Winona County, Minnesota CHAPTER THIRTY-ONE: PERSONAL
Pages 307-325 From the book
"History of Wabasha County" Published in 1884
Concerning Wabasha and Winona Counties in Minnesota
Hon. O. M. Lord was a native of the state of New York; born in Wyoming county in 1826. In
1837 he moved with his father's family to Michigan. He attended school winters until he was
about sixteen, after which he attended a select school for about three months. His education has
since that been acquired by private study in active life. His younger days were spent on a farm and
in sometimes assisting his father in his blacksmith shop.
Mr. Lord was married in 1848, and settled on a farm. He was elected town clerk, and
was ex-officio school inspector for two years. In the spring of 1852 he sold his farm in
Lapeer county, Michigan, and came to Minnesota, where he arrived May 2. He brought on his
family, a wife and two children, on July 16. He brought with him all of his household goods, a
span of horses and farming tools, intending to make farming his exclusive business. His horses
were the first brought into the colony.
Instead of settling on a claim, as he had at first designed, Mr. Lord located himself in the
village of the colony at Minnesota City. He bought several village lots and built a house. Having
acquired some knowledge of black-smithing when young, he bought the tools of a blacksmith and
carried on the business for a year or two, his shop being the only blacksmith shop in the county
during that time. In 1852 he shod the first span of horses ever brought into this county by a settler,
and the first horses ever shod here. The shoes were brought from La Crosse. They belonged to
Hon. William H. Stevens. In the spring of 1853 he shod fourteen horses for Wm. Ashley Jones,
July 2, 1853, Mr. Lord was appointed coroner for Fillmore county. This appointment,
unsolicited, was conferred by Gov. Gorman, who had recently assumed his official position.
At the election held in the fall of 1853 Mr. Lord was elected as representative to the
territorial legislature from this district. The session was held from January 4 to March 4, 1854.
Among the acts of which he secured the passage were the original charter for the Transit
railroad, the division of Fillmore county and creating of Winona county, and the establishment of
the county seat at what is now the city of Winona. The present boundaries of Winona county were
defined by Mr. Lord, and submitted to Mr. Huff and other citizens of the village of Winona for
their approval. He also secured the passage of a memorial for a post-route from Minnesota City to
Traverse des Sioux.
In 1854 Mr. Lord built the first saw-mill in the county at Minnesota City. In 1855 he was
awarded a contract for carrying the mail from Minnesota City to Traverse des Sioux, and carried
the mails for about two years ~ a part of the time semimonthly. This was the first post-route across
In 1857 or 1858 Mr. Lord was appointed by Gov. Medavy commissioner for selecting
land for the Transit Railroad Company. He was also appointed by Gov. Medavy, October 12,
1857, as a notary public. These appointments were unsolicited by Mr. Lord. In 1859 he was a
candidate for the legislature, but was defeated by Judge Orlando Stevens.
When questioned as to his war record, he replied, "I fought, bled and died for my country
by able-bodied substitute during the was ~ price $600."
Mr. Lord moved back to Michigan, and lived near Kalamazoo from 1861 to 1864, when
he returned to Minnesota, and again took up his residence at Minnesota City. He was a candidate
for the legislature in 1871, and was defeated by seven votes by H. A. Covey. In 1873 he was
elected to the legislature, and served at the next session.
On September 28, 1875, Mr. Lord was appointed county superintendent of schools, to
fill the vacancy occasioned by the resignation of Rev. David Burt, who had been appointed state
superintendent of public instruction. He has been elected continuously to the position of county
superintendent of schools since that time, and is yet serving the people in that capacity. He was
president of the last annual meeting of county superintendents, held at St. Paul about January 1,
Mr. Lord has always taken an active interest in popular education, and in addition to his
other official position s has been almost continuously one of the school committee in Minnesota
City since the first school was started there in 1852. He is at present director of the district. He
has been a member of the town board of the town of Rolling Stone for the past twelve years, and is
now chairman of board of supervisors. Mr. Lord was made a Mason in 1862. He never united
with any other organization. If circumstances permitted, he would take more pride and pleasure in
stock-raising and cultivation of small fruit than in any other pursuit.
Hiram Campbell settled on his village lot and built a house, which he occupied with his
family for several years. With this as his place of residence, he made a claim and pre-empted a
homestead which included a portion of the village lots of the colony. This claim is now known as
the "Campbell Farm." It joins the farms of O. M. Lord and James Kennedy. The present farm
home is of brick.
Hiram Campbell has been dead many years. His widow, with his family, owned and
occupied the farm until about two years ago, when she sold out and moved west. With other
branches of farming Mr. and Mrs. Campbell took a great deal of interest in the cultivation of fruit,
particularly of different varieties of apples, which they were very successful in growing.
When David Densmore and John Shaw came to Rolling Stone they brought with them a
large supply of apple-seeds which they procured from the State of Maine. These seeds were
planted on their village lots. The lot of Mr. Densmore was on the land now owned by O. C.
Tucker. The lot of Mr. Shaw was on the Campbell farm. Both Mr. Densmore and Mr. Shaw died
early in the summer of 1852, and their lots passed into other hands. Mr. Densmore left his nursery
for the general benefit of the colonists.
Mr. Campbell assumed charge of the lot of Mr. Shaw and started a nursery of fruit-trees
from the seed sown on it. From this little nursery, started by Mr. Campbell on his own claim,
sprang some of the finest varieties of apples that have ever been known in Minnesota.
John Nicklin, with his family, settled on his lot selected by number in New York. His
location was on the table above where Troust's mill recently stood. He built a log house, lived
here two or three years and made a claim of forty acres among the village lots. He also had a farm
claim in the valley about two miles above the village. To hold them both he pre-empted the farm
claim, and his son pre-empted a part of the village property. He lived on his farm for a number of
years, when he sold out and moved back to New York, where he died a few years ago. None of
his family are now living in this county. A son resides in Dakota Territory.
George Foster pre-empted a forty of village lots; sold out and moved to Winona. He left
there and moved south. None of his family are now living in this county.
Other members of the association besides Mr. Denman and W. H. Coryell made claims
below Minnesota City. Nearly the whole upper prairie was at one time claimed by the colonists,
P. D. Follett made a claim adjoining the farm now occupied by Mr. Charles Vila. He
built a log house and occupied it for two or three years, when he sold out and left the county.
William T. Luark made a claim along the bluffs below Mr. Denman's, where Mr. Colman
now lives. He improved this by building a log-house and making some cultivation, and held it for
several years. He moved to Winona, where he opened the first wagon-shop started in the county.
The first wagon was made by Mr. Luark in the spring of 1855. About ten years ago he moved to
Milwaukee, where he died after a residence there of a year or two.
John Iams also made a claim along the bluffs, the next below that made by Mr. Luark.
He built a log-house and occupied this locality two or three years, and then moved to Winona, and
after a few years' residence there left the county and went into the western part of the state to
reside. Mr. Iams was the first sheriff appointed or elected to serve in that office in this part of the
territory. He was the first sheriff in Fillmore county in 1853.
John C. Laird came to Wabasha prairie about the last of August, 1852, to attend upon
Abner S. Goddard during his last sickness. After the death of Mr. Goddard, which occurred on the
11th of September, he decided to remain and make it his future home.
Mr. Laird was a citizen of La Crosse at the time he came up to help his sister in the care
of her sick husband. It was on her account that he changed his place of residence and came to
Minnesota, where he has ever since resided. He was deputy register of deeds for La Crosse
county. The register elected was a resident of a distant part of the county, and, not wishing to
change his location, Mr. Laird was deputized to act for him and receive the emoluments of the
In the winter and spring previous Mr. Laird had visited Wabasha prairie, but never
selected any special location as a claim. After he had decided to settle here he explored the
country until in October, when, observing that the east "eighty" of the original Stevens claim was
unoccupied, and without improvements of any kind, he was induced to take possession of it as an
abandoned claim. Mr. Laird quietly procured the necessary material, and before the settlers were
aware of his intention, they were surprised to see a snug and comfortable-looking shanty on "that
lower eighty of Stevens's." This shanty stood about where Laird Norton & Co's stables now stand,
~ on the west side of Chestnut street, between Second and Third streets.
As soon as the circumstance became known, H. C. Gere made application to the
members of the claim club for aid to remove the trespasser on the land relinquished to him by Silas
Stevens. Some of the members of the club came together and called on Mr. Laird to learn why he
had built the shanty and to ascertain if he really intended to jump Gere's claim.
Mr. Laird informed them that he had taken possession of "that eighty" because there was
no one occupying it ~ nothing to indicate that any one had possession of it, and informed them that
his shanty was the only improvement on the claim. This self-constituted claim committee decided
to let Mr. Gere take care of his own affairs if he had got into trouble from his own mismanagement.
He was then holding other claims.
Mr. Laird completed his shanty on Saturday evening, and, supposing that he had
possession safe enough, stayed contentedly at Mrs. Goddard's, because it was Sunday and a day of
rest generally observed by the settlers. It chanced to be the day on which Elder Hamilton had
made an appointment to preach at Mrs. Goddard's shanty, and there the settlers assembled to listen
to one of his best sermons.
Taking a great interest in the subject of the discourse, Mr. Laird for the time forgot about
his recently acquired earthly possession, and gave his undivided attention to the sermon of the
elder. After the service was over and the audience began to disperse, he cast his eyes toward his
new shanty, not fifty rods away, and discovered Henry C. Gere on its roof. Accompanied by Wm.
H. Stevens, and followed more deliberately by Elder Hamilton and his whole congregation, he
rushed toward his unprotected claim improvement and found that Gere had jumped the shanty, if
not the claim.
Taking advantage of the security from observation afforded while the attention fo the
settlers were engaged by Elder Hamilton, Mr. Gere had taken a load of his household goods to the
shanty and taken possession of it.
On reaching the locality Mr. Laird found the shanty occupied; a table with a few dishes
and a chair or two were on one side of the room, and on the other a cook-stove, on which was a
tea-kettle, a pot of potatoes, and a frying-pan with a slice of ham ready for cooking. Mrs. Gere
was comfortably seated in a rocking-chair in front of the stove, waiting to touch a match to the
kindling-wood as soon as the stove-pipe was put in place, and Mr. Gere was on the roof cutting a
hole for it to pass through.
Mr. Laird called to Gere to come down, but he refused, replying, "You are too late, for I
now hold possession." Laird and Stevens then tore off the boards from the roof, and
notwithstanding Gere's resistance, caught him by the legs and dragged him to the ground. They then
proceeded to carry the stove and other furniture outside, except the rocking-chair, which Mrs. Gere
occupied, and very composedly maintained possession of the roofless shanty.
Elder Hamilton sedately seated himself on one of the chairs ejected from the cabin and
calmly watched the proceedings. Occasionally a quiet smile would illumine his dignified
expression as he observed the demonstrative movements of the noisy and excited settlers, who but
a very few minutes before had been model representatives of a moral, intellectual and
order-loving community. Feelings of partisanship were exhibited by loud expressions of opinion
in emphatic language rather than by active participation. Men and women espoused the cause of
one side or the other. Some threats were passed, but no serious collisions occurred.
Mrs. Goddard took a firm and determined stand in support of the rights of her brother to
the claim. While Laird and Stevens were tearing or knocking the boards from the roof on which
Gere stood, she observed a second load of Gere's furniture approaching from the east; they had
gone down the prairie and come up along the river. Rushing toward the team and brandishing a
cudgel, which she caught up on the first alarm, Mrs. Goddard ordered the driver to stop, and,
taking the horses by the bridles, led them back across the line of the claim and told the driver to
leave as soon as possible. Without a show of resistance the teamster drove off. The team
belonged to John Evans. In speaking of the occurrence afterward, Frank Curtiss, the driver, said it
was not the first time he had been captured by a woman, and he did not propose to get into a
quarrel with Mrs. Goddard.
It was charged that Elder Hamilton had a foreknowledge of Gere's design, and had
selected one of his most interesting and lengthy sermons to give him ample opportunity to
accomplish his purpose unmolested. "Aunt Catharine" says "that was not so. Elder Hamilton and
John C. were always warm friends, but Elder Ely knew all about it, for he kept going out every
few minutes as if to see if a steamboat was coming. In know Elder Hamilton was on John's side
that day, because he beckoned to me, and when I went over to where he was sitting on one of the
chairs he said, 'The boys had better tear the shanty down now they are at it.' I told the boys and
they tore the whole thing down without disturbing Mrs. Gere, and left her sitting in her
rocking-chair on the bare prairie."
As soon as the shanty was demolished the excitement subsided and all started for their
homes, leaving Laird and Gere to watch each other and hold the claim. Mrs. Gere went to her own
shanty and sent her husband his supper, while Mrs. Goddard bountifully furnished rations for John
C., who stood guard over his promiscuous pile of lumber.
The night was a cold, disagreeable one; a chilly west wind swept over the bleak prairie
and compelled the lonely, unsocial watchmen to keep in motion to preserve proper circulation.
Although each had a blanket in which they wrapped themselves, Mr. Laird formed a windbreak of
boards. Mr. Gere solicited the loan of a few boards for a like protection, but Laird objected to his
lumber being used for such purposes.
Finding it impossible to get any rest while so uncomfortable, Gere called to Laird about
midnight and said ~ "I have a proposition to make to you which I think will be of advantage to both
of us. I have no more confidence in your honesty than I have in men generally, but I believe you
will keep your word when you make a promise. Now, suppose we agree to let this claim matter
remain just where it is, without either of us doing anything until tomorrow; we can then go home
and get some sleep." Mr. Laird was amused at the proposition, but did not object to it. The two
men solemnly pledged themselves to leave the claim undisturbed until the next morning, and
bidding each other "good night" in more social tones than they had previously observed, they left
Both parties made their appearance at sunrise, and hostilities were resumed. Mr. Laird
rebuilt his shanty, but moved to another location nearer the river and a little below, on what is now
block 5 in Laird's addition. Gere tried for two or three months to obtain possession, but without
effect, the cold weather interfering with any active measures. On the night of January 24, 1853,
while Mr. Laird was temporarily absent from the prairie, his shanty was torn down and the lumber
destroyed ~ chopped in pieces. Mr. Laird built another cabin on the same ground. It is said that
this destruction of the claim-shanty was effected by a young man employed by Gere for that
purpose, who received a hundred pounds of flour for his services.
Satisfied that it would not be possible for him to get possession and hod it against the
opposition he had to contend with, Mr. Gere appealed to Justice Burns for aid to remove the
trespasser, feeling confident that a select jury would award him his rights.
There were at this time two justices in this vicinity, George M. Gere, on Wabasha
prairie, and John Burns, at the mouth of Burns valley. Jabez McDermott, Wabasha prairie, was
constable. In February, H. C. Gere sued John C. Laird before John Burns, Esq., for trespass, etc.,
to get possession of the claim. The trial by jury came off in March. This was the first jury trial
ever held in this part of the territory ~ the first jury ever called in what is now Winona county.
The court was held in the upper part of the "Viets House" (the old Winona House), which was then
unfinished, Squire Burns having adjourned the court from his office at his house to this place to
accommodate all parties interested., The trial was considered an important event by the settlers.
Mr. Gere engaged the professional services of Mr. Flint, a lawyer living in La Crosse,
and of Andrew Cole, of Wabasha prairie. Mr. Cole was then the only practicing attorney living on
the west side of the river. Mr. Laird had for counsel and management of his defense, a lawyer
from La Crosse by the name of French. The jury impaneled to try the case was George W. Clark,
Scott Clark, O. S. Holbrook, William Hewitt, W. H. Coryell and Hiram Campbell.
This being the first important case brought before Squire Burns, his inexperience in his
official position made it necessary for him to seek advice as to his own duties. He selected as his
confidential adviser the "home attorney." He was personally acquainted with Mr. Cole, and had
great confidence in his opinions of law. This peculiarity in the case excited some comment from
outsiders, ~ Mr. cole being attorney for the plaintiff, but no charges were ever made that any
improper or unjust proceedings were entertained by the court. Notwithstanding the very marked
eccentricities exhibited by the squire, his court and official position was duly respected. His
comical expressions and blundering style of doing business afforded considerable amusement
during the trial, and were subjects for many a hearty laugh for a long time afterward.
About two days were spent in the examinations of witnesses and speech-making by the
attorneys before the case was submitted to the jury. After due deliberation it was ascertained that
there was no probability of the jury agreeing, and they were discharged. The court adjourned until
the next Monday, March 14, at which time another jury was impaneled and the trial of the case
In the first trial the jury stood five for the defendant and one for the plaintiff. The one
who stood out against his fellow jurors was Hiram Campbell. The jury on the second trial was
John Iams, S. A. Houck, H. B. Waterman, Wm. L. Luark, S. D. Putnam, and Elijah Silsbee, all
residents of Minnesota City except the last. After about the same amount of time consumed as with
the first trial the case was given to the jury, and at about 11 o'clock at night, March 16, the jury
decided unanimously in favor of the plaintiff, Henry C. Gere.
The next morning Mr. Laird and Wm. H. Stevens started for La Crosse, and took the
lawyers home. The condition of the ice in the river would not permit of delay ~ even then
traveling on the river was unsafe. The ice in the river appeared as if it might break up in a few
days. It did leave the river in front of the prairie on the 20th of March.
Mr. Laird left the claim in charge of Mrs. Goddard to hold until his return, not supposing
that any movement would be made before that time. Mrs. Goddard, with a young lady, Miss Salina
Kellogg, of La Crosse, who was up on a visit, accordingly took possession of the shanty, with a
firm determination to hold the fort.
The suit had been decided in Gere's favor, and he became anxious to get the claim into
his possession before Mr. Laird should have an opportunity to appeal to a higher court, as he had
given notice that he should do on his return. Under the management of Mr. Cole, his attorney,
judgment was entered up against Mr. Laird on the justice's docket, and an attachment issued to take
possession of his property for the payment of the costs in the suit. A writ of restitution was also
issued, under which it was supposed possession would be acquired and the claim held.
The constable, McDermott, was friendly and in full sympathy with Mr. Laird, and was
also a boarder with Mrs. Goddard. Before the papers were placed in his hands, he notified Mrs.
Goddard of the proceedings, and arranged with her a plan of defense. He aided them to procure
material and barricade the building, so as to resist an assault if Gere and his friends attempted to
take forcible possession of the shanty. It was supposed that they were provided with firearms.
Being forewarned, they had the courage to believe that they would be able to resist the officer of
the law, with his consent, and hold Gere and his friends at bay until the return of Mr. Laird from La
Learning from McDermott that the yoke of oxen would be attached when they came
across the river from their work, Mrs. Goddard sent for the cattle and had them brought over and
chained to a post by the side of the shanty, while the constable had business elsewhere.
When the writ was placed in McDermott's hands he went down to the claim. As he
advanced, Mrs. Goddard warned him that if anyone attempted to come near the shanty it would be
at their own peril. The constable withdrew to a safe distance and apparently waited for a more
favorable opportunity to perform his official duties. Neither Mr. Gere or any of this friends
ventured within short range of the cabin where Mrs. Goddard and Miss Kellogg stood guard, and,
to the surprise of the settlers, successfully resisted the execution of the law and boldly defied any
one who should dare molest them.
These two women held the claim and retained possession of the oxen until Mr. Laird
returned from La Crosse with the money to defray the expenses of the suit, which had been the
principal object of his trip. He at once paid the cost and appealed the case to the United States
district court. The writ of restitution was never enforced.
Of the proceedings in the district court, nothing official can be learned. It is said that,
from some cause, judgment in the justice's court was suspended and the case dismissed. Mr. Laird
was never afterward disturbed in his possession of the claim. It is now known as Laird's
Although Mr. Gere never made any actual attempts to obtain possession of the claim, he
several times threatened suits for its recovery. Mr. Laird soon found that a little money would stop
all proceedings ~ less than the fee of a lawyer to defend the case. Gere consulted about every
lawyer that located here for the next two or three years. He was among the first clients of Hon.
Judge Wilson, when he came here in 1855. Mr. Wilson, then a young lawyer, became interested in
the story of Gere, and, considering it an important case, at once commenced suit against Mr. Laird.
He was greatly surprised a day or two after to learn from his clients that, on account of a
satisfactory arrangement with Mr. Laird, he wished to stop all proceedings against him. The
lawyers never shared in these periodical settlements. When Gere again ran short of funds, he
again called on his attorney to bring suit against Laird, but Mr. Wilson indignantly refused to have
anything further to do with the case.
Mr. Laird became a permanent settler on Wabasha prairie, where he was prominently
identified with public and private enterprises which tended to the development of the resources of
the county. Although for many years Mr. Laird gave his attention to the cultivation of a large farm
in the eastern part of Olmsted county, and lived there with his family a portion of each year, he has
maintained an interest in Winona county and occupied his residence in the city of Winona.
John C. Laird now lives on the same claim he "jumped" from Henry C. Gere, on
Wabasha prairie, in the fall of 1852. His present residence is within two blocks of where his
claim-shanties stood while contesting possession with Mr. Gere. This is the only instance where
any one of the original claim holders of land on Wabasha prairie, now the city of Winona, is living
on the claim he held in 1852, and with one exception Mr. Laird is the only one in the city living on
land which they held prior to the sale of public lands in 1855. A part of the original claim of
Captain Smith, claim No. 1, was pre-empted by John Keyes. His widow and family are yet
residents of that locality.
In the spring of 1853 Mr. Laird built quite a stylish and comfortable one-story house,
with two wings, on his claim, and made it his headquarters. He brought up a breaking-team of
three yoke of large oxen and two large breaking-plows. His reason for having two plows to one
team was, that he found it economical to send his plows to Galena by steamboat for repairs ~ to
keep his team at work an extra plow was necessary. This team he kept busy breaking for the
settlers by the acre during the season, under the management of A. B. Smith.
Mr. Laird started the first livery stable in the county of Winona. The heavy horses and
wagons he furnished for hire in 1853 would hardly represent the business if compared with the
dashing turnouts now furnished from the "liveries" in the city of Winona.
Although not strictly the first man to deal in lumber, Mr. Laird was the first to commence
the business and establish a lumber-yard for the retail of lumber as a regular business occupation.
He commenced the lumber business a little above where the sawmill of Laird, Norton & Co. now
stands. His little retail yard was the nucleus from which the vast lumber establishments and
immense business of Laird, Norton & Co. has been developed. John C. Laird was once a member
of this firm, but withdrew from it many years ago. It was through him and his influence that many
of our best citizens came into this county.
In the summer of 1852 Enos P. Williams, who made the claim next east of that held by
Beecher Gere, traded it to B. B. Healy for three or four village lots in La Crosse. Mr. Williams
had made no improvement except a pretense of a garden. He was then living in La Crosse, where
he remained for three or four years, after which he came up the river and settled in this county, in
what is now the town of Utica, where he yet resides.
Mr. Healy build quite a comfortable house on the Williams claim and placed a man on it
to hold possession. The claimkeeper neglected his charge and it was jumped by Rufus Emerson,
who was employed by Andrew Cole. Mr. Healy contested the matter, and after a suit or two at
law recovered possession of the claim and then disposed of it to Rev. H. S. Hamilton, who bought
it for some of his relatives, John I. And Harvey Hubbard. It was then called the John I. Hubbard
claim, and is now known as Hubbard's Addition to the plat of Winona.
But few claims were made in the southern part of what is now Winona county during the
season of 1852. Two or three were selected on Pine creek, one or two along the river and in the
Hamilton McCollum settled on the river in the lower part of the county. His house was
for a year or two a favorite stopping place for travelers by land on the trail between Winona and
James Campbell, A Scotchman, settled in Cedar creek valley three or four miles from its
mouth. William and Robert Campbell came not long after. Mr. Campbell now holds a large
amount of land in that vicinity, where he yet resides.
Leonard Johnson lived with W. B, Bunnell for a year or two, and then with Frank Wilson
started a wood-yard at Johnson's Point, below the present village of Homer. Mr. Johnson is yet a
resident of the county, living in the town of Pleasant Hill, on a farm selected by him in an early
Harry Herrick, for many years a man of all work for Bunnell, made a claim in Burns
valley, about two miles above its mouth where the road crosses the stream. He built a small log
cabin, which is yet standing and is part of the old building on the upper side of the road, east of the
Mr. Herrick held this claim for a year or two, when he sold it and went back to live with
Bunnell, where he died two or three years after. The claim was purchased by Rev. Edward Ely,
and was long known as the "Ely claim." It is now a part of the farm of Mr. Henry Bitner.
William Hewett came into the county in the latter part of this season and made a claim in
Burns valley, next above Herrick. He built a frame house near the big spring next to the road and
settled there with his family. This house was burned down several years after. A log house now
occupies the same site. Hr. Hewett occupied the locality for two or three years and then sold out
and left this part of the country.
Joseph S. Wilson selected his claim in Burns valley, next above Hewett's, where
Charles Miller now has a stock-farm. He built his claim shanty about where the present farm
buildings stand, near the spring. His first shanty was only designed to show that the claim was
"occupied by a settler." He left his claim in the care of Roderick Kellogg until the next spring,
when he returned with his family, built a comfortable house and opened up a farm, which he
cultivated for three or four years. He then sold his farm and moved into Winona, where he carried
on the business of harness-making until about 1880, when he went west and located in the territory
of Dakota. Mr. Wilson was a well-known citizen of the county. The town of Wilson was given its
name from him, he being one of its oldest settlers and the best known in that locality.
The same season that Mr. Wilson brought his family to live in Burns valley, a German by
the name of Schabe, or Schape, made a claim above Wilson's. He built a log house near the spring
by the side of the road and lived there until his death, ten or twelve years ago. This house was the
last one in that direction until the spring of 1854.
The log house built by Mr. Schape was standing until within the past year. On Christmas
day, 1882, the writer passed the locality and found the present owner of the property tearing down
the old house. The timber of which it was composed was apparently sound; the oak logs were
hard and dry; the oak shingles, or more properly shakes, were sound on the under side, but much
worn on the outer side.
A man by the name of Blodgett made a claim in West Burns valley, where P. B. Palmer
now lives. He brought with him a small herd of cows and lived on this claim during the summer.
While here he lost two children from sickness. He sold out his stock and abandoned the claim in
the fall and went back down the river.
In the fall of this year A. B. Smith came to Wabasha prairie, and for awhile had the west
half of the McDermott claim ~ the eighty next west of the claim owned by Dr. Childs. It was said
that he was holding this for Mr. Healey, by whom he was employed. It was difficult to tell who
was the real owner of the claim; it waw jumped several times by different individuals. It was sold
by McDermott to David Olmsted. Mr. Smith did not reside on any claim, although he held several.
Prior to his coming here he had been engaged in lumbering business, cutting and rafting, and as a
pilot in running lumber down the Ohio and on the Mississippi rivers. He spent the winter as a
regular boarder with Mrs. Goddard, and married the widow the following season.
A. B. Smith was well known to all of the early settlers as a hotel keeper, ~ as the
landlord of the old "Minnesota House," built by him in 1853, on the corner of Center and Second
streets, where S. C. White's store now stands. He was also the proprietor of the "Wabasha Prairie
House," which stood on the corner of Front and Franklin streets, built by him in the summer of
1855. While living here he suddenly left home in the night, without the family or any one
connected with the house being aware of his intentions to do so. Nothing of a certainty was ever
learned relative to any circumstances connected with his mysterious disappearance. It was known
that at about that time he was accustomed to carry a considerable sum of money about his person.
He sometimes indulged freely in intoxicating drinks. It was generally supposed that he had been
foully dealt with ~ probably murdered for his money and his body thrown into the river. Suspicion
rested on some with whom he familiarly associated at about that time, but no evidence was ever
secured that appeared to justify making any arrests. There was no proof of his death.
During the latter part of this season Roderick Kellogg came up from La Crosse to do
some mason-work for the settlers on Wabasha prairie. He was a competent mechanic in his line of
business, and a man of more than usual abilities and general information, but his intemperate habits
had isolated him from his family. He was readily induced to come here and work at his trade,
although there was but little to do, because, as he expressed himself, he "would by so doing, get
away from the temptation of the hell-holes where intoxicating drinks could at all times be
procured." Mr. Kellogg was, for a year or so, benefitted by the change, but when the hell-holes
opened in Winona he found them, although they were small ones.
The first regular mason-work done in this county was by Roderick Kellogg. His first
job of work was on Wabasha prairie, where he plastered two rooms for Rev. Edward Ely, on the
corner of Center and Second streets. This was the first plastered house in the county. His next job
of plastering was the lower rooms in the "Viets House," afterward known as the Winona House ~
it stood on Front street, on the levee. The first brick chimney built in the county was by Mr.
Kellogg, in the Viets House. His third job of plastering and chimney-building was in a small one-
story house of two rooms built by Johnson for Andrew Cole, on lot 4, block 10. Johnson's
original claim shanty, on claim No. 4, was torn down and used in the construction of this building.
These three buildings were the only houses in the county with plastered rooms until the season of
Nearly all of the mason-work required by the settlers of this vicinity was done by Mr.
Kellogg. He worked at his trade here for three or four years, and then went back to La Crosse. He
owned the lot on the corner of Franklin and Second streets, where Rohweder's meat-market now
stands. In the spring of 1853 he built a small one-story house on the corner, about 12 x 20,
plastered inside and outside. This he occupied as his residence ~ his family living in La Crosse.
He also built the house which stands on the same lot next to the alley. It was at one time used as a
Roderick Kellogg was an industrious man, seldom idle if there was anything to do,
except when intoxicated; then he was inclined to be quarrelsome. He was a handy man of all
work, and when not engaged at his trade he was always ready to undertake any small jobs for the
settlers, such as rough carpenter work, gardening, etc.
Mr. Kellogg always found a sympathizing friend in Rev. Mr. Ely, who had, from his first
acquaintance with him, taken an interest in trying to bring about a reform in his life, but without
success; the series of efforts were balanced by a like series of failures. After Mr. Ely engaged in
mercantile business, in 1854, he sometimes found Mr. Kellogg's services about the store a
convenience, and at times employed him. On one occasion Kellogg made his appearance when
partially intoxicated. He was told that his services were not needed while in that condition. He
attempted by argument to show that he was not drunk ~ that he knew what he was about, although
he had taken a drink. His remarks became insulting, and Mr. Ely told him to leave the store ~ to go
away and not come back again, for he would have nothing more to do with him.
Kellogg went outside and became noisy and abusive ~ attracting the attention of the
idlers about (of whom the writer was one). Becoming excited in his harangue, he fairly jumped up
and down, until suddenly he stopped, as if strongly impressed with a new idea of retaliation for the
fancied wrong done him, and exclaimed, "D you, Elder Ely! I'll get even with you yet ~ I'll go
and jump your claim for this." He at once turned and marched off down the street as if his
determination was a fixed one. He did not attempt to carry out his threat, for when sober he
respected the elder. The idea was a popular one, that the greatest wrong that could be inflicted on
a settler was to jump his claim.
During the latter part of the season John and Rufus Emerson, brothers, came into this
county and settled on Wabasha prairie. John Emerson had a wife and two or three children. After
looking about for awhile he selected a location south of the Evans claim, toward the upper end of
the lake. He built a shanty on it and made it his home, with his family, for about two years, when
he sold it to Edwin Foster. Taylor's Addition is a part of the Emerson claim. Mr. Emerson moved
to the western part of the county, where he located himself on a farm.
Rufus Emerson was a single man. Without permanently locating himself, he speculated
in claims by taking possession of some unoccupied land (jumping claims) and selling out his
interest to other settlers. He was identified with several difficulties where claim-jumping was
charged, either for his own individual benefit or as an employee of others. He pre-empted a claim
on the bottom-land west of Gilmore's. Rufus Emerson built a house on the Stevens claim in the
spring of 1854. This house is yet standing. It is on Second Street, between Market and Franklin
streets, on lot 2, block 143. This building was constructed from lumber found floating down the
river and picked up at different times. Emerson sold it before it was completed. It was afterward
clapboarded and finished by W. H. Stevens, into whose hands it fell.