Crawford letter to Gilman Newton
Bob Bandel submits this letter
A picture of Russel and Lois
Crawford's first home in Brookings County. It was a small building, about 10 x 14,
built near Elgin Minnesota and hauled to Medary, Dakota Territory
by oxen, with the family on board.
||On the back of the picture the
following note is written: " Photo taken August 1,
1906, by W J Watson of Toronto Can. R. M., L.
& G. H. Crawford. [the initials are for Russ, Lois, and
George.] Building in background was built in the spring of 1875,
& was hauled to Medary by oxen, with the family on board. In
it two children were born: Jessie (Now Mrs. R. S. Carter) &
George. It is now used as a store room for seed grain. Size 7
x13 feet. George H. Crawford. PS: The building was
built on the farm of Joseph Crawford near Elgin Minn.
The following is part of a letter written by Lois
Crawford to her Brother Gilman Newton in Rochester, MN describing,
in part, her home and stable.
Medary, Dakota, Dec 28th 1879
G. S. Newton
Dear Brother. almost 1880
Well I will wish you a "Merry
Christmas" and "Happy New Year" I suppose it will
be the same with me the year around. I try to be as
merry as I can considering my surroundings. We have a
small house shanty fashion (12 x 14) that is roof one way
but we do not suffer with cold if we stay in. It has been xtremy
cold but yesterday was thawing. Stormy today Pa stands it well
He cut some wood and brings some water when R. M. is not at
home. I take the whole care of my cow her stable is made by
putting poles top of hay stack & laid on posts in the ground
and covered with hay It was just big enough for her but she has
eaten the stack so now she has quite a little room.
Ever Your sis Lois
There were 5 people living in this house
at the time of the letter. The letter later mentions Lois'
Father living with them at the time. He was in Dakota looking
for land to homestead, or buy outright from the railroad. A real
pioneer family. I wonder if this could be considered the
first travel trailer.
Well Lois' father, Henry, did get hold
of some land, and left it to Lois via his will when he died in
1899. Henry's will describes it as follows: "I give and bequeath to my daughter Lois D Crawford and her
husband R M Crawford during their lives and to the survivor of
them during his or her life the use of the South Half of the
South East quarter and the North East quarter of the South East
Quarter and the South East Quarter of the North East Quarter of
Section Seventeen in Township one hundred and nine Range Forty
Nine in the county of Brookings Dakota Territory and after the
decease of the survivor of them I give and bequeath the same to
the children of my said daughter Lois D Crawford absolutely
equally share and share alike."
Henry died in 1899 at the ripe old age