Mower County, Minnesota

Group File 22


A. B. Vaughan

b: 1806

A. B. Vaughan, one of the most honored of the early pioneers of Mower county, was born in Clinton county, New York, June 6, 1806. He received a good education and took up the profession of civil engineering.

In 1843 he moved to Rock county, Wisconsin, and there practiced his profession in connection with farming until 1849, when he engaged in the mercantile business, which he conducted until the summer of 1854, when, in company with his sons, P. D. and John G., he came to Mower county. Here they took a claim, hired a house built and returned to Wisconsin the same fall. The next spring he returned to Mower county with his family of five sons and two daughters. He brought with him from Wisconsin his stock of merchandise and after reaching Mower county, erected the first store in Austin, engaging in trade with his oldest son, P. D. Vaughan. Mr. Vaughan was the first postmaster in Austin, keeping the office in his store.

In 1855 he purchased a quarter interest in the townsite of Austin. In the fall he was elected a member of the territorial legislature as the first representative from Mower county, but was cheated out of the opportunity of serving by W. B. Covell, who was defeated at the polls, but who filed a certificate of election with the register of deeds of Houston county.

Mr. Vaughan was a delegate to the state constitutional convention and was also the first judge of probate in this county. He was one of the charter members of the Austin lodge, A. F. & A. M., and also attained higher Masonic degrees. He was also a justice of the peace and held that office at the time of his death.

The subject of this sketch was one of the incorporators and directors of the Minnesota Central railroad, by the failure of which he lost heavily. He was prominently connected with the building up of Austin and with the organization of the county. He was also proprietor of the townsite of Lansing.

His death, October 3, 1876, was sincerely mourned. His wife, Hepzibeth Bean, whom he married in January, 1828, was born in Milton, Vt., March 10, 1805, and died in Lansing, December 14, 1864.




John G. Vaughan

b: 1832

John G. Vaughan, an early and respected pioneer of Mower county, was born in Saranac, Clinton county, New York, May 30, 1832, second son of A. B. Vaughan, of honored memory.

He came with his parents to Rock county, Wisconsin, and in the fall of 1854, in company with his father and elder brother, and took a claim, returning to Wisconsin the same fall. In the spring of 1855 he came back to Mower county, bringing teams and supplies. He at once settled on his claim in Lansing township and there he still resides. He is a prominent citizen and has held various offices.

He was married, March 18, 1854, to Mary R. Frost, born in Vermont, September 30, 1834. To this union eight children were born, of whom six are living-Clara, Burton F., Harvey A., George E., Stanley H. and Mary. Clara is the wife of John Beattie. Burton F. married Mary Long. Harvey A. married Gertie Wheeler. George E. married Mary Case. Stanley H. married Mary D. Young, and they have three children.

Mrs. Vaughan died October 6, 1902.




G. K. Volstad

b: 1837

G. K. Volstad, retired farmer of Lyle, was born in Norway, April 13, 1837, son of Knute and Julia (Halver) Volstad, natives of Norway.

G. K. received his education in the schools of Norway, and came to America in 1860, locating in Mower county and engaging in farming on 320 acres in Nevada township. This land was wild, and Mr. Volstad broke and cultivated it, and there followed a life of hard labor and patient industry until 1901, when he retired and came to the village of Lyle to live.

He was married October 25, 1865, to Julia Jurgenson, a native of Norway, who came to this country at six years of age. Of their nine children four are living. Samuel lives in Ohio; Arthur owns half a section in North Dakota; Emma married H. G. Dahl; Mollie married J. W. Johnson, who is dead Malena married Bert Brown, of Owatonna. Knute, Jorgen, Mary and Fred are dead.

Mr. Volstad is a Prohibitionist and a member of the Gospel Mission church, and owns stock in the Otter Creek creamery, the Lyle Telephone Company and in the Kelley Canning Company.




Martin H. Vosburgh

b: 1861

Martin H. Vosburgh, artistic photographer of Austin, was born in Columbus, Wis., July 10, 1861, son of Orrin and Mary S. (Holmes) Vosburgh, both natives of New York state, who located on a farm near Columbus in 1850 and there spent the remainder of their days, the former dying March 13, 1907, and the mother December 9, 1906.

Martin received his education in the district schools of Columbus, and then went into the photograph business in that village in 1883. Five years later he went to Beaver Dam, Wis., and remained two years, later going to Charles City, Iowa, for eleven years. After short periods at White Water and West Allis, Wis., he came to Austin, in July, 1902, and purchased the studio of E. H. Austin, which he has conducted with marked success, his work and artistic ability giving him a wide patronage.

He is a Republican in politics, a member of the Congregational church and of the K. of P., the Maccabees and the B. A. Y. He is also a member of the Photographic Association of America and the Northwestern Photographic Association.

Mr. Vosburgh was married May 3, 1887, to Myrta A. Davis, of Beaver Dam, Wis., and to this union have been born two sons: Harold D., born December 24, 1891, and Mox O., born September 6, 1904. September 3, 1910.

Mr. Vosburgh purchased the studio of J. A. Douglass, at Osage, Iowa, and moved there October 1, but still retains his Austin studio, which is conducted by his son, Harold.




John Wagner

b: 1850

John Wagner, a retired farmer now living in Grand Meadow, was born in Germany, December 19, 1850, son of John and Amelia (Hodleman) Wagner.

He was brought to America by his parents in 1856, at the age of six years, and at the age of ten years was taken to Washington county, Wisconsin, where he attended school and grew to manhood. Then he went with his parents to Fond du Lac, Wis., and there worked with his father until twenty-four years of age. At that age he started out in life for himself as a carpenter, working four years for one man in Campbellsport, Wis.

In 1878 he came to Mower county, and purchased 160 acres of land in
John and Sybilla Wagner
Frankford township, section 21. On this farm he labored faithfully, developing the land, erecting buildings, and adding various tracts from time to time until he owned 850 acres, all of which, with the exception of a 255 acre tract, which he sold. In 1906 he rented his farm and moved to the village, where he now occupies one of the finest homes in the village.

He was married in October, 1878, to Amelia Dickman, who died in February, 1885, leaving four children: Herman, who is on the old homestead; John F., who lives in Fillmore county; Emma, who married Ora Bennett, a contractor of Wheatland, Wyo., and Lydia, who died in 1895. (Note: Amelia is buried in Frankford cemetery.)

Mr. Wagner was married the second time March 18, 1886, to Sybilla Terlinden, who was born in Fond du Lac county, Wisconsin, November 10, 1853. To this union have been born two children: Amanda, now Mrs. August Detloff, of Frankford township, and Helen, who lives at home.

Mr. Wagner is a staunch republican, a director of the school board of his district, and a member of the German Lutheran church.


NOTE: John and Sybilla were buried in the Grand Meadow Cemetery in Mower county. Below are photos of their head stones.

On July 22, 1922 John and Sybilla were found dead with their heads crushed by an axe. Later, their son-in-law, August Detloff confessed to the crime, which was called "the most gruesome in county history."



William Bonnallie

b: 1851

William Bonnallie has taken an active part in township and church affairs. He was born October 4, 1851, in Canada, and came to Mower county with his parents in 1857, remaining home until his mother's death, after which he started out for himself and worked by the month as follows: for D. Chandler, one year; for William Goslee, one year; for E. Watkins, two years, and for his father on a farm in Freeborn county, two years, after which he purchased 160 acres in London township, Freeborn county, and engaged in farming for himself for a period of three years. Then he gave up the farm and again worked for William Goslee for a period of two years, after which he came to Mower County and rented a farm for seven years in section 19, Lyle Township.

This tract of eighty acres he afterward purchased, and since that time has made many developments, and at the present time is erecting a new barn. He has also added twenty acres to his farm. He is a progressive Republican.

In religious belief he is a Presbyterian, being ordained as elder of the Woodbury Presbyterian church, of London, Freeborn county, by Dr. R. B. Abbott, of Albert Lea. lie has served ten years as superintendent of the Sunday school, and three years as treasurer of the town of London in Freeborn county; and has been clerk of his school district, No. 70, for the past twenty years.

The subject of this sketch was married August 30, 1881, to Anna Smith, daughter of Edgar Smith, her parents coming from Wisconsin to Mower County in 1867. Seven children have blessed their union: William Arthur, Olive B., Corena M. (now Mrs. William Barclay), Pearl A., Charlotte A., Margaret A. and George E. Thomas and Charlotte (Phelps) Bonnallie were natives respectively of Scotland and Canada.

They came to the United States and located in Burlington, Wis., engaging in general farming until coming to Mower county in 1857, when he purchased land in Austin township, and followed farming until his wife's death in 1865. At this time he disposed of his farm. In 1867 he married Mrs. Peter Robertson, and settled on her farm in London township, Freeborn County, where he remained until his death.




Herbert W. Boody

b: 1872

Herbert W. Boody, chief engineer for the Austin Electric Light and Power Plant and an expert in his line, was born in Portland, Me., July 15, 1872. His education was acquired in the public schools of Portland and Minneapolis, after which he entered the service of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad, working his way up from call boy to locomotive fireman, remaining eight years in the latter capacity.

He then, in April of 1898, engaged as engineer for the old waterworks plant of Austin, proving so entirely satisfactory that on July 4, 1900, at the time when the water works and light plant were combined under one head, he was made operating engineer. In this capacity he continued until December 12, 1908, when he was given his present position as chief engineer of the plant.

His political convictions are Republican, and he has officiated as constable of the third ward two years. He is a Master Mason, a Modern Woodman of America, and is associated with the C. of H. and the F. O. E.

October 4, 1894, at Austin, he was married to Caroline M. Fischer, a native of this county, born at Varco, February 15, 1877. This union has been blessed with two children: Marguerite T. and Leonard H. The family resides at 110 Division Street. They worship at the Episcopal church. Leonard G. Boody, father of our subject, is a machinist of unusual ability, holding many responsible positions with different railroad companies in his younger days.

He was a native of Maine, following his trade as a machinist in this state until 1882, when he came west to Minneapolis, first being employed by the Baldwin Locomotive Works, and later by the Northern Pacific railroad.

In 1883 he brought his family to Minneapolis, and entered the machine shops of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad, being connected with this company until 1891, when he took charge of the shops of the Great Northern, as foreman, at Great Falls, M5ont. Resigning in 1900, he has since lived retired at Tacoma, Wash. His wife, nee Margaret A. Flemming, died January 13, 1895.




Charles R. Boostrom

b: 1864

Charles R. Boostrom, of whose lifelong dream the Southern Minnesota Normal College, of Austin, is a materialization, was born in Oneida, Illinois, March 1, 1864, the son of George and Aurelia (Madison) Boostrom, the former a native of Sweden and the latter of Washington county, New York.

The elder Boostrom was fortunate in discovering coal on his farm, and this furnished the family with a substantial amount of this world's goods. Charles R., who was one of nine children, was brought up in a Christian home, and attended the public schools. Early in life he conceived the plan of some day establishing a school where the young people of limited finances and opportunities might receive educational equipment for their work in life.

In 1883 he entered the Western Illinois Normal College, at Bushnell, Illinois, and graduated from the normal course there in 1884. Then in order to see something of the world, he spent five years in the west, mining, lumbering, ranching and teaching.

In 1889 he returned to Illinois, and took a scientific course in the Northern Illinois Normal School, at Dixon, graduating in 1891. The following fall saw him daily installed as principal of schools at Rio, Ill., where he remained from 1891 to 1893. Then he was elected superintendent of schools at Wataga, Illinois, and occupied that position until 1896, when he entered the Valparaiso University, in Indiana, and took a post graduate course.

Then, in 1897, with E. M. Schelde and O. G. Jackman, he founded the Southern Minnesota, Normal College, furnishing the credit for the institution and acting as its first vice president and treasurer, the school being the outcome of plans which he had long held.

In 1900, when Dr. Schelde, the first president, retired, the subject of this sketch succeeded to the position which he now occupies, being the only one of the founders at present connected with the school. President Boostrom's sphere of usefulness as an educator and is a citizen has extended far beyond the bounds of his own school.

In 1904 Professor Boostrom was appointed by John Olson, state superintendent of public instruction, as lecturer before state summer schools, which position he filled three years. In 1907 he succeeded 0. W. Shaw as a member of the board of managers of the state public school at Owatonna, and immediately upon his appointment was made president of the board, a position he still occupies, having been reappointed January 1, 1909. He is president of the John Ericsson Republican League of Minnesota, an organization which includes all the Scandinavian Republican clubs of Minnesota, being elected in 1908, and re-elected in 1910. He was also one of the organizers of the Austin Progressive League.

In February, 1911, Prof. Boostrom was appointed by Gov. A. D. Eberhart to the office of assistant public examiner. President Boostrom was married June 21, 1893, at Victoria, Ill., to Alpha E. Harpman, daughter of John and Margaret (Rosenleaf) Harpman, natives of Sweden. Mrs. Boostrom graduated from the Hedding College, at Abingdon, Ill., in 1890, then entered the Valparaiso University, and graduated from the musical department in 1897. She then became teacher of music and arts in the Southern Minnesota Normal College, remaining for seven years. When her health gave out the school lost an excellent teacher, but her kindly influence still extends through all the departments and is an inspiration to the students. She belongs to a number of local clubs and organizations, and was one of the founders of the Era Club, of which she was president for several years.




Robert M. Boyd

b: 1846

Robert M. Boyd, a retired farmer living in Austin, was born in Janesville, Wis., August 3, 1846, son of Robert and Ellen (Bufton) Boyd, natives of Ireland. Robert M. was reared on a farm, and remained in Rock county until 1877, when he came to Mower county and located in Austin township. Later he went to Lyle township, and farmed there until 1895, when he retired and moved to Austin.

He married for his first wife Sebenia Cunningham, daughter of Richard Cunningham. She died July 20, 1900, leaving five living children: Mary; Robert A.; Ellen, wife of Joseph Redman; Ormanzo and Amrelia.

He was married the second time November 4, 1903, to Mary A. Hoffman, daughter of Jacob Fiezel and Mary Sarah Ott, his wife. Robert M. Boyd served in the Civil war, enlisting in March, 1863, in Co. B, 37th Wis. Vol. Inf., and serving until the close of the war.




R.A. Boyd

b: 1874

R. A. Boyd, the popular local agent for the Standard Oil Company at Austin, was born in Wisconsin, March 4, 1874, son of Robert M. Boyd, also of Austin. R. A. Boyd was brought to Mower county when two years of age and was reared on a farm, remaining at home until 1902, when he came to Austin, and engaged in the draying business.

In 1905 he commenced work for the Standard Oil Company, and thirteen months of this service so demonstrated his fitness and ability that he was given charge of the local district, consisting of Austin, Adams, Lyle, Rose Creek, Elkton, Dexter, Renova, Brownsdale, Waltham, Lansing, Corning, Oakland, Moscow and London, in which position he has since remained, dealing in all kinds of illuminating oil, machine oil, naphtha, turpentine and gasoline, and keeping three teams on the road all the while.

Mr. Boyd served three years in Co. G, Second Regiment, M. N. G., and at one time was appointed a member of the school board in Lyle township to fill a vacancy. He is a member of the M. W. A. and the F. O. E.

The subject of this sketch was married March 30, 1896 to Mabel Mannering, and to this union have been born two daughters, Mildred, November 16, 1900, and Hazel, June 18, 1903. The family faith is that of the Baptist church.




Riley Brooks

b: 1846

Riley Brooks was born in Crawford county, Pennsylvania, November 22, 1846, son of Aaron and Susan (Bishop) Brooks, of Pennsylvania. At the age of eight years Riley was taken to Indiana, and there at the age of seventeen he enlisted in Company C, Seventeenth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, serving until mustered out and honorably discharged at the close of the war.

He came to Fillmore county in 1866, stayed a few years, then located a claim in Rock county, this state, after which in 1867 he came to Mower county. In 1880 he purchased 160 acres in section 27, Austin township, where he made many improvements, and to which he added from time to time until he now owns a very large place. He has served as supervisor of his township for a dozen years, and has been a member of the school board for a still longer period.

Riley Brooks was married January 1, 1878, to Cora Lott, daughter of Abraham Lott, and to this union have been born five children: Rachael, Abraham, Edith O., Lyman and Amanda. Rachael is the wife of Eugene Hart, while the other four are at home.




Asa Brown

d: 1876

Asa Brown, an early hotelkeeper, was born in Vermont, and married Lucy Baker, of Ohio. After their marriage they located in Indiana, where Asa was one of the contractors on the Wabash canal. After the completion of the canal he located in Noble county, purchased a tract of land, and founded the village of Lisbon. Here he also erected a hotel which he conducted for several years. In 1861 he removed to Alexandria, Minn., built and conducted a feed and flouring mill, and remained three years.

In 1864 he came to Austin, Minn., and purchased what afterward became the Lacy House. Three years later he sold out and purchased a farm in Fillmore county. After farming three years he came to LeRoy and engaged in the hotel business a year. Then he and his wife spent two years in Kentucky, afterward taking up their residence in Lansing township.

Here Asa Brown died in 1876 at the age of eighty-three years. His wife died in June, 1909, at the age of eighty-seven.




Charles B. Brown

b: 1849

Charles B. Brown, a prominent farmer of LeRoy township, was born in Noble county, Indiana, August 19, 1849, son of Asa and Lucy (Baker) Brown. He received his early education in Cold Springs, Ind., and at Austin, Minn., and then engaged in farming in Lansing and LeRoy townships until 1885, when he went to Anoka, Minn., and engaged in lumbering for some fourteen years.

In 1899 he returned to LeRoy township and engaged in farming on the Mason place in section 8, where he is now successfully engaged in diversified farming, making a specialty of Durham and Black Poll cattle.

Mr. Brown was married November 5, 1873, to Florence Mason, born in Rutland county, Vermont, May 12, 1856, daughter of Joseph and Lucinda (Freeman) Mason. This union has been blessed with three children: Jay R., born March 6, 1875, is manager of the North American telegraph in the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce; May, born July 16, 1880, is the wife of Charles Howe, of LeRoy village. Grace is the wife of Arthur J. Arnot, of Bismarck, N. D.




George S. Burnham

b: 1854

George S. Burnham, clerk of the district court for Mower county, was born in Dodge county, Wisconsin, May 29, 1854, son of Miles and Caroline (Johnson) Burnham. He received his education in his native county, and then learned telegraphy.

In 1872 he went to Blooming Prairie, in this state, and was operator for the C., Mi. & St. P. there about four years. After a year's work for the Northwestern, he again went to Blooming Prairie, and was cashier of the bank of J. C. Brainerd & Co. for six years.

In 1885 he came to Austin, and worked as bookkeeper and foreman in the foundry and machine shop owned by the Ames Brothers. Subsequently he became a locomotive machinist for the C., M. & St. P. and continued in that occupation until 1906, when he was elected to his present position, in which he has since served with fidelity and ability.

While in Blooming Prairie he was treasurer and recorder of the village for four years, and since coming to Austin he has been alderman from the first ward two years. He is a Republican and a high degree Mason, and also affiliates with the B. P. O. E., the Maccabees and the A. O. U. W.

The subject of this sketch was married October 23, 1878, to Marian L. Gleason, and this union has been blessed with two sons, Erie M. and Harry G. Erie M. was born July 7, 1879, and is now secretary for the Hughes Manufacturing Company, of Los Angeles, Cal. Harry G. was born in September, 1880, and operates a jewelry store in Hibbing, Minn. Miles Burnham, father of George S. Burnham, of Austin, was born in New York state and married Caroline Johnson, a native of England. They located in Dodge county, Wisconsin, in 1844, and there Miles engaged in conducting a saw mill.

He was also first county superintendent of schools in that county. In 1880 they came to Dodge county, Minnesota, and took up dairy farming. Miles Burnham died in 1899, and his wife now lives in Blooming Prairie at the age of 80 years.




Barney Bushman

b: 1841

Barney Bushman, for many years street commissioner of the city of Austin, came to Mower county in 1878 and was employed for a time as section hand on the C., M. & St. P. line. After two years of this work, he was engaged for seven years in the car shops, and then farmed two years.

His wide acquaintance and his interest in public affairs caused him to enter the political arena, and for sixteen years he served as street commissioner. He has now retired from active work, but still takes an interest in all public movements. Mr. Bushman married Tiena Helmsing, daughter of Gerhard Helmsing, and to this union have been born five children: Gerhard, Henry, August, Frank and Katie, the latter now being Mrs. Albert Thompson.

Barney Bushman was born in Germany, October 27, 1841, son of Frederick and Katie (Linneman) Bushman. He came to this country with his wife and family of four children, landing at Baltimore, and coming direct to Austin.




Joseph V. Cafourek

b: 1859

Joseph V. Cafourek, one of the prosperous farmers of Lyle township, is a fine example of those whose thrift and honesty, brought from the old country, has raised them to a position of trust and honor in the community. He has raised a large family and given to each child a good education.

Mr. Cafourek was born in Bohemia, October 14, 1859, son of Frank and Anna (Mudra) Cafourek, natives of Bohemia, who came to America in 1877, locating in London township, Freeborn county, this state, where they purchased land and engaged in farming. The father died in 1899, and the mother still remains on the old home. Joseph V. received his early education in Bohemia, coming to America in 1876, and locating near Cleveland, Ohio, for a period of three months.

After this he came to Mower county and worked out for one summer. He then joined his parents, who in the meantime had located in Freeborn county, and worked for his father for a period of six years. In 1890, he purchased his present farm of 320 acres, in sections 19 and 20, Lyle township, where he erected his home and other buildings, his residence being in section 19.

He now carries on general farming along the latest approved lines, and is erecting a new home in section 20. Mr. Cafourek is a Republican and attends the Catholic church. He belongs to the Bohemian Benevolent Society and is serving his twelfth year as treasurer of his school district. The subject of this sketch was married June 16, 1883, to Mary Kuthan, a native of Bohemia also. To this union have been born eight children: Anna is now Mrs. T. S. Johnson, of London township, Freeborn county; Mamie is now Mrs. Leo Carter, of Oakland, Freeborn county; Jerome is home on the farm; Lillie is home on the farm; Elsie is a teacher; Josephine is attending the Austin high school; Frank and Ernest are at home.




Frank M. Callinan

b: 1866

Frank M. Callinan, passenger conductor for the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad, trusted by the company and well liked by his associates, was born in Prairie du Chien, Wis., January 5, 1866. His early education was received in the public schools of Prairie du Chien, this being supplemented with a course in the Sacred Heart College of his home town.

He then learned telegraphy and entered the service of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad at Minnesota Lake, being connected with the company ever since. In 1888 he came to Austin, and was made freight conductor. In 1903 he was given charge of a train in the passenger service, his run now being on the Iowa & Minnesota division.

His political convictions are those of the Democratic Party, but the nature of his work has prevented him from holding office. He is fraternally identified with the Order of Railway Conductors, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Catholic Order of Foresters, the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Knights of Columbus, in which latter he is now serving as grand knight.

On September 8, 1898, he was married to Mary Meany, by whom he has three children: Ellen F., born November 3, 1900, at Minneapolis; John G., born July 27, 1904, at Austin; and Anna R., who was born May 27, 1910, at Austin.

The religious faith of the family is that of the Catholic church. Mr. Callinan comes of a family of railroad men, his father, John G., commencing with the same company as his son, and gradually earning his promotion to the position of passenger conductor, serving in Wisconsin until 1888, when he was transferred to South Dakota, still retaining his position.

He died while in the employ of the company, March 21, 1899. His wife had previously died, March 8, 1892. Her maiden name was Ellen Gilmartin. William and Katherine (O'Malley) Meany, parents of Mrs. Frank M. Callinan, were pioneers of this county, the O'Malleys locating in 1856, and William Meany, in Windom township, in 1868. William Meany was a hard working industrious farmer and died on the farm, January 30, 1895. The mother is still living on the old homestead.




Alexander S. Campbell

b: 1859

Alexander S. Campbell, leading merchant-miller of Mower county, former state senator, present mayor of Austin, is a native born son of Minnesota, and has taken his share in the upbuilding of his adopted city and county. He was born in Rice county. December 20, 1859, and received his early education in the county and village schools, also attending the public schools of Minneapolis for a while. After leaving school he worked on the home farm, and at about the time of attaining his majority went to Owatonna, where he learned the milling and flouring business.

In 1886, in company with his brother, L. G. Campbell, he engaged in the milling business in Austin, and purchased a small mill near the C., M. & St. P. station. This business grew, and in 1890 they purchased the large plant on the east side of the Red Cedar river on Water street. The firm also took control of the milling plant at Blooming Prairie, L. G. taking the management. In 1909 the L. G. Campbell Milling Company was incorporated at Owatonna, with the Blooming Prairie plant as a part of its holdings, and Alexander S. is now the owner of the Austin plant, which turns out over two hundred barrels of flour a day.

The product of this mill is widely known throughout the northwest, and such brands as the Diamond White, White Rose and Peerless represent the highest development in the miller's art. Mr. Campbell served in the Minnesota senate in 1903, 1905, 1907 and 1909, and was mayor of Austin in 1899, 1900 and 1910-11, his public service having given the greatest degree of satisfaction. He is active in the Austin Commercial club, and is also affiliated with the Masonic order, the B. P. O. E., the K. of P. and other organizations.

Mr. Campbell was married December 20, 1883, to Mary Hunkins, of Owatonna, and they have four children, Minnie C., Alexander K., Francis and Neil. John and Catherine (Graham) Campbell, parents of A. S. Campbell, are descended from the ancient Campbell and Graham clans of the Scottish highlands, John Campbell being born near Glasgow and his wife in Canada. He settled in Milwaukee in 1856 and took up railroad contracting. He afterwards located near Northfield, Minn., and carried on general farming until 1868. He then moved to Claremont in Dodge county and engaged in the same occupation, giving special attention to grain and stock raising, until 1889, when he came to Austin, where he and his wife still reside.




Mathias Carey

b: c1830

Mathias Carey and Ann M. Justin, his wife, were born on the Rhine, in Germany, were there married, and came to America in 1854, locating in Fox Lake, Lake county, Illinois, there engaging in farming until the spring of 1858, when they came to Minnesota, purchased 160 acres of government land at $1.25 per acre, in section 20, Adams township, this county, which at the time was wild prairie land. This they developed, built a log house, and in this lived until 1871, when a modern frame house was erected, suitable outbuildings being completed at the same time. To his original claim he added a purchase of 160 acres, making in all a fine farm of 320 acres.

On this place, Mathias Carey conducted general farming until 1902, when he retired and moved to the village of Adams. Two years later, July 31, 1904, he died. His wife followed him to the grave March 13, 1906. They were the parents of twelve children, of whom nine are now living.

They are: J. H., a merchant at Adams; Hubbard; Mrs. Katherine Schmitz; Nicholas, of Minneapolis; Mrs. Mary Regner, of Austin; John M., of Spring Valley; Tony, of Saskatoon, Canada; Joseph, of Adams; and Jacob of Spring Valley. Those deceased are Katharine, Gertrude and one who died in infancy.




James M. Woodbury

b: 1839

Born: 1839
Died: Aug 1, 1864

James M. Woodbury was born and raised in Paris, Maine, but in 1861 he moved to Mower County, Minnesota, along with his uncle, to establish a farm in the frontier. In Aug. 1862, a hundred miles northwest, at New Ulm, hundreds of Minnesota settlers were massacred by Santee Sioux. Determined to help put down the Indian uprising and make the region safe for settlement, Woodbury enlisted as a private in Co. C, 9th Minn. Vol. Inf., at Ft. Snelling.

Shortly after, he became ill and went home on sick leave. While there, on Sept. 28, he married Amanda Setzer. A week later, he returned to duty.

Woodbury soon realized that he had made a great mistake by enlisting, for he disliked military life, was disgusted with the Lincoln administration, dreaded fighting either Indians or Confederates, and actually sympathized with the Confederates, hoping that they would "maintain their rights." Nevertheless, his principles prevented him from deserting.

After the Sioux Uprising was quelled, his regiment was ordered south. After a furlough from Sept. 23 to Oct. 6, 1863, the regiment was ordered to Missouri. Later, it participated in Sturgis's expedition to Mississippi, and was engaged at the battle of Brice's Crossroads on June 10, 1864. There, 259 men of the 9th Minnesota alone were taken prisoner, including Woodbury.

He was transported to Camp Sumter, Andersonville, Ga., and on July 27 he was admitted to the prison hospital, succumbing to chronic diarrhea there on Aug. 1. Unknown to him, two weeks after he had been taken prisoner his wife bore him a son, James Franklin Woodbury. It was not until December that she got the news of his death. A few days later she wrote one of the most heart-rending letters of the Civil War to Woodbury's parents.

Almost two dozen letters, written by Woodbury to his family in Maine, spanning from Oct. 1861 to May 1864, along with his widow's letter, dated Dec. 4, 1864, were published in the Lincoln Herald in two installments (Vol. 82, Nos. 2 & 3), in Summer and Fall 1980, as "Letters of a Minnesota Volunteer: The Correspondence of James M. Woodbury"

ed. by Leon Basile.

NOTE: See the Civil War records on Mower County Genealogy for more information on James Woodbury.



Charles "Carl" Probst
Angeline (Axen) Probst

1845 - 1940

At the age of 26 Angeline came to the United States. She apparently went to work for a German doctor and his family who advanced her money for her passage, which she later repaid by working in their home. On the voyage to America, Angeline became quite ill on the ship and asked a kind looking sailor, Charles Probst, for a drink of water. They began to talk and got acquainted. Charles was smitten with Angeline and offered to help her by giving her some money. She of course wouldn't take it so Charles went to his bunk and threw the money on his bed. The money was stolen and Charles had to make another voyage to save enough money to get to Iowa, where he knew Angeline would be.

Carl (Charles) Probst was born October 29, 1845 on an island called Rugen, Scheswig-Holsten Germany. His parents died when he was six years old, leaving him an orphan. An aunt took him into her home where it is presumed he was reared. His only known sibling was a brother named Fred. As a youngster Charles had the job of herding geese. In 1861, at the age of sixteen, Charles took a job on a ship and went to sea. He was a sailor for 15 years, working on both sailing ships and steam ships, and visited ports all over the world. After meeting Angeline he made his way to New York and then on to Clinton Iowa, where two years later he and Angeline were married. Strangely enough, a few years after they were married, Charles and Angeline had made a purchase, which was wrapped in newspaper. On this newspaper was an account of a Fred Probst being lost at sea.

Charles and Angeline were the parents of six children, John 1875, Helena (who went by her middle name Louise) 1877, Emma 1878, Clara 1882, Anna 1886, and Charles Jr. 1889. They also raised to adulthood their granddaughter Genevieve, whose mother had died when she was a baby.

Angeline learned English from the doctor's wife that she worked for. She struggled with certain sounds; such as the "th" sound and the "ir" sound, so when she said "Shirley", she pronounced it, "Surley." This was just one of her many enduring traits. She and her husband both loved to read, and they learned to write in English so that they could correspond with their girls who were away from home. Angeline was also a skilled tailor, having learned this trade from her father. She made coats for the whole family and mittens for the children's Christmas gifts.

The Probsts were small in stature, standing only about 5' tall, but they were very big when it came to patriotism. They were naturalized citizens of the United States but also believed in the "old" European ways that the man is "boss". Angeline was said to have been quite amused when women were given the right to vote.

Charles worked in a sash and door factory in Clinton when he first arrived in Iowa, and later moved the family to a farm near Calamus Iowa. Here he learned the ins and outs of farming.

In 1905, Charles and Angeline moved to Grand Meadow, Mower Co. Minnesota where they bought a farm. Charles had a one horse wagon which he used to "drive' out to other farms and help with the work. He was skilled at splicing rope to haul hay to the lofts and was said to have been so good at this that no one could see where the rope had been spliced. After farming for seven years in Grand Meadow, they relocated to Dexter Minnesota, where they had one cow and raised a garden.

In 1920, Charles and Angeline decided to move back to Iowa to enjoy their retirement. This time they settled in Galt, Wright County. Angeline had been a member of the Lutheran faith during her early years but had joined the Church of Christ and was a charter member of the Bethel Church of Christ in Galt. Angeline developed heart trouble in later life and died September 14, 1932, age 86 years, 6 months and 17 days.

Her obituary states that 15 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren survived her.

With his health declining, and with Angeline gone, Charles decided to go back to Dexter to live with his daughter Clara Cox. It is here that he died eight years later on July 10, 1940, age 94 years, 8 months and 10 days. He was buried at Galt Cemetery beside his beloved wife Angeline.

Kathy Pike
Edith Pike
Chuck Probst, fellow researcher and Charles Probst descendant



Benjamin F. Langworthy


Benjamin was born in Mansfield, Ohio and was the son Cyrus (1791-1874) and Charlotte Drake Langworthy (1794-1876), and died in Brownsdale, Minn. He married Sarah Melissa Clemens in Oshkosh, Wisconsin on April 29, 1849. Sarah was a cousin of Samuel Clemens better known as Mark Twain.

Benjamin began school at Mansfield, Ohio, where he had as mates John and William T. Sherman. In 1834 his parents moved to Princeton, Illinois, Bureau County, where he remained for twelve years. At one time he carried express between Galena, Illinois and Saint Louis, and often had matters for U.S. Grant who was then in business at Galena.

He knew Abraham Lincoln and heard him conduct cases in courts, was also acquainted with Stephen A. Douglas and Reverend Owen Lovejoy.

Later he moved to Oshkosh and built the first store there, finally settling in Mower County Minnesota, where he was one of the pioneers, and was the first postmaster at Grand Meadow. Toward the close of the Civil War he was made Colonel of the Militia of Mower County. He finally left farming and established the Spring Valley Mercury, which he edited for twenty years before turning over to his son Forrest.

He was a member of the State Constitutional Convention and of the first legislature. He was Printer by trade.

Benjamin and Sarah were the parents of Emma Langworthy (Mrs. Delos Fitzgerald Tanner) and Forrest Edward Langworthy.

By Scott Drake



Philip T. Elliott

b: 1865

Philip T. Elliott, vice president of the Exchange Bank, at Grand Meadow, has been clerk of the village two year, member of the village council three years, and clerk of the school board four years, and in these several capacities has given general satisfaction.

He was born in Fox Lake, Wis., January 19, 1865, son of Ford T. and Phoebe (olive) Elliott. He came to Grand Meadow with his father on the fall of 1878, at the age of thirteen, and five years later, at the age of eighteen, engaged in the hardware business on his own account. Six years later he sold out, and entered the employ of G.F. Greening in his bank and store. When the Exchange Bank was organized under state laws in 1906, he became vice president, a position he has since retained. Mr. Elliott is popular among his fellows, and is a chapter Mason. He married, October 1, 1890, Anna S. daughter of Samuel Rodman Stout and Jane Hibbs, his wife. This union has resulted in two children, Roland P, and Janette.

History of Mower County 1911



Ford T. Elliott

Ford T. Elliott was born in Sunderland, and for many years followed the sea. He made his first trip to America in 1856, and thereafter crossed the Atlantic many times until 1859, when he took up permanent abode in this country.

He learned the blacksmith trade at Portage, Wis., stayed there a few years, and then followed his trade to Ripon, in the same state, some eleven years; he took up his abode in Grand Meadow, October 10, 1878. His wife died April 26, 1897.

History of Mower County 1911



Arthur Larson

b: 1878

Arthur Larson, a farmer of Marshall township, was born in the township in which he still resides, in 1878, son of August Larson, a native of Sweden, who came to America in 1870, settling first in Boston, where he was engaged in shoemaking, later coming to Mower county and purchasing eighty acres in Marshall township. On this farm Arthur Larson was born, spent his boyhood and grew to manhood.

At the age of twenty-one he started in life for himself, and worked out as a farm laborer until 1900, when he purchased eighty acres in section seven, Marshall township, where he now lives and carries on general farming, owning forty acres addition in section seventeen. He devotes his attention largely to breeding Shorthorn cattle and raising grain. Mr. Larson is a Republican. He is a member of the Swedish Lutheran church.

In 1902 he married Amanda Blom, and they have four children: Hildur Anna Cecelia, Ida Ellen Johanna, Walter Alva and Carl Bernhard Ferdenand.

History of Mower County 1911



John O. Blom

b: 1871

John O. Blom was born in Sweden in 1871, the son of Oscar and Johanna Blom who came to the United States about 1890, and located in Mower county. John O. was educated in Sweden, came to America with his parents, and when twenty years of age started in life for himself as a farmer.

He is now leasing the E. A. Taylor property in section 28, Marshall township, and expects soon to buy a nice farm of his own. He has been on the Taylor property since 1903. Mr. Blom was married in 1893 to Helen Rolf, daughter of Fred Rolf, of Marshall township, and this union has resulted in two children: Walter and Grace. He attends the Lutheran church, votes the Republican ticket, and belongs to the United Workmen.

History of Mower County 1911



A Henry Dahl Article




Henry Dahl went, into the hardware business in Lyle 52 years ago with only $3. "And that wasn't my money either," he says.

Today he is the senior member in the Dahl Implement and Hardware and boasts of the complete line his firm carries — from a wooden handle for the old stove heated flat irons to the latest type of combine.

The 81-year-old veteran businessman began his career as a horse and buggy peddler. He sold notions — handkerchiefs and lace — from door to door to raise enough money to finance his business education at the St, Ansgar Seninary.

“I didn't have much money so I borrowed then, too” Dahl Recalled

Netted $3 a Day

His drives through the country netted him about $3 a day — a lot of money in those times — but he kept at it just long enough to raise his "education money."

His first job, in 1892, was in a Lyle drug store. He started at $12.50 a month and worked just long enough to be raised to $15 before shifting over to the hardware store Ran Rierson operated in the building his firm now occupies.

Dahl worked there 6 and a half years —starting at $20 and achieving the magnificent salary of $55 a month before he quit. "I was the highest-paid man in town," he said.

After spending six months at the M. O. Wilson general store and another six months at the M. O. Wilson General Store and another six at the Pete Johnson tin shop, he entered the hardware business on his own. “John Schumacher had the capital; I had the experience,” he explained.

Borrowed to Buy Share

And so the firm of Schumacher and Dahl began business in 1901. The next year, C. J. Culbertson replaced Schumacher and Dahl borrowed enough money to hold an equal share.

After three years, Culbertson sold out to A. O. Nelson and, for the first time “Dahl” came first in the firm’s name.

That partnership lasted two years, then E. E. Fedson, who was married to Dahl’s sister, took over Nelson’s interest and a partnership was formed which lasted until 1942 until Fedson sold his interest to Dahl’s son, Lloyd.

Now three generations are engaged in the business – Henry and Lloyd, the partners, and Glenn, the grandson and son, who is an employee.

Dahl was born in Rock County, Wisconsin, October 5, 1871, the year of the great Chicago fire.

“Something had to happen when I was born,” he said. “When I was a year old, I moved to Mitchell County, Iowa, and brought my parents along.”

Started Career at 18

He stayed on the farm until he wss 18 then began his business career as a peddler.

In 1891, when he was considering the move to Lyle, a fire wiped out all of Main Street and most of the town. “There had to be a fire wherever I went”, Dahl Observed.

And just to demonstrate further that tragedy follows him like it does, Joe Btfsplk of Lil Abner, the year he went into the hardware business, 1901 that is, President McKinley was assassinated.

Dahl says the hardware business has done an "about-face" since his early years.

"You wouldn't think it is the same business and what experience you have doesn't do you much good," he said. "When we first started, farmers didn't use manure spreaders and cream separators and everything was horsedrawn”

Boxes Created Illusion

Dahl started selling McCormick implements in 1901, the year the company started. He was one of the first customers of a machine company, too. when it began operations in 1908.

"When I started in business. I had to put empty boxes on the shelves to make my customers think I had a stock." he said.

Today the firm almost has more stock that it knows what to do with and needs three buildings to hold it all – with no empty boxes included.

Always considered a demon salesman, he did not as his late wife used to say, sell a cream separator to a man who didn’t have any cows. He did, however sell a hog waterer to a man who didn't keep any pigs — but the farmer used it for his sheep.

Recalls Board Sidewalks

In the early days, the board sidewalks. were three feet above ground in some places.

"There were lots of loose planks and if you stepped on the outside of one of these, it would pop up and hit you in the face," he said.

When Dahl came to Austin, he would stable his horses at the Austin Hotel which, he said, was a livery barn then.

"It would take two good hours to drive up on a rough dirt road.'' He recalled. As the roads improved, he expected his business would be ruined.

Good Roads Helped

"But we find," he declared, "that the good roads lead to a good town and our business got better."

"We built on service. But it isn't business if you don't make a dollar on it and it isn't business if the customer isn't satisfied." He said, adding "But it pays to lose sometimes and I done that too.

But the real secret of his staying in business a long time is, perhaps his basic philosophy.

“I always try to put myself in the other fellow’s place.”

[Austin Daily Herald - Saturday,
August 8, 1953, Page 6]



Verne Clement Pike

Birth: Jan. 5, 1897
Mitchell County, Iowa

Death: Jul. 19, 1986
Mower County, Minnesota

Verne Clement Pike was the youngest child of Joseph Lord and Elizabeth Ann (Bradshaw) Pike. He was born in Riceville, Iowa, the tail-end of his parent's five children. Verne was 18 years younger than his oldest sibling, Geneva.

According to family lore, sister Geneva chose the name of this youngest child as "Luverne Clement Pike". Over the years, he always went by "Verne" and was said to have not like the name "Luverne". When he went to get a social security number in the 1950s or early 60s, he had to produce a birth certificate. When he got a copy of it, it read "baby boy" Pike and never had his name on it. So in correcting his birth certificate, he made his name officially "Verne Clement Pike. Despite not liking the name, it didn't keep Verne and Dorothy from giving that name to their older son, Luverne Carl Pike. He must not have liked it much either, because he always went by "Bud" and even in his adult life used his initials rather than his full first name: L. C. "Bud" Pike. The name did not pass down to Bud's three sons as even a middle name.

Verne's siblings were Geneva Harriet Pike (Mrs. Lewis) Stritsky; Wilfred Henry Pike (m. Nellie Carter); Cora Lavina Pike (Mrs. Edward) Gerke; and Della May Pike (Mrs. Stanley) Armstrong. Verne was born five years after Della.

Verne followed in his father's footsteps and took over the family farming operation just north of Brownsdale living in the house that his father built, which still remains in the family as of 2008. Danny Joe Pike, grandson of Verne and son of Joseph Ira Pike, now continues the Pike family farming operation on Joseph Lord Pike's original homestead.

On June 12, 1919, Verne married Dorothy Evalyn Syck at the home of Dorothy's parents, Carl and Isabelle Syck, a local Brownsdale businessman. Dorothy was a teacher for one or two years but gave it up to raise her family. Verne and Dorothy had four children: Evalyn Elizabeth Pike (Mrs. Dale) Hartson; Luverne Carl "Bud" Pike; Joseph Ira Pike and Carol Jean Pike (Mrs. Stanley) Anderson. All but Bud remained in the Mower County area for their entire lives and engaged in farming. Bud moved to Iowa and began a career in banking.

Verne eventually phased out of the farming operation and built a house just south of the original farm house. Dorothy passed away in January 1972. Verne eventually moved to St. Marks Nursing Home in Austin and developed diabetes (a Pike family trait). While there, he married Lucille Hill in 1973, a widow he knew from Brownsdale. Lucille died a few years later and was buried with her first husband.

Complications from the diabetes caused Verne to develop gout and eventually he lost both legs below the knees and was wheel chair bound for the last few years of his life. Verne passed away at St. Olaf Hospital on July 19, 1986 and was buried next to Dorothy in Greenwood Cemetery just south of Brownsdale.

One other story about Verne was that he picked up the family nickname "Bumpy" when his first grandchild, Gene Meredith Hartson (son of Evalyn and Dale Hartson) could not pronounce "Grandpa". It came out as "Bumpy" and all this grandkids called him that.

Written by David Pike



Ole Ostenson

On the right is a certificate of citizenship for Ole Ostenson. Click on it to see a large version of it. He was granted his U.S. citizenship on 24 March 1897, in Mower county, Minnesota.

Ole Ostenson/Austinson, was born May 07, 1847 in Telemarken, Norway, the son of Øystein Talleivson Rulland and Aase Olavsdatter Neirbro. Ole was reared in the Lutheran Church of Norway. Before coming to America, Ole worked as a logger. In 1870 at the age of 23 Ole, his parents, brothers and sisters left Norway for America. Coming to Nevada Township, Mower Co. MN. Ole worked as a farm hand until 1878 when he married Andi Osmundson daughter of Osmund Olson and Thone Olsdatter.

Seven children were born to Ole and Andi: Osten (Austin), Alfred, Alma and Anders (Andrew) died young. Oscar died during the flu epidemic of 1918. Austin O. Austinson and Herman Austinson.

Ole resided in section 14 of Nevada township where he engaged in farming. In 1920 his wife Andi died, and Ole retired from farming, living with his two sons until his time of death, November 25, 1942.

Ole was a member of The Six Mile Grove Lutheran Church for 72 years. He showed his faith by his work in giving of his substance handsome monetary gifts to the missionary program of the Synod as well as to the promotion of Vacation Bible School of the local congregation.

(Credit: Mark Ashley, 1/31/2014)
See Ole's obituary.



Edgar P. Spooner

Born 1831

Mr. Edgar P. Spooner was born in Poultney, Vermont, December 31, 1831. His father and mother died in the same month when he was but nine years old, and he with his sister was left to the care of his faithful grandmother. At the age of 13, he was bound out to a farmer until he was 21 years old.

When he was of age he came to Evansville, Wisconsin, and was married there, on June 18, 1854, to Miss Sarah Elizabeth Rolfe, at Brooklyn, near Evansville. Mrs. and Mrs. Spooner lived in Brooklyn for six years and in 1860 came to Austin township, arriving October 28. They were eleven days on the road with their ox team.

In August, 1862, Mr. Spooner enlisted, at Austin, in Co. C, Ninth Minn. Volunteers, the company in which so many from this vicinity served. The regiment spent the first year in the Indian campaign and later saw hard service in Missouri, Tennessee and Alabama, taking part in the capture of Mobile.

He returned home after the close of the war. The family lived in Austin and Lyle townships until last November, when they felt that they must entirely give up active work and they moved into this city. We congratulate them on their golden wedding day and hope that other glad anniversaries are in store for them.

Mr. Spooner is a charter member of McIntyre Post G. A. R. and the G. A. R. Mrs. Spooner is a member of McIntyre W. R. C.

Source: The Mower County Transcript, 22 June 1904, page 3, columns 4 & 5, in an article about Mr. Spooner's golden wedding anniversary.

NOTE: Above information was redacted.

Larger photo of Edgar
Larger photo of Sarah



Andrew Anderson

Born 1850

Andrew Anderson, of Marshall township, was born in Sweden in 1850, son of Andrew Larson, and came to the United States in 1880. On arrival in this country he went to Chicago and worked three years in the Pullman car shops. Then he came to Mower county and rented land. He is now in charge of the M. Flemming farm in section 29, where he tills 240 acres and engages in general farming on an extensive scale.

In 1880 he married Annie Charlotte, a native of Sweden, and to this union has been born three children: Hilda, Arthur and Carl, all of whom are at home. Mr. Anderson is a Republican in politics, and affiliates with the Swedish Lutheran church.

SOURCE: History of Mower County, 1911
- Submitted by Janet Stephenson, 8/2018



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