, the farm was sold to their son,
John. He was born November 5, 1867 near Rutland,
Wis . , and married Hannah Eliza Wiseman on November
2, 1892. John and Hannah bought an additional 40 acres
making the farm a 160. To this union 6 children were
born: Harry, Elgar, Muriel, Belva, Elizabeth and
Fire destroyed the home and a new one was built in
1918. At that time they moved the building site closer to
the road where it now stands. All the building material
was hauled by team and wagon from Taopi. John died on
May 30, 1950 and Hannah Eliza on August 8, 196 1 .
O n January 2 , 195 1 , Elgar Speer became the new
owner. He was born October 2 , 1895 and married Agnes
Larson of Spring Valley, Minn. on December 8, 1926.
They had five children: Ruth, Kenneth, Dale, Virgil and
Victor (twins) . Elgar and Agnes moved into leRoy where
he now resides . His wife is a resident of the Riceville
Nursing Home.
His son, Kenneth, married Mayvis Hanna on July 20,
1958. They took over the family farm on October 1 ,
1966. They have one son, Kevin James, born April 28,
1978. Small grain , corn and hay are produced on the
farm along with a herd of Holstein dairy cows.
A small twister hit this area on June 13, 1 976 doing
minor damage to the farm.
by Mrs. Kenneth Speer
The township, originally named Providence in 1858,
was organized June, 1873 being then renamed in honor
of William Z. Clayton who at one time owned a large
tract of land there. A native of Maine, he lived a few
years in Winona and for several years spent the summer
months in the township. The earliest settler was John
Johnson who moved into the southwestern pact of the
township ; he was followed shortly thereafter by Hiram
This was one of the townships that was put on the market
early and bought up by speculators. The result was
that settlement was greatly retarded and there were very
few people living there until about 1 870. By then a good
share of the land had been bought from the speculators
and placed under cultivation but crop failures resulted in .
many farmers losing their homes and the lands again fell
into the hands of the speculators .
Marshall Lutheran Church
The Rev. E. Wulfsberg from Albert Lea came in 1876
and the Marshal Lutheran congregation was organized.
It had grown to 1 7 families by 1878 when Pastor Wulfsberg
was replaced by Rev. M . Langeland from Cresco,
The pastors traveled by train and stayed in the homes
of parishioners over the weekend. Services were not held
weekly but once or twice a month as the pastors could get
there. The bell was very important in early churches. It
Marshall Lutheran Church
was rung in the morning to remind everyone that there
would be services that Sunday.
On May 17, 1890, Pastor Jensen laid the cornerstone
for the first church building. It was a plain building without
pulpit, pews or basement. Many improvements were
made over the years. In 1912, the building was completely
remodeled; a basement dug and a large stained
Ra ilRoad -+-+-+-+- .school
Wa Bon Road = Church
Corp.Line t---< ......... Jio ILSes
Creek Ce rn.. 1.
School Districts dm;;vmn/i/
Rural Routes
Township 102 North Range 15 West of the 5th P. M.
Mf'lj hen
: SWQ.nSon R y k --4 J{ou-se.:;
Creek ---- Ce n.. i
Sch ool Distrir.ts hJmn;)}n,nh! Rural Routes --=----
Township 103 North Range 16 We,t of the 5th P. M.
J j{ L U L
.T. H. l u x.
F W. Ft' e d l e Y:
Rak i ll'1'
TrInity Evangelical Lutheran Church
conducted in the District #106 schoolhouse across the
road .
The old German custom of men sitting on one side of
the church and women on the other was given up when
the church was dedicated . The reason for the change was
said to be so the fathers could help the mothers take care
of the little children. The plan seemed to work as the
children were very well behaved after this plan was
The church built in 1891 is still in use. In the early 40's
it was extensively remodeled ; rooms were added on either
end, a full basement constructed and electricity and a
furnace installed . In 1 954, eight stained glass windows
were installed in the main part of the church.
A landowner in Ohio, Houston Hays, owned land in
Section 29 and donated a little more than an acre to be
used as a cemetery. It was platted in lots one rod square,
with a 2-foot path one way and a 4-foot path the other
between the lots.
Members of the congregation cleared the ground and
each member contributing labor received a lot free.
Members who joined later paid $3.00 for a lot.
Later, a cemetery association was formed; a constitution
adopted and officers elected .
Maple Leaf School, District #106
The one-room school known as Maple Leaf School is
still standing across from the Trinity Evangelical Ch.urch
in Section 29. Some ofthe teachers were: Helen Sulhvan,
Edna Proeschal Richie, Helen Studer, Ferne Anderson
and Laura Studer Hammermeister.
In 1942, the board members were: C. Irving Freeman ,
Edgar Christgau and Mrs. Lloyd Hammermeister.
Rural School Memories
The Maple Leaf School District #106, Dexter Town-
Maple Leaf School
Laura Hammennelster and pupUs at MonltGr School
ship, was built before the Trinity Evangelical Lutheran
Church . Services were held in the school while the church
was being built in 1891 .
I always tried to get to school by eight o'clock. In the
winter I had the fire to build and get my board work on
the blackboards. We would have ten minutes opening
exercises which would be songs such as: "America,"
"Minnesota State Song" and others taken from the
"Golden Book of Favorite Songs. " Some days we would
have quotations and on some, riddles.
Classes were from ten minutes to twenty minutes long.
It depended on how many grades we had . Sometimes
there wouldn't be anyone in a certain grade.
I always taught phonics so the children could sound
out the words . We read out loud in the reading classes.
They saw, they heard and they spoke the words and I
think this helped. Many took home their readers so they
read the lesson over at home.
The older children had good textbooks and if we completed
the history or geography book the students had a
pretty good idea of these subjects. Then we would review
, and get ready for the state examinations required of the
eighth graders in order to go on to high school . Years ago, in 1914, the students had to go to the vt. llages
to take these tests. District 106 students went to
Dexter. Then we eagerly waited a month or so for our
results from the state. Eighth grade graduation day was
a big day. The little towns in the county would change off
having this celebration. We all went to Brownsdale the
year I graduated .
We also had fun. On good days we always played ball .
We also had other games for inside and outside . We
always had a Christmas program which consisted of
songs, recitations and some funny dialogs. At Valentine's
Day we had a valentine box. Some years we would
have a basket social and have a program and a few
funny dialogs. The schoolhouse would be packed .
The last hour and half on Fridays was spent on drawing,
art and craft work. We took some maps and drawings
to the county fair.
We were happy when the superintendent came to visit.
Mrs. Rice and Miss Sherwood always brought articles to
tell us about. Mrs. Rice brought a real ostrich egg and
once she told us how pencils were made. She visited
Hawaii , brought a coconut and told us about that. Also,
when the superintendent visited she would have a penmanship
class for all.
The teacher's institute was interesting. We would have
at least three d ays where the superintendent explained
new books and new ideas. We always came home with
some new songs and poems for our pupils. There was
also two good teacher magazines that had many helpful
ideas for teachers.
The names of schools were Sunny Side, Maple Leaf,
Monitor and Phillips. Some ofthe school board members
were Nick Quast, Louis Schwartz, Fred Studer and
Henry Schloo.
Just think! We could spend ten dollars for school supplies
each year! Supplies consisted of colored construction
paper, writing paper, crayons, paste, paintbrushes,
hectograph ink, etc.
We didn't have workbooks, but I had to make much
seat work for my little people.
There was no well at the school so we must walk to the
nearest neighbor for water. The older children and the
teacher took their turn at getting water.
In winter, the children would bring a jar of food which
we would warm up on top of the stove in a pan of water.
We made furniture out of orange crates for the little
folks to use when doing certain seat work or pasting. We
made a table, four chairs and a cupboard for work supplies.
The last day of school was for fun. Most everyone in
the district came with good food .
I generally bought five gallons of ice cream. Then after
dinner we'd have every imaginable race and I'd give
prizes . One year we even had a rope pulling contestthe
east side of the district against the west.
We had good maps and encyclopeciias and many
library books.
As for wages, I got $75.00 a month and up to $95.00 a
month. In my last year of teaching, 1 937, I only got
by Laura Studer Hammermeister
The Monitor School, District #121
The schoolhouse in this district was located in Section
1 6 . It was south of the little hamlet of Renova which no
longer exists. The schoolhouse is still there and is used as
the Dexter Town Hall, where voting takes place and
many groups meet for social gatherings. Teachers known
to have taught there are: Elizabeth Forbes Dahlgren and
Laura Studer Hammermeister.
Other schools in Dexter Township were Districts #98,
(Stark School) , # 1 25, #129 (Phillips School) , #98, #125
and #129.
The Christgau Farm
Conrad Christgau purchased the 160 acre farm in Section
32 in 1882. It was sold to his son, Fredrick Christgau,
about a year later.
In 1 952, the farm became the property of the Diamond
Park Farm Group composed of Conrad's grandsons :
Arthur E . , Victor A . , Theodore H . , Milton A. and his
great-grandson Merton A. Christgau .
Helen Rolfson was one of the teachers at Monitor School
Mrs. Rolfson has Memories of Long Ago
Mrs. Guy Rolfson, Austin , recently wrote to tell about
Dexter Township at the turn of the century. She is 99
years of age. Her letter follows:
"I wonder if you would be interested in a few things
about Dexter Township. "
" I went out there to teach in 1903. I had to have a
year's experience in order to get a first grade teacher's
certificate. I taught that year in the Monitor School,
which still stands.
"My husband's father, Asbjorn Rolfson, came to
America in 1867. He was born in Norway in 1853. At 14
years of age he stowed away on a ship which was leaving
for America. He hid under some canvas on deck. They
were well out at sea when he was found. They took him to
the kitchen and fed him, then made him work for his
"When they landed they told him he would have to
return to Norway, as he had no sponsor here. A man who
heard them tell this said , "I will sponsor the boy." He
brought Asbjorn to La Crosse and then he was on his
"Asbjorn worked his way to Brownsdale where some
Norwegians from his home locality now lived. He learned
English in the Brownsdale school, then went into Dexter
"I have an old tax receipt, dated 1894 and signed by
Gottlleb Seebach , county treasurer which shows a total
tax of $14.81 on an improved 80 acre farm.
"Dexter Township was politically minded . Otto
Goetsch was our state representative and Victor Christgau
was our congressman in Washington. Albert Stark
was our state senator.
"There were two railroad stops, one at Renova and one
at Sutton. Renova boasted a general store with a hotel in
the upper story. Travelers had to make overnight stays in
those days. There was a hardware store, an elevator and I
believe a milk station. "
by Helen Ro(fson
Frankford Township was organized in April, 1856 by
temporary county commissioners meeting in Frankford
Village; then the county seat. The village was platted
June 2, 1856. Another settlement, by Norwegian immigrants,
centered around Bear Creek Lutheran Church.
Origin of the name Frankford is obscure.
Organizations active from 1911-1982 are: Farm Bureau,
Frankford Grange, Frankford Boosters (a 4-H
group) , Bear Creek Band , Farmer's Union and B. I .
Club (an organization for women) .
Since this is a farming area, family businesses of 50
years duration are not uncommon. There are four farms
continuously operated by the same family 100 years or
more. They are: David and Marlys Goodse1.1, from 1856;
Herbert and Ann Hanson, from 1875; Richard and
Katherine Runkle, from 1882; David and Janet Lorensen.
A centennial and a 125 year anniversary of Bear Creek
Lutheran Church; a centennial celebration of Frankford
stone schoolhouse attended by nearly SOO former
teachers, pupils and friends of the school; the
destruction by fire of the Lobster House followed by its
Country schools closed as their districts consolidated
with Grand Meadow. The Milwaukee Railroad closed
this branch, taking up tracks that were laid in 1870.
Frankford Township has one church, two cemeteries,
a town hall and a first class dining restaurant.
by R u th Goodsell
Frankford VUlage
Frankford Village was settled along the banks of Deer
Creek in 1854 on a site chosen by Lewis Patchin, Bartlett
Leathers and Byron Woodworth .
Families soon arrived from eastern states, houses were
built and businesses started to provide for the needs of a
pioneer community. The town was platted in 1856 with
all the proper streets and alleys. It was appointed county
seat of Mower County.
Some of the early settlers were: Sam Scribner, 1855;
Andrew Scribner, 1855; Naaman Goodsell, 1856;
Charles Lamb , 1856; William Harper, 1856; R. A.
Donaldson, 1857; Shelburn Bostwick, 1857.
At one time there were three stores, three blacksmith
and wagon shops , a grist mill, a chair and coffin factory,
a shoe shop, a harness shop, and one hotel, the Patchin
Hotel which also served as post office. In 1867 a schoolhouse
was built of limestone quarried nearby. There was
a Freewill Baptist Church across the road . A cemetery
started in 1856 is very well kept and still in use. A stage
line from St. Paul to Dubuque passed through the village.
Frankford provided a social center for the surrounding
area with people coming from as far away as Austin and
Chatfield to parties and dances. County Court was held
in the village and the records stored in an upstairs room
of Patchin's Hotel.
There was friction with Austin over the location of the
county seat resulting in the records being stolen and
taken secretly to Austin. However, when a vote was taken
later, Austin was chosen.
In 1870 the Southern Minnesota Railroad came
through and new towns sprang up along it, making the
river settlements unnecessary. The old village withered
and the land returned to farm use.
Nothing is left of Frankford now except a lovely cemetery-
and memories .
by R u th Goodsell
The Mystery of the Old Lamb House
Emily Galloway and her husband, Leo, once lived in
the Charles Lamb house which was the subject of many
strange tales . The first section was built in the 1850s. A
separate home was moved to the site and made a part of
the original house in the 1860s. This was done for
Grandma Lamb. Finally a west wing was added to serve
as quarters for the hired help.
The house had eight rooms downstairs, each with an
exit to the outside. There was a total of nineteen doors
and two stairways to the upstairs rooms because there
was no connecting door. One room upstairs had no door.
It could only be entered from the outside by way of a ladder
through a window.
One bedroom had one window looking out. From the
outside 'two w.indows could be seen. When the wing was
torn down they found three floors. The middle one was
worn half through in front of the extra window.
There are rumors of dark deeds which occurred in this
house in the 1 870s. A gang of famous outlaws is supposed
to have lived there. Hence, the need for the numerFRANKFORD
Township 103 North Range 14 West of the 5th P. M.
RailRoad ++-+-+- Jchool
Wason- Road = Church h.\
Corp-Line .--..,........ BOILSe3
Creek Cern,. :t
School Districts 1Im}nnm
Rural Routes
ous exits. The worn place in the center layer of flooring
near the extra window hid counterfeit plates or money
until it could be picked up by other gangsters.
Gang members were also professional horse thieves.
Horses seemed to disappear without a trace. It was said
they were hidden in a large cave with a camouflaged
entrance. Such a cave has never been found, so Emily
believes the cave was sealed with rock years ago.
A Free Will Baptist Church located on one corner of
the farm, burned to the ground in 1871 . It burned on the
night that a sheriffs posse was reported on its way to
look for counterfeit plates in it belfry.
The Galloways lived in the old house from 1 941 to
1975. The back door of the new home is just three feet
from where the old house stood.
That is the story of the mysterious house in the ghost
town of Frankford .
The B. I. Club
The B. I. Club began in the Frankford community on
June 20, 1914 when six young ladies got together for
more social life, to exchange ideas, and to lend a helping
hand to others. The ladies were Floy Boland , Emma
Hawkins, Leona Hess, Daisy and Myrtle Lyman and
Anna Larson. The name was kept secret and only
revealed to new members, until it was announced at their
50th anniversary as the "Bright Idea Club. " They met
twice a month, on Saturdays as they were still in school,
and paid five cents for meeting dues. Now 68 years
later, they meet once a month and pay only ten cents a
month dues.
Charter Members of B.1. Club - 50th Anniversary
Left to right: Daisy Glover, Myrtle Churchill, Leona Shipton, Emma
Loucks and Floy Boland.
Over 140 members have belonged down through the
years with the average membership about 20 to 25.
The club's four largest projects were: Putting on a play
to raise money; sponsoring the Frankford Village Centennial
on May 30, 1954 at the old stone schoolhouse, a
landmark ofthe once thriving village; June 4, 1 967 sponsored
the centennial of the old stone schoolhouse with
237 people registering including 9 former teachers and
50 pupils. The school had been closed since 1943. They
compiled recipes for a 150 page cookbook and sold 530
The Frankford Cemetery Floral Club
The Frankford Cemetery Floral Club was organized
Feb. 15, 1927 at the home of Mrs. Frank Hess with the
object of improving and beautifying the cemetery.
Twenty-two ladies joined and elected Mrs. Frank Hess,
president; Mrs. Emma Loucks, vice president; Mrs .
Bingley Gillette, secretary; and Mrs. Lee Tebay, treasurer.
Through the years the membership increased to over
40 members . They meet once a year, usually in April or
early May, with dues of 25i a year, which goes to buy
flowers for four urns and some flower beds at the cemetery.
They gather just before Memorial Day at the cemetery
to do the planting. Each member who lives close
enough and is able, takes one week during the summer
and until frost to water and tend the flowers.
The oldest member, Mrs . Charles Lockwood , who is
102 years old , still attended meetings until entering the
rest home last year.
Frankford Cemetery
Memorial for the Old School at Frankford Cemetery
The history of the nation is written in its burial
grounds. The village of Frankford was on a trail from
Dubuque, Iowa to St. Paul in the 1850s and 60s. A
family passing through had a little child die while staying
overnight at the hotel in Frankford, and the owner of the
land where the cemetery is now located gave them permission
to bury the child there. A child found drowned in
the river was also buried there and other burials followed,
some in unmarked graves. Thus started the
Frankford Cemetery.
It wasn't until February 15, 1 913 that a permanent
cemetery association was formed. The first elected officers
were: A. N . Churchill, president; L. Y. Tebay, vice
president; William Jensen, secretary; J. W. Boland, treasurer.
Four meetings were held that spring to get organized.
The ground was leveled and seeded down. A
portion was set aside as free burial place for the poor.
The lot charge was set at $ 10.00.
After the Frankford school consolidation the old stone
school was given to the Cemetery Association in 1955. In
1978 it was sold and demolished saving enough stone for
a base for the bell and placed in the cemetery. The
memorial has a plaque with an etching of the old stone
The cemetery is 2.44 acres located in Section 24 of
Frankford Township. The present officers of the association
are: Jerry Seabright, president; Dale Baarsch, vice
president; Mrs. Robert Churchill, secretary; Mrs. Marlin
Rathbun, treasurer.
Two of the oldest burials in Frankford Cemetery are:
Fanny A. Lockwood in 1851 and Mary A. Harris in 1855.
Bear Creek Community
Bear Creek Lutheran Church
Thirty-six Norwegian settlers left Dane County, Wisconsin
and arrived in Frankford Township on July 1 ,
1854. They came i n covered wagons drawn by oxen. They
constructed their camp on Section 9.
In a few days all who were entitled to pre-empted
public land had each pre-empted his homestead.
On June 22, 1 856 the first regular Lutheran Church
service was held by Rev. C. L. Clausen, and the church
was organized that same day.
A deed for the schoolhouse ground was dated January
17, 1859.
In the first years of the Bear Creek settlement the
homesteaders took no part in town or county politics.
They feared they were not competent in language or
knowledgeable of American governmental methods.
Some years later Ole Jorgens was elected justice of the
peace, and then the Norwegians began to attend town
Years ago Bear Creek was a beautiful stream of water,
but now it is almost a dry run.
Extractedfrom A BRIEF HISTOR Y OF
Bear Creek Cemetery
The Bear Creek Church was built in 1869 and finished
in 1870. The decision to start a cemetery was reached at
the same time.
In 1923 the cemetery records were brought up-to-date
by the following committee: Carl O. Skogstad, Emil
Skogstad, Sever Teamanson, and Marit Lindelien. The
cemetery was separated from the church organization in
1955. At that time the Bear Creek Cemetery Association
set up its by-laws; the first annual meeting was held June
18, 1956 and have continued to this time.
The first board was: Melvin Skaran, Galen Warn,
Melvin Anderson , Elvin H . Hanson and Marvin Skustad.
Others involved in cemetery work have been: Lars
Wahl, Sigurd Kvall, Elgar Hovda and Elmer Hoeft. The
current board is: Ole Isaacson, Clare Root, James Anderson,
Richard Runkle and Steven Hovda.
The oldest known people buried at Bear Creek
Cemetery are: John Amundson Lindelien, born December
23, 1795 and died March 13, 1872; Kari Hovda, born
1798. Several other graves are unmarked, unrecorded , or
not readable.
Methodist Norwegian Cemetery - Bear Creek
This is a deserted cemetery in Section 7 of Frankford
Township and is across the road from the Bear Creek
Church and cemetery.
The names listed on the stones are: Anderson, Hovda,
Moen and Sorben . The last burial seems to have been
Anne O. Sorbon in 1 940.
Sever Temanson Cemetery
One of the oldest cemeteries in the county is the
Temanson Cemetery in Section 8 of Frankford Township.
In July, 1854, fourteen Norwegian families settled in
the area in Section 8. Ole C. Syverud was the colony's
gunsmith. He shot the first bear along the stream and the
area and the creek became known as "Bear Creek. " Ole
Simonson Jobraaten was the blacksmith and was given
the first choice for his claim and built the first log cabin.
The leader of the group was Ole Olson Finhart. At one
time the population of this colony was in excess of 100.
The Temanson Cemetery was used for burials between
1854 and 1870. A monument in the old cemetery commemorates
the people buried there; the original grave
markings were probably wooden crosses and time has
destroyed them. Engravings on the monument list the
names of the people buried there. Among them are
Anders Torhaug (first person buried) and Erland Brufalt
(the second person buried) . The other names include
Lindelien, Simonson, Papenchred , Rustebake, Syverrud,
Weeks, Moen, Jobraaten, Skalshaugen, Haugen,
Flored, Skaran, Barnson, and Hovda. Many of these
burials were of children.
District #17
School District #17, Section 36 was built in 1873 and
was the first permanent school building in this district.
G. A. Elder taught the first term in this building. Prior
to this a board shanty 12' x 14' , costing $25 to build,
was used for the school. The first teacher was Mrs. Lamberton
who taught three months at $25 per month.
District #19
School District #19, Section 21 was built of logs by
Bothomel Canady in 1857. W. F. Grummons was the
first to teach in the schoolhouse. Later, in 1870, the district
erected a frame building.
District #35
School District #35, Section 1 1 was built in the year
1856 and constructed of logs. Either Frank Johnson or
John Fell was the first teacher. In 1877 the log house was
torn down and a new one erected.
District #84
School District #84, Section 34 had its first schoolhouse
built in the northwest corner of Section 34 in 1877.
Lyda Goodsell was the first teacher.
District #97
School District #97, Section 31 was organized in 1876.
A. S. Woodworth was the first teacher in the schoolhouse
located in the southeast quarter of Section 3 1 .
District #163
School District #163, Section 24 was originally organized
as District 1 and was the first district in Mower
County. The first school in Frankford Township was located
in a room over Francis Tebout's store in the village
of Frankford in 1 856. Miss Cunningham was the first
teacher. A schoolhouse, the first in this district was built
in 1867. It was made entirely of stone. The first teacher
was N. W. Boyes.
Ruth Lewis Athens, who graduated from Grand Meadow
High School in 1910 and taught in the rural schools
for 21 years, taught in the #160 Stone School. Blanche
Russell Peterson and Marjorie Jefferis, were also
teachers in this school . It was affiliated with the Spring
Valley System.
District #36
School District #36, Section 5 - Florin School was
first taught by Marie Tommerson Berg. This schoolhouse
is still standing on the Bear Creek picnic grounds
near Grand Meadow. The board members for this school
in the year 1942 were: Elgar Hovda, clerk; Mrs . Sanford
Jorgens, treasurer; Olaus Simonson, chairman. Mrs.
Olive Waldron was the teacher.
Other schools in the township for which no information
was found were: 1 27-J, Section 1, #64, Section 6 .
The Allen Farm
William I . Allen and his wife, Margaret, purchased
their 92 acre farm on September 16, 1884. After William's
death, Margaret continued to live on the farm
until her death in 1943.
Webb Allen, son of William and Margaret, was the
next to own the farm following his mother's death. He
and his wife , Golda, purchased the shares of his brother,
Charles and his sister, Pearle Steffens. Webb was
employed at the George A. Hormel Co. Webb and Golda
rented the farm land and used the wood land for pasture.
In the 1940s a tornado destroyed the barn and hay
shed . Mr. Allen continued working at Hormel's until his
retirement in 1950. The house was then remodeled.
Webb died in 1 975. Golda continues to live on the
farm. The 100th anniversary of the family ownership is
celebrated in 1984.
Golda and Webb Allen
The Goodsell Farm
Naaman Goodsell was born in Bloomfield, New York .
He was married in Ohio to Jane Goodrich of Wethersfield,
Naaman and Jane moved to the Frankford Township
in the Minnesota Territory in 1856. The farm deed has
the signature of Abraham Lincoln.
In line of succession the Goodsell farm was owned by
Winfield Hiram Goodsell, 186 1 -1894; Hobert Winfield
Goodsell, 1894- 1972; and now David Kay Goodsell, born
in 1932.
David's mother, Mrs. Ruth Goodsell, lives in her
home a few rods east of the home place.
The Goodsell Family
Left to right: Glen, Daniel, Allen, Marlys, David, Kay and Brenda
Skogstad - Jorgens - Runkle Farm
Carl G. Skogstad and his wife, Ragnhild, purchased
the 80 acre farm on Section 8, Frankford Township in
August, 1883. They were both immigrants from Norway,
and had been married in 188 1 .
Skogstad's neighbor, Ternan Temanson, had land
which was too wet for a building site. Skogstad sold
Temanson ten acres of his dry land out of friendship.
Then 40 acres were added to the Skogstad farm in 1917.
Carl and Ragnhild had three children: Clarence, Otis
Catherine and Richard Runkle
and Cora. Cora married John Jorgens in 1 9 1 3 and two
years later they moved into Cora's home farm. They purchased
the farm after the deaths of Carl and Ragnhild.
The Jorgens had one daughter, Catherine.
In 1 939 Catherine married Richard Runkle of Pleasant
Valley Township. They farmed in the Pleasant
Valley area until 1 947 when they moved to Catherine's
home place.
John and Cora lived with them until John's death in
1 975 and Cora's in 1 976. The Runkles had purchased the
farm in 1 966 and continue living there in 1 984. Their
children are: David , Lakewood, Colorado; Marcheta
(Mrs. Richard Allen) , Glenville, Minnesota; and Steve,
Preston, Minnesota. There are eight grandchildren.
Grand Meadow is a prairie township. Legend has it
that it takes its name from the enthusiastic reaction of an
eastern visitor who exclaimed when viewing the area
from a hill, " What a Grand Meadow . "
The first settier was Erland Olson. H e built a log house
in Section 1 2 in 1 854. Arthur McNelly, Andrew McCabe
and S . H . Rice came a little later. The township was
organized in 1 862 at a meeting at the B . F. Langworthy
home. The following officers were elected: B . F. Langworthy,
chairman ; C. Knapp ; O. W. Case; A . Avery,
clerk; G. C. Parker, treasurer; C. B. Remington and
S. H . Rice, justices of peace; W. A. Lunt, assessor; N. C.
Markham and J. M. McCabe, constables.
West side of Main Street 1900
Grand Meadow School - 1903 to 1916
Village of Grand Meadow
The village of Grand Meadow was laid out in 1870.
The railroad at that time had been built as far as the
creek east of town. An act passed by the legislature in
1876, authorized a village election. Officers elected were:
president, E. M . Barnard ; recorder, B. F. Wood ; Wm .
Bentley; Gilbert H. Allen and S . M . Jenks.
Grand Meadow's business district has dwindled considerably.
Shopping in the larger towns made possible by
good roads and the automobile has left the local merchant
unable to compete. The population has steadily increased
, however, due to the large number of residents
who commute to nearby cities to work. The larger cities
offer job opportunities, but many prefer to live in the
quiet friendliness of a small town.
St. Finbarr's Catholic Church
The first Mass was offered by Father Pendergast in the
Art McNally home in 1858. The priest was on a missionary
trip between Austin and Winona. Father George
Keller said Mass between 186 1 and 1 865 and the new
parish was organized between 1877 and 1897. It was
under the direction of Father Hurley of the St. Augustine's
Parish in Austin. Father Sullivan was the mission
St. Finbarr's was a mission of Spring Valley until
1939. Father Donald Cunningham, from Queen of
Angel's Parish in Austin, then began serving as priest. In
1946, Father Grafe became the first resident pastor.
Father James Dandelet of St. Patrick's Parish, LeRoy is
the current pastor.
The Arthur McNally family donated a plot of land in
Section 13 to be used as a cemetery. It is located one mile
north and a mile west of Grand Meadow.
Harley Pack and William Liles are buried in unmarked
graves in the southwest corner of the cemetery,
dates unknown. The first dated graves are: James Coin,
1877; John Smith, 1 877 and Mary Duffy, 1878.
Lutheran Church
"The Grand Meadow Evangelical Lutheran Church"
was officially formed at the cabin of Jens Jorgensen
March 25, 1 876 . Services were conducted at various loca{
Evangelical Lutheran Church
tions until 1879 when a church was built in the south part
of town .
In 1893, several meetings were held to reorganize the
congregation . The church building was moved and renovated
and a church constitution was drafted. Signers of
the original constitution were: Tom M. Lokke, A. D .
Samso, Peter E. Peterson , A. E . Hovda, Erick E. Myhre,
J. 1. Weeks Jr. , Ole P. Hauge, John Lindelien and
Ulrick Julson.
During the period 1882 to 1893, Pastor Bue served
both the Grand Meadow and the Bear Creek Lutheran
Churches . It was due to his influence that these two
churches later became one call.
In 1904, a new church building was dedicated built on
two lots across from the schoolhouse. The basement was
large enough for only a one-register furnace. No provision
was made for water or any plumbing. In 1 922, the
church was raised and a full basement built and a new
kitchen installed .
In 1954, the old church was sold to a group from
Spring Valley and moved there. A new stone church was
constructed on the same site and dedicated August 7,
Other pastors ofthe Grand Meadow Lutheran Church
have been: Rev. S . O. Rondestvedt (1893-1 90 1 ) , Rev.
O. G. Belsheim ( 1 90 1 - 1 907) , Rev . A. H. qjevre ( 1 907-
1913) , Rev. H. C. M. Jahren (1913- 1928) , Rev. John Ritland
(1928-1 929) , Rev. J. C. Thompson (1929- 1 948) ,
Rev. John Skepstad (1948- 1 953) , Rev. Eugene V. Holland
(1953- 1 960) , Rev. Allen T. Peterson (1960- 1973)
and Rev. James S . Davis (1973- ) .
The Overcamp School, District #20
District 20 was organized May 1 , 1868. The first officers
were A. O. Finhart, treasurer; O. W. Case, clerk
and B. F. Langworthy, director. A schoolhouse was
erected in the same year in Section 12. It was replaced by
a new one in 1884. Later a belfry was added and a fine
bell purchased.
This new building was well equipped with a Smith
heating and ventilating system, fine slate blackboards
and a sanitary water fountain. The school was known as
the Overcamp School, probably because the teachers
boarded at the Overcamp home .
In 1942, the teacher was Belva Skustad . In 1 944-45,
Ruth Lewis Athens and Audrey Maley Queensland
taught the school. The board members those years were
Leo Calkins, Otis Miland and Mel Skaran. Virginia Johanns
Callan also taught in District 20.
School District #21
District 21 was organized around 1868. The schoolhouse
was located in Section 35 on the southeast edge of
the Grand Meadow Township. All the records have been
School District #53
District 53 was one of the oldest districts in the county.
In early times the schoolhouse was built of logs and sod .
Miss Anker was the first teacher.
In 1873, a half acre in the southeast quarter of Section
9 was deeded to the district and a schoolhouse built. In
1897, this building was moved to the southwest quarter
of Section 10.
The school board members in 1 942 were: Elmer Johnson,
Volney Davis and Fred Sievertsen. The teacher was
Laurene Davis. Volney Davis was the first Grand Meadow
High School graduate and served many years on the
board of District 53.
School District #69
School District 69 was organized in 1869. That same
year a schoolhouse was built in the southeast quarter of
Section 29. In 1879, it was moved to the northwest quarter
of the section.
In 1890, a new school building was built across from
the old one. The first teacher in the district was Ella Austin.
Her father, Gus Austin , built the first schoolhouse.
Experiences of a Rural School Teacher
( 1 928 . 1 930)
The schools where I taught were very much alike-a
box shaped building longer than wide. Two had wood
and coal sheds attached , one had the shed thirty feet
from the main school building.
Entry was made into the cloak room , on either side
were hooks for coats and a shelf for dinner pails. Inside
the door leading to the main school room was an aisle in
the center leading to the teacher's desk with pupils' desks
on either side. There was a potbelly stove on the right
and at the back of the room , a counter on which a pail of
water and dipper was placed.
Outside at the rear of the building were two outside
toilets; one for boys , one for girls .
I taught all eight grades and was the janitor. I would
sweep out after school, bank the fire and pray. The next
morning I would be out early to start the fire in the old
stove. I received $85.00 a month because I asked for it.
Other teachers were paid less. The same books were used
year after year. Supplies were erasers, chalk, ink and
construction paper.
I lived at a home with modern plumbing. I would ride
a bicycle to school until snow came and then went on
horseback . It added up to 586 miles on horseback in one
school year. A few times, Earl Rice had to take me to
Township 103 North Range 15 West of the 5th P. M.
. L 5. M.E . .
Fo r.
telor; S TOCK.
F"Afl. I'I
Ra ilRoad _ Sch o o l Wago n. Road = Ch urch
Corp.Line I---< t---< Rouses
Creek Ce m. 1
Sch ool Districts ;;;m;ml)))l)lII
Rural Routes
school in his one-horse sleigh. Twice I was stuck out in
the country because of blizzards that lasted three days
by Mrs. Frank T. Dahlgren
Olson/Warn Farm
ToIlef Olson bought this 40 acre Century Farm in Section
14 on Jan. 29, 1875. His son, Simon J . , and wife
Hannah became the owners in 1907. They had two
daughters, Alice and Thrasea.
Thrasea married Galen L. Warn and they took over
the farm in 1947. They were the parents of two children :
Shirley and Glen. Glen married Betty Edmunds and
bought the 40 acre Century Farm in 1983. They have
three children: Julie, Valerie and Cynthia.
by A rlene Bonnes
The Early Days
The first to settle in the township in 1853 was H. O .
"Hunter" Clark. H e built a log cabin near what is now
Oakwood Cemetery. In 1855 the claim was sold to William
Baudler. In 1854 John Pettibone purchased land in
what is now Lansing. He remained there unti1 1857 when
he sold property to A. B. Vaughan and D. M. V. Stewart.
Pettibone returned to Ohio. Alanson B. Vaughan ,
who Lansing is named after, had five grown sons : Phineas
D . , John G . , Herman B . , Enoch G . , and Benjamin
K. Each son received a quarter section of land .
Thomas Gibson settled on what is known as the Pollack
farm east of Lansing and William Rutherford on
what is now the Glen Uecker farm . Harcar Lyons , Jos .
GiIIen, Jos. Smith, John Dignan, A. H . Chapin, Lewis
Thompson, Jonas Haney, George Baird , A. Bartlett and
others came soon. Later George Wood, John Mathieson,
A. C. Boynton, C. C . BeIl, Robert Lewis , E. H. WeIls,
M. Teeter and others arrived to take up land.
The Vaughan family was very industrious. A. B .
Vaughan built the Lansing Steam MiII in 1857. The
engine was hauled by team from Wabasha, Minnesota.
This ran as a saw miII until 1860 and was converted into
a grist mill. This operated for three years when the
engine was sold and taken to Osage, Iowa. Later a windmiII
was put up to furnish power.
The Lansing Cemetery property was donated by A. B .
Vaughan. A log house (first building) built by A . B .
Vaughan i n 1855 was his residence. The first building for
business purposes was built by P. D . Vaughan in 1858
and rented to John Clark. In 1859 this building was
destroyed by fire. In the faIl of 1864 P. D. Vaughan
again opened a store stocked with general merchandise.
George Wood also had an interest in the store until 1866
when the business was sold to A. B. Vaughan.
In 1860 Patrick Eagan built a home which became the
Lansing Hotel. In 1864 the first host at the hotel was
Benjamin Carll who operated it unti1 1867, then his son-
in-law, WiIIiam Brown, took over. In the early 1900s it
was stiII a hotel with restaurant and ice cream parlor.
The building is now a residence.
Lansing Flour Mill
In 1877 a miII was built on the west side of the Cedar
River by Higley and Richards. The building was burned
in March 1883. The property was then purchased by
Simon Alderson, Austin, and was rebuilt on the same
site that summer. The frame building had two runs of
buhrs run by a nine foot faIl of the Red Cedar. The old
miII wheel can stiIl be seen today on the bank of the river
northeast of Lansing.
Simon and Sophia Alderson and family moved to Austin
from Council HiIIs Station , IIIinois in 1866. The next
year Simon built a grist miII on the Red Cedar River
which was then known as Alderson's Mill. It had only
one run of stone. This was on old Water St. , now 4th Av.
N . E . , across from Klagge's Ice Cream Store. Alderson
also owned miIIs at Otranto and WiIIiams, Iowa.
Information provided by Mrs. Vern (Marie Hall) Judd,
A ustin. Simon A lderson was her great-grandfather
Lansing Churches
Five churches have served Lansing people. They
include the Methodist Episcopal, Baptist, Congregational,
Catholic and Lutheran. Those remaining are the
St. Luke's Lutheran Church and the United Methodist
Church .
1 18.year.old United Methodist Church
The United Methodist Church celebrated their lOOth
anniversary in August, 1 966. Their church building
dates back to the early days . Bricks for the building were
made by the pioneer brickmaker, Thomas Gibson.
Gibson also made the bricks for St. Augustine Catholic
Church, Austin. Rev. Greg Renstrom, Owatonna, is the
St. Luke's Lutheran Church began October 2, 1949 at
the George Luthe home. In 1 949 and 1950 the children
were taken by bus to St. John's Lutheran Church in Austin
for Vacation Bible School. St. Luke's was incorporLANSING
Township 103 North Range 18 West of the 5th P. M.
RailR.oad +++-I- Scho o l Wagon. Roa d = Chu.rch
Corp. L ine .......... .......... Rouses
Creek Cern,. i
School Districts mlll/lJ/JnmJlt
Rural Routes
ated in 1949, purchased a lot and built a chapel which
was dedicated August 27, 1 950. Rev. Herman Hanneman,
Brownsdale, is the pastor.
Progress and Problems
The first railroad from Owatonna to Austin through
Lansing was built in September, 1867. The Milwaukee
Road still operates through the village.
St. Luke's Evangelical Lutheran Church
In 1 915 the Lansing State Bank was organized as a
locally owned institution. N . F. Banfield Jr. was president
and L. S . Chapman, father of Dr. Chapman of Austin,
was cashier. Adjoining the bank on the north side
was a store operated by Scott Brown and also a small
home. In January, 1930 a fire started in the store. The
store, bank and home were destroyed . Thus the end of
the bank. In 1950 another store was built by Raymond
and Clara Correy on the same lot as the bank, and is now
occupied as living quarters.
The Lansing Co-operative Creamery did a thriving
business in its day. The original building was incorporated
in Feb. 1894. A new building was erected in
1906. Old timers tell of the long waiting lines of horses
and wagons bringing cans of milk into the creamery.
There was time for visiting and storytelling. The
creamery building is still standing.
Lansing has had several business places since the
1920s. Bert Stimson had a general store across the street
from the bank, and a blacksmith shop. Sam Carpenter
had a garage and also stored the first 32-volt battery-
Early picture of Lansing Farmer's Elevator
powered light system in Lansing. Only one person in the
village had an electric iron. When the people would complain
of dim lights , he knew just who to contact. Truman
Winn had a garage business, and later a dealership for
the Allis Chalmers tractors .
One ofthe older buildings in Lansing was once a dance
hall with a pool hall and a barber shop in the basement.
In 1934 it became a Tabernacle Church for a short time.
In 1957 it was purchased and remodeled into a home.
There have been two elevators in Lansing. One was
locally owned ; the other a Huntting elevator. The Huntting
elevator remains in 1984.
Post OUice
The post office has been located mainly in the stores .
P. D. Vaughan was the first postmaster from 1858-1875.
Others that followed were: W. B. Vaughan, 1875-86 ;
George Bartlett, 1886-89; H . H . McIntyre, 1889- 1913;
Mae Wiseman, 1913-15; B . L. Stimson, 1915-21 ; Alvin
Hanson, 1921 -40; Alvin Aaby, 1940-55; Elizabeth Friedrich,
1955-72; Kenneth Rolfson, 1 971-79. In 1979 Evelyn
Kiefer was appointed to serve the position. A garage was
remodeled into a new post office in 198 1 .
The first Norwegian settler o f Lansing Township was
Lewis Thompson, grandfather of Ronald Thompson in
Lansing. He migrated to the U . S . in 1845, and in 1857
settled in Lansing Township approximately 2 V2 miles
west of Lansing. This farm has been in the family down
through the years . A brother, Lee, is now living on the
A few of those who live in our memory: Roy Chaffee,
who was Lansing historian along with Estella Thompson ;
Mae Wiseman, our "old maid lady" ; Guy Yarwood , the
rural mail carrier; "Grandm a" Miller, who owned Miller
Rest Homes and gave tender loving care to the elderly;
G. C. Samuels, our last depot agent; the John Pollack
family, who always had fresh eggs for sale. Then there
were Ira Rector and Sam Jeffers, who gave the Hall to the
Methodist Church; Johnny Jerdet and Everett Carll. One
would wish there were more of the old-timers around to
hear their stories of years ago.
Sam Rudd has lived in our community for over 60
years. In 1928 he helped construct Highway 218 west of
Lansing. Work was done with mules and horses.
We remember the ball team of a few years ago, with
Palmer Quam, and Phil and Tom White ; the checker
games in the Alvin Hanson store and the horseshoe
games by the store; the free shows on the lawn of Louie
Roes home and more recently, the stock car races at the
Chateau Speedway.
Former businesses include Ben Summy's stockyard ,
located west of our elevator; the lumberyard owned by
Gus Peterson ; and the grocery stores , garages and filling
stations of the past.
Today there are approximately 200 people in Lansing
Village. Many residents work in Austin. Hopefully, the
future will see businesses restored and an increase in the
number of people living in our pleasant town.
Rutherford and the Gibson Families
( The followinR history of the Rutherford and the Gibson
families was Riven to Arlene Bonnes by Mrs. Evelyn
Crowley. Brownsdale. )
Wm . Rutherford , John R. and Thomas Gibson, whose
wife was Elizabeth R . , all came to the Lansing area to
homestead land in 1956.
About 1853 these families migrated from Elverstown
(near Dublin) Ireland to Bardstown, Kentucky. They
lived there for three years until they earned money for
equipment. They spent the winter in Dubuque, Iowa,
and came to Lansing in the spring of 1856.
Wm. Rutherford and Thomas Gibson claimed land
just east of the Cedar River. John Rutherford family settled
near Moscow. John, his wife and daughter all died of
smallpox soon after they settled .
Wm . Rutherford and wife, Charlotte, had one
daughter, Maria, who married Michael White. They
farmed on the north side of the road, and also the
Rutherford farm . William , called "Uncle Billy," was a
teamster. He hauled freight from the boats that docked
at Winona. The trip took one week. He also bought and
sold horses. The love of horses has come down through
seven generations.
Left to right: Charlotte, Marla and WillIam Rutherford
John and Wm. Rutherford, orphan sons of John, were
raised by Wm. Rutherford . Their brother and sister grew
up with the Tom Gibson family along with the Gibson's
12 children. Tom Gibson was a brickmaker. He supplied
bricks for many buildings and streets in Austin . The
bricks for the Methodist Church (Lansing) were made in
Maria White, the only child of Wm . and Charlotte
Rutherford, had nine children. Their father, Michael
White, died on March 7, 1904. Maria continued to farm
the 1 60 acre farm , raise her family and took care of her
aged parents until October, 1939.
Maria was an excellent business woman and farmer,
although she had no formal education . She entertained
with many early Indian stories and told of the hardships
shared by these early pioneers who were the founders of
Mower County.
Glen Uecker now owns the farm.
Many of Maria's grandchildren continue to live in this
area. They include the children of Art Strong: Ford ,
Betty, Boyd and Terry. Boyd was killed on Saipan Island
in World War II. The daughters of Max Braun , a
Brownsdale butcher, also live nearby. Tom and Phil
White also lived in Lansing.
Lansing Elementary School
LansIng Village School - 1938
Comella Bonnes, Willard HolmquIst, lola Miller, Herman Westphal,
Aurilla Rudd, Myrtle Naatz, Waiter Yarwood, LeslIe MayzlIk,
Carolyn Cart, Lloyd Dalager, Anna Bell Green, Lynette Toyne, Merle
Bonnes, PhylI1s Rudd, Orlean Grant, Betty Bird, Lloyd Yarwood,
Mymadlne Lord, Gertrude Yarwood, Gaylord Grant, Douglas
Thompson. Teacher: Catherine Crilly.
The existence of the Lansing School dates back 106
years to 1858, the year in which Minnesota became a
state. School was first held in the small home of John
Pettibone in the summer of 1858 with Ann Mathieson as
the teacher. There have been four schoolhouses in the
106 year history. Three of these remain standing within a
radius of three or four blocks.
The first schoolhouse was a wood frame structure built
in the fall of 1858, about one mile east of Lansing.
George Wood was the teacher. The school district failed
to pay the lumber bill, and the building was reverted to
the parties who furnished it and sold to Mrs. C. S .
The second schoolhouse was a brick structure built in
1866 with John E. Robinson as the teacher. In the fall of
187 1 , a wood frame addition was added to this brick
The original brick structure was torn down and construction
of the third Lansing schoolhouse began in the
fall of 1914. This structure remained Lansing's school
until the spring of 1958 . Although abandoned , it still remains
standing today on the old schoolgrounds across
Mower County Road #2 from the Ellis home, and across
the field north of the present school building.
In August, 1956 Lansing School District #43 consolidated
with Independent School District #27, Austin.
This is now Independent School District #492.
Construction of the new Lansing School began in the
spring of 1957 and was completed in the spring of 1958.
This was 100 years after the construction of Lansing's
first schoolhouse.
In the fa ll of 1958, the new Lansing School was officially
opened with an enrollment of 197 students and a
staff of 6 teachers, a teaching principal, a part-time
clerk, 2 cooks, and a fu ll-time custodian engineer. The
new school served the students from the village of Lansing
in addition to a large rural area. It included fo rmer
District #43-Lansing; District #50-north and east of
Lansing; District #44-Ramsey and Mapleview ; District
#72-Corning; and District #1 3S-Freeborn County.
Lansing School had two principals. The fi rst was
Sterling Thompson who served in that cap acity for three
years . He was succeeded in the fall of 1961 by Dean
Lansing School had a physical plant consisting of a
kindergarten ; 6 classrooms; a gymnasium, which was
also used as a lunch room; a kitchen ; administrative
offic es; lavatories; a locker room; staff workroom ; a
nurse's room ; boiler room; and several storage areas and
custodial spaces.
The Lansing School had an organization of parents
called "Lansing Community School Club" as far back as
September 21, 1938. The group was very active with
monthly meetings in the brick schoolhouse.
After joining the Austin Public School system, Lansing
School had an active P.T.A. Mrs. Everett Enright
was its first president.
In the mid-1970s enrollment jn School District #492
was declining. It became economically fe asible to close
several schools. Lansing's Elementary School was one of
those discontinued . The last session was in the spring of
1977. Students fr om this area are now bussed to Austin
The parents, pupils, and teachers of the Lansing area
have been proud of their school, and its role in the provision
for and promotion of sound educational .opportunities
fo r all the boys and girls living in the areas north and
west .of Austin.
(Much of the Lansing school history was written by
Dean Pacholl who was the school's principal in 1964.)
There were other Township School Districts :
School District #72-Jt. , Section 6 was located in the village
of Corning.
School District #122, Section 6 was organized in 1893.
The school was built the same year in Section 20.
School District #45, Section 29 was organized in 1858.
The first schoolhouse was built of logs by the neighbors .
The first session was taught the same year by Miss
Richardson during the summer . School was held in this
log house until 1868 when a fr ame house was built. Ella
J. Cook was the first teacher in this one.
The LansinR Cemetery was originally two acres in Section
11, Lansing Towns hip. It is on the south side of
County Road 2.
The Lansing Cemetery Association was fo rmed March
2, 1864 in Lansing. Twenty-five men were present. The
Lansing Cemetery
trustees chosen were: A. B. Vaughan, N. G. Perry, and
P. G. Lameroux. The price recorded fo r the purchase of
the property was $50.00.
At the first annual meeting in June, 1877 a committee
was appointed to draft a constitution and by-laws to
replace the old ones which had been lost. The price of the
lots was changed from $5.00 to $8.00. Sixteen lots were
free lots. There are 10 burials of unknown people on the
fr ee lots .
The present official cemetery record book was purchased
in 1903. All the old records were copied in this
book. The original minutes prior to 1903 are not available.
The oldest burial recorded is that of Mary Dutcher ,
who died in 1859. Gardner Mitchell, a veteran of the
War of 1812, died in 1861.
Dates in the records and on the tombstones indicate
the high mortality rate of infants at that time.
(Information Riven by Harold Cu mminRs, LansinR. MN. )
Cbapel at Oakwood Cemetery - BuUt In 1904
Oakwood Cemetery
Burial places were scattered in Austin's early history.
For example, when Chauncey Leverich was killed, he was
buried near his saloon/store. His remains were later
moved to Oakwood Cemetery .
Austin had a population of 400 before anyone made a
move for a cemetery. Several ladies met at the home of
Mrs. J. L. Davidson to discuss the need for a cemetery.
The men of the village were asked to buy land, and they
bought five acres ; the first part of Oakwood Cemetery.
The land cost $100 which was paid for by 20 men buying
lots at $5.00 each.
The Austin Cemetery Association was organized
March 15, 1862. On an August day in 1864, men of Austin
Village came with saws and axes . The women came
along to make dinner. They transformed a piece of land ,
overgrown with brush and timber, into a fitting burial
ground .
In 1894 the Cemetery Association purchased the Adler
farm adjoining the cemetery. Then they purchased the
Baudler Cemetery, which was on the north end of the
Baudler farm . Now three cemeteries, old Oakwood ,
Baudler, and Cedar merged their land to become Oakwood
On March 7, 1904 the trustees were authorized to erect
a chapel and a vault. The GAR owned lots in the cemetery. After obta.m .m g
new lots for burial purposes they used the old lots for a
soldiers' monument which was dedicated in 1906.
It is difficult to prove which is the oldest burial in Oakwood.
Tradition claims the first burial to be that of Katie
Clark who died of diptheria. Records of many early burials
are missing and markers have disappeared . Early
markers were made of a very soft stone or wooden crosses
were used. They did not stand the test of time.
Oakwood is the burial spot for many area pioneers .
One stone marks the burial spot of Claus L. Clausen who
died in 1892. Rev. Clausen was the founder of St. Olaf
Lutheran Church, Red Oak Grove Lutheran Church, Six
Mile Grove Lutheran Church, Little Cedar Lutheran
Church, Bear Breek Lutheran Church and many others .
There are approximately 10,000 burials in Oakwood
Cemetery now. The names on the stones gives one a sense
of history in the Austin area. They include: Crandell,
Truesdell , Basford, French, Hormel, Beiseker, Catherwood,
Peck, Mollisen, Allen, Baird , Schleuder, Baudler,
Mills, Davison, Padden, Galloway, Benton, Fenton ,
Woodson , Adler, Dutcher and many more.
Oakwood Cemetery is also the site of the "Hunter
Clark" cabin; the area's first dwelling.
The present officers of the Cemetery Association are:
Henry Oots, president; Sam Williams, vice president;
Lorraine Andree, secretary; Charles Christianson, treasurer;
and Richard C. Baudler and Dr: C. E. Schrafel .
City of Mapleview History
The village of Mapleview was incorporated in 1945 to
provide facilities for approximately 100 families. The
name derived from the row of hard maple trees on the
west side of the town.
Frank Bentzin, Martin Reed and C. H. McAlister
played a major role in the organizing. Elected officials of
the first council were Mayor C. H. McAlister, Councilmen
Andrew Esterby, Oscar Miller and Merton Day.
Walter Cooke was elected treasurer. The council appointed
Mrs. Christine Schueler as clerk .
Maplevlew through the maples
The council passed ordinances and set up a judiciary
branch with two justices of the peace, a police system
with a marshal and two constables and a volunteer fire
Citizens of the new village loaned money to the council
to pay bills and maintenance. Council members pitched
in to put up snow fences, plow snow, maintain streets
and many other jobs. They served without salaries. Residents
took up collections to purchase gravel for the
In 1 948, a tract of land north of the original plat was
purchased which is now the site of the liquor store, fire
station, water tower, pump house and equipment garages.
Construction of a municipal liquor store and water
and sewer systems were built from 1950 to 1 952 with a
total bonded debt of $150,000 all paid before due date.
In 1954, four acres bordering Murphy Creek was purchased,
and became Hillside Park. Also, that year
Charlie Suchomel donated a lot on Clinton Street to be
named Playland ; a play area for young children. Volunteers
cleared brush and prepared two ball diamonds at
Hillside Park. In 1979 a 35' x SO' shelter was built at Hillside
In 1958 a fire hall was built, and in 1 978 a fire truck
replaced the 1 939 International model.
In 1 959, the sewer lift station was renovated. Natural
gas was made available to residents in 1962. In 1971 ,
curb and gutter, along with storm sewer drains were constructed
in the southeast section of Mapleview.
In 1962, Mapleview officials invited all Mower County
city officials to a meeting which resulted in the organization
of the Mower County League of Municipalities.
In 1959, 1962 and 1963, civil defense drills were held
involving all citizens.
The m unicipal liq uor store busines was sold in 198 1 ,
with the city retaining building ownership.
A four-week park program is sponsored jointly by the
city and the Mapleview Women's Club each summer. A
Halloween parade and treats and a Christmas party with
Santa and treats are annual events. These two events are
sponsored by businesses with whom the city deals. In
1982, the first of a planned annual "Mapleview Days"
celebration was held with good crowds gathered to enjoy
games, food, prizes and seeing old friends.
There are 1 1/4 miles of streets . Over the years they
have been improved from mud to blacktop. The 1 980
census figure showed 253 residents and 106 housing
Since its original organization, the offices of clerk and
treasurer have been combined. The county court system
has replaced the justice of the peace function. State law
changed Mapleview's designation from "village" to
"city. "
Many city-wide events are held such as benefits for
families. There are get-to-gethers to honor long-time
employees and outstanding accomplishments of residents,
park dedications, bicentennial and holiday celebrations,
tree planting and social gatherings.
Mapleview Women's Club History
In 1 948, about 1 2 mothers of the village of Mapleview
met to form the Mapleview Women's Club. Their purpose
was and is to provide safe play areas and equipment
for all local children . They petitioned the city council for
parks and eventually two were designated.
Playland is a small park centrally located. The club
has had appropriate equipment installed there. Hillside
Park is a four-acre site where swings , teeter totters, slide,
a merry-go-round and fireplaces have been provided.
The club also co-sponsors an annual four-week
summer park program which is attended by most
children of the city. Daily craft and game activities are
enjoyed plus a watermelon feed and a public carnival.
The program is conducted by local young people.
To finance their goals the club has held many events,
such as card parties, ice cream and basket socials and
bake sales.
The club also cooperates with the many civic events in
by Marcella Wentzel
The first settlers in the Corning area came over 100
years ago. In 191 1 Corning had a post office, telephone
company, general store and a creamery.
A schoolhouse for District #720 was also located in the
The one remaining business in 1 984 is Corning Seed ,
Inc. The owners are Robert and Darrell Thoen. The
business is managed by Mark Thoen, a son of Robert.
There are seven residences in Corning.
Today when county citizens consider Ramsey they
think of a golf course, an eating place or a residential
suburb . It has not always been thus .
Ramsey was platted in 1 873. It was a junction of the
Southern Minnesota divisions ofthe Chicago, Milwaukee
& St. Paul Railroad . Stagecoaches ran between Ramsey
and Austin, and there were cafes for travelers while
changing trains .
Gregson's Mill was located on the Cedar River; a short
distance south of the junction. The mill's dam is still
there, and "The Old Mill , " a restaurant, serves meals
from the building where wheat was once converted into
Ramsey Golf Club, with an 1 8-hole course, lies north
of the old dam. The dam's mill stone is embedded in the
fireplace at the clubhouse.
Ramsey's elementary school is now a part of Austin's
School District #492.
There are many comfortable residences in the area of
Ramsey, but no stagecoaches.
Lewis to Lee Thompson
Lewis Thompson Farm In late 1800s
Lewis Thompson , also known as Lars Thorson, was
the first Norwegian settler. He emigrated from Gol, Hallingdal,
Norway in 1845, settling first in Rock County,
Thompson came to Lansing Township in 1856 and
pre-empted 160 acres in Section 7. He built a log cabin.
It was not totally secure. Sometimes when he returned in
an evening he found that Indians had stolen food.
Lewis married Aase Tollefson in August, 1857. They
were married by the pioneer Lutheran pastor, Rev. C. L.
Clausen. Aase had come from Ness, Hallingdal, Norway
in 1856.
In time the Thompson farm increased to 400 acres.
They had nine children. They lived on the farm until
1900 when they moved to Austin . Their son, Aaron, remained
on the farm .
Aaron Thompson married Rose Lien in 1902. She was
also born in Hallingdal , Norway. When steam threshing
came in, Aaron owned and operated a threshing rig for
20 years.
A five bedroom house was built in 1 924. Aaron and
Rose had seven children. Rose was twice president of the
Ladies' Aid at Red Oak Grove Lutheran Church .
In 1934 lightning struck the barn. It was destroyed,
and a number of cows, horses and chickens were lost.
The barn was rebuilt in 1 934.
Lee, the oldest of Aaron and Rose's children, stayed
on the farm. In 1 935 he married Harriet Roberts of Austin.
In 1943 Lee and Harriet purchased a farm near
Aaron and Rose left the farm and moved to Austin.
Lee and Harriet sold their Waltham place and returned
to the home place in Lansing Township at that time. In
1 964 they purchased the farm from their father.
Farm methods changed for Lee. In the 1950s their
father's steam thresher was replaced with a combine.
More land was tilled and other progressive changes were
During the 1976 American Bicentennial year, Lee and
Harriet received special recognition from Governor Wendell
Anderson for having the farm in continuous agricul- .
tural operation since 1856 .
Now the fields are leased out, but Lee and Harriet
Thompson still reside in their modernized farm home.
Highlights of their lives are visits from their two daughters
and their families . Karen is Mrs. David Henry,
Plymouth . They have two children. Mary is Mrs. Ronald
Magnuson, Arlington, Texas. They also have two children.
by Dianne A hrens
The township lies in the southeast corner of Mower
County. The Little Iowa River and its branches form the
major drainage system . The township was organized at a
meeting held at Daniel Caswell's May 1 1 , 1 858. The first
officers elected were: N . P. Todd, clerk; Charles Smith,
assessor; A. J. Porter, collector; George W. Bishop, Ziba
B. Daily and William B. Spencer, supervisors.
School District #7 9
School District No. 79
School District 79 had its first school in a house belonging
to Charles McNeaL It was located in Section 22.
The first school session was in 1 870. Later the district
purchased a log house and an acre of land belonging to
James Sample. This was used a short time until a frame
building was erected .
In the year 1 955 or '56 the school District 79 closed
and consolidated with the Le Roy School District. Elmer
Schutz, Norris Orke and Norman Orke served on the
board at the time of the closing.
Teachers who taught at this school in later years were
Mrs. Emma Staley, Mrs. Olga Tebay and Selma Orke.
Bethany Lutheran Church and Cemetery
The Bethany Lutheran congregation was formed in
1 862 with the formal organization of the congregation in
1 882. It then became an independent Norwegian Evangelical
Lutheran congregation, elected necessary officers
and extended a call to a pastor. The notice of the meeting
was signed by Lars Swenson, Peter 1. Engelsen, John T.
Watland and Ole Fuglesteen.
In 1 883 , Soren Engelsen donated ground located in
Section 1 1 to be used for cemetery. The area was called
"God's Acre," and in 1 916 it was increased by the purchase
of additional ground.
Because of declining membership a meeting was held
to incorporate the cemetery. The cemetery was officially
incorporated in 1950 with Silas Hotlestad as chairman.
Present officers are: Mrs. Jacobson, president; Harlan
Jacobson , secretary-treasurer; Enoch Sorenson, Norris
Orke and Peter Johnson.
Some of the earliest burials are: Hans Nelson (1879) ,
Carl John Nelson (1879) , J. B . Skifton (1882) , Niels
Reierson ( 1883) and Arthur S . Engelsen (1883) .
Sorenson Farm
The first owner of this Century Farm was Ananias Sorenson
who bought the 1 60 acres in Section 2 in 1 876 . The
second owner was his son S . A. Sorenson and his wife
Louise. There were seven children in the family:
Leonard, Ruben, Edna, Helen, Ruth, Enoch and
Enoch is the third generation Sorenson on the farm .
He and his wife, Marion, have three children: Stephen,
Samuel and Susan ; and eight grandchildren.
Old Village of Le Roy
The original village, the "Old Town" of Le Roy, is
located on the Little Iowa River, Section 28, Le Roy
Township . Isaac Van Houghton, a surveyor, was the first
to come to the Le Roy area in 1852. Van Houghton and
the group of men who accompanied him approved of the
land. They returned to Lansing, Iowa and told what a
good place it was for settlement.
The first actual settler in "Old Town" Le Roy was
Henry Edmonds . He erected a mill on the east bank of
the Little Iowa River i11 April, 1855.
In 1 856 Edmonds sold the mill and land to Daniel Caswell,
Marin L. Shook and Adoniran J. Palmer. Shook, in
turn, sold his interest to Lewis Mathews. These men surveyed
and platted the village of Le Roy on April 24, 1857.
Stores and homes soon began to take shape in the
community. New residents joined the original settlers
and the future seemed assured.
Then the coming of the railroad brought a new perspective.
The route was established two miles south of
the original Le Roy village. As a result, Orlando
McCraney, J. H. McAlvin and P. M. Glathart began to
lay out and plat a new area, which was at first called Le
Roy Station. Materials for buildings were ordered to be
shipped in. These preliminaries were being completed
when the first train of cars arrived on the first Sunday of
August, 1 867.

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Soon the commercial interests began to revolve
around Le Roy Station. Gradually the "Old Town"
became a defunct village.
Le Roy Village
The village grew following the surveying and platting
in September of 1 867. Buildings were quickly erected .
Some businesses and residences in "Old Town" were
moved buildings and all.
LeRoy Main Street - 1910
The "new" Le Roy was incorporated as a village in
February of 1876 . First officers were W. L. Henderson,
A. J . Porter and William Allen. The first meetings were
held on the upper floor of the hardware store. In 1895, a
city hall was erected. It included a jail, fire department
and council chambers. The installation of an electric
light plant in 1899 made it possible to light the city
Mayor A . E. Henslin set the wheels into motion to
install a sanitary sewer system under the entire village in
1918. By 1920 the $65,000 system was completed . A
good sidewalk system on Main Street was completed and
a Whiteway lighting system. A disagreement over the
placement of the lights was resolved by positioning them
on the boulevard.
A dedicated Le Roy citizen, Ole Rierson, left two bequests
to the village. One was to the library and the other
to establish a public park and rest rooms in the village.
In 1 932, the village acted upon his bequest and erected a
$ 1 1 ,000 block building on Main Street. With financial
help from the American Legion and the Fire Company
the building included a meeting room, fire hall, restrooms
and council rooms.
Main Street was paved in 1948 and many other streets
have been blacktopped . Major street improvements were
carried out in 1968, at a cost of $143,000.
The present Whiteway lighting systems has been
modernized to meet the needs of a growing community.
A new steel, elevated water tank was erected in 1 956.
In 1 966-67, a $38,000 federal grant aided in the construction
of a modern sewage treatment plant.
The city has two park areas for recreational purposes.
The City Park, on the south edge of Le Roy, has recently
undergone updating and remodeling. It offers a ball dia-
mond, picnic shelter and restrooms. The Baumback
Memorial Park, in northeastern Le Roy, was created in
1968 by Federal Land and Water Conservation Funds .
Its 2 . 9 acres are equipped with a ball field , swings, tennis
court and restrooms. Le Roy teenagers assisted with this
For many years a local constable and justice of the
peace enforced the law for the community. A lady constable,
Miss Anna Price, served from 1928 to 1932.
Presently the city is under the jurisdiction of county
police officers.
Fires have plagued the town of Le Roy since its early
beginnings . In 1869 a $17,000 fire nearly destroyed the
new city. Many uninsured merchants were forced out of
In 1872, a dropped lantern caused a fire which
destroyed the Williams Store and post office. Mr. Williams
and a nurse, Mrs. Lincoln, perished. Other buildings
were torn down to prevent the spread of the fire.
A cyclone in 1894 destroyed over half the businesses
and damaged many other businesses and homes. Two
were killed when the Opera House was leveled .
In 1920, the firefighters were plagued by temperatures
of -30 degrees when the "tow mill" burned . Other fire
disasters in Le Roy included the Le Roy Bowling Lanes in
1962, Martz Furniture and Sweet Shop in 1963 and the
Le Roy Library in 1965.
On August 10, 1945, a passenger train on the Milwaukee
Road derailed 2 miles west of the village. A heavy
rain the night before had caused a washout of the bridge
next to Highway 56. One person was killed and several
The polio epidemic of the 1940's was felt in Le Roy.
The school system delayed the start of school by two
weeks and the library destroyed books which were
returned from homes with polio infections .
First Baptist Church
The oldest organized church in Le Roy is the First
Baptist Church, officially started on September 27, 1857.
Earlier meetings were held at the log cabin of Henry
Edmund west of the "Old Town" in 1856. Rev. C. H .
Pearson was the pastor.
The Baptist Church moved with the town of Le Roy to
its present site in 1867. A stone building was erected in
1869 at a cost of $2,500. Previous to that they met at the
school and blacksmith shop in the new village.
The Sunday School was organized in 1 878, a baptistry
was completed in 1883, and the vestibule and bell were
added in 1885. The Women's Baptist Foreign Missionary
Circle began in 1890. Today, this group continues as the
Baptist Women's Society. The Young People's Christian
Endeavor was founded in 1892, and later became the
B . Y . P . U .
The cyclone of 1894 destroyed the church building and
parsonage. In 1897, the parsonage was rebuilt and construction
of the present church was started . The $6,500
church was dedicated on January 7, 1900. The full
amount was raised that very day.
The first Vacation Bible School was begun in 1 928 and
continues as a regular church project. In 198 1 , the fellowship
and Sunday School areas were remodeled .
Forty pastors have served the church since its beginning.
The present congregation numbers 50 active members.
First Presbyterian Church
First Presbyterian Church dedicated In 1960
The hall above the Allen Hardware Store in the new
village of Le Roy was the first home of the First Presbyterian
Church with the Rev. A . C. Ruliffson as pastor.
The Presbyterian and Methodist faiths worshipped together
until the 1870's, when the first Presbyterian
church was erected . It was dedicated in 187 1 . In 1895; an
addition, including Sunday school rooms, was added and
the manse built.
The "Mite Society, " an early forerunner of the Ladies
Guild , was organized at this time. Their first project was
the digging of the basement under the church in 1910.
This group is presently known as the Presbyterian
Women's Association .
In 1 9 1 9 the Presbyterian and Baptist Churches attempted
a merger. This project was dissolved after a trial
period .
A building committee was organized in 1953 and the
present structure was dedicated in 1960 with membership
at 286. The manse was built in 1 962 on the original
church ground .
Twenty-eight ministers and students have served the
Presbyterian Church .
leRoy Lutheran Church
Le Roy Lutheran Church
The Le Roy Lutheran Church was the first such congregation
in the Le Roy territory. It was organized on
March 5, 1867. It's first pastor, Rev. Tobias Larson ,
arrived in 1 868.
In 1 870, the congregation purchased the Old Stone
School in "Old Town" and used it for 19 years. The
question of where to locate a new church caused a rift in
the congregation and the church split in 1 890. The Le
Roy congregation built and dedicated its church within
the city limits in 1 894. The West Lutherans built 5 miles
west of Le Roy in 1891 .
The Ladies Aid was formed in the spring of 1888.
Through their efforts they installed a church bell in 191 1 .
The two churches were reunited in 1 920 under the pastorship
of Rev. Olaf Lin, but continued in separate buildings
. On May 29, 1950, the two congregations merged
with Rev. R. M. Christenson as pastor. The wood structure
in southwest Le Roy was found to be inadequate and
a vote to build a new church was carried on February 1 8 ,
1 952.
The ground breaking for the new building was held on
May 1, 1955, the cornerstone laid on August 7, 1955.
First services were held on May 27, 1 956 , and the church
dedicated June 17, 1 956. The Kasota stone building was
erected at a cost of 145,000. Over 7,000 hours of labor
were donated.
The Women's Mission Federation which met for the
first time in 1 919, became affiliated with the American
Lutheran Church Women in 1 960. Present membership
is 3 1 7.
A ramp and lift made the church more easily
accessible to handicapped persons in 1980.
St. Patrick's Catholic Church
The first Mass in Le Roy was celebrated in "Old
Town" at the home of John Meigs by Father John McDermott.
The congregation followed the town to its new
location and held their services at the home of Patrick
Ryan. In 1878, a frame church was built in southern Le
Roy, with Father Bernard Bauman serving as pastor.
A new stone building was erected on Highway 56 in
1 955. The building cost $40,000 with most of the work
done by parish members. Much of the interior was fur-
St. Patrick's Catholic Church
nished by a donation from former Le Roy resident,
Thomas Pangborn.
From its beginnings the church was a "missionary
church, " having no priest in residence. Mass was celebrated
on a regular basis by an area priest. The "missionary
priest" program ended in 1956 when Father
Elmer Kellen, the first resident priest, moved into a
frame house next to the new church. A stone rectory was
built on this spot in 1963. The interior of the church and
the fellowship hall were remodeled, with the work being
completed in 1980.
The Altar Society of St. Patrick's was organized
shortly after the completion of the first church. This
group of women has been responsible for many fund raising
activities. Meetings and dinners were held in the Odd
Fellows Hall in Le Roy in early days. The annual Mulligan
stew was first begun in 1955 and is a continuing
event. The ladies also sponsor food and clothing drives
for the needy in America and around the world .
Bethany Bible Church
Bethany Bible Church
The newest ofthe churches serving the town of Le Roy
is the Bethany Bible Church . Pastor George Bergland
and 15 members organized the church on January 15,
1958, at a meeting held in a farm home near Le Roy.
The first two and a half years the group met in the Odd
Fellows Hall on East Main in Le Roy. A building was
erected directly next door in 1960, with the first service
being held on the first Sunday in September of that year.
The building seats 150 people. It also has an office and
five Sunday school rooms. A home next door to the
church has recently been purchased for the pastor in residence.
Pastor Bergland served as pastor until Decem bel' of
Le Roy Library
In 1901 , a group of ladies, interested in expanding the
educational opportunities available, and feeling a need
for additional cultural influences , organized the Book
Club. The group, numbering 13, met on a regular basis
to purchase and pass along books . Each was to purchase
two books a year and these were to be passed along every
two weeks. At the end of the year they could be given to
others outside the- club.
Soon the supply of books and the number cif members
surpassed the space available in the members' homes. In
1908, the group under the leadership of Mrs. Hart, Mrs .
Porter and Mrs. Sprung; formed the Library Association.
They then began to raise funds for a permanent
The first library was in a building on Main Street, later
the location of John's Tire Shop. Members served as
librarians and the community was invited to share the
books available.
J. D. Palmer donated lots in northern Le Roy ViJIage
for a library site. Plans were drawn up and in 1914, the
city voted to assist the library project. A mass meeting
raised $5,000. With volunteer help, the building was
erected in 1915. The ladies held teas to pay off the
remaining $1 ,000 debt and presented the building to the
city on January 13, 1916.
The city began a levy for support ofthe library in 1921 .
The Library Association disbanded in 193 1 . The library
was open 7 days a week. The first librarian to serve was
Clara Silsbee. Miss Anna Price served as librarian from
1924 to 1967. Present librarian is Janice Soltau.
A fire in November of 1965 gutted the building and
destroyed over 5,000 books. The Le Roy Library Association
again was organized to restore the library. Through
efforts of many in the community, the library reopened
in the fall of 1966. It had 505 books on hand from the
original library and 600 on loan from the state.
The Le Roy Library joined the county library system in
1967 and the county bookmobile makes regular stops .
The library is governed by the Le Roy Library Board
under the direction of the Le Roy City Council .
Le Roy Cemetery Association
A meeting was called on March 13, 1863, to consider
the organization of a cemetery association . A committee
under the leadership of A. J. Palmer, Rev. T. P. Ropes
and William Gilson eventually established the association
. Land was purchased and cleared. Following adoption
of by-laws and electon of officers, the land was surveyed
and plots laid out.
The cemetery was readied by June of 1866. A new road
was laid out to the cemetery on the west edge of "Old
Town. " The group was dedicated to making a beautiful
final resting place for its loved ones.
The first trustees for the association were: Charles
Smith, William Graham, J . D. Cowels, S . P. Bacons,
T. P. Ropes, W. A. Gilson, J. M. Wycoff, Z. B. Daily
and Daniel Caswell.
The important position of secretary has been served by
J. M . Wycoff from 1863-1923, a 60-year term; Charles
Palmer, for one year; F. M. Meyer, 8 years from 1924 to
1932; Charles Daily, 33 years from 1932 to 1965; Merle
Lamon, 9 years from 1965 to 1974; and Beatrice Volkart,
from 1974 to the present.
During the past 120 years the association has annexed
additional lands to meet the needs of the community. It
is adjoined by the Le Roy Lutheran and the St. Patrick
Catholic Cemeteries . In 1969, a mausoleum was constructed
costing $2,500.
The Advent of the Horseless Carriage
As the horseless carriage became a regular sight on the
streets of Le Roy, the automobile repair shop also appeared.
Elmer Spencer erected the first in 1913. It
became a Ford dealership . Ownership passed on to Patton
and Young and eventually to the Regan Brothers.
A Chevrolet dealership and garage was erected in 1921
by Henry Wegerslev across from the Le Roy Hotel. This
was later purchased by Sevrin Hiller who added a line of
Plymouths as well . The Chevrolet dealership was later
purchased by Kenneth Johnson.
The first gasoline business for the horseless carriages
was a Shell station owned by V. A. Morrow, located next
to the hotel. Standard Oil arrived in 1 930 when N . J .
Northness built a station. He added a bulk oil delivery
service. J. P. Conton handled that end of the business.
The Diamond T oil station was built near the school in
1932, and operated under the management of G. E.
Co-op oil prod ucts were first sold in 1935 by Walt Bye
and D. G. Johnson, who also operated a cabinet shop. A
most modern and attractive station was built on the east
edge of Le Roy in 1935 by A. J . Madsen selling Phillips
66 gasoline.
These various dealerships and names in gasoline have
changed through the years . In 1982, there are only four
gasoline stations serving the community. Two are selfserve
only. One automobile dealership and one used car
dealer remain. The Chevrolet and Ford dealerships have
left the biggest marks on Le Roy.
Johnson Chevrolet
On June 9, 194 1 , Kenneth Johnson purchased the service
station-garage previously owned by Harry Wahl . It
was located on Main Street. Johnson operated the garage
and service station until 1949, at which time he erected
the present garage. He then received a Chevrolet franchise.
The new station was put up in 1 957, and is affiliated
with Standard Oil. A showroom to accommodate
new cars was added in 196 1 .
Johnson's son, Glen, joined his father i n the business
in 1957. He received his Chevrolet franchise in 1968.
Both continue in the business in 1 982.
Regan Motor Sales
W. E. and Leo Regan purchased the Ford dealership
and buildings from Patton and Young of Le Roy in 1926.
They continued in partnership until 1932 when W. E.
Regan was killed in a hunting accident. W . E. Regan's
sons, Donald and Robert, joined Leo in business. Later
his son William joined also. Bill continued with the business
after the other brothers moved on. Bill sold the
building and left in 1968. The Ford dealership was in
business in Le Roy for 41 years except for 13 months during
1942 and 1943, when the war caused a shortage of
cars and parts .
John's Tire Shop
John C . Moe, a lifelong Le Roy resident and veteran of
World War I, began a bulk oil dealership in 1922. In
1 924, he located his gas and oil business in a building on
the south side of Main Street. He served his customers at
this location until retirement in 1 974. Moe served as a
Firestone dealer for the area for 46 years , and as city
assessor for 35.
Hanson Tire Service
In the early 1950's, Donald Hanson, a lifelong Le Roy
resident, managed a service station on Highway 56 . He
added a recapping tire business and in 1 960 he became
affiliated with Goodyear Tires. A new Champlain station
and Goodyear store were built on the west edge of Le Roy
in 1968. Hanson established thirteen Goodyear stores in
southern Minnesota and northern Iowa before semiretiring
in 1982.
Farm Related Businesses
Agriculture has been the key business contributing to
the prosperity of the Le Roy community since early
times. As farming became more mechanized , a number
of machinery businesses were established . Among the
first implement dealers were Strothers and Conklin.
Throughout the years various implement dealers have
sold and serviced different makes of farm machinery.
Today only the Farmer's Co-op John Deere dealer serves
the area.
The first lumber dealers were Haytt and Burdick who
arrived from McGregor, Iowa in 1867. W . A . Coleman
opened the first yard in 1868. The Co-op today handles
Le Roy's lumber needs.
A large number of grain dealers have been in business
in Le Roy, the first being John W. Irrabee. Today, many
farm owned grain buyers compete with two local businessses.
LeRoy Creamery Association
A group of 51 members organized the Le Roy Creamery
Association in 191 1 . Business began on April 1 , in
the George Harden Creamery on the north edge of Le
Roy. The first officers for the organization were Fred
Palmerton, John Hale , John J. Palmer and Ole Rierson.
Directors were Jacob Hopp, Adolph Bhend and Richard
Nelson. The buttermaker was John Scott.
Buttermaking and the LeRoyal Brand Butter, continued
throughout the years until 1967. Buttermaking was
discontinued at that time with the retirement of Adolph
Sanderson. The association erected the present creamery
building in 1 924 at a cost of $30,000. New equipment
and coolers have been added since that time .
The Creamery Association entered the feed and seed
business in 1972. They began a fertilizer and chemical
service in 1 982 with the purchase of Kaiser Ag Chemicals.
The association has continued a steady growth . In
191 1 business amounted to $40,000, while in 1 982 it was
$8 million. There are currently 375 shareholders. Present
directors are Milo Roe, John Grass, Sr. , Michael Harrington,
Virgil Bergene, Fredrick Miller, Wm. McCloud
and Marvin Winkles.
Managers have included Henry Turner, Walter Beck,
John Lundering, Adolph Sanderson and presently Corliss
Jacobson .
Farmer's Coop Grain and Stock Company
A group of local businessmen and farmers came together
in 1 9 1 9 to buy and sell needed supplies and farm
produce on a cooperative basis. Stock valued at $10,000
was sold and the cooperative began on April 1 , 1919, in
Le Roy.
The first location for the business was the Palmer,
Burgess and Sons Lumber Company. In 1 925, the business
expanded to include the selling of coal and farm
machinery. The elevator business was added to the
co-op. S. V. Moen served as its first manager.
The lumberyard flourished with the community and is
presently located in the remodeled original Chevrolet
garage, once the location of the co-op implement business
Le Roy Independent
The L e R oy News was begun by a Mr. Hayes in 1870.
Renamed The Le Roy Independent the newspaper was
housed in a new two-story brick building in 1 908. The
present building was erected in 1 953.
The Chesebrough family, the longest running publishers,
of the paper, purchased the business in 1 91 7.
E. M . and Birdie continued as partners until 1 934, when
Mr. Chesebrough retired .
Birdie and their son Merril carried on until 1 968. At
that time the paper was sold to Carl Cassidy.
Mr. Haynes published the first paper by hand, setting
type letter by letter. The first typesetting machine was
purchased by the Chesebroughs in 1 930. Mr. Cassidy
started "off-set"printing and computerized photo typesetting
methods in 1 976.
Birdie served the community as a leader for many
years and was chosen Outstanding Senior Citizen of
Mower County in 1 969.
Merril Chesebrough worked in publishing and city
government. He has served as mayor and is presently the
city clerk.
The first school to serve the citizens of Le Roy was held
in the home of Miss Melissa Allen in 1856 in District 4.
In 1 857, Daniel Caswell opened a school in his home in
"Old Town."
A grout or stone building was erected that fall at the
present site of the Lutheran Cemetery. It was used for
public meetings as well.
When the community moved to the new town site, so
did the school. A two-story brick building was built at a
cost of $5,000 in 1868. One hundred and fifty students
attended the school from grade one and up. Dunbar
Leach headed the staff as principal. A definite course of
study was established in 1 869. To meet the ever increasing
enrollment, the school added extra rooms. The first
addition was in 1883, the second in 1892.
The first class graduated in 1892. Members of the
class were William Allen, Anna Kasson, Maude
McKnight, Henry Bishop and May Avery. School board
members included C. A. Roy, George Palmer, R. Hall ,
W. M. Walker, F. J. Young and Mrs. G. M . Alsdorf.
The school was serving all twelve grades and a larger
school was needed with a modern approach . A two-story
brick building was built at the present site of the high
school gymnasium .
Sports became a part of the curriculum in 1 903 with
the formation of a girls' basketball team and the first
Field Meet. Baseball came in 1 905 and football in 1909.
An addition was completed in 1912.
The school built an athletic field to the east of the
building in cooperation with the city. Lights were added
in 1 937. A $47,000 gymnasium-auditorium, and two
classrooms were constructed in 1 939.
In the winter of 1942, a hot lunch program was begun
and a lunchroom and kitchen were added in 1 947.
As the need for education beyond the eighth grade
became more apparent, four classrooms, a science laboratory
and a home economics laboratory were added to
the west of the gymnasium.
The largest increase and consolidation plan took place
in 1 956. Eighteen districts including the Ostrander Village
school combined with Le Roy.
This consolidation brought the school population to
281 elementary and 2 14 high school students. An expansion
of the school was necessary and a $525,000 bond
issue was authorized .
The construction produced a three-classroom elementary
school on a five-acre site at Ostrander. Also included
in the building is a library, offices, sick room, kitchen
and a 40 by 60 foot multipurpose room.
In Le Roy, a nine classroom elementary addition was
built directly behind the old school. The addition
included many auxiliary rooms. A new and larger gymnasium
was added on the site of the old school after it
was razed .
A supplementary bond issue in 1958 supplied the
funds for two elementary classrooms and other facilities .
Remodeling created a classroom, agriculture room and
industrial arts area.
The Le Roy-Ostrander schools have carried on a tradition
of scoring high in music and drama.
Although the school had to temporarily close the
Ostrander Elementary School because of declining enrollment,
future plans are to re-open it in the 1 984 or
1 985 school year. Voters passed a 6 mil levy in 1 981 to
insure future excellence in education.
American Legion
LeRoy Home Guard 1918
The Meighen-Thompson American Post No. 161 was
formed on November 6, 1919, by Archie Wells and
Elmer Roy. It was named for Thomas Meighen and Iver
A. Thompson who served and died in France in 1918.
There were forty-one charter members from the Le
Roy, Ostrander, and Chester, Iowa areas. Meetings were
held in a room over a local hardware store. The post was
incorporated in 1938. Of the members signing the incorporation
request, two still live in Le Roy; A. C. Buesing
and Elmer Morine.
The post has planted memorial trees in the South City
Park with markers in memory of local boys killed in
action. In 1929, a monument was erected at the Le Roy
cemetery with names engraved of local persons that have
lost their lives in their country's armed services.
The organization has placed markers on graves of servicemen,
remembered them with memorials, assisted
their families with gifts of food and money and helped
returning servicemen find employment. Many social
events such as Old Settlers parades have been organized
and sponsored by them.
The local Boy Scouts, the Junior Baseball League and
the School Safety Patrol have been sponsored by the
Legion. Memorial Day programs, in cooperation with
the Legion Auxiliary, have been an annual event.
The post meets in the Municipal Building which they
helped construct in 1932. The group won a National
Meritorious Service Citation in 1930. Its membership hit
a high of 81 members in 1 945.
American Legion Auxiliary
The American Legion Auxiliary Meighen-Thompson
Post, Unit 161, of Le Roy was organized in 1920 at the
home of Mrs. F. T. Young. The members gathered for
meetings at the Beehive, now the Sorenson Apartments ,
until receiving a charter on May 27, 1924. Meetings then
were held at the Legion Rooms and eventually the Le Roy
Municipal building.
Forty-eight charter members assisted in caring for the
disabled from World War I and for families and children
of the veterans .
The auxiliary has continued this work and in promoting
patriotism and love for America.
Fifty members are presently enrolled . Activities
include financial support of servicemen clubs, children's
homes, veterans hospitals and support of the Viet Nam
Memorial fund .
Patriotism motivates the auxiliary in their Memorial
Day programs, decoration of graves, support of citizenship
in school children and tribute to teachers during
National Education Week.
History Club
The History Club is one of the oldest organizations in
Le Roy. It was organized in 190 1 . It was at first named
the Social Cultural Club. In 1903 it became the History
The club was organized by twelve ladies as a study and
mutual improvement opportunity. One rule was that
there be no discussion of religion or politics.
During wartime, the club assisted the Red Cross in
rolling bandages and knitting. They, along with the Gar-
den Club, sponsored the Hambrecht Memorial Cabin at
Lake Louise State Park, with assistance from the State
Historical Society.
Sixteen members meet monthly. The yearly calendar
carries a specific subject for study.
Le Roy Garden Club
In 1 9 1 7, a group of ladies interested in home care for
the sick met at the Herb Lawson home in Beaver Center.
This group was formally organized by Miss Swenson, a
teacher in District 3 1 , as the Beaver Mothers Club .
The group included members from Mower County and
so adopted the name County Line Mother's Club . Not
wishing to exclude members who were not mothers, they
later changed the name again to County Line Progress
Mrs. Donald McGillivary, Sr. was the leader of a successful
project to promote gardening activities. On
December 20, 1938, the group adopted a constitution
and bylaws similar to those outlined in the Minnesota
Horticulturist. Thus the Le Roy Garden Club came into
being. The first flower show was held at the J. J. Johnson
Upon raising its membership from 1 8 to 70 in 1939,
the club was awarded a bronze cup by the state society. It
is now one of the traveling awards presented during the
flower show together with five other traveling trophies
which have been donated to the club .
In 1 952, the club voted to landscape and care for a triangular
plot of ground between Highway 56 and the Oak
Dale Road , in eastern Le Roy. It still maintains this plot.
The club has landscaped the area around the Le Roy
Library, and maintains a planter by the Municipal
Building on Main Street.
The Hambrecht Memorial Cabin at Lake Louise State
Park is a club project. Books of interest to gardeners are
presented to the Le Roy Library in memory of deceased
The club sponsored the first Farm to Market Days in
1974 and continued until 1977. They assisted with the
District Flower Show, "Panorama" from 1 962 until
1981 .
Monthly meetings include discussion of gardening and
houseplant subjects. The club numbers 24 members.
Le Roy Commercial Club
The Le Roy Commercial Club began as the Community
Club in 1 920 with a membership of 100 businessmen
and farmers.
One ofthe first projects of the organization was the reconstruction
of the dam at Lake Louise on the Upper
Iowa River in 1925 which had been flooded out in the
early 1900's. The town was threatened with loss of water
rights if a new dam was not constructed . The project was
partially funded by a pageant presented at the dam site.
Area residents portrayed the early Indian-Settler skirmishes.
Christmas drawing for money and merchandise, a
Community Christmas Tree and street decorations are
under club sponsorship . Old Settler Celebrations, cosponsored
by Chester, Iowa, are another of their annual
projects . The club was instrumental in the creation of
additional rental housing in 1 973 and the United Fund
in 1 975. A major project has been the community auctions,
started in 1951.
Western Day activities, in conjunction with the Le Roy
Saddle Club , brought thousands into Le Roy. Parades, a
rodeo featuring local entrants, and a professional rodeo
have highlighted the event.
The Commercial Club continues today with a reduced
More Organizations
The first members of the Monday Birthday Club were
limited to those living on one particular street in Le Roy.
The club extended its membership after an official meeting
on February 10, 1947.
The club is a social organization. Two of the original
members are still active, Mrs. Alice Rosenthal and Mrs .
Clara Osheim.
The Odd Fellows began meeting in the 1870's but later
disbanded in 1880. The group requested a new charter in
1892. Their meetings were held over the hardware store
until the opera house was built.
The group built their own meeting hall in 1921 at a
cost of $10,000. This building was the site of high school
basketball games, dances and meetings until a gym was
constructed at the school.
Crochet and other handiwork was the main idea of the
creation of the Crochet Club in 1912. Potluck suppers
including family members were also held several times
throughout the year.
The group meets on a monthly basis with a planned
type of informative entertainment. There are twelve
members and several associate members.
The Christmas Club was organized in June, 1913. Its
motto is, "Peace On Earth, Good Will to Men . " The
club sponsored a Christmas Club for the sick and needy
in the community.
At one time they had a Traveling Christmas Tree that
was carried by bobsled to different homes of the sick and
needy, caroling at the homes of shut-ins and decorating
the city tree.
Today, the 12 member group meets monthly for discussions
of current events and literary topics. They give
financial assistance to area service organizations .
The Social Literary Club was organized in 1904 to improve
its members in literary exercises and social activities
. There were twelve charter members.
The group joined the Federation of Women's Clubs in
1914, but later withdrew from this organization. The
group continues with sixteen active members and three
Three of the five charter members of the Pleasure Club
still reside in the Le Roy area; Mrs. Howard Martz, Mrs .
M. P. Morse and Mrs. Walter Beck. This club was
organized in 1920 as a social and study group.
The group makes financial donations to worthy causes
at Christmas time. It still continues its practice of combining
social pleasure and study.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars became locally organized
in Le Roy in 1982.
The Modern Woodman A corn Camp was established
3 5 1
in 1892. I t boasted a membership of 175 before becoming
defunct in the 1 930's. Recently, the Modern Woodmen
Corporation has become more active; sponsoring
many non-profit activities in Le Roy.
The Isaak Walton League began its activities in
December of 1 927. It assisted in acquiring the Mower
County Game Refuge areas, stocking of game fish in
Lake Louise and feeding of game during winter stress
The Le Roy Rod and Gun Club has continued these
works. A meeting building and trap shooting area is
owned and operated by the group east of Le Roy.
The Le Roy Senior Citizens Club was organized in
1974. Following a dinner meeting, the group voted to
meet twice monthly for dinner and a program.
Organizers were Rev. Martin Thompson, Rev. Don
Jernigan, Rev. Don Lundborg, M . W. Anderson, Einer
Jacobson, Mrs. Hoon and Mrs . Laura Johnson. First
program director for the group was Mrs . Leah Boulet.
Old Settlers Celebration
Beginning in the 1870's, Le Roy and its sister Iowa
town, Chester, began a rotating annual celebration. Both
towns originated in the 1860's. They shared a railroad
and many residential families. The celebrations were
held in Chester one year and Le Roy the next. They continued
annually into the 1950's.
The celebrations included such activities as a parade,
speakers , concerts by the Le Roy Cadet Band, dances,
stands and a carnival. The event was highlighted by the
ballgames between local teams, an Iowa-Minnesota tug
of war and street dances by famous bands. Costumes and
dresses from the early days were worn by the residents.
The Sunday finale was a picnic. Both communities
shared food and fun at such areas as Prentiss Park, east
of Le Roy, Wildwood Park and Oakdale Park.
Lake Louise State Park
Lake Louise State Park had its origin in a plot of land
homesteaded by Conrad Hambrecht on the north side of
the Upper Iowa River in Section 21 near the old village of
Le Roy.
Hambrecht set part of his farm aside for recreation in
the 1860's . This land bordered the river. Later, after a
dam was placed on the Upper Iowa River to provide
power for a mill, it sat on the shores of a small lake. This
parcel of land was deeded to the village of Le Roy with
the stipulation it be used as a park.
When the original earthen dam was washed away the
community rebuilt it. The lake was named Lake Louise
for Hambrecht's sister. Wildwood Park continued on as
one of the state's oldest continuous recreational sites.
The City of Le Roy maintained the park. An archway at
the entrance and the Japanese pagoda by the dam were
donated by Mrs . E. G. Thompson.
Expanding Wildwood Park into a state park called for
the creation of an association dedicated to that end. The
board of directors formed in December of 1962 included
Helen Buesing, Carl Smith, Gordon Tangen, Henry Larson,
Hagbarth Hawkins and M. E. Chesebrough . To
assist the financial support of the project, memberships
at $ 1 each were sold to 968 individuals and 3 1 organizations.
In 1963, the transfer of the property was completed
and in 1966 , the park became Lake Louise State Park by
an act of the legislature. It included 636. 22 acres of land
and 25 of water. Presently there are 1 , 168 acres in the
park. The Lake Louise State Park Association continues
to work in support of the park.
Several buildings from the original holdings are still in
existence. A picnic shelter built by the P.W.A. program
is a highlight of the swimming and picnic area. A barn
located near the ranger's residence dates back to the
early settlement.
In honor of the original gift of land to the area, the
summer home of Conrad Hambrecht is open to the public.
The "Cabin" contains relics that relate to early settlement,
collections donated by local people, and
antiques. Displays of the park's resources are also
housed here.
Lake Louise State Park is Minnesota's southernmost
state park.
Ie Roy Fire Department
Fires were common in the new village of Le Roy, as oil
and wood fires were the only source of heating, cooking
and lighting. In 1896, a group of citizens met in the back
of the Le Roy Hotel to discuss the organization of a
volunteer fire fighting force. Later that same year, the Le
Roy Volunteer Fire Department was incorporated .
The first fire chief was C. 1. Roy; A. S . Dahler served
as captain and George Boyd was chosen secretary/treasurer.
With community donated funds the group purchased
a hose and cart apparatus. This piece of equipment
continued in use for almost thirty years .
The volunteers were assisted in their work by the erection
of a water tower and the installation of a fire hydrant
system . City mains fed the hydrants throughout
the town .
A truck equipped with ladders, 1 ,000 feet of hose and
more up-to-date fire fighting tools was purchased in 1933
at a cost of $2,500. The fire department joined the city
and the American Legion Post in constructing the Municipal
Building on Main Street in Le Roy in 1932. This
became the home for the trucks and booster tanks owned
by the department.
The Le Roy Rural Fire Association was created in
1948. A truck for combating rural fires was purchased
and maintained along with the village one.
The rural and city fire departments are still volunteer
in make up. They are presently combined as the Minnesota-
Iowa Fire Association. They maintain two fire apparatus
equipped trucks and one water tanker vehicle,
housed in the rear addition to the original Municipal
Le Roy Post Office
Stages and pony express riders delivered the first mail
to the home of Daniel Caswell in "Old Town, " established
as a post office in 1853.
As the community moved to its new location, so did
the post office. Mail was distributed by John Williams in
a building owned by him . The train brought some mail to
the new town, but the stage was still the primary method
of delivery.
Two stage routes entered Le Roy in 1 870. One from
Rochester and continuing to Riceville, Iowa. The other
from Minneapolis via Austin. The post office was housed
in buildings owned by the postmasters and changed location
often. A tragic fire destroyed the post office and residents
of the building in 1872.
Three rural routes were established in 1 903 and combined
into two in 1934. These routes now serve the
Adams, Taopi and Ostrander rural areas as well as Le
The present post office building was constructed in
1969 at a cost of $39,000.
The Le Roy "Cadet" Band
J. F. Barnum and fourteen other mus1cally talented Le
Roy citizens joined in 1887 to organize the first Le Roy
Band. This group under different names, was part of the
community until the middle of the next century.
The membership of the band grew with its reputation.
Throughout the years many well known directors led the
group including Dr. J. L. Day. Under his leadership the
name was changed to the Le Roy Cadet Band . Later it
became known as the Le Roy Cornet Band .
The group increased in number to over twenty-five
members. At one time it was divided into two groups, the
Despard Orchestra and the Wells Orchestra.
Concerts and parades were on the agenda for the
group . They starred at local "Old Settlers" get-togethers,
at weekly local concerts and traveled to other towns for
special events.
Uniforms were provided through donations from local
citizens. During the dance band era of the twenties and
thirties , the band changed its style of music.
In 1934 the music teacher of the high school took on
the directorship duties and the members had their own
room in the new city hall . The band continued their performances
until the 1 950's.
First State Bank
The first bank in LeRoy was privately owned by the
Henderson family. Its demise came quickly. Spring Valley
financiers backed the next bank in Le Roy. In 1893,
this bank was purchased by a group of local residents
and given the name "The First State Bank of Le Roy . "
The bank was incorporated under Minnesota law.
Wentworth Hayes was selected as its first president
and M. T. Dunn the cashier. The bank operated out of a
general store on the main street in Le Roy. In 1914 the
bank had a $ 13,000 modern stone building designed and
built at its present location .
During the "banking holiday" of the 1 930s , the bank
was reorganized and continued in its service to the town
of Le Roy.
Several cashiers have served the bank in its ninety
years of existence. Most notable is Hagbarth Hawkins
who was employed at the bank for 60 years. He retired as
president of the bank in 1 96 1 . His son, Grant Hawkins,
now holds that position .
Computors now assist eight employees in serving the
First National Bank
!he First National Bank also had its beginnings as a
privately owned bank. In May of 1901, a group of prominent
citizens created the "Citizens Bank. " It operated
under this name until 1 904.
The bank was incorporated under the name of the
First National Bank. William Allen was selected the first
president and W. M. Frank served as cashier. The bank
was incorporated for $25,000.
The present bank was erected in 1915 at a cost of
$20,000. The material used in the building was eastern
granite, a rarity for its time in this area.
The bank survived the "banking holiday," and after a
sale of stock, continued serving the community. C . O.
Strom served as cashier and later as president from 1 929
until his retirement in the 1 950's. Russell Noble now
serves as president. He has five assistants.
The Mill
The first business to be established in Le Roy was a
saw mill on the banks of the Upper Iowa River at "Old
An earthen dam was constructed causing a fall of
water to be used for power to operate the mill. Henry
Edmonds erected the mill in 1854 but sold it in 1856 to
Daniel Caswell, M artin Shook and Adoniran Palmer.
In 1858, the mill changed hands and became a grist
mill, then ground wheat for flour and added cornmeal
and graham flour in 1914. In 1935, S. M. Vatne ground
livestock feeds.
From 1910 to 1 92 1 , the building served as a location
for the electric power plant.
The original mill stone is at the Hambrecht Memorial
Cabin, Lake Louise State Park.
The Le Roy Hotel
In 1857, Daniel Caswell erected the first Le Roy Hotel
in the "Old Town. " This was sold to the county for a
poorhouse and Mr. Caswell constructed a hotel in the
new Le Roy. Many historic events occurred in both busy
establishments. The meeting to organize Le Roy Township
was held in the first hotel in 1858.
In the new village, the hotel was a stopover place for
travelers and those hauling grain to Iowa's river ports .
The Sweet Hotel, the present Le Roy hotel, was erected
in 1898. It is three stories high constructed from sturdy
and durable brick. Several owners preceded the present
one, Mrs. Geneva Lowman.
The Le Roy Telephone Company
One of the first communities to establish a telephone
communication system in Mower County was the village
of Le Roy.
Dr. A. E. Henslin, had a need to speed up the availability
of his horse and cart in an emergency. In 1 900 he
had three wires strung connecting his hotel room, livery
barll. and office with phones in all three locations. The
need to expand the system became evident and a group
of local citizens joined together to further this effort. In
1903, the group incorporated and sold stock to cover
The first board of directors included Dr. Henslin,
Henry Hermes and Otto Maercklein. Lines were strung
to homes in the village and some rural areas. It no longer
was necessary to ride to town to fetch the doctor.
The business grew and exchanges were established in
Adams, Grand Meadow, Spring Valley and in the Iowa
towns of Riceville and McIntire. To provide long distance
service, the lines were extended to Austin to connect
with the Tri-State Company.
The first fire siren was located on the telephone office
building to alert the village to emergencies.
In 191 1 , the phone system, with 900 phones in service;
was sold to the Iowa Union Telephone Company.
Le Roy Electric Plant
Fires, caused by lighting buildings with oil lamps were
a constant concern to Le Roy citizens in the late 1800's .
In 1899 Daniel Boswell, a Le Roy pioneer, and A. S .
Dahler built the first plant to provide electric service to
the town. A Russell steam engine and generator were
used to generate the electricity.
Hours of electric service were from dusk to midnight.
Later, as the number of customers increased, service
from 4:30 a.m. to daylight was added. Service was continued
until noon one day a week as a courtesy to the
owners of the new electric powered washing machines.
A fire destroyed the original plant in 1910 and a new
power plant was built at the mill site in "Old Town" on
the Upper Iowa River. This plant utilized the water
power available there.
So?n. the electrical needs of the community outgrew
the hmlted supply that could be generated at the mill
site. The plant and distribution system were sold to
Northeastern Iowa Power. Interstate Power now handles
the electrical and natural gas needs of the community.
Le Roy Fibre Company
In 1912, the U . S . Linen Company constructed and
equipped a building in Le Roy for turning flax straw into
linen. Many farmers in the area produced flax, and the
railroad was available for transporting the linen to distant
distribution points .
The mill operated under patents held by J. W . Lappen
and G. W. W. Harden and employed 60 people. The
business closed in 1 913 as the result of a lack of flax due
to weather conditions.
The business reopened in 1929 after being remodeled
to handle a different type of flax. This product was used
by the American Insulating Company to produce flax
tow to be used in insulation and upholstery.
The decline in flax production again required the
plant to import the straw from the Red River Valley. Increased
costs led to the eventual closing of the local business.
Lime Processing
In the early 1 900's a lime processing business was established
by Fuller and Pay to dig and crush limestone.
Two kilns .were. built on the southeastern edge of Le Roy
for removing hme from the stone. At peak production
the kiln, under the supervision of O . E. Ellefson, produced
two hundred barrels a day. Twenty men were employed
there at this time. This kiln was closed shortly
after the depression.
In 1948 it was reopened by Bustad and Associates of
Austin. The quality of the rock declined and the kiln was
closed in the mid 1950's.
Eugene Hickock, a Minnesota pioneer, opened a lime
and rock crushing plant on the northern edge of Le Roy
in the year 1 926 . The plant continued in operation until
Mr. Hickock's recent retirement.
The Poultry Indnstry
Le Roy laid claim to the title of "Southern Minnesota's
Largest Poultry Center" for many decades beginning in
1899, when the Le Roy Packing Company came into
being. W. J . Eaton managed the first chicken and egg
business as a branch of a firm in Rochester. Misters
Brown and Madison purchased the business in 1 9 1 1 and
renamed it the Le Roy Produce Company.
A building, with more modern equipment and with an
egg cooling system, was erected in 1912 on West Main
Street. A. C. Buesing managed the business beginning in
1932 until its purchase by Goodrich and Sons.
R. M. Shakelford purchased an interest in the business
in the mid-1940's and served as manager during
that time. Egg grading, washing and packing became
more mechanized; and truck routes were established to
bring the eggs to the processing plants.
Upon the death of Shakelford in 195 1 , Kermit "Bud"
Halling became partner and manager of the Le Roy
operation. In November of 1959, the Mendelson Corporation
and Halling purchased the Goodrich interest in
the business. They purchased the Le Roy Packing Co. in
1960, and Halling continued in the business until his retirement
in 1 980.
The Le Roy egg processing business ended in 1980.
Royal Puritan-Boulet Hatchery-Le Roy Turkeys
Two chick hatcheries also helped to establish Le Roy
as a poultry center: Royal Puritan Poultry Farm and
Boulet Hatchery.
The Puritan Poultry Farm had its beginnings in 1917
on the Cy Thomson farm, which served as a white leghorn
hatchery. The hatchery was sold in 1 923 to a firm
hatching Plymouth Rocks . In 1924 it was destroyed by
fire. The hatchery was relocated to the southern edge of
Le Roy and came under the management of Joe Schneider
in 1933.
Two large incubators and feeding pens were installed
and production was increased to over 300,000 chicks
annually. The farm became internationally known and
shipped chicks to 47 states and to countries in Europe
and Asia.
Poultry shows were held in the Opera House in Le Roy
beginning in 1922. Entries came from all of the United
States, with the Le Roy hatcheries capturing many top
The Boulet Hatchery served the local area with fine
purebred chicks from its Main Street location until the
Another poultry business began operation in Le Roy in
1955 in the building originally owned by the Minnesota
Fiber Company. Le Roy Turkeys was owned and operated
by A. M. Wells and LaVern Hansen. Turkeys from
chicks to table ready, were raised and shipped to market.
In 1969, 10,000 turkeys were produced. The business
continued until the early 1 970's.
Le Roy Products Corporation
The Le Roy Products Corporation was founded under
the name, Le Roy Lures, by Donald Bothum in 1 956. It
was a lure production business for Herter's Incorporated
of Waseca, Minnesota. Several employees put the lures
together in their homes and Bothum transacted the business.
Later the operation was moved to a central location
Paul Bothum joined his brother in the business in
1958. As the business expanded into many areas it
became known as Le Roy Products Corporation in 1 96 1 .
To consolidate and increase the work force, the
brothers purchased a building on West Main Street and
set up business there. The plastic coating extension of
the business was moved to the Regan Motors building in
1968. The number of employees reached 60. The third
plant was opened in 1 980 in the Mendelson and Halling
Brownlow's Red Owl
In 1933, Bernard Brownlow and his brother-in-law,
Bert Sours, leased the Big Cash General Store from the
retiring owner A. G. Larson. At that time competition in
town consisted of six other groceries and a meat market.
The new owners remodeled the building and added new
furnishings. The business met with problems when the
"Bank Holiday" dealt them a blow. Sours went on the
road for Red Owl, and Brownlow remained to manage
the Le Roy Food Shop.
Sours returned to the business and in 1940 they were
granted the Red Owl franchise. Brownlow purchased full
ownership from Sours in 1959 and his son, Robert,
joined the business .
The Red Owl was one of the first in the area to go to
100 percent self-service. The Roy Hardware building
next door was purchased in 196 1 . After extensive remodeling
and modernization the area of the store was
doubled. Another remodeling project in 1968 left the
building as it is today.
Robert Bownlow purchased the store in 1970 and Bernard
continues as a manager.
Martz Furniture
The oldest continuous business in Le Roy is Martz
Furniture. Jesse Martz arrived in the new community in
1869. He began selling a line of fine furniture to the
newly arriving residents.
Martz received unfinished furniture and varnished,
painted and padded the pieces to meet the desires of his
Jesse passed the business on to his son Samuel in 1 887.
Samuel continued the Martz tradition into the new century.
The name of the store was changed from Martz and
Sons to Martz Brothers Furniture in 1910 when purchased
by Samuel's sons, Howard and Wilbur.
The business was moved to its present location on the
south side of Main Street in 1928. Laverne Martz, the
son of Howard, joined the business in the 1930's. Wilbur
had been elected to serve the area as a representative at
that time.
In 1 934, Laverne purchased the business and it
became known as Martz Furniture. Laverne and his wife
Barbara are the present owners. Their daughter Roberta
and son-in-law, Leonard Edwards are scheduled to be
future owners.
A disastrous fire in 1963 destroyed the store and other
businesses in the block. A new building provided the
business with 20,000 square feet of selling area.
The front of the store was remodeled in 1968 to give
Martz Furniture its distinctively modern look.
The Martz family operated a funeral business in conjunction
with the furniture business. Douglas Hutchins,
a mortician employed by Martz since 1953, purchased
the business in 1 967. The name Hutchins Funeral Home
was then adopted. Laverne Martz still assists with
George Stiles served Le Roy as a barber from 1 925
until retiring in 1975. Gorden Tangen worked with
Stiles, later purchasing the business, and continues barbering
on a part-time basis.
Former Businessmen
Prominent names from the past associated with business
in Le Roy include: Orlando McCraney, J. W. Hill,
W. Hayes, W. A. Gilson , D . C. Corbitt, J. D . Allen , E.
F. McKee, Foster Roy, Frisbee and Son, J . M. Larrabee
and Clarence, Francis and Melvin Meyers.
by Dianne Ahrens
Lyle Township is located in the southwest corner of
Mower County. It is rich farm land originally barren of
timber except along the Red Cedar River.
The first settler was J. D. Woodbury who claimed a
tract of land along the Red Cedar River and built a log
cabin in Section 33 in 1853. He sold his claim to Benjamin
Coe in June of 1855, and moved to Olmsted County.
The first permanent settlement in the township was in
1854 by Orlando Wilder and William Bean who took
claim to land in Section 33. Others that came at the same
time were Eben Merry who settled in Section 4 and James
Foster and his son Return who pre-empted land in Sections
3 and 4. John Tift, also a settler in 1854, claimed
land in Sections 4, 5 and 9 and laid out the village of
Lyle was organized as a township in 1858. The township
and later the village was named for Robert Lyle, a
native of Ohio. He came to the area in November of 1856
became judge of probate and was later elected representative
to the state legislature from the district. He stayed
until 1868 when he moved to Missouri.
Excelsior School, District #12
The Excelsior School was first taught by the Rev. Samuel
Loomis in a log house in Section 3. The year was
1859. Not long after this , a school house was built
through the efforts of the people in the district. James
Foster furnished poplar logs for the body of the house. C.
H. Huntington gave burr oak logs for the foundation.
The men of the district cut down the trees and raised and
roofed the building. A carpenter was then hired to complete
the school and make the benches.
Charley Aultfather gives this vivid description of the
inside of the old log school . It is taken from the souvenir
booklet, 1859- 1959, put out by pupils , teacher and
people of the district.
"On the north and south sides of the room were
shelves about three feet from the floor. A narrow straight
shelf was under these shelves where books, slates and
pencils were keRt. Long benches without backs faced
them. A row of rower benches were behind these for the
little boys and girls . The big boys sat on one side of the
room and the girls on the other. A stove stood in the
middle of the room . Logs were used for fuel. When the
children recited they stood in a straight line in front of
the teacher's desk . The Wilson and Monroe Readers, the
National Speller and The Copy Book were used . The
teacher had a hickory stick but never had to use it. "
The log schoolhouse served District 12 for 20 years .
After this a new schoolhouse was erected on the old site
in 1880. Mariah Gregg finished her summer term in the
new school . Al Hickock taught the following term.
This schoolhouse from District 12 has been moved to
the Mower County Fairgrounds and takes its place in the
Mower County Historical Center as a symbol of all the
many rural schools of Mower County which are no more.
Woodbury School, District #13
The Woodbury School was the first school in Lyle
Township. The school was taught the summer of 1856 by
Maria Vaughan in the Pinkerton log house, Section 32.
Zillah Beach later taught in Lorenzo Moshier's house on
the northwest quarter of Section 29. Thomas Parker was
an early teacher as was Samuel Loomis. They taught in
the Samuel Surface house.
In 1860, the district purchased a frame building in
Otranto and moved it to Section 23. T. J. Locke, C. R.
Houston, Erwin Lyle and Dora CIappsaddle were early
teachers in this building which was used until 1874 . In
that year another schoolhouse was built in Section 32.
Anna McCune was the first teacher. In 1908, this building
burned and was replaced by a modern frame building
on the same site. Dora Drews was the first teacher there.
District 13 board members in 1943 were: Harry Lenz,
Mrs. T. S. Johnson and V. H. Barnes.
Silver Maple School, District #14
The Silver Maple School had its first classes in a log
house in Section 5, formerly owned by John Tift. School
continued there for four terms with Nellie Hawkins as
teacher. A frame building was erected in 1870 for the
school on the southeast corner of the southwest quarter
of Section 5. Teachers in this building were Amelia
Township 101 North Range 18 West of the 5th P. M.
Ra ilRoad _ :Sch o o l iitt Wa9 0 n Road = Ch u rcn l!t
Corp. L ine ........... __ JlolUie.:;
Creek Cern,. :t
Sch ool Dl."stricts )(J1JII1IJhmt,
Rural R outes
Houghton and Mrs. M . B . Slocum. This building was
later moved to the southeast quarter of Section 5 . The
school was located on the Monahan farm .
Mrs. D . Molde was the teacher in 1942. Board members
that year were: J. K. Magee, A. Campbell and Mrs.
N. Monahan.
SUver Maple School buUt In 1870
Minnercka School, District #15
The Minnercka School had as its first teacher,
Thomas Parker, who taught in a primitive log cabin
owned by Joseph Thompson in Section 27. In 1867 this
was replaced by a frame building in the northeast quarter
of Section 34. Miss Carpenter from Michigan was the
first teacher. Five years later this building was replaced
by a larger one and was taught by J. W. Weiser. It had to
be replaced after being destroyed by a cyclone. A frame
building was built on the same site.
Mrs. Eye was the teacher in 1942. The board members
that year were: C. Salisbury, N. Hanson and Emma Jordan.
Red Star School, District #54
The Red Star School was organized in 1867. The first
schoolhouse located in Section 12 was built of logs. Cynthia
Addinton of Stacyville, Iowa, was the first teacher.
Red Star School - District #54
In 188 1 , a good frame structure was built in Section 13.
Nina Bisit served as the first teacher in this schoolhouse.
This schoolhouse has been converted into a beautiful
home on Highway 218 south of Austin.
Lyle Center School, District #57
The Lyle Center School was organized in 1892. In the
fall of that year the schoolhouse was built in Section 15.
Araminta W. Heseman was the first teacher. It was
known as Lyle Center School, perhaps because of its central
location in the township. Some ofthe teachers in this
school were: Elizabeth Jensen Heydt, Gladys Swanson,
Frances Lunde and Bernice Rockney. During the latter's
term the board members were: Walter Denison, Carl
Haas and Frank Durst.
Geneva Pederson Johnson also taught in Lyle Center
School for two year - 1933 to 1935.
Ames School, District #70
The Ames School was organized in 1867. Emma Smith
taught the first school in a 12 by 16 foot frame house in
Section 19. In 1874, a larger building was erected on the
same site. In 1942, the teacher was Olga Hovda and the
school board members were: Lee Machacek, Olive Bonnallie
and Mrs. V. B. Hotson.
Ames School PupIls - 1934
District #70
Woodbury Church of Christ
The Woodbury Church of Christ was organized in
October, 1882, by the Rev. C. S . Baeulieu. The elders
were: D. Moshier and A. Howard; deacons: W. H. Martin
and W. Case; trustees: C. Butts, J. Moshier and
A. Howard , W. H. Martin also acted as clerk.
In May, 1884, a Sunday School was organized with
W. H. Martin as superintendent. Worship was in the
schoolhouse with Sunday meeting and sermons every
four weeks. Membership was 19.
Woodbury Cemetery
This cemetery in Section 33 was established by J. W.
Woodbury in 1855 and possibly earlier. He came to this
area in 1853 and settled on the banks of the Red Cedar
River. The Woodbury Creek and Woodbury School District
13 were named for him. Woodbury sold out in 1855
and moved to Olmsted County.
This was a public burial ground until June 8, 1883,
when articles of association were filed. Burials were
made on the east part of the center section. That portion
was not plotted , and no records of burials can be found .
Burials were made in 1856, as indicated by inscriptions
on monuments.
Some of the early records were destroyed by fire. There
are very little records of burials-only from the monuments
that were placed on the graves.
The entire east half of the center section and south section
have burials which were made before 1890. The Civil
War veterans are buried in this area. The first death, as
recorded in the early history of Lyle Township, was Margary
Bean, wife of Wm. Bean , who is buried within the
limits of the cemetery, but no marker can be found. The
next burial, according to the monuments, was a Mrs . A.
C. Chapin, wife of a Civil War veteran, on April 6 , 1856.
The third burial was Louis Ebbers, Sept. 6, 1856. Marjory
Hite's monument has the date inscription 1792-1856.
The first child born in Otranto Township, Iowa, in 1855
was Eloise Wilder, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Andrew
Jackson Wilder, and was buried in 1858 in Woodbury
The current cemetery association officers are: Roger
Campbell, president; LaVerne Tayler, vice president;
Katherine Howard, secretary; Eloise Foss, treasurer;
David Howard, auditor and actuary; Charles Adams,
Robert Griner, Carroll Howard, and William Bell as
directors ; Roberta and James Howard are caretakers.
The following towns were established and are associated
with the Woodbury Cemetery: 1855 - Old Otranto,
Iowa; 1856 - Austin, Minnesota; 1857 - Northwood ,
Iowa; 1869 - Otranto, Iowa; 1870 - Lyle, Minnesota;
1900 - London, Minnesota.
Woodbury Willing Workers
The Woodbury Willing Workers is the Ladies Auxiliary
to the Woodbury Cemetery Association. It was organized
June 24, 1909. Officers were elected as follows :
president, Mrs. W. E. Kilgore; vice president, Mrs . W.
D. Ames; secretary, Mrs. P. C. Wilder; treasurer, Mrs.
B . A. Bisbee.
The society activity at the cemetery was planting
flowers , shrubs, trees and maintaining flower urns . A
well was drilled and paid for by the society.
The society maintained records and collected annual
dues from lot owners until the re-associaton of the cemetery
in 1943. Then many of the lot owners paid the permanent
Troy City
Troy City was located on the Red Cedar River about
eight miles south of Austin. It was platted by John Tift
on March 24, 1857, in Sections 4 and 8 of Lyle Township.
Tift erected a sawmill there and at one time there
was also a hotel and gristmill.
The dam was washed out by a spring flood and with it
went the hopes that the settlement would grow into a
thriving town.
Cedar City
John Chandler, who was born in Milton, Canada,
came to Lyle Township in 1856 and took up a claim in
Section 4. He later waived his rights to the claim in favor
of Caleb Stock and John Phelps who erected a stone and
timber dam . They, along with T. N. Stone, built a sawmill
and gristmill at the site. Part of the claim was
platted for Cedar City.
The sawmill operated for nearly a year, but the gristmill
ground but one grist when the exceedingly wet rains
of 1858 washed out the dam and the mills . The dam and
the mills were never rebuilt. Hopes that the fine water
power site would enable Cedar City to rival Austin were
The memory of the settlement is kept alive by the
beautiful Cedar City Cemetery in Section 32 of Austin
Looking south on Main Street, Lyle - 1984
Lyle Canning Company started about 1912. Inscription reads: "A
busy day at the Canning Factory."
The Village of Lyle was platted June 18, 1870, by Selah
Chamberlain, D. C. Sheppard and Charles Mellrath .
The plat covered a little more than the northeast quarter
ofthe southwest q uarter of Section 36 of Lyle Township.
The first elected officials were: L. W. Sherman, mayor
and justice of the peace; John Trodler, O. H. Lucken and
J. H. McLaughlin, councilmen ; T. Irgens, treasurer;
John Taskerud , recorder; F. Knutson, constable and P.
McLaughlin, assessor.
In 1906, a two-story brick city hall was built at a cost
of $8,000. For many years the upper floor provided
space for meetings and entertainments , but fire safety
regulations forced the discontinuing of its use. The
second story was removed and the lower floor remained
for use as the city hall.
Volunteer Fire Department
The Lyle Volunter Fire Department was organized
October 2 1 , 1895 with Ed Stanly as chief and E. F. Wilson
as secretary.
Lyle Post Office
The Minnereka post office was established in Lyle on
May 5 , 1870, with W . Schellback as postmaster. On January
19, 187 1 , the name was changed to Lyle and Thowald
Irgens became the postmaster.
By 191 1 , it had become a third class post office occupying
a building by itself and doing an annual business
of $3, 300. Mail was received from and delivered to nine
incoming and outgoing trains a day.
The postmasters and their appointment dates are:
Patrick J. Collins, November 20, 1886; Olaus G. Myhre,
March 22, 1889; William Stanley, June 6, 1892; Frank
B. Losey, September 22, 1894; George Robertson,
December 10, 1895; his son, Burton J. Robertson, January
3, 1 903 ; Harvey Hildebrand, May 22, 1913; Charley
P. Fossey, June 1 7, 1930; Nels E. Fedson, August 6,
1935; Jay P. Mortensen, September 7, 1944; Orville 1.
Mortensen, Oct. 1 5, 1950; Darrell W. Matter, November
15, 1953; Orville J. Mortensen, December 8, 1 96 1 ; Laurence
L. Murphy, August 3, 1 962; Violet L. Howard,
September 7, 1 964.
Public School
Lyle Public School 1984
Lyle Village School District 90, formerly the eastern
part of the Minnereka School, District 15; was organized
in 1873. The first schoolhouse in Lyle Village was built
the same year in block 4, lots 1 1 and 1 2 ; a gift from the
owner. S . Anna McCune of Austin, was the first teacher.
In 1877, a large two-room school was built. This was
served until 1906 when a new $15,000 school was
constructed and the original buildings were sold.
In 1 957, the school was remodeled and enlarged in a
$530,000 building program. This was during the time of
the reorganization and redistricting of the area's schools .
The small rural schools were closed and their students
bussed to the more modern village and city schools.
Our Saviors Lutheran Church
On May 20, 1 9 1 1 , a meeting was held in the Lyle
council chambers to organize a Lutheran congregation in
the village. The Rev. N . N . Essor chaired the meeting
where a corporation was formed to build a church to be
called our Saviors Lutheran.
The building committee members were: Ed Bjork,
O. H. Dahl, William Swenson, K . O. Strand and Dr. P.
T. Torkelson.
The cornerstone was laid September 3, 191 1 . On
February 23, 1912, the members met with the
congregations from the Six Mile Grove and Mona
Churches to call a pastor to serve all three congregations.
The Rev. A . E. Moe was installed at Our Savior's Church
on April 20, 1913, and the church was dedicated June 22.
In January, 195 1 , the three congregations united to
form the Trinity Lutheran Parish. A Trinity Lutheran
Center was later established and a new parish parsonage
was built in 1957. In April, 1959, Our Savior's decided to
form a one-congregation parish. A vote had revealed a
desire not to unite as a single congregation with the other
two churches. Rev. Merland Johnson began serving the
congregation in September 1959, and was installed
January 1 7 , 1 960.
Our Savior's purchased the Six Mile Grove and Mona
congregations' shares in the parish center and
On November 7, 1 96 1 , eight and three quarters acres
in the north part of Lyle were purchased from the John
Hollerud estate. The building of a new church was begun
in April of 1966, and the first service was held February
19, 1967. The dedication was by Dr. Melford S .
Knutson, Southeastern Minnesota District President on
April 16, 1 967.
Our Savior's Lutheran Church has been served by
Pastors N . N. Essor, A. E. Moe, G. Storaasle,
C. S . Vang, O. M . Langehough, M. L. Hostager, T. G.
Torvik, Paul Boe, S . V . Gjervik, David Granskou,
S. O. Stenson, G. E. Rasmussen, E. G. Stolen, Merland
Johnson and Harold Luecke.
Queen of Peace Catholic Church
The Queen of Peace Catholic Church was organized as
a mission parish at the Lyle Village Hall May 19, 1946, by
the Rev. D. A. Cunningham of the Queen of Angels
parish , Austin .
The first service was held over Haakenson's Grocery in
the Autin Town Hall. They met there until December of
1946, when they purchased the building on the corner of
the Medical building. This had formerly been used at
various fimes as a millinery, a restaurant, a beauty shop
and a contractor's office and shop. The building was
remodeled, enlarged and converted into a church ready
for occupancy by December 8, 1946. It was dedicated
and blessed February 9, 1 947, by the Most Rev. Leo
Binz, D. D . , Coadjutor Bishop of Winona.
Members of the advisory committee elected in 1 946 at
the organizational meeting were: George Butts, Mrs . E.
Adams , Don Engel, Francis Murphy and Mrs. Henry
Land was purchased and the contract was let to build a
new church in December, 1964. Edward Novak of Austin
was the architect. The cost of the church, including a
large dining and social hall and a completely modern
kitchen was $75,783 . The first Mass was celebrated by
Msgr. Donald A. Cunningham November 14, 1 965; and
the formal dedication was May 22, 1966.
Pastors of the Queen of Peace parish since its
beginning have been: Msgr. Donald Cunningham, Rev.
Harold Gavin, Rev. John Tighe, Rev. Richard Engels ,
Rev. Robert Herman, Rev. Daniel Tierney and Rev.
Michael Hoeppner.
Bethel Alliance Church
The Methodist congregation in Lyle sold its church
building to the Halvor, Gunder, Knute and Charles
Volstad families in 1906 . It became known as the Lyle
Mission Church and was affiliated with the Scandinavian
Alliance. Knute Volstad served as the leader of the
congregation until his death in 192 1 .
The property was given to the Christian and
Missionary Alliance in 1937. The church was organized
as the Bethel Alliance Church by its first pastor, Rev.
Leslie Pippert, in February, 194 1 .
Other pastors that have served the congregation are:
Bernard S. King, Howard Root, Samuel Stoesz, R. S .
Yeats, Jerome Peterson, Wilbur Junker, M . H .
Overback, Richard Williams, David Ashley, Roy
Stenlund , L. W. Pippert, Paul Collins and Dennis
Many young people have gone from this church to
serve as pastors or missionaries in foreign countries and
to the Indians in the United States.
Congregational Church
The Congregational Church was organized as a union
of the Methodist Episcopal and Congregational bodies
and incorporated April 24, 1886.
Their church building was dedicated January 30,
1886, the sermon being given by the Rev. J. H. Marley,
state superintendent of the Home Missionary Society. A
parsonage was built in 1896. The first pastor was J. W.
The church had a Sunday School, Christian Endeavor
Society and a Ladies' Aid.
Smith/Barclay Farm
Edgar and Alida (Westervelt) Smith became owners of
the 80 acre farm in section 19 in 1858. Their daughter,
The Cliff ord Barclay Farm, In family since 1858
Anna, married William Bonnallie. They bought the
property in 1891 .
William A. Bonnallie, uncle of the present owner and
son of William and Anna, purchased the farm in 1938.
Six years later the present owners, Clifford and Clara
Barclay, took over this Century Farm.
Machacek Farm
Machacek Farm Home In 1919
Frank and Katerine Machacek bought the 70 acre
farm in section 19 in 1873 . It was passed down to his son
Frank and his wife, Antonette and then to his grandson ,
Lee and his wife, Pauline.
The fourth generation, Lee Machacek, Jr. and his wife
Marlene became the owners in 1 953. Their children are:
Mark, Sherry and Paul. Lee Jr. passed away in 1969 and
Marlene has since remarried Roger Halvorson.
Hansen Farm
Christian Hansen bought 80 acres in section 1 in 1880.
Four years later he went back to Harup , Denmark, and
married Anna Kristina Kaad. They immediately sailed
The Christian & Anne Hansen Wedding . 1884
for the United States to make their home in the small
house Christian had built. Christian Jr. and Fred were
born there.
In 189 1 , they bought the adjoining 80 acres in Austin
Township, section 36, where they built a larger house.
Three more children were born there: Emma, Ella and
In 1924, Albert bought the 80 acres in Lyle Township
from his father. Christian and Anna moved to Austin.
The same year Albert married Lorna MiIIer and they
moved into the Hansen family home . . Four children were
born to this union: Lawrence, Edward, Everett and
At Albert's death in 1967, Lawrence inherited the 80
acres that his grandfather had purchased in 1880.
Previously in 1957, Albert had given Lawrence two and a
half acres in the northeast corner of section 1 . There
Lawrence built a home and established a trucking and
excavating business.
His son, Lee, is in partnership with him and will soon
be moving into the house vacated by Lawrence and Dolly
in 1 982. Lee has two sons, Nathan and Joshua. Albert's
youngest son, Everett, and his two sons, Mark and
Corey, continue to work the land .
Aultfather/Goetsch Farm
The Century Farm presently owned by Harvey and
Maurine Goetsch in section 15 was purchased by her
grandfather, David AuItfather from a Mr. Dexter in
1875 for $ 1 ,400. There were nine children in David and
Pamelia AuItfather's family and each of them received a
160 acre farm .
Maurine (Aultfather) Goetsch
David C. AuItfather married Loretta Dietrich of
Malvern, Ohio. He gained title to the 160 acres in 1889
and built the present buildings in 1914 among oak trees
that are still standing. He was a breeder of pure blooded
livestock, Red Poll cattle and Percheron horses, which he
sold to many breeders.
David and Loretta had only one child , a daughter
Maurine. She married Harvey Goetsch and inherited full
title to the farm upon the death of her mother in 1 965.
Mrs. Goetsch taught high school English and social
studies in Mower County for 30 years. She is now retired
and active in the DAR and other organizations .
The first settler in Lodi Township was Almond Fryer
from New York who came to the area in 1855 and settled
on the banks of the Upper Iowa River in Section 14. His
first cabin was poles covered with wild hay and prairie
The survey name of the township was Lodi. When it
was organized in February, 1874, it was named Belleview,
as was the station established by the railroad company.
At the first annual meeting in March they voted to
restore the County Board name. The name Lodi, borne
by many other townships in other states, was derived
from a medieval city of Lombardy, Italy, made famous
by a victory won at the bridge of Lodi by Napoleon.
At the organization meeting, J. M. Paul was chosen
moderator; Thomas Kough, clerk; R. Billings, J. B .
Goddard and Thomas O'Harra, judges o f the election .
The first officers elected were: R. Billings, chairman;
J. B. Goddard and Knute Iverson, supervisors ; Thomas
Kough, clerk; A. Billings, treasurer; Thomas O'Harra
and J. M . Paul, justices of the peace; P. P. Cavanaugh
and Henry Thompson, constables .
The Taopi Farming Company was the title of a corporation
formed in 1875 that owned and farmed 5,200
acres of the best land in the state. A total of 4 ,000 acres
was under cultivation: 2,000 acres in tame grass and the
rest in corn and small grain. The village of Taopi was
located on the farm . The corporation went out of business
and the huge farm was divided into smaller tracts,
usually quarter section farms.
Taopi ViUage
Located on Section 9, the village derived its name from
the celebrated Indian chief, "Taopi," who befriended
the settlers at the time of the New Ulm massacre. It was
platted in 1875 by a corporation, made up chiefly of the
Taopi Farming Company, in the name of John W.
The first lot was purchased and the first house built by
James Paul . O. N . Olberg put in the first stock of general
merchandise and J. Martz located his furniture store
there prior to moving to Le Roy.
Taopi was the site of the largest steam flouring mill in
the southern part of the state. The mill was supplied with
eight run of burrs and had a capacity to grind 300 thousand
bushels of wheat a year. It was owned by the Taopi
MiII Co.
Presbyterian Church
A Presbyterian Church was started by elder E. Raymond
of Le Roy, Minnesota. He preached once every two
weeks. The first record of any church organization of
Taopi was dated Sept. 30, 1877. This meeting was held
in the home of Mr. L. D. Sargeant, who resided on Lot
13, Block 2 of the original town. Rev. E. Thompson was
The second meeting was to have been held Oct. 27,
1877 for the purpose of electing the officers for the "First
Presbyterian Church of Taopi. " Upon arriving they
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found Mr. Sargeant's room occupied so the meeting was
postponed two weeks.
Church officers were elected Nov. 1 1 , 1877, and on
Nov. 1 7th an incorporation meeting was held . Mr. L. D .
Sargeant provided the front room o f his home for the
purpose of worship for an annual rental fee of $75.00.
Jan. 5, 1 878, is the last record ofthe First Presbyterian
Church of Taopi.
The Congregational Church
On M ay 25, 1890, Rev. L. M . Price of Minneapolis
called a meeting for the purpose of organizing a church,
named - Taopi Congregational Church.
Dec. 8, 1890, the present church building was dedicated
by Rev. Atcheson. From this time on there were
several pastors and many changes in membership.
Records continue until Sept. 10, 1916. The Congregational
Church had existed for 26 years, 3 months.
The Community Church of Taopi
Seven year later on Sept. 8, 1923, E. A. Conover, a
student of Carleton College, organized a church and was
its acting pastor. The name of the new church was "The
Community Church of Taopi."
After 1 2 years and 3 months this church also ceased to
A missionary of the Sunday School Union, Rev. John
Larson called a meeting on Feb. 14, 1937, in an attempt
to keep the Sunday school and church functioning. Rev.
Bickell took over as pastor and reorganized the "Taopi
Community Church, " Jan. 14, 1939. Rev. Bickell served
as pastor until April 6, 1945. He was paid 50 cents a
week extra for doing the janitor work.
In 1 943 the church people adopted a new constitution
and name , "Community Gospel Mission, " which is affiliated
with the Northwest Covenant Mission . In 1 945 the
Sunday school, run by American Sunday School Union,
was relinquished to the Community Gospel Mission
Church . Several pastors filled in during the summer
months until Oct. 25, 1945 when Rev. Dawson took over
as pastor. He served until 1950. Several ministers took
over Sunday services until June 1952-1954, when Vern
Liuten accepted the pastor position. In 1951 the church
was moved off the old foundation and a basement dug.
The remodeling of the church was well underway.
Feb . 10, 1952 dedication services were held for the remodeled
church. The name was changed to "Community
Mission Covenant Church . " Rev. Sandburg came Aug.
8, 1954 and served until 1957. Rev. Nreen served from
July of 1 957 to April of 196 1 .
Rev. John Larson filled in a s pastor until April of 1962
when our present pastor, Carrol Main, took over the
ministry of the "Taopi Community Covenant Church, "
which is the present name.
Note: This church has been through many changes
and trying times; but, praise the Lord , it's still going.
by Jill Main. secretary
The Taopi Cemetery is located in Section 9 on the east
edge of the village of Taopi. Some of the early burials include:
Randall Billings, died 1877; Nina Campbell, died
1883 and William Hahn, died 1885.
Gilgenbach Farm
Located in Section 29, a 160 acre parcel of what is now
the 440 acre Gilgenbach farm, was homestead'ed in 1856.
It was purchased from the first owner by Peter Gilgenbach
in 1878. Ownership passed to his son John Gilgenbach
in 1919 and to his grandson Francis in 1954. His
great-grandson Kenneth Gilgenbach purchased the
property from his father in 1 980.
The GUgenbach Farm
Another part ofthe farm is a 160 acre parcel in Section
33 originally homesteaded in 1856 and purchased by
John Fasbender in 1877. A daughter, Mary, married
John i1genbach. A grandson of Mary and John, Kenneth
Gllgenbach, purchased the property from the John
Fasbender estate in 1974. Thus two parcels owned by
Kenneth's great-grandfathers was united under one
ownership. Also included in the farm is 120 acres which
have been in the Gilgenbach family for 93 years.
Kenneth and Barbara Gilgenbach's family consists of
three daughters and two sons. Jane (Mrs. AI Ste'intkamp)
lives in Adams Township; Mark is in Boerne,
Texas; Ron, Theresa and Karen are at home.
Nagele Farm
Jacob Nagele was born in Germany in 1855 and came
to America in 1880. He bought the 120 acre farm in Section
27 January 23, 1884. His son, Arthur G. Nagele, was
Jacob and Louise Nagele
Front: Martha and Arthur Nagele. Back, left to right: Amel, Roy,
Ernest and Earl Nagele
the second owner and his grandson Roy A. Nagele is the
third generation to own it.
The farm is known for its evergreen tree-lined lane.
Jacob Nagele made a specialty of raising black Angus
cattle, which the Nagele Brothers still carry on .
Marshall Township comprises congressional township
102 north, range 16 west. It is bounded by the townships
of Dexter on the north, Clayton on the east, Adams on
the south and Windom on the west. Originally it was a
fairly level prairie with a few small shallow lakes that
have now been drained.
The first settlement in the township was in the spring
of 1856 when Helge Errickson, a native of Norway,
settld on the west half of the southwest quarter of
SectIOn 36. In 1857, John Osmunsen, also a native of
Norway, came from Wisconsin and settled on the east
half of the southeast quarter of same section.
The township was first named "York" and before
organization was attached to Brooklyn (Windom) Township
for administrative purposes. In May, 1970, the
township was set off and ordered organized under the
name of Beach Township (probably for Rev. Alanson
Beach who was the chairman ofthe County Board at that
time) . Later the name was again changed to Marshall.
William Rainey M arshall was governor of Minnesota
from 1866 to 1870, and owned land in the township from
about 1868 to 1874 .
At a meeting o n June 6 , 1870, at the home of M. L.
Corbitt, the following officers were elected: supervisors,
W. L. Godard , chairman; W. M. Corbitt and Gilbert
Anderson; clerk, A. N. Converse; treasurer, A. M.
Converse; assessor, G. W. Corbitt; justices of the peace,
G. W. Corbitt, and Stark Peterson; constables, Henry
Stockwell and John O. Wold.
Roosevelt School, District #65
This district was organized in 1867 at a meeting at the
Roosevelt School - District # 6S
house of Ole Tolefson. Stark Peterson, Gilbert Anderson
and Thomas Knudson were members of the first school
board. The first term was taught by Rosella Bourgard in
the home of Helga Erickson.
The first schoolhouse was built in Section 35. In 1879,
it was moved to Section 25. Ida White was the first
teacher after it was moved to the last location.
In the school year of 1906-07, Dora Qualee was the
teacher. The school officers were O. O. Halvorson, director;
A. A. Huseby, clerk and O. A. Ulven, treasurer.
Fanny G. Gies was the county superintendent. There
were 34 pupils in all eight grades. The desks were double
and two pupils sat together. According to Mrs. Sylvia
Hanson's mother, who attended the school in 1898, they
went through the fifth reader and then kept repeating it.
Mrs. Hanson also started first grade in Roosevelt
School in 1915-16; the last year before the school closed.
Adelia Sampson was the teacher with school board
members: P. A. Anderson , clerk; C. J. Knutson, chairman
and S. A. Slindee, treasurer.
The school closed and consolidated with the Adams
School District and the pupils bussed. The school
building was moved to the Peter Anderson farm south of
Elkton and used as a farm building.
Riverside School, District #82
As was the practice in most of the early school districts,
because the parents were concerned with the education
of their children, they were taught in the homes.
So it was in School District #82. However almost
immediately after acquiring land in 1874 the scholhouse
was built.
The warranty deed from Levi Foss and wife Philamena
to School District #82 states that one-half acre was
acquired at the cost of $ 1 .00. The deed was signed in the
presenc: of A. G. Wedge and Ormanzo Allen, both early
settlers 1TI Mower County. The latter was a judge and
notary public.
Some of the teachers over the years were: Colista, Charles McBride, Catherine McBride, Mary
Colhns (1913-1914) and Madeline Leahy.
In 1920 this school was consolidated with District #25
in Rose Creek and Elkton Schools. The land reverted
back to the farm . The building was sold to Henry
Syckman. Mrs. Wilfred Murphy was the last teacher.
Township 102 North. Range 16 West of the 5th P. M.
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Corbitt School, District #103
District 103 was organized September 20, 1879 at a
meeting held at the house of Swen Anderson. The following
officers were elected; George W. Phillips, treasurer;
Willis M . Corbitt, clerk; Swen Anderson, director. A
schoolhouse was erected that fall which cost $1 ,000. The
first term of school was taught by George Emery in the
winter of 1879-1880. This building was located in Section
17 (on the Ronald Merten farm) .
In 191 1 , this school district was consolidated with the
Rose Creek School District. The building was used for
town and local meetings until it burned.
McKinley School, District #105
District lOS was organized in 1879 and a schoolhouse
erected at a cost of $300. The building was located on the
northwest corner of Section 34. The school was taught by
Annie Christopherson from Udolpho.
District #120
The district was organized in 1888 and the schoolhouse
was built that same fall. It was located in the
northeast corner of Section 9, south of the Max Pinke's
Hoflanda Swedish EvangeUcai Lutheran Church
HoOanda Swedish Lutheran Church
In the latter years of the 1870's several families had
arrived from Sweden to the Marshall Township area of
Mower County. There was a growing feeling for the need
of God's guidance and on March 2, 1883, a meeting was
held at the schoolhouse in District No. 103 (the Corbitt
School) for the purpose of organizing a Swedish Evangelical
Lutheran Church. Sven Anderson acted as clerk
as this meeting. Elected trustees were L. G. Anderson ,
August Larson and Andrew Peterson. Directors were
John Rolf, Peter Peterson and Andrew Benson. The local
name of Hoflanda was adopted for the church.
Ninety-eight families, companies and people of other
faiths subscribed for the building of the church. Twenty
families gave $1 .00 and the highest contribution was
Rev. Swan Anderson was the first pastor of the
congregation. He would come by train to Rose Creek or
Elkton and families would take turns keeping the Pastor
on Saturday and Sunday. Confirmation classes were held
in the summer months with a student pastor.
The congregation grew; many people have happy
memories of their Hoflanda days. The "Midsummer
Picnic" on June 24th was one of their happy memories .
As the older people passed away and the young people
left the community, the membership began to decline
and it became necessary to close the doors in 1937. The
few remaining families could not see their beloved
church and cemetery left unkept so they met with Rev.
Carl Anderson of Minneapolis in 1937 to organize the
Hoflanda Lutheran Cemetery Association. The annual
meeting is the first Saturday in May. Former members
and their children and grandchildren have responded
with yearly dues. Donations and fund drives have helped
erect a permanent fence; paint the church and establish
a trust fund so that the cemetery will have perpetual
The oldest stone in the cemetery is L. G. Anderson
(stone) son Leonard Gunnar d. 1883.
The Hoflanda Church and Cemetery are located 9
miles east of Austin, 2 miles south in Marshall
Township. The nearest town is Rose Creek.
St. John's Lutheran Church
St. John's Lutheran Church
The St. John's Lutheran Congregation was incorporated
in September, 1888, and a constitution accepted at a
meeting November 26. Prior to that time, services had
been conducted in schoolhouses and private homes by
pastors from Racine and Grand Meadow Townships and
from Toeterville, Iowa.
At the time the first church was built in 1887, in
Section 4. One and a half acres of land was purchased
from D. Hagen for the church and cemetery. Later, an
additional five acres was acquired when the parsonage
was built. There were but 1 7 members, but on the day
the church was dedicated it was free of debt.
The membership continued to grow, but it wasn't until
a parsonage was completed in August, 1 896, that a resident
pastor served the congregation. Before that, Rev.
H. Schultz lived in the parsonage at Racine. The parsonage
building committee consisted of Herman Moje,
John Dessler, Herman Kraft, John Jeck, Sr. , and D .
Twentytwo Pastors
Following Rev. H. Schultz's 15 years at St. John's, the
following pastors have served the church:
H. Weise . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191 1-1915
F. Fink . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1915-1918
R. Eilts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1918-1922
F. Sauerbrey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1922-1924
L. Drews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1926-1928
H. Milius . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1928- 1935
W. H. Hanselmann . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1935-1937
H. Reinke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 937- 1939
E. G. Gaede . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1939- 1940
E. Staehling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1940- 1941
E. G. Gaede . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1941-1953
B. E. Petrick . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 954-1 960
E. O . Kunz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 960-1965
F. Moberg . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 965-1 966
Jack Bredfeldt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 966-
In 1 958, the old parish house was torn down and a new
one built with volunteer labor and home-sawed lumber.
Dedication was held in September, 1 959. With the
increase in the congregation interest grew in the building
of a new church.
After receiving a memorial gift of $10,000, plans were
made in 1964 to proceed. It was built at a cost of $37,227
with the help of volunteer labor and dedicated July 23,
1967. In 1966, the old church was torn down and the
space used to enlarge the cemetery.
Elkton Village
Elkton Village, was platted in Section 1 , January 25,
1887, by W. E. Richardson and Frank A. Day. On January
2, 1 906, it was voted to incorporate the village and on
the 30th day of that month the following officers were
elected : president of the council, G. W. Eastman; councilmen,
H. Kraft, C. C. Hagen and W . F. Jordan;
recorder, O. J. Myhre (clerk of the election) ; treasurer,
Sam Swenson; justices of the peace, O. M . Woods and
H. Steingraber; constables, Fred Kraft and John
Schuett; assessor, W. Gildemeister.
Some of the early projects the council had were:
repairing the windmill, construction of a sidewalk on the
Elkton Main Street-1976
north side of Main Street in 1908, and donation of $25
for benefit of the Baseball Nine.
Electricity was brought into the village in the late 20's,
and the present water system was put in during 1946.
Curb and gutter and new streets were added in 1965.
The Elkton Booster Club
The Booster Club was organized in 1969. Its purpose is
to promote a friendly community and work for the
betterment of the town and surrounding area.
They sponsor a Fun Day celebration each year and
hold benefits to raise money and have bought Christmas
decorations, planted trees and purchased the city
greeting signs.
In 1 978, a builditJ,g was put up known as the Elkton
Community Center. This was made possible by
donations of money and labor from people in the area.
The burning of the mortgage was held in September,
1980. Total membership is 150.
Elkton School
Elkton school students and teacher-about 1917 or 1918
The Elkton Consolidated School District was organized
on January 30, 1917, when five districts voted to
unite. The first members of the board of education of
this newly formed district were: Henry Tysseling, president;
Fred Kraft, clerk; L. C. Carder, treasurer; S. T.
Bohn and Robert Keller, directors. Work on a building
was started in the spring of 1918 and completed late that
fall. Originally, five horse drawn buses transported the
pupils. Mr. Goetschell was the first superintendent.
The first high school class was graduated in 1 920. The
four members of this class were Herbert Anderson,
Arnold Anderson, Alfred Hanson and William Rogne.
In 1 952, a gymnasium, shop and home economics
room were added. The grade room addition and music
room were completed in 1958.
Superintendents through the years include Billings
Meredith, R. G. Hunter, R. R. Reeder, Joseph Hamre,
J. W. Perry, C. Heilig, J. E. Sutherland, Tom Andrews ,
Verdie Ellingson, Darwin Lochner and Ralph Martinsen.
Rose Creek, Adams and Elkton voted to combine their
schools in 1 970. Now elementary grades are at Rose
" Creek, the high school and kindergarten are at Adams,
and the middle school and Elkton elementary grades are
at Elkton.
Andrew Anderson Farm
Andrew R. Anderson was born in Norway, November
17, 1855. He came to America with his parents in 1868
and settled in Decorah, Iowa. In 1874, at the age of
nineteen, Andrew Anderson went to the Dakota Territory.
That year the area was stricken by a grasshopper
plague. Upon his return that same year he purchased
eighty acres of unimproved land in Section 25 of Marshall
In 1879 Anderson married Elizabeth Rasmusson,
daughter of Rasmuss Rasmusson. They had five children:
Robert A. Anderson, Emma Syninius Hanson,
Lewis Oscar, Andrew O. and Isabell Anderson Underdahl.
Although Andrew Anderson had never had formal
education, he began a program of self-study. When he
had obtained a teaching certificate, he taught in area
schools .
At the age of twenty-four, Robert, son of Andrew and
Elizabeth Anderson inherited 240 acres of land in
Section 25 and conducted general dairy farming. In 1903
he married Clara Olfson. Robert and Clara had five
children: Cora Elvina, Arnold Aden, Ruby Clarisse,
Norman Sylvester, and Lillian Frances. Norman Anderson
inherited the home place and lived there until his
death in 1984. In 1980, the farm was sold to his nephew,
Rodney Sprau, son of Lillian Anderson Sprau and
Kenneth A. Sprau.
Corbitt Farm
Welles M. Corbitt, son of M. L. and Mary Freeman
Corbitt, was born in June, 1846, in Steuben County, New
York. When Welles was 12 years old, the family
migrated to Olmsted County in Minnesota. After his
early education in the county school he attended one
term at a state normal school.
We1les Corbitt and Elizabeth Bacon of leRoy were
married Nov. 18, 1872. She was a daughter of the Honorable
S . Bacon, Mower County's first representative in the
Minnesota Legislature.
The newlywed couple moved on their farm in Section
16, Marshall Township, which Corbitt had purchased in
1868. They lived in a small house which he had built.
There was a straw shed for sheep, cattle; oxen and
horses. Corbitt then bought adjoining land , broke the
virgin prairie sod and planted wheat. In the 1880's rust
in the wheat caused crop failures, so he began to grow
flax, barley, oats and corn.
Welles and Elizabeth had four children: Lewis,
Arthur, Nellie and leRoy.
Mr. and Mrs. Corbitt moved to Austin about 1900.
Their sons, Lewis and Arthur, worked the land. Arthur
married Mary Whelan in 1902 and their daughter Alice
was born on the farm. They moved to western Montana
in 1908.
Lewis Corbitt bought 320 acres from his father in
1927. After 1935, the land was rented for a while to
Leonard and Lucille (Corbitt) Hanson. Leonard and
Lucille bought their own farm in 1 943 and moved.
In 1 972, Lewis Corbitt passed away and Leonard and
Lucille inherited the place. Their son, Luvern, now
works the land which is owned by he and his mother
Lucille since the death of Leonard in 1982.
Snortum Farm
This farm has been in the Snortum family for 108
years. It is now farmed by Nordeen and Arnold Snortum.
Knud Snortum came to the Adams area about 1874
along with his children Ole, Jul (John) and Marit.
They settled in Adams Township Section 2 now owned
by Earl Weness. Knud passed away in 1887 and was one
of the first burials in Marshall Lutheran Cemetery.
His son Jul purchased a parcel of land in Section 26 of
Marshall Township November 9, 1876. In 1879, he married
Betsy Knutson, who also came to America from
Norway. Her parents were Mr. and Mrs. Knute Arneson.
The Arnesons first settled in Wisconsin and later moved
to the Adams area. They lived in a dugout on the north
bank of the Little Cedar River where the Sacred Heart
Cemetery is now located.
Mr. and Mrs . John Snortum were the parents of the
following children: Marie, Carl and John Alvin. Carl
married Elsie Huntley in 1924 at Cresco, Iowa. She was
the daughter of Orrin and Emma Huntley of LeRoy.
Carl and Elsie had three children: Nordeen, Elaine,
and Arnold . Nordeen and Arnold have lived on the farm
since 1967.
Nevada Town Hall
Nevada is second from the west in the southern most
tier of Mower County townships. It is prime agricultural
land, quite level in the northern part and gently rolling in
the south.
The first man to make a claim in the township was
William Allen, a native of M assachusetts, in the southwest
quarter of Section 29 later known as the Six Mile
. N
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Sch oo2 Districts hmllnl,/1WdJ
Rural Routes
0 .11 L e e
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Grove . In 1854, he sold his claim to Gunder Halverson
and moved to Oregon.
The first permanent settlement was made by Thor
Olson also in Section 29. He was followed in the same
year by Ole , Andrew and Knud Anderson ; Martin Hanson;
Tron Richardson; Peter Martin; Aslak Oleson;
Hans Swanson and Ole Sampson.
They erected a mill in Section 31, close to a big rock. It
consisted of a Burr Oak stump hollowed out for the lower
stone, or buhrstone. For the upper stone they used a big
boulder on a spring pole.
The township was organized in May, 1858, at a meeting
at the home of P. A. Bailey. Its name was derived
from the Cal ifornia Sierra Nevada Mountains . In Spanish
it means "Snowy Range ." John W. Gregg and Gunder
Halverson were on the first board of supervisors and
P. A. Bailey was the first township clerk .
Nevada Village was platted in Section 2 by James Jarrard
. A mill was built but there are no entries on the title
record .
Six Mile Grove Church
Six Mile Grove congregation was permanently organized
November 19, 1859. It was one of the first Scandinavian
Lutheran Churches in Mower County. The first
business meeting was held under the "Big Elm Tree" on
the Trond Kleppo Richardson farm . Services continued
there for a time and later in the homes until the church
was built.
Work on construction of the Six Mile Grove Church
was commenced in 1867, but the building was not completed
until the fo llowing spring. The bricks were made
fr om soil in Section 27 known as the Ed Nelson Farm .
Ole Sampson laid the fo undation fo r the church. The
building committee was: the Rev . C. L. Clausen, Hans
O. Anderson, Ole Sampson and Gunder Knutson .
Six MUe Grove Lutheran Church was dedicated In 1868
Much of the history of the area is reflected in the Six
Mile Grove Cemetery. Many pioneer names may be
fo und on the tombstones which mark burials as long ago
at 1857. Many of the headstones were made of soft rock
fo und in the area. Erosion has almost obliterated some of
the lettering, but here and there can be fo und readable
stones fr om burial in 1857, 1861 -62-63 and on over the
years .
The first funeral in the congregation was that of Aslak
Knutskass in 1856 .
The cemetery, which was fo rmerly owned and controlled
by the congregation was turned over to the Six
Mile Grove Cemetery Association and incorporated on
March 10, 1913.
The ladies of the congregation have put on a dinner on
Memorial Day for many years. They also serve lunch
during the day to help pay fo r mowing the cemetery . The
association received a large donation from a World War
veteran and had a plaque made to honor all veterans
buried at the cemetery. The plaque, a gift from Mr. and
Mrs . Christ E. Olson, has places fo r 100 names. Each
name will be added as death occurs.
The present board members are: Russell Sampson,
president; Lavern Austinson , treasurer; Glen Aanonson,
secretary; Kenneth Meyer ; Lorimer Nelson and Virgil
Pinehurst, District #9
In 1857 the pupils living within the present limits of
District #9 attended a schooltaught by Osroe Peterson in
the home of Hans Swens on. School was taught in other
private houses until the winter of 1865-66, when a log
schoolhouse was built on the northeast corner of Section
31. The money was raised by subscription. Afterward a
tax was levied and the money refunded . Christina Obey
was the first teacher in this school . In 1882 a fr ame house
was built west of the old site . The land was acquired fr om
the Jorgenson farm on a 99 year lease .
The name "Pinehurst" was given this school by a
teacher, Dana Seivert, who thought the name was appropriate
because the schoolyard was surrounded by beautiful
pine trees. The enrollment many times in this school
reached 48. The older boys attended only after all field
work was completed . It was not uncommon for young
men up to 20 years old to attend school.
Some ofthe teachers who taught in District #9 through
the years were: Howard McTigre 1902, Dora Anderson
1903, Jessie Lane , Dora Pease, Mable Kuelntap, Gladys
Hagen, Lucille Levy, Dora Seivert, Florence Meyer ,
Nellie Thompson, Miss Rochford , Elsie Carlson, Doris
Gregs on , Marie Butts and Pearl Epland .
This school closed in the early 1940' s. Wayne Anderson
was hired to bus the students to Lyle School . Later
the district consolidated with Lyle. All school property
went to the Lyle District. These school board members
served the last term: Melvin Martins, Clarence Meyer
and Walter Eggen. '
Gregg School, District #10.
This school was first taught by Sarah Austin in 1858,
in a claim shanty belonging to Gregg and Austin. In
1860, a log house was erected for school purposes in the
southeast corner of Section 7. Deland Richardson was
Recess at Gregg School - District #10
the teacher. Later a frame building was erected on the
Pederson farm. S . Clow was the first teacher.
Nevada Center School, District #11
School sessions were held in many locations before the
permanent building in Section 28 was completed. The
first school in this district was held in a board shanty
owned by James Gerard , in Section 2 1 . The next term
was taught by Belinda Robinson in a claim shanty in Section
22. The first schoolhouse in the town and district
was built in 1858, in Section 28. Martin Hanson donated
one acre for school purposes. Later in 1871 a new building
was erected . The first teacher in this school was Nels
Kalkon. Maris Hegge taught this school in 1942-43.
Board members at this time were: Joy Lillegaard , Gilbert
Anderson and Casper Ashley.
District #56
In 1865, the first scboolhouse was erected in this district.
The building was located in the southwest corner of
Section 1 . The school term began the following year.
District #87
This district was organized in 1870. A schoolhouse was
erected the following year in the southeast quarter of
Section 23. Mary Gregg was the first teacher.
Liberty School, District #104
The district was organized in 1878 and a frame schoolhouse
erected in the same year, in Section 3. The first
teacher was Minda H. Ruland .
The last teacher was Mrs . C. Hoskins . Board members:
Arnold Enerson, Albert Anderson and Ray Reuter.
Anderson, Nelson, Reuter Farm
Andreas and Christina Anderson purchased land in
Section 28 just east of Six Mile Grove in 1854. Their son ,
Hans C. , married Rachel Richardson and they took over
the farm in 1877.
In 1886, Christina , daughter of Hans and Rachel, and
her husband Edward O . Nelson became owners of the
1 95 acre farm in Section 28. Sometime during this period
, 1 19 acres across the road was added to the holdings .
, Ed Nelson passed away in 1 946 (Christina preceded
37 1
him in death in 1944) . Their son , Alvin, and daughter,
Jeanette (Mrs. Raymond) Reuter, inherited the farm .
Today, Carlton and Ramona (Ransom) Reuter own
and operate the land. Carlton's mother, Jeanette, still
lives in the home on the original farm.
Ashley Farm
Hamlin and Alyce Ashley live on the 160 acre farm in
Section 20 that has been in the Ashley family for over 120
years. Knut Ashley and his wife Jorand bought the farm
in 1862.
In 1 890, Hans and Trine Ashley took over and ran the
farm until 1951 . Their son Hamlin and his wife Alyce
took over that year.
Hans Ashley Trine Ashley
Nelson Farm
A strip of government land in Section 3 1 was given to
Nels Olson in 1854. Olson later changed his last name to
Nelson. A house was built in 1868 and his son Martin
took over the farm the same year.
Newell and his wife Bellena bought the farm from the
estate of his father Martin Nelson in 1944. Today it is
operated by the fourth generation, Lorimer and Sandy
Nelson, who took over in 1 98 1 .
Ozri C . Brown Farm
In 1860 my grandparents, Ozri C . Brown , his wife
Nancy and baby son Harry came from New York State
and filed on 80 acres in Section 8, Nevada Township.
Around 1 870 he bought the south 80 which made 160
acres our homestead . Four more sons and two daughters
were born on this homestead . They were Colonel, born
in 186 1 , my father, Frank D . , born in 1863, Chester,
George, Grace and Alice.
My grandfather died in 1880 and my grandmother
stayed on the farm. She married Perry Reynolds in 1882.
They had a son, Harley, and a daughter, Mabel.
In 1897 our farm was purchased by my parents, Frank
and Mattie Lela Brown. I was born December 18, 1896 ,
south of the fairgrounds in Austin. When I was 9 months
old we moved out here. My older sister, Mildred , was
born in Austin and my younger sister, Alta, was born on
this farm.
In September, 192 1 , I left the farm and went to Scobey,
Montana. On February 14, 1925, I was married to
Marian Hanson. We ranched for five years. Three children
were born, Ozro Jr. , Carroll and Lela.
In February, 1930, I shipped in an emigrant car back to
Lyle. I began farming Dad's farm and bought it in 193 1 .
A son, Frank Duane, and a daughter, Dorothy, were
born here.
In 1952 my son, Ozro H . , bought an acre of land on
the northwest corner of the farm and built a house. In
1976 he and his wife, Mavis, bought 78 more acres of the
original homestead .
My wife and I have lived here for 52 years. This is
longer than any other couple. Altogether I have lived on
this farm for 76 years .
by Ozro F. Brown
Enerson Farm
The Enerson farm has been in the family since 1880.
The 240 acre farm is located in Section 9, Nevada Township
between Rose Creek and Lyle. The original owner
was Torbjorn (Tom) Enerson. The present owner is Jan,
a great-grandson.
Tom was born in 1854 in Rock Prairie, Wisconsin. In
1877 he married Annie Austinson. They moved to eighty
acres of the present farm in 1880. An additional 160
acres were acquired later. The original home and other
buildings are still being used.
Tom and Annie had eight children: Minnie, Alma,
Julia, Stena, Theodore, Nora, Arnold and John. It was
Arnold , born in 1896, who was to remain on the farm for
the next eighty-five years.
Arnold married Lyla Hofland in 1926. In 1941 they
purchased the homeplace after the death of his parents .
Arnold and Lyla had two children: Loy and Colleen. Loy
died in 1 956. Colleen Jahr now lives in Bloomington.
In 1981 Arnold and Lyla sold their "Century Farm" to
their grandson, Jan Enerson. Jan is the son of Loy.
Arnold and Lyla now live on an acreage near the farm .
After sixty years as an active farmer, Arnold returns frequently
to help out at the old homestead .
Chris Hanson Farm
Four generations have worked this land in Section 10,
Nevada Township. The original 160 acres was purchased
by Christian Hanson in 1883. Chris and his wife, Emma,
farmed until 1936 when the eldest of their children,
John, took over.
At present, the third generation, Kenneth and June,
are operating the farm in partnership with their son,
Kevin . Over the years additional land has been purchased
and the 240 acre farm raises feed grain and hogs .
Sondovslie - Helle Farm
Tarje Guttormson Sondovslie homesteaded the original
80 acres of this farm in 1 862. He was born and educated
in Norway and started teaching when he was 1 1
years old.
The family home was originally on Otter Creek. This
creek had a sand bottom there, so it was the main road to
Austin. Mr. Guttormson had a post office in his home
and traveled to Austin to get the mail for the area.
Ownership of the farm passed to his daughter Annie who
married Hans Turtedahl.
Alfred Turtedahl, son of Annie and Hans, took over
the farm upon the death of his father in 1 934. In 1948,
Lena, daughter of Annie, and her husband Ole Helle
bought the farm.
Ole Helle's son Hans and his wife Phyllis bought the
farm in 1 97 1 . It then comprised 1 85 acres. Since 1977
the original 80 acres plus some additional land has been
owned by Ole and Phyllis' son Jeff and his wife Kathryn.
Gregg/Murphy Farm
Papers signed by Abraham Lincoln May 2 1 , 1861 ,
granted ownership of 160 acres in Section 17 of Nevada
Township to John W. Gregg. Ownership passed to his
son Reuben D. Gregg and then to his grandson Richard
Gregg Murphy.
There was a small cemetery in the field but all the
graves except for two have been moved .
Richard Murphy has retired from farming and the
land is rented to his son Rick.
Olson/Haugland Farm
This 1 60 acre farm in Section 32 of Nevada Township
has been in the family since 1853 . The first owner was
Torses Olson who owned the property until 1898. His
daughter, Tone Oline, married Nels Haugland. The
farm was in their possession until 1 953.
The present owner is Rudolph Haugland, son of Nels
and Tone. Mr. Haugland is retired and living on the
One acre of the original farm was donated by Torses
Olson to the Six Mile Grove Church .
Ed Nelson Farm
The first owners of this farm in Section 34 of Nevada
Township was Richard and Liv Olson who purchased the
160 acres in 1856. Their daughter Emma married Henry
Thovson and together they bought the farm in 1919.
Lyla and Harriet, daughters of Emma and Henry, took
over the farm on the death of their parents. Harriet's
daughter, Lyla Prindle, bought part of it in 1965. The
remainder of the original farm is owned by Lyla Stoike.
Pleasant Valley is Town 104- 15, except the north tier
of sections, which with the like tier in Racine, were set off
from Mower to Olmsted County by the legislature of 1857,
no doubt to help Austin in the contest for county seat.
Judge Berry, then of Austin, was a member and procured
the act by calling up a petition of the year before. It was
named from Pleasant Valley, N.Y, by its earliest settler,
Sylvester Hills, who came with his son Byron in 1854 and
brought his family in 1855. John Rowley, Robert Reed,
and Russell Hoag came in 1857. Rowley kept hotel on the
Winona wheat route, and often took nearly $ 100 a day for
hotel bills.
The town was organized in 1858, and had the followk

... S F M p"llard
ac "" TKra rner 1 f. 2 f 2 1 715,
Fa , K &- Co.
Part of Township 104 North. Range 1 5 W'est of the 5th P. M.
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40 .
R,d/ Road .............. .scho o l JYay o n Road = Church Corp L ine ...- _ JiOILSl'.S
C,eeJ.- Cem. 1
Sch ool Distric.ts ,/J/hlnnmJ/"
Rura l Roule ..
o M e O w T W P
ing additional residents: David Wells, D . S . Ketchum,
R. C. Penny, A. H. Bogart, James Grogger , D. M.
Wells , and Andrew Howard. T. F. Wallace and the Hoppins
came in 1860. A. E. Peck, Luther S. Bates, W. L.
Stiles, W. J. Drake, A. W. Thornhill and A. J. Johnson
are among the prominent late settlers. There is a
German Lutheran Church on Section 12 and a good town
hall on Section 22.
From Mower Co. Transcript A nnual, 1892
Pleasant Valley Township
Rev. William Buchhop
Immanuel Lutheran Church
Immanuel Lutheran Church was organized in 1874 by
several German Lutheran families who had settled in the
Pleasant Valley area. Worship services were conducted
by pastors from neighboring congregations on a periodic
basis until 1882, when the first resident pastor, the Rev.
P. Rupprecht, was called .
The first church building was built in 1877 and was
two stories tall; the lower floor was a meeting place for
worship services and school, and the second story served
as an overnight dwelling for the visiting pastors . A resolution
to build a new church for the growing congregation
was adopted on January 22, 1896. Members of the
congregation did the excavation and the contract for
erecting the building was let for $ 1 , 950. The bell, weighing
about 1 , 500 pounds, was purchased for $250. The cornerstone
was laid on May 10, 1896, and dedication ceremonies
were held in autumn of that year.
The present parsonage was built in 1909 at a cost of
about $ 1 , 500, and in 1936 the church was raised and a full
basement was built underneath it. In 1 945, the members
of St. John's Lutheran Church of Sargeant asked that the
pastor of Immanuel be permitted to serve them also, and
since that time Immanuel and St. John's have been a
two-point parish.
The Immanuel Ladies Aid was organized January 25,
1923, and is the oldest auxiliary group within the congregation.
The church choir was organized in 1 970 under the leadership
of Mrs . Audrey Durhman, and has approximately
twenty members .
Rev. William Buchhop is the pastor . at Immanuel
Racine is in the northeast corner of Mower County.
The first settler in the township was also the first settler
in the county in 1852. The Jacob McQuillan family story
is told in the beginning section of this volume.
In April, 1853, Thomas Cory, a native of Massachusetts,
settled on the McQuillan place and entertained
travelers for two years .
Bear Creek cuts across the southeast corner of the
township .
Racine Township had a population of 483 in the 1980
census. The city of Racine's population was 285. The
Seventh Rib in Racine is one of the popular eating places
in Mower County.
The village of Hamilton was once located in Racine
Township ; half in Mower County and the other half in
Fillmore County. The story of this notorious village is
also told in the beginnin section of this book.
Hamilton area is now the home of families such as the
Chamberlains, Coopers and Skustads.
Salem Cemetery
"Salem's Church of the Evangelical Association of
North America was incorporated at a meeting held at the
Evangelical Church near Racine on November 13, 1873
and recorded in the Registrar of Deeds office on June 3,
The cemetery is located approximately two miles
southwest of Racine on a gravel road known as German
Road .
Scale lh inches fo one Mile
Ra ilRoad _ School h.
Wa 9 0n Road = Church .l!t
Co rp .Line t----4 .......... Jio lLSes
Creek . Ce m. :t
Sch ool Districts dml/lnJ/J/Jm/
Rural Routes
Part of Township 103 and 104 North. Range 14 West of the 5th P. M.
cu Prt n
The first burials were Little Frederick Henslin (d .
1865) , Ella Krause (d . 1869), Jane Henslin (d. 1872), and
Emilie Burkhardt (d . 1873) .
When the EUB Church united with the Methodist
Church, the cemetery was reincorporated as an independent
tax-exempt corporation. Annual meetings are held
in April-May. Current officers are: Marjorie Wolfgram,
Duane Koebke, Henry Mayer, Rolland Zimmerman and
Pauline Utzinger.
A D eserted Cemetery located in Section 23 contains
tombstones with the names of Buck, Churchill, Crane,
Edwards , Harper, Ripley and Robinson. The burials are
all early dates from 1859-1874.
St. John 's Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery is located in
Section 1 8 of Racine Township. The land was purchased
on April 6 , 1878 and the plat was filed on April 15, 1878.
The cemetery association was organized by early settlers
of a German church located a mile south of the
present cemetery. Writing on some ofthe old tombstones
is no longer readable. However, the earliest burial was
that of Mrs. G. Schroeder who died in 1876.
Chauncey Davis Evans
Howard Evans Farm
Raymond and Carolyn Evans
Tammy 11, Rory 6, Andy 2
The original 120 acres, of what is now the Evans farm ,
was bounty land granted to Aaron Smith, who was a private
in the Massachusetts militia in the War of 1812. The
patent rights, signed by President James Buchanan in
1859 were sold to Samuel Stuart. The farm , near Racine,
was then purchased by Chauncy Davis Evans who moved
from his home in Evans Mills , New York.
Chauncey Evans married Jane Gunning, who had emigrated
from England. They had seven children: Idella,
Bernard , Chauncey Reuben, Sadie, Elizabeth, Belle and
Chauncey Reuben Evans bought his father's farm for
$28 an acre in 1906. He and his wife, Agnes, had three
children. Roswell now lives in Green Valley, Arizona;
Frances Evans Carter lives in Stewartville, Minnesota;
and Howard bought his father's farm in 1 945.
Howard and his wife, Joy, have five children. They are
now retired to Stewartville, but still own the farm . The
farm is now rented by their son, Raymond.
Raymond married Carolyn Rud . They have three children:
Tammy, Rory and Andy.
Howard and Joy Evans' other children are: Eleanor
Zimmerman, St. Petersburg, Florida; Alice Hobbs ,
Plano, Texas; Edith Yessis, Escondido, California and
Mary Donot also of Escondido.
The Eppard Farm
This farm, now owned by Theodore and Esther
Eppard, is closely linked to Mower County's first settlers .
Philip M . and Lucinda Eppard purchased the farm in
186 1 from Walter and Catherine Booth . It is located in
Section 35, Racine Township. The purchase price for the
160 acres was $700.00.
Lucinda Eppard was a daughter of Jacob and Maria
McQuillan. She had been a member of the family group
which came by wagon to establish the first Mower
County land claim in 1852.
On September 12, 1 912 the farm was purchased by
George and Sarah Eppard. They represented the second
generation of family ownership.
On July 9, 1940 George's son , Theodore, received a
warranty deed for 80 acres of the farm . He received the
second 80 acres in 1947. Thus the original 1 60 acres continued
as one farm .
The first log house on the farm was destroyed by fire in
1865. Phillip Eppard then built a house which still
stands. This house and five acres of land has been sold .
Theodore and Esther Eppard are proud of their family
heritage in Mower County's early history.
by Bonnie Williams
During 1853 and 1854 the original land surveys of
Mower County were completed. This included Red Rock
Township. These surveys show the town of Brownsdale
was the dividing point between prairie on the east and
scattered woods and prairie on the west.
It was quite likely that the wooded sections were
logged sometime during the 1850's and 1860's. According
to the Mower County History, 191 1 , one of the first
buildings erected in Brownsdale was a steam sawmill
which was "Soon in running order, and furnished the
people for miles around with lumber to commence
building their homes. It was run for several years until
timber began to grow scarce . . . " Nearly all of the first
buildings in town were built of hardwood lumber cut in
this mill. It was mostly built of hardwood-oak, ash and
CJrfa of'
Scale IJi inches 0 one Mile
Township 103 North Range 17 West of the 5th P. M.
Ra ilRoad -+-+-+-+-:Scho o l
Wag on. Road = Ch u rch i:!t
Corp. L ine t---< .......... JiolLSes
Creek Ce m. i
Scn ool Districts )mmmmJ,
Rural. Routes
Now, the only wooded tracts in Red Rock Township
are found along the creek bottoms such as Roberts
Creek, Dobbins Creek, or those which serve as windbreaks
to the many farms that dot the countryside.
How Red Rock Township Got Its Name
In 1855 John L. Johnson brought his family from
Wisconsin to what is now section 4 of Red Rock Township.
They put up a sod shanty in a grove of trees which
had an enormous red rock in it. As a result, the grove
became known as Red Rock grove and at a later date the
whole township was named for this rock. This rock can
still be seen in section five in the S.E. corner of the land
owned by Craig Bauman.
Brownsdale's Early Merchants
Albert L. Sleeper was one of Brownsdale's most successful
pioneer industrialists. In his native Vermont, Mr.
Sleeper conceived the idea of a poison fly-paper. He
found that by dipping a paper in a arsenic and sugar
solution he had an excellent fly poison. He began to
manufacture this poison in Vermont. In 1862, he came
to Brownsdale and bought a house on the southwest
corner of Main and Johnson Streets.
In 1864 Mr. Sleeper sold his interest in a Vermont
drug company and brought his wife, one daughter and
four sons to Brownsdale. Soon Mr. Sleeper and sons
began manufacturing the poison flypaper in a small
frame building in the southeast part of the village.
The flypaper was made in the summer since it required
a lot of air circulation to dry the large sheets of paper
which had been hand-dipped in an arsenic solution. In
their use squares of the flypaper would be placed on a
plate and kept covered with water. The flies drank the
poisoned water and died. Each sheet was warranted to
kill one quart of flies.
The Sleeper business consisted of one building where
the paper was dipped, two long-drying sheds and a
building where the sheets were cut into small squares and
packed for distribution.
By 1 900 the Sleepers had built an extensive business ;
selling throughout the U . S . and beginning distribution
in China and Japan. It was about this time that competition
appeared in the form of sticky flypaper.
Albert Sleeper died in 1902. His son, Ozro, continued
to manage and distribute the product until 1923. At this
time the business was sold to a company in north St.
Paul, ending nearly 60 years of "Sleeper's Lightening-Fly
Poison" in Brownsdale.
In 1 8 70. Samuel Dundee. a native of Belfast, Ireland
came to Brownsdale with the intent of starting a linen
factory. That fall he bought land north of what is now the
George Madison and George Schroeder homes.
In the spring of 1872, Mr. Dundee formed a partnership
with Herman Gunz of Austin and Harvey E. Anderson
of Brownsdale. This partnership became the
"Brownsdale Bagging Co." A building was built with
limestone brought from Fountain, Minnesota, and
machinery brought from Belfast, Ireland.
The partners contracted with area farmers to raise flax
each year. For months little was talked of in Brownsdale,
but the Minnesota linen industry. Unfortunately, three
successive years of flax failures in Mower County, plus
the removal of the duty on foreign jute, brought about
the demise of the Brownsdale Bagging Company. In the
spring of 1875 the mill was sold and converted into a
flour mill until 1882, when the machinery was sold and
the building razed.
Benjamin F. Bacon was an early merchant of Brownsdale.
He started his business in 1865 in a frame building
on the northeast corner of Main and Mill Streets. He sold
dry goods, groceries, boots, shoes etc. On Dec. 24, 1872
The Brown Hotel on left and B. F. Bacon buDding on right. Taken
around 1900.
this building and most of the merchandise were
destroyed by fire. The following spring Mr. Bacon built a
"fine" brick building on the same site. Although Mr.
Bacon continued to use this building as a mercantile
until his death, it has been used for a wide variety of uses
since then, ranging from grocery, post office, recreation
center and off-sale liquor.
In 1 963 Kenneth Hitzemann removed the Bacon
building and built a gas station and parking lot. The
D & J Auto parking lot is now located on this site.
B. F. Bacon held a grudge against the Sleepers. He
was jealous of their large double store which gave him a
lot of competition. The Sleepers were involved not only in
the production of flypaper, but also had a store which
sold groceries and drugs. In the 1890s Mr. Bacon opened
his own poison flypaper manufacturer on the southwest
corner of Main and California Streets. This enterprise
turned out to be unsuccessful.
Brownsdale Boom Periods
As with most towns established in the 1800s , Brownsdale
had its ups and downs. Before 1 935, the village went
through three "boom periods. " The first boom occurred
between the years of 1855-1875 during Brownsdale's
formative years.
Browndale's founders had metropolitan aspirations
for their town. These hopes were dealt a blow when
Austin was given the county seat instead of Brownsdale.
There were three villages vying for the county seat,
Austin in the west, Brownsdale in the center, and Frankford
located in the eastern part of the county. The
citizens of Brownsdale presented a petition to have the
county seat located in Brownsdale, primarily due to its
central location within the county of Mower. In anticipation
that their city would be selected for county seat
honors, the city of Brownsdale changed its name to
Mower City. The Frankford area realized they could not
win and threw their support to Mower City. However,
according to reports of that time, some underhanded
dealings occurred through the "crooked ways of the men
of Austin. " On May 22, 1857, the legislature removed a
tier of six sections of the Frankford voting precinct into
Olmsted County. This gave Austin a majority of votes on
the June 1 election. Following the election, the name
Mower City was dropped and once again, the town
became known as Brownsdale.
Brownsdale had a financial basis in industry and withstood
the political disappointment. A few of the industries
of this period were Brownsdale's steam sawmill, a
boot and shoe manufacturer, and the Brownsdale
Bagging Company.
The second B rownsdale boom began with the advent
of the Southern Minnesota Railroad (SMRR) in the
1870s and continued into the early 1880s. With the
building of the railroad, residents were less inclined to
migrate from the village.
In approximately 1885 federal investigators began
conducting a soil survey of various areas in southern
Minnesota. According to the May 1 1 , 1935 A ustin
Herald. "When their report was published it was found
to include an analysis which said that the dirt in the
vicinity of Brownsdale was the blackest and richest of any
in the state if not in the entire nation. " This report was
widely circulated throughout the entire country, resulting
in an influx of soil conscious realtors. "Gangs of civil
engineers invaded the village outskirts. Farmers upon
the edges of the place found their fields staked out into
town lots overnight. Many salesmen followed the
surveyors chains. "
There was a n increase i n the towns popUlation at this
time, but most of the lot and block markers were merely
dividing points between radish beds and potato patches.
Eventually most of these new lots were seeded back into
oats and clover.
Brownsdale's third boom was the real estate rampage
which followed World War I . Brownsdale felt the effects
of this boom more than many of its surrounding communities
primarily due to the republication of the federal
soil survey of 1885. At times, when farm land prices were
increasing by as much as $50 an acre overnight, it was
no boom to have land speculators making matters even
Brownsdale Newspapers
The Brownsdale Journal started July 1 , 1884. The
paper was edited by Mrs. Rose Moore whose husband
was publishing a paper in Grand Meadow. This journal
was published for three months.
The next paper was started by Bert A. Johnson, the
sixteen year old son of Martin B . Johnson. Johnson
began by publishing the Browsdale Leaflet on August 6,
1890. He printed the paper in his home. In the spring of
1891, J. W. Buchard started the Brownsdale News. After
only three months of printing, he sold out to Bert
Johnson who then enlarged the Leaflet to nearly twice its
original size. Johnson moved his printing office to a
building north of the Brown's Hotel.
April 19, 1893, Johnson sold out to L. L. Quimby, who
published the Leaflet until May 17, 1907 at which time it
was discontinued.
In 1914 Bert Johnson returned and established the Six
Town News. Johnson was also publishing the Stewartville
Star. Two years later W . C. Aylesworth purchased The
Six Town News. May, 1923, 1. V. Barstow bought the
plant and published the paper until 1934. In 1934 the
SUbscription list was taken over by the Austin Daily
Brownsdale currently has The Bargain Counter which
serves the Brownsdale, Dexter, Elkton, Lansing, Rose
Creek, Sargeant and Waltham areas. It is published by
Bill Nason.
(Information is based on "A Brief History of Brownsdale"
which was first written by Forest Tanner)
Brownsdale Post Office
The Brownsdale Post Office was established in the fall
of 1856. John L. Johnson was its initial postmaster. His
home was his office. The mail was brought to Brownsdale
once a week on horseback. A stage route was
established and took over the delivery of the mail until
1870. Then the mail was delivered via the newly built
Southern Minnesota Railroad. In 1904 the rural route
system was established. In the 1950s a Star Mail Route
was established from Austin to LaCrosse which brought
mail both east and west every day.
Mr. Johnson was the postmaster until 1858 at which
time Henry W . Shook became postmaster for two years.
In 1859 and 1860, A. D . Brown was postmaster. Then
followed a succession of postmasters: R. C. Heath ; E. 1. Stimson; H . Tilton; A . Stevens; Stephen Ives; A. J.
Hunt; W . S . Woodward to 1897; Barstow, 1925-33;
Farnsworth, 1933-38; Breedlove 1938-41 ; Risius 1941-
45; Miss Lydia Parsley from 1945-70; Mrs. Emily Parsley
from 1970-80; and Mr. Leonard Buelt from 1 980 to the
The Brownsdale Post Office currently serves some 440
Brownsdale Fires and Fire Department
Brownsdale's early history was marked by disastrous
fires. This was not unusual in an era when the primary
fuels were wood, coal, kerosene and oil.
The first fire occurred in 1858 with the burning of the
two-year-old Brownsdale School. Then a new school
building was built, and in 1871 it also burned. This
schoolhouse was replaced by a third and larger two-story
building. On Saturday, August 12, 1899, Brownsdale's
third schoolhouse burned. The origin of the fire
remained a mystery and nothing was saved. Valuable
records of Brownsdale's past were lost in this fire.
Prior to the fire the people of the village had been
considering building a new school. This was a controversial
issue. After the fire the talk in Brownsdale was
that the fire was of incendiary origin. Each side charged
the other with the crime. After this fire two vacant
saloons were converted into classrooms while a new twostory,
four room schoolhouse was built.
When the school district was consolidated this
building was converted into an apartment building which
is now in use.
In February, 187 1 , two warehouses owned by Gun and
Anderson burned. December 24, 1872, the Ben Bacon
store on the N . E. corner of Mill and Main Street burned .
A fire on New Year's Eve of 1873 destroyed Mr.
Richard's harness shop and residence. On January 9,
1880 fire destroyed the Cargill and Van's elevator which
contained 35,000 bushels of grain. In 1884, fire
destroyed the Ralf Billiard Hall.
In the early 1 900s two disastrous fires raged through
the business district. The first occurred at 2 A . M . on
September 1 , 1900. Most of the businesses on the east
side of Mill Street were burned. The fire was discovered
by F. M . Watson's son, who said it started under the
steps of the "old Stimpson building." The Methodist
Church bell was rung in warning. No corks had been
provided for the acid cans for the chemical fire engine,
and they were useless after the first charge.
The fire spread east and south of the S .E. corner of
Main and Mill Streets. W. H. Lawrence's large dry goods
and furniture store, as well as his salt and flour warehouse
burned followed by the meat market. To the south
it consumed William Sleeper's warehouse and J. R.
Knox's barber shop. The C. L. Knos Jr. building also
The firefighters broke into the hardware store and
confiscated axes with which they tried to chop off the
barber shop at its bottom. With a hook and rope a dozen
or more men tried to drag the building into the street.
Unfortunately, one wall was almost entirely burned
before the men succeeded. The printing office and buildings
beyond were saved.
On the lighter side: B . F. Bacon had fresh baked
apples for breakfast the morning after the fire. They had
been well-roasted in his show window the night before.
Mrs. L. L. Quimby carried a box of type etc. , across the
street which required two men to carry back the next
morning. Ray Suffron, reporter and staff photographer,
never woke up.
The second major fire burned the business district on
the west side of Mill Street on October 30, 1 904. The fire
started in A. D. Brown's machine shop and spread to
four other shops, resulting in over $25,000 in lost
property. Among the buildings to burn were: Sleeper and
son; Thompson and Skogin. hardware; A. Rockwell,
building; A . E. Warren, groceries; A . D. Brown,
machine shop.
The village had no fire protection to speak of, at this
time. According to the History of the Mower County Fire
Departments, after a water system was installed, the
Brownsdale Fire Department consisted of several lengths
of hose on a reel mounted on two buggy wheels. In 1937
J. H. Risius and Harold Hartson took a Model "A" truck
chassis, mounted a 500-gallon tank on it, installed a
pump and added a couple of wooden ladders. This was
Brownsdale's first fire truck and was used until 1948.
In 1 945, Richard Tricker was appointed Fire Chief. A
twenty-man volunteer fire department was then organized.
In 1948, an International KB5 was purchased.
Brownsdale suffered another major fire on Jan. 28,
1949. This fire burned three buildings and resulted in
over $25,000 damage during a raging blizzard. The fire
leveled an automotive garage owned by Otto Klingsheim
and spread to the Hartson produce office and egg
handling building. The combined efforts of the Brownsdale,
Austin and Blooming Prairie fire departments
saved the State Bank of Brownsdale, but could not save
the other structures. For the second time in less than SO years the east side of Mill Street was almost totally
devastated by fire.
The department then added a 1,000 gallon water tank
that was mounted on a Ford truck. On February 8, 1963
the Risius Motor Sales fire occurred. Firemen fought the
blaze for more than four hours in the freezing cold. Even
with the help of the Austin fire department, the building
was a loss.
At present the Brownsdale Fire Department consists of
five units: two pumpers, two tankers and one equipment
truck. They maintain a force of 20 volunteers and two
dispatchers who operate radios from the fire station to
the fire scene when trucks are on call. The department's
territory includes the townships of Waltham and Red
Rock as well as the city of Brownsdale.
J. H. Risius was the first fire chief. He served until
1945. He was followed by Richard Tricker, Leo Senst,
George Donovan, Kenneth Hitzemann, and Mert
Jensen. The present fire chief is Don Foster.
Lengthening of the firehouse was completed in the
spring of 1 984. Recently the fire department received a
check for $975 from Pioneer Hi-Bred International. It
will be used to purchase a self-contained respirator. The
presentation was made by Alvin Akkerman, local
Pioneer sales representative.
History of Brownsdale Methodism
The first Methodist services in Brownsdale were held
in individuals' homes by Rev. Moses Mapes in the
summer of 1856. When the schoolhouse was finished
that fall, the services were held there.
In 1857, Rev. Dyer, a circuit preacher, came to
Brownsdale and helped in forming the first organization
of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Brownsdale.
From 1860s to 1 885 the services were held irregularly.
In the spring of 1885, a religious corporation, the First
Methodist Episcopal Church of Brownsdale, was
formed. The church services were held in the Christian
Chapel, built in 1876.
In 1891 , a new church was finished. Sheds for the
horses were built on the lot behind the church. This same
year the first Methodist Sunday School was organized
with 24 members.
In 1892, the Epworth League was organized with Miss
Ethel L. Stowe, president. Before 1889 there had been a
Ladies' Aid Society, but it was re-organized in 1 893 and
has been active in church work ever since.
The Woman's Home Missionary Society was organized
March 30, 1902 with the first meeting held at the home
of Mrs. James Fries. The present Woman's Society of
Christian Service was formed in 1940 with Mrs. Edna
Heller as the first president.
In 1 956, Rev. Foster acted as pastor serving Brownsdale
and Dexter. While Rev. Foster was pastor, a
building fund was started.
Bids were taken and the general contract was let to
Foster Construction of Brownsdale. The ground breaking
ceremony was held on Saturday, Sept. 26, 1976, with
the first consecration service being held on Sunday,
October 23, 1977 at which time the cornerstone was laid .
The new United Methodist Church of Brownsdale was
built next to the old church. Upon its completion the old
church was demolished .
The new church consists of an "L" shaped structure
with a sanctuary in one section and the kitchen, fellowship
hall, and classrooms extending at right angles to it.
The congregation is 172 strong and has approximately 71
children in attendance.
The following groups and organizations are currently
active in the church: United Methodist Women,
UMYF - United Methodist Youth Fellowship, Mens
Group, Bible Study and a Couples Club .
On October 1 1 , 1 981 the Methodist Church celebrated
125 years of service in Brownsdale with special services
and an open house. Some of the congregation's previous
pastors were present and many other frierids sent letters
of congratulations.
Our Lady of Loretto Catholic Church
The Catholic Church of Our Lady of Loretto was
founded in Brownsdale on May 15, 1946. The mission
parish's first Mass was offered by Father John F. Graf.
Father Graf, a former air force chaplain of World War
II, used the same Mass kit with which he had offered
Mass in Europe. This first service was held at the
Brownsdale Gun Club, and was attended by eighty
persons. The first board of directors included Mrs .
Marvin Beneke, Mrs. Carl Schiltz, Sid Farnsworth ,
Julius Schottler and Rex Crowley. Sunday, June 30,
1946, the church had its first communion. There were
five members in this first communion class, Donna Mae
Benson, Norena Johnson, Margaret Maas, Joan Risius
and Donald Schiltz.
The following winter, services were moved to the
Masonic Hall in Brownsdale. In May, 1947, ground was
broken for a new church. December 7, 1947, services
were moved from the Masonic Hall to the now completed
church basement. Father Graf personally selected
building materials for the church superstructure including
stone from quarries in Faribault and Owatonna. On
August 27, 1950, the first Mass was celebrated in the new
building. The cornerstone was laid and the new church
was dedicated on November 12, 1950. The church is
constructed in Norman Gothic lines with an exterior of
native stone. Cost of the completed church was $50,000.
Father Graf left the parish in 1951 . The following
priests succeeded him : Father John Daly, 1951-55;
Father Peter Coleman, 1 955-65; Father Donald Leary,
1965-67; Father James Dandelet, 1967-70; Father James
McCualey, 1970-73; Father Syxtus Burg, 1973-78;
Father Robert Herman, 1 978-81; Father Peter Coleman,
1981-83; Father Francis Ryan, 1983-present.
3 8 1
First Baptist Church of Brownsdale
In the spring of 1856, Rev. Milo Frary, a Baptist
clergyman from Connecticut, came to Brownsdale. He
preached in the school for two or three years with little or
no compensation. When his wife died, he returned to
Connecticut. Mrs. Frary is buried in the North West
Other ministers conducted services here at irregular
intervals thereafter. Among them was H. I. Parker, a
minister of the Austin Baptist Church. Feeling the need
for organization in the work of the Lord, Rev. Parker
with a few Baptists wrote and adopted the Articles of
Faith and Covenant. On May 26, 1867, the Baptist
Church was organized. Rev. Parker became pastor of
their little church . He held services here and in Austin on
alternate Sundays. It was then the only church in
In 1869, a resolution was passed naming the First
Baptist Church of Brownsdale. A. D. Brown and H. A.
Brown donated to the church a parcel of land on the
corner of Oak and Main Streets to use as a building site.
The First Baptist Church building was erected in 1870,
at a cost of $3,000.
In 1877 the Baptists sold the church building to the
Congregationalists for $ 1 , 250. From then on the work
seemed at a standstill. On Jan. 1 , 1883 the Congregational
Church relinquished all claims on the building and
the Baptists had a place to worship again.
In 1911 membership was 61. In 1921, during the
pastorate of Rev. Volkenant, Evangelistic Services were
held for three weeks. 1 1 2 people accepted the Lord as
their personal Savior. Many of these were baptized and
joined the First Baptist Church.
In 1923, the church building was raised and basement
put under it.
In 193 1 , the "Daily Vacation Bible School" was
Rev. Boldt was called as pastor in 1937.
In 1950, under the pastorate of Rev. Oscar Smith, the
Church Constitution was drawn up and accepted.
From 1955 to 1 967, Rev. and Mrs. Frank Peterson
served as pastor. Durin.g this time a new addition was
added, making more chapel room and Sunday School
rooms in the basement. The cost was approximately
$10,000. A second major project was completed in 1 959
when the old parsonage was sold and a new one built at
the cost of about $15,000.
In 1967 the church observed its one hundredth birthday.
Five former pastors and wives were present.
In 1975 our present pastor, Robert Yauch, accepted
our call . In Sept. 1976 the church voted to build an
addition to the front of the church. This enlarged the
foyer, added a Pastor's study, a nursery, enlarged the
kitchen and made new classroom.
We who worship in this church thank God for the
foresight of the seven charter members. The present
membership is 130.
"The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we
are glad ." Psalm 126 : 3
Our Savior Lutheran Church of Brownsdale
The church was organized in Brownsdale August 15,
1937, with Rev. E. J . A. Marxhausen as its first pastor.
This congregation was originally a part of the Waltham,
Sargeant-Brownsdale parish. Prior to 1937 services
were held at the local Methodist Church.
Our Savior Lutheran Church, Brownsdale
Charter officers elected were: Dr. James Thomson,
chairman; O . E. Wollenburg, secretary; E. J. Marxhausen,
treasurer; Chris Rettig, H. Wollenburg and R.
Meier, trustees. Other charter members were Fred
Escher, H. J. Probst and Herman Dumke.
The original building was purchased from the Presbyterian
Congregation at Hayfield , Minnesota and moved
19 miles into Brownsdale. The cornerstone was laid on
July 4, 1937. After necessary repairs and renovation the
church was dedicated to the Glory of God on October 10,
1937. The total cost to the congregation at this time was
Renovations and enlargement of the church were
made in 1948, 196 1 and 1965. The congregation which
began with nine families has grown to a membership
today of 400 souls, and 300 baptized and communicant
In 1977, plans were begun for a new house of worship,
and this led to the building of our present edifice-dedicated
September 25, 1983. The cost was $467,355.74.
There was much volunteer help.
Seating capacity of 320, the education wing has 8 SunDay
school rooms , and library, and the Fellowship hall
seats 250 people. All the chancel furnishings were designed
and built by Benjamin Marxhausen, a son of our
first pastor.
The following groups and organizations are active in
the church: Ladies' Aid, L.W.M.L. , Lutheran Youth
Fellowship, Young Couples Club, Mid-Life Couples
Club, Senior Citizens Group, Men's Club, Altar Guild,
Jr. & Sr. Choirs, Religious Instruction classes for our
school-age children, Sunday School, and Adult Bible
Classes are conducted weekly.
Present officers are: President - Norbert Holland,
Vice President - Warren Severtson, Secretary - Terry
Wangen, Treasurer - Truman Olson, Elders - Donald
Meier, Leonard Blanchard, Robert Clayton, Trustees -
Lyle Engelhardt, Don Richardson, Mike Lujan.
Since its organization, the congregation has been
served by the following pastors: Rev. E. J. A .
Marxhausen, 1937-0ct. 1938; Rev. C. j. Knauft, Dec.
1938-July 1950; Rev. P. L. Friedrich, Sept. 1 950-0ct.
1963; Rev. R. A. Grabowski, July 1964-Nov. 1964; Rev.
D. E. West, July 1 965-June 1968; Rev. F. C. Darkow,
Feb. 1969-June 1972; Rev. T. J. Schaefer, July 1 972-0ct.
1976; Rev. H. R. Hannemann, May 1977-present.
Brownsdale Organizations & Clubs
The Brownsdale Businessmen consist of representatives
from nearly all of Brownsdale's businesses. This
group has been in existence for a number of years. Accurate
records of its meetings have been kept the past
eleven years. The group meets monthly at the Blue
Haven Cafe.
Brownsdale Businessmen promote the town of
Brownsdale. They sponsor a girls softball team, put up
Christmas decorations and hang flower baskets on Mill
and Main Streets. Brownsdale Appreciation Day is
under their sponsorship. The day includes a free picnic
supper, a concert put on by the Hayfield High School
Band, and a ball game between the businessmen and the
girls softball team.
Labor Day Parade - 1952
LucUie Cross, Sally Madison, Evy Hem, Katby Ostadabl
The Brownsdale Lions Club started on April 9, 1973
and currently has approximately 20 members. It meets
once a month at the Blue Haven Cafe. The club is service
oriented and sponsors a fall pancake feed and Easter
bingo. It also serves as the local sponsor for the Brownsdale
Cub Scouts, and delivers fruit baskets to the elderly
and shut-ins each Christmas. This past year over 100
baskets were delivered. The current club officers are:
Kenneth Wurzburger, president; Don Peterson, vice
president; Carlisle Madison, secretary; Don Meier,
The Brownsdale Men's Club is a charitable and social
organization. Formerly the Brownsdale Jaycees, they
dropped their Jaycee Chapter in 1980. The Men's Club
raises funds for the Boy and Girl Scouts as well as the
local 4-H chapters. They also help maintain the local
park and recreation facilities. The club's social activities
include such things as picnics and canoe trips for
members and families. 18 members meet twice monthly.
Roger Oelkers is the club president.
Other clubs include two 4-H Clubs, Boy Scouts, Girl
Scouts, Cub Scouts and Brownies. Boy Scout Troop 101 ,
organized in 1 938, is the state's longest existing troop
sponsored by a single sponsor, the Brownsdale Fire
Interesting Finds
While talking to various people during the time I
researched information for the new Mower County
History book, I found information that I'd never heard
before. Greg Gerhart of Brownsdale told me about
Brownsdale's state champion white ash tree which stands
on the property of Oscar Gabriel just off the S. E. corner
ofthe fire station. Lloyd Boe and Dan Reick discovered it
while working with the Rochester D.N.R. The white ash
has a circumference of 1 25.6 inches, height of 85 feet and
a crown spread of 30 feet.
Carlisle Madison. a longtime inhabitant of Brownsdale,
explained why blacktop County Road # 2 has two
curves in it just west of Brownsdale. When the Brown's
built a hotel in Brownsdale, they wanted the main road
to pass directly in front. Therefore, the road was
purposely diverted to pass by the hotel on the corner of
Main and Mill Streets.
Teamsten - 1976
Richard, Bob and Muriel K vasnlcka
In 1 9 76. a Bicentennial Wagon Train Pilgrimage
retraced the old wagon trails. This time they went from
the west to the east. Each state had its official
representatives to carry their state's colors in the trek
whose final destination was Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.
Richard and Muriel Kvasnicka of Rural Route Brownsdale,
were teamsters for the Minnesota state wagon. The
Kvasnicka's trek eastward began April 1 1 , 1976, from
St. Paul, Minnesota. July 3, their wagon, along with
many others representing the Great Lakes States arrived
at Valley Forge.
An old roll- top desk from the Red Rock Town Hall
furnished many interesting documents. One was a
yellowed $1 ,000 bond issued to the township in 1871 to
aid in the construction of the Southern Minnesota Railroad.
The Mousenik
High school students from Austin Pacelli and Brownsdale
achieved nationwide recognition with the launching
of their homemade rockets. The Austin Rocket Society,
directed by Pacelli's science educator, Sister Mary Duns
Scotus, launched 35 rockets in 125 attempts. Several of
the rockets contained anesthetized mice. An attempt on
(Mimreapolis Tribulle Photo)
Rocket Society Lineup, MInutes before the Launch
Left to right: Jensen, Sister Mary Duns Scotus, Steven Johnson, Dick
KIng, Gary Solyst, Paul Germer, Carl Harwood, James Budd, and
Calvin Aaby. Kneeling: Robert Simon, Gordon Cassidy, and Gary
January 5, 1957 achieved national recognition by
ABC-TV's Huntley-Brinkley newscast, when they filmed
the launch. Mower County Sheriff, Al Reinartz, led a
procession of 30 cars to the "Red Rock proving grounds"
just west of Brownsdale on the Alvin Aaby farm, now the
Stephen Williams farm. At the launch site, with the aid
of a cement block house for protection, the rocket club
launched a 4-foot, lO-inch rocket with a passenger. The
passenger was a SOft white mouse. The rocket was
successfully launched and reached an altitude of 1 ,642
feet with a velocity of 221 m.p.h. The mouse did not
survive the rocket landing.
Through widespread coverage, the humane society
learned ofthe use of mice in the test rockets. As a result,
the students had to appear in the Mower County Courts
on "cruelty to animal" charges. After being reprimanded
the charges were dropped. The mouse was buried on the
Aaby farm .
Thefollowing information was received in a note from
Shirley K. Cole, Austin: My grandfather, Frank Warren,
and quite a lot of his relatives settled the Brownsdale
area. His father ran the A. E. Warren general merchandise
store until around 1918. My grandfather wrote
several stories about growing up in Brownsdale and
about his father's store. I am also related to the Hunts,
Clarks, Sleepers, Knox and several others that settled
Tanner Cemetery
A small family cemetery located 2 V2 miles east of
Brownsdale has been nicknamed the Tanner Cemetery.
15 of the 25 people buried are members of the Tanner
family, and the other grave sites are people who were
related to the family through marriage. The only access
to the cemetery is a field road through the LaVerne
Sheeley farm.
Hiram E. Tanner and his wife, Eliza Meeker Tanner,
and their sons, DeLoss, Frank and Oscar settled near
Brownsdale in 1857 in Section 1. His brother, Ebenezer
E. , and his wife, Lydia A. Colby Tanner, settled in
Section 12 in the fall of 1859. The cemetery is located on
Ebenezer's farm, now owned by LaVerne Sheeley. The
last burial was Bingley Tanner in 1925.
The family considered moving the bodies to Greenwood
Cemetery. Only Laverne Arthur Tanner was moved
to Greenwood and placed next to his father's grave.
The first burial was Lydia A. Tanner, who died in
186 1 .
Greenwood Cemetery
On August 5, 1892 a plot of land in the southeast
corner of section 16 was purchased from Reuben and
Jane Rollings for a cost of $10.00 by the Greenwood
Cemetery Association. They were formerly the Mower
City Cemetery Association. On March 3 1 , 1931 an additional
acre lying on the west side of the original plot was
given by H. B . and Edna Hillier for a cost of $1 .00.
Tombstone inscriptions and records indicate the
earliest burial was John Setzer, who died July 17, 1863.
The cemetery is located in Highway 56 approximately
one mile south of Brownsdale, Minnesota.
The present members of the cemetery board are:
Ralph Grant, president; Naomi Friedrich, secretary; Joe
Walker, treasurer; Glen Stanton and Carlisle Madison,
Brown Cemetery
The Brown Cemetery, a family cemetery, was established
before the incorporation of the village of Brownsdale
in 1876. The cemetery is located in the northwest
part of the city, on the corner of Malissa St. and Cedar
Ave. When it was established it was named Oak Park,
but is usually called the Brown Cemetery. It was established
by Andrew D. Brown and his brother, Hosmer A.
Brown. Andrew D . Brown who died May 1, 191 1 , is
buried there. Hosmer A. Brown, who died Nov. 6 , 1922,
is also buried there.
The Rugg FamUy
J. Dewitt Rugg homesteaded the 160 acre farm in Red
Rock Township 103, Range 17 on March 3, 1855. Title
to the land was acquired by Dewitt and his wife,
Barbara, on Oct. 24, 1860.
The farm has now progressed through three more
generations as follows: son, William Albert Rugg and
wife, Clara, as of March 7, 1914. Grandson, Everett H.
Rugg and wife, Ena, as of September 7, 1951 . Great
grandson, William Burton Rugg and wife, Bette, as of
Dec. 20, 1967.
J. Dewitt Rugg Farm - 1880
Dahle-Rockwell FamUy
Archibald Rockwell and his wife, Ellen, (the former
Ellen Simpson) came from Randolph, Wisconsin to
Mower County and purchased a farm in Red Rock
Township in 1864. They had one child, Edna Mae, who
was born in 1872.
Archibald and Ellen retired and moved to Brownsdale
in 1891 . In October of 1891, Edna Mae married Sivend
K. Dahle, who had come from Hardanger, Norway. They
began to operate the Rockwell farm. .
The Dahle's had three children: Ella, Harold and
Pearle. Sivend was active in civic activities and in the
Lafayette Lodge #116, A. F. and A. M. St. Bernard
Commandery, Austin. In 1928 Sivend and Edna M ae
retired and moved to Austin, and son, Harold took over
the farm.
Harold Dahle had married Gertrude Matson in 1925.
The have one daughter, now Elizabeth Peters, Coos Bay,
Dahle Home Place 1983
Harold Dahle continues to live on the home place,
although he has retired from active farming. The homestead
has been remodeled many times. There has been a
lot of living for the Rockwells and the Dahles in the old
home place over the past 120 years.
Rockwell Farm
John F. Rockwell was born January 1 1 , 1854. In 1870
he built a house on land he had acquired east of
Brownsdale; 160 acres in Section 24 and 40 acres in
Section 25. He was married to Orseville Nashold . They
had three children; Ray, Paul and Elsie.
The farm was purchased later by Paul Rockwell and
wife , Gertie. Orseville Rockwell died in 1 926 and John F .
i n 1932.
Paul and Gertie Rockwell had six children, Fay, Paul
Jr. , Ross, Morrine, Guy and Harry. Gertie died in 1 970
and Paul in 1983.
The farm is now owned by Guy and Harry Rockwell . A
new home has been built on the site.
John F. Rockwell Farm
School District #37 (Tanner School)
Tanner School Reunion 1983
The first school in this district was taught by Mrs .
Angeline A . Tanner in the summer of 1859 at the house
.0f Elder Milo Farril in Section 13. In 186061 , school was
held in the granary of E. E. Tanner in Section 12. In
1862, a frame schoolhouse was erected in Section 1 1 on
land owned by James Steward . In 1 909 Eva Strong
taught 23 students for a monthly salary of $35.00. In
195859 this school district consolidated and the school
house was moved to Brownsdale. The last teacher was
Mrs. Marshall Johnson. On the last school board were
Ted Ballinger, Harold Dahle and Vesta Staples. A 1983
Country School Reunion, a unique experience, was held
at Brownsdale and was attended by former students,
teachers, board members and friends at the Tanner
School. Much reminiscing and remembering of happenings
ofthe past at the school took place at this gathering.
School District #116 (Blue Star School)
Blue Star School - 1939
Front: Gerald Burnham, Dale Rugg, Donna Burnham, Pauline
Clayton. Back: Robert Heydt, Robert Clayton, Kenneth Rugg. Teacher
not Identified.
School District # 1 1 6 was organized by the legislature
in 1881 and the first class was taught by Mary Rugg. The
school was located in the northwest corner of Section 23
and known as the Blue Star School. Mildred Crilly was
the teacher in 1 939 and 1940. The board members were
Donald Rugg, Mrs. Hastings, Richard Clayton. Monica
Reagan also taught # 1 1 6 in 1942.
School District #68 (The Hagan School)
The Hagan School District #68-1923
In 1869 an effort was made to organize school district
#68. It was not until 1876 that the organization was
finalized . A frame schoolhouse was then erected and the
first summer term was held . Lyle Lynch was the first
teacher. The schoolhouse was located in Section 29.
Leota Crilly was the teacher in 1923. Some of the families
having children attending were: Hass, Hacmac, Hagan,
Goodew. The teacher boarded at the Henry Hass home
directly across fr om the school. Mrs. Violet Hull also
taught in district #68, the Hagan School, in 1942.
Board members that year were Ed Guiney, Jr. , Steve
Hagan , Frank Bushman .
VWage of Sargeant
Siegel Fann Implement - about 1915
Sargeant Township is named for its first permanent
settler, Henry N. Sargeant, a native of Canada. His
parents , both natives of Vermont, moved to Canada in
1800 and Henry was born in Sheffo rd County, Quebec,
June 19, 1817. He moved to Dodge County, Wisconsin,
in 1858 and fr om there to Mower County in March of
1865, where he purchased the south half of Section 11 in
what is now known as Sargeant Township.
The township (104 North-Range 16 West) was organized
in 1873 . Up to that time the west half of its territory
had been attached to Waltham and the east half to
Pleasant Valley Townships .
The Chicago Great Western Railroad came through in
1887 and a station was established. The village of
Sargeant was platted September 7, 1894 in Section 18 of
the township .
Zion United Methodist Church
The Zion United Methodist Church has been ministering
to the spiritual needs of its community since at least
1884 when a Sunday school was organized in the District
Zion United Methodist Church
113 schoolhouse. Besides regular midweek and Sunday
worship services, it sponsors Sunday school classes and
other organizations for all ages . The church has
co-operated with the Mower County Council of Churches
and the United Christian Youth Movement .
A wood fr ame church was erected in 1899 at a cost of
$2,400 and later a bell and a new basement put in at a
total cost of $1,000. During the ministry of Rev. H. C.
Schmidt (1913-18) , there was a change fr om the German
language to English . It was difficult for many of the older
people to adjust to the change in the service .
In the winter of 1922, during the pastorate of Rev.
A. H. Nauman (1920-24) , revival meetings were held
with very fr uitfu l results. The church's petition to the
conference for a fu ll-time pastor was granted and a parsonage
was built at a cost of $5,000. The present church
was built in 1959 at a cost of $120,000.
The congregation was first affiliated with the Evangelical
Church. In 1946 a national merger with the
United Brethren resulted in the Evangelical United
Brethren. In 1968 the E.U.B. and Methodist churches
formed a union known as the United Methodist Church.
Baptist Church of Sargeant
In 1894, Rev. Williams of the Baptist Church in
Browns dale held meetings in the first schoolhouse west of
Sargeant, District 107 in Waltham Town ship; and fr om
1895 to 1897, Rev. M. B. Critchett fr om Blooming
Prairie supplied the Sargeant church every other Sunday.
The Baptist Church in Sargeant was probably built in the
years 1895-96 and dedicated in 1897.
From 1897 to 1910 the church was probably supplied
on a part-time basis by pastors fr om Brownsdale. In
June, 1910, the church was sold for $500 and the money
given to the Brownsdale Church. The building was later
remodeled into a duplex apartment.
Sargeant Village School, District #107
The first school building was completed in 1880 and
was located just over the line in Waltham Township,
Section 13. Later a two-room school was built in the
south part of Sargeant Village. Classes were held
through the spring of 1975. Ninth grade was taught in
this school until the spring of 1924.
ECKer m a n
o (has.
Township 104 North. Range 16 West of the 5th P. M.
B u. r r h e l1.
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Sch ool Districts dJIIIJ/})>>mJJ/,
Rural. Routes
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the east and south. The Cedar River enters the town from
Dodge County in Section 4.
William Tullis was the first settler, coming in
February, 1855. There followed the same year Thomas
Richardson, Richard and William Green, Solomon
Wilcox, Knute Olson, Andrew Anderson, Ole and
Bennett Christianson. In 1856 there came the Nellers,
John Day, O. D. Rhodes, Milton McCall, Andrew Ingleson,
Charles N. Stimson and brother Albert, H. C.
Rogers, Nathaniel Reed, George Pierson and Benjamin
Vaughan; in 1857, Seth S. Washburn, Edward Bassett
and John Tucker. Among the prominent persons who
came later are P. A. Peterson, O. C. LaBar, the Carlls,
Burr Maxwell, Robert Lee, Edwin Richards and Carlos
The name of the town was given by Col. Rogers, from
a novel, "Mysteries of Udolpho," to settle a dispute of
the settlers who could not agree on a name.
The Methodists and Freewill Baptists maintained
worship at an early date, but the Lutherans alone have
built a church edifice.
The first birth was Nancy, third daughter of T. R.
Richardson. The first death was Mrs. Caton, in the
winter of 1856.
Samuel Hartley built a house, shop, and worked at
blacksmithing there for three years.
From Mower Co. TranscriptA nnual 1 892
About ten miles north of Austin motorists speed by the
site of what was the town of Madison. Today Highway
218 and the Milwaukee Road bypasses the grain field
where the town started September 3, 1857, and was
declared dead in 1 903.
Warren Brown started the village and opened a store
stocking it with $ 1 , 500 worth of merchandise. He went
broke in the panics of 1858. Moody and Co. started
operating a hotel and livery stable, and for a time had the
post office.
The railroad refused to stop at Madison. The Moodys
grew tired of walking to Lansing for supplies and quit.
The buildings were sold for little or nothing and the land
was planted to wheat. At the peak, Madison had the
hotel, stores and a saw mill.
From A ustin Herald, April 1 7, 1 956
Red Oak Grove Lutheran Church
Red Oak Grove Lutheran Church celebrated its 125th
anniversary in 1 984. It has a heritage of many generations
who have worshipped here and have passed on their
faith to generations yet to come. The pioneers brought
the church with them. It was not a building or even a
congregation, but they brought their Bibles, hymnbooks,
catechisms and faith in their hearts.
July 4, 1855 our first settlers reached the Brownsdale
area. The next day they came to what is now the Red Oak
Grove community. Log cabins were built and worship
services were held in their homes. If the weather was
nice, services were held under the trees. "Circuit Riders"
would travel between settlements. These were not
ordained pastors, but more on the order of missionaries.
On October 27, 1859 the Red Oak Grove Con grega-
Red Oak Grove Lutheran Church In 1975
tion was officially organized by Rev. A. C. Preus, President
of the Synod. A class of four were confirmed that
day. In 1867, Rev. C. L. Clausen was called to serve Red
Oak Grove and four other churches. With a regular
pastor the members began to turn their thoughts to
building a church. The congregation was spread out over
a large area. A south group wished the church erected as
far south as possible and a north group wanted it
centered in their community. The south group won out
and the church was built on this present location.
July 7, 1869, the frame of the first church was raised.
When completed the church was 40 feet long, 30 feet
wide, and 18 feet high; the size of the nave of the present
church. Some of the original wall is still part of the
structure. The north group was dissatisfied with the
location of the church and withdrew and formed a new
congregation, First Lutheran of Blooming Prairie.
Six years later the membership exceeded the capacity
ofthe church and an enlargement became necessary. An
addition, 24 feet wide, 28 feet long and 16 feet high was
built on the east end of the church . The front was a
chancel area and behind it the sacristy.
The first women's group was organized in 1872. Half
of all the money they took in was sent away for missions.
April 4, 1888, the congregation voted to erect a steeple
and bell tower. The Ladies' Aid bought the bell, which
still today bears the legible inscription in Norwegian
which says, "Given to the Norwegian Lutheran Congregation
in Red Oak Grove from the congregation's
"kvindeforening" (women's society) the 17th of May,
1888. "
One o f the early purchases b y the women was the
marble baptismal font that is still in use. It would be
about 100 years old and cost $27.00 when purchased.
The altar, altar ring and pulpit in this first church were
made by Knute Olson Gubransgaard. The altar had a
painting ofthe Good Shepherd done by a crippled son of
the builder of the church, Christian Hoe!. When the
church was remodeled in 1 926 these chancel furnishings
were given to a church in South Dakota.
The church was first heated with a potbellied stove.
The pulpit was a number of steps up and it was really
cold for the pastor. When it was bitter cold he preached
with his heavy coat, mittens and cap on and you could
see his breath when he spoke. There was no basement
under the church. It has been said the services should
have been held in the afternoon as it took that long to
warm the building.
Directly over the furnace was a chandelier of kerosene
lamps. When the furnace was really hot, the lamps
would begin to swing and rotate. The men sat on the
south side of the church and the women on the north
side. The collection plate had a long handle and the
ushers would pass it down each row. There was a
"klokker, " a layman, who led the singing and opened
and closed the services with prayer. A Mr. Christopherson
was the first "klokker. " He also organized the first
Sunday School and parochial schools. The second
"klokker , " Mr. Opsata, organized the first choir and
helped to get the first organ.
In 1925, the church was remodeled . The work was
done by Lewis Lysne at a cost of $10,000. The women
had a large part in the furnishing of the remodeled
church. The Sunshine Society turned their money into
the building fund, and the Good Cheer Girls bought the
light fixtures. The statue of Christ on the altar was given
by Mrs. P. A . Peterson. The original of this statue by
Thorvaldson is in a museum in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The lamb on the altar was a gift to the church from Lars
In 1 927 the north and south Ladies' Aids became one
organization, the Women's Society. This was possible
because this church had a basement in which they could
hold meetings.
January 1 , 1953 Red Oak Grove had a pastor of its
own for the first time. In 1952 the two congregation
parish with First Lutheran of Blooming Prairie had been
dissolved. A parsonage was built, and in February, 1953
Pastor Neal Johnson and his family moved in.
In the summer of 1956 Red Oak Grove gave its first
full-time servants to the work of Christ's kingdom.
Sunday, July 22, 1956 Evelyn Jolson, daughter of Mr.
and Mrs. Edwin Jolson, was commissioned as a missionary
to serve on the Sudan Field in French West Africa.
The women have contributed to her support on the
mission field. In 1956, Rose Mary Ulland, daughter of
Mr. and Mrs. Palmer Ulland, assumed her duties as a
parish worker in California. In May, 1 957 Red Oak
Grove was recognized as an "outstanding rural congregation"
by the L utheran Herald and the Minneapolis
Sunday Tribune. The centennial of the church was
celebrated in July of 1959.
June 29, 1 969 Ordean Grant, son of Mr. and Mrs.
Leonard Grant, was ordained into the ministry of the
American Lutheran Church. Ernest Johnson was also
ordained in this church June 6, 1971. He had married
Evelyn Jolson while on the mission field in the
In 1 975 the need for a narthex was recognized. The
remodeling project included the reversal of the interior of
the church, construction of a narthex in the east with
vestibules both north and south at a cost of over
Much of the history of this congregation has been
preserved by B. M . 'Christianson, who served as secretary
for the congregation for many years.
The congregation has been served by the following
pastors: Rev. C. L. Clausen, 1867-1871 and 1878-1884;
Rev. Paul G. Ostby, 1871-1878; Rev. Svein Strand,
1884-1894; Rev. Nils Iverson, 1894-1898; Rev. Osmund
Johnson, 1898-1912; Rev. H. J. Rasmussen, 1913-1949;
Rev. Alf Romstad , 1949-1952; Rev. Neal S . Johnson,
1953-1959; Rev. Walter E. N. Wahl, 1960-1 965; Rev.
Leland E. Evenson, 1965- 1973; Rev. John J. Kyllo,
1973-1 98 1 ; Rev. Joel Rustad, November, 1981-November,
1 982; Rev. Lloyd Kallevig, November, 1982-
present. by Mrs. Roswell (Gladys) Hanson
Red Oak Grove Cemetery
Gutterm Engen owned land in the S . W . 1/4 Section
19 and consented to burials next to the territorial road
and joining the west line of his farm . An irregular piece
of ground covered with brush, this spot continued to be
the burial ground for the next nine years following the
arrival ofthe first settlers in 1855. Numerous graves were
on this plot. The congregation had been formed, and
now took action to buy the property. The new owner,
Simon Ulland , offered to sell it for $10.00. In 1864 the
Red Oak Grove Congregation bought one acre of land
and named it the Red Oak Grove Cemetery. For many
years graves were dug wherever the church members
wished, with the markers being an oak tree, or the name
and date painted on a board; later small marble stones
were used. In 1 900 the congregation bought another acre
from the new owner, P. S . Ulland, at a cost of $25.00 an
acre. The territorial road was now closed and a new road
went along the west line of his farm. This acre now
squared up the lines on all sides and lots were not laid
out square.
Between 1915 and 1922 efforts were made to clean up
the cemetery, stake the lots and survey the whole plot.
Additional land was purchased so roads could be laid out
for drives around the cemetery. Older citizens were
requested to help locate and get information on
unmarked graves.
In 1924 the cemetery incorporated and a perpetual
care fund was begun. The earliest burial is Julia Benson
in 1857.
Udolpho Cemetery
This cemetery was purchased February, 1862 for
$10.00 from Solomon Wilcox. It is located in Section 21
of the township.
The first person buried in the cemetery was Hoser
Sprent; born Jan. 17, 1795 and died June 4, 1862.
There are 75 lots of various sizes in the cemetery and
over 60% of the lots have been taken or reserved. They
are available to anyone who has lived in the township
sometime in their lifetime. The township clerk is overseer,
with township funds used for maintenance.
Henry Bagley, a Civil War soldier, born in 1845 and
died in 1906 is commemorated in a monument in the
cemetery. The monument was carved from a photograph
of Bagley in his Civil War uniform.
School District #60 was located in the northeast corner
of Section 1 1 , Udolpho Township. Evelyn Kuckenbacken
was the teacher in 1919. Irene M. Davies was the
teacher from 1920 through 1923 and Lucille Norton in
School District #50 Udolpho Township Section 24
School District #50 had its first summer term of school
in 1857. Priscilla Miller was the first teacher. The neighbors
had rendered their services to build a log schoolhouse
which was used until 1866. It was then replaced by
a brick building in the southwest corner of Section 24. It
was replaced by a wooden structure later. One of the
teachers in this school was Laura Studer Hammermeister.
Mrs. Andrew Lunt, Jr. taught the 1942 school
term. Board members were Louis B. Yoeger, Alexander
Decker, Frank Laack. This school known as the Schultz
School has been made into a home.
Schultz School District #50 Udolpho Township
Laura Studer Hammermeister . Teacher
Braaten Farm
The 160 acre farm originally owned by Halvor
Knutson Braaten is located nine miles northwest of
Austin in Udolpho Township. The farm was purchased
in 1873.
The line of succession follows through Henry J .
Braaten from 1934 through 1973 and Kenneth M . Braatten
from 1 973 to the present time.
Bray Farm
In 1883 James T. Bray and his wife, Eliza, purchased
160 acres in Section 16, Udolpho Township. James' son,
Raymond H. Bray, together with his wife , Florence 0.,
live o n the farm at the present time.
Children of Raymond and Florence Bray are: Marilyn
I. (Bray) Hertle, Eileen Carol (Bray) Risch, Myrna Jean
(Bray) Donkers and Nathan H. Bray.
Goodwin Farm
Nils K . Goodwin and his wife, Sarah, purchased their
320 acre farm in 1872. It is located nine miles northwest
of Austin in Udolpho Township. Nels C. Goodwin and
wife, Nellie, were the next generation to operate the
Now Nels' son, Nathan and wife, Cleone, operate the
family farm. Their children; great-grandchildren of Nils,
the first owner, are as follows: Rodney N . , who is
married to the former Kathy James; Jon D . , whose wife is
Patricia Gales; Nancy E. , whose husband is Allan
Doulet; Suzanne J. Goodwin.
Front rowl Cleone and Nathan Goodwin. Back row: Nancy, Rodney,
Jon and Suzanne
Christian Oleson Rukke Farm
On May 4, 1856 the U . S . Government deeded 76. 97
acres to Christian Oleson Rukke. The land was located
on Section 19 in Udolpho Township. The 128 years of
family ownership is one of the longest in the area. The
second owner was Bjorn Christianson, son of Christian.
They began to operate the farm in 1868. Bjorn's son,
B. M. Christianson, became the owner in 1925.
The farm was given the name Cozy Home Farm in
1928, and filed as such in the record book of farm
In 1976 Mr. Christianson deeded most of the farm
over to Rozwell Hanson and son, Burnell. However, the
building site of 6.77 acres was sold to B. M. Christianson's
son, Nathan, who now lives there.
Rozwell Hanson is a great-grandson of Christian
Oleson Rukke. Rozwell's wife, Gladys is a great granddaughter
and also a niece of B . M . Christianson.
Ole Johnson Farm
Ole Johnson purchased 80 acres in the northwest
corner of Udolpho Township on September 18, 1868.
Ole's son, Andrew, began to operate the farm in
February of 1901. Odin Johnson, a grandson, purchased
the 80 acres in August, 1 948.
The great-grandson of the first owner, Paul a.
Johnson now lives on his family's old home place.
P. A. Peterson Farm
P. A . Peterson was 22 years old in 1862 when he acquired
a homestead contract on a 160 acre farm in UdolP.
A. Peterson and famny. Photo taken about 1890 next to newly
bunt home.
pho Township. The contract was written in Norwegian .
He and his wife, Korine, started fa rming in 1863.
A barn was built in 1877 and the house in 1887. Both
are still in use. The fa rm was increased to 360 acres.
The second generation to handle the farm was Osen
and Henry Peterson. Osen was married to Ida Thompson
. Henry remained single.
Again there is a joint ownership in the third generation
with Kinley and Harland Peterson. Kinley and wife,
Joyce, have two children, Ronald and Karin. Harland
has two sons, Dean and Brian.
Carll/Dawes Farm
Norman Carll was born February 6, 1845 near Lyons,
New York. He and his uncle, Benjamin Carll, made the
trip fr om Hillsdale, Michigan to Minnesota on fo ot,
driving 600 head of sheep. They reached Lansing, Minn.
in October, 1864 .
Norman CarU Homestead Farm
Norman and his father, Zacckariah, homesteaded
adjoining 80 acre tracts in Section 2, Udolpho Township,
in 1874. Norman retained ownership of the homestead
until his death in 1923.
Norman Carll married Malina Sylvania Rhoades in
1870. They had two children. Cora Belle and Minnie
Lucy. Minnie was only 10 when her mother died in 1889.
She went to live with an aunt in Knoxville, Tennessee
and returned to Minnesota after her high school graduation.
In 1901 Minnie Carll married William Campbell
Dawes and moved near Pittsville, Wisconsin. They had
three children, Minnie Irene, Norman Carll and William
Clifford . In 1911 the William Dawes fa mily moved back
to the fa rm in Udolpho Township. Minnie Lucy inherited
the farm upon the death of her father in 1923 .
Norman Carll Dawes, born in 1906, has lived on the
Carll/Dawes farm all of his life . He took over the fa rm
work when his parents became too old to do so. The last
fifteen years he has leased out the land .
Norman has kept busy since his retirement, taking
down the old house and barn and building a two bedroom
home. At the age of 78 he enjoys a weekly trip to
Austin and an annual visit to the Minnesota State Fair.
The name of Waltham was given to Town 104, - 17, at
the suggestion of Charles F. Hardy, a native of Waltham,
Mass ., who lived fo r a short time in Waltham. Later he
was a County Commissioner, Justice of the Peace and
Judge of Probate in Mower County. This was one of the
"lost townships ," not withdrawn fr om sale and was
entered with land warrants by speculators.
Nels Johnson, the earliest settler, came in the summer
of 1855. He sold out to George Johnson in the spring of
1863. Barney Devlin and a Mr. Bemis came in 1856.
Purdy Lounsbury came in 1864. John C. Mason of
Worcester, Mass., acquired fr om the land warrant
speculators more than a quarter of the township,
principally in the northeast part of the town. Early in the
spring of 1865 his agent, A. J. Burbank, came, plotted
the village, erected a three-story hotel, surveyed the
whole tract into fo rties and sold off the land rapidly.
The nearest boarding place was Purdy Lounsbury's ,
till the hotel was finished. Plenty of help was engaged fo r
hauling lumber and surveying. In the course of a day,
two or three would come across a quarter section or
eighty that pleased them, buy it, and their places in the
surveying party would be taken by other land lookers . At
night Lounsbury's lean-to was so packed when they slept
that when one turned over, they all must.
Those who came in at this time and were prominent in
town affa irs were Moses Boliou, A. J. Hunt, Capt.
George and Henry Edwards .
The township was organized in June, 1866. The
fo llowing appear as early settlers: John Steen, H. L.
Collins and Eri Colby.
The German settlement was begun in the west part of
the town a little later by the Matters . The German
Lutheran Church has an edifice in this part of the town
and also the German Evangelican Church one. The
Village of Waltham was platted in August, 1885, and is
already a thriving village. J. J. and Geo. W. Hunt,
A. Lounsbury, Chas. Gage, John Hoy, C. G. Clark,
A. Muncy are among the prominent men of the town.
From Mower Cou nty Tr anscrip t A nnual 18i2
Township 104 North Range 18 West of the 5th P. M .

o rdel
CJll .

Ra ilRoad ++-+-+- Scho o l Wag o n. Road = Ch u rch
Corp. L ine ........... ....-. Rouses
Creek Cem. .
Sch ool Districts ;;mllmmm;;,
Rura l Routes
Birdseye view of Waltham In 1913
Waltham was mostly prairie land with fine black soil
when the pioneer settlers, Nels Johnson and C. F. Hardy
came in 1855.
When the railroad came in 1885 the Village of
Waltham was moved one mile to the west, and this was
the beginning of the present village.
In 1 9 1 1 Waltham was a thriving village with two
general stores, a physician, bank, shoe shop, livery,
creamery, stock buyer, carpenter shop and a variety of
small shops including a flour mill with a capacity of 75
barrels daily.
Now, many changes have taken place. The school has
become a part of Hayfield's District. There are fewer
businesses and several local residents work in other
Informationfrom Polly Erickson, City Clerk,
and from the Nov. 9, 1 966 A ustin Daily Herald
St. Michael's Lutheran Church
St. Michael's Congregation had its beginning when
Michael Matter, Sr. a native of Germany, settled in
Waltham Township in May, 1869. Being of a religious
nature, he desired the spiritual comfort of religious services
and invited the Rev. Wier from Lake Elmo to
preach in his home from time to time.
On June 23, 1873, seven families met at the home of
John Boelk to organize St. Michael's Lutheran Church.
Henry Matter, Michael Matter, Jr. and George Fett were
elected trustees.
Left to right: Waltham Schoolhouse bunt In 1899, St. Michael's
Church bunt In 1942, old church buDt In 1890.
St. Michael's Lutheran Church In 1984
Pastor Wier served in the homes of the members as
plans were made to erect a house of worship. Mr. Matter
doated sixty acres of land. A building 18' x 30' was
bUllt to serve as a place to worship and also as a
parochial school.
In 1876 the first resident pastor, J. 1. Meissner, arrived
and served until 1879. He was succeeded by Pastor
Haack of Random Lake, Wisconsin.
In 1884, F. C. Milius, a graduate from Martin Luther
Seminary of Buffalo, New York, accepted the call and
began a ministry which was to continue for 43 '12 years at
St. Michael's. During this time, a schoolhouse,
parsonage and church were built. The church, built in
1890, measured 34' x 60' at the cost of $2,084.00 The
parochial school reached its height in enrollment in 1901
when 65 pupils attended.
During the pastorate of William Planz, the Sunday
school was organized to replace the parochial school.
The parsonage was destroyed by fire in January, 193 1 . A
new one quickly replaced it and was ready for occupancy
in March of that year.
During the pastorate of A. F. Boese, a new church was
built at a cost of $25,000. It was dedicated on August 30
1942. '
Pastors in recent years have been the Rev. I . S .
Tweeten (1963-74) , the Rev. Karl A . Koch (1974-77)
and the Rev. David Ethan Olson (1977-present) . '
Current activities at the congregation include American
Lutheran Church Women, three women's circles
sewing groups, altar guild, Luther League, senior choir: Sunday school, adult classes and confirmation class.
The congregation sponsors an annual Bratwurst-Sauerkraut
supper in the fall , bringing attention to its German
St. Michael's congregation, originally associated with
the Buffalo Synod of the Lutheran Church, is now a
congregation of the American Lutheran Church. As of
January, 1 982 the congregation had 231 baptized
members, 1 96 of whom are confirmed.
In 1983, the 1 10th anniversary celebration included
the presetation of eight latch hook banners made by
congregatlOn members. The morning service was
preceded by the ringing of the church bell 1 10 times "In
recognition of 1 10 years of grace. " During the service the
choir sang "Christ is Present in Our Midst," an anthem
written by Pastor Olson.
St. Michael's Lutheran Cemetery is located 1 11z miles
west and 1 1/2 miles south of Waltham in Section 20 of
Waltham Township. At the time of organization of the
church Mr. Michael Matter, Sr. , who had arrived in
1869, gave 60 acres of land for the church, school and
cemetery. First buried in the cemetery was Frank
Gottlieb Matter who died in 1870.
Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church
Trinity Lutheran began in 1874. Pastor Johl of Claremont
held services for three years in the homes of
families living in the community. The congregation was
formally organized August 25, 1877 with nine charter
Pastor Ruppreht of High Forest led the congregation
beginning in 1879. That same year their first house of
worship was dedicated .
After a parsonage was completed in 1884, the congregation
called its first resident pastor, Rev. J. C. Martin.
The first parochial school was opened that autumn. For
the first 44 years of its existence the school was taught by
the pastor.
A new church building was completed in 1895.
Over the years Trinity Lutheran was instrumental in
organizing St. John's congregation near Sargeant and
Our Savior's congregation in Brownsdale. The present
pastor is Rev. Steve Goshon.
Trinity Lutheran Cemetery was established in 1879
when the first house of worship was dedicated . It was
established and maintained by Trinity Lutheran Church
and is located in the northeast corner of Section 19 of
Waltham Township.
Bertha Louise Alvine was the first to be buried in the
cemetery on May 2, 1880, and August Hermann Friedrich
was the second burial on July 10, 1880.
George Johnson to Wayne and Lowell Johnson,
1863 to present time
George and Dorothy Johnson were natives of Leicestershire,
England. They came to the United States in
1852 with their four children: Dorothy, 3; George, 2 ;
Thomas, 1 ; and William, six weeks old. It took six weeks
for the trip across the ocean. They first settled in Erie
County, New York. In 1854 they moved to Wisconsin
and bought two hundred acres in Marquette County.
Nathan, Nathaniel, Lucy Ann and Daniel were born
In 1862 they came in a covered wagon to Mower
County. They brought a team of oxen, 300 sheep, 30
head of cattle and $20 with them. They first rented land
near Brownsdale. In 1863 they purchased the south half
of the west quarter, Section 22 in Waltham Township
from Nels Johnson for 100 sheep and $100. Three more
children were born in Waltham Township: Robert,
Elizabeth and Rebecca. Elizabeth died in 1867, the first
death in the township.
George Johnson died in 1872 after being thrown from
a horse. Dorothy Johnson died in 1892.
Mrs. George (Dorothy) Johnson
The next owner of the farm was Nathaniel Johnson.
On March 28, 1894 he married Louisa Jane Duff. To this
union were born three sons: Glenn, Robert C. and Elwin.
Elwin died in 1906 and Louisa in 1 937.
Glenn Johnson married Rena Heikes in 1925, and they
were the next owners of the farm. Their children are:
Neil, Ellen, Wayne, Mildred and Lowell. Glenn died in
1964, and the farm was purchased by Wayne and Lowell.
They are the present owners.
The Ziemer FamUy
Ziemer Farm Home constructed In 1898
Carl H . Ziemer purchased 240 acres in Section 3 and
4, Waltham Township in April, 1881 and began to work
his land.
When Carl's son, John, took over he built a new farm
house in 1898. It has been remodeled over the years, and
is still the family home in 1984.
Kenneth and Caroline Ziemer continue to operate this
farm, which was purchased by Kenneth's grandfather
over 100 years ago.
District #61 Waltham Township, Section 27
School district #61 was organized in 1866. The
following year there was a summer term taught by Emma
Hoy in the schoolhouse built that year, 1867. In the year
1938 the teacher was Mildred Crilly. In 1 942 Mrs. Keller
was the teacher. Board members were Mrs. R.
Schreiber, Ed Ohms, Glenn Johnson. This school is one
of the few remaining country schools still left on its
original location. It is used as a town hall for meetings
etc. The woods which surrounded it has been cleared
away and the land used for farming.
District #61 - 1938
MUdred Crilly - Teacher
Windom Township is bounded by the townships of
Red Rock on the north, Marshall on the east, Nevada on
the south and Austin on the west. It is drained by Rose
Creek that enters in the northeast corner from Marshall
Township, meanders south near the eastern edge and
then west to join the Cedar River.
The first settler, Sylvester Davis, came here in the
spring of 1855 and camped in section 20. In the fall of
that year he built the first dwelling in the township .
Other early arrivals were: W . T. Mandeville, Alfred
Richardson, Hugh Mills, Pliny Conkey, Horatio Marsh,
George N. Conkey and Charles Swick.
The township was organized May 1 1 , 1858 and named
Brooklyn. It included what was later to become Marshall
Township. In 1862, the state authorities requested them
to adopt another name as a town had a prior claim to the
name Brooklyn. For a short time it was named Canton,
to which there was the same objection. In May it was
christened Windom in honor of Senator William
Windom of Winona.
The meeting to organize the township was held at the
home of Nelson Cook, with he and Horatio Marsh and
Thomas Smith as election judges. Officers elected were:
Alanson Wright, chairman; John A. Thompson and
A. J. Wright, supervisors ; Nelson Cook, town clerk ;
Horatio Marsh and William Cowan, justices of the peace;
Walter Fuller, collector; Harry Slocum, constable; Roswell
Slocum, assessor; E. C. Benton, road supervisor;
and Henry Tearow, overseer of the poor.
Village of Rose Creek
Rose Creek, located in Windom Township, was named
for the small stream which runs near the town. It had its
beginning in October of 1867, when trains began
running on the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul
Railroad. The depot was erected in 1878.
Rose Creek - 1984
On Valentine's Day, 1899, Rose Creek was
incorporated. The first officers were: E. C. Keefe,
mayor; James Skahan, treasurer; W. C. Schottler, clerk;
N. H. Garrison, marshall; F. G. Ray, justice of peace;
A. R. Sutton, constable and Peter O'Malley, assessor.
The first council consisted of G. W. Phillips, R. L. Tanner
and James Ballweber. The mayors since then have
been John Cronan , Fred Gerhart, A. H. Landdeck, William
Holmquist, William Cress, John Thill, Jr. , Bernard
Schammel, Maurice Halverson, Ralph Majerus, Vern
Meister, Vernon Tracy, Melvin Schnorenberg, Larry
Luke and at the present time, Fred Lickteig.
In 1906, Peter Weinert of Wisconsin, erected a large
brick building, and entered into the general mercantile
business with Henry L. Jensen. In 1920, it was sold to the
Farmer's Coop, and in 1924 to George Hoard . In the
1920s and '30s many dances and basket socials were held
upstairs in the hall. Everyone in the community attended
including the entire family. The downstairs was used for
roller skating. In later years the building was purchased
and remodeled by Fred Nelsen. Several businesses
occupied it until it was torn down in 1967. There is a
steel building on the location now where Fred Lickteig
owns and operates the Rose Creek Implement.
The R ose Creek Creamery was organized in 1910. The
first buttermaker was Mr. Gulbrandson . Later Alfred
Overlie was manager, then Wyman Kilgore. The
creamery was closed in

1 965.
John Ulwelling owned the Meat Market. It was
operated by John Pulver beginning in 1915, Adolphe
Christopherson in 1929 and then Elmer Jensen. In 1956,
Douglas Conradt purchased the Market and enlarged it
into a locker plant.
T0WllSilip 1 02 North. Range 17 West of the Sth p , M,
Rail Road _ .5ch a a l fb.
Wa9a n Road = C h u rch Corp. L i n . ,_ .......... Ro uses
Cree k ee l,.. i
Sch ool Dis iTicis mnm/nllllm,
Rura l Routes
E . C. Keefe and his sister, Jennie, had a general
merchandise store for many years . They had everything
from shoes, clothing, hats, china to groceries. They also
bought eggs in exchange for groceries. Later this
building was used by Thill Implement until Jack Thill,
Jr. built a large building east of the village in 1967. Thill
had a very successful business until 1 981 , when he sold to
Massey Ferguson. Now he has remodeled the old bank
building, and is in the real estate business.
William Holmquist bought a building across from the
Keefe Store in 1924. He operated a grocery store there
until 1949. It was then sold to Maurice Halverson .
Owners since then have been Bernard (Chuck)
Schammel, Tom Gilson and now Don Lenz. Their wives
have assisted them.
Ulven 's Hardware Store has been in the family since
1913. Fred Ulven and his wife , Rena, lived in a house
behind the store. They put in many long hours as he also
sold gas for cars. Fred still went to the store each day
after it had been sold to his son, Stan, and his wife,
Helen .
Stan became paralyzed following surgery. He continues
to work in the store, although he has been in a wheelchair
for 28 years. Their son, Fred , and his wife, Shirley,
now operate Ulven's Hardware. They have replaced the
building with a larger structure.
State Bank of Rose Creek
The bank was organized by Augustine Vanx in 1902,
and was incorporated in 1908. Mrs. Sophrenia Dean and
her sons, Warren and William , later ran it as a private
institution for many years. A new building for the State
Bank of Rose Creek was built in May, 1978. It is owned
by C. R. (Baldy) Hansen, who is the president.
The restaurant was owned for many years by Carl and
Harriet Reinartz. Pool and cards were played in the back
room . Other owners since then have been the
McLachlans, Bettema and Fitzgerald, Ernest and Rose
Fink, Rose Blom and Mildred Thorson. It is now called
the Orange Lantern. In a part of the restaurant was a
barber shop owned and operated by E. L. (Bud)
Shoemaker for many years .
Louis Reinartz had a blacksmith shop and enjoyed
building miniature train engines with his friend, Gerald
The Post Office has been in various locations. A new
building was built in 1963. Some of those who have
served as postmasters are: C . R. Varco, George Sutton,
F. G. Ray, Thomas Cronan, Ed Keefe, Mrs . Henry
Cronan, Myrtle Carlson, Lenore Merrill, Henry Cress
and Lilly Trimble. The rural carriers have been John
Merrill, Jacob Majerus and Donald Bissen.
Standard Oil has been in Rose Creek since March 1 ,
1 929, when John Lewison opened an oil station. He was
in business for 34 years , an1 owned stations for 53 years.
Olaf Johnson became manager when John took over the
bulk truck. A new building was built near Highway 56 in
1 957. Phillip Hegge has managed the station since 1962.
In 1 9 1 1 the Huntting Elevator was doing business in
grain and coal, with Henry Cronan as manager. Today
the elevator is much larger and is managed by Donald
Morgan. .
The Fire Department has always been a volunteer
organization . In . 1 940 a rural fire company was
organized . At that time a new truck pumper was
purchased. The truck is manned by volunteers of the
village serving the village and surrounding area. The first
chief was Adolph Brown followed by John Aanonson,
Bob Bottema and Waldo Flo. The present chief is Fred
Ulven . A new truck was purchased in 1975.
Rose Creek 's firs t school was built in 1874, In 1908 the
building was sold to the village for a town hall and a new
4-room brick building was erected . Additions were built
in 1 920, 1 957 and 1977, In 1920 St. Peter's Parochial
school built a school large enough to include 12 grades.
In the 1 930s St. Peter's found it difficult to keep the
school going, so the high school students attended public
school , District 25. The St. Peter's school was finally
closed. In 1973, because of declining enrollment and
high costs, the Rose Creek, Adams and Elkton schools
consolidated into the Southland District. Grades
kindergarten through five are bused to Rose Creek; the
middle school is Elkton; and the high school in Adams .
Rose Creek also has a class for the handicapped children
in the area, and have very dedicated teachers,
St. Peter's CathoDe Church
The First St. Peter's Church was built in 1889. It was a
wooden structure. In 1964, this was replaced with a
beautiful stone structure. Later a dining hall and kitchen
were built near the church.
St. Peter's Catholic Cemetery is located in section 26
on the west edge of Rose Creek. It was surveyed and
platted on June 10, 1892 and became the property of the
parish on July 25, 191 1 . It had originally belonged to
Peter Kirtz and his wife, Anna. The land had been used
for burials before transferred to the parish. The first
burial was Mary Keefe, age 60, in 1891 .
The Congregational Church was organized in 1872
and the building erected in 1873. They had 19 members
and a flourishing Sunday school. In 1922, a new church
was built, and is still in use. After the new building was
ready for use, the ladies served many chicken and biscuit
dinners, and had bazaars to earn money for the church.
They also held ice cream socials in the summertime in
Congregational Church
the park in the center of town. They were entertained by
a band organized by A. J. Landdeck .
The Bowling Alley Building was built i n the park
much later, and a park was made in the west part of town
among the large oak trees. There are tennis courts and a
ball diamond also.
During World War I. the Rose Creek community was
active in the Red Cross. The women organized a working
group with Mrs. Henry Cronan as president; Mrs. L. P.
Albreight, vice president; Mrs . H. L. Jensen, secretary;
and Lilly Carlson (Mrs. Arthur Johnson) , treasurer.
Many bed sheets, pajamas, and much more were made
by the ladies . The Junior Red Cross was made up of
school children directed by their teachers in Windom,
Nevada and Marshall Townships.
During World War II. many men were drafted, or
volunteered to go into the various branches of service.
Some served overseas, and were in battles over there.
Some of the men who were in the service of their country
were: Olaf Johnson, Stan Ulven, John Schmit, Victor
and Ambrose Ulwelling, Donald Enright, Joseph
Landherr, Clarence Landherr, Sylvester Flemming,
Dallas Herren , Raymond Bissen, John and Willard
Meany, Dick Landherr, Al Ibiing, Robert Ulwelling,
Curtis Lastine, Pete Schmit, Luther Meister, Henry,
John and Nick Cress, Doug Conradt, John Reagi'n and
Manford Hansen.
The Rose Creek Literary Club was organized in April
of 1922 with Mrs. C. H. Wood , hairman, and Mrs.
Landdeck, as secretary. Mrs. Joy Hawkins was elected
president; Mrs. WOl;d , vice president; Mrs. A.
Wheelock, secretary; and Mrs . Joe Cronan, treasurer.
Over the past 60 years , the club has had miscellaneous
programs , including guest speakers, trips to places of
historic value, trips to the Guthrie Theater, Cinerama,
Chanhassen, book reviews , fashion shows , and papers
given by the members. The Literary Club was
instrumental in starting the Rose Creek Library. The
new library occupied space in the village jail, and the
books were donated. The club held benefit card parties,
teas , costume dance, home talent play, fashion show,
and sponsored a paper drive to give the library financial
In April, 1982, a luncheon was held at the Cedar River
Country Club at Adams, for the 60th anniversary of the
Literary Club for members and former members. Mrs .
Arlene Schnorenberg was mistress of ceremonies. Four
charter members were present at the luncheon. They
were Katie Meany, Addie Cronan, Mary Cronan and
Lilly (Carlson) Johnson . The 1 982 officers are: Isabelle
Halverson, president; Arlene Hartwig, vice president;
and Eleanor Majerus, secretary and treasurer.
In these modern times we are still a flourishing
community. In addition to businesses previously
mentioned , there are two beauty shops owned by Lois
Kobes and Marsha Stroup; a drapery shop owned by
Isabelle Halverson; an upholstery shop owned by
Gertrude Hansen ; a thrift shop run by Louise Schmit;
Sternhagen Plaster Craft; Rose Creek Produce, owned by
Julius Schultz and Stroub Brothers Farm Supply. There
are also dealerships for Avon, Watkins, Shaklee, and
Fuller Brush.
In 1956 Jack Thill Jr. platted out a large area for
homes north of Highway 56. He has built and sold
several homes since that time.
Rose Haven, a government low-cost housing project
was built in the west part of this area in 1 978. One of the
streets is called Thill Drive. There are fifteen new homes
in this area.
In 1967, Rose Creek had a big Centennial Celebration .
At that time a history book was compiled by a committee
which included Marvin Miner, Myles Bendtsen, Art
Gordon, Fred Ulven, Ben Bendtsen and Kenneth
Hanson. Some of the information in this current history
was taken from this book, and I want to thank them for
their research.
by Mae Jacobson Boe
The Meany Farm
In 1869, William Meany purchased 80 acres in section
15 of Windom Township. Following his death in 1895,
his widow, Catherine, and their children operated the
farm .
Gerald Meany, son of William and Catherine, was the
owner of the property from 1919 until his death in 1962.
John M. Meany, son of Gerald , is the present owner and
lives on the 80 acre home place.
The size of the farm has increased to 410 acres , and is
presently being farmed by Paul and Mark, sons of John
and Novella Meany.
The Reagan/Bergene Farm
The first owner of this 180 acre farm in section 12 of
Windom Township was Martin Kelley who bought it in
1866. In 1877, ownership passed to Kelley's brother-inlaw,
Michael Reagan.
The farm remained in the Reagan family through two
more generations. Martin P. Reagan, son of Michael,
became the owner in 1930; and his son, D . Bernard , in
196 1 .
The farm i s presently owned b y Brian and Teresa
Mr. and Mrs. Michael Reagan, 1890
Submitted by Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Reagan
Bergene. Teresa is the daughter of D. Bernard and
Genevieve Reagan.
The Hollister/Loucks Farm
Abram Hollister bought this 160 acres in section 19
from his father, William, in 1891 . His daugher, Alice,
married Elmer Loucks in 1 909 and they purchased the
farm from her father the same year.
Arthur H. Loucks, son of Elmer and Alice, and his
wife, Lillian, became the owners in 1937. Their son ,
Loren, and his wife, Betty (Jelinek) Loucks, purchased
the farm in January, 1963.
District #22-Enright School
Enright School, Maude Staley Teacher
The Enright School, District #22, was organized in
1865. Melinda Brown taught the first school in a frame
building erected in the northeast quarter of section 10.
Roswell Slocum donated half an acre for the schoolhouse
site. Obadiah Smith , an early settler, built the first
schoolhouse, known as the Slocum School.
May Coughlin taught in 1 909 and other teachers were:
Ethel Taylor, Florence Gerlach, Clara Mourne, Minnie
Nichols, Elizabeth Meany and Maude Staley. The older
boys attended school only in the winter months as they
were needed to help work the farmland in the summer.
A new school was built in the years 1914 and 15, which
was much bigger. The old one was moved with twelve
horses to the Enright farm a half mile south of the
school. Some of the teachers who taught in the new
school were: Ethel Schubert, Alice Stadheim, Rosabelle
Larson, Edna Ostrander, Helen Bergstrom and Lila
School was in operation until about 1933 when it
consolidated with Rose Creek and included in Southland
School System. Meetings were held in the school until
1 938. The building and contents were sold and the
building was moved to Burr Oak Addition southeast of
Austin and converted into a home, where it stands today.
District #23-Burr Oaks School
Burr Oaks School, District #23, originally included
what later became district 40. Samuel Little and wife,
Amanda, on May 8, 1867, deeded the property to
District #23.
When the district was divided , the southern part
retained the old number and a temporary building was
erected on the land donated by Little. Amanda Streaver
taught the first term. In 1868 a schoolhouse was erected
on the same site. Rebecca Otis taught first in this
building. In 1893 , Obadiah Smith built another
schoolhouse on the site. For his work he received $200
and the old building which he traded for a team of
Some teachers who taught in the Burr Oak School
were: Ethel Milbrand, 1920; Mrs. Arthur Johnson, 1930;
Betty Strong, 1940 and Wilma Nobbs, 1953. During the
time Wilima Nobbs was the teacher, a history of the
school was compiled . Interviews were taken from
members of the district. Lists of teachers, their salaries
and length of time taught in the district were included in
this very complete recording for the Centennial
(1853-1953) tribute to District #23. Gladys Hagan taug
in this district in 1942. Board members were: Joseph
Helebrant, Fred Gravenish and Joseph Praizler.
District #24-Saint's Rest School
Saint's Rest School, District #24. Organized in 1857,
the first school was taught by Mrs. Horatio March in her
home. The following year, a school building was erected
on what was then the Mills farm. It is believed to have
Saint's Rest School - 8th Grade
Left to right: Winnie Enright, Tillie Fink, Mary Craig, Olge
Fjlrstad, Tina Fink, Marg Fink
been one of the earliest schoolhouses in the state of
Minnesota. Kate Bailey was the first teacher.
Over the years, the building was kept in good repair
and did not need to be replaced as so many of the other
early schools. During the term of 191 1-12, Emeline Hart
was the teacher.
This story handed down by word of mouth from the
first settlers tells the interesting way the name "Saint's
Rest" came about. A man moving through the county in
a covered wagon reached the neighborhood on a Sunday.
At this time there were no roads ; just trails. His wagon
became mired in the mud. He tried to get help, but the
settlers were all in church. No one would leave to help ,
nor after service would they go to his aid , because it was
the Sabbath. Someone later remarked that "The Saints
were all at rest." That neighborhood and the school was
characterized by that name.
Mrs. Winifred (Enright) Murphy has shared memories
of the time she and ten of her brothers and sisters spent
in this school nearly 80 years ago. There were woods on
three sides, a well near the school , a coal shed and
outdoor toilets. Usually there were 20 to 25 pupils in all
eight grades . The children brought their lunch in tin
pails as many of them lived a great distance from the
school. At noon and recess outdoor games were played :
baseball, tag, pump-pump pullaway and run, sheep, run
in the woods and hazel brush near the building.
Christmas always meant an evening program where each
ofthe pupils took part with songs, poems , plays , etc. , an
event attended by the whole neighborhood . On
Valentine's Day, it was the custom to have a program in
the evening with a basket social following. The ladies .
brought beautifully trimmed baskets with lunch for two.
Each man would proceed to bid on the basket he
suspected was brought by his favorite lady. After all baskets
were auctioned , everyone had a partner for lunch .
Saint's Rest School closed around 1944-45. The pupils
were then bused to Austin. The school building is used as
a farm building on the Oliver Whalen farm, after serving
proudly as a place of learning for almost 100 years.
District #40-0ak Grove School
Oak Grove School , District 40, was originally part of
District #23. School was first held in this district in 1857
taught by Jane Reeves. The school building was a board
shanty owned by Henry Fero and located in section 6. In
the fall , a log schoolhouse was built, the first in the
township . Maria Slocum was the first teacher in this
In 1867, the district was divided and #40-0ak Grove
School began. A schoolhouse was built in the northeast
corner of section 6. Amelia Houghtn was the first
teacher. Muriel Reagan, one ofthe many teachers in this
school, taught in 1942.
Ella Guiney, a country schoolteacher, remembers the
following experiences as a teacher in District #40. The
Bailey boys, Melvin and Celus, who were black, lived
with an aunt and uncle on the Tichner farm. The kids
mistreated them at another school, so they were assigned
to Miss Smith's (Ella Guiney) care.
"One day Melvin and Celus were not at their desks so I
looked around, " said Ella. "I found them a ways down
the road sitting in the weeds. " It seemed the other kids
had been poking them and calling them niggers. From
then on Melvin and Celus were sent home ahead of the
other pupils to assure their safety. "
Ella continued. "About that time a basket social was
held at the school . For the program Melvin and Celus
sang and danced a jig. The parents and children enjoyed
it so much that after they forgot that Melvin and Celus
were black. Later the boys returned to the South. "
Ella Guiney also taught in the Enterprise (Varco)
School, District #29. In the early 1900s this was the
largest rural school in the county boasting all of 60
pupils. She stayed about a mile from the school at the
home of the Schulers. Board and room cost $3 a week,
and her salary was $60 a month , the highest paid teacher
in the rural school system .
District #46-Hawkins School
Hawkins School, District #46 was organized in 1869.
The following year a board shanty was put up on land
donated by J. C. Hawkins in the southwest corner of
section 32. The first term was taught by Maggie Smith.
In 1874, a frame building was erected on the same site
with James Woodard the teacher.
Hawkins School, early 19008, Helen McShane - Teacher
These interesting notes concerning the Hawkins school
were given by Ella Marie Lausen. "At the annual
meeting on July 17, 1886, G. B. Hart was elected
treasurer and J. C. Hawkins, clerk. A motion was passed
to levy $75 for building a coal shed and outhouses . The
school term was decided to be seven months with five
months iii the winter commencing the first Monday in
November and two months in the summer commencing
the first Monday in May. Teachers' wages were $150 for
the seven months. In 1887, it was voted to purchase a
stove, and if funds were sufficient, to also purchase a
dictionary. ' ,
In 1 928, a Mothers' Club was organizd . It continues
today, now known as "The Friendly Neighbors. "
Membership includes those living or who have lived in
the District 46 area.
The school closed when many other schools were
consolidated . Some joined the Rose Creek District and
others, the Lyle District. The contents of the school were
sold at auction, and the building was moved to the Art
Loucks' farm and torn down.
Mrs. Geneva (Pedersen) Johnson remembers some of
the teachers who taught through the years at Hawkins
School. Around 1917, Mrs. Lester Berry (Florence
Wilder) ; 1918-19, Blanche (Matth.ews) Hawkins ;
1919-20, Agnes (Boyington) Wade; 1921-23, Winefred
(Enright) Murphy; 1923-24, Edith Hill; 1 924-30, Mable
Lightly; 1930-31 , Vesta (Moltz) Staples; 1 931-33,
Geneva (Pedersen) Johnson; 1933-35, Dale Baldus.
District #73-The Centennial School
Organized in 1869, the first building was a cheap
structure on the southwest corner of section 14. Alice
French was the first teacher. In 1875, land was acquired
from Charles Ruland, and the following year a better
building was erected . Newell Slocum was hired as the
first teacher in the new schoolhouse. It was called "The
Centennial School;" erected 100 years after the country's
The school closed and consolidated with the Rose
Creek District in 1917. Myrtle Smith was the teacher
during the last year the school was in session.
Centennial School
Left to right: Marie Schwartz, Helen Ruland, Irene Schwartz
District #82
The first school in this district was taught by Maggie
Smith in 1 867. It was held in a house erected by Thomas
Smith in the northeast quarter of section 12. A few weeks
later a frame building was built on the southeast corner
of section 12.
District #88
This district originally included District #25 which
later became the Rose Creek Village School. Organized
in 1859, the first school was held in Patrick O'Maley's
house and taught by Sarah Slaven . In 1864, a log house
was erected on the southeast quarter of section 23.
Columbia School, District #123
This district was organized and a schoolhouse erected
in 1893. The first teacher was Olive Savage.
A Teacher's Memories of the Rural School
Eight years a student, two years a teacher, and a
couple of years a member of the Mother's Club in the
same school is a unique experience, not enjoyed by
many, I am sure.
I attended Hawkins School, District #46, located
southeast of Austin, for two weeks to get used to the
school I would attend the following fall. My home was
one mile from school and extreme weather, only,
interrupted the daily walk. .
I started my teaching career in District #46. Teaching
in the 1930s included being a full-time janitor, as well as
an instructor in all eight grades . There were fires to
build, water, coal and wood to carry in, and ashes to
carry out. The youngest pupils were seated closest to the
jacketed stove. In cold weather, especially after the
weekend, the building took a long time to warm up.
Long heavy stockings, heavy undergarments, etc. were
worn in those days. I remember how good the hot lunch
would taste as supplement to our dinner bucket
sandwiches. Each day a different family provided the
makings and the pupils were appointed to prepare the
food . Thus, we were receiving a lesson in Home Ec.
, Organ-playing teachers found the pupils enthusiastic
singers. Morning exercises consisted of singing,
memorizing and quoting "Memory Gems , " listening to
the teacher read from a book, and contests such as
identifying birds from the bird cards put out by the Arm
and Hammer Soda Co.
After recess on Friday afternoons, time was spent
making posters, booklets, penmanship, sewing, weaving
raffia baskets and making other articles. Many of these
were taken to the Mower County Fair to be a part of the
Rural School Exhibit. How proud we were of the ribbons
Christmas programs were popular. There were candles
on the Christmas tree which were lit during the program.
They were very serious fire hazzards; especially with a
group of children in the small space the tree occupied behind
the curtains.
During my first year of teaching I had only three
attending until spring when three more moved into the
district. Some teachers had thirty or more students and
all eight grades. Somewhere in between the two extremes
would have been much more desirable.
These are but a few of the treasured memories I have
kept from the years when I was a Mower County Rural
By Geneva Pedersen Johnson
Prairie View Cemetery
The Prairie View Cemetery was laid out in 1881 by
John Merrill. The first burial was that of Amos Hickok,
April 1 , 1882. It is located in Section 25, of Windom
moved to other cemeteries ; the majority to the Rose
Creek Cemetery in Austin Township .
Adams, Jean H. and John Kay, Tales of Mower County.
Austin: Mrs. Jean H. Adams, 1949. 90 pp.
Anon. , Atlas ofM ower County Minnesota. Minneapolis:
Title Atlas Co. , Inc . , 1973.
Anon. , A tlas of'Mower County Minnesota. Minneapolis:
Title Atlas Co. , Inc., 1983.
Anon. , Illustrated Historical A tlas of the State of Minnesota.
Chicago: A. T. Andreas, 1 874, 394 pp.
Anon . , Plat Book and Farm Directory of Mower County
Minnesota. Minneapolis: Hudson Map Co. , 1925. 48 pp.
Anon. , Progressive Austin. 1 938-1 939. Austin: 1939. 48
Anon. , Souvenir of Austin. Minnesota. 1 904-05. Austin:
F. H. McCulloch Printing Co. , 1904.
Anon. , Standard A tlas of Mower County Minnesota.
Chicago: Geo. A. Ogle & Co. , 1896 . 95 pp.
Austin Advertising Club, Progressive A ustin. 1 929.
Austin: F. H. McCulloch Printing Co. , 1 929. 44 pp.
Austin Central Committee, Progressive A ustin, 1 931.
Austin: F. H. McCulloch Printing Co. , 193 1 .
Austin Chamber of Commerce, Progressive Austin,
1 941 - 1 942. Austin: F. H. McCulloch Printing Co. , 1942.
Austin Commercial Club, Souvenir of Mower County.
Austin : F. H. McCulloch Printing Co. , 1915.
Basford , H . 0., Souvenir of The City of A ustin, Minnesota.
Austin: Austin Daily Register, 1 896 .
Christianson, B . M . , From the Land of the Midnight
Sun to the Fertile Prairie of Minnesota. 1972. 106 pp.
Curtiss-Wedge, Franklyn, The History of Mower County
Minnesota. Chicago: H. C. Cooper, Jr. , & Co. , 191 1 .
1006 pp.
Dougherty, Richard , In Quest of Quality, H ormel's First
75 Years. Austin: Geo. A . Hormel & Co. , 1 966. 357 pp.
Gordon, N. S . , Mower County Transcript Annual.
Austin: Mower County Transcript, 1892.
Inter-State Historical Co. , History of Mower County
Minnesota. Mankato: Free Press Publishing House,
1884. 610 pp.
Junior Chamber of Commerce, Progressive A ustin
1935-36. Austin: F. H. McCulloch Printing Co. , 1 935. 48
Pierce, Paul R . , The Sage of a Peoples University,
Southern Minnesota Normal College and University of
Southern Minnesota (1897- 1 926). Austin: 1968. 23 pp.
Skinner, John H . , Mower County in the World War.
Austin: Austin Herald, 1919. 277 pp.
Webb Publishing Co. , Township Plats of Mower County
Minnesota. St. Paul: The Farmer, 1915. 43 pp.
1st Baptist Church, Brownsdale, 381
1st Baptist Church, Le Roy, 345
1st Congregational Church, Austin, 177, 178
1st Methodist Episcopal Church, Brownsdale,
380, 381
1st Presbyterian Church, Le Roy, 346
1st United Methodist Church, 186-188
4-H, 99-105
4-H Leader Awards, 100
4-H Member Awards, 100
4-Wheel Drive Assoc . , 279
Adams, 310-312
Adams Co-op, 122
Adams Township, 307-313
Adams Twp. Plat Map 1915, 307
AEA, 292
Ag. Stabilization & Conservation Ser.,
Agape Halfway House, 282
Agricultural Instructors, 96
Agriculture, 58-90
Airshow, 134
Allen Century Farm, 332
Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butchers
American Dairy Assoc . , 1 17
American Dairy Princess, 296
American Dairy Princesses, 1 1 7
American Farmers, 96
American Legion, Austin, 286
Ames School, 357
Anderson Century Farm, 3 1 3
Anderson's Memorials, 204
Anderson/Reuter Century Farm, 371
Anderson/Sprau Century Farm, 368
Angell Cemetery, 320
Art and Travel Club, 256, 257
Art Group, 283
ASCS, 262-264
Ashley Century Farm, 371
Assoc. for Retarded Citizens, 255, 256
Assoc. of Legal Secretaries, 278
Assoc. of the Deaf, 282
Aultfather Century Farm, 317
Aultfather, James H . , 74
Austin, 1 3 1 - 133
Austin Acres, 150
Austin Aldermen, 152
Austin Art Group, 283
Austin Artist Series, 195
Austin A VTI, 163
Austin Boy's Band, 194
Austin Bus Line, 297
Austin B usinesses & Professions, 204-252
Austin Candy, 228, 229
Austin Churches, 1 7 1-191
Austin City GovernPlent, 152-155
Austin City Officials , 153
Austin City Standing Comm. , 153
Austin Community College, 162, 163
Austin Community Scholarship Comm . , 165
Austin Daily Herald , 166, 298
Austin Dental Society, 57
Austin Distribution Co. Inc . , 205
Austin Education Association, 292
Austin Elementary Schools, 157-159
Austin Farm Center, 207
Austin Fire Department, 154, 155
Austin Garden Club, 285
Austin Grain Co. , 122
Austin High School, 159- 161
Austin History, 300, 301
Austin Homes, 150
Austin Male Chorus, 192-193
Austin Mayors, 152
Austin Municipal Band, 195
Austin Park & Recreation, 170
Austin Photos, 19, 20, 136
Austin Police Department, 153
Austin Post Office, 297
Austin Public Schools , 1 56-161
Austin Public Schools , 296
Austin School Superintendents, 161
Austin Symphony Orchestra, 196-198
Austin Township, 313-318
Austin Twp. Plat Map 1 915, 314
Austin Utilities, 168-170
Austin Utilities Board, 169
Austin Women's Chorus, 194
Austin, City of, 8 , 9, 10, 15, 16
Austin, Wayne, 205
B I Club, 330
Banfield School, 158
Baptist Church of Sargeant, 386
Barclay Century Farm, 360
Barrow Show, 84-90
Baseball, 19
Basketball , 294
Baudler, Baudler & Maus, 233, 234
Bear Creek Cemetery, 331
Bear Creek Lutheran Church, 331
Bennington Lutheran Church, 320
Bennington Township, 3 18-321
Benningt.on Twp. Plat Map 1915, 319
Bergene Century Farm, 402
Bervin, Ove, 161
Bethany Bible Church, 347
Bethany Lutheran Cemetery, 343
Bethany Lutheran Church, 343
Bethal Alliance Church, 360
Bicentennial, 203
Bicentennial Wagon Train, 383
Blue Star School, 385
Braaten Century Farm , 394
Bray Century Farm, 394
Brown Cemetery, 384
Brown Century Farm, 371 , 372
Brown Hotel, Brownsdale, 378
Brownlow Red Owl, 354
Brownsdale "Journal", 379
Brownsdale "Leaflet" , 379
Brownsdale Boom, 378, 379
Brownsdale Businessmen, 382
Brownsdale Co-op, 122
Brownsdale Fire Dept. , 379-380
Brownsdale Fires, 379-380
Brownsdale Men's Club, 382
Brownsdale Post Office, 379
Burr Oaks School, 403
Butler Apartments, 207
Cadet Band, Le Roy, 352
Callan School, 324
Calvary Cemetery, 315
Camera Club, 280
Cardiac Rehabilitation Group, 274
Cargill Elevator, Waltham, 123
Carll Century Farm, 395
Catherwood , 235, 236
Catholic Soc. of Foresters, 269
Cattlemen's Assoc . , 120
Cedar City, 358
Cedar City Cemetery, 313
Cedar City School, 316
Cedar River, 147
Cedar River Church of Christ, 176, 177
Cedar Valley Rehabilitation Workshop, Inc . ,
Cedar Valley University, 2
Census, 140, 146
Centennial Celebration, 203
Centennial School, 405
Central Grade School, 158
Chatauqua, 143
Chicago & Great Western R . R . , 298
Choralaires, 193, 194
Christ Episcopal Church, 179
Christgau Century Farm, 327
Christian Education Center, 268
Church of Christ, Austin, 176
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints,
Church of the Open Bible, 175
Church Women United, 271
Civic Gifts, 146
Civic Improvement League, 134
Civil Defense, 125
Civil War, 13, 14, 149, 150
Clark, "Hunter" , 2, 6, 336, 341
Clasen-Jordan Mortuary, 225
Clausen, Rev. C. 1. , 183, 184, 3 12, 331, 341,
342, 370, 392, 393
Clayton Township, 321 -324
Clayton Twp. Plat Map 1915, 322
Clement Grain Co. , Grand Meadow, 122
Co-Workers of Mother Theresa, 269
Coal, 19
Coca-Cola Bottling Co., 205
Columbia School, 405
Commodity Credit Corporation, 263
Community Church of Taopi, 363
Congregational Church, Rose Creek, 401
Conscription, 151
Corbitt Century Farm, 368
Corbitt School, 366
Corcoran School, 323
Corning, 342
Cotillion Club, 254
Cottage Hotel, 220
Country Life, 58
County Government, 124-126
Courthouse, 1 1 , 12
Crane Community Chapel, 178, 179
Crane Lumber Co. , 209
Cream Can Bandits, 150
Credit Women International, 287
Crop Improvement Assoc . , 1 19
CVRW, 290
Cahle/Rockwell Century Farm, 384
Dairy, 109, 1 10
Dairy Statistics, 1 10
DAR, 253
Dawes Century Farm, 395
Delta Kappa Gamma, 270
Depression, 147, 263
Dexter Cemetery, 324
Dexter Elevator, 122
Dexter Township, 324-328
Dexter Twp. Plat Map 1915, 325
Dicken's Greenhouse, 208
Dragoons , 6
Duenow Food Service, 214, 215
Duerst, Frank A., 74
Eckhardt, Arnold, 294
Egg Mates, 119
Election, 1856, 12
Elkton Booster Club, 367
Elkton School, 367
Elkton Village, 367
Ellis School, 159
Enerson Century Farm, 372
Enright School, 403
Enterprise Cemetery, 313, 315
Enterprise School, 316
Eppard Century Farm, 376
Erickson School, 323
Evangel' Lutheran Church, 388
Evans Century Farm, 376
Ever Normal Granary, 263
Excelsior School, 355
F.A.C.T.S., 288
Faith Lutheran Church, 180, 181
Farmers Co-op Grain, Lyle, 123
Farm Methods, 75-83
Farmer's Coop Grain & Stock Co., 349
Farmers Home Administration, 262-264
Farmers Institute, 134
Farmers Mutual Insurance Co ., 55
Farming Methods, 106-109
Federal Farm Board, 262, 263
Federated Women's Club, 254
FFA Alumni, 97
FHA, 262-264
Fire, 1923, 142
First Bank of Austin, 209, 210
First Baptist Church, Austin, 172, 173
First Legislator, 12
First National Bank, Le Roy, 353
First State Bank, Le Roy, 352
First White Settler, 4, 5
Flood, 1854, 7
Flood, 1911, 134
Flood s, 1978, 299
Floodway Action Citizens Task Source, 288
Floral Club, 201
Florin School, 332
Food Cooperative, 291
Foster Parent's Assoc ., 289
Fox Hotel, 211, 212
Frankford Cemetery Floral Club, 330
Frankford Township, 328-333
Frankford , Twp. Plat Map 1915, 329
Frankford Village, 328
Freeborn-Mower Electric Co-op ., 118, 119
Furlong, John J., 73
Future Farmers of America, 91-97
Gem and Mineral Society, 287
Gibson Family, 339
Gildner's, 230
Gilgenbach Century Farm, 363
Goetsch Century Farm , 361
Gold, 137
Goodsell Century Farm, 332
Goodwin Century Farm, 394
Gopher Bottling Co., 206
Gopher Distributing Co., 206
Grace American Lutheran Church, 181
Grace Baptist Church, 171, 172
Grain Elevators, 121-123
Grand Meadow, 333
Grand Meadow Ax Murder, 142
Grand Meadow Township, 333-336
Grand Meadow Twp. Plat Map 1915, 335
Grandview Memorial Gardens, 315
Greenwood Cemetery, 384
Gregg School, 370
Gregg/Murphy Century Farm, 372
Gronseth Century Farm, 390
Hagan School, 385
Hamilton Village, 6
Hansen Century Farm, 360
Hanson Century Farm, 372
Hanson Tire Service, 348
Happy Thought Club, 315
Harvest States Co-op, Elkton, 122
Haugland Century Farm, 372
Hawkins School, 404
Headquarters Building, 201, 248, 255, 259
Headquarters Building, 10
Helle Century Farm, 372
Heltne, Paul, 196
Highway 16, 148
Hillier Century Farm, 318
Hirsh Clothing, 213
Hoflanda Swedish Lutheran Church, 366
Hollister Century Farm , 403
Holton, I. J., 165
Honor Roll, 130
Hopfe Auctioneers, 215
Horace Austin State Park, 148, 296
Hormel Institute, 165
Hormel Men's Club Band, 195
Hormel, Geo. A. & Co ., 40, 145, 239-252,
294, 298, 299
Hormel, George A., 239
Hormel, Jay c., 296
Huntting Elevator, 121-123
Huntting Elevator , Grand Meadow, 122
Huntting Elevator , Lansing, 122
Huntting Elevator, Lyle, 123
Huntting Elevator , Rose Creek, 123
Immanuel Lutheran Church , 374
Immigration, 7
Indian Artifacts, 26, 27
Ingvalson Eggs , 56
Irrigation, 111
Jaycees, 286
Jehovah 's Witnesses, 180
John's Tire Shop, 348
Johnsburg, 308
Johnson (Ole) Century Farm, 394
Johnson Century Farm, 398
Johnson Chevrolet, 348
Johnson, Nate, 131
Jordahl, David, 197
Kelly Family, 43
Kingswood, 296
Kiwanis Club, 257-259
Knowlton, Richard L. , 239
Kopplin School, 390
Korean War, 305
Kramer Century Farm, 312, 313
Ladies Floral Club, 201
Lady Ikes, 276
Lake Louise State Park, 351
Lamb House, 328, 330
Land Prices, 1861, 14
Lansing Cemetery, 340
Lansing Elementary School, 339
Lansing Flour Mill, 336
Lansing Post Office, 338
Lansing State Bank, 338
Lansing Township, 336-343
Lansing Twp. Plat Map 1915, 337
Larick Farm, 81
Larson Farm, 78
LOS Church, 177
Le Roy "Old Town", 343, 344
Le Roy American Legion, 349, 350
Le Roy American Legion Aux., 350
Le Roy Businesses, 353, 355
Le Roy Cemetery Assoc., 347
Le Roy Commercial Club, 350, 351
Le Roy Electric, 353
Le Roy Fibre Co ., 353
Le Roy Fire Dept., 352
Le Roy Garden Club, 350
Le Roy History Club, 350
Le Roy Hotel, 353
Le Roy Independent, 349
Le Roy Library, 347
Le Roy Lutheran Church, 346
Le Roy Organizations, 351
Le Roy Post Office, 352
Le Roy Products Corp ., 354
Le Roy Schools, 349
Le Roy Telephone Co., 353
Le Roy Village, 345
Le Roy Creamery Assoc. , 348
Le Roy Township, 343-355
Le Roy Twp. Plat Map 1915, 344
Leuthold Clothiers, 215, 216
Leverich, Chauncey, 2, 8, 9, 11
Liberty School, 371
Library Board, 153
Liebenstein, F. L. , 100
Lincoln School, 157
Lions Club, Brownsdale, 382
Little Cedar Lutheran Church, 312
Local P-9, 284
Lodi Township, 361-364
Lodi Twp. Plat Map 1915, 361
Lommen Clinic, 236, 237
Loucks Century Farm, 403
Lutheran Church, Grand Meadow, 333
Lyl e, 358-360
Lyle Center School, 357
Ly le Congregational Church, 360
Lyle Post Office, 359
Lyle Public School, 359
Lyle Townsh ip, 355
Lyle Twp. Plat Map 1915, 356
Machacek Century Farm, 360
Madison, 392
Maloney's Standard Service, 216
Maple Leaf School, 326, 327
Mapleview, 341, 342
Mapleview Women Club, 342
Marigold Dairy, 298
Marshall Lutheran Cemetery, 323
Marshall Lutheran Church, 321
Marshall Township, 364-368
Marshall Twp. Plat Map 1915, 365
Martin Century Farm, 390
Martz Furniture, 354
Matchbox Children's Theatre, 283
Mayer Funeral Home, 212
McIntyre Woman's Relief Corps 27, 266
McKinley School, 366
McQuillan, Jacob, 2, 4-6, 11
Meals on Wheels, 279-291
Meany Century Farm, 402
Meany, Doc, 133
Methodist Norwegian Cem.-Bear Creek, 331
Mexican Border, 302
Mildred's, 216
Milwaukee Railroad, 31-48
Minnercka School, 357
Minnesota Sheriffs Boys Ranch, 29, 30
Mix Cleaners, 217
Monitor School, 327
Moonshine, 140
Moose Lodge #1180, 273
Moosehaven, 273
Morey, Edith, 297
Mousenik. 383

Mower County Assessor, 125
Mower County Attorney, 125
Mower County Auditor, 124
Mower County Clerk of Court, 125
Mower County Commissioners, 124
Mower County Coroner, 125
Mower County Council of Social Agencies,
Mower County Court Services, 125
Mower County Courthouse, 298
Mower County Early History, 2
Mower County Engineer, 125
Mower County Extension Comm ., 111, 112
Mower County Extension Service, 98-114
Mower County Extension Staff, 111
Mower County Fair, 21-25, 102-105
Mower County Farm Bureau, 114, 146
Mower County Farmers Mutual Ins. Co ., 218
Mower County Farmers Tax League, 146
Mower County Farming, 18
Mower County Geneal. Soc., 28
Mower County Grange, 123
Mower County Health and Sanitation, 125
Mower County Historical Soc., 25, 26
Mower County History, 16, 17, 299, 300
Mower County Home, 125
Mower County Nurse, 125
Mower County Organization, 4
Mower County Pioneer and Hist. Build., 266
Mower County Poor Farm, 29, 125
Mower County Probate Judge, 125
Mower County Probate Registrar, 125
Mower County Recorder, 125
Mower County Red Cross, 49-54
Mower County School Superintendents, 125
Mower County Sheriff, 125, 126
Mower County Social Services, 125
Mower County Surveyor, 125
Mower County Treasurer, 124
Mower County Zoning, 125
Mower, John Edward, 3
Murphy Century Farm, 372
Music in Austin, 192-199
Nagele Century Farm, 363
National Guard, 137, 151, 302-306
Negro Fugitives, 14
Nelson (Ed) Century Farm, 372
Nelson Century Farm, 371
Nelson, Martin A., 149
Nelson, Tom, 129
Nemitz, 219, 220
Nevada Center School, 371
Nevada Township, 368-372
Nevada Twp. Plat Map 1915, 369
Neveln School, 158
Nichols, Austin, 7
Nordin, Dr. Walter, 234
Northwestern Singers, 193
Oak Grove School, 404
Oakdale, 139
Oakwood Cemetery, 340, 341
Old Settlers Celebration, Le Roy, 351
Olsen Farm, 75
Olson/Haugland Century Farm, 372
Order of the Eastern Star, 260, 261
Organizations, Austin Area, 253-306
Osman Oriental Band, 262
Our Lady of Loretto Catholic Church, 381
Our Savior's Luth. Church, Austin, 182
Our Savior's Luth. Church, Brownsdale, 382
Our Savior's Luth. Church, Lyle, 359
Overcamp School, 334
Pappas Restaurant, 226
Park and Recreation, 153
Partridge , Jesse, 99
Party Line Club, 288
Patchen's Inn, 11
Payment in Kind, 264
Peterson Century Farm, 394
Philomath ian Club, 267
Photo Fun Camera Club, 277
PIK, 264
Pike Transportation Service, Inc., 220
Pinehurst School, 370
Pioneer Life , 17
Piper, Pat, 128
Plager, Carroll R., 74
Pleasant Valley Township, 372-374
Pleasant Valley Twp. Plat Map 1915, 373
Pleasant View School, 317
Plunkett, Schmitt & Plunkett, 238
Pork Producers, 113
Porkettes, 114
Poultry Industry, Le Roy, 354
Prairie View Cemetery, 405
Prairie View School, 317
Prohibition, 135, 136, 139
Public Library, 200, 201
Queen of Angels Catholic Church, 175
Queen of Peace Catholic Church, 359, 360
Racine Elevator, 123
Racine Township, 374-376
Racine Twp. Plat Map 1915, 375
Railroad Veterans, 43-46
Ramsey, 342
Ramsey Golf Club, 217
Ramsey Ladies Club, 54
Rasmussen, Geraldine, 166
Rasmussen, H. E., 166
Rattlesnakes, 17, 18
Rayman, 237, 238
REA, 118, 119
Reagan Century Farm, 402
Rebekah Lodge, 292
Red Ball Route, 135
Red Oak Grove Cemetery, 393
Red Oak Grove Lutheran Church, 392
Red Rock Township, 376-386
Red Rock Twp. Plat Map 1915, 377
Red Star School, 357
Reding, Leo J., 128, 129
Regan Motor Sales, 348
Reinartz, AI, 127
Retired Teachers, Austin Area, 270
Reuter Century Farm, 371
Riverside School, 364
Road Runners Club, 279
Roads, 18
Robbins' Furniture, 222-224
Rochford, Harold, 199
Rocket Society, 383
Rockwell Century Farm, 384
Rodeo, 143
Rolfson, Asbjorn, 327
Rolfson, Helen, 133
Roosevelt School, 364
Rose Creek Cemetery, 313
Rose Creek Literary Club, 402
Rose Creek School, 401
Rose Creek Village, 399-402
Rose Haven, 402
Rugg Century Farm, 384
Rukke Century Farm, 394
Runkle Century Farm, 332, 333
Rural Electrification Admin., 118, 119
Rural School Teacher, 334, 335
Rutherford Family, 339
Ryan, Paddy, 143
Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church,
311, 312
Saint's Rest School, 403
Salem Cemetery, 374, 376
Salvation Army, 189, 190
Sargeant, 150
Sargeant Grain Co ., Sargeant, 123
Sargeant School, 386
Sargeant Township, 386-390
Sargeant Twp. Plat Map 1915, 387
Sayles (Dean) Century Farm, 318
Sayles (Sheldon) Century Farm, 318
Sayles Dairy Farm, 76
Schleuders , 221, 222
School Dist. #10, 370
School Dist. #102, 320
School Dist. #103, 366
School Dist. #104, 371
School Dist. #105, 366
School Dist. #106, 326
School Dist. #107, 386
School Dist. # 109, 323
School Dist. #11, 371
School Dist. #111, 390
School Dist. #113, 390
School Dist. #1 16, 385
School Dist. #1 17, 324
School Dist. #1 18, 320
School Dist. #12, 355
School Dist. #120, 366
School Dist. #121, 327
School Dist. #122, 340
School Dist. #123, 405
School Dist. #127, 324
School Dist. #128, 317
School Dist. #13, 355
School Dist. #14, 355
School Dist. #144, 390
School Dist. #15, 357
School Dist. #163, 332
School Dist. #17, 331
School Dist. #18, 320
School Dist. #19, 332
School Dist. #20, 334
School Dist. #21, 334
School Dist. #22, 403
School Dist. #23, 403
School Dist. #24, 403, 404
School Dist. #26, 316
School Dist. #28, 316
School Dist. #29, 316
School Dist. #3, 320
School Dist. #32, 323
School Dist. #35, 332
School Dist. #36, 332
School Dist. #37, 385
School Dist. #4, 349
School Dist. #40, 404
School Dist. #43, 339, 340
School Dist. #45, 340
School Dist. #46, 404
School Dist. #492, 159, 298
School Dist. #50, 394
School Dist. #53, 334
School Dist. #54, 357
School Dist. #55, 317
School Dist. #56, 371
School Dist. #57, 357
School Dist. #6, 309
School Dist. #60, 394
School Dist. #61,. 399
School Dist. #65, 364
School Dist. #68, 385
School Dist. #69, 334
School Dist. #7, 309, 310
School Dist. #70, 357
School Dist. #71, 310
School Dist. #72, 310
School Dist. #72J, 340
School Dist. #73, 405
School Dist. #74, 323
School Dist. #79, 343
School Dist. #82, 364
School Dist. #82, 405
School Dist. #84, 332
School Dist. #85, 320
School Dist. #87, 371
School Dist. #88, 405
School Dist. #9, 370
School Dist. #91, 389, 390
School Dist. #92, 320
School Dist. #95, 320
School Dist. #97, 332
Schuyler Speer Century Farm, 320, 321
Scovill Jewelry, 224
SCS, 262-264
Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 190
Shaw School, 158
Shrine Club, 262
Siegel Farm Implement, 386
Silver Maple School, 355
Six Mile Grove Cemetery, 370
Six Mile Grove Church, 370
Six Town News, 379
Sleeper's Lightening-Fly Poison, 378
Smith Shoe Co., 226, 227
Smith, Edmund E., 167, 168
Smith/Barclay Century Farm, 360
Snortum Century Farm, 368
Snowstorm, 1873, 35
Soil and Conservation Dist., 115
Soil Conservation Service, 262-264
Solo Parents and Adult Club, 281
Sondovslie Century Farm, 372
Sons of Norway, 265, 266
Sorenson Century Farm, 343
South River St. Extension Group, 316
Southern Minn. Normal College, 164
Southgate School, 159
Spam Post #570, 286
Spanish American War, 302
Sperati, C. Vittorio, 192, 193, 195
Sprau Farm, 82
Square Deal Grocery, 225, 226
St. Augustine's Catholic Church, 173, 174
St. Augustine's Cemetery, 315
St. Edward's Catholic Church, 175
St. Finbarr's Catholic Church, 333
St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 308,
St. John's Cemetery, 309
St. John's Christian Day School, 183
St. John's Lutheran Church, Austin, 182, 183
St. John's Lutheran Church, Marshall Twp.,
St. John's Lutheran Church, Sargeant Twp .,
St. Luke's Lutheran Church, 336
St. Mark's Lutheran Home Aux. , 271
St. Michael's Lutheran Church, 397, 398
St. Monica Court, #374, 269
St. Olaf Hospital, 299
St. Olaf Lutheran Church, Austin, 183-185
St. Patrick's Catholic Church, 346, 347
St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, 185,
St. Peter's Catholic Church, 401
Stagecoaches, 9
State Bank of Rose Creek, 401
State Farmers, 95, 96
State Star Farmers, 96
Sterling Christian Church, 190
Stump Jumpers Club, 279
Sumner School, 158
Sutton, 324
T.O.W. Club, 274
Tanner Cemetery , 384
Tanner School, 385
Taopi Cemetery, 363
Taopi Churches, 36 1, 363
Taopi Congregational Church, 363
Taopi Presbyterian Church, 361
Taopi Village, 361
Teachers Memories, 405
Temanson Cemetery, 331
Temperance Society, 121
Thieves, 6
Thompson Century Farm, 342, 343
Thomson Newspapers, 167
Thomson, Cy, 140, 141, 242
Tichy's Band, 195
Tin Box, 12
Tornado, 1928, 144, 145
Town and Country Garden Club, 272
Townhouse, 228
Toy Soldiers, 283
Trinity Evangelical Luth. Church, Dexter,
324, 326
Trinity Evangelical Luth. Church, Waltham,
Triplets, 296
Troy City, 358
Twin Towers, 298
Two Rivers, 313
Udolpho Cemetery, 393
Udolpho Township, 390-395
Udolpho Twp. Plat Map 1915, 391
Ulven's Hardware Store, 401
Unionist, 284
United Church Women, 271
United Food and Commercial Workers, 284
United Methodist Church, Dexter, 324
United Methodist Church, Lansing, 336
United Packinghouse Workers of Amer.,
University of Southern Minn., 164
Usem Chevrolet Co ., 23 1
Utilities Board, 153
Varco Station, 313
Vaughan, A. B., 2, 7-9, 11, 12
Veterans of Foreign Wars, Austin, 259, 260
Veterans Service Officer, 125
Vigilantes, 6
Violet Club, 272
Vo Ag Instructors, 96
Vo Ag Teacher of the Year, 96
Wallace's Inc., 229, 230
Waltham Township, 395-399
Waltham Twp. Plat Map 1915, 396
Ward, Jimmie, 134
Warn Century Farm, 336
We Care, 257
Webber-Stephenson Agency, 213, 214
Webster School, 158
Wescott, Ray, 161
Westminster presbyterian Church, 188, 189
Whittier School, 158
Williams Museum, 26, 27
Williams Plumbing & Heating, 227, 228
Windom Township, 399-405
Windom Twp. Plat Map 1915, 400
Woman Christian Temperance Union, 278
Woodbury Cemetery, 357, 358
Woodbury Church of Christ, 357
Woodbury School, 355
Woodbury Willing Workers, 358
Woodson School, 157, 316
World War I, 137-139, 191 , 303, 304, 402
World War II, 151, 293, 294, 304, 305, 402
YMCA, 275
Y Matrons, 276
YWCA, 276
Young, S. L. & Sons Transfer, 23 1-233
Ziemer Century Farm, 398, 399
Zion Lutheran Church, 388, 389
Zion United Methodist Church, Sargeant,
Zonta International, 253