Sunday, October 30, 2011

News from the Dart - Part 6

From the February 8, 1893, issue:

Willow River

* James Soames returned from his home in LaCrosse, Wis., the first of the week.

*Mrs. Latta returned on Monday after a week's visit with friends in White Bear.

*Billy McHale came in from Camp 2 on Saturday and spent Sunday with his many friends.

* Our village council showed their interest in school matters Wednesday morning by plowing out the streets to the school house.

* Mrs. Frank Elliott, of Winona, arrived here Sunday morning. She intends to remain here during the winter while Mr. E. is in camp. In all probability they will make Willow River their home.

* Dr. Fertig has been giving a series of lectures in the school house on his idea of new education or a development of the mind by the process of reasoning from the known to the unknown. The doctor's talks are logical and interesting and his lectures are spiced with humor.

* S.C. Sargent, official photographer of the St. Paul & Duluth R.R., was in town Saturday, taking views of the interesting points in this village.

The Willow River depot

Willow River

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

News from the Dart - Part 5

From the December 8, 1892, issue:

Sandstone Grits

* Otto Staffverfeldt writes from Sweden that he will bring several families on his return to settle up our farming lands. Why not bring a wife and raise a family yourself, Otto?

[Note - Otto survived the 1894 fire and is listed as receiving aid from the State Fire Relief Commission. According to the relief list, there were two people living in Otto's household at the time, so perhaps Otto had found a wife.]

* The roadmaster of the Eastern has received orders to remove the section house from Wareham to Sandstone. The siding at Wareham will also be removed to this place in the early spring, and then there will be no more Wareham.

[Note – The writer was correct. Wareham was once a small village just south of Sandstone on the Point Douglas to Superior Military Road. Today it is one of Pine County's ghost towns.]

* Times in the quarry are lively. One day last week twenty-six carloads were shipped. Ring & Tobin are just commencing a large contract in Minneapolis. It will take an average of twenty cars per day until next July to finish it. Who said Sandstone was dead? 

The Sandstone Quarry, 1888

Thursday, October 20, 2011

News from the Dart - Part 4

From the December 8, 1892, issue:

Gossip Around Town

* Engineer McAkron is placing the bath tub and fixtures in the fire department hall.

* Special brands of cigars at John Lindstrom's store. Smokers, there is your chance.

* Now is the time to select your Christmas goods! A large stock of fine goods to select from at G.J. Morast's store.

* The dance given in the Eastern hotel last Saturday evening was an enjoyable occasion to those who whiled away a few hours in the mazy.

* Stock of candies, fresh from the manufacturers, has been put in Lindstrom's confectionery store. The best candies made can be purchased there.

* Tramps in large numbers frequently call on citizens for food and shelter. Many tough specimens of “genus bum” are often seen on the streets.

* Rev. Father Lawler has a class of boys practicing their parts to be taken in the Midnight Mass service which will be held in St. Patrick's church, Christmas eve.

* A complete and varied stock of toys, suitable for Christmas presents for the children, can be seen in Mrs. Booth's store. Photograph frames, gems of beauty, arranged in delicate shades, will set off a photograph to perfection.

* Archie McDonald came down from Kettle River, Wednesday, to receive surgical attendance for a severe scalp wound made by being kicked by a horse. At the time of the accident he was working in the woods for the Rutledge Lumber company. Dr. D.W. Cowan, who attended the injured man, says the skull is slightly fractured.

* A rain on Monday placed the sidewalks in a very dangerous condition. The water froze to the planks, causing a slippery surface. Pedestrians performed many evolutions in mid air endeavoring to navigate along the icy walks. Several of the boys used their skates as a means of travel. No broken bones have yet been heard of as a result of the many falls.

* A strange scene was enacted in front of the post-office last Saturday evening. A comely young lady, accompanied by an elderly gentleman were standing at the street crossing. The woman remained on the crossing while her escort went into the post-office, apparently for an expected letter. He returned to the sidewalk, where he read the contents of the missive. After learning the contents of the letter, he approached the young lady and spoke a few words to her when she gave vent to an unearthly screech, swooned for a moment and fell into the man's arms. The gentleman aided her to some retreat where they were safe from the gaze of the two or three bystanders. One of the boys heard the man say, on reading the letter, that unwelcome word – dead. That is all that is known of the strange occurrence.

Hinckley's Eastern Hotel before the 1894 fire

Saturday, October 15, 2011

News from the Dart - Part 3

From the October 1, 1891, issue:

Pleasant Time

          The firemen's third annual ball is history now but its recollection leaves a bright spot on the page to those attending. It was a success in every particular. Fifty-one numbers were sold and the supper at the Morrison house was pronounced superb, in fact, perfect. Sedwell's band, Minneapolis, made-up of four pieces, furnished the music which was highly satisfactory. It was a festive time. 

Members of the Hinckley Fire Department posed in front of their new firehall just before the 1894 fire.  

Gossip Around Town 

          The match game of ball last Sunday between the Sandstone nine and Hinckley resulted in a score of 37 to 8 in favor of the latter. It was a little moist on that day which probably accounts for the condition of the count. Anyhow there are good fellows in the defeated nine, who took their defeat philosophically.

Hinckley's baseball team is shown here just after the 1894 fire.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

News from the Dart - Part 2

Were newspapers ever objective? The publisher of Hinckley's Pine-Wood Dart certainly had a strong opinion about the latest land speculation schemes of businessman and banker William H. Grant, Sr., and his son. Grant was one of Hinckley's founding fathers. He also established the Kettle River quarry at Sandstone in 1885. As a shrewd entrepreneur, Grant knew a good, money-making deal when he saw one, but there is no evidence that any of the landowners targeted by his 1891 real estate scheme accepted Grant's proposal.

From the October 1, 1891, issue:

Unload: A Scheme on Foot that Will Enable Landowners to Disposes of their Realty

          It is past time something should be done to settle northern and central Pine county. But it is much better to be never late. Someone must undertake the work of it can ever be executed. It is evidently left to W.H. Grant, sr., and son, W.H. Grant, jr., to baffle with the lords of silence and awaken interest in the subject matter. In a conversation with Mr. Grant, sr., Monday, on the development and futurity of northern Pine county, the best place for a man of moderate means that can be found in the state, he outlined a scheme that promised good to this section and were in hopes it would terminate successfully because of the favor with which it has thus far been received. Mr. Grant's proposal is to the effect that if owners of land in the northern half of the county would place their realty in his hands for a term of years, giving absolute control of all sales at a fixed price, capable men would be sent abroad for the ostensible purpose of organizing colonies and ticketing each member direct to Hinckley. This is a laudable move and a big undertaking. The scheme has been put before officials of the St. Paul & Duluth railway company, who sanctioned the move and promised every possible aid and lands from which the timber has been cut. It remains for other large land-holders of the county to co-operate by consenting to make a disposition of their lands as desired by the Messrs Grant. It is hoped they will be governed by the sparkling gem of enterprise, and lend the proposition influence. We can never hope to induce settlers hitherward unless an endeavor is made, and if the above gentlemen are to be the Ulysses that have been raised up for the purpose of bringing about a revolution in the sale and development of lands all about us, that much better for all concerned. Identified as they are with business interests of the county, what profits netted will be kept at home and partially disbursed in home improvements. Mr. Grant is of the opinion one hundred families can be settled on these lands by next spring as his ideas mature in time to make necessary arrangements with the several transportation companies yet this fall. One hundred families mean a good deal to county matters. The scheme signifies a good deal if perfected. It should enlist the encouragement of every resident of the county and particularly owners of land as several of whom are what is called “land poor.” These men should unload. The S.P. & D. company have expressed a willingness to unload in agreeing to help Mr. Grant and son, and the Western Land Association may get out of its trance long enough to venture a remark about high taxes (and they ought to be higher on its property) and relapse again. There should be a general unloading. The county will be profited, humanity blessed and prosperity reign. Unload your realty. Allow would-be purchasers the privilege of buying just what is wanted, with the stipulation sales are not to be held for speculative purposes but must be cultivated. This will help the county. The people up this way have wearied of land speculators, and want to see actual settlers come in and make homes among them. Advantages of the county and adaptability of its soil must be made more public than at present. The work must be systematically done. Faith in the country must be shown. Money must be expended and liberally. In fact holders of northern Pine county soil should get in out of the wet.
          The Messrs Grant are pushers and will win if permitted to undertake what is proposed.

Friday, October 7, 2011

News from the Dart - Part 1

Hinckley's Pine-Wood Dart was published by Frank T. Sheppard, and later Angus Hay, from July 9, 1891, through June 30, 1893. It covered local news and ran advertising for Hinckley, Sandstone, Willow River, Pine City, and other nearby towns.

The next several posts will feature excepts from the Pine-Wood Dart that capture the “flavor” of a small Pine County newspaper in the 1890s.

From the October 1, 1891, issue:

Aftermath of the Fire – Narrow Escape – Loss – Busy Campers – A Dam Burned

          The forest fires last week swept over an immense territory but the loss to camps and other property and life was not as great as would naturally be supposed. A number of people had close calls for their lives. Five farm hands are reported as having been burned to death near Pine City while fighting fire. The escape of Mr. and Mrs. Louis Mottaz, together with ten others, was miraculous. For fifteen hours they were obliged to seek refuge in the waters of the South Fork of the Grindstone, and even there were not free from the distressing effects of a terrible smoke, heated as from a furnace, and saved themselves only by throwing wet blankets over their heads. The fire swept down upon their camp – one of A.J. Lammar's – unexpectedly from two directions, and but a few valuables were saved. A half mile above the parties the river was dammed which structure was entirely destroyed owing to the low stage of water, entailing loss to Mr. Lammars. Wednesday Mrs. Mottaz was brought to town and found a home with her mother, Dr. Mary M. Scott, a few days. It was a trying ordeal and Mrs. Mottaz does not care to undergo it again.
          It is impossible to estimate the damage to mill logs but it is thought not to be great where the trees are cut during the coming winter. The loss of A.J. Lammars in camp buildings and logging tools is placed at about $4000 and that of the Brennan Lumber company at from $2500 to $8000. Mr. Lammars lost three or four camps. Men are living in tents until suitable buildings can be erected, the work of which is being vigorously prosecuted. The B.L. Co. lost its Grindstone camp.
          The Finlayson mill company lost two small lumber piles the amount of which was not great. It was a fortunate and providential escape for that town, so terrific the flames and plenty the fire food. Heroic efforts only saved the town and five million feet of lumber. We rejoice with its citizens.
          Willow River did not suffer damage but had a close call owing to men putting out back fire, which got the start of them and made fighting lively for a time.
          No one relished the fires and are glad of the rains – which put out all traces.

[Note: Mrs. Mottaz, nee Agnes Scott, died along with her young children in the great forest fire of 1894, which killed at least 400 and probably closer to 500 people. Her husband Louis survived and later married Clara Troolin. The fate of the Scott family remains a mystery at this point. Dr. Mary, her husband Henry, and their children Carl, Della, and Albert do not seem to appear in any records after the 1894 fire.]

Monday, October 3, 2011

Schools Open

From the Pine County Courier, January 17, 1895:

At this season of the year with boys and girls about our doors, everyone thinks of the "pleasant school room" in which to get them off their hands and minds.

For some time all have been wishing for school to open, and the day of their satisfaction is at hand. Next Monday will witness the opening of the schoolhouse doors, and the opening of parents' mouths in thanksgiving.

No school has been held here since last June, as the building was burned just before the opening of the fall term [in the great forest fire of September 1, 1894, which completely destroyed Sandstone and several neighboring towns].

This was one of the severest loses of the fire, as Sandstone had as fine a school building as any town of its size in the country, and unfortunately there was no insurance on it. The building was constructed of brown sandstone taken from the quarries at this place and was two stories high with a ground measurement 60 by 80 feet. It contained a fine basement with two large rooms on the first floor and a spacious hall above. Its arrangement was complete and its facilities adequate to accommodate the school population of quite a large town. The building cannot be replaced for less than $12,000, so it has been found necessary to get along with more limited accommodations, which will probably be sufficient for the coming term. The number of pupils before the fire was 92, and it is anticipated that at least an equal number will be in attendance at the opening next Monday.

The new building is 24 by 42 feet and was constructed by the relief committee on lots donated by the Minneapolis Trust Company for that purpose. It will seat the number likely to attend but will not begin to be sufficient when six months have rolled around.

The school board has provided school furniture to the amount of $394 that will be in place for the five months' term, and everything will be done to insure complete success.

The photograph above shows the first school in Sandstone after the 1894 fire. It was purchased by the Pine County Courier after the village build a new, larger schoolhouse .