The History of Mower County, Minnesota
It is with a feeling of considerable pride and pleasure that the publishers present this history for the approval of the people of Mower county. The undertaking has not been an easy one and the difficulties have been many, so many indeed that this publication would not have been possible without the liberal assistance of the citizens of the county. The chief contributors and editors have given freely of their time and talent; business men, church officials, fraternity, association and corporation officers, manufacturers, professional men and bankers, often at great personal sacrifice, have laid aside their regular duties to write of their communities and special interests; educators have written of the schools, and men and women in all walks of life have given the information at their command, regarding themselves, their families, their activities and their localities. To all of these the readers of this work owe a lasting debt of gratitude, and to each and every one the publishers extend their heartfelt thanks.
In handling the vast amount of material gathered for this work, it has been the aim of the entire staff to select such matter as is authentic, reliable and interesting. Doubtless facts have been included that many will deem of little moment, but these same facts to others may be of the deepest import. It may be also that some facts have been omitted that many readers would like to see included. To such readers we can only say that to publish every incident in the life of the county would be to issue a work of many volumes. and in choosing such material as would come within the limits of one volume we believe that the matter selected is that which will prove of greatest interest to the greatest number of readers, and also that which is most worthy of being handed down to future generations, who in this volume, in far distant years, may read of their large-souled, rugged-bodied ancestors and predecessors, who gave up the settled peace of older communities to brave the rigors of pioneer endeavor.
A few omissions may be due to some of the people of the county, themselves, as in several instances repeated requests for information have met with no response. In such cases information gathered from other sources, while authentic, may be lacking in copious detail.
Before passing hasty judgment on apparent errors, one should consider carefully, not relying on tradition or memory. In many cases we have found that persons' memories are faulty and tradition erroneous when measured by the standard of official records, even in the case of comparatively recent events, while in many instances families are under the impression that their forebears arrived in the county long before it was possible for them to do so. We have endeavored to follow a uniform system of the spelling of proper names, although various spellings of even the most familiar names appear in the newspapers and records.
Among the authorities consulted and in many cases quoted copiously are: History of Mower County, published in 1884; Souvenir of Austin, issued by the Austin Herald; Minnesota in Three Centuries ; the histories of southern Minnesota counties by the editor of the present work ; the various publications of the state of Minnesota and the United States government, as well as the publications of the Iowa and Minnesota historical societies, and many other biographical, historical and archaeological works of reference. The files of the newspapers of this and neighboring counties have been carefully perused, as have the county, town- ship, city, church and village records. Hundreds of minute books have been examined and thousands of letters and original manuscripts carefully scanned. To all who have extended us courtesies during our search for these records we extend our thanks. To John H. and Gertrude Ellis Skinner special thanks are due for many writings in this book to which their signatures are not affixed, and also for work on the proofs.
The biographies have all been gathered with care from those most interested, and with a few exceptions have been revised and corrected by the subject of the biography or by a relative or friend. This, however, refers to the dates, and sequence of events, all personal estimates being the work of the editors, and inserted in biographies only after consultation with other members of the staff.
That this history is faultless we do not presume; it is probably not within the power of man to arrange a work of this kind without mistakes of one sort or another; that it will meet the unqualified approval of all we dare not expect, but we trust that the merits of the history will overbalance any shortcomings that may be discovered.
Table of Contents
NATURAL PHENOMENA 1-5
THE ORIGINAL INHABITANTS 5-11
INDIAN TREATIES 11-17
GOVERNMENTAL HISTORY 17-36
EARLY EXPLORATION 37-44
FIRST SETTLERS 44-46
ORGANIZATION AND BOUNDARY LINES 47-53
COUNTY GOVERNMENT 54-70
COUNTY REPRESENTATION 70-78
BENCH AND BAR 78-95
COMING OF THE RAILROADS 95-103
COUNTY SCHOOLS 122-142
ANECDOTES AND ADVENTURES 142-151
EARLY AUSTIN 155-180
MUNICIPAL AUSTIN 181-200
INDUSTRIAL AUSTIN 200-211
AUSTIN MANUFACTORIES 212-227
AUSTIN FRATERNITIES 227-241
MODERN AUSTIN 241-284
BANKS AND BANKING 285-298
PIONEER GIRLHOOD 299-308
THE NEWSPAPERS 309-318
THE PHYSICIAN 319-328
CIVIL WAR HISTORY 328-346
POSTAL HISTORY 346-358
GRAND MEADOW TOWNSHIP AND VILLAGE 358-373
RED ROCK AND BROWNSDALE 374-388
LE ROY TOWNSHIP AND VILLAGE 389-410
LYLE TOWNSHIP AND VILLAGE 410-428
DEXTER TOWNSHIP AND VILLAGE 428-439
WINDOM TOWNSHIP 489-431
LODI AND TAOPI 452-456
WALTHAM TOWNSHIP AND VILLAGE 456-464
RACINE TOWNSHIP AND VILLAGE 464-468
SARGEANT TOWNSHIP AND VILLAGE 469-472
AUSTIN TOWNSHIP 472-478
LANSING TOWNSHIP 478-487
ADAMS TOWNSHIP AND VILLAGE 487-495
FRANKFORD TOWNSHIP 495-504
PLEASANT VALLEY TOWNSHIP 504-506
CLAYTON TOWNSHIP 506-507
MARSHALL TOWNSHIP 507-510
UDOLPHO TOWNSHIP 510-521
BENNINGTON TOWNSHIP 521-523
NEVADA TOWNSHIP 523-528
MINNESOTA NATIONAL GUARD 528-532
EARLY POLITICAL HISTORY 532-542
EARLY SETTLERS 542-553
DAIRY INTERESTS 553-555
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The mounds between Grand Meadow and Le Roy have thus far been the subject of little more than superficial notice, but will be investigated more thoroughly at a later date. They are first seen surrounding a marsh about a quarter of a mile across, about two miles and a quarter south of Grand Meadow. About twenty are here visible, rising each about two feet above the surface. Farther south they increase in number, extending three or more miles toward the south and southwest. Probably 500 could be counted, some being five feet high. They are scattered promiscuously over the upper prairie. The surface has the appearance of having been poorly drained formerly, and was perhaps covered with shallow water till late in the summer season. It is thought that they occur where the ground is wet and the clay near the surface. Yet south of the region designated they do not exist, though there is no apparent difference in the prairie. The material of which they consist is the ordinary loam of the surface soil. Several of them have been removed, when near the highway, and the material hauled into the street for grading.