In 1853 Mr. Drew increased his cultivation by another field of breaking, and raised a large crop of corn. In the fall he sowed about eight acres of winter wheat In the spring of 1863 he sowed a sack of spring wheat, and harvested about fifty bushels. About thirty bushels of this he sold to Sanborn & Drew, in the spring of 1854. This was the first load of wheat ever sold in the city of Winona, or in southern Minnesota.
In the season of 1854 Mr. Drew harvested, from the eight acres sowed to winter wheat the fall before, about two hundred and fifty bushels. Some of this he sold to the settlers for seed, reserving enough for his own seed, and about eighty bushels which was ground into flour. The first wheat raised in southern Minnesota that was made into flour was a part of this crop
During the winter W. R. Stewart and Albion Drew took two loads of this wheat, of forty bushels each, to a mill in La Crosse valley, about sixty miles distant, where they waited until their grist was ground, when they returned home with their flour. They were about a week making the trip, the teams going on the ice to La Crosse and thence up the La Crosse valley. The loads were much lighter on their return, for one fourth of the wheat was taken as toll. The wheat was of No. 1 grade and the flour proved to be of superior quality, fully equal to the best now made by improved mills and more modern processes.
Mr. Drew increased the size of his farm, extended his breaking and cultivation and increased his acreage of wheat, but at the same time growing large crops of other kinds of farm produce without making a specialty of any particular branch of his business. He has given his attention to the cultivation of fruit, and engaged considerably in stock raising, horses, cattle, sheep and hogs. Although he has extensive ranges of fine pasturage on his large farm, he abandoned sheep farming, on account of the extreme care necessary to protect his flocks from the wolves that infested the vicinity.
Mr. Drew has been a prosperous farmer. He has given his personal attention to all of his farming operations and has made it a practical business occupation. He has held official positions in the town of Rolling Stone, in which he resides; has served as county commissioner and was a member of the state legislature in 1875, and also in 1876.
C. R. Coryell remained with Mr. Drew for about a year, and then went back east to live. W. H. Coryell staid with him about two years, when he married and settled on a claim on the upper part of Wabash prairie, where W. L. Burr now resides. After a residence here of about a year he left the territory.
Robert Thorp is living on the farm chosen for him on his number drawn. It adjoins that of Mr. Drew. Mr. Thorp's family lived in Minnesota City about two years before they moved to their present location. To hold the claim and prevent others from jumping it while Mr. Thorp was absent working at his trade as a blacksmith, he built a small shanty, which Mrs. Thorp sometimes occupied temporarily.
Mr. Thorp is now occupying his comfortable stone cottage and broad acres of cultivated fields, for which he abandoned his blacksmith shop in New York city. He has held the office of treasurer of the town of Rolling Stone, in which he lives, for the past fifteen years.
Although Mr. Thorp brought to the colony a large supply of material, stock and tools, he never opened a shop in Minnesota City. He left his family there in a comfortable hewed log house about 14x16, and went down to Galena, where he worked a part of the years 1852 and 1853. When he moved on his farm he built a small shop in which he sometimes does blacksmithing for himself or to accommodate a neighbor.