OF MOWER COUNTY

Part 4 of 13

  Interesting story of the earliest days.


Hon. B. F. Langworthy of Brownsdale,
One of the Earliest Settlers of the County,
Will Give a Series of Interesting Articles


I bought me a yoke of oxen and the first crop of wheat we raised I hauled to Winona, sixty miles, and got 55 cents a bushel for it. I made two trips that season and the second load I sold for 60 cents a bushel. After the second year I had a span of horses to haul my grain to Winona.

In the year 1859 politics got to be quite lively throughout the state. The counties of Mower and Dodge were put into one district numbered 13 and was entitled to two state senators and three representatives. Dodge county elected A.J. Edgerton for Senator, and T.J. Hunt and Peter Mantor for representatives and Mower county elected H.C. Rogers of the village of Brownsdale senator and B.F. Langworthy of Grand Meadow for representative. All the candidates in the 14th district were republican. Alexander Ramsey was governor and Ignatius Donnelly lieutenant governor. In the first congressional district the two most prominent candidates were Wm. Windom and Mr. Norton both of Winona.

I was a delegate to the convention that met in St. Paul at that time when Wm. Windom was nominated for his first term in congress. There were a number of candidates voted for but the contest was between Windom and Norton. Next to the last ballot, Windom lacked two votes of an election. I was very anxious for the nomination of Windom, and it was my good luck to be seated beside the two delegates from Lac qui Parle county, both strangers to me, and also unacquainted with either Windom or Norton. I knew that they had both been casting their votes for Norton. One of them turned to me and says, "Do you know that man Windom?" I says, "Yes, very well, and I consider him the best man by all odds. He is good and reliable." "Well," said both delegates, "we have both been voting for Norton from the start, but from what you say we will votes for windom." The next ballot they did so and Windom was nominated on that ballot, receiving two majority.

When I first came into Mower county to make it my home, the town of Frankford was composed of two townships, 103, range 14 and 15, twelve miles east and west and six north and south. We wanted a township organized out of the west half, which was town 103, range 15. I went to Austin and made the request to the county board to be set off, and they set off as we wished. The territory of town 103 range 15, was called Grand Meadow, and as soon as the Southern Minnesota railroad was located through the town, I moved the postoffice to the railroad and the new station was called Grand Meadow.

Near the close of the War of the Rebellion the people of Minnesota discovered that we had good material out of which good soldiers are made, but in the state we lacked the training necessary to enable our young men to enter the army. Near the close of the war our legislature passed a law to enable the state militia to organize into companies and regiments. Mower county was organized as the fourteenth Regiment of State Militia. There were twelve companies organized in the county and they were authorized to elect their company officers, a captain, first and second lieutenants. After they were chosen, the officers elected met in the village of Brownsdale to make choice of a man for colonel. There was a full attendance from all the companies present. The Austin company presented the name of Ormanzo Allen and the Grand Meadow company presented the name of B.F. Langworthy and the latter was chosen. As soon as the facts were made known to the governor in St. Paul, he forwarded immediately a commission to the colonel of the 14th regiment of Mower county.

I soon after received orders from the commanding officer who was a resident of Mankato, authorizing me to select a suitable place somewhere near the center of the population in the county, and to call out the regiment for a two day's drill. After consulting with some of the officers of the different companies it was decided to meet at the head of Rose Creek at a point a little north of the residence of Dexter Parrott, which is near the geographic center of the county. I regret that I have not a list of the captains' names of all the companies.

The company officers with their companies were all on hand promptly on the appointed day and were ready for the first day's drill in the afternoon. All companies came prepared to camp out and get their meals. A number of the companies had tents; others were not so well supplied. But the weather for the two days was mild and pleasant, and those without tents met with no inconvenience. The members of the different companies were all disposed to be sociable, visiting from camp to camp to get acquainted. Just when everything in camp was most pleasant and satisfactory at about 10 o'clock in the evening, it was reported that a load of whiskey had been brought into camp by one Harvey Anderson of Brownsdale. I immediately called the captains together and told them that the liquor must be destroyed. I was more particularly acquainted with Capt. Harris of Racine company. I requested him to take such help as he needed from his company and destroy all liquor found within the encampment.

To my surprise and regret the captain wished to be excused as he was afraid of getting into a legal difficulty, I promptly excused him. I then wished to call on a captain who was not afraid and by good luck on looking over the different captains, I selected that stalwart Scandinavian, well known by the name of Gunder Holverson of Six Mile Grove in the town of Nevada. I called to him and says, "Captain Holverson, if you are not afraid, you may take what help with you from your company you think necessary and go and destroy all liquor that you may find within the encampment." The captain says, "All right, Colonel, I will attend to it at once." He then picked up an axe and said, "Come on boys," speaking to his chosen men (among them was C. Huntley of LeRoy) and away they went, and in less time than it takes to write it there was not a drop of liquor left within the encampment. The captain soon returned and reported and reported saying, "Colonel, the duty is performed." I felt pleased at his promptness and said to him, "Capt. Holverson, I thank you." After that the night passed off quietly and all were in condition to attend to their regular duties next day.

There was one man on the ground who was not ready for military duty the next day. He was the man that had lost his whiskey. He came to me with a few of his followers and said, "I will make you pay for destroying my property." I said, "Mr. Anderson, do your worst I will be ready at all times to meet you. But I would advise you to keep cool or you may find yourself in the lockup." I heard no more of him or his loss of whiskey.

That drill was the last that the fourteenth regiment as a military regiement ever made. I have met but a very few persons of late years who took part in the regiment at that time, but on the 25th of last month I was in Austin, in conversation with a friend, when a man, grey headed, came into the office and had business with the gentlemen that I was talking with. He heard me speak of the spilling of the liquor by Capt. Holverson. He spoke and said, "We split that whiskey very quickly." He was of Capt. Holverson's company. His name is H.F. Deming, now living in his old age four miles south of Austin. I would like to hear from more of the men who took part in the regiment at that time.

B. F. Langworthy
(To be continued)

[Mower County Transcript, Wed., March 5, 1902 -- 4th article in the series]




Submitted to Mower Genealogy by Mark Ashley, 3/2011
Webization by K. Kittleson