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The Standard was initially published weekly as a four-page, six-column paper. In politics the paper is emphatically Republican ever advocating the principles of the party, as it is presently understood and especially opposed to slavery in any and all it phases. Still we will not be blind followers of party dictation, as we mean to maintain a proper degree of independence in all things.

Clark assumed the editorship on October 21, Clark sold the newspaper to A. In August, , with the start of the Civil War, the new editor added a different motto under the masthead which read, "Pledged only to the right, the constitution, and our country forever. The newspaper was suspended from July 4, to April 6, during the Civil War because very few of the scattered inhabitants permanently resided in the county. After the war, Daniel G. Parker re-started the paper and became proprietor and editor from April 6, until May 2, He enlarged the paper during his tenure and it became pages long by The management and editors of the Standard continued to turn over many times and are too numerous to mention here.

Over the years the Standard documented the development of the town of Albert Lea and its business community, with articles such as "The Boom is On! It covered education, such as the establishment of Albert Lea College founded in that by was "devoted exclusively to the education of young women". There were a number of articles about weather and natural disasters. Ruble originally built the dam for his mill on the southeast corner of Fountain Lake, formerly Willow Street and now East Fountain Street.

The mill was built in the winter and Ruble expected that when the ice melted the dam would fall into place. Instead, the logs drifted away. The dam was then built at another location in and the sawmill was started on Bridge Avenue, where the present dam is located. Late in a corn cracker was put in and in a flourmill was added. In , there was a washout and the mill was damaged beyond repair. In , Francis Hall repaired present Fountain Lake. He then operated a flourmill at the main outlet of the lake. The site of Morin Park was also formerly a lake. Spring Lake was initially used by settlers for watering livestock and many pioneer youths were said to have used it for swimming.

It then became Morin's Lake and in time Spring Lake. The waters were eventually drained into Fountain Lake and in the land was used for the park, at one time called Spring Lake Park. The land also became used by an electric light plant, a blacksmith shop and homes. In addition to the early pioneers that settled at the future site of the village of Albert Lea, a settlement was also made in the northwest part of the township in , where a party from the East came.

Also in , the post office and village of Albert Lea received their name. One summer evening George S. Ruble, Joseph Walford and Lorenzo Merry met by chance in a tent on Ruble's property and decided to name settlement after the lake. The spring of began with five houses at or near Albert Lea. But 11 other persons came, that spring and more people came during the rest of the year. Albert Lea was platted in by Ruble, Merry and Thorne.

Each donated a square for public use. Thorne donated the third block west of Broadway, north of College Street and south of the former Spring Lake for college use. Thorne's property was not used for that purpose. The plat was surveyed by C. Colby and was filed with the register of deeds at Dodge County on Oct. The plat was filed in Freeborn County on, Feb.

A sidelight to the platting was the attempt of Ruble to found another town site to the east. Ruble and Thomas J. Some lots were sold, the plat was vacated, and the property became the Ruble's farm. Julius Clark was Albert Lea's first merchant. He brought goods from Ohio and early settlers helped him build a log store, on what became Clark Street. The store opened in June and closed in when he moved back to Ohio. Upon opening the business, Clark became deputy postmaster and for a time kept the mail on a shelf in his store.

The first post office had been established in Merry's home in and he was the first postmaster. The first blacksmith shop was opened in the spring of by David Crowfoot on Bridge Avenue. He began work under a large oak tree, but in a few weeks built a shop. He moved that fall to a claim three miles east of the city. Albert Lea's first attorney, Augustus Armstrong, erected a general law office just north of the Wedge drug store about Albert Lea became the county seat in after what was described as a free-for all election. Albert Lea had earlier been designated as the temporary county seat in March when Freeborn County was organized.

The county' seat election was held Oct. Freeborn, 1 vote; Shell Rock, 10; St. Nicholas, 29; Bancroft, ; and Albert Lea, In , the village of Itasca attempted to challenge Albert Lea for the county seat. But the results were so overwhelmingly lopsided in favor of Albert Lea that, according to the county history, there seemed to be no record of the vote.

Catalog Record: History of Freeborn County | Hathi Trust Digital Library

The towns of Freeborn County had no local government until May 11, when the citizens of Albert Lea Township formed a town government. Wedge was elected chairman of the board of supervisors. As the village of Albert Lea grew, problems evolved with a general statute conferred on the town supervisors. As a result, a special act was passed by the legislature in to give the supervisors authority to conduct village affairs.

The act was amended and amplified by subsequent legislatures. As time went on, though, it became more apparent that a village government separate from the township was needed. There were a number of pro and con arguments. The press discussed the issue, there were formal debates, and there were bitter feelings on both sides, especially on the topic of taxation.

Another point was saloons; the community was divided into pro and anti-saloon groups.


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During the argument, a committee of villagers secretly drew up a bill that was presented to the legislature in the spring of and was passed after a heated fight. The charter election was held at the courthouse the first Monday in Aprilof and passed by a vote majority. The new charter provided for a mayor, treasurer, two justices, and six aldermen, two from each of the three wards. Other officers were to be appointed by the council.

The first election of officers under this act was held the second Monday in May The people in the first ward voted at the office of W. Sergeant on Broadway, second ward at a house on the corner of Broadway and Main, and third ward, at the courthouse. The first city officers in were: Francis Hall, mayor; W.

Sergeant president and J. Smith, first ward aldermen; A. Porter, third ward aldermen; Fred S. Lincoln, clerk; John Anderson, attorney; D. Gates, assessor; Joseph France, street commissioner; E. Patrick, day police; D. Torgerson, night police; Ira A. Hanson, treasurer; and H. The following describes how some services developed in Albert Lea. One block of an alley between William and Main Streets was laid with brick. The subject had been discussed for several years, but without petitions from property owners the City Council refused to order the work.

In a majority of property owners on Broadway, between Clark and College Streets, and the block on Clark Street, between Broadway and Washington, petitioned the council for paving. After debate over creosote wood blocks or bricks, the council let a contract for creosote block paving. When the paving was completed, most property owners were pleased with the results. In , another contract was awarded to bring the total number of blocks paved with creosote blocks to The same year alleys were paved with brick in the business section.

In , more paving was done to bring the grand total up to 50 blocks, with 11 blocks of brick paving in alleys. Creosote was used on all the work in the streets, except on steep grades, where sandstone was used. By the end of the construction season almost all of the business section had been paved. Farnsworth was given an electric light franchise in and the first lights were turned on that November. Previous to that time water for fire protection was obtained from a number cisterns at different points in the city and from wharfs on the shores of Fountain Lake.

The water supply for private use had been obtained from wells and about 50 or 60 springs in Fountain Lake. SEWERS The first sewer system was installed in in alleys behind main business streets, but little was done for the next 10 years. A new trunk sewer was constructed in that enlarged the capability of the system to permit future connections to residential areas.

A constitution was accepted July 26 that year, and F. Fobes was elected chief. Hook and Ladder Co. The two companies were organized as a department that same day and W. Sergeant was elected chief. The library opened in May that year in a room in a house at the corner of Broadway Avenue and Water Street. The first librarian was Mrs. Soon after a depot was built several stores opened and two blacksmith shops began operating and more businesses followed.

Prior to , Gem Lake, now Morin Lake, was a wild slough. The marshy area became a lake when a dam was built through the efforts of Morin, Hall and P. In and , C.

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City Hall in Albert Lea began when an engine house was erected in the summer of on lots given to the city by William Morin and Thomas H. Armstrong on Main Street, west of Broadway Avenue. The engine house was ready for occupancy in January In a story was added to the engine house for meetings and cells were constructed in the rear. A bell tower was added in This facility was used until Dec. The new three-story building was made of red sandstone and pressed brick, with St.

The lower floor of the new facility was occupied by the fire department and their equipment in front, the offices of the city engineer and chief of police, with the city jail in the rear. The second floor housed the city clerk and council chamber. The third floor was used by firemen on duty and in the rear, for a municipal courtroom. The first building constructed in Alden was the home of A. Hall, which he made in with lumber from Albert Lea. At the end of that year the railroad came through and the town began to grow. Ostrander, working for Morin, filled up four acres of the lake to form the land that the original city hall and a number of other structures were built upon.

Alden was incorporated by a special act of the legislature in The first council meeting was March 14, and Thomas W. Even before the village was organized, Ostrander and others formed a firefighting organization.

Freeborn County MN Historical Records

In a hand pump was purchased and a regular company of 12 men was formed with Ostrander as chief. Alden had a number of fires during its early days some that were near ruinous. The worst came on Sept 19, The fire started in a barn and when first noticed had almost enveloped two businesses. Thompkins gave an alarm, but the flames, intensified by strong southeast winds, leaped and spread. With hard firefighting a number 0f buildings were saved. Among the buildings lost were a bank, the Alden Advance newspaper office, the Methodist church, a bakery, drug store and other businesses.

The original city hall in Alden was built in and an addition was made in The bonus was granted in through a bond issue. The bonds became due in and a question was raised about their legality. The bitter fight went into the courts. Eventually the bonds were pain and the distribution was made on the assessed valuation of property in the village and township. An effect of the raging battle was that doubts were cast on the legality of the incorporation of the village. While people continued to maintain the village government, they were forced to vote at their respective township polling places for county, state and national elections.

The problem was solved when the village was reincorporated in There is some mystery as to why Alden is called Alden. One story explains that a state law was passed requiring that all towns and townships be named. A meeting was held at the courthouse for that purpose.

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The name of Alden was suggested by an u8nknown man and adopted for the community. There is no recorded reason given for the name. Around Alden business included a newspaper and printing firm, two banks, a hotel, flour mill, electric works, cement works, three general stores, two hardware stores, two blacksmith shops, a furniture and undertaking operation, tow drug stores, a lumber and coal firm, two elevators, a livery and garage and a feed barn, draying and livery operation, meat market, variety store, jewelry store and pool hall.

Emmons was born in Egedahl, Norway in and came to the U. He settled and married in Jefferson Rock, Wis. In , Emmons, his wife and their son came to Nunda Township. In , the state Line post office was established at his farm.

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When it was l3arned that the railroad would not stop at that point, the store was moved a mile south, across the Minnesota border to the village of Norman in Iowa. In , the store was moved back to the Emmons town site. The depot was located in Norman in when the railroad came through. It was said that Winnebago County made important concessions to the railroad to entice them to erect the depot there.


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  • Meanwhile, the village of Emmons grew and business demanded the convenience of a railroad stop. After the bitter fight in the courts, the Minneapolis and St. Louis Railroad agreed to move the depot to the south edge of Emmons, still in Iowa, to keep an agreement to maintain a station in Norman Township. The depot move was said to be a gala event. Following the move, the Norman post office and several stores were transferred to the vicinity of the Emmons Creamery. This area was called Kingsville. Gradually Norman Village died. Emmons was incorporated in and the first president of the council was G.

    The original city all was built that year and an addition was added in The original part was used as a council chamber and for entertainment. The new section housed a well and fire fighting apparatus.


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    • The following were among some of the business interests in Emmons around A bank, newspaper, several general stores, blacksmith shops, hardware stores, restaurants, a millinery store, harness, hardware and farm implement store, shoe and repair shop, stock dealer, drug firm, barber shop, pool hall, meat market, mill, elevator, furniture and undertaker, auto company, stock broker and wagon line. Because of the proximity of the town, it was said that a long train moving through Emmons could be in the counties and two states at the same time: Armstrong, who built an elevator that year.

      A store was also constructed in the spring of that same year by Jason T. A railway depot was erected in with P. Barticus as station agent. Also that year a man named Dewey opened a blacksmith shop, he left however in The Armstrong Creamery Association was formed in at a meeting at the depot. There was strong sentiment among the farmers to make cheese and initially it was decided to make that product exclusively. But by the time the factory opened it was decided that cheese would be an unprofitable industry.

      No cheese was made and the decision delayed the creamery opening. The first butter was made in March ; nearly a year after the organizational meeting and seven months after the creamery building was completed. Around the village consisted of the depot, a store and elevator, creamery and several houses. Mead Clark made his home east of the present town site. Because the trees were so conspicuous, a territory of about two square miles near his residence came to be called the Clarks Grove neighborhood.

      Before the founding of the village, a Baptist church was organized in The church, which became the First Danish Baptist Church, came about after two small groups of Danish people moved to the area from Raymond, Wis. The village was formed in when the Clarks Grove Creamery opened on the northwest corner of the P.

      It was the first cooperative creamery organized in Minnesota. The first milk was received on May 5 that year with W. Larson as butter maker. Pleased with the success of the creamery, the next year area residents organized a cooperative mercantile company and a store was erected near the creamery. Among the businesses in Clarks Grove around were: The name Conger derived from the Chinese language, was given by a town site company. Miller decided a town should be built and gave a town site company an option on four acres of land. The north side of the tracks became the first business district. During the winter of and a depot and stockyards were built.

      About the same time a deserted granary was remodeled into a general store by Pete Flesch. The first elevator was built by E. Brown and was replace after it burned. The second elevator was also destroyed and rebuilt. In the creamery was erected and began operating with Henry Sprenger as butter maker. Fred Miller then sold the Lahr brothers two acres of property on higher ground for building.

      Conger received its first electric lights during the winter of , receiving energy from a plant in a garage.

      History of Freeborn County

      About the same time Conger got running water and a sewer. In earlier years the residents received water from a well west of the depot. The village was incorporated in Dunn and George F. Rickard Dunn built a cabin on the town site while Rickard constructed a shanty over the township line in Carlston, Township. The same year L. Scott erected a hotel on the lakeshore and opened a post Office. Two persons named Clark and West are said to have opened a store also in at the village.

      In , David South began operating a store in Scott's hotel. The first church services were held at the hotel by a traveling preacher. The story is told he was offered free accommodations if he would stay and minister to a Sunday service.