An Illustrated History of Nobles County, Minnesota

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, the History of Nobles County is put forth.

With this volume is presented the first Nobles county history, and the material for its compilation is obtained from original sources. Friendly coadjutors have assisted materially in its preparation. To the editorial fraternity of Nobles county the author is under many obligations. The files of their publications have been of inestimable value in furnishing authentic data. Especially valuable were those of that pioneer journal, the Worthington Advance, of which liberal use has been made, and without which much of historical importance must have remained unrecorded. Due acknowledgment is made to county and village officers, 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 the late Judge B.W. Woolstencroft, who was one of the very first settlers of Nobles county, and who died at his home in Slay ton, Minnesota, after this volume had been put to press. A large part of the history of the county's early settlement, of its organization and early political history was written from data furnished by Judge Woolstencroft.

To Dr. George O. Moore, of Worthington; Senator S.B. Bedford, of Rushmore, and Mr. A.J. Rice, of Adrian, the committee of pioneer residents selected to review and revise the work, great credit is due. After the manuscript had been prepared these gentlemen devoted considerable time to the work of revision. Errors were discovered and corrected and suggestions for additions were made that resulted in a better history. In the work of gathering the data the author has been ably assisted by Mr. P.D. Moore.

The biographical sketches, forming the second part of the volume, were written, in nearly all instances, from facts obtained by personal interviews. Typewritten copies of the sketches were submitted to the subjects for correction, and nearly all made the necessary corrections and returned the manuscript to the publishers. This has resulted in reducing to a minimum the possibility of error in that part of the volume.

 

Table of Contents

CHAPTER I.
ABORIGINAL DAYS 1834-1866... 33

CHAPTER II.
EARLY SETTLEMENT 1867-1871... 45

CHAPTER III.
UNDER COLONY RULE 1872... 61

CHAPTER IV.
CALAMITOUS DAYS - 1873... 71

CHAPTER V.
THE GRASSHOPPER SCOURGE 1874-1875... 81

CHAPTER VI.
THE GRASSHOPPER SCOURGE (Continued) 1870-1879... 91

CHAPTER VII.
ERA OF PROSPERITY 1880-1893... 105

CHAPTER VIII.
CURRENT EVENTS 1893-1908... 116

CHAPTER IX.
POLITICAL 1870- 1874... 123

CHAPTER X.
POLITICAL 1875-1887... 131

CHAPTER XI.
POLITICAL 1888- 1908... 141

CHAPTER XII.
WORTHINGTON 1871-1872... 153

CHAPTER XIII.
WORTHINGTON 1873-1889... 165

CHAPTER XIV.
WORTHINGTON 1890-1908... 177

CHAPTER XV.
WORTHINGTON'S ENTERPRISES... 187

CHAPTER XVI.
WORTHINGTON'S CHURCHES AND LODGES... 199

CHAPTER XVII.
ADRIAN... 217

CHAPTER XVIII.
ELLSWORTH... 227

CHAPTER XIX.
WILMONT AND BREWSTER... 237

CHAPTER XX.
ROUND LAKE, RUSH MORE, BIGELOW... 247

CHAPTER XXI.
DUNDEE, LISMORE, KINBRAE, READING, ST. KILIAN, LEOTA, ORG... 259

CHAPTER XXII.
THE PRESS... 273

CHAPTER XXIII.
DESCRIPTIVE... 287

CHAPTER XXIV.
REMINISCENT... 293

 

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That part of the North American continent which is now designated on the map as Minnesota was occupied by the Dakota or Sioux Indians from the very earliest days up to the time when the white man supplanted the red man in the nineteenth century. Indian tradition tells of no earlier inhabitants. Certain it is that when the first explorers, centuries ago, came to the Northwest country they found the Dakotas or Sioux in possession. When knowledge was first gained of these people there were three great tribal divisions, namely: The Isantis, residing on the headwaters of the Mississippi; the Yanktons, who occupied the region north of the Minnesota river; and the Titonwans, who had their hunting grounds west of the Yanktons. The last named was the most powerful and numerous tribe.

Coming down to the year 1834, we find that definite knowledge had been gained of the tribal divisions of southern Minnesota, and that their places of summer residence were known. General H.H. Sibley, an authority on Indian affairs, described the Indian bands as he found them in 1834. There were seven bands of the Dakotas, known as the M'daywakantons, or People of the Leaf. Their summer residences were in villages, the lodges being built of elm bark upon a frame work of poles. These villages were situated at Wabasha Prairie, where the city of Winona now stands; at Red Wing and Kaposia, on the Mississippi; three bands on the lower Minnesota, below Shakopee; and the Lake Calhoun band, on the lake of that name. These bands could bring into the field about 600 warriors.