Chapter 28
TOWN OF ELGIN
Pages 888-913

From the book about Wabasha Co. Minnesota
"HISTORY OF WABASHA COUNTY"
Compiled by Dr. L. H. Bunnell
Published Chicago by H. H. Hill, Publishers, 1884
Republished Currently by Higginson Books

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The town of Elgin, which occupies a central position in that portion of southeastern Minnesota known as Greenwood Prairie is, with the exception of the town of Plainview, the only one in the southern tier of towns in Wabasha county; being bounded by the town of Oakwood and a part of Zumbro on the north, Plainview on the east, and Olmstead county on the west and south. Elgin is described on the government survey as T. 108N., R. 12 W., and is a town of thirty-six sections, which come very near containing 640 full acres each, and thereby making the town exactly six miles square; but the survey of H. Amerland, Jr., made in 1875, which is doubtless correct, shows that both the northern and western tiers of quarter-sections fall short by 278.14 acres of containing the requisite number for making a full township; being an average deficiency of about 5.92 acres to each of these quarter-sections. This deficiency, when taken as a whole, is but a slight one, and has been little noticed by the average resident, who generally describes Elgin as a "full government township, six miles square," and for all ordinary purposes we agree with him in saying that this description is near enough correct.

The quality of the soil of this town is excellent; a rich, dark loam, with sufficient sand mixed in with it to create that degree of warmth so necessary to productiveness; while the land, viewed from an elevation, as it gradually rises and falls as far as the eye can reach, reminds the spectator of the huge billows of the far-distant ocean; truly is it called "rolling prairie."

Its productive soil and pleasant location, with a surface sufficiently undulating to secure excellent natural drainage, renders Elgin's agricultural advantages second to none in the county. The north branch of the Whitewater river enters the town from Olmsted county as section 33, and across the northwest corner of section 34 into section 27, south of the village of Elgin, when it takes and easterly course through sections 27, 26, and 25, into the town of Plainview. This stream, together with Dry creek, which empties into the north branch of the Whitewater on section 27, drains the southern part of the town, while the streams in the northern part are tributary to the Zumbro.

The town is fairly timbered in different portions, and since settlement of this section of the country has prevented the disastrous prairie fires that used to sweep every blade of grass and sprouting tree from its surface in bygone days, this growth has sprung up, while the constant irrigation of the soil starts new growth. The only timber of which Elgin can justly boast is a grove of oak covering about six hundred acres, located near its center.

During the first part of April, 1855, George Bryant, Henry H. Atherton, Curtis Bryant and George Farrar, four hardy sons of the Green Mountain state, set out from St. Charles, where they had been stopping a few days, to find a suitable place to locate farm-sites and establish homes for themselves on some of the land so generously offered by "Uncle Sam." When these energetic pioneers reached the portion of Greenwood Prairie where the town of Elgin now stands, they were struck with the great natural advantages the country afforded, and determined to seek no further, but to take all the necessary precautions toward securing their rights of preemption then and there; and after camping out for the night they commenced bright and early with the dawn of the next day to get out logs for a house, in the construction of which George Farrar acted as "boss carpenter." This took place about April 8, 1955, and was the first settlement made in the town. The log house referred to, being the first erected in the town, was shingled with elm bark, and put up on the claim of Henry H. Atherton, and not only served as a dwelling-place for the pioneers who built it, but also was the shelter of other early settlers and their families, who came later. The place where it stood is between the present residence of John Q. Richardson and the Whitewater, but no vestige of the old house now remains.

On April 21, 1855, the following filings were made: George Bryant, on the N.W. 1/4, Sec. 27, in which section the village of Elgin now stands. Henry H. Atherton, on the N.W. 1/4, Sec. 34, and Curtis Bryant on the N.E. 1/4, Sec. 28, where he still resides. George Farrar took a claim about April 9, 1855, consisting of an eighty on section 26, and an eighty on section 27, but neglected to file, and during Mr. Farrar's absence in the east, where he went about December 6, 1855, his claim was jumped by Leonard Laird. This occurred in the early spring of 1856. Mr. Farrar had, however, filed on a claim in the timber-land during the fall of 1855, consisting of the E. 1/2 of S.W. 1/4 of Sec 17.

Immediately after locating, George Bryant returned to his native state of Vermont for his family, returning to the prairie in May of the same year; with him also came Leonard Laird and his family, when the female population of the little settlement was, in the presence of Mrs. Polly Bryant and Mrs. Laird, increased from zero to two.

During the month of June, 1855, the settlement was further augmented by the arrival of E. L. Clapp and wife, Byrond A. Glines and wife, Henry H. Stanchfield and family, and Carlos B. Emerson and family, and work was commenced in the erection of other log houses, the next being erected on Leonard Laird's eighty, on the S.W. part of Sec. 26. During the summer of this year two additional log houses were built, one on the claim of George Bryant, on the N.W. 1/4 of Sec. 27, and one on the claim of Henry H. Stanchfield, on section 26. A log house was afterward built by Carlos B. Emerson, on section 35. William D. Woodward had a claim on section 33, but did not move on it until the summer of 1856. In October, 1855, John Bryant, the father of George and Curtis Bryant, arrived and took a claim. In March, 1856, Orvis V. Rollins and Irving W. Rollins came over from Plainview, where they had first located, the former pre-empting on section 22, and the latter on section 27.

At this time the little settlement numbered thirty souls. Not a horse or a dog was in the town, while at the present day the town can justly boast of its blooded cattle, and as far as dogs are concerned, the records of 1864 showed twenty-three licensed. It is said that owning to the beauty of the country the early settlers first called the settlement, "Paradise," but owing to the large preponderance of Vermont people, it was for awhile more generally known as "Yankee Neighborhood." The first white child born in the town was Arthur D., son of Byron A. and Zama M. Glines, who came into this world on June 30, 1856, but who never reached manhood, dying about five years thereafter. On May 27, 1856, the little settlement was shocked with the sad intelligence that the first death had occurred in its midst, when Miss Matilda Bryant, aged twenty-nine years and three months, daughter of John and Lavinia Bryant, passed away, after having been for years a sufferer from that fatal disease consumption. At her funeral were performed the first services of a religious nature conducted in the town, a minister by the name of Blunt, from that part of the "Tumbleson Neighborhood," now known as Haverhill township, officiating. Thirty persons were present. On September 28, 1859, occurred the death of Wilber B., infant son of Carlos B. and Orissa A. Emerson, caused by dysentery. This was the first death of a white child born in Elgin. The first marriage of residents of the town was that of George Farrar to Miss Emeline Bryant, daughter of John and Lavinia Bryant. The ceremony took place at Winona, Minnesota, on August 13, 1856.

In the summer of 1856 the first frame house in the town was built by George and Waldo Farrar, on the N.W. 1/4 of Sec. 28. This house, which is still standing, was, after completion, opened by George Farrar for the accommodation of travelers until 1860, when it was closed to the public. It is therefore justly called the first hotel. Zebina Weld, shortly after the closing of Farrar's house, started a hotel on the N.W. 1/4 of Sec. 27, in the house where David Houghton now resides.

From the first settlement of the town the hardy pioneers showed their great regard for spiritual welfare by holding religious services in the little log cabins whenever the opportunity offered itself, and regular services were commenced some time during the summer of 1856, at which time Rev. Mr. Lloyd held a series of Methodist meetings at the house of George Bryant. The first church society organized was the Congregational, the organization being effected by Rev. Jonathan Cochrane, a Congregational clergyman, at the house of John Bryant, in the spring of 1857. In this connection, conducting services in private houses and in the schoolhouse on its erection, the society built a parsonage and began preparations for the erection of a church, in 1870, but the edifice was never completed, and the society is virtually out of existence. Its clergymen, since Rev. Jonathan Cochrane officiated, were Revs. Palmer Litts, Holcomb and Henry Willard.

The early settlers, with a view to securing such education for the young as the new town could afford, moved over a claim shanty and placed it on the northwest corner of the present schoolhouse lot, on section 27, and here the first school was taught by Miss Almeria C. Gould, in the summer of 1856. The building was in after years for a long time occupied as a woodshed for the more commodious school building of the district.

Before the organization of the town, and as early as the month of August, 1856, the first circumstance of a political nature occurred in the shape of a caucus to choose delegates to attend a convention for the nomination of candidates to the territorial legislature. Mr. Irving W. Rollins was chosen one of the delegates and attended the convention, which was held at Winona, Minnesota, on September 1 of the same year. October 14 following, the election (then called the precinct meeting) took place at Greenwood (now Plainview), the towns of Plainview, Elgin, Highland and Oakwood comprising the precinct; representatives to the territorial legislature, county and precinct officers were chosen at this election.

On May 11, 1858, a meeting was held at the house of John H. Pell for the purpose of town organization and the election of town officers. George Bryant was appointed moderator and Robert C. Stillman clerk, and William Brown and John H. Pell judges of election.

At this election the town was named, each voter placing on the back of his ticket his choice of a name. The whole number of votes cast was fifty-four, of which the number naming the town Elgin was fifty; but the question as to who first suggested the name seems to be in doubt.

Following is a list of the first town officers elected: O. P. Crawford, chairman board of supervisors; Joseph Leatherman and William cook, supervisors; George Bryant, town clerk; Robert C. Stillman, assessor; C. W. Dodge, collector; I. W. Rollins and Morgan Culbertson, justices of the peace; B. H. Gould and Jasper Elliott, constables; John H. Pell, overseer of the poor. Thirteen days after this town meeting (May 24, 1858) the first meeting of the board of supervisors was held at the house of the town clerk, and they proceeded to divide the town into the following road districts: the north half of said town to comprise road district No. 1. The southwest quarter of said town to comprise road district No. 2. The southeast quarter of said town to comprise road district No. 3. The board then appointed the following overseers of road: William Town, district No. 1; William Brown, district No. 2; Gurden Town, district No. 3.

The first assessment of taxes was then made by this board, who levied a tax of one-half of one percent on every dollar of the assessment roll of the previous year, as received from the office of the register of deeds for the county of Wabasha, and also taxed each man liable to the same two days' labor on roads. This was doubtless in addition to the district tax, but whether it was optional to commute for it or not does not appear.

The first election after the admission of Minnesota as a state was held in the fall of this year, October 12, 1858. Elgin participated in this election, which was to choose a senator and representatives to the legislature, a judge of probate, a county auditor and a coroner. The first petition for a public road was made to the board of supervisors at their first meeting. The petition was dated May 22, 1858, and was signed by twelve persons. By order of the supervisors the proposed road was regularly surveyed by one J. A. Sawyer, and on June 16, 1858, he made his report. The day following the board examined the route, and, having found the same well suited for a public road, declared it opened as such, and ordered all fences or obstructions on the route removed by December 1, 1859. This road, the first laid out in the town, was known as town road No. 1, and was described as follows: "Commencing on the east line of the town, at a stake one hundred and six rods north of the section stake in the southeast corner of section 13, and running southwesterly 314 rods, to a stake in latitude forty-three and one-half degrees; thence southwest 272 rods to a stake by I. W. Rollins' land, in latitude fifty-two and one-half degrees; thence southwest 48 rods to a stake on the south side of Dry creek, in latitude twenty-one degrees; thence southwest 100 rods to a stake north of John Bryant's house forty-three degrees; thence southwest 24 16/25 rods to a stake south of George Bryant's house, in latitude forty-six and one-half degrees; thence southwest 190 rods to a stake on the south side of the White Water, in latitude nineteen and one-half degrees; thence southwest 40 rods to a stake in latitude twenty-nine and one-half degrees; thence southwest 80 rods to a stake in latitude twenty-eight and one-half degrees; thence southwest 84 rods to a stake by W. D. Woodward's house, in latitude twenty-nin and one-half degrees; thence southwest 29 8/25 rods to a stake by Woodward's bridge, in latitude fifty-two degrees; thence west 6 rods to a stake west of the bridge; thence southwest 106 rods to the quarter-stake in latitude twenty-eight degrees, where it meets the Olmsted county road; said road being five miles thirteen rods and twenty-four links in length."

The next road laid out, town road No. 2, was accepted by the board, and declared to be a public road on August 21, 1858. It ran north and south through the center of sections 5, 8, 17, 20, 29 and 32.

The first account against the town was allowed by the auditors as presented, on September 14, 1858, four months after organization. It included the fees and expenses of the supervisors, justices, assessor and town clerk, besides the surveyor's bill for surveying roads, and amounted to the modest total of thirty-three dollars and fifty cents.

The first post-office in the town was established in 1857. The office was situated in George Bryant's log house, on section 27, and bore the same name as the town. Previous to this time the nearest office was Winona, forty miles distant, and the custom was for any person who was going to that place from the prairie to take a list of the names of the settlers with him and collect the mail for them. George Bryant was appointed first postmaster, and held the office for ten years, when he resigned. The present postmaster is Charles S. Richardson. Another post-office was established in the northern part of the town in 1861, called Forest Mound, with William Town as postmaster. This office has since been discontinued.

Doctors visited this town in early days, but no lawyer has ever yet opened an office here. The first resident physician was Dr. Nathan Engle, now of Tower City, Dakota. W. T. Adams, M. D., administers to the sick at the present date.

In 1857 Benjamin H. Gould built and conducted the first blacksmith-shop in town. It was erected on the northeast quarter of section 34. Mr. Gould afterward built a blacksmith-shop ofr D. R. Sweezy on the same section, which the latter occupied in 1858.

A flouring-mill was built on what is known as the mill lot, on section 27, on the north branch of the White Water, in 1860, by Parr & Ellis. They conducted it until 1866, when business was discontinued on account of failure of sufficient water-power, and the machinery removed to Elba, Winona county.

Up to 1863 no person had opened a store for the sale of any kind of merchandise in Elgin. In the fall of that year D. F. Ferguson went to Minneiska for Albert Glines, and brought over a load of goods, and the first store was opened in John Houghton's house, on section 27. During the following winter Mr. Glines moved his granary over from his farm, to what is now the northeast corner of Main and Mill streets, in the village of Elgin, fitted it up for a store, stocked it with general merchandise, and commenced business in the spring of 1864.

This old building is still standing, and now forms the front part of the store conducted by H. G. Richardson & Co., dealers in drygoods, groceries and clothing, besides being the building in which the postoffice is situated.

Nothing of historical interest in the way of business or other enterprise occurred until 1866; on October 6 of that year the Elgin circuit of the Methodist church, which had theretofore been connected with the Plainview circuit, being organized. It included the following appointments: Forest Mound, Farmington, Pleasant Prairie, Fitch's schoolhouse and Stone schoolhouse. A board of trustees were legally constituted, and the new circuit took immediate measures toward the erection of a parsonage at Elgin, for which George Bryant gave the land. Labor was commenced October 15, and on November 10 the minister's goods were removed into the hose when only a part of the roof was on. November 19 the building was completed. In 1875 the circuit contracted with J. W. Dickey for the erection of a church edifice, including foundation, for twenty-three hundred dollars, and this edifice was completed about September, 1878, but was totally demolished by the cyclone of July 21, 1883, an account of which is elsewhere given. The ministers of this church are given in the order of their succession, viz: Revs. Nahum Taintor, J. G. Teter, Geo. S. Innis, O. A. Phillips, J. W. Mower, J. W. Stebbins. Elgin cemetery is situated on section 27, but is not connected with any church organization.

Large quantities of grain are raised in and shipped from this town, the principal crops now being wheat and barley, there bing but little difference at the present day in the amount of wheat and barley grown. But this was not the case a few years ago when wheat was by long odds the principal crop. The 1872 yield of wheat of this town statistics show to have exceeded that of any other town in the world, while the best wheat crop, as to quality, was that of 1877, which averaged as high as twenty-five bushels to the acre, while some acres produced forty bushels, all number one wheat. The first blighted wheat was the crop of the year following (1878), while the best crop since 1877 was that of 1883, with an average of about twenty bushels to the acre.

The first grain-buying of any account was commenced by the firm of Bryant Brothers & Johnson, of Elgin village, in the fall of 1877, before any railroad ran through the town. They bought from the farmers and conveyed the grain to Eyota, eleven miles distant, the nearest railroad station, with teams. During that year this firm bought and carried to Eyota one hundred and sixty-five thousand bushels of wheat.

During the fall of 1878 the railroad was built through from Eyota to Elgin and Plianview, and the grain-buying from this time has been carried on by Richardson Brothers and Bryant Brother & Johnson, with the exception that the latter firm was dissolved in 1880, J. W. Bryant & Co. buying them out at that time and conducting business in their place since. John W. Bryant attends to all the buying and running the elevator for his firm in Elgin, while Thomas Mathieson acts in a similar capacity for Richardson Brothers. Since the year 1877 the average shipped by both these firms of all grains is about two hundred thousand bushels per year. Richardson Brothers, who handle the greater quanitity, ship to the Chicago and Milwaukee markets. J. W. Bryant & Co. ship to these points and to Minneapolis also. Besides wheat and barley the farmers in this town raise a considerable amount of timothy, also oats, flax and clove; but no more corn nor vegetables are grown than is necessary for home consumption. Hogs have of late years been raise and shipped in considerable quantities; while the raising of sheep and cattle is carried on with success. In fact the farmers are now paying much attention to stock-raising, and, from present indications, the day is not far distant when this will be a great stock-raising country.

No railroad privileges were enjoyed by the town of Elgin until about November 16, 1878, when the Winona & St. Peter railroad completed its branch road from Eyota to Plainview. This railroad enters the town on section 33, and runs in a northeasterly direction through the village of Elgin, and leaves the town on section 13.

This railroad company and the town are engaged in considerable litigation over town bonds amounting to forty thousand dollars issued by the town to the company. It seems that previous to the building of the railroad the board of supervisors granted the company the right-of-way through the town. An act of the legislature was in force under the provisions of which a majority of the tax-payers of a town, by petition to their board of supervisors, could bond the town. Under this act petitions were circulated for the issue of town bonds of Elgin to the Winona & St. Peter Railroad Company in forty thousand dollars, with interest at seven per cent, payable on or before twenty years from January 1, 1879, upon the condition that the railroad company complete its road as agreed upon. After the completion of the road, and upon the petition mentioned, the town board issued the bonds, which were transferred by the company to parties outside the state. The town, claiming that the petition referred to was not signed by a majority of tax-payers, refused to pay interest on the bonds, and the matter is now in the courts. The supreme court of the state has held that the act under which the bonds were issued is unconstitutional; while the United States district court has held that the bonds having been transferred by the company before the act was so declared unconstitutional, the holders of the bonds have a right to recovery against the town. Four judgments for interest and costs, amounting to $8,431.78, have so far been obtained against the town, and a fifth suit has just been brought, and in this unsettled state the matter now stands. (Barbara says: For some reason, either the towns or the railroads handled this situation clumsily in Lake City as well.)

The first record of any vote being taken on the question of the licensing of intoxicating liquors is that of the town meeting held April 5, 1859, the record showing that it was then voted that "no license shall be granted by the county board to any individual for selling spirituous liquors in the town of Elgin during the ensuing year." No vote on the question appears to have been taken after this until 1876, for which year and the years thereafter the vote stood as follows:

1876: License ~ 63, No license ~ 95
1877: License ~ 70, No license ~ 55
1878: License ~ 51, No license ~ 64
1879: License ~ 102, No license ~ 48
1880: No vote taken
1881: License ~ 74, No license ~ 70
1882: License ~ 79, No license ~ 73
1883: No vote taken

On May 13, 1874, Elgin Lodge, No. 115, A.F.A.M., was organized, and it worked under special dispensation until January 13, 1875, at which time the lodge received its charter from the grand lodge of the state. Following is a list of the first officers: George Bryant, W.M.; Enoch Dickerman, S.W.; H. G. Richardson, J.W.; George Farrar, Treas.; J. Q. Richardson, Sec.; D. A. Hart, S.D.; Geo. Engle, J.D.; Ezra Dickerman, S.S.; O. V. Rollins, J.S.; R. G. Richardson, Tyler. The lodge then numbered eighteen. The present membership is fifty-two, and the officers are as follows: H. C. Richardson, W.M.; J. W. Bryant, S.W.; H. W. Gillman, J.W.; H G Richardson, Treas.; Alex. Scott, Sec.; D. F. Ferguson, S.D.; Geo. Farrar, J.D.; Arzio Lamb, S.S.; William Barker, J.S.; Frank Streeter, Tyler.

A lodge of Good Templars was organized here on November 28, 1883, by Col. Long, G.W.C.T. It is known as Elgin Lodge, No. 76, I.O.G.T. Following is a list of the officers: Wesley Lyon, W.C.T.; George Farrar, P.W.C.T.; Alice Lyon, W.V.T.; Wm. D. S. Safford, Chaplain; Frank Rollins, Rec. Sec.; Pauline Senrick, Ass't Sec.; Frank F. Farrar, Fin. Se.; Mary Rollins, Treas,; Eugene Hutchinson, Marshal; Jennie Seeley, W.I.G.; Rufus Stebbins, W.O.G.; Flora Rollins, R.H.S.; Guilford Pratt, L.H.S.

The town offices of Elgin are filled by the below-named gentlemen, respectively, at the present date (February, 1884): Col. Wm. H. Feller, chairman board of supervisors; Joseph Richardson and John Gregor, supervisors; Dorr Dickerman, town clerk; August Ludke, treasurer; Julius Radke, assessor; J. B. Noron, justice of the peace; Clark Champine and C. W. Westover, constables.

While this town has been generally free from crime, excepting that of self-murder, yet it has had its share of cases of this nature, as well as accidents and casualties. Below we append a list of these cases: On August 4, 1863, Samuel M. Thompson, a young man of twenty-eight years, who had resided in that state only two years, was struck by lightning and killed while driving home with his team. He was a native of Mercer county, Pennsylvania.

On the afternoon of January 19, 1866, Robert B. M. Bray, twenty-five years of age, a native of Anson, Maine, left the school where he had been teaching, about eight miles south of the village of Elgin, on his way homeward to that village, where he intended to spend Saturday and Sunday. A Heavy snowstorm was in progress, the weather was bitterly cold, and young Bray was not warmly clad. He never reached his destination. Evidently he lost his way on the trackless prairie, and, benumbed with the cold, he was forced to succumb to the unrelenting elements. The next day his lifeless body, frozen stiff, was found by a search-party on section 35 southeast of the village.

January 15, 1868, Jenny, infant daughter of David W. and Martha E. Lattimore, aged two years and two months, was fatally poisoned from eating matches.

On May 9, 1871, Iva Grace, daughter of Robert C. and Martha D. Stillman, aged four years and seven months, born in Elgin, was accidentally shot by a pistol in the hands of a many in her father's employ. The accident was the result of gross carelessness on the part of the man. The little girl lingered until the day following, when she passed away. August 26, 1873, Thomas S., son of Joseph and Ursula E. Richardson, a bright young lad, lacking one month of being fourteen years of age, was accidentally killed by running against a hay-rack; while on September 21, 1877, Eddie Feller, a boy two years younger, son of Ezra and Maria Feller, now of Plainview, was killed by falling down stairs.

On July 24, 1870, John H. Winter, a single man, twenty-five years old, born in Indiana, and a farmer by occupation, committed suicide with a shotgun.

March 21, 1880, John D. Hedeman, a married man, thirty-six years of age, born in Germany, committed suicide by shooting himself in the head with a revolver. He was a clerk in the employ of H. G. Richardson & Co., and used to sleep in their store nights, and it was in the morning on opening the store that his lifeless remains were found. On June 4, 1880, another German, named Peter H. Hansen, who was also married, forty-three years old, and a farmer by occupation, met his death, though accidentally. In crossing the White Water, which was considerably swollen by freshets, near his farm on section 25, he drove his team into the rushing current, and was drowned. This completes the sad list, with the exception of the death of Mrs. A. S. Thayer, who was killed in the cyclone of July 21, 1883, more particular mention of which terrible event will be found in the separate account given in this work of the Elgin cyclone.

The population of this town is about one thousand.

As far as educational advantages are concerned, the town of Elgin can justly boast of having kept pace with her sister towns in the progressive strides they have made toward giving to the young the most comfortable schoolhouses and advanced system obtainable. Six well-furnished schoolhouses presided over by competent and experienced teachers are conveniently located in different parts of the town, while the one in Elgin village, erected in place of the building totally destroyed by the cyclone, and conducted by a principal and teacher also, is a model of modern school architecture.

ELGIN VILLAGE

The history of this village is so intimately interwoven with the preceding history of the town, and so many various matters pertaining to the village were necessarily treated therin, that a very brief sketch is all that remains to be penned in order to complete the record of the only settlement in the town that aspires to the title of village. The village of Elgin, as platted, is situated on section 27, commencing at a point near the center of the section, the exact center of the section being at the intersection of South and Main streets, in the southeastern part of the village, the greater part of the village lying northwest of the center of the section. According to the census of 1880, which was taken from the old village plat, and did not include all the territory properly within the village limits, it had a population of one hundred and forty-four, while the present population is about two hundred. Elgin is a station on the Plainview branch of the Winona & St. Peter railroad, eleven miles north of Eyota, and five miles southwest of Plainview, and is the only railroad station in the town. The village has never put on the dignity of incorporation, but has always been under the town government. The location of the village is all that can be desired, nestling as it does in the valley of the White Water, and shaded by handsome groves of young trees. The streets are generally wide and laid out at right angles, Park street, School street and Main street being the principal business streets.

We append a list of the principal business houses: Richardson Bros, grain elevator and lumber-yard; J. W. Bryant & Co., grain elevator and coal-yard; E. Ordway & Son, hardware, tinware and pumps; Landon, Burchard & Co., drugs and medicines; H. G. Richardson & Co., dry-goods, groceries, clothing, etc.; Fred. Meyer, blacksmith and horse-shoeing; M. H. Moody, harness-maker and carpenter; Alex. Scott, wagon-maker; F. A. Amsden, harness-maker; William Beautler, boots and shoes; Frank Ressler, butcher; E. O. Morton, carpenter, painter and windmills; Mercer Bros, black-smithing and horse-shoeing; John Graham, carpenter; Frank Kiernan, saloon and billiards, and E. Meilke, saloon and pool. There are two hotels in Elgin, the Eureka House, M. H. Safford, proprietor, and the Northwestern Hotel, E. Meilke, proprietor. Dr. W. T. Adams, who is one of the firm of Landon, Burchard & Co., above named, has his private office in the rear of their drugstore, while J. B. Norton, Esq., justice of the peace, maintains the dignity of the law in the office of Richardson Bros., west of the depot. Dorr Dickerman, town clerk, has an office partitioned off in the rear of E. Ordway & Son's store on Park street. This village was almost entirely destroyed by the great cyclone of July 21, 1883, a full and complete account of which follows. For many of the details contained in our account of this terrible event, we are indebted to the files of the "Plainview News" and the Rochester "Record and Union."

In the following account there are several words used that are not common today. Here are the definitions:

Rack - destruction and ruin
fell - to cut, knock, or bring down
lot - a parcel of articles offered as one item
cyclone - a storm or system of winds that rotates about a center of low atmospheric pressure, advances at a speed of 20 to 30 miles an hour, and often brings heavy rain. Compare to: tornado - a violent destructive whirling wind accompanied by a funnel-shaped cloud that progresses in a narrow path over the land.



THE ELGIN CYCLONE

From the manner in which Saturday, July 21, 1883, was ushered in, no one in Elgin would have imagined that anything remarkable was about to happen. The weather had been unsettled for some days previous, light rains had fallen, and the morning of the 21st was cloudy. School had been dismissed for the usual summer vacation, and before the hour of twelve arrived the business men, clerks, farmers and other occupants of the place, wended their way homeward to partake of their noonday meal. About this time the heaven commenced to darken greatly, the rain to fall, the wind to rise and the thunder to roll, and people began to quicken their steps in order to seek shelter from what they imagined would prove to be an ordinary midsummer thunder and rainstorm. Lucky for them it was that they did so; lucky is was that the school was closed; providential it was that the devastating wind struck the village at a time when nearly all the people had reached their homes, and together with their wives and children, had been afforded a few seconds' time in which to fly for refuge to their cellars.

At about ten minutes past twelve o'clock the furious wind burst upon the village; and here the imagination fails to find words which can convey, even in the slightest degree, an approximate idea of the circumstances attending the bursting of this wind-cloud. With the pent-up force of whirlwind and tornado, hurricane and cyclone combined, lashed up to a degree of fury indescribable, and hitherto wholly unknown in this section of the country, whirling, twisting, wrenching and tearing, it broke upon the defenseless village, and in less than two minutes time literally blew it to storms. So wholly unexpected was the frightful occurrence that there was no time for the exercise of any thought save that of personal safety, and but barely time for that. In far less time than it takes to write it, the prosperous little village was a scene of dire wreck and desolation. Within the brief space of two minutes' time whole rows of buildings were leveled to the ground, some piled on top of others; houses lifted up bodily by the force of the wind, overturned, and their inmates violently thrown out and injured; other houses crushed and actually ground to pieces, as though they had been run through a mill; acres of crops throughout the town laid waste; large trees twisted off at the trunk, five feet from the ground, leaving the roots in the soil; every business house in the place wrecked or unroofed, not one escaping; horses, cows and other cattle mangled and killed, and some of these, together with heavy timber from the lumberyard, lifted high in the air, and sent whirling through space, to come crashing to the earth at forty rods and more distant; and when we consider that these few incidents give but a faint idea of the irresistible and unheard-of force and power of the wind, the reader can form in his own mind something like an approximate idea of what it really was. The general line the storm took through the town was from about west to east, bearing slightly toward the north, nor was its greatest degree of force attained until it reached the village of Elgin, where it burst and scattered in different directions.

The loss of property was simply appalling, but when we contemplate the fearful disaster and are called upon to record but one human life lost, although many were more or less injured, it almost staggers credulity, and we are forced to repeat that, frightful as the calamity was, it was providential indeed that it came at the time and during the season of the year it did.

As suddenly and without warning as the cyclone struck did it pass away, and as it swept off, the noonday sun, in all its glory, burst forth only to shine on the wreck and desolation we have described. People hurrying hither and thither to extricate their families and friends from the ruined debris of what was once their homes, many of them made houseless and homeless at one fell blow, with no place to eat or sleep, all within the space of two short minutes. Some were there who had by hard work and economy saved enough to build them homes for their families, who said they had not a dollar left in the world, but even then the feeling within them was hopeful, and they said they knew how they had worked for and built them homes, and with continued health, and strength they could do it again, and they were thankful that there were no more accidents and deaths with their other misfortunes.

To add to their losses as well as deplorable situation, the sun disappeared after the storm almost as suddenly as it had appeared, the skies became overcast and a heavy rain beat down upon the unsheltered residents of the desolate village, which lasted all that day and night, and until the Tuesday following.

The arrival of the 1 P.M. train going north to Plainview was the first means the inhabitants of Elgin had of communicating the terrible news of the disaster to the outside world, the telegraph poles and wires being blown down for the space of about a mile and a half, and the electrical elements having affected the wires as far north as Plainview. At about 1:30 P.M. Mr. E. T. Rollins, who was then telegraph operator at the Elgin office, in the railroad depot, by going along the track to about a mile south of the village, managed to make connections with the broken wires and telegraph the fact of the occurrence to Eyota, and by these means was the news first made known. The response was as generously and promptly made as it was needed; money, clothing, food, merchandise and lumber from different parts of the northwest was sent in by kind hearts, to be received by willing and thankful hands. The afternoon train from Plainview brought at least two hundred persons from that place to the scene of the disaster, eager to render all the immediate assistance so needful, while from all portions of the adjoining country people began to pour into the unfortunate village and help in the work of clearing away the wreck and aid in providing means of shelter for the homeless. The injured received all the attention and care possible from a big-hearted, whole-souled people, and ere night arrived there were none but who had at least been temporarily provided for. As soon as some of the leading citizens could be assembled together a relief committee was organized, composed of Elijah Ordway, Alex. Scott, H. G. Richardson, Dr. W. T. Adams and Dorr Dickerman.

The people of Plainview and neighboring towns entered into the good work with remarkable generosity and enterprise, and at a meeting held in the Methodist Episcopal church at Plainview that night upward of two hundred dollars in cash was raised for immediate use. Early next morning a large delegation of men volunteered their services, came to Elgin and labored all day in the rain in the work of providing shelter for the houseless, and helping to save much of the perishable goods that stood exposed to the weather.

Following we give a full account of the destruction wrought by this fearful storm in the town of Elgin:

IN THE VILLAGE ~ CASUALTIES

The only person killed was Mrs. Z. S. Thayer, about thirty-five years of age, and a native of Elgin. She kept a millinery store on Park street, adjoining the drug-store occupied by A. L. Kimber. Mrs. Thayer was found lying partly across the counter, crushed beneath the roof. Her little girl, Maud, was found in the ruins, under a counter, unharmed.

Miss Edith Dillon, aged about twenty, had her skull fractured; William Bowen, seventy-six years of age, had a thigh broken, and John Townsend's child, about eight years old, was injured about the spine. R. W. Chapman, A. L. Kimber, and a few others, were more or less injured.

In attempting a description of the fearful havoc wrought by the storm we will take the principal streets of the village, commencing with Park street, the leading business street, which runs east and west across the railroad track. On this street stood a large two-story frame building, owned by E. O. Morton, the first floor of which was occupied by Frank Ressler as a meat market and F. A. Amsden as a harness-shop, and the second by R. W. Chapman as a dwelling. Here, no doubt, was the most miraculous escape in the whole disaster. The building was pulverized as you would crush a head of ripe grain and then hurl it to the winds; and yet four persons, Mr. And Mrs. Chapman and the Misses Edith and Hattie Dillon, were thrown out with the wreck and escaped with their lives; two of the four only, Miss Edith Dillon and R. W. Chapman, being injured, as before stated. On the same side of the street were two one-story frame buildings, one belonging to and occupied as a dwelling by Frank Ressler, and the other owned by A. Y. Felon, of Plainview, and occupied by Thomas C. Udell as an agricultural machinery warehouse. The front of Ressler's dwelling was thrown ten or twelve feet off the foundation and the building partly unroofed, while Felon's was racked nearly to pieces. On the other side of the street the storm played sad havoc. The two-story frame building belonging to George Bryant, the lower part of which was occupied by Mrs. Z. S. Thayer as a millinery store, and the upper floor by John M. Townsend and family as a dwelling, was left a total wreck, as was also the other two-story frame building next door, owned by Richardson bros., and occupied by A. L. Kimber as a drugstore and dwelling. Mrs. Kimber saved herself and child by seeking the security of the cellar; but Mr. Kimber and John M. Townsend's family escaped by mere chance. Mr. Kimber was caught between the two buildings, which stood not over two feet apart, and it was with difficulty that he was extricated from the debris unharmed.

Mr. Townsend's family, like Mr. Chapman's across the way, were indoors at the time the house was struck. They were not thrown out, however, but came down with the wreck, and with the exception of the one child mentioned landed safe and sound. Mrs. Thayer, who was in the store below, met her death as already stated. A little farther west, on the same street, stood E. Ordway's new two-story frame building, the lower part of which was used by Ordway, Dickerman & Co., as a storeroom, and the upper floor as the lodge-room of Elgin Lodge, No. 115, A. F. and A. M. This entire building was destroyed. Ordway, Dickerman & Co's hardware store was unroofed, and the second story of Frank Kiernan's saloon and billiard-room blown off, while Bryant Bros. & Johnson's large store, which had but lately been occupied by A. Ludke, was badly racked, and the second story partly blown down. The railroad depot received but slight damages. The north end of J. W. Bryant & Co's grain elevator was demolished, and the structure racked. Richardson Bros.' grain elevator was slightly damaged, their lumber office and shed were all down, and much of the lumber in the sheds picked up by the wind and scattered in every direction. Van Dusen & Co's coal-sheds near the depot were a total wreck, and E. Meilke's Northwestern Hotel, west of the depot, was partly unroofed and badly used up. Fred. Meyer's blacksmith-shop on grain street, and Henry Claussen's house and barn on Van Dusen street were completely destroyed. H. G. Richardson & Co's house, occupied by A. Meilke, had the front torn off and was otherwise damaged, while Henry Classen's shoe-shop was not particularly injured. Capt. J. B. Norton's house opposite was racked, chimney down, stable and outbuildings leveled to the ground, hay lost and buggy broken to pieces. This includes all the buildings on Park street, and those north of Park street and west of the railroad track.

Another street about as greatly devastated as Park street, and also a business street as well as a street of residences, was Main street, which is in the eastern part of the village, running north and south. Commencing on this street where it is crossed by Dry creek, the bridge over which was torn to pieces, the first house is that of David Houghton, which was somewhat damaged, and a fine barn completely demolished. The next place is that of Benjamin H. Gould, which fared somewhat better, but was racked, a post from David Houghton's barn crashing through its north side. Mark Richardson's outhouses, sheds and stables were all demolished. At W. B. Porter's and W. H. Gilman's, trees two and a half feet through were broken off near the ground and thrown in all directions. The houses were not greatly damaged. Mr. Porter's barn was completely ruined, and a corner of Mr. Gilman's house was badly broken from the fall of a large tree. The corner of Main and Center streets, where stood William Bowen's house and bar, was swept clean. A few pieces of boards and a few sections of roofing scattered pell-mell, together with a few broken articles of furniture, was all that was left to indicate that a dwelling once stood on the gaping cellar. Mr. Bowen was alone in the house when the storm struck it. He was picked up unconscious on the road, covered with mud and sand. Further southward on Main street is the residence of John M. Houghton; the house was partly unroofed and badly racked, barn unroofed and outbuildings completely destroyed. On the corner of Main and Mill streets stands the store of H. G. Richardson & Co., where the post-office is also situated. The new main part of this building was unroofed, and the back part badly racked, and the barn back of it completely demolished. Mrs. Woodward's dwelling across the way, owned by H. G. Richardson & Co., escaped as free from injuries, probably, as any house in town, as did also the blacksmith-shop south of it owned by Richardson Bros., and occupied by Mereer Bros.; but the next building, which was also the property of Richardson Bros., and occupied as a wagon-shop by Alex. Scott, was unroofed and several new carriages badly damaged. The residences of Charles S. Richardson, E. O. Morton and Mrs. Seeley, then occupied by William Baker, on Mill street, were comparatively uninjured. John Graham's house escaped very fortunately. The trees were so badly broken, that at first one had to cut his way to it with an ax, but the house was all right. George Farrar's old house, occupied by Fred. Westover, was unroofed, and the second story partly torn down, and D. W. T. Adams, south of this had his barn and outbuildings completely demolished and his house slightly racked. Opposite were E. W. Westover, whose house was pushed back six or eight feet from the foundation, and F. A. Amsden, living in a house belonging to Richardson Bros., which was unroofed and had one corner blown off.

We will now take South Street which runs east and west along the southern boundary of the village plat. On the north side of the street, and just west of the railroad track, stood the large barn owned by George Bryant, which was almost entirely demolished. The residence in front of it escaped with but slight damages, as did also Miss Mary Ann Bryant's residence; but her other house, occupied by Fred Meyers, was left half unroofed. Dorr Dickerman's new house, just enclosed, was laid flat on the ground, but the Congregational parsonage, which he occupied, received no material damage. The Methodist church, a beautiful little edifice which cost about four thousand dollars, was a total ruin, hardly a stick left standing, but the parsonage on the lot adjoining, occupied by Ref. J. W. Stebbins, escaped with partial damages. George Farrar's fine barn and his house weathered the storm very well. N. H. Moody's house escaped comparatively uninjured, but the handsome and commodious schoolhouse south of it, at the head of School street, was a sad and complete wreck. Had the storm struck it at a time when school was in session, we shudder when we contemplate what the loss of life would doubtless have been. E. Ordway's residence was but little damaged, but the Eureka house, north of it on School street, owned by Thomas Mathieson and managed by M. H. Safford, was considerably racked and used up. The southern portion of the building was shoved back twelve feet from the foundation, and the barn leveled to the earth. Farther east on South street, on the bank of the White Water, lay the wreck of Charles S. Richardson's barn and windmill, and just east of this, on the north side of the street, was a most remarkable example of the unparalleled force of the wind. Alex Scott's residence, a strong story-and-a-half frame building, on a stone foundation, was built here on rising land overlooking the village. It was taken up bodily from its foundation by the wind, turned upside down and hurled through the air with tremendous force a distance of several rods, when it was dashed to the earth, and, together with all its contents, was reduced almost to splinters. Mr. Scott, who, with his wife and child, had sought refuge in the cellar, suddenly found themselves exposed to the beating rain, their house having been lifted off their heads with as much ease as if it had been made of paper.

This concludes our account of the disastrous effects of this terrible cyclone in the village, and is necessarily but a brief summary of its fell work, for in the limited space allowed in this history it is impossible to record in detail an event which would make a history in itself. Imagine, therefore, the trees mangled and twisted in all sorts of shapes and felled to the ground, window-panes shattered, shutters broken, shingles torn off and scattered, the chimneys all down, fences laid low, plank walks torn up, and all along the streets and on the vacant lots the ground strewn with broken lumber, shingles, pillows, bed quilts, household utensils, clothing, fragments of furniture, in fact a mixed assortment of anything and everything, and take all this in connection with the destruction of buildings we have related, and the reader will be enabled to form a slight idea of the appearance of the village of Elgin after the cyclone passed over it.

EASTWARD INTO THE COUNTRY

The one-story house occupied by Mrs. Proctor and owned by Charles S. Richardson, east of the village, was unroofed and about half a story torn off. The house of Lucien Metcalf was half wrecked, his barn and cribs unroofed, his hay-sheds all torn to pieces and the place mangled up generally. Walter Dunn's house was racked and his barns unroofed. The hay-sheds and windmills of O. V. and I. W. Rollins, Joseph and H. G. Richardson were all more or less damaged, and Abner Smith's granary, sheds and corn-cribs were down flat. George Wedge's barn received some damages. H. D. Wedge lost a mile and a half of fence. J. E. Brown had his barn, granary and sheds blown over. J. R. Hunter lost his stable, and a few others suffered to a greater or less extent as far as Jacob Haessig's farm, but no serious damage was done in this direction outside what we have mentioned, and we will now return to the village and follow the path of the disaster westward.

Half a mile west of the village is the farm of Curtis Bryant. He lost a large barn, together with corn-cribs and other buildings, while four of his horses and two colts were killed. One of the colts, a three-year-old, was taken by the wind from in front of his house and carried north about forty rods, over fences and buildings, and found dead. Col. W. H. Feller's barn was unroofed, house damaged, granary moved off the foundation, and another building down flat. Frank M. Bigelow's large barn was down to the plates and partly moved on the foundation; house considerably damaged and windmill all to pieces. Fred C. Hartson's house, occupied by Judson Hudson, was taken by the wind thirty feet from its foundation and utterly demolished, and, wonderful to relate, Hudson, his wife, child and sister escaped from the flying debris safe and sound. A place occupied by Mrs. Amelia Drake had a stable and granary blown down, besides trees destroyed. William Tornow, tenant on William Brown's farm, suffered severely, and Mr. Brown had a barn and granary demolished, containing four hundred bushels of oats, one hundred and fifty bushels of wheat and fifteen tons of hay, which were all destroyed. The storm made terrible havoc among his trees and timber.

At this point there appeared to be a succession of storms constantly forming, which spread out nearly two miles in width. H. G. Richardson & Co's house west of this Gus Warner, tenant had the barn and granary blown down, besides trees badly damaged. Charles Dobbins had his stable, hog-house and granary blown down, house partly wrecked and partly unroofed, his stock hurt and trees badly injured. A plank 2 x 6 inches, broken from a hay-rake, was carried from about one hundred and fifty feet southeast of the house and crushed a hole through the west side of the house. The granary of Harrison Rice was blown down and his stable destroyed. He lost thirty tons of hay and twelve acres of corn, and his house was partly unroofed. Henry C. Woodruff had his barn blown down, which was a great loss, as he had water-works in the barn attached to his windmill, which was also blown down. His house was partly unroofed, and his loss in timber and fruit-trees was irreparable, as it had taken him nearly twenty years to grow them.

Pursuing further westward, we have ascertained in brief the following damages wrought by the relentless wind: William Cook, machine-shed and corn-crib injured, wagon-house, henhouse and windmill down, roof on barn moved, and fine grove destroyed. William Searles, barn unroofed, corn-crib and stable partly unroofed, hay and machine sheds and windmill torn down, seventy-five tons of hay destroyed, and thirty acres of timber badly damaged. August Swanke, house badly racked and shingles torn off, barn partly unroofed, granary, shed and stable destroyed. A. B. Hart, house, machine-house and sheds blown down, and fifteen acres of timber damaged. Mrs. Hart and child escaped by going down to the cellar. E. Raymond, a tool-house, 45 x 60, and a cow-shed and stable, 25 x 200, blown down. On another place he lost two houses and a barn, seventy tons of hay and a windmill, and had forty acres of timber destroyed. A. Park, barn unroofed, sheds partly unroofed, hog-house moved, hen-house destroyed. H. Southwick, barn unroofed, sheds down and five acres of timber destroyed. Mr. Patrick, stable blown down and house injured. M. Nash, house partly unroofed and the furniture damaged. Mr. Fitch's shade-trees down, and a number of cherry trees torn out by the roots. A. Demke, granary badly broken up, James W. Finney, on Mr. Taylor's farm, house partly unroofed and moved off the foundation, and barn, granary and corn-crib wrecked. August Barrent, on Henry Dewitz's place, lost everything he had. The house, two granaries and barn were demolished, all the furniture destroyed and clothing blown away. Mr. Barrent and family were caught up by the wind and hurled skyward with the flying debris, one of the boys being carried by the wind southeast about forty feet, then northwest about sixty fee and south twenty fee, landing him on a wood-pile; then he was seized again and carried about twenty-five feet and left in a ditch. Another boy was carried about sixty feet and dropped in a small creek. Strange to say, neither was much hurt. John Twitten, hay and sheep sheds blown down, besides a hog-house, 16 x 80, and the house partly unroofed. Thomas Brooks' farm, occupied by Joseph Hines: the house was carried from the foundation fifteen or twenty feet, where it struck a willow tree, and was hurled about six feet beyond the tree, that keeping it from entirely falling, only a part of it being blown off. The family were in the house, and the tree keeping the building from falling doubtless saved their lives, although some were quite badly hurt. The barn, sheep-shed, 30 x 40, granary and hog-house, 16 x 80, were destroyed. At another farm, owned by Thomas Brooks, a granary was blown down. The Fitch schoolhouse was laid perfectly flat, the bell alone remaining to show the site. Duane W. Searles' buildings were partly down, while F. Bennie lost his barn, granary and part of his house. W. H. White, barn blown down, granary injured, shingles torn off the house and the windmill blown down. A hired man in the barn was carried with it, being injured about the heard. A horse was hurt, fences on one side of the farm carried off, and the fruit trees nearly all destroyed. Forty tons of hay were scattered. A. B. Stacy, house racked, chimneys blown down, wagon-house, granary and hay-sheds leveled, and buggy and machinery broken, fences and thirty tons of hay blown away. Harry Dodge, fruit trees injured and hay blown away. S. Snow, house partly unroofed and kitchen blown down; barn, hay-sheds and stable entirely destroyed, machinery, wagon and cutter demolished and hay blown away. The two houses, barns, sheds, granary and machine-house of D. M. and F. G. Harvey were laid flat, not a vestige of the buildings being left. Their hay was blown away, machinery broken and crops destroyed. Fred and James Harvey's house was swept down, Mrs. Harvey being caught and held by timbers, but fortunately but little hurt. George Harvey's windmill and three sheds were blown over. On the Dieter place, occupied by E. F. Dodge, the house was carried eighty-five feet, and the L demolished. Mrs. Dodge, with her baby and girl ten years old, ran down the cellar as soon as the doors of the house blew open, and Mr. Dodge started for the same place with another little girl, but did not reach it, being carried away with the house, luckily escaping injury. After the storm was over one of his boys crept from the debris of the L unhurt.

The stone schoolhouse on the Lake City road was almost entirely demolished. Having now described the effects of the storm to a point about ten miles west of the village of Elgin, we will abandon further description. Not that there is no more devastation to be written up, but for the reason that it does not come within our province to extend outside of the limits of the county regarding which this history is written.

RELIEF WORK

We previously alluded to the appointment of a relief committee at Elgin immediately after the cyclone, and the generosity of the contributions. Below we append a list of the donations received by the committee for distribution:

Wabasha county (special) $200.00
Plainview 489.00
Viola 258.00
Eyota village (cash) 111.50
Eyota village (stove) 17.00
Eyota ladies 23.25
St. Charles 161.00
St. Charles ladies 46.00
Dover 75.00
Rochester 100.00
Kellogg 8.00
Kellogg village 23.00
Chatfield 92.00
Winona (lumber) 800.00
Winona (cash) 395.00
Winona (merchandise) 50.00
Minneiska 26.50
St. Paul 500.00
August Leitz' committee 185.56
J. G. Lawrence, Wabasha 25.00
J. C. Bartlett, Wabasha 15.00
John Stewart, Wabasha 5.00
F. P. Foster, Hyde Park 5.00
S. A. Foster, Plainview 5.00
E. C. Ellis, Fairweather 3.00
David McCarty, Plainview 5.00
James McCarty, Plainview 5.00
John Gregor, Elgin 5.00
Hibberd, Spencer, Bartlett & Co., Chicago 25.00
Markley, Alling & Co. 25.00
Tredway & Sons, Dubuque 10.00
W. W. Braden, St. Paul 10.00
E. W. Crocker, Parker, Dakota 5.00
H. B. Thayer (to Maud) 5.00
Mrs. Hyde, Mazeppa, a lot of clothing . . . .

This concludes our history of the disastrous cyclone which passed over Elgin and devastated the country from as far west as the Dakota border. One month afterward, to the day, the fearful windstorm known as the "Rochester Cyclone," a full account of which appeared in our history of Olmsted county, swept over the country, but did no damage at Elgin, although it blew hard but steadily there.

After the storm the work of reconstruction and repairing was pushed forward with a degree of enterprise and energy that few at the time would have predicted. A commodious and imposing school building has been reared from the ruins of the one destroyed, and now stands as a majestic witness of Elgin's enterprise, while arrangements for the construction of a new church edifice have been definitely made, and as soon as spring opens the edifice will be pushed to completion. With this exception, and excepting also the Morton building, the Bryant building, which was occupied by Mrs. Thayer, and the Richardson building, which was occupied by Kimber's drug store, every building was partly demolished has been made better than before, and all those that were completely destroyed have been replaced with new structures, so that the time is near at hand when the last trace of this terrible event will have been completely obliterated, and the Elgin cyclone will have lost all of its interest, excepting as an historical event.

End of Chapter