The History of Becker County, here presented to the public, is the result of long and patient labor and research, bestowed upon it with a view of producing a brief presentation of its natural history, including that of the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms, and also to produce an authentic and connected narrative of events of general importance and interest, which have occurred in the early settlement of the territory now included within the limits of Becker county, or in which its residents have been actors; confining the account as closely as possible to the county, and its present and former inhabitants; referring to outside matters only as far as necessary to show the connection of events.
In the preparation of this work, no labor has been spared in gathering historical material from, and calling to my assistance the most thoroughly informed citizens of the county. It has been my object to collect all facts obtainable, and as veracity and the unimpeachable truth are the life, and the heart and soul of history, I have been equally diligent in excluding every thing of doubtful authenticity.
This work is intended chiefly as a pioneer history and a special effort has been made to collect and record such historical information as is liable soon to evade our grasp and pass forever beyond our reach, with an addition of such incidents of more recent occurrence as may be of especial interest, delegating to some younger historian the task of recording the more common place events of recent years.
Perhaps more space has been allotted to the early days of the county than will be of interest to the present generation, but pioneers hope to be pardoned by those who came later for clinging with a vivid and affectionate recollection to the memorable pioneer past, and for recalling, and lingering with feelings of pride and friendship around the memories of the days that are no more.
I at first started out with the intention of writing up a sketch of all the early settlers, and particularly to publish the army experience of every old soldier in Becker County, presuming and guessing that there would be as many as fifty, but when I came to count them up and found that more than three hundred soldiers of the Civil War were now living or had lived in Becker County, my head began to swim around and around, and I gave it up. I have since told some of my friends that I was not writing biographies of the early settlers or old soldiers except of such as had died, and so far as any of them have expressed themselves, they have assured me that there would be no ill-will or feelings of jealousy on their past if they were left out under those conditions. I have, however, inserted a few, of people who have left the county, and also a few of the very earliest settlers, who are still living. So if any one is disappointed in not finding his name on the biographical list, he can attribute it to the fact that he is still in the land of the living.
As many of The people of our county well remember, Mrs. Jessie C. West, of Detroit, had for several years before her death been gathering material for a history of Becker County and had collected quite a large amount of valuable historical information. Her papers have since been placed in my hands and from them I have selected a large number of articles and items which I at first intended to give a separate place in my book by inserting them all together by themselves; but after a further examination of the various articles, I decided that they would be better appreciated, and would add more to the interest of the work, and would br more interesting in and of themselves if they were distributed throughout the work, where they would naturally fit in and connect with the various subjects of a nature with themselves.
In order to give her due credit for all the articles used belonging to her collection, I have placed her name under the lower; right-hand corner of all articles written by herself, and where they were compiled by her or furnished her by some one else, I have placed the name of the author under the lower right-hand corner of the article, and have placed Mrs. West's name under the left lower corner of the same article.
All articles written for me by other individuals will have the name of the writer prefixed or annexed, and wherever there is no name attached, either at the head or the foot of the article your humble servant is supposed to be the author.