NEGenWeb Project
Merrick County, Nebraska

 

PIONEERING IN MINNESOTA

By

Mrs. Fountain H. Barnes

This memory picture is written in my 87th year at the request of Logan G. Barnes compiler, in cooperation with Mrs. L. Honn, Mrs. C. E. Kitchen and others of the geneoligcal record of the Barnes Family who settled in Coles Co. Illionois, in the vicinity of Ashmore, about the year 1828.

In the year 1855, when we were living in Monmouth, Illinois, my father, Wm. Sackett, heard of the opening of government lands to settlers in Minn. And decided to go up and see what the prospect might be for making a new home in a farming country. All his life he had folloed carpentry and cabinet making, having served the required seven years as apprentice in his early youth.

Now, as there was little demand for cabinet work, and there were more carpenters than there were jobs, he welcomed a change, so he left his family and travelled north. After looking about he selected a home in Goodhue Co., Minn., took up 80 A. of farming land and 10A. of heavy timber, felled suitable trees and built a cabin of logs, chinked between them with split pieces of timber plastered in with mud, built a log stable, bought a cow, a yoke of oxen, and a few pigs. He then broke up several acres of bottom land near a creek, planted a crop of sod corn and a large variety of vegetables, all of which did well. The next spring he sent for the family consisting of my mother, brother Frank, 13 years old, sister Ellen, 10 years old, and myself a child of seven years.

     Mother at once packed trunks, boxes, etc. that could be taken to the new home, sold the remainder, and took the railway train to the nearest port of call on the Mississippi River, boarded a boat, a side-wheeler towing two freight barges, and northward bound.

It was a very interesting experience to us children as we had never seen either boats nor rivers before. The engineer took us over the boat and barges, showing us the machinery and explaining just what made the wheels go round. A barrel of apples had broken open on one of the barges and some of the apples were floating around in the bilge water, and might have been somewhat tempting to us only that the bilge water did not smell so good. At one place one of the paddles got broken in the night and caused quite a delay while it was being repaired. We landed at Redwing, Minn., County seat of Goodhue co. where father met us with a team of horses and a big farm wagon hired for the occasion, and drove twenty-five miles south to our new home, about six miles from Zumbrota, a small town on the Zumbro river.

On the way down we had heard a man calling, and on looking back found that he was trying his best to catch up with us, so father waited and when he had recovered his breath he asked if we had lost a purse. Mother searched her pockets and discovered her loss, on describing it he handed it to her but would not accept pay for his long hard run to return it. It contained nearly five hundred dollars. Every dollar we possessed after loading in a supply of flour and groceries. His honesty had saved us untold hardships and privation.

Father took him home with us, and he, John Gill, passed many months with us proving a good friend in many ways.

-----o-----

From the pen of my 2G-Grandmother, Mary Louisa Sackett Barnes,
born 18 Jan 1848 in Oquawka, Illinois and died in 1941 in Santa Barbara, California.

Submitted by John Wolfe <computerwolf@yahoo.com>


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