By Hans Hanson.
On the 27th of May, 1870, Hans Hanson and Iver Christenson and families left the town of Spring Grove, Houston County, Minnesota, with the intention of going northwest where they could take up land under the homestead laws. Not knowing where to go they determined to continue their journey until they found land that suited them. On July 1st they crossed the boundary line between Otter Tail County and Becker County, and camped at night upon a high elevation of land near the west shore of Otter Tail River, where the thrifty town of Frazzee was afterwards located. There were no buildings in sight, and the whole place looked like a wilderness. On the 2nd of July, about 8:30 a.m. we broke camp ad started on, as we had been told that the land around Oak Lake was very rich and well adapted for farming. This was on the old Red River trail, and we were striving to reach that place, which we thought would be the termination of our journey. After we had traveled until about one o'clock we reached the east shore of Detroit Lake, which is about seven miles from where we started in the morning. On account of very poor roads our oxen were pretty tired when we came to the lake. We unyoked our oxen to give them a little rest while we ate dinner. At 2:30 p.m. we hitched up and were going on farther, but there was no road. The only chance to get on farther was to go right into the lake. We had to follow around the lake shore, but always came out in the water. In the evening about five o'clock, we came to dry land again on the northerly side of the lake, about twenty rods west of where the Pelican River enters the Detroit Lake. Here we had to rest the oxen again as they were tired with driving through the lake as the bottom was principally sand. We then got on the Red River trail, and that evening went across the prairie to where the village of Detroit was afterwards located. On this prairie there was not a single shanty nor a human being to be seen. That night we camped about two and a half miles northwest of where Detroit is now located. In the morning of July 3rd, we started out again and went as far as Floyd Lake, where we found Samuel J. Fox. He was a blacksmith by trade, and had a small blacksmith shop near his birch bark tepee. Mr. Fox was a white man, a native of Scotland, but his wife was a Chippewa woman. He was a nice gentleman and gave us quite a few hints in regard to the surrounding country. About noon, we reached the much-talked-of Oak Lake. At this place we found a family by the name of Sperry who had been there for two years. They were nice people, too, and told us all about the country. They said that the soil was fertile, and that nearly everything would grow abundantly. After eating our dinner we started out to pick out our claims, leaving our families in the covered wagon which we had occupied for nearly a month. After getting west fro about five miles we found a man by the name of Iver T. Knudson, a Norwegian, who had moved from Houston County, Minnesota, and had settled on a claim on the south side of the lake where the village of Audubon is now located. This man told us that it was useless to look for claims any further west as the land hunters were already quarreling among themselves over their claims. We then walked back to where we had left our families, and made up our minds to go back to Detroit Lake and pick our claims on that prairie. We went back over the same road by which we came and reached Detroit Lake about eleven o'clock, July 4th. We unyoked our oxen so as to give them a chance to free themselves from the mosquitoes, which were plentiful.
The next thing on the program was to light a smudge to drive away the mosquitoes, but as soon as we lit the match and tried to start a fire those native inhabitants put out our fire three times before we could get it fairly started. The next morning, which was the Fourth of July, we made up our minds not to work on the national holiday. There was no brass band and not even a white person or a shanty to be seen anywhere, but we were happy anyway as we liked the place and had decided to settle there.
On July 5th, we commenced to break along the foot of the hill afterwards called Fox's Hill, which is just back of where Hotel Minnesota now stands. After making a few rounds we came to placed where the ground was rather sandy. Mr. Christenson said the ground was not good for much. I agreed with him, but said that if ever the railroad should come through there we would be almost sure to get a small town on that prairie. To my remark Mr. Christenson said that he was not looking for a townsite but for land that would make a good farm. We then drove our oxen with the breaking plough back to the wagons where our families were and told our wives that we had to pick up our things again and leave. This, of course, did not suit the women, as they thought they had been camping long enough, but this ended our settlement at Detroit Lake. On the 6th day of July we started out again and went west as far as Oak Lake, where we left our families. We then went north on the White Earth trail. Another man by the name of Iver Everson had then joined us. When we went north about five miles from Oak Lake we found some nice oak groves and good prairie land right up to the timber and this suited us. The land was so rich that the grass reached nearly up to our arms on the highest parts of the prairie. We all picked out adjoining claims that day. The country was not surveyed at the time, so that we did not know what town, range or section our claims were in. Anyway we located our claims and came back to our families and wagons that same day, and were glad that we found land that suited us.
On July 7th we started out again with our outfits and came to our claims about noon. We made settlements on our claims that day, and were the first settlers in the whole township which was afterwards named Richwood.
Mr. Christenson and I concluded to live together for a time in the same house, as we had only one stove for the two families. I when over to my claim the same day that we came out and commenced to break so as to show that the land had been taken. Then we peeled some birch bark and made a shanty. This served as kitchen and dining room. We used the wagons for bedrooms. Everything went on nicely until we had lived this way for more than a week, when one evening we were visited by two men, who said that they were from White Earth. One of them looked like a white man, and the other like an Indian or half-breed. They informed us that all the land alongside the timber had already been claimed by people from White Earth, and about seventy of them had organized into a combination to drive away any person or persons that should try to take their claims, and that they were coming down to drive us away. I at first thought it might be so, as at the place where Mr. Christenson picked his claim there were a few furrows broken and a sign tacked to a tree. But his sign showed that there had been no one there to make any improvements for more that one year, so they had no more right to the land than we had. After the two men had been talking with us for a long time, telling us what the consequences would be if these White Earth people should have to drive us off, I finally told them that we had come there to stay and make a home, and if they thought fit to kill us they certainly had a chance to do so. We were not going to leave until we had to, and that our lives were no dearer then theirs. After this conversation the two men departed. I then loaded all our things into the wagon, hitched up the oxen, and myself, wife and child went over to protect our home, as we expected this crowd from White Earth would call that night. After getting over to the place where we had intended to build our house we unyoked our oxen, but they bellowed and ran back to Mr. Christenson's place on account of the mosquitoes, where we had kept a smudge every night.
I managed to start a fire, then I cut some green grass and laid it on top of the fire so as to get a good smudge to protect us from the mosquitoes. That was one of the worst nights I have ever gone through. I and my wife and child were alone, and I was laboring under the impression that the gang from White Earth was coming to kill us. I had two guns which were carefully loaded that night, and were kept under the mattress in the wagon where I was supposed to sleep. No one, however, came near us that night, which was very fortunate, as their lives would have been in danger. The next morning we left our wagon and goods and all went back to Mr. Christenson's. We had talked the matter over as to what we had better do whether to leave and go somewhere else or to try and stay where we were. Our stock had gone over towards the White Earth reservation and we had to go after them and get them back. Coming over into the White Earth road a man came along on horseback, and when he saw that we were white people, he commenced to talk and seemed to be a gentleman in all respects. His name was Dr. Pyle, and he was hired by the government as a doctor for the Indians on the White Earth reservation. We told him that we had settled there a few days ago, but had been warned to leave our claims and were told that there were a lot of men from the reservation who were coming to drive us away. He told us to stick to our claims, and not to be afraid, that he was going to White Earth and tell those people that there were some settlers who had taken claims along the groves and that they had better keep away and not bother them. This gave us encouragement and we made up our minds to stay, and as we did not hear any more from those parties, the scare was soon over. After we had been on our claims about two weeks, a man by the name of Gabriel Halverson, a Norwegian from Freeborn County, Minnesota settled a little to the north of us so that his claim and mine joined. About the first improvement we had to make was to do a little breaking to get a little to live on the next fall. We broke about two and a half acres on each place, that is on mine, Iver Christenson's and Iver Evenson's. Then we had to cut hay for our stock for the coming winter. We found plenty of grass, but it was very hard to stay out and cut it for the mosquitoes were so bad that we had to keep our jackets on even in the middle of the hottest days. After we had cut and stacked our hay, we commenced to cut house logs for our shanties. The size of our buildings were to be thirteen by fifteen feet, and about seven feet high. It was now about the 20th of August, and we had some bad weather which lasted one week. It was so cold that we had to wear overcoats to keep ourselves warm even if we were in the timber cutting house logs. After this cold spell was over, we had just as nice weather as any one could wish for. About the last day of August, a swarm of grasshoppers came. They were very thick, so that they covered the ground in many placed and especially on our new breaking, but as we had had no experience with these insects, we never thought of the consequences and the trouble which they afterwards caused us. Sometime in the middle of August a party of surveyors surveyed the town and range lines, and when those lines were run we found out that our claims were in Town 140 North, Range 41 West, but we could not ell that sections we were on. It was not until the early part of November that Alvin H. Wilcox and his crew of men subdivided the town into sections. In the month of October, Ole Qualey and Nery Augunson came from Freeborn County and took claims, Qualey on Section 20, and Augunson on Section 8. My claim was on Section 20, Iver Christenson's on Section 29 and 30, and Iver Evenson's on Sections 32 and 29. In November, Andrew Anderson and John Anderson, both Swedes from Carver County, came and settled, Andrew on the southeast quarter of Section 20 and John on the northwest quarter of Section 8. In July, a man by the name of W. W. Harding settled on the southeast quarter of Section 29. He was a native of New Brunswick. Hugh Campbell, a native of Canada, settled on Section 28. They had both been employed on the government reservation at Leech Lake, Harding as a farmer and Campbell as a blacksmith; both were unmarried as far as we could find out from them. In the same year came Daniel Swanson, who settled on Section 18, and John Rydeen, who also took his claim on Section 18. They were both Swedes. Lars P. Smith, Immanuel Jongren, John P. Engberg, Olaf Johnson and Andrew Olund settled on Section 12, except L. P. Smith, who settled on Section 24. That same fall a man by the name of Sampson, a Norwegian, settled on Section 4. Henry Johnson, a Dane, son Section 4, August Stallman, a German, on Section 6, Swan Swanson, a Swede, on Section 6. About the same time, Gust. Lunden settled on Section 32. On Section 2, there was man by the name of A. J. Haney, an American, who had picked a claim and commenced to build a dam across the Buffalo River, just a little way from where the river empties out of Buffalo Lake. The dam was completed that fall, and the frame raised fro a sawmill which commenced operations. I must say that these few persons that had settled in the town were all nice people, and every one of us respected each other as near relatives and we go along well together. Provisions were remarkably high that fall and winter of 1870 and 1871. A barrel of flour cost $12, pork twenty-five cents a pound, 5 pounds of brown sugar for $1, butter thirty-five cents a pound, and it had about as many colors as the rainbow, and yet I cannot remember that I heard a single person who complained or suffered from want of food.
In the month of April, 1871, came Colbjorn and Engebret Vold, Norwegians; they came from Stearns County and settled, Colbjorn on Section 10, Engebret on Section 4. Iver Larson, a Norwegian, came from Houston County, Minnesota, in April, and settled on Section 30. N. G. Roen and his brother Knut, also came from Houston County and settled on Section 30; that same spring Bent Johnson came from Carver County and settled on Section 30. I must here relate a trip we made down south to Otter Tail County. Iver Chistenson, Iver Evenson and Gabriel Halverson and I started on the 9th day of Jan., 1871, to go to St. Olaf in Otter Tail County to buy wheat and have it ground into flour at Balmoral Mill, as we could get a little more for our money that way than when we bought the four from dealers. The first day we got as far as Detroit Lake. Here we made a good fire and camped out all night, as there were no settlers. The weather was rather cold and about six inches of snow on the ground. We had loaded hay on our sleds before we left home so as to have hay for your oxen both coming and going. The oxen, of course, were eating from the hay load whenever we stopped to give them a rest. The next day we got as far as what we called the second crossing of the Otter Tail River, about four miles south of where Frazee is now. Here we found a man who told us that a team of horses had broken into the river that forenoon, so the ice was not safe for our oxen to cross. We then came to the conclusion to unyoke the oxen and lead one across at a time, and then pulled the sleds across by hand. Before we commenced this task we found out where the ice was the strongest; with a stick in one hand I went on the ice, but before I had gone very far I broke through and went into the water up to my arms. It was a pretty cold bath. The sun was just going down, it was cold weather, and there was no settler for about five miles ahead. This was a German family that had settled on the prairie in 1870. My clothes were frozen stiff to my body and were almost like birch bark, and they would have stood alone if I had crawled out of them. We got to the place were the Germans lived, sometime in the night, tied our oxen to the hay load and went in to get thawed out. We went inside and warmed up some, and then went out again, but did not reach Balmoral Mill until the next evening. It was rather a small mill, run by water power, and located near Otter Tail Lake about five miles south of Otter Tail City, on a small stream of water which empties into the lake. This was the only grist-mill for a long distance in any direction, so that there were generally a lot of people waiting until their turn to have their grist ground. This was the case at this time, and we soon learned that nearly all of them were short of hay for their oxen. We made up our minds to stay out and watch our hay all night, and dug ourselves into the hay as well as we could, for it was rather too cold to stay out. All went along nicely until towards morning, when it commenced to snow, and the wind began to blow so hard that we had to leave our hay loads. We then went a little way from our load and built a fire. Here we lay down, warmed ourselves on one side and froze on the other until daylight, when we started again on our journey. After we had gone a little way I found that the bottom of my moccasin was gone, so that I was walking on the snow in my stocking feet. I finally got hold of a piece of rope, with which I tied my moccasins, so as to keep them on my feet. The reason why they came off was because I had been too close to the fire trying to keep my feet warm. There were no stores on the way, so that I could not buy a new pair, and I had to use my old moccasins the best way I could for the next few days until I reached Otter Tail City on my way home. That same morning after we had camped about our hay loads at Balmoral Mills, we asked the proprietor of the mill, whose name was Craigie, if we could leave some of our hay with him so as to have hay there when we came back again to get our grist ground. He said we could leave it in his care until we came back; we then started off south to buy wheat, leaving most of our hay at the mill. After we had left, some of those men who were out of hay went to Mr. Craigie and told him we had stolen some of their bow pins out of the ox bows, and in place of them claimed our hay, which they appropriated to their own use, so that we had not a pear left. We of course had not stolen or even seen their bow pins, but lost our hay just the same, so that we had very little reward for camping out in the snow-storm at Balmoral Mills.
Some time in the latter part of April, 1871, we sowed our patches of breaking into wheat, and had the satisfaction of seeing it come up and it looked very fine. To our surprise it never got any farther. In examining into these matters we found that there were millions of young grasshoppers destroying it as fast as it grew up. The swarm of grasshoppers that had visited us in 1870 had deposited their eggs in the ground, and were being hatched out by the sun in the spring. These young grasshoppers were so thick that they entirely covered the ground, and especially on our breaking where we had done a little planting. They destroyed nearly everything that came before them, even our clothes, if they could get at them. They stayed with us for about seven year, and destroyed almost everything that we planted every year. Potatoes and vegetables were nearly all destroyed. It looked rather blue those years. On account of their depredations, not many people came into our town to take claims during those years, and some got discouraged and left. In regards to the Indians which were around us, they seemed to be very friendly, and we were seldom bothered by them. I will, however, give an account of a little controversy that I had with some of them. This was in June, 1871. I started to go down to the railroad camp, near Oak Lake Cut one morning to the stores, and my wife decided to go also, as there was not a white person to be seen very often. We started out with our oxen and coming down past Mr. Christenson's, Mrs. Chistenson decided that she wanted to go, too. She had a baby with her, and so had my wife. Those two women of ours went out for f pleasure trip, but it ended in the opposite direction. Everything went well until we were on our way back, about a mile or so from our homes, when we had to pass some Indians who were near the road, and some of them were drunk. There were two Indians and two squaws, and one of the squaws was so intoxicated that she could not stand up. One of the Indians and one of the squaws came up to our wagon, and asked us for "Scuttawabo," which meant whisky.
We did not have any, and tried to make her understand that we had none. The Indians began to search all over our wagon, and in among our packages, and after they had satisfied themselves that there was no whisky they began ransacking every pocket on my clothes, and not finding what they were after, gave up the search. I started up the oxen with the thought that the scare was all over. When the wagon started to move, the squaw took hold of the wagon wheel and tried to hold us, but her hand slipped from one spoke to another and finally she dropped down at the side of the wagon and we went on. After we had gone about ten rods, one of the Indians came running after us. I was then walking ahead in the road driving the oxen, and when this Indian was about a rod back of the wagon my wife called to me, saying that there was no hope any longer as she heard him cock his gun. The first thing I did was to grab hold of the gun, and to turn the muzzle away from the wagon. After this we had a squabble over the gun, and in an instant I had the gun in my possession. Then the Indian thought that I was going to shoot him, and made motions that I should fire the gun into the air and there we stood. He was looking at me and I was looking at him. I then fired the gun, as the only thing I had to do was to pull the trigger, and off it went. It was then getting dust and it gave a nice light for an instant. It was an old flint-lock gun and heavily loaded, so that the report was something like that from a small cannon. After I had fired the gun it struck me that I had better smash it over the wagon wheel, but having heard that the Indians were very revengeful, I gave up this idea and handed him the gun back again. He then commenced to shake his powder horn and was going to reload. I stood right by him and prevented him from doing so, and when he found that he could not reload, he ran back as fast as he could towards his companions. I then picked up my little stick which I drove my oxen with, and we wen on and did not see any more of them that night. It was very lucky, as the women were almost scared out of their senses.
On June 23rd, 1871, the town of Richwood was organized, and the first town meeting as held in Haney's sawmill, on the 29th of September, 1871. The first town clerk elected was Hans Hanson, but as the records have been destroyed I cannot remember who the rest of the town officers were. School districts number 4 and 7 were organized August 9th, 1972. These were the first school districts in the town.
Ole Qualey says the first set of town officers of Richwood was as follows:
Chairman of board of supervisors, W. W. McLeod; supervisors, Ole Qualey and Sivert Sampson; township clerk, Hans Hanson; treasurer, Gabriel Halverson; justices of the peace, Iver Christenson, John Anderson.
Peter Iverson and Hans Dierhoe, both Danes, came in May, 1871, and settled on Section 6.
Mr. Ezra Rumery settled on the northwest quarter of Section 34 in the spring of 1872. Mr. Rumery was one of the jurors in the trial of Bobolink for the Cook family murder. He was town clerk of Richwood for many years. A little later in the same spring Luke Collins and Sidney Brigham, both Americans from the state of Massachusetts, settled on the west half of Section 34. Our first school was taught by Miss Hattie Brigham, in the fore part of the summer of 1873. We had no schoolhouse, but hired the shanty which Iver Larson had erected on his claim on Section 30 for that purpose. In winding up this little history of the early settlement of the town of Richwood, I will have to mention another trip that we made in September, 1871. The weather was nice, and Iver Christenson and I with our families started for Detroit Lake. We camped on the shore of the lake, where we had camped on the 2nd of July the year before when we were moving into the country. We went along the lake shore when Mr. Christenson noticed a piece of colored paper floating on the water close to the land. We then picked it up, and after examining it came to the conclusion that it was a part of a ten dollar greenback. After looking for some more, we found several other pieces which belonged to the same bill. These pieces were carefully preserved and sent to the bank in St. Paul, which sent us by return $9.30, so this pleasure trip turned out better than the one to Oak Lake when the Indians tackled us.
The first birth in the township of Richwood was that of Tolof Christenson, so of Mr. and Mrs. Iver Christenson, who was born on the 19th of November, 1870. The same little boy died on the 8th of October, 1871, and his death was the first to occur in the township. The first people to get married in the township were Swan Lundin and Emma Johnson, who were married on the 27th of April, 1972, by L. G. Stevenson, justice of the peace.
W. G. Hazelton and William Long settled near Richwood Village in the spring of 1872. Mr. Hazelton has resided there ever since, and has been the leading spirit and the principal standby in that part of the township for many years.
Ole Qualey is the only one of the settlers who came in 1870 who is now living in Richwood.
In the fall of 1870 I sold my homestead in West Union, Todd County, Minn., and fixed up a good covered wagon and with a span of stout mules, took my neighbor E. E. Abbott and started for the Northern Pacific Railroad. We camped out for dinner at Old Oak Lake, and while I was after a pail of water, a man by the name of Andrew J. Haney came along and was talking very earnestly with Mr. Abbott when I came back. He finally persuaded us to go home with him instead of going to where Lake Park is now as we had intended. Haney wanted to sell us a share in his sawmill, and after buying a lot of eatables at Sterling's store, at Oak Lake we started north and after traveling about ten miles came to his mill dam where the village of Richwood now stands. We looked over his property, which looked quite favorable, and finally made a bargain for a third interest, although it was all on government land. I was the only one who had any real money, as Abbott depended on Alexander Moore of Sauk Centre to give him a lift, which he did the next spring.
The next spring we shipped a new sawmill to Benson, which was then the terminus of the nearest railroad and hauled it by team from there to the present village of Richwood, a distance of 160 miles. In the month of May, 1871, I moved my family to the new mill and about the 20th of June the sawing commenced, with a low head of water, as it was a very dry summer and the streams were low. Our sawing proceeded slowly in consequence, but we secured a good price for all the lumber we sawed.
That summer J. E. Van Gorden came to our place from Oak Lake Cut, where he had been clerking, and did a few jobs of carpenter work, and during his stay he traded his farm to Haney for his interest in his claim, mill and saw logs. Soon after that time I bought Abbott's interest, and then took one-third of Van Gorden's interest, which made us equal owners. The next spring we received $1,000 in advance on lumber, but it went, and in the spring of 1874 the dam went out and I went out afterwards, and Knowles and A. S. Blowers went in and put a flour mill in operation which was sold and resold until it was bought by the present owner, Henry Reinhardt, who is a credit to all concerned.
The first store was brought from Fergus Falls by two brothers by the name of Miles. They put a part of their goods in a large tent and a part of them in my house, and there they remained all summer, but were taken away in the fall 1871. The parties lived in Wisconsin.
Richwood was so named from Richwood, Ontario, Canada, my native town.
The first school teacher in Richwood Township was Hattie Brigham, since Mrs. W. A. Norcross. In a letter to Mr. W. W. McLeod, she says:
You are correct in thinking that I taught the first school in Richwood. You will probably recollect that when you came after me, you were obliged to cut a road through the woods for the passage of the team. Finding that you would not get through in time, you left the oxen somewhere in the vicinity of Campbell's Lake, and I came on foot. I was obliged to walk some distance, while you and another man carried my trunk.
I first taught in the village of Richwood, the school beginning on the 22d of September, 1872. This was the first school ever taught in that village. The district was composed of three families, that of W. W. McLeod, J. E. Van Gorden and E. E. Abbott, and the pupils were eleven in number. For the first two weeks the school was held in Mr. Van Gorden's house, and for the remainder of the term in a log house with a board addition. It was during my first week that the great snow-storm of September 25th occurred.
The next spring I taught on the Richwood Prairie, in the Hans Hanson district, which was the first school taught there.
Hugh Campbell froze to death on the 20th of February, 1875. He lies buried in the same grave with William W. Harding in the Detroit cemetery, about midway in the front tier of lots. There is a little marble slab at the head of Harding's grave. When the cemetery was resurveyed in 1883, Campbell's grave was found to be in the street, so I had him taken up and placed beside his old neighbor.
Sidney Brigham was born at Marlborough, Mass., August 4th, 1817. He was the son of Phineas Brigham, a soldier of the War of 1812, and Lydia Wilkins Brigham, whose father was a Revolutionary soldier. He was a descendent in the seventh generation of the Puritan Thomas Brigham, who left England, April 8th, 1653, and settled in Massachusetts.
When he was five years old his father died, after an illness of seven years, of consumption, leaving Sidney the youngest but one of eight children, consequently his early educational advantages were limited, but he became a well informed man with more than ordinary acquaintance with the people and events of his own and other countries. On January 8th, 1839, he married to Fanny N. Hemenway, a native of Farmingham, Mass., and lived happily with her for more than thirty-nine years. Nine children, the remaining five daughters growing to womanhood. Those who died were two boys and two girls.
On the breaking out of the War of the Rebellion, he enlisted in the 13th Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers, but he was unable to pass the necessary medical examination, and was obliged to return home. Though he was prevented from serving his country in the field, his patriotism was unbounded, and by word and vote he sustained the government and its defenders, and his hand and purse were ever ready at their call.
On account of ill health of himself and other members of his family he decided to settle in Minnesota, and leaving Massachusetts, on the 22nd day of July, 1872, with his wife and five daughters, he reached Becker County, August 2nd, and on the 4th of the same month, his fifty-fifth birthday, took up residence on a timber claim in the town of Richwood. There being no road to his claim, he was obliged to follow the Indian trail to Floyd Lake, skirt the shore of that body of water for a certain distance, cross through the timber to the Pelican River, where it enters Little Floyd Lake and fording that stream, strike out a road for himself by following a footpath to his claim. A tamarack swamp blocked the way. Having taken his oxen through the swamp, he dared not undertake the crossing, but hired teams to take the lumber for his house, boxes of goods, etc., as far as the swamp, where they were unloaded, unpacked, carried or backed through the swamp to where his own team was in waiting, reloaded and taken to his home. Fortunately the road through the timber to White Earth was soon opened, the corduroys laid through the swamps and before winter set in, while the corduroys were still guiltless of earth, he had the privilege and the honor of being the first man to drive a team over the new road to Detroit. Notwithstanding his age and ill health, his industry and energy were unfailing, and he went to work with a will to make a home in the wilderness. He built a log house and spent his days in clearing his land and in the labors of seed time and harvest. Twice the grasshoppers descended on his fields and destroyed the fruits of his labors, but still he was ready to try again with faith in ultimate prosperity.
In the spring of 1877 his health began to fail rapidly and he gradually relinquished his most arduous labors. As winter approached and he was unable to swing an ax, a long handle was attached to a hatchet and with it he continued to clear the brush from the land, and piling it about trees, previously killed, or in which he had bored holes with an auger to give a better hold to the flames, he burned all together making ready for breaking the soil. But at land this was relinquished, and after a few more weeks of great suffering borne with remarkable patience and fortitude, on the 30th day of April, 1878, he laid down life's burdens and rested from his labors.
Below are the children of Sidney and Fanny N. Brigham who settled with them in Becker County:
Clara J. was born in Stow, Mass., March 19th, 1844, and moved to Spokane, Washington, May 1st 1884.
Amelia R. was born in Stow, Mass., Jan. 10th, 1846; was a teacher in Becker County and married J. H. Sutherland of Detroit, Jan 1st, 1875.
Hattie M. was born in Hudson, Mass., Dec. 19th, 1853; she was a teacher in Becker County and married W. A. Norcross of Detroit, Dec. 19, 1875.
Nellie F. was born in Marlborough, Mass., Nov. 27th, 1855; she was a teacher in Becker County and married C. H. Potter of Detroit, April 5th, 1876, and moved to Spokane, Washington, May 1st, 1884.
Angie S. was born in Marlborough, Mass., Nov. 11th, 1859; she taught in Becker County and moved to Spokane, Washington, May 1st, 1884, and married C. H. Dart of Spokane, June 1st, 1887.
||Mrs. J. H. Sutherland.|
Luke Collins was born in Southboro, Mass., August 3rd, 1816. He learned the trade of boot and shoe making, and became a superior workman, holding places of responsibility when in the employ of others, and also engaging in the business as a manufacturer. About 1845, he was married to Sophia H. Meninway of Marlborough, Mass. Three sons were born to them, one of whom came with him to Minnesota. The others, twins, dying in infancy. His wife survived them only a few weeks; she died in February, 1857. He never remarried. Though nearly forty-five years of age he was one of the first to answer Lincoln's call for "three year men" in 1861, enlisting in Company "F," Thirteenth Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers, leaving for Washington in July. He was detailed as drive of medical stores and later as ambulance driver; in the latter capacity during and after the battle of Antietam, September 17th, 1862, he labored in carrying away and caring for the wounded three days and nights without rest thereby contracting the disease which necessitated his discharge from the service in Jan., 1863, and which finally resulted in his death. He was popular with his comrades being known as Uncle and Daddy Luke. After his discharge from the army he returned to Massachusetts and pursued his ordinary avocation until June, 1872, when he with his son removed to Minnesota, taking up a claim in Richwood, Becker County. On the 30th of May, 1888, he insisted on marching with his comrades to the cemetery to place his tribute of respect and loving remembrance upon the graves of those who had fallen from the ranks. His sight was so nearly gone that he found it difficult to keep in line and once he wandered from the ranks. Afterwards he marched with his hand on the comrade preceding him and in that way was able to keep his place. The hard march was too much for him with his failing strength, and the next day a violent attack of neuralgia of the heart developed which resulted fatally in the early morning of the 1st of June. His funeral was conducted by F. C. Choate Post, Number 67 of the Grand Army of the Republic, of which he was a member. To the music of the fife and drum his comrades escorted his remains to the cemetery and with a volley of musketry left him at rest in a soldier's grave.
Mrs. J. H. Sutherland.