Sunday, December 29, 2013

Name that Pine County Place #4 Answer

As this picture shows, Sandstone's Vogue Theater was extensively remodeled in 1936. Owners Guy and Dorothy Thorne added air-conditioning, sloped floors, and a smoking room.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Name that Pine County Place #4

Where in Pine County was this picture taken?  Look for the answer in a few days!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Pine County Townships

This information comes from the 1940 edition of “Who’s Who in Minnesota.”

Alphabetical list of Townships with date of organization, first Board of Supervisors, Clerk and Treasurer, in the order named.

Arlone – May 29, 1911; D Westman, C. B. Brown, John M. Sundean, Ben Brown.

Arna – March 26, 1910; P. M. Croucher, Bernard Chelmo, Geo. Hollas, J. H. Franklin, C. A. Bjork.

Barry – Oct. 18, 1901; A. O Rosedahl, Chm; S. W. Anderson, Clk.

Beldan – July 30, 1921; E. T. Hogan, Grover Hanold, Geo. Donley, Geo. Rash, Stephen Costello.

Birch Creek – Aug. 1, 1896; H. W. Bodholdt, Chm; J. C. Swenson, Clk.

Bremen – Jan. 20, 1906; Herman Thrun. Chm; Jacob Sonmor, Clk.

Bruno – May 28, 1903; Albert Wharton, Chm; Hans Nelson, Clk.

Brook Park – April 30, 1894; M. L. Seymore, Chm; W. H. Thompson, Clk.

Chengwatana – March 2, 1874; Duane Porter, F. Blamk, Reason Denman, Ely Hull, Henry Brandes.

Clover – Aug. 1, 1911; C. O Morgan, Chm; C. A. Schmidt, Clk.

Crosby – Aug. 1, 1908; J. E. Crosby, N. Hellamd, G. Beaver, G. Millhause.

Danforth – April 2, 1904; J. H. Friesendahl, Chm; W. J. Wheeler, Clk.

Dell Grove – Nov. 14, 1895; Erick Troolin, Chm; Harry Olson, Clk.

Dosey – June 7, 1909; C. G. Chase, Chm; Mark Chase, Clk.

Finlayson – Nov. 14, 1895; James McDonald, Chm; C. W. Harris, Clk.

Fleming – May 25, 1907; Ed. J. Rodenberg, Chm; M. Bird, Clk.

Hinckley – Est. 1872, Org’d Mar. 2, 1874; Record lost in forest fire of 1895.

Kerrick – Nov. 14, 1895; Peter Norell, Jr., Chm; Andrew Gillberg, Clk.

Keene – May 22, 1920; C. L. Busby, Charlie Johnson, L. L. Wheeler, C. O. Ables, W. D. Smith.

Kettle River – March 2, 1874; A. L. Griggs, William Curry, T. O’Neil, G. Moorhead.
Munch – Oct. 21, 1905; F. J. Keene, Chm; A. L. Freeman, Clk.

Mission Creed – April 2, 1880; M. Thomas, E. Johnson, T. McEwen, E. J. Leard; A. Wilson.

Nickerson – Sept. 21, 1907; O. G. Wahlquist, Chm; D. Champagne, Clk, J. D. Johnson, Tr.

Norman – April 3, 1906; O. F. Forsythe, Chm, Gust Overbecke, Clk.

Park – Sept. 25, 1922; Nels Berg, Frank Mack, Chas. Kunz, Edwin I. Scott, Adolph Larson.

Ogema – Sept. 21, 1915; H. B. Lyon, Chm; S. O. Pike, Clk, H. D. Black, Tr.

Partridge – Jan. 26, 1901; Louis Lindstrom, Chm; Hugh McKenzie, Clk.

Pine City – March 27, 1874; H. Bracket, H. B. Hoffman, James Griffith, H. Robei, Clk.

Pokegama – Jan. 25, 1896; John C. Nordstrom, Chm; T. A. Bartlett, Clk.

Pine Lake – Nov. 14, 1895; H. G. Tyler, Chm; Geo. Beck, Clk.

Rock Creek – May 14, 1874; Officers not given.

Royalton – March 17, 1880; Officers not given.

Sandstone – Nov. 14, 1895; Charles Haisler, Chm; J. S. Hay, Clk.

Sturgeon Lake – Oct. 23, 1897; Andrew Novak, Chm; A. Nygren, Clk.

Wilma – Nov. 5, 1907; John Ludwig, T. M. Croucher, J. Franklin, Clk.

Windemere – Jan. 21, 1882; J. A. Majgren, Chm; L. Lyden, Clk.

The following townships were dissolved on the date given: Belden, Jan. 8, 1936; Keene, May 25, 1938; Dosey, April 2, 1941.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Name that Pine County Place #3 Answer

This office on Askov's main street was home to the Askov American newspaper founded in 1914 by Hjalmar Petersen. The women on the right were typesetters who arranged letters and words in trays to form mirror images of newspaper pages. Other workers inked the trays and ran them through a press to create copies of each edition.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Name that Pine County Place #3

Where in Pine County was this busy office located?  (Watch for the answer next week!)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Arrow Line Railroad

A New Marvel

In 1907 the Twin City and Lake Superior Railroad Company, in partnership with the Western Land and Improvement Company of Minneapolis, decided to embark on a new era of transportation in Minnesota and Wisconsin, namely, the Arrow Line Railroad. This was not just any everyday sort of railroad, even though it was part of the Twin Cities to Lake Superior Railroad system. The Arrow Line was the latest technology of the day, a high-speed electric railway! 

The Arrow Line would be fast. The fastest steam engine of the day could run from the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul to the Twin Ports of Duluth and Superior in about five hours. The Arrow Line would make the same trip in only two. Its route would lead from the Twin Cities, through Chisago County, into Wisconsin to Grantsburg, back into Minnesota in Pine County, up into Carlton County, and finally to its destination of Superior, Wisconsin. 

Part of the Western Land and Improvement Company's scheme was to plat towns along the Arrow Line and sell lots to prospective settlers who would develop the land agriculturally and start businesses in the new towns. In fact, the Company acquired 150,000 acres along the railroad's right-of-way that it was itching to sell. An advertisement for the electric railroad proclaimed, “This new electrical wonder traverses a section of country wonderfully rich in natural resources and is destined to be the most densely populated section of this wonderful state. This road does not strike a village, city or hamlet from the time it leaves the city limits of the Twin Cities until it reaches the city limits of Duluth and Superior. In consequence of this fact, the opportunity for new towns along its line is especially inviting.”

New Pine County Towns

The Company planned several towns along the Arrow Line in Pine County. It advertised extensively and dispatched agents to recruit settlers and manage the actual sales. Settlers could purchase lots for a small down payment with low interest rates, and many did just that. From south to north the new Pine County towns were as follows:

1. Duxbury – In May of 1908, the Company platted Duxbury in section 15 of Wilma township, right beside the Arrow Line. Named for Frank R. Duxbury, a prominent Pine County land owner, this new village was to be the headquarters for the Arrow Line's Pine County operations. Duxbury was later moved to its current location at the junction of sections 8, 9, 16, and 17 of Wilma township. 

2. Whelans – This proposed village was supposed to be located along the Arrow Line in Keene township. In never materialized.

3. Silverton – Platted in Park township, Silverton was designed to be a bustling railroad town. Mr. Mounsey, the president of the Twin City and Lake Superior Railroad Company, built a hotel there in 1910. A depot was soon to follow. Today all that is left of Silverton is the hotel's foundation (the building burned before 1918) and an old plat map. 

4. Otto – This proposed town was planned along the Arrow Line in Park township. In was never platted or built.

5. Copper City – Nickerson township would have been home to this proposed village. 

A Failed Plan

The Arrow Line would have been a marvelous addition to Pine County's landscape. It would have attracted settlers, businesses, and prosperity. The problem was that the Arrow Line was never actually built. Construction began, certainly, but by the spring of 1910, the Arrow Line was nearly defunct. By 1911, the project's money ran out. Construction had ceased. There were no plans to begin again. Stockholders and settlers were left without their new electric railroad. The Arrow Line became only an interesting part of Pine County's history. 

Source: Pine County...and Its Memories by Jim Cordes

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Pine County History Quiz #2 – Answers

1. Chengwatana was Pine County's first county seat. Chengwatana, located east of Pine City, was platted in 1856 with the name Alhambra. 

2. The 1894 firestorm started with two fires near Mission Creek and Pokegama (now Brook Park). The two fires came together just south of Hinckley to produce the firestorm. 

3. Pine City was platted in 1869 but not officially organized until 1881. 

4. William H. Grant, Sr., founded the Sandstone quarry in 1885. 

5. Dr. W.C. Ehmke practiced medicine in Willow River and surrounding areas from 1906 until his death in 1948. 

6. Mrs. Mosbaek, wife of Ludvig Mosbaek, was called the “Mother of Askov” because she treated her fellow settlers with great kindness. The Mosbaeks founded the Ferndale Nursery. 

7. Hotel Grace was located in Kingsdale. It was owned by C.R. Grace, who arrived in the area in 1911 and also owned a general store in Kingsdale and promoted land development. 

8. Pokegama means “one land jutting off from another” in Ojibwa. 

9. The former name of Henriette was Cornell. 

10. The Soo Line ran through Denham, which was established in 1908, the same year in which the Soo Line was built.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Pine County History Quiz #2

See if you can answer these ten questions about Pine County history. I'll post the answers next week. 

1. What was Pine County's first county seat? 

2. The 1894 firestorm started with two fires near two Pine County towns. Name those towns. 

3. In what year was Pine City platted? In what year was it officially organized? 

4. Who was the founder of the Sandstone quarry? 

5. What was the name of Willow River's well-known doctor who practiced in that town from 1906 until his death in 1948? 

6. Which Askov lady was known as the “Mother of Askov” and why? 

7. Where was the Hotel Grace? 

8. What does “Pokegama” mean in the Ojibwa language? 

9. What was the former name of Henriette? 

10. Which railroad ran through Denham?

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Name that Pine County Place #2 Answer

The Phoenix Hotel was built in Hinckley right after the 1894 fire. It was located on the northwest corner of Main Street. The man in the picture is U.S. Mail carrier Baptiste Rolle.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Name that Pine County Place #2

Where in Pine County was the Phoenix located?  [Watch for the answer in a couple days!]

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Penitentiary for Life

From the Pine County Pioneer, January 11, 1889: 

H.H. Scott will spend his remaining days in Stillwater for the Murder of S.K. Erwin. 

The jury brings in a verdict of murder in the second degree after being out seven hours. 

At the time of going to press last week Mrs. Scott was testifying on behalf of her husband. Her testimony was principally in relation to Mr. Scott's insanity. She told of an attempt he had made at one time to poison himself. Of another time when she was obliged to call in the Village Marshal to take a gun away from him, and of still another time when he pretended to shoot himself, and of similar acts which she as a physician, said were evidences of insanity. 

Doctors Paquin and Collins were called as medical experts on insanity and gave their opinion as to the mental condition of the defendant at the time of the homicide. In substance their testimony was to the effect that there were no indications of insanity. Several of the witnesses before sworn were placed upon the stand to substantiate some minor point, and the defense rested. The State then took the case, and recalled Mr. Rainsford who was in the round house at the time of the shooting and who saw the last shot fired. He swore that he was but sixty feet from the victim and that when Scott fired the last shot when standing over Erwin, he said, “I'll hang for it!” That the witness heard him say these words before turning to go away. The other testimony offered was of an unimportant nature, and the testimony was closed. A session was held in the evening when the argument of the attorneys was opened. Attorney General Clapp, for the State, spoke for about half an hour and after summing up the testimony in an able manner, touched on the importance of the punishment of such crimes. His argument was forcible and was not a disappointment to those who expected something above the ordinary. Mr. Johns, for the defense, occupied the attention of the jury for about an hour. He made an earnest plea to the jury, touching on all the important points and holding the jury as well as the large audience in wrapt attention by his earnest eloquence. For a man of his years, Mr. Johns may well be considered one of the brightest attorneys of the state. The case was submitted, but the Court did not charge the jury until the morning session. His charge clearly set forth the duty of the jury, and defined degrees of murder and manslaughter. It was clear, impartial and comprehensive. The jury retired at about 10:40 A.M., and it was not until within a few minutes of 6 P.M. that they agreed. When they slowly filed back into the Court room and took their seats in the jury box, the room was nearly depopulated, but it was but a few minutes before a small gathering assembled, and just as the bell was ringing for six, the Clerk read the verdict, finding the defendant guilty of murder in the second degree. After supper Court re-convened for the closing scenes of the trial. A death-life silence prevailed when the judge called the court to order and ordered Mr. Scott to stand up. When asked if he had anything to say “why the sentence of the law should not be passed upon you,” Scott replied “Nothing, but that I am innocent.” The Judge then sentenced Scott to confinement at hard labor in the state prison at Stillwater for the term of his natural life. When the sentence was passed Scott showed no signs of emotion, and went about the court room bidding his friends good-bye. He was taken to Stillwater on Monday. 

After the sentence was delivered Mr. Johns, for the defendant, gave notice of motion for a new trial, which will be heard before the judge.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Guilty or Not Guilty

From the Pine County Pioneer, January 4, 1889: 

A Synopsis of the Trial of H.H. Scott for the Murder of Sidney K. Erwin 

The trial of H.H. Scott for the murder of Sidney K. Erwin, which is now occupying the attention of the District Court, is one of the first cases of the kind ever held in the county, and is attracting a great deal of attention. 

The circumstances attending the killing of Sidney K. Erwin at Hinckley, in this county, on the 22nd day of Nov. 1888, (a full account of which has been previously given in these columns) are still too fresh in the minds of our readers. That H.H. Scott was arrested for the crime, waived examination before the magistrate, and that the grand jury found an indictment for murder in the first degree, are also well known facts. 

Court convened Wednesday, the 2nd inst., with Judge Crosby presiding, County Attorney, L.H. McKusick assisted by Attorney General Moses E. Clapp conducting the prosecution, while Henry Johns of St. Paul appears for the defense. The selection of a jury occupied Wednesday and Thursday afternoon and it was not until the fourth special venue had been exhausted that the twelve men charged with the awful duty of passing upon the guilt or innocence of a former neighbor, charged with the most horrible of crimes. The jury as completed consists of the following: Frank Cort, Jos. Bircher, Chas. Stephan, P. Buckley, John McGann, Albert Glasow, John Neville, Henry Kruse, J.C. Miller, John Bertsche, W.H. Russell and R.G. Robinson. 

It was not until the evening session Thursday that the matters had been arranged and County Attorney L.H. McKusick arose and opened the case on behalf of the State. After stating the indictment found by the Grand Jury, Mr. McKusick spoke briefly of the duties and responsibilities of a juror in the case, which he said was even more arduous than were those imposed upon him as the prosecuting attorney. He touched upon the relations formerly existing between the defendant and the jurors, and argued the jurors to the discharge of their duties without fear and in an impartial manner. The testimony was then taken up. 

Dr. C.O. Paquin was called and testified in relation to the state of Erwin's body, the wounds found etc., all of which has been previously given. Upon a cross examination by Mr. Johns, the Dr. stated that there were signs of powder burning on the outer garments of the victim, proving that the revolver was in close range. 

Dr. Collins of Minneapolis, who with Dr. Paquin conducted the post mortem examination was next sworn. He testified to the course of the bullet, corroborating Dr. Paquin. A bullet was introduced and identified as the one taken from the body of Erwin. On cross examination the same facts in relation to powder burning were brought out. 

George W. Booth being called testified to having arrested Scott and taking a revolver from him, which was introduced, identified and offered in evidence. When taken from Scott three chambers gave evidence of having been recently discharged. 

Chris. Severtson who lives in Chisago county, but was on boarding car on the St. P. & D., track at the time of shooting said he heard two shots fired which sounded in the direction of the pump house, went to the door and saw a man shoot one shot. The man who shot was standing at the head of the man laying on the ground, whom he afterwards learned was Erwin. Did not know Scott and was not sure the defendant was the man. 

A diagram was introduced in court by the prosecution giving the position of the dead body, the pump house, boarding car, round house etc., and H.J. Rath was recalled to identify the plat. He said he made it at the instruction of the Co. Attorney, and that it was correct. Geo. W. Booth was also recalled and stated that he was present when the plat was made and testified to its correctness. 

Bartlett Knudson who was cooking in the boarding cars near the scene on the day of the murder knew Scott by sight. Saw Erwin at pump house. Heard shots and went to the door. Saw a man and woman going up track, and described the directions in which they went. Went to where the body laid. Erwin was not yet dead, and tried to raise his head after he arrived, but could not. Did not notice any of surroundings. 

F.D. Rainsford said he was in the pump house when Scott and wife came to door; went to round house opposite. Heard two pistol shots which seemed to come from pump house. Looked out of window and saw Scott standing at Erwin's head, revolver in hand. After he saw the shot fired went out of front door of the round house and could not tell the direction Scott went. He also described the position of the body. 

A recess was then taken until Friday morning, when Geo. W. Booth again took the stand testifying in relation to the circumstances attendant on Scott's arrest, the delivery of the revolver to him etc., and subsequently identified the clothes taken from Erwin and which had been in the custody of the Sheriff. No other important witnesses were examined by the State. 

The defendant's case was opened by Mr. Johns in one of the strongest and most forcible addresses that has ever been delivered at the Pine County bar. 

Sam. Norton, of Hinckley, was the first witness sworn by the defense. His testimony was in relation to his conversation with Scott after the killing. He described the condition Mr. Scott was in, and told of his meeting him, etc., all of which is familiar to the public. 

H.H. Scott, the defendant, was next placed on the stand. He gave an account of the tragedy, which in every particular resembles the interview with the prisoner, which we published the day after. He said he had no intention of shooting Erwin when he went down to the pump house, that the first difficulty he had with Erwin was in August when he forbade his coming to the house. We have not time nor space to rehearse the scene of the tragedy as described by Mr. Scott, and which has previously been given in full. His story was told in a frank open manner, and cross questioning failed to tangle him. 

Geo. W. Booth was the next witness called, and testified to having been called in by Mrs. Scott a number of times to quiet Mr. Scott. At one time he was called in to take a gun away from him. This was more than a year before. Mr. Scott's son was drowned. 

He also spoke of several other times he had been called in, thought Scott's bad behavior was due to intoxication. 

Harry Parker was sworn, but no testimony of any importance was elicited. 

E. Veenhoven, Judge of Probate, testified that Mrs. Scott had in the year 1887 made an informal request of him for an examination into Scott's mental condition but as no information, as is by law required, was made, nothing further was done. 

As we were obliged to close our forms early in the afternoon, none of the evidence submitted after noon could be included. As we go to press, the defense occupies the court. If an evening session is held, the case will doubtless be completed tomorrow (Saturday).

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Scott Case

From the Pine County Pioneer, November 30, 1888: 

The grand jury of this county convened at the Court House in this village [Pine City] on Tuesday, at which time the case of H.H. Scott, held for the murder of S.K. Erwin at Hinckley last week, was brought before them. After examining a number of witnesses a bill of indictment was brought in against Mr. Scott for murder in the first degree, and he was arraigned and the indictment read. During the reading of the indictment Mr. Scott showed but few signs of emotion, although his confinement, together with suffering from the wounds he received in the tragic affair, had rendered him quite pale. When asked if he had procured counsel, his answer was in the negative, and as he had but a short time in which to enter his plea, a plea of not guilty was entered, the court granting him the privilege of changing his plea. He was then remanded to the county jail in Washington county for safe keeping, where he will remain until the first Tuesday in January, the time set for his hearing, and he was taken down on Wednesday noon train. It seemed to be the general opinion in the village that he would change his plea to guilty in some of the other degrees of murder or manslaughter.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Hinckley Murder

From the November 23, 1888, Pine County Pioneer: 

Sidney K. Erwin Shot and Instantly Killed by a Neighbor. 

A Family Misunderstanding is the Cause of an Old Soldier Losing His Life. 

The Story of the Deed from Those Who Best Knew How It Occurred. 

Thursday afternoon at about a quarter after two our village was startled by a report that S.K. Erwin had been shot while at his work at the pump house in the Eastern Minnesota Railway yard. Being on the streets at the time, a reporter for the Pioneer followed the man who gave the information and found that the shooting was charged to H.H. Scott, who was then in his house on Main Street. The Village Marshal went to the house and learning that Scott was in the house and was not likely to escape, he started for the scene of the horror. Arriving at the spot, we found the body of Mr. Erwin laying prostrate in the sand at the side of the railroad track and about ten or twelve feet form the south-east corner of the pump house in which he had been working. The body laid face downward, and when turned over by the Marshal, the face was covered with sand and a spot of blood on the forehead showed where a ball had entered the skull, about an inch above the right eye and in front of the right temple. This was the only wound visible at the time. He had on no coat and his vest was unbuttoned and fell back from his breast. There was but one man on the scene who knew anything of the matter, and he refused to speak on the subject. 

The news struck such terror to the people of the village that they were almost speechless. A few moments before the shooting took place, Mr. and Mrs. H.H. Scott were seen walking through the town in the direction of the Eastern yard and a few minutes later Scott was seen coming back on the St. Paul & Duluth track. As he passed the depot he told Sam Norton that he had had trouble with a man and used a revolver on him. Mrs. Scott came up the street and at Mr. Booth's residence inquired for him, but afterwards found him down town. When she reached home she found Scott there and dressed a wound he had over the right eye, and it was while she was dressing the wound that the Marshal left him to go and look after the body of the murdered man. 

As soon as Scott was lodged in the jail, he was interviewed by the reporter, and to him he gave the story of the deed. Of the cause which prompted the act, Scott refused to speak. He said it was a matter which effected no one but themselves and that it did not concern the public. He said he had not been drinking heavily and asked if he did not talk rationally. “I had no more intention of killing Sid Erwin than I have of killing you this minute,” he said, “but went down to see him about this matter and spoke to him of it. He denied the matter and I called him a d----d liar, when he struck me with something he had in his hand. I was standing in the door of the pump house and we fell out across the railroad track. I told him to get up, and so did my wife, but he would not do it. I then drew my revolver and shot under him as he was on top of me on the track. I then reached over his neck and shot again. He had hold of the wrist of the hand in which I held the revolver.” When asked how he came to have the revolver in his pocket at the time, Scott said that he carried it a great deal. “I bought it on Seventh Street in St. Paul about two years ago,” he said, “and we kept it in the store. I frequently put it in my pocket when I went out. That is the same revolver Booth took away from me once in the spring when I had a row with the Swede. After I went home I re-loaded the revolver, and when Booth came I gave it to him. I shot three shots at Erwin; one striking him in the breast I think, and the other in the head. I tell you a man cannot stand everything. I did it, and under the circumstances would do it again.” Scott had a cut over the right eye about an inch in length and which was held together with adhesive plaster, and from which the blood had trickled down the side of his face. He complained of a pain across his back where he had fallen across the rail and the reporter loosened the prisoner's clothes and found a scar across his back just at the lower rib which gave evidence of having been caused by the fall across the rail. From the jail we went to Scott's residence and found his wife. Mrs. Scott was sitting at the end of the table in the dining room, and when told of the reporter's mission said she would tell all she knew of the case. “Henry is not in his right mind,” she said, “and this many of the neighbors know. It is no new thing. He has acted strange for some time.” Of the cause for the deed she said that at different times lately he had made remarks of a damaging character in regard to Erwin and herself and that he claimed that Erwin had been at the house and knocked on the window the Saturday evening before and that although she had denied any knowledge of the fact and stated that she did not believe anything of the kind he persisted and Thursday afternoon he asked her if she would be willing to go down to see Erwin about it. At the time he had a revolver in his hand and she told him No! Not if he took the revolver. He went behind the counter and presently came back showing his empty hands and said, “Will you go now?” Supposing the revolver was where they usually kept it, she consented. Upon reaching the pump house, they found Mr. Erwin sitting on a stool talking with another man. She told Mr. Erwin that they wanted to see him alone, whereupon the other man withdrew, going she knew not where. She immediately asked Erwin if he was at their house and knocked on the window Saturday night. He replied that he was not, and Scott said he was a liar. Some angry words passed and Scott drew the revolver from his pocket. Upon seeing the revolver, she was so badly frightened that she could not speak a word. Erwin caught Scott by the wrists and they both fell out of the door struggling with each other. As soon as she could recover her self control, she stepped to the door and said “Quit that, both of you!” Erwin still had hold of Scott's wrist, and while they were grappling with each other, the revolver was discharged. She thought three shots were fired. She knew that Erwin had been shot. She immediately went to town and told Marshal Booth to take care of her son, fearing that Scott would shoot him. She then dressed Scott's wounds before he gave himself up to the Marshal. She said, “God knows that Henry never had any reason to be jealous, and so do all of my neighbors. I have been physician for Erwin's family and have treated them as I have all other families I have doctored.” While relating her story her face was wet with tears, and the trying ordeal through which she was passing showed very plainly in her manners. Mrs. Scott is a lady in every sense of the word and those who know her best, and who have been most intimately acquainted with her say they do not believe a word of Scott's accusations of infidelity. She may have enemies, but not one [word] has ever been said against her character, nor do we believe there can be. Mrs. Scott's statement at the coroner's inquest at seven o'clock the same evening was the same as is here given. Her story was also corroborated by the man who was in the pump house at the time they went in. He did not see the first part of the row but says he saw Scott shoot Erwin while he was laying on the ground, he holding the revolver in both hands, directly over Erwin's head. 

At the inquest in the evening, it was found by an examination conducted by Drs. Paquin of Pine City and Collins of Minneapolis, that the blood stain on the forehead was not where the ball had entered but was only a blood stain. The only ball that entered the body passed in near the left nipple and passed through the aorta which must have caused instant death. The bullet was found lodged in the right lung. 

Scott was brought to Pine City on Friday morning and arraigned, but he waived examination and was committed to await the action of the Grand Jury which will be called for the 27th inst. 

Sidney K. Erwin was an old resident of the village of Hinckley and was well known having worked in town during the time he lived there. He served in the “Pennsylvania Buck Tail” regiment during the war and was a member of the B.F. Davis Post, G.A.R. of Pine City. He leaves a wife, a son aged about seventeen, and two daughters aged about fifteen and thirteen. The family have the sympathy of all in this sad hour. The funeral will be held at Rush City Saturday afternoon, under the auspices of the G.A.R. post.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Drowned in the Kettle River

From the Pine County Pioneer, August 5, 1887: 

The inhabitants of our village [Hinckley] were horrified last Sunday evening by the report that Carl, eldest son of H.H. Scott, had been drowned in the Kettle River that afternoon while bathing. The particulars as far as can be learned are as follows: In the morning a party from the village hired Mr. Scott's team to take them out in the country to spend the day picnicking in the woods and Carl accompanied the party in the capacity of teamster. Arriving at Kettle River the male portion of the party indulged in a bath, while Carl was engaged in looking after his team. Finishing his task, he also repaired to the river and in company with a boy of about his age, went into the water. Carl could not swim but was endeavoring to learn, using for that purpose a raft, which he would take hold of and letting go paddle up to it again. The raft floated into deep water, when by a sudden motion of the current, it was bourn away and Carl was left in the water. Being unable to swim, he was drowned before assistance could reach him. Immediate search was made for the body, which was soon recovered and returned to the home which he had but a few hours before left so full of buoyant hopes. No news of the sad calamity had preceded them and the sorrow, when the lifeless body of a dearly beloved son and brother was returned can neither be imagined nor described. 

Carl was at the time of his death thirteen years, seven months and twenty-seven days old. He was a bright, smart, active boy, always gentlemanly, and we do not fear contradiction when we say that he was one of the most promising boys in Hinckley. Even at this young age he had developed a wonderful mechanical genius and books and papers were his constant companions. Thus has a promising young life been cut off 'ere it had hardly reached its sphere of usefulness. 

The body was taken to Pine City Tuesday morning for interment in the Union Cemetery. A large number of friends and teams joining the sad company at that place and assisting in the obsequies. 

[Note: Carl's mother was Dr. Mary Scott, who practiced medicine in Hinckley. His father, H.H. Scott, was a prominent citizen. The family owned a store in Hinckley.]

Monday, February 25, 2013

Fun Facts – Sturgeon Lake

1. Swedish and Norwegian settlers came to the Sturgeon Lake area in the 1880s. They were followed not long after by Polish and Lithuanian homesteaders. Logging and farming were the primary occupations. 

2. The village of Sturgeon Lake was platted in 1889 by the St. Paul and Duluth Railroad, for a little community had already begun to grow up around the railroad's depot. The town was officially incorporated on April 5, 1901. 

3. Sturgeon Lake's first school term was taught by Marilla Ada Griffith in 1889. Mr. Murray, who owned the general store and served as postmaster, organized the term. Classes were held in an empty coke storage room (coke is a by-product of coal). The sixteen students sat at a long table, boys on one side and girls on the other. A barn door, painted black, was used for a blackboard. 

4. The Sturgeon Lake village school, also called the Wilson School, was organized officially on May 8, 1900. 

5. St. Isidore's Catholic Church was established and built in 1893. Prior to this, there were no churches in Sturgeon Lake, so residents used the depot as a funeral chapel. 

6. By 1909, Surgeon Lake was home to 175 people. There were three hundred residents by 1918. 

7. Sturgeon Lake businesses in the 1910s included four general stores, a blacksmith and wagon shop, two produce buyers, a lumber yard, a planing mill, a restaurant with an ice cream parlor, a garage, a farm implement dealer, five sawmills, a life insurance agency, a saloon, a hotel, and the Sturgeon Lake State Bank. 

8. The Sturgeon Lake Hustler newspaper was published from 1914 through 1917. 

9. On May 5, 1915, St. Isidore's Catholic Church was destroyed by fire, but parishioners managed to save most of the furnishings. The congregation immediately began to rebuild and dedicated their new church in September of 1916. 

10. The 1918 forest fire burned rural areas around Sturgeon Lake but did no damage in the village itself. 

Sources: Pine County...and Its Memories by Jim Cordes; One Hundred Years in Pine County

St. Isidore's Catholic Church, built 1893

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Name that Pine County Place #1 Answer

The photograph below is of the William Penn Stone Cutting Company cutting shed, located on the north end of Sandstone just a half block east of today's junction of Main Avenue and Highway 61.  Stonecutters, many of whom came from England, worked on the sandstone harvested from the nearby quarry.  They created everything from paving and building stones to intricate monuments and works of art.  A few of the men pictured here are Jack Gilliver, Fred McArdle, William Vesty, John McArdle, Otto Ploeger, Jake VerDerWerf, Oliver McArdle, William Aiken, and William Percy.  This photograph was taken in 1920.  

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Name that Pine County Place #1

Can you identify this Pine County place?  [Watch for the answer in a couple days!]

Sunday, February 3, 2013

An Old Timer Gone

From “The Pine City Pioneer” August 5, 1887 

An old Indian known as “Old Sod,” who has made Chengwatana his home a greater part of the time since the earliest recollection of the eldest settlers of Pine County, died last Sunday night. 

The life of “Old Sod” has been one full of romantic changes and had an interpreter placed the facts he could narrate in the English language, it would have made a story which would be superlatively interesting. From accounts given by himself and from what can be learned from others his age is variously estimated at from one hundred and eight to one hundred and twenty years. During his younger days he was one of the warriors of his tribe and a participant in the bloody Indian wars which have left their marks throughout the whole country. His breast had been bared alike to the flint tipped arrow of the belligerent savage and the rifle ball of the white man. The oldest among his tribe remember him as the warrior whom they had been taught to honor and revere because of his past heroic deeds. At the outbreak of the late Civil War he was one of the red men who swore allegiance to the stars and stripes and under its gracious folds shouldered his gun and marched to the front in '61. In '62, he was disabled and returned home, but having sufficiently recovered, he soon after returned to the front and fought valiantly for the perpetuity of the union. His last days have been spent in this vicinity, wandering from one Indian village to another, where he was always welcomed. He spent the greater part of his time in this vicinity, where his earlier life had been such an active and bloody one. Last Sunday night he returned from one of his trips and crawled into a wigwam at Chengwatana, where he died during the night of shear old age; and was found early in the morning. The body was buried in the Indian cemetery Monday afternoon, a number of men from this place assisting.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Fun Facts – Willow River – Part 3

1. The forest fire of October 12, 1918, spared the village of Willow River but devastated some nearby farms, including those belonging to James and Mary Mecl, Alex and Veronica Hyska, and Bruno and Mary Burak. 

2. By 1919 Willow River was home to three general stores, a farm implement dealer, a hardware store, a garage, a lumber yard, two hotels, a clothing store, a newspaper, a meat market, a restaurant, a potato warehouse, a harness and shoe store, a creamery, and the State Bank of Willow River. 

3. The Willow River school board authorized the construction of a brand new school in 1920. By the fall of 1921, the new brick school was ready for classes. Built by the Mattson and Peterson Company of Minneapolis, it cost over $55,000. 

4. The State Bank of Willow River failed in June of 1925, costing several customers their life savings. 

5. A new village hall was built in Willow River in 1933. It was often rented out as a dance hall for $6 a night, and in 1937 a “moving picture booth” was placed in the hall and used to show such films as “Mutiny on the Bounty.” 

6. Twenty-two year old Henry Nyrud become the youngest-ever mayor of Willow River in 1938.

7. The Depression-era Works Progress Administration (WPA) worked on two major construction projects in Willow River during the late 1930s: the Willow River Dam and the General Andrews Tree Nursery. The Willow River Dam cost nearly $50,000 in national and state funds. 

8. Herbert and Mary Mielke owned and operated the Willow River Telephone Exchange from 1944 to 1959. This company's switchboard served the Willow River area for forty-five years until the Pineland Telephone Company bought out the Mielkes in 1959. 

9. Television came to Willow River in the late 1940s. Reception was notoriously poor, but this new form of entertainment proved very popular, even though only five places in town had a television set. 

10. The Willow River Commercial Club was founded in 1949. The first officers were Carl Aakhus, president; Frank Stepan, vice-president; Erv Prachar, secretary; and Jake Novak, treasurer. 

Sources: Willow River: Flowing Through the Century edited by Coral Popowitz; Pine County...and Its Memories by Jim Cordes

The Willow River school library, 1940s

Monday, January 21, 2013

Fun Facts – Willow River – Part 2

1. Willow River was a railroad town. In the 1890s, six passenger trains stopped in the village each day, and freight trains passed through every two hours. In 1894, the village council, disgusted by the horrible speed of these trains, issued a railroad speed limit of six miles per hour. 

2. The Willow River Fire Department began in 1892 with Henry Akin and John Schocks as the first members of the fire department committee. In 1894, the village purchased the “Little Giant” a hand-powered, two-man pumping machine for $390. Henry McCarthy earned $5 a month for cleaning and repairing this little pump. 

3. Joseph and Josephine Bocheck, along with Josephine's brother Edward Halva, arrived in Willow River in 1902. They purchased the Stekl Confectionery and decided to focus on general merchandise instead of candy. Their new business became the Willow River Mercantile, which is still operating today. 

4. Ernie Nevers, famous professional football and baseball player, was born in Willow River in 1903. 

5. Willow River had three hotels in 1905: the Willow River House, the Glen Hotel, and the Pine Hotel. 

6. Dr. William C. Ehmke came to Willow River in 1906 to practice medicine for the Atwood Lumber Company. His first office was located in the Glen Hotel. Dr. Ehmke charged only 50 cents for a house call or $2 if he had to come at night, but he always accepted food or cordwood in place of cash. He practiced medicine until he passed away on May 9, 1948. 

7. The Atwood Lumber Company, which bought out the Fox-Wisdom Lumber Company in 1895, left Willow River in 1908 to move to Park Falls, Wisconsin. Some oldtimers noted that half the village's population moved with the company. 

8. St. Mary's Catholic Church of Willow River was incorporated on September 3, 1907, with D.H. Driscoll and Joseph Zwicki as the first trustees. Local Catholics were pleased that they no longer had to travel to Sturgeon Lake to attend Mass. 

9. Willow River's newspaper, The Pine County Farmer, was first published on February 14, 1912. Editor Emory B. Linsley covered local news as well as national events, and George Cunningham, owner of the Cunningham Mercantile Company, contributed a large ad and an impassioned editorial every week. The newspaper ceased publication in 1926. 

10. In February of 1914, Willow River received telephone service. The first telephone operator was Ethel Sherrick. On Sunday evening, December 30, 1915, the Willow River Mercantile and Joswiak's general store were first illuminated by electric lights. 

Source: Willow River: Flowing Through the Century edited by Coral Popowitz

 The Willow River Depot
The Willow River Mercantile

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Fun Facts – Willow River

1. The land that would eventually become Willow River was homesteaded in the 1880s by Albert Kinney, Peter Jarvis, Edward Clough, Joseph Nebula, and Richard Abbott. In 1886, Mr. Abbott sold his land to John Wisdom and Warren D. Fox for $150. Two years later, Mr. Jarvis also sold his land to Wisdom and Fox, who then established the Fox-Wisdom Lumber Company. 

2. The Fox-Wisdom Lumber Company sawmill opened in the spring of 1890. Some of the mill's first employees were the Daigle brothers, John Schocks, Henry Akin, John Brickwell, Anton Kalm, Frank Ehr, D.H. Driscol, and John Wadley. The company quickly platted a village and sold lots to its employees. 

3. Willow River was incorporated on November 3, 1891. Thirty-two men signed the petition for incorporation, and a few days later, the village held its first election. J.C. Bowden became village president; Anton Kalm, treasurer; Henry Akin, recorder; John Schocks, A.C. Bram, and Ed Hoen, trustees; George Bram, constable; and Dennis Driscoll and F.A. Blowquist, justices of the peace. 

4. The Fox-Wisdom Lumber company employed about 125 men and could cut 125,000 feet of lumber each day during its busy season. The lumber was set out to dry in a lumberyard just to the east of the mill. Fire was always a danger, so barrels of salt water were strategically placed around the mill and lumberyard. W.A. Doe was one of the mill's first supervisors while Frank B. Millard worked as office manager and Peter Rookey as engineer. Gus Klatt was in charge of welding broken machinery...since he was the only one in town who could. 

5. Employees of the Fox-Wisdom company were paid in gold and silver once a month. Between paydays, they received coupon books with coupons from one cent to one dollar that could be redeemed at the company store. The used coupons were deducted from the next month's pay. Hans Sandwick was the store's manager and kept the store open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturdays. 

6. Company doctors, O.S. Watkins, Dr. Smoltz, and Dr. Graham, treated Fox-Wisdom employees and their families. Each employee's medical expenses were covered by monthly deductions from his paycheck, $.50 for a single man and $1.00 for a family. 

7. John Wisdom received approval from the Pine County board to establish the Willow River School District #21 on July 14, 1890. Teacher May Wood taught grades one through eight in a one-room frame building. 

8. Early Willow River businesses included the Akin store (with a post office), the Stekl store (that later became the Willow River Mercantile), the Daigle hotel, the Pine hotel, and the Willow River House (a men's boarding house). 

9. After a series of revival meetings, Willow River's Presbyterian church was organized in 1891 with thirteen charter members. The church's building was erected the following year. 

10. In 1893, the Willow River council purchased two boats for villagers to use to cross the river. A bridge was finally built in 1894, but it (and several of its successors) was carried away by spring floods. 

Sources: Pine County...and Its Memories by Jim Cordes; One Hundred Years in Pine County; Willow River: Flowing Through the Century edited by Coral Popowitz

The Fox-Wisdom Lumber Company, Willow River