An Illustrated History of Jackson County, Minnesota

Of all the counties of Southwestern Minnesota Jackson has the most interesting history. Settled as it was years before inhabitants came to other portions of Southwestern Minnesota, its early history is more replete with stirring events than that of its neighbors. On its soil was enacted the first Indian outbreak in Minnesota, in which a number of hardy pioneers who had pushed out onto the frontier met death. Later, during the Sioux war, the soil of the county was again crimsoned with the blood of those who were endeavoring to found homes on the frontier. Such was the price paid by those who came to live in Jackson county a half century ago.

With this volume is presented the first Jackson county history, the material for its compilation having been obtained almost wholly from original sources. Friendly coadjutors have assisted materially in its preparation. From Mrs. Sharp's "History of the Spirit Lake Massacre," "Minnesota in Three Centuries," recently published, and the writings of Honorable Warren Upham, secretary of the Minnesota Historical Society, the author has made liberal quotations, and other authorities have been consulted. To the editorial fraternity of Jackson county the author is under obligations. The files of their publications have been of inestimable value in furnishing authentic data. Especially valuable were those of that pioneer journal, the Jackson Republic, of which liberal use has been made, and without which much of historical importance must have remained unrecorded. Due acknowledgment is made to county officials, who assisted in the hunt for early day records, and to scores of citizens in private life, who interested themselves in the work to the extent of devoting time to the detailing of early day events.

Special mention is due the assistance given by Captain Jareb Palmer, without whose help the account of the county's very early settlement and of the Springfield massacre would have been woefully incomplete; Mr. Ole Anderson, to whom must be given the credit for much of the information relating to the early Norwegian settlement and the Belmont massacre; Mr. T.J. Knox and Mr. John S. Woolstencroft, who assisted the author in many ways and who, with Captain Palmer, served as the committee to review and revise the work before it was put to press. In the work of gathering the data the author has been ably assisted by Mr. P.D. Moore.

Probably no historical work was ever put to press which entirely satisfied its author. There are so many pitfalls in the path of him who seeks to record the events of the past; the human mind is so prone to err in recalling dates and names of a former day. So it happens that the writer of local history, compiling his story from data of which only a part can be verified, knows that there must be errors in his work, albeit he may have exercised the greatest care. With no apologies, but with this brief explanation, and the realization that the work is not perfect, this history of Jackson county is put forth.

 

Table of Contents

CHAPTER I.
ABORIGINAL DAYS - 1834-1855 25

CHAPTER II.
EARLY SETTLEMENT 1856 37

CHAPTER III.
THE SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE 1857 47

CHAPTER IV.
THE SPRINGFIELD MASSACRE 1857 67

CHAPTER V.
FLIGHT OF THE FUGITIVES 1857 69

CHAPTER VI.
RESETTLEMENT AND ORGANIZATION 1857-1859 81

CHAPTER VII.
THE NORWEGIAN SETTLEMENT 1860-1862 93

CHAPTER VIII.
THE BELMONT MASSACRE 1862 101

CHAPTER IX.
RECONSTRUCTION PERIOD 1862-1867

CHAPTER X.
ERA OF DEVELOPMENT 1868-1872 127

CHAPTER XI.
THE GRASSHOPPER SCOURGE 1873-1877 141

CHAPTER XII.
PROSPEROUS TIMES 1878-1804 157

CHAPTER XIII.
CURRENT EVENTS 1895-1910 171

CHAPTER XIV.
POLITICAL - 1858-1882 187

CHAPTER XV.
POLITICAL 1883-1910 199

CHAPTER XVI.
JACKSON 1856-1809 213

CHAPTER XVII.
JACKSON 1870-1910 225

CHAPTER XVIII.
JACKSON'S ENTERPRISES 235

CHAPTER XIX.
LAKEFIELD - 1879-1910 245
CHAPTER XX.
HERON LAKE 1871-1910 257

CHAPTER XXI.
ALPHA, WILDER, OKABENA, ETC 269

CHAPTER XXII.
DESCRIPTIVE 279

CHAPTER XXIII.
THE PRESS 289

CHAPTER XXIV.
REMINISCENT 295

CHAPTER XXV.
REMINISCENT (Continued) 313

CHAPTER XXV.
REMINISCENT (Continued)

 

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But to get at the beginning of the history of Jackson county we must consider events that antedate the discovery of America by periods of time measured in eons events which the most vivid imagination cannot conceive, events which were never witnessed by mortal eye. We are informed that ages before man was made our earth was a mass of molten, seething fire; that in time this huge ball of fire cooled and the earth's crust was formed. This transformation occurred, so geologists estimate, 100,000,000 or more years ago during the Archean or Beginning era, which extended over a period of time roughly estimated at 50,000,000 or more years. The early part of this period is termed Azoic, from the absence of any evidence that the earth or the sea had either plant or animal life. Following this came the Paleozoic time, covering a period of something like 36,000,000 years, an era characterized by ancient types of life, unknown today.