Catholic Colonization in Minnesota
COLONY OF AVOCA,
MMRAV COONTY, SOOTHWESTERN MINNESOTA.
Published by the Catholic f oloni2;atiojm ^uf(eau,
Under the auspices op the Right Rev. John Ikeland,
Coadjutor Bishop of St. Paul.
ST. PAUL, MINN., DECEMBER, 1880.
THE PIONEER PRESS CO.
CATHOLIC COLONIZATION IN MINNESOTA.
COLONY OF AVOCA. MURRAY COUNTY.
The rapid growth and prosperity of our Catholic Colonies in
Minnesota, more than keeping pace with the healthy growth and
general prosperity of the State, make it necessary for the Catholic
Colonization Bureau to continually revise, alter, and supplement
the information it has already published for the benefit of intending
irruni grants. We wish to emphasize these words inte^iding immi-
grants, for we have no desire that those with comfortable,
respectable homes already, should break up those homes and come
west, influenced to do so by the truthful information we have
undertaken the grave responsibility of giving for the benefit of
the struggling, industrious many, who have no such homes nor
any prospect of securing them in their present employments and
When persons of ample means, influenced by circumstances
applicable to individual cases, come to us and take farms in any
of our colonies, (we have such,) we welcome them, and rejoice
when they tell us that they are well satisfied with the change;
but we caution people, rich and poor alike, from making imaginary
fancy pictures from the facts we lay before them.
This caution is necessary for our own protection and the pro-
tection of those placing full confidence in us; and it is to those
necessary, conscientious, plain cautions which we have given in
every publication issued by the Bureau, that we attribute the
gratifying fact, that among the thousands who have come here on
our invitation, not more than one per cent, returned dissatisfied:
a most extraordinary fact to those experienced in immigration
We will devote this paper exclusively to the Catholic Colony of
Avoca, Murray County, southwestern Minnesota. In none of
Gur colonies have more gratifying changes taken place, nor is
there elsewhere more cheering evidence of advancement and con-
4 CATHOLIC COLONIZATION IN MINNESOTA.
Farther on we will allow the Avoca settlers to speak for them-
selves. We will give their words taken down as they spoke them
in the presence of Father Nugent, of Liverpool — whom to name is
to do one-self honor — in the presence of Mr. James H. Tuke, of
Hitchin, England, and in the presence of other distinguished
visitors. All those gentlemen — some of them from Ireland and
some from England — came to this country and to our colonies to
judge for themselves as to the progress of the latter, the condition,
sentiments, and prosperity of the settlers, in order to encourage or
discourage emigration to Minnesota and to our colonies.
They frankly intimated to us that they had our side of the story
already from our published pamphlets, criculars and letters; had
perfect confidence in our statements so far as they themselves were
concerned; still before advising others they felt it to be incumbent
on them to see and hear for themselves. For this we honor them,
and have given them every assistance to carry out their wishes.
In no other part of the State has the value of land risen more
rapidly than in the southwestern part, where Avoca Colony is
situated. The average increase in the price of railroad lands has
gone up fully two dollars an acre since Bishop Ireland made a
contract with the railroad company for the lands within the
present bounds of the colony; and at those increased figures the
railroad company have found no difficulty in disposing of hundreds
of thousands of acres this season, to capitalists and settlers.
The following extracts, taken from an article on Southwestern
Minnesota, published in 1878, and given in our pamphlet for 1879
with the remark that allowance should be made for the high coloring
of the writer, the experience of the last two years has in all
essentials justified. Here are the extracts.
" Southwestern Minnesota has made rapid progress in stock
raising. As capital increases, and the utility and profit of stock
raising becomes better understood by the farmers, we shall see
fine flocks and herds, in addition to the fields of waving grain,
and our rich prairies teeming with the life they can so amply
sustain. The abundance of clear, sweet water, dry atmosphere,
its elevation, rich pasturage, freedom from disease, and direct and
ready access to all the prominent markets, unite to make Min-
nesota the paradise of stock raisers. Good hay can be put in the
stack in Southwestern Minnesota for $1.25 per ton. It can be
secured without other expense than cutting, and with very little
COLONY OF AVOCA, MUHRAY COUNTY. 5
labor, enough can be made for the maintenance of a large amount
of stock. *****
" This section has been settled but seven years, yet it is already
teeming with a population of wide-awake, industrious people,
whose fields are evidences of the innate wealth of the region.
The soil of Southwestern Minnesota is adapted to the successful
cultivation of grain, and so celebrated has ¦ its grain-producing
qualities become, that capitalists have put their money into large
tracts of land, and have now immense fields under cultivation,
and their investments have proven extremely profitable. There
are farms of 600, 1000 and 2000 acres, all producing Minnesota's
great staple, wheat. Every year, as the success of these invest-
ments becomes known, new and large farms are opening. * *
" Southwestern Minnesota is on tlie move, and to those who wish
to locate in a thriving, driving, pushing, growing country, no
locality of the green earth promises more faithfully, and none
will redeem its pledges with greater pride to the wide-awake,
stirring husbandman. The very soil teems with wealth, and the
air is laden with the most precious gifts of health."
In the very heart of the section of country thus described and
in our judgment, its Very garden, is the Colony of Avoca, in Murray
County, 165 miles southwest of St. Paul, the capital of the state.
While the beauty of the location and fertility of the soil, make
Avoca one of the most desirable locations in Minnesota, the easy
terms on which a farm can be secured, are additional and substan-
tial advantages for men of small means.
Certainly no such teruis could be now secured from the railroad
company — the owner of the land — as was secured under contract
by Bishop Ireland in 1878, which contract still holds good, and all
the 'advantages of which are transferred by the Bureau to the
When Avoca Colony was opened, the lands were twenty miles
from any railroad station. No railroad, no depot, no market
nearer than twenty miles, no settlements but a few claim shanties
on government lands scattered over the prairie; now we have in
Avoca Colony two railroads running right through the colony
lands, three railroad depots, and two growing railroad towns.
TOWNS OF AVOCA AND FULDA.
The growth of these towns might, in a measure, be taken as a
6 CATHOLIC COLONIZATION IN MINNESOTA.
proof of the prosperity of the settlements around them; we
will treat of both separately; and it should be borne in mind, in
connection with our review of the present state of the colony,
that settlement on the colony lands did not commence to any
extent before June, 1878, although it had been located and opened
a few months before.
The town of Avoca, laid out in the spring of 1878, is picturesquely
situated near a beautiful lake on the Black Hills Branch of the St.
Paul and Sioux City Railroad. On the southeast shore of the
lake stands the town, with the settlers' farms scattered around; and
on the opposite shore, Mr. Daniel Murphy, of Cork, Ireland, has
erected a very handsome cottage with out-otfices, having purchased
from the Bureau 240 acres of as fine land as there is in Minnesota.
As game — prairie chickens, dueks, geese, snipe, plover, &c., abound
in and around the lake, we expect to see Avoca within a few years
a favorite resort for sportsmen and tourists; already the former
have found it out, and the baggage car of the Avoca train is at
this season, crowded with the produce of their guns, going to
distant friends or market as the case may be.
The town has two general country stores, grocery and restaurant,
drug store, hardware store, furniture store, shoe store, first-class
hotel — one of the handsomest country hotels in Minnesota — two
second-class hotels, blacksmith shop, carpenter's shop, lumber
yard, machinery and grain warehouse, ten private residences,
post office, telegraph and express offices, also church, school house
and resident priest.
Mr. John Riggs opened the first store in Avoca, therefore we
interviewed him, and give here a synopsis of our interview.
" When did you come here, Mr. Riggs ?
"In January, 1879"
*' How much capital did you bring with you ?"
"Not much" (laughing).
" How much ?"
*' About $200, but I put $500 more to this afterwards, making
my capital $700."
V What is your present standing ?"
" I consider my building and stock worth four thousand dollars. "
" Any gruml)lers here ?"
"A few, as there are in everyplace, but fewer here than any
other place I have been, and when you argue with a grumbler here
he has to back down on the very objection he started on. "
Fulda, the spirited rival of Avoca, and the younger by some
COLONY OF AVOCA, MURRAY COUNTY. 7
months, is situated in the southeastern part of the colony, six
miles from the town of Avoca, on the main line of the Southern
Minnesota Railroad. Two tiny lakes bound the town on the
south, and the lay of the land around and quality of soil is not
surpassed in Minnesota. Being on the main line of the Southern
Minnesota Railroad, as it passes on to the gold mines of the Black
Hills, Dakota Territory, it is destined to be the shipping point for
the farm produce of the country tributary to it, on its way to the
great markets of Milwaukee and Chicago, the latter the greatest
grain market in the world.
The town now contains five general stores, three hotels, two
grain elevators, railroad depot, engine house (four engine stalls,
Fulda being a division station,) coal shed (250 feet long,) lumber
yard, printing and newspaper ofiice (Fulda Farmer,) law office,
doctor's office, drug store, wagon shop, shoe shop, harness shop,
school house, and twenty private houses.
The largest store in the town is owned by Mr. John Smith.
The building is 40x84 feet, two stories high; value of stock at
present in the store $7000; average monthly sales, $1500.
INTERVIEWS WITH THE FARMERS.
Now we will let some of the settlers speak for themselves, giving
— as nearly as possible, in their own words — their views in regard
to land, soil, prospects, work done, and feelings in general,
premising that there were no arrangements made for these inter-
views. Our visitors came without notice, had but a limited time
to remain, and we endeavored to left them see as many of the settlers
and their farms as possible.
The first farm visited was that of Mr. Joseph Hurst, situated
about three miles from the town of Avoca. Mr. Hurst is an
English Catholic, an intelligent agriculturist, who up to the
time of his leaving England, cultivated a small farm within twelve
miles of Liverpool.
*' When did you arrive in Avoca, Mr. Hurst ?" we asked.
" Last April. I had a capital of S500, a wife and four children.
Made a contract for 160 acres of land, where we are now. Made
first year's payment, put up this little house, 16x20, cost $40;
bought a yoke of oxen, a cow, two pigs; broke 30 acres of land;
had sod corn, potatoes and turnips in six acres."
" What are your prospects ?"
" Oh, the country will do when we get settled up."
*' Are you glad of the change ?"
8 CATHOLIC COLONIZATION IN MINNESOTA.
'* Yes, very glad. There is a grand chance for an industrious
man here. It is capital soil, as good as I ever saw; not so strong
perhaps as the soil I was used to, but better for crops and easier
" Now, Mr. Hurst, you brought here with you last April, $500,
and have done all you say. Will you now take $1000 and walk
" No, but I think the mistress would; she is sometimes lonely.'*
Turning to Mrs. Hurst we asked, " Are you lonely ?"
"At first I was " she answered, "but I know now the change
is all for the best. ' '
" This is a good country " said Mr. Hurst, " for an industrious
man, plenty of room: why the farm I had in England, for which I
paid six pounds an acre annual rent, would only make a good
*' How about water ?"
" 'Two days work will give you good well water " he answered,
Mr. Hurst was back-setting or replowing the laud he had broken
last summer, preparing it for crop next spring, when we called
upon him. His plowing was splendid. He is an intelligent,
industrious, sober man, who does his own thinking and works it
out. He will be a great success on his Avoca farm, as he would
be any where else with room and opportunity.
The next settler visited was Mr. John McDonnell, an experienced
farmer, now farming in Avoca Colony a half section or 320 acres
of land. We found him busy plowing his land, and returned with
him to his comfortable house, which cost him between $400 and
He informed us that he had put 120 acres under crop last spring,
including 80 acres of flax.
"How did the flax turn out?" we asked.
"Well," he replied; "it was the second crop grown on the
land. We had here this year the best flax crop grown in America,
mine when threshed, will go from 22 to 25 bushels to the acre.
Judging from this j^ear, I would say we have as fine soil for flax
as any in the country."
" What about your wheat: you had some ?"
" Yes, it was good, 18 bushels to the acre; oats 60 bushels. When
I break more laud I will sow clover and get into sheep raising.
They will do splendidly ; and as for cattle, they actually fatten.
COLONY OF AVOCA, MURRAY COUNTY, 9
fit for the butcher, on wild grass and hay without any other feed.
Farming is a complete success here; but if farmers go off working
for others, and neglect their own plowing, they will have a crop
of weeds and little grain. "
"You are well satisfied, Mr. McDonnell?"
" Well I want to get half section (320 acres) more of land. "
And with this most characteristic western answer written dowu^
we closed our note book and journeyed on to the farm of Timothy
Crowley, who came here from Boston, Mass., in 1878.
Mr. Crowley was almost the first settler in the colony; he was
from home, but his wife informed us that " They brought with
them from the East about $600. They had now a comfortable
house, yoke of oxen, cow and six pigs. They had taken up 40'
acres of government land on which their house was built, and 80
acres of colony lands; they had good crops this year, but they were
injured by the rain. They were well satisfied."
" What would you sell out for now ?" was asked: laughing, she
answered, *' We would not sell out, at all events for what we laid
Stepping lightly over the prairie and looking as if a large portion
of it belonged to him, we met Mr. Thos. Ed. Price, who arrived in
Avoca last May, from Tipperary, Ireland, with a great deal of good
blood in his veins and very little money in his pocket. Youn^
gentlemen like Mr. Price, brought up in idleness at home, had better
not come here unless they have the right manly stuff which he has
shown. Like a man, he took off his coat, went to work with a
farmer, and now has engaged a farm for himself, with fifty acres
broken on it.
• No one is more despised in the West than an idle gentleman;
no one more respected than the young fellow, delicately brought
up, who with a manly spirit goes to work and changes his soft
hands into strong rough ones, developing by so doing his moral
and physical strength.
Also met Mr. , who arrived in the colony last June, from
Ireland, and who has taken up 80 acres of land. We were informed
that this man was discontented and were therefore glad to have
an opportunity to interview him; but when we pulled out our note
book and began asking him questions he grew quite suspicious.
" What do you want to write down ?" he asked. " I don't want
to have my name in any paper."
"Well, the truth is," we replied, "we are hearing their own
stories from the settlers, and as we have only heard good ones up to
10 CATHOLIC COLOKIZATIOIS' m MINNESOTA.
this, and are told you have a bad one, let us have it for variety; but
^s you wish it we won't give your name,
" Well, I'm discouraged."
" Well, I had to pay for the breaking of my land, and now I will
have to pay for the fall plowing, and have got nothing out of it
"¦Why surely you did not expect to get a crop until you sowed
"Oh, no; but you see it's a^long time to wait."
*' Well, you must settle that with nature. Have you been
" Yes, I am a carpenter, and can get plenty of work, but I had to
leave my work because my wife was sick, and she is not well yet.
I am getting discouraged."
" What are you discouraged at ?"
This he could not tell, but repeated that he was discouraged-
'We mention this case for the benefit of those it may be a warning
to. This man may come out all right when he has his first crop,
or he may move off, going from place to place ^'discouraged."
Our experience teaches us that the safest and most satisfactory
'Course (for all concerned) for a man easily discouraged to take, is
to remain discouraged at home.
The next man we interviewed was the very opposite to Mr. .
"Now, Mr. Walsh, we want you to tell us all you know about
jour farm and the colony lands in general."
Ed. Walsh, a good type of an old western frontier farmer, gave
«s a free and easy look as he answered, " I guess I know a good
¦deal more about land than you do; no offence."
" Not a doubt about it, Mr. Walsh, therefore we have come to
you for information."
" Well, I have been farming in America for forty years, and my
opinion is that we have a fine farming country here. I have
bought half a section (320 acres) of land, broke 40 acres, put up a
liouse and offices at a cost of $800. You would say I was five years
here if you saw my place. I'll show some of the fellows here how
to farm, and if you come on in another year, I'll tell you exactly
how I feel and what I think. "
Daniel O'Connell, a young Hercules from Cork, Ireland, who
came out here last summer, the saddest man we ever met at leaving
his country, was a settler we were very anxious to see; for his
•down-right sorrow when we met him before, was really pitiable.
COLONY OF AVOCA, MURRAY COUNTY. 11
We were told now that he was completely changed, but only met
him by chance at the railroad depot, for a short time.
He was indeed a changed man, delighted beyond measure with
America and the colony, where he had secured 80 acres of land.
One of the gentlemen of our party who was from the same part
of Ireland as O'Connell, asked him, if he was pleased with this
country; and his answer was:
"It is the finest country for the poor man and for the rich man
in the world."
O'Connell informed us that exclusive of the work he did on his
own farm, he earned $40 during the harvest working for-others.
The next settler interviewed was Mr. Daniel Murphy, from the
county Cork, Ireland, who after spending one winter in Canada,
came on to Avoca in the spring, and bought 240 acres of land.
We have already made mention of this gentleman as having a
handsome cottage residence on the banks of Avoca Lake. He is
an educated gentleman, a scientific farmer, with a most interesting
family and accomplished wife.
Mr. Murphy informed us that he was greatly pleased with his
prospects. " I observe much," he said, " and have made my cal-
" How much land did you break this year ?" we asked.
"Sixty acres, in which I will put wheat, oats, flax and corn, I
will want the corn for sheep and cattle. With good cultivation
we can produce fine crops here. The crops were good here this
year, where the land v/as well cultivated and the seed put in at
the proper time. I will salt my wheat when it is up, and then
" How much did your house and offices cost you ?"
" How about your garden on j'our new breaking?"
" Every thing was good — cabbages, potatoes, carrots and ruta-
bagas, all first class. There is no doubt but that a good crop of
flax can be raised the first year on the new breaking. I tried a
little patch of oats, and I am confident that oats too can be raised
on breaking. If I knew when I came here as much as I do now I
would have had a fair crop this the first year on my laud."
FLAX CULTUKE — A CROP THE FIRST YEAR.
Here we will notice a very valuable discovery made lately by the
farmers in southwestern Minnesota.
Flax culture is of a very recent date in Minnesota. Not until
12 CATHOLIC COLONIZATION IN MINNESOTA.
a flax company was established in the State, with the object of
encouraging the cultivation of this crop, the company supplying
the farmers with the seed on time and contracting to buy the pro-
duee at a remunerative price — was there any amount of it sown.
Now that its cultivation has become more general, it is discovered
that it grows well on the new breaking, the first year, that by
breaking early in May, one can have a fair crop of flax, and that
by so doing the sod will be better rotted and the land more mellow
for the next year's crop than if left in fallow. If this is so — and
the evidence in favor of it seems indisputable — then the heretofore
great drawback to a poor man taking new land and having to
wait one year before having a grain crop, is entirely done away
with: hereafter he can have a good marketable crop the first j'ear,
besides his vegetables. The present price of flax seed is from $1
to $1.25, a bushel
The following statistics were furnished to us by the Rev. Charles
Koeberl, the resident priest and agent of the colony. Father
Koeberl's address is Avoca, Murray County, Minnesota.
Within the colony bounds there are 60,000 acres of colony lands,.
exclusive of an equal quantity of government lands settled on by
people of various nationalities, between whom and the colony
settlers there is the best of feeling. Of the 60,000 acres there are
about 30,000 sold.
Around the railroad station of lona, west of Fulda, the Rev.
M. McDonnell, of Batavia, New York, has secured a large tract of
land for the purpose of establishing there an orphan asylum and
agricultual school for boys. There will be a Catholic church at
lona, one at Fulda, and another in the northeast part of the colo-
ny; these, Avith the present church at Avoca, will make four
churches in the colony, and the most distant settler will not be
more than five miles from a church: the majority of the settlers
being only from one to four miles from a church. The temporary
church at Avoca is entirely too small for the congregation, who
are anxious to put up a larger and better one. It would be difiicult
to find a better dressed or more intelligent congregation attending
any rural church on this continent, than the one we saw at Avoca^
and we cannot call to mind any country church in this State with
so fine a choir.
The lands of the colony are unsurpassed by any in this State
for general farming. The soil is a dark loam, with a clay subsoil,
warm and rich, good for all varieties of crops; while the abundance
of wild hay — scarcely a quarter section without its broad patch of
COLONY OF AVOCA, MURRAY COUNTY. 13
natural meadow — together with the good supply of water, in every
part of the colony, from lakes, creeks, and the Des Moines River —
render diversified fiu'ming — part agriculture, part stock and sheep
raising — most desirable and without doubt most i^rofitable. This
is the kind of farming that pays best, with less labor and expense;
and we are glad to know that the settlers in Avoca Colony are
anxious to engage in it. A place better adapted for it could not
TERMS OF LAND SALE.
We have spoken of the easy terms on which lands can be had
in the colony, we will now go briefly into detail.
The lands sell at from $5.50 an acre to $7 on time contracts,
¦with 20 per cent, taken off for cash. Thus, if a man buys land
at $6 per acre, and pays cash, he has his laud at $4.80 an acre.
On time contracts the following are the terms:
At the time of purchase, interest only, one year in advance
seven per cent., is required; at the end of one year, interest only
for another year; at the end of two years, one-tenth of the princi-
pal, and a year's interest on the balance; at the end of three
years, one-tenth of the principal, and interest on balance; at the
end of each year thereafter, twenty per cent, of the principal, and
interest on balance, until all is paid.
We subjoin a practical illustration of these terms:
We will say that January, 1881, a man contracts for 80 acres of
land at $6 per acre, this will come to $480, with T per cent, interest,
which sums he will have to pay as follows:
Jan. 1, 188 L At time of purchase, one year's
interest in advance, at 7 per cent. - $33 60
Jan. 1, 1882. One year's interest, - - - - 33 60
Jan. 1, 1883. Ten per cent, of principal, - - $48 00
Interest on balance, - - 30 24
Jan. 1, 1884. Ten per cent, of principal, - - 48 00
Interest on balance, - - 26 88
Jan. 1, 1885. Twenty percent, of principal, - 96 00
Interest on balance, - - 20 16
Jan. 1, 1886. Twenty per cent, of principal, - 96 00
Interest on balance, - - 13 44
Jan. 1, 1888. Twenty per cent, of principal, - 96 00
Jan. 1, 1887. Twenty per cent, of principal, - 96 00
Interest on balance, - - 6 72
Land paid for, Total - - - $644 64
14 CATHOLIC COLONIZATION IN MINNESOTA.
Of course it is always better and safer when it can be done, to
pay cash for the land. By getting 20 per cent, off the price, a
man makes a good investment if he never comes onto the land, and
getting his deed at once he has no more trouble.
But the majority of poor men cannot buy for cash, and we have
endeavored to do the next best thing for them — to get them good
The advantage of the terms we have secured is, that the princi-
pal payments are all postponed until the farmer has had time to
raise several crops from his laud. A quarter-section of land will
support a family, pay for itself, leave after seven years a balance
in cash, and be worth more than twice its original value.
We have already selected several 80 and 160 acre farms in Avoca
for persons not in a position to come on immediately to the land.
Now let us explain how this operates.
An intending immigrant writes to the Bureau to have 80 acres
of land in Avoca at |6 per acre, selected for him. For those 80
acres, he pays down, before getting his contract from the railroad
company, one year's interest, $33.60. He writes on then, next
spring, to the Bureau, to have 80 acres of his land broken and
ready for a crop the following spring — 1882. His breaking will
cost at $2.50 per acre, $75. He will have paid the first year $108,-
60 and have his land ready for the seed; he comes on then the
second spring, 1882, pays $33.60, another year's interest, to the
railroad company, puts in his crop and has it saved and ready for
market in August. Up to this time, not calculating the expenses
chargeable to the crop, he has paid out $142.20, and has his farm
open and in a fair way to pay for itself.
MR. JOHN SWEETMAN'S PURCHASE OF LANDS ADJOINING AVOCA
In connection with the colony of Avoca, we have to make men-
tion of a most cheering and gratifying fact. Mr. John Sweetman,
of Drumbaragh, Kells, County Meath, Ireland, a gentleman of
affluent means, induced first to inquire into the subject of Catholic
colonization by reading our pamphlet published in 1879, and with
nq object but the pure religious one of doing good, has now after
paying two visits to this country within the last six months, and
receiving from the Right Rev. Bishop Ireland every information on
the subject of Catholic colonization, and every opportunity to
investigate its working — purchased in Murray County, for cash,
20,000 acres of choice land, commencing on the north line of Avoca
COLONY OF AVOCA, MURRAY COUNTY. 15
Colony and running to within three miles of Tracy, a railroad town
and station on the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad.
Mr. Sweetman, having made all necessary arrangements here»
has just returned to Ireland to bring over in the spring his first
batch of Irish emigrants, numbering sixty families : others wilJ
follow, until every acre of this splendid tract of land is occupied by
Irish settlers direct from Ireland; and we look forward to seeing
much larger tracts bought up through Mr. Sweetman 's influence.
We make this imperfect notice here of a great and good under-
taking, merely to show the advantage and strength our Avoca
Colony will derive from it. We have already secured large tracts
of land for our people in Murray County, and here is now a splendid
tract, adjoining our colony in the same county, and running up ta
the county line, bought by an Irish gentleman for the purpose of
peopling it with Irish settlers.
The meaning of this is, that our people will, within a very short
time, be the possessors of one of the fairest counties in Minnesota,
where there will be an opening for the young, ambitious man to
win honor and position; for the enterprising man to accumulate
capital; for the poor, industrious man to secure an honest, inde-
pendent home; and for us all to show to the world, that with fair
play we can advance with the swiftest and rise with the highest.
Much as has been done, we deem now that the purchase of lands
in southwestern Minnesota, for the purpose of Catholic colonization,
has only got fairly under way. Men of wealth, influence, and
position in this country and in Europe, are becoming actively
interested in the subject, and we expect to have the happiness of
seeing our humble efforts far outstripped in the near future.
How much capital would I require to start on a new farm ?
This is a question continually put to us by correspondents.
The following figures will show the least amount we deem it neces-
sary for the new settler to have. We do not recommend a man
with any less to come; on the contrary, we caution him that if he
comes with less, it must be at his own risk.
At the same time we know of a man who settled in one of our
colonies two years ago with a capital of eighteen dollars, cut the
past harvest on his own land some forty or fifty acres of wheat,
and told Father Nugent, he would not take $1500 for his place.
We would back this man with a hoe against the discouraged man
16 CATHOLIC COLONIZATIOK IN MINNESOTA.
with a thousand dollars, and would have little doubt as to which of
them would come out ahead.
Here are our figures:
We will take up the poor man's case first, as it is the one we
iiave the most interest in, and we land him on his farm in the
He puts up a very cheap house; by and by he will have a better
one — but in the meantime he can make this one comfortable,
warm and clean — much better than a cheap lodging in a city.
We will give the dimensions of the house as 16x18 ft., to be
built of single boards; these to be sodded on the outside to any
depth the owner may wish. In this way, he can have a house far
warmer than a poorly put up frame house, at the following cost :
1,600 feet of lumber, - - - - - $25 00
2 windows, 2 doors, - - - - 6 50
Shingles, ... - - - 7 25
Total, - - - - - $38 75
N. B. — It must be understood that is a poor man's temporary
liouse, which he can add to and improve little by little.
NoAv we must furnish the house :
Cooking stove, .....
3 bedsteads, .....
Total, - $43 00
CATTLE AND FARMING IMPLEMENTS.
He buys a breaking yoke of oxen, weighing from 3,200 to
3,400 lbs. at about, . . . . $100 00
Breaking plow, .... 23 00
Wagon, - - - - - 75 00
Total, ..... $198 00
Then he goes to work and breaks up early in May, five acres
for garden, ten for a flax crop, and twenty-five acres more in June,
giving him forty acres ready for his next year's crop.
His vegetables grown on the sod will go a far way to support
COLONY OF AVOCA, MURRAY COUNTY. 17
him, and his ten acres of flax will likely bring him in cash, $100
the first year.
WHAT IT WILL COST HIM TO LIVE.
For a family of four, 30 bushels of wheat, ground into flour,
at $1. a bushel, ..... $30 00
Groceries, - - - - - - 15 00
1 COW for milk, - - - - - - 25 00
Fuel, - - - - - - - 30 00
Total, - - - ... $100 00
HOW HE STANDS THE SECOND SPRING.
He has laid out, for a house, .... $38 75
For fuel, - - - - . - 30 00
" Furniture, - - - • . - 43 00
" Cattle and farming implements, . - . 198 00
Cost of living, including price of COW, . . . 100 00
Total, - $409 75
He has a set-ofi" against this, $100 for his flax crop raised on the
sod, and about $40 he can earn during harvest. Nevertheless we
cannot advise him to come with a less capital than four hundred
dollars and to this he must add in his calculations, his expenses
SECOND year's EXPENSES.
One drag to put in the crop, shaking the seed by hand, $12 00
Seed wheat for forty acres, - - - • 60 00
Hires his grain cut and bound, • - - 60 00
Shocking and stacking, &c,, &c., done by exchanging
work with neighbt^rs.
Machine threshing at 5 cents a bushel, - - 40 00
Extra labor done by exchanging work.
Total, ...... $172 00
We have now come down to the harvest and the second year on
Up to this the settler's expenses have been $581 75.
Let us see what the land is likely to set off" against this sum.
We will base our calculations on a wheat crop as the most con-
venient. We expect of course that the settler will have a variety
1^ CATHOLIC COLONIZATION IN MINNESOTA.
40 acres of wheat, 20 bushels to the acre, one dollar a
bushel, ...... $800 00
Charges against crop, - - - ... 581 75
Adding to this $100 received for flax the year before, and $40^
that he earned same year, the settler has in hand the second year,
after paying all expenses, .... $358 25
He has this sum realized after supporting his family for sixteen
months, his home made, stock paid, his farm open and at least
$300 added to the value of his land.
for 50 acres, where a man hires all his work done. He may prefer
to do this, to buying cattle or horses to break, as he may be a man
who can earn high wages, until his first crop comes in.
Breaking 50 acres, at $2.50 per acre, - - . $125 00
Seed wheat, - - - . . . 75 00
Seeding and dragging, at 90 cents per acre, - - 45 00
Cutting and binding, $1.50 per acre, - - 75 00
Stacking, five days, two men and team, - . 25 00
Threshing and hauling to market, at 12 cents a bushel, 120 00
Cash expenses of crop, - - . $465 00
Fifty acres of wheat, 20 bushels to the acre, at $1 per
bushel, _• - - . . $1,000 00
Charged to the crop, - . ^ . . . 465 00
Balance in favor of crop, .... $535 00
Now, the expense of breaking, by right, should not be charged
to the first crop, for it is a permanent value, added to the value of
the land, and should be calculated as capital: 50 acres broken on a
farm of a 160, adds full $2 an acre to the value of the property.
But in the above calculation, we have not alone charged the
first crop with the breaking expenses, but also with the cash price
of every dollar's worth of labor expended, until the wheat is in
the railroad elevator, and the owner has nothing more to do, unless
to receive his money for it; and yet there is a clear profit over all
expenses of $535.00.
In making these calculations, it is necessary to put a certain
COLONY OF AVOCA, MURRAY COUNTY. 19
value on the wheat per bushel, and to allow for a certain amount
of bushels to the acre, but it will be obvious to any reader that in
both these important items there are continual variations. Taking
the average of man}'^ years' crops and prices, our calculations are
as near correct as they can be made.
SECOND CALCULATION OF HOUSE BUILDING,
In our calculation of the smallest sum a man would require,
coming to settle on the land, we made an estimate of a very cheap
house indeed, nevertheless one that can be made warmer than
many a more expensive one. We give an estimate of the cost of
a frame house 16x2'l, a story and a half high, with a T addition,
and a cellar 12 by 16.
We give the exact expenses of a house of this kind as it stands
at present in one of our colonies. It has three rooms up stairs
with a hall, two rooms down stairs with a hall and pantry, and
has had one coat of plaster.
Material for house, ..... $280
Work, - ... . . 75
Total, ...... $355
A man himself helping, can lessen this item for work, say $25,
leaving the cost of the house $330.
In our first calculation we put down as the lowest sum a man
would require to have after his arrival on the land, $409.75. But
in this calculation we gave him a house, such as it was, for $38.75.
Now, if he wants the better house we have just described, his
capital should be $726.
WHAT A MAN WITH MODERATE CAPITAL CAN DO.
We now come to the case of a man with moderate capital, who
wishes to start with a complete outfit of farming machinery, &c.
Coming in the spring, in time to commence breaking by the end
of May, he buys
Three Horses, .....
One sulky plow — seat for driver, breaker attachment.
Harrow . . . . -
Harvester and self-binder, . . . -
Horse rake and mower, - . . -
Wagon, - -, -
Total, $1,007 00
20 CATHOLIO COLONIZATION" IN MINNESOTA.
N. B. — It is calculated that the grain saved by the self-binder
over hand work pays for the wire used in binding, and in labor
50 cents an acre is saved, besides the board of two men. We will
soon have twine and straw binders perfected, an improvement
which will do away with the expense of wire altogether.
With a sulky plow and three horses, our farmer breaks 100 acres
of land, and puts it under wheat the following year.
He has been already at an outlay for horses and
machinery, of - - - - - $1,007 00
Seed wheat costs - - - - - 160 00
Shocking and stacking - ' - - - - TO 00
Threshing and hauling, using his three horses, 10 cents
a bushel, - - - • - - 200 00
Total, $1,427 00
2,000 bushels of wheat, .... $2,000 00
Hay cut by mower, .... 200 00
Expenses, - - - - - 1,427 00
Balance in favor of crop, - - - $773 00
Now, it will be borne in mind, that we have charged the first
crop with horses and machinery, property that, by right, should
come under the head of capital; we have charged it with what
will work the farm for years, and help to produce successive crops,
not of one hundred acres, but of two or three hundred acres; and
yet, with all the charges, the crop shows a profit of $773.
What other business can make such a showing as this ?
And yet we have made no mention of the industry which will
bring in the most reliable profit to the farmer in the coming years,
when the hurry and expense of opening a new farm are things of
the past, viz., stock and sheep farming.
Be it remembered, that while we give certain figures for crops
and prices, we do not guarantee their fulfillment in all cases.
By no means.
It will require good farming — no scraping — to produce twenty
bushels of wheat to the acre. We haye made our calculations,
guided by the past experience of practical farmers.
COLONY OF AVOCA, MURRAY COUNTY. 21
Seasons may come, too, when crops may fail. Farming, like
everything else in this world, has its uncertain features, its draw-
backs; but the drawbacks are only incidental. A man is always
sure to raise enough for his support, in the worst of seasons, and
he has his land, his home, and in a bountiful harvest forgets he
ever had poor crops.
There is no State in the Union where there is a greater cer-
tainty of good average crops than in Minnesota, and in all our
experience we have never known a case where an industrious,
sober man, settled for some years on his own land, in this State,
failed to make a good home for himself.
N. B. — All farming machinery can be bought on long time.
WATER AND FUEL.
Water and fuel are two great necessaries that must not be over-
looked. Good water can be had all over Avoca Colony at a
distance of from 15 to 25 feet from the surface, and for stock the
rivers, creeks and lakes give a bountiful supply. In regard to fuel,
Iowa coal is delivered at any of the railroad stations in the colony
for about $5 a ton; wood can be had about nine miles from the
center of the colony for $4 a cord; but during the summer most
of the settlers burn twisted hay, and housekeepers prefer it for
baking. There will be no want of fuel when coal can be had so
readily, and two acres of good wheat can buy all the fuel a man
could possibly use in a small house.
WHEN TO COME — WHAT TO BRING — RAILROAD PARES.
Decidedly the best time for the emigrant to come to Minnesota
is the spring. If possible, he should not arrive later than the
middle of April. He should have his land selected in time to com-
mence to break for garden stuif, for flax and corn, then he can
continue to break, for his next year's wheat crop, up to the early
part of July. A man coming in the early part of June can have
land broken for his next year's crop, but he loses the advantages
of garden stuff, flax and sod corn, to help him out in his living
until his first principal crop comes in.
Bring all your bedding that is of value; all your bedclothes; all
wearing apparel; good clothing of every description; nothing
22 CATHOLIC COLONIZATION IN MINNESOTA.
EAILROAD FARES FROM DIFFERENT POINTS.
1st Class. 2d Class. Immigrant.
New York ..$35 25 $30 25 $24 00
Philadelphia 33 50 28 45 24 00
Moutreal 36 25
Toronto 29 25
Buffalo 29 25
Cleveland 25 55
Chicago 15 25
Milwaukee 12 25
N. B. — The above are the fares from the points mentioned to
St. Paul. Doubtless persons coming in a large party from the
same place would get special low rates.
Persons going from St. Paul to Avoca get half rates ($3.00) by
calling at the office of the Catholic Colonization Bureau, but the
direct way for emigrants coming from the Eastern States or
Europe to the Avoca Colony is to get their tickets direct to Fulda
station, via LaCrosse, Wisconsin, over the Southern Minnesota
Persons wishing any further information may apply directly to
Rev. Chas. Koeberl, Avoca, Murray Co., Minnesota, or to
The Catholic Colonization Bureau,
St. Paul, Minnesota.
its geographical position — SIZE — OPINIONS OF DISTINGUISHED
MEN — FERTILITY, BEAUTY AND HEALTHFULNESS OF THE STATE.
The State contains 83,153 square miles or 53,459,840 acres, and
is, therefore, one of the largest in the Union. It occupies the
exact centre of the continent of North America. It lies midway
between the Arctic and Tropic circles — midway between the
Atlantic and Pacific* oceans — and midway between Hudson's Bay
and the Gulf of Mexico. It embraces the sources of three vast
water systems which reach their ocean termini, northward through
Hudson's Bay, eastward through the chain of great lakes, and
southward via the Mississippi River. It extends from 43^-° to 49°
of north latitude, and from 89° 29' to 97° 5' of west longitude; and
is bounded on the north by the Winnipeg district of British
COLONY OF AVOOA, MURRAY COUNTY. 23
America, on the west by the Territory of Dakota, on the south
by the State of Iowa, and on the east by Lake Superior and the
State of Wisconsin.
Ill otficial reports before us, we find m.lny interesting extracts
from the writings of well-known public men, agriculturists, geol-
ogists, professors in various branches of science, engineers, sur-
veyors and government officials, who have visited Minnesota at
various times on business or pleasure, and who have borne enthu-
siastic testimony of her resources, the fertility of her soil, the
healthfulness of her climate and the beauty of her scenery.
A few sentences from all these writings will suffice for us in
In the official report of General Pope, who was commissioned
by the government to make a topographical survey of portions of
the State, we find the following sentence, which embraces almost
all that can be said in praise. He says :
" I KNOW of NO COUNTRY OH EARTH ivheve SO MANY advantages
are presented to the farmer and manufacturer."
The adaptability of our rich soil for all the staple crops, as
proven by experience, the large yield per acre in wheat, oats,
potatoes, &c., &c., the immense quantity of good land in large
bodies, the truly magnificent water power within the State, and
so beneficently located in its difi"erent sections; all these advan-
tages, seen beneath a sky always bright, and in a climate at all
seasons healthy, may well account for the enthusiasm which
inspired the above eulogy on Minnesota.
The accredited correspondent of the Chicago Tribune, who vis-
ited this State some four years ago, is equally enthusiastic in his
published letters to his paper. We give two extracts from those
" No wonder the people here wear such smiling countenances.
They are full of hope. I have yet to see the first despairing or
gloomy face. Melancholy belongs to the overcrowded cities, and
there is plenty of it in Chicago.
"Is it not astonishing that so many able-bodied men should
hang about our large cities doing nothing, because they can find
nothing to do, and nearly starving to death, when these broad and
fertile prairies are calling upon them to come and release the
treasures which lie within the soil.
" The resources of this State are immense. It has every variety
of wealth, and every facility for profitable exchange. There is no
more productive soil in the world. Then the State has an abundance
of pine timber. It has a vast amount of available water power,
and ofi'ers everv facility and encouragement to manufacturing
24 CATHOLIC COLONIZATION IX MINNESOTA.
industry. It has mineral wealth on Lake Superior of iron and
copper, in inexhaustible abundance. There is no region in this-
country, or any country, that I am aware of, that is so well
watered. And the water is everywhere clear and pure. It is a
land of great rivers, peltucid lakes, and sparkling streams.
"All this may sound enthusiastic, but every word is calmly
written and justified by the facts; and it is strictly within the facts.
If the advantages of this region were only adequately made known,
there would surely be a great flow of labor from the cities and
places where it is not wanted, into a region like this, where every
variety of labor is needed, and where it is certain to meet with a
rich reward. "
In the second extract we give, this correspondent expresses him-
self in language very similar to that made use of by General Pope.
He says, still speaking of Minnesota:
"I know of no other portion of the earth's surface where sO"
many advantages are concentrated, and where the man of in-
dustry and small means may so quickly and with so much certainty
render himself independent. Here you have a climate of exceed-
ing purity, a soil of amazing productiveness, abundance of the
clearest water, with groves, and lakes, and rivers, and streams
wherever they are wanted. Then the great railway lines are
beginning to intersect this country in all directions, and thus
furnish the farmer with a cheap and immediate outlet lor hi»
We will close these brief extracts — taken from the writings of
persons well qualified to form a sound judgment on the subject
they were discussing, and totally unconnected personally with the
interests of Minnesota — with two extracts from a speech of the
distinguished statesman, Hon. Wm. H. Seward, delivered in St.
Paul, the capital of our State, so far back as 1860.
Mr. Seward said, and America has not produced so far-seeing a
** Here is the place — the central place — where the agriculture of
the richest region of North America must pour out its tributes to
the whole world. On the east, all along the shore of Lake
Superior, and west, stretching in one broad plain in a belt quite
across the continent, is a country where State after State is yet to
rise, and where the productions for the support of human society
in the old crowded States must be brought forth. ? • *
" I now believe that the ultimate last seat of government on this
great continent will be found, somewhere within a circle or radius
not very far from the spot on which I stand, at the head of navi-
gation on the Mississippi River."
COLONY OF AVOCA, MURRAY COUNTY. 25
GENERAL STATE STATISTICS.
LAKES, RIVERS, TIMBER, CLIMATE, SOIL, STOCK RAISING.
In the following we have borrowed much from authorized State-
reports, adding our own comments when necessary.
Minnesota abounds in lakes of great beauty. They are from
one to fifty miles in diameter, and are well stocked with a variety
of fish. Those beautiful lakes are found in every portion of the-
State, sparkling on the open prairie, hidden in groves, or resting^
calm and pure in the depths of the silent forest.
If we were writing a sketch book we would go into a full
description of our lakes, for they are the pride and boast of
Minnesotians. Long ago, the Red Man was captivated with their
beauty and gave to this, his then demesne, its present poetic
name — Minnesota: (Indian language — sky-tinted water.)
Minnesota has five navigable rivers. The Mississippi (The
Father of Waters,) having its rise in Lake Itaska, in the northern
part of the State.
The St. Croix, flowing through a large portion of the lumbering
The Minnesota, rising in Dakota Territory and flowing througb
a large portion of the State empties into the Mississippi, five
miles above St. Paul. It is navigable, in favorable seasons, about
The Red River of the North, forming the northwestern boundary
of the State for a distance of 380 miles, and navigable about 250,
The St. Louis River, flowing into Lake Superior on our north-
eastern boundary, a distance of 135 miles.
Besides these, the largest rivers are the Root, Rum, Crow, Sauky
Elk, Long Prairie, Crow Wing, Blue Earth, Le Sueur, Maple,
Cobb, Watonwan, Snake, Kettle, Redwood, Wild Rice, Bufl"alo',
Chippewa, Marsh, Pomme de Terre, Lac qui Parle, Mustinka, Yel-
low Medicine, Two Rivers, Cottonwood, Cannon, Zumbro, White-
water, Cedar, Red Lake, Straight, Vermillion, and others. These,,
with a vast number of smaller streams tributary to them, ramify-
^6 CATHOLIC COLOlflZATION" IN MINNESOTA.
ing through fertile upland and grassy meadow, in every section of
the State, afford invaluable facilities for the various purposes of
lumbering, milling, manufacturing and agriculture.
In connection with her rivers, we will say that Minnesota has
perhaps the finest water power, within her bounds, to be found in
the world. This power is found all over the State, and though
only very partially developed, it serves to manufacture 2,600,000
barrels of flour annually, and runs 250 saw mills.
Minnesota is neither a timber nor a prairie State; yet it pos-
sesses in a large degree the advantages of both, there being unques-
tionably a better proportion of timber and prairie, and a more
admirable intermingling of the two than in any other State. It
is estimated that about one-third of Minnesota is timbered land,
of more or less dense growth. In Iowa, it has been officially esti-
mated that only about one-tenth to one-eighth of the State is
For health, for the full enjoyment of life, for that indescribable
•exhilaration of spirits which bright skies, a clear, dry atmosphere
and pure air give, the climate of Minnesota cannot be surpassed.
Its mean yearly temperature (44.6) coincides with that of Cen-
tral Wisconsin, Michigan, Central New York, Southern Vermont,
New Hampshire, and Maine; but in the dryness of its atmosphere
it has, both for health and comfort, a great advantage over those
States. It is well known that dampness is the element from
whence come sickness and suffering, either in cold or warm
weather, and the dry atmosphere of winter in Minnesota, at an
average temperature of 16°, makes the cold less felt than in warmer
but damper climates several degrees farther south.
We have in Minnesota about four months of what may be
called winter, but the severe cold weather seldom comes before
Christmas, and lasts only to about the 1st of March. To some
this period is about the most enjoyable in the year. " Winter in
Minnesota," says a late writer, "is a season of ceaseless busi-
ness activity, and constant social enjoyment; and by those accus-
tomed to long wintry storms, and continued alternations of mud,
and cold, and snow, is pronounced far preferable to the winters in
any section of the Northern States. Here there is an exhilaration
in the crisp atmosphere which quickens the blood, and sends the
bounding steps over the ringing snow with an exultant flurry of
good-spirits akin to the highest enjoyment."
COLONY OF AVOCA, MURRAY COUNTY. 27
Doubtless this was written from the stand-point of warm robes,
a light cutter, a fast horse, and tingling sleigh-bells; nevertheless
it is in the main true. When the surface of the body is warmly
clothed, one can enjoy out-door exercise in the winter with every
The summer months are pleasant. We have hot days, as one
can judge by bearing in mind that our wheat crop is put into the
ground, cut and often threshed, all within three months; but our
nights are always beautiful and cool. Then comes autumn, when
the wayside copse, blushing at the hot kisses of the sun, turns
scarlet, and every tint of shade and color is seen in the variegated
foliage of the forest; and then the hazy, Indian summer — nothing
so lovely could last long on earth — when forest and prairie, dell
and highland, palpitate with a hushed beauty, and to live is hap-
Pure air is health, life. Winter and summer, fall and spring,
the air of Minnesota, free from all malaria, is pure. We promise
to the new settler, making a home on land in Minnesota, plenty
of hard work, and the best of health and spirits — so far as climate
has any effect on those blessings, and it has a great deal — while
doing it. It will not be necessary for him to get acclimated, but
to pitch right in.
Disturnell, author of a work on the "Influence of Climate in
North and South America," says that ^^ Minnesota may he said to
excel anyportion of the Union in a healthy and invigorating climate.''*
In connection with this very important subject, health, the fol-
lowing comparative statement as to the proportion of deaths to
population, in several countries in Europe and States in the Union,
will be read with interest :
Great Britain and Ireland. 1
Wisconsin 1 in 108
Iowa 1 in 93
Illinois 1 in 73
Missouri 1 in 51
Michigan 1 in 88
Louisiana 1 in 43
Texas 1 in 46
Pennsylvania 1 in 96
United States 1 in 74
The above is so conclusive an exhibit in confirmation of the
healthfuluess of the Minnesota climate, that it exhausts the subject.
Under this head, the late J. B. Phillips, Commissioner of Sta-
tistics, says :
" The soil of the arable part of the State is generally of the best
28 CATHOLIC COLONIZATION" IN MINNESOTA.
quality, rich in lime and organic matter, and particularly well
adapted to the growth of wheat, over 26,400,000 bushels of which
cereal were produced in 1S73, and over 30,000,000 in 1875.
Although its fertility has never been disputed, these authentic
figures prove it beyond question. Good wheat lands in a favorable
season will produce from 25 to 30 bushels to the acre. I believe
the whole county of Goodhue, in a yield of between 3,000,000 and
4,000,000 bushels, very nearly averaged the first figures in 1875.
A great portion of the State is equally adapted to stock raising,
and many farmers think it would be more profitable."
We will add to this, by way of a note, that in 1877, Minnesota,
with only 3,000,000 acres of her land under cultivation, produced
35,000,000 bushels of wheat, almost all No. 1 quality, and that
Goodhue County, mentioned in the extract quoted, had a yield of
According to the report of the United States Commissioner of
Agriculture for 1877, the average yield of wheat per acre for that
year was :
In Minnesota 18.5 bushels.
" Illinois 16.5 "
" Ohio 15 "
" Wisconsin 15 "
" Nebraska 15 "
In Indiana 14.5 bushels.
" Iowa 14.5 "
" Missouri 14 "
" Kansas 13.5 "
" California 9.5 •'
What the gold mines of the Pacific slope have been to California,
her rich soil has been to Minnesota, while the classes attracted
here by our agricultural resources, and broad wheat fields, cannot
be surpassed in any country, as intelligent, law-abiding, peaceful,
We know of no country where stock, horses and sheep, do better
than in Minnesota, and we believe that it will be found true that
the climate conducive to the health of human beings is one where
all kinds of domestic animals will thrive.
We had, some time ago, a very interesting conversation with
Mr. Featherston, an English gentleman residing in Goodhue
County, on this subject.
He informed us that he had farmed in England, in the State of
New York, in Kansas, and now in Minnesota, and he was never
in a place where sheep and stock did better than here. "I attri-
bute this," he said " to the dryness of our winter weather. Sheep
here are not weighed down with wet fleeces; and as for cattle,
they suffer more in southern Kansas, where they can remain out
all the year, than they do here in the coldest days of winter."
*? How is that ? " we asked.
COLONY OF AVOCA, MURRAY COUNTY.
" Easil}' accounted for," he replied, "One part of the day, in
Kansas, it will be raining, the coats of the cattle will be saturated
with wet, then it comes on to freeze, and they become sheeted
with ice; this is very injurious to the health of a beast. Sheep
raising in Minnesota I have found very profitable fjirming indeed. "
"What about the soil of Minnesota? " we asked.
" Well," he replied, "I was home in England two years ago,
traveled about a good deal, and did not see any soil equal to the
soil of Minnesota. "
Flaxseed . . .
Potatoes . . .
Amber Syrup 5,033
€ultivated Hay 145,150
Other Products 18,323
¦Cultivated Area 4,043,074
Apple Trees, bearing No., 269,186
" " growing " 1,121,779
Apples Bus., 124,261
Timothy Seed " 39,376
Clover Seed " 18,4G0
Butter lbs., 15,639,069
Oheese " 586,448
Honey " 208,018
•Grapes " 135,086
"Strawberries qts., 237,626
Tobacco lbs , 65,089
Sheep .' No., 206,477
Wool lbs., 948,184
No. of Farms in 1880
Average area cultivated per farm acres.
30 CATHOLIC COLON"IZA.TION IN MINNESOTA.
GROWTH AND PROSPERITY OF THE STATE.
Under this head we give the following figures: they speak for
Calculated area in the State:
1850, - - - - - - 1,900 acres.
1860, 433,267 "
1870, 1,863,316 "
1877, ..... 2,896,496 "
1880, 4,389,651 "
ASSESSED VALUE OF PROPERTY.
1870, - - - . . 87,133,673
1880, ...... 269,000,000
But the latter sum does not include the entire wealth of the
State by a great deal, for the 3,100 miles of railway now in opera-
tion, with rolling stock, stations and other property, is not assessed
because the companies pay a percentage of the earnings of the
roads as their tax. There are likewise, some 3,350 school houses;
three normal schools; a university; two insane asylums; an insti-
tute for deaf, dumb and blind; a soldiers' orphans' home; reform
school; penitentiary; about fifty court houses, county jails and
poorhouses and farms; eight or ten hospitals; a score of charitable
institutions; some twelve hundred churches; and considerable other
property devoted to educational, charitable, or religious purposes,
which is not taxed, and does not, therefore, appear on the assess-
ment rolls. To say nothing of thousands of bridges and wagon
1880, ...... 780,000
In 1863, Minnesota had nine miles of railroad; in 1880, now in
operation, 3,100 miles, with many new lines building and pro-
WHAT MINNESOTA HAS DONE IN TWENTY-FIVE YEARS.
The following is an extract from a speech delivered the other day
by our worthy Governor, J. S. Pillsbury, at an agricultural fair in
this State. After enumerating to his audience most of the things
we had not twenty-five years ago, the governor went on to say:
COLONY OF AVOCA, MURRAY COUNTY. 31
'* Mark what a cliange has been wrought in twenty-five years.
To-day there are eight trunk raih'oads that reach our borders, and
we have more than 3,000 miles of completed railroad in our state,
stretching from the Mississippi to the Missouri river. Seven
railroad lines stretch across our state from east to west, all taxed
to their utmost capacity to transport our multiplied products to
the markets of the world. The great Northern Pacific railway
will sooli reach the Pacific cost, opening u^d new sources and
markets for our varied products. To-day we have a population of
800,000 of healthy, prosperous and happy people. The mails are
supplied to the people throughout our state by the trunk lines of
railroad twice and three times a day from New York, Boston,
Chicago and the east. Our state is dotted with villages and cities,
containing extensive machinery capable of turning out engines
and boilers of the largest size and most improved patterns, with
all varieties of machinery for the wants of the state.
"More than 2,000 run of mill stones are daily running and
manufacturing the best quality of flour for supplying the markets
of the country. Manufactories are being continually started for
the production of nearly all classes of goods and merchandise.
Our farmers have now more than 4,000,000 acres of land under
cultivation, producing annually 40,000,000 bushels of the finest
quality of wheat, and nearly 100,000,000 bushels of the four prin-
HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION LAW.
We are proud of the Homestead Law of Minnesota. The S tate
says to its citizen : you may be unfortunate, even culpably im-
provident, nevertheless you and your family shall not be left home-
less or without means to enable you to retrieve past misfortunes
The law reads —
" That a homestead consisting of any quantity of land not ex-
ceeding eighty acres, and the dwelling house thereon and its
appurtenances, to be selected by the owner thereof, and not
included in any incorporated town, city or village, or instead
thereof, at the option of the owner, a quantity of land not exceed-
ing in amount one lot, being within an incorporated town, city
or village, and the dwelling house thereon and its appurtenances,
owned and occupied by any resident of this State, shall not be
subject to attachment, levy, or sale, upon any execution or any
other process issuing out of any court within this State. This
32 CATHOLIC COLONIZATION IN MINNESOTA.
section shall be deemed and construed to exempt such homestead
in the manner aforesaid during the time it shall be occupied by
the widow or minor child or children of any deceased person who
was, when living, entitled to the benefits of this act."
Thus the State, in its bountiful protection, says to its citizen :
*' You may be unfortunate, even blamably improvident, neverthe-
less the State shall not allow you and yours to be thrown. paupers
on the world. Your homestead is still left to you, a competency
N. B. — This State law applies to all real estate within the State,
¦without distinction. It makes no difference whether the settler
holds under Governmont title, railroad title, or any other title,
his home and eighty acres of land are secure from all law process.
There are also reserved for the settler, free from all law pro-
cesses, all his household furniture up to the value of $300, 3 horses,
or in lieu 1 horse and yoke of oxen, 2 cows, 11 sheep, 3 hogs,
wagon, harness, and all his farming machinery and implements;
also a year's Supply of family provisions^or growing crops, and
fuel, and seed grain not exceeding 50 bushels each'i^of wheat and
oats, 5 of potatoes, and one of corn, also mechanics' or miners*
tools, with $400 worth of stock-in-trade, and [the library and
instruments of professional men.
This is the beneficent protection which the State throws around
the poor man's home.
Return to Statewide Resources
Return to Minnesota Home
© 2010 Trails to the Past & Jeanne Hicks Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000