YELLOW MEDICINE is one of the historically important counties of Western Minnesota. In the days before the Civil War, when the western border of Minnesota Territory had not white inhabitants, several score of brave men and women for several years had their homes in this frontier region. They were far out from other civilized communities, in the country of the savage Sioux Indians. They were government agents and employes, missionaries, teachers and traders, whose mission was to look after the material and spiritual needs of the natives. The story of their lives and adventures in the Yellow Medicine county of fifty-five to sixty years ago forms an interesting part in the history of the state. They are here recorded in detail for the first time.
The author has consulted and quoted from the official reports of military officers, government agents and missionaries on the reservation, from Minnesota in the Civil and Indian Wars, from the writings of Hon. Warren Upham, secretary of the Minnesota Historical Society, from Minnesota in Three Centuries, from the History of the Minnesota Valley, from the publications of the Minnesota Geological Survey, and from other books of reference. The files of the local newspapers have been of inestimable value in supplying authenic data, especially the files of those pioneer journals, the Granite Falls Journal, Granite Falls Tribune and Canby News, loaned by their respective publishers. Without them much of historical importance must have remained unrecorded. Scores of pioneer residents have interested themselves in the work to the extent of devoting time to the detailing of early day events.
For the purpose of revising and suggesting improvements, Messrs, George E. Olds, P. C. Scott and John J. Mooney reviewed the manusript before it was put to press. Those gentlemen read the historical part of the volume, made a number of corrections, and indorsed the work as an impartial, comprehensive and substantially accurate record of events from the earliest days to the present time.
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 names and dates of a former day. So it happens that the writer, compiling his story from data of which only a part can be verified, knows that there must be errors, 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 Yellow Medicine County is put forth.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
|Pre-Historic Times--The Earth in the Making--Mounds of Yellow Medicine County--The Indians--Origin of the Sioux--Their Tribal Divisions--Early Explorers--LeSueur on the Minnesota--Carver--His Wonderful Deductions--Fur Traders on the Upper Minnesota--Renville's Trading Post--Long's Explorations--Featherstonhaugh--Lac qui Parle Mission--Nicollet and Fremont's Explorations--Nicollet's Map--Early Nomenclature--Captain Sumner--Residents of the Upper Minnesota Valley in 1849||17|
|Treaty of Traverse des Sioux--The Reservations--Lands Ceded--Rush of Settlers--Dr. Williamson Founds Pajutazee Mission--Agent Murphy Selects Site for Upper Agency--A. Robertson Founds Yellow Medicine Agency--His Report--Rev. Riggs Founds Hazelwood Mission--Indian Houses Erected--Mills Constructed--Trading Posts--Troubles With Indians--Hazelwood Church and School--Killing of Roaring Cloud--Troops Arrive--Stabbing of a Soldier--Massacre Narrowly Averted--A War Party--Treaty of 1858--Civilization Propaganda Inaugurated--First Steamer on Upper Minnesota--Blanket Indians Make Trouble--Adventures of Surveying Party--Farmer Indians--Allotting the Lands--Agent Galbraith Takes Charge--Constructs Road and Bridges--Conditions Before the Massacre||29|
|Counties Affected By the Massacre—-First Intimation of Trouble--Dr.Williamson Gives Warning—-Soldiers Arrive-—Hold Council With the Iudians——On the War Path—-Expedition Against Inkpaduta—-Attack on the Warehouse—-Soldiers at Mercy of Redskins—-Employes Armed—-Massacre Averted——Recruiting Renville Rangers--The Roster——Census of Yellow Medicine County Before the Outbreak—-Attack on Lower Agency——News Reaches Yellow Medicine——Murder of the Traders—A Remarkable Escape—-John Other Day Leads Sixty-two Whites to Safety——Murders in Sandnes Township—-Flight of the Missionaries ——Friendly Indians—-Yellow Medicine County Depopulated||47|
|Attack on Fort Ridgely--Battle of New Ulm—-Army Proceeds to the Front—-Battie of Birch Coolie——Pursuit of the Enemy—-Camp in Yellow Medicine County -—Battle of Wood Lake—-Attack on the Foragers——Engagement Becomes General-— Fierce Fighting by Third Regiment—-Renville Rangers—Reports of the Battle-—Savages Routed-—Casualties—-The Monument—-Indians Ask for Peace —-At Camp Release—-Surrender of Captives—-Arresting the Murderers—-The Court Martlal——Expedition of Colonel Marshall—-Evacuation of Yellow Medicine County~—Conviction and Execution of the Indians---Deportation of the Sioux from Minnesota||63|
|Reservation Opened to Settlement—-Power of the Sioux Broken—-Permanent Settlement Begun—-John Winter——The Sanders Family-—Other Arrivals of 1865-- Pioneers of 1866—-First Birth-—The Sandnes Settlement--A Buffalo Killed-- First Township Organized—-Sett1ers of the Late Sixties-—Voting Popu1atlon-- The Stony Run Settlers—-Early Real Estate Assessments-—Census of 1870—~ Prairie Sections Receive Sett1ers-—Styles of Architecture—-Hardships Encountered—— Early Day Conditions—-Mills—-First Towns Founded||77|
|Yellow Medicine County as a Part of France, Spain, United States—-lncluded in Louisiana, Missouri, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa Territories—-“No-Man's Land"—-Minnesota Territory—-County Formations—-Act Creating Yellow Medicine County——The Name-—Organizatlon-—Contest for County Seat—-Yellow Medicine City Wins——Organization of Townahips—-First Town Meetings-- First Officers——Homesteaders—-First Births, Marriages, Deaths, Schools, Etc. —-Derivation of Names—-Yellow Medicine Township-—Normania——Sandnes—- Stony Run—-Otis-—Minnesota Falls-—Lisbon—-Wood Lake——Norman—-Echo—— Sioux Agency-—Hazel Run——Hammer—-Swede Prairle—-Florlda—-Frlendshlp-— Wergeland—-Burton—-Posen—-Oshkosh—-Tyro—-Omro—-Fortier||85|
|Conditions in 1872---Personal Property Tax Payers—--The January, 1873, Blizzard -—-Loss of Life—--The First Railroad-—-Land Grant—--Steamboat Line——-The Grassnoppers—--Their Ravages—-—Relief Measures—--Panic of 1873--—Free Seed Grain—--Indian Scare—--The Home Guards—--Hopper Ravages in 1874---Crop Statistics—--First Term of Court--—County Seat Contest--—Granite Falls Has Aspirations—--Donates Court House—--Wins at Polls—-—Dlsappearance of Records--— An Injunction--—Fighting the Grasshoppers--—Discouraging Conditions— Census of 1875—--Crop Loss in 1876—--Applications for Seed—--"Grasshopper Congress”---Day of Prayer—--The Red Parasite and His Good Work—-—End of the Scourge||105|
|New Era Begins--—Rush of Homeseekers--—New Farms Opened---Partial Crop Failure—-- Hastings & Dakota Railroad Built--—Protests Against Extension of Time—--The Land Grant—-—Litigation—--County Jail—--Abortive Attempt to Create Canby County--—Population in 1880—-—The Long Winter—-—October Blizzard—--Samuel Kile Loses Life—-—Rai1road B1ockades--—Famine--—Out of Fuel--—Snow Fences Appropriated--—Michael Dowling Frozen—--Opening the Roads-——Floods—--Agricultural Society-——Campaign for Court House—--Crop Conditions||119|
|Promise of Better Times—--The Duluth, North Shore and Southwestern Railroad Company—--Its Failure--—The Minneapolis & St. Louis—--New Towns--—Hail Storm—--Census of 1885——-Clarkfleld Wants County Seat—-—Strenuous Campaign for ReMoval——-Hanley Falls Enters the Ring--~Question not Submitted to Vote-—-Blizzard of 1888—--Willmar & Sioux Falls (Great Northern) Railroad Built--~Bonds Voted to Aid—--The Minnesota & Northern—-—Building the Court House--~Census Returns—--Destructive Storms—--Panic of 1893-—-Crop Failure—--Return of Good Times--—Fair Association—--Later History||133|
|Organization Yellow Medicine Precinct—-—Voters Declare for Organization Yellow Medicine County———First Officers--—First Meeting County Board—--Chairmen of the Board—--First County Election---330 Voters--—Congreasional Roster--—Legislatlve History—--Commissioner Dlstricts—--Results of County Elections—--Independent Candidates-——Farmers Alliance—-—Succeeded by Peoples Party~--Free Silver Issue—--Fusion—--Primary Election Law-—-Election Contest---Voting Strength and Politics of Precincts—--Summary||145|
|Builded on a Rock—--Natural Beauty—--Location—-—A Well-Known Spot.--—Ear1y Visitors to the Site---Pre-empted by T. P. Hill—--Log Cabin Erected—-—Henry Hill Becomes 0wner—--David Wethern Opens First Store—-—Murder of Wethern—--Development of Water Power---Mr. Hill Erects Mill—-—Platting of Townsite—--Business Houses in 1872---Early Transfer of Lots—--Fourth of July Celebration—--The Banner Mill—--Ferry Boat—--Appreciation of Henry Hill--~Postoffice History —--Dlrectory of 1874---Made County Seat-—-Census of 1875—-—Business Houses in 1876---Progress in Late Seventies—-Incorporation--—New Charters—-—License Question—--Roster of 0fficers—--After Incorporation—--In 1890—--Building Boom—-- The Water Power—-—Municipal Improvements--—Later History--—||161|
|The Schools—--First Teachers—-—Independent District--—Boards of Education---Superlntendents---High School Graduates--—Buildings——-Churches-—-Methodist—-—Congregational--— United Lutheran—--Baptist---Episcopal--—Catholic—--Synod Lutheran—--Lodges--—Masonic—--Knights of Pythias—--Royal Neighbors--—Defunct Orders--—Fire Department—--Pioneer Fire Fighters—--The Library---Banks—--Granite Falls Bank—--Yellow Medicine County Bank—--First National||175|
|Early Settlers of Norman—--John Swenson Arrives--—Estnblishes Store—--Postoffice—-- Naming of Canby--—Townsite Platted—-—Additions—--First Business Houses---Growth in 1877--—A Pioneer's Descrlptlon—--Celebrating Fourth of July--—Village Incorporation—--Becomes a City—--The License Question—-—Roster of Officers---Directory of 1880—--The Fire of 1893—-—Losses—-—Rebuilding—--Gains in Population--—Schools—--Early Teachers--—Board Members---Graduates--—Churches—--St. Stephan's Lutheran —--Presbyterian--—Methodist--—Catholic--—Baptist--—Norwegian Methodist—--German Lutheran--—St. Paul Lutheran—--Swedish Mission--—The Lodges—--Oharter Members--—Fire Department—--Waterworks—--The Banks—--Bank of Canby--—Citizens State--—Flrst National||189|
|Yellow Medicine's Third City—--Railroad Arrives---Clarkfleld Platted—--Additions--—Postoffice History—--First Business Houses—--Directory of 1885—--Tries for County Seat Honors—--Census Flgures—-—Incorporated--—Petitioners--—Llcense Question—--Roster of Officers—--School—-—Churches—-—Lodges—--Fire Department---Banks-——Mill—--Eeho—--Founding-——The Plat—--First Bulldings—--Postoffice--—Pioneer Business Men—--Population—--Begins Village Government--—Votes on License---Village Offlcers--—Waterworks--—Electric Llghts—--Flre-~—Schools--—Churches---Lodges—--Bank—-—Mill||207|
|Selecting Wood Lake Townsite—-—The First Store—--Platted--—Building Operations---Postoffice—--Postmasters---Census Returns--—Residents of 1891-——Incorporation—--Statistics on License Vote-——0fficial Roster—--Waterworks-——Town Hall--—A Pioneer School House—--Old Church Society---Later Religious Bodies---Lodges———Bank--—Hanley Fa1ls--—As Silliards Postofflce—--Selecting the Site—--Difficulties Selecting a Name--—Early Business Houses--—Postoffice History--—Platting—--Directory of 1884—--A Second Railroad—-—Village Government Inaugurated--—For and Against License—-—Roster of Officers—--Municipal Improvements--—Educational, Religious, Social and Financial Institutions||221|
|Porter---Railroad Bui1ding—-—Harstad Postofflce—-—Sod Hut the First Building—--Station Established—-—0le Dahl, the First Inhabitant—--Townsite Platted—--The Name-——Postoffice—--First Stores—--Early Directory-—-Incorporation—-—“Dry" and “Wet" Question—--List of Officers—--Fire—--Institutions—--Haze1 Run—-—Foundlng—--Postmasters--—Townsite Surveyed—--Slow Growth---Incorporated—--Original Boundaries Cut Down—--The Matter of Saloons--—Political History—--School—-—Churches--—Bank||233|
|Yellow Medicine City—--The Oldest Town--—John Winter Erects the First House---And Founds the Town—--N. T. Hoxsie, First Merchant—--Joseph Fortier--—Lot Transfers—--Postoffice--—Made County Seat—-—And Loses It—-—The Demlse—--Minnesota Fa1ls-——Founded by Governor Austin and Park Worden—--The Plat---Sawmi1l—--Gristmill—-—Rapid Growth—-—First Birth--—Early Business Houses—--Postoffice—-—"The Head of Navigation”--—Metropolis of the County--—Calamities--—A Deserted Village---Burr—--As Stanley Station—-—The Postoffice--—St. Leo---Early Enterprises—--The Church--—Postmasters—--Lorne—-—Normania—--Silliards---Sorlien Mills—-—Stony Run—-—Stavanger—--Vineland—--Lisbon||241|
|Location—--Boundaries—--Area-—-Topography—--Rock Formations--—A Geologist's Description—--The Surface—--The Val1eys—--Ancient Water-Courses---A Prehistoric River--—Elevations—--The Soil—--Its Fertility and Durability—-—Products--—Cllmate—-—Rivers and Creeks--—Lakes—--Tlmber-—-Water Powers---Mineral Deposits--—Population by Nationality--—Land Values||251|
|Papers Now Published—--The Defunct Journals—--Founding the Pioneer Paper—--Minnesota Falls Sentinel—--Granite Rock—--Succeeded by Granite Falls Journal---Printing on Tea Paper--—Incidents of Blockade Wlnter—--Sacred Heart Bladet—--Granlte Falls Tribune-——Reform Advocate--—Norge—-—Canby News—--Tribune--—Folkeblad—--Times—-—Hera1d--—Wood Lake News———Ledger--—Hanley Falls Leader—-—Times—-—Herald—--Press—--Echo Telegram--—Enterprise--—Clarkiield Advocate---Porter Weekly Press—--Progress||259|
|Captive of the Sioux—--Mrs. White's Experiences in Yellow Medicine County in 1862—--Indian Customs--—An Indian’s History of the Massacre—--Prairie Fires---Terrors of the Prairie--—Methods of Fighting—--Game in Early Days--—Early Day Conditions---First Bridge at Granite Falls—--The Wood Question-—-A “Cow Case"—--Gold Mining--—The Ben Harrison and Other Mines--—A Drastic Ordinance--—Indian Scare—-—Early Land Va1ues—--The“Horseless Carr1age"||267.|
Last Updated: 8 Sep 2017