Following is a list of people who have been influential to Morrison County’s history. This list was generated in 2008 after reading a local newspaper article listing the Top 15 most influential people from the county. The newspaper’s Top 15 was filled with Morrison County residents who almost always make it onto these sorts of lists.
As the newspaper article was written in celebration of Minnesota’s Sesquicentennial (150th) Anniversary, we decided to create a more expansive list – one that included 150 Morrison County Influentials. We released 5 names per week on our blog throughout the latter half of 2008, along with a brief bio of each person.
Because we were sure we would miss someone important, we invited people to submit names to us for the list. That invitation is still open. (Please leave your suggestions in the comments.)
Once we were finished, we had our two student workers compile the data from our blog posts and rearrange the names in alphabetical order. What you see below is the result of their effort. (The original blog posts can still be found on the Home section of our website. Just click the Home button in the sidebar. Once you’re on the Home page, type “Morrison County Influentials” in the search box at the top of the page and hit Enter. The posts will appear as a list on the page. Click each post title to see the full text of each post.)
If there’s a name you’d like to see added, please email your suggestions to MCHS and include the person’s full name and the reason you think they should appear on the list. If you know birth and death dates, include them as well.
William Aitken – Aitken was a fur trader who had a fur post at Swan River (also called Aitkinsville) in Morrison County. This community was on the east side of the Mississippi River, a few miles south of Little Falls. Both the city of Aitkin and Aitkin County were named for William Aitken.
Frederick Ayer – missionary, started a Congregational mission and first school in the county at Belle Prairie in 1849.
Elizabeth Ayer – also a missionary, started mission at Belle Prairie with her husband – wrote to family out east to encourage them to move to area.
Francis Eliza Babbitt -Archaeologist. Born in New York in 1824, Francis Eliza Babbitt taught in Little Falls and was acclaimed for her studies of paleolithic quartz implements that were discovered along the Mississippi River near Little Falls. Her scholarly papers appeared in national publications. Babbitt had a collection of several thousand quartz pieces from the Little Falls area, a collection that was later disposed of by a relative.
Z. N. Barnes (1859-1943). Businessman. Zueingles Norris (Z. N.) Barnes was born in Wisconsin to (William) Wallace and Olive (Nettleson) Barnes. In 1884, Z. N. married Mary Brown of Wisconsin. Z. N. and Mary had one child, Mildred Wanda. Z. N. came to Little Falls in 1895 to work for the Pine Tree Lumber Company (PTLCo.) and spent many years as a lumber salesman. In 1907, Z. N. was one of three employees of the PTLCo. who incorporated the Morrison County Lumber Company, a retail lumber and wood business. Z. N. served as president until 1920, when he resigned as manager. The next year, Z. N. opened a fuel business in Little Falls, selling wood and coal to local residents. In 1928, he sold the business to Lampert Bros. Lumber Company of Little Falls. Z. N. was also an amateur photographer and owned one of the first automobiles in Morrison County.
Arthur P. Blanchard (1862-1907). Lawyer. Arthur Palmer Blanchard was born in Zumbrota, Minnesota. In 1884, Blanchard was admitted to the bar in the state of Illinois. By March of 1887 he had moved to Little Falls, where he worked with Crawford Sheldon in the firm of Blanchard & Crawford. When the firm dissolved, he went to Ft. Madison, Iowa, for a short time. After returning to Little Falls, he became a partner with Charles A. Lindbergh. Lindbergh and Blanchard were partners from 1893 until 1906. Blanchard served as the City Attorney for Little Falls, was the President of the local Commercial Club and was a member of library board. At the time of his death, he was the local attorney for the Northern Pacific railroad. Blanchard married Jenny Lind Brown in 1906. Blanchard had two children from a former marriage – Mary and Margaret.
Jenny Lind Brown Blanchard (1873-1965) – Jenny Lind Brown was a teacher. She came to Little Falls from Pennsylvania at the behest of her brother, L.D. Brown, who owned a drugstore in Little Falls. L.D.’s first wife had died in childbirth, leaving L.D. a daughter named Gladys to raise. Jenny took on this task and then became a teacher in Little Falls. In 1906 she married Arthur Palmer Blanchard, an attorney who was partners with Charles Lindbergh, Sr. In 1909 or 1910, Jenny became the librarian at the Carnegie Library in Little Falls, a position she held until 1933. During her tenure, she expanded the library’s services, including adding a children’s room. She “served as president of the Minnesota State Library association, helped organize and was president for two years of the Lake Region library club.” (LFDT, March 1958) Jenny was also involved with the Musical Art Club, establishing the literary section of the organization and serving as president from 1918 to 1925.
Duane Bobick (b.1950). Boxer. Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, Duane Bobick grew up in Bowlus, Minnesota, and attended three years of high school in Little Falls. Bobick started his boxing career with the Little Falls Golden Gloves boxing team. In 1971 he won the Pan American Games Heavyweight title and in 1972 he was the heavyweight Golden Gloves champion. Bobick was a member of the 1972 United States Olympic Boxing Team in Munich, Germany. Bobick currently serves as a Little Falls City Councilman.
Carl Bolander (1867-1944) – Carpenter/building contractor, real estate dealer. Born in Sweden, came to the United States in 1892, settled in Chicago. Arrived in Little Falls, Minnesota, a year later. Friend and business associate of Charles A. Lindbergh, Sr., looking after Lindbergh’s real estate interests. Got involved with real estate himself. Built the West Hotel, the Engstrom building, and the L. Pancratz building in Little Falls. Was a notary public for 50 years. Served on the school board, as an alderman on the Little Falls City Council, and on the public works board. Platted the Oakland Cemetery in Little Falls and was secretary of the Oakland Cemetery Association for 30 years.
Axel Borgstrom (1888-1995) – Axel Borgstrom was a defining citizen of the community of Upsala. He was born in Sweden and came with his family to the United States when he was five years old. He married Carrie Johnson in 1914. That same year, he began working as a cashier at Farmers’ Bank of Upsala. He eventually became a director of the bank. He owned a variety of businesses in the community, including a confectionery, a car dealership, and a funeral home. He and his wife also had a millenery. When the couple was in their 90s, they built a new house. This they eventually donated to the Upsala Historical Society. Carrie lived to be 101 and Axel lived to be 106.
Johan Svante “John S.” Borgstrom (1861-1933) – Father of Axel Borgstrom. John was born in Sweden, married Anna Martinson in 1886, and moved his family to the United States in 1893. He bought 80 acres in Elmdale Township, portions of which he used for a bank, a confectionery, a lumber yard, a hardware store and a furniture store. He gave land for a school. He purchased an additional 60 acres and had it platted as the Upsala town site. John started out as a photographer, having photo galleries in Upsala, Swanville, Burtrum, Brey Eagle and Holdingford. He served as a director of the People’s State Bank of Swanville and was Vice President of Farmers’ State Bank of Upsala. He was postmaster of Upsala for 9 years and served as the treasurer of Elmdale Township, and later was the Upsala village treasurer.
Elizabeth Bovy. Photographer. Elizabeth Bovy worked in Little Falls as a professional photographer during the early part of the twentieth century, first at Nelson’s Photo Studio and later with her own establishment. According to an article in the 6 June 1921 issue of the Little Falls Daily Transcript, “(work) was begun this morning on the new studio of Miss Elizabeth Bovey. Miss Bovey has rented the Oftedahl photograph studio and will open parlors as soon as the remodeling is finished.” The Oftedahl studio was located at 112 First Street Northeast in downtown Little Falls. In 1926, Bovy was elected treasurer of the Minnesota Photographers Association (Little Falls Daily Transcript, 10 May 1926). Many of her photographs appear in the 1926 Little Falls High School yearbook.
The Brick Manufacturers: Upon walking through downtown Little Falls, Minnesota, one of the striking things one notices about the buildings is that so many of them are constructed of a distinctive yellow (also referred to as “cream” colored) brick. This brick was produced from local clay that was found on the western outskirts of town. Several brick manufacturers operated in this area from about 1882 through approximately 1915. Martin Scott opened the first brickyard near Little Falls in 1882 and was in partnership with C. A. Sprandel for a time. Odilon Duclos operated the Duclos Brick Factory. Supposedly, in 1867, the year “he became a resident of Little Falls,” he “made the first brick ever moulded in Stearns County.” (Northwest Magazine, November 1892) In approximately 1884, he started his brickyard in Little Falls. The Minnesota Brick Company of Little Falls was owned and operated by E. Rothwell, in partnership with various others, including M. Dargis. Martin Scott’s brickyard could put out 3,000,000 bricks per year on its own. Not only was there a demand for brick for local buildings, but customers nationwide ordered Little Falls yellow brick for their buildings. It was used in the construction of the Northern Pacific Railroad shops near Lake Como in St. Paul, for the Hotel Euclid, in West Superior, the Stees Brother’s buildings in St. Paul, and a Northern Pacific Railroad roundhouse in Glendive, Montana. (Northwest Magazine, October 1891 & November 1892)
Simon P. Brick (1862-1950) – Born in Canada. Came to Little Falls in 1885. Worked as a bookkeeper and salesman for the Little falls brewery for three and a half years. He was appointed Deputy County Auditor at that time, serving for 8 years in this position. He then served five years as the elected City Clerk of Little Falls. He worked in the field of insurance for a number of years and then was elected to the position of Clerk of the Morrison County Court, to which he was re-elected 4 times. He resigned as Clerk of Court in 1913 to become postmaster of Little Falls. In 1912, he was elected Mayor of Little Falls and served in this capacity for a one-year term.
Cliff Buck (1914-1985). Businessman. Clifford R. Buck was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Edwin F. and Florence Buck. In the 1930s, Buck opened The White Elephant Store in Little Falls. In the 1940s, he opened the C. Buck Furniture Store on West Broadway. After retiring as owner and operator of the business in 1962, he started work as a real estate agent with C. Buck Realty in Little Falls, retiring in the mid-1970s. Buck also served as constable for the City of Little Falls. Buck married Marjorie Patience of Little Falls in 1947. Cliff and Marjorie had two children – Joanie and Jack.
C. B. Buckman – Clarence Buckman had a large farm in Buckman Township, which is named for him. According to a sketch given by his son Mark in Harold Fisher’s book, “The Land Called Morrison,” Buckman “was elected Justice of the Peace in 1873. In 1881 he was elected to the [State] House and in 1883 was elected to the State Senate, where he served three terms. He served two terms in [the U.S.] Congress, and became a Deputy U. S. Marshall.”
Rev. Joseph Buh (1833-1922). Missionary. Joseph Francis Buh was born in the village of Lucnje, Krain, Austria. He was ordained in his home country in 1858 and came to the United States in 1864. In the summer of 1865 he was placed in charge of the settlement at Belle Prairie, Minnesota, and covered a large territory that included Morrison, Todd, Mille Lacs and Crow Wing counties. Buh Township in Morrison County was named after Rev. Buh. According to a Little Falls Daily Transcript article from 9 July 1895 regarding county board proceedings:
The board created a new town out township 41, north of range 30 west, in accordance with the wishes of a majority of the legal voters therein: The town was named “Buh” in honor of the venerable priest who is now vicar general of the diocese of Duluth….The new town lies directly west of Belle Prairie.
Barney Burton (1867-1942) – Little Falls businessman. At the age of nineteen, Barney Burton moved the clothing business he had established with his brother in St. Cloud, Minnesota, to Little Falls. After their partnership was dissolved in 1891, Burton’s business grew to be one of the largest clothing firms in central Minnesota with branches in Brainerd, Bemidji, International Falls, Pierz and Pine River. In 1920, Burton sold his business and moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he established a wholesale business. Two years later he returned to Little Falls and once again entered the clothing business. Burton was also a pioneer in the automobile business in Morrison County. Orignally an agent for Nash, Burton also sold for Chevrolet and Oldsmobile.
W. E. Christnagel (1895-1985). Photographer. Wellington Edwin Christnagel was born in Champion, Michigan, to Jacob and Elma Florence Elizabeth Mills Christnagel. Christnagel served in the United States Navy during World War I. In 1927 he went to work for the Minnesota Power & Light Company (MPL) in Duluth, Minnesota. Two years later he married Mille Evans (Mildred Gertrude Evans). The Christnagel’s had two children, Irving and Lois. Late in 1929, Christnagel was transferred to the Little Falls division of MPL where he worked as Large Power Meterman until his retirement in 1960. After retirement, Christnagel focused on his passion for photography, documenting many scenes throughout the county until his death in 1985. The Christnagel’s had two children, Irving and Lois.
Arvid Christopherson (1916-1977). School Principal. Arvid Winfred Christopherson was born in Galchutt, North Dakota, to Chris and Anna Christopherson. In 1951, he came to Little Falls to be the principal at the newly-built Lindbergh Elementary School. Christopherson was principal of the school for twenty-six years. Christopherson served on the Carnegie Library Board, the District Parent-Teachers Association and had the honor of a life membership in the National Congress of Parents and Teachers. He was commemorated in 1979 by sculptor, Tad Jensen, with a work that shows Principal Christopherson surrounded by a group of school children. Christopherson and his wife, Merced Hellickson, had five children – Jeffrey, Gary, Alan, Peter and Jill.
Alexander Rae Davidson (1855-1922) – Born in Canada. Alexander and Andrew were the sons of William and Christina (McRae) Davidson. Alexander first worked with the railroad (as did Andrew) as a station agent. He established the Bank of Little Falls in 1887 with his brothers, and then First National Bank in 1889. He was cashier of First National Bank until around 1907, then became president of the bank. Alexander was also president of many other banks around Minnesota. Locally, he helped organize Farmers and Merchants State Bank of Pierz, Randall State Bank, and Farmers and Merchants State Bank of Royalton and served as president of the first two. He and his brother Andrew, along with their cousin Alexander Duncan McRae, purchased the Little Falls Granite Company.
Colonel Andrew D. Davidson (1853-1916) – Born in Canada, came to Minnesota in 1877 and Little Falls in c. 1893. He lived in Little Falls for approximately 10 years and served one term as mayor of the city. With his brothers, Alexander Rae Davidson and William Davidson, he founded the First National Bank in Little Falls in 1889. Prior to this, he and his brothers had opened the Bank of Little Falls in 1887 in the Trebby building. Andrew Davidson served as president of the First National Bank. He was a partner in the Davidson & McRae real estate firm and a general agent for the land department of the Canadian Northern Railroad. He gained the title “Colonel” from a Minnesota governor “for services rendered to his community and the state of Minnesota.” (pg. 18, Merchant Prince: The Story of Alexander Duncan McRae by Betty O’Keefe & Ian Macdonald, 2001) Andrew’s story is much bigger than this and entwined with that of his brother . . . .
With the Davidson family’s background in the railroad, banking and land deals, and ties to Canada, by 1903, they were involved in negotiations to purchase a huge amount of land in Canada for colonization purposes. In May of that year, it was announced that the Davidsons (with their cousin Alexander D. McRae) had been given the entire land grant of the Canadian Northern Railroad, which consisted of 23,000,000 acres in central and northern Canada. At that point, it had been the largest private land deal ever made in North America. (LFDT, May 11, 1903) The Davidsons and McRae then proceeded to develop that land and get settlers to take up residence there.
DeZurik Sisters – Carolyn and Mary Jane DeZurik of Royalton, Minnesota, formed a singing group known first as The DeZurik Sisters and a bit later as the Cackle Sisters in the 1930s. They became radio stars after being discovered at the Morrison County Fair in 1936. They performed on the Chicago Barn Dance show. In 1937, Purina named them the Cackle Sisters and had them perform on another radio show the company sponsored. They performed at the Grand Ole Opry. In the 1940s, after Mary Jane had children, Carolyn went solo, performing with Sonja Henie’s ice show, then with KSTP’s Sunset Valley Barn Dance in St. Paul, MN. Carolyn later became part of the nationally-known group Polka-Go-Round with her husband, Rusty Gill. She appeared on the ABC-TV polka series, “It’s Polka Time.” The DeZurik Sisters were known for their unique yodelling sound and their ability to mimic birds and other animals.
Louise Erdrich (b.1954). Author. Born Karen Louise Erdrich in Little Falls, Minnesota, Louise Erdrich grew up in North Dakota. Her books often contain Native American themes. Titles include Love Medicine, The Beet Queen, Tracks, The Bingo Palace and The Master Butchers Singing Club. Erdrich’s mother was Ojibway-French. Her grandparents operated a butcher shop in Little Falls.
Franklin Pierce Farrow (1857-1918) – His family came to the Morrison County area in 1855, prior to the county being formed. The family moved to St. Anthony for a time, but later returned to Morrison County. He purchased his own farm in Two Rivers Township, Morrison County, around the time of his marriage (1877). He sold this farm after four years and opened the first butcher shop in Royalton, MN. Four and a half years later, he bought a meat market in Little Falls and ran it for just over seven years. He built the Columbia Hotel in Little Falls. He was appointed chief of police during Isaac Staples’ term as Mayor of Little Falls. He later operated a livery barn. He purchased the third car in the county, a chain-drive Reo, in 1907 and in 1908, he purchased a garage. He became an agent for Chevrolet and Maxwell cars and operated a truck line between Little Falls and Pierz.
Andrew Fenn (1862-1927?) – Born in Kentucky. Moved to Minnesota when he was 15. Worked for several railroad companies. Moved to Little Falls in 1893 and was in the land business for two years. Elected City Engineer a couple of years later. Held the office for six years, until 1900, then was elected as Morrison County Surveyor. Held this position for ten years, then resigned in order to take a position as the District Engineer for the State Highway Commission.
James Fergus – Partner with William Sturgis and Calvin Tuttle in the Little Falls Manufacturing Company. One of the company’s goals was to form the town of Little Falls. It also built the second dam for the city. The city of Fergus Falls in Otter Tail County is named for him. Fergus moved to Montana during the 1860s gold rush.
Pamelia Fergus (1824-1887). Gold Rush widow. Pamelia Dillin, who was born in upstate New York, married James Fergus in Moline, Illinois, in 1845. In the spring of 1855, she moved with her husband from St. Anthony to Little Falls, Minnesota. When James went off to the gold rush in Colorado one year later, Pamelia was left behind with their children, three daughters and one son, and a list of instructions on how to manage her husband’s business, the Little Falls Manufacturing Company. Pamelia and the other women of Little Falls banded together to help each other while their husbands were out west. They called themselves “widows” because their husbands were gone for so long. James came back from Colorado in 1861 and then left for Montana the next year. Pamelia left Little Falls on 22 February 1864 and moved to Montana where she operated a stage station with her husband.
Dr. Kenneth J. Flolid (January 31, 1926-May 30, 1982) – Lifelong resident of Little Falls, the son of Dr. John H. and Alice Flolid. Served as Mayor of Little Falls from 1958 to 1978. During his tenure as Mayor, he led many changes in city operations, including the move of City Hall into the water treatment plant (the current location of City Hall.) “He is also credited with preventing substantial property losses during the 1972 floods, when he made the decision to cut through a section of Highway 371 to allow the flood waters of Fletcher Creek to flow through to the river on the northeast side of the city.” (Little Falls Daily Transcript, June 1, 1982)
Isabel Flood (1859-1941) – Isabel (Cox) Flood came to Swanville, MN, in 1884. She taught school in Swanville until 1918. She and her husband Edwin A. Flood ran a mercantile business. Isabel “was one of three women instrumental in bringing a Baptist minister to Swanville to conduct the first religious service held in the village.” (LF Herald, Nov. 7, 1941) Her greatest distinction, however, was earned through becoming the first elected female mayor in Morrison County. She served for three terms as Swanville’s mayor.
Joanne Gibson Fluke (c.1943-). Writer. Joanne Gibson Fluke was born to O. C. (Olicer) “Clifford” and Esther (Kaun) Gibson of Swanville. Joanne’s father owned and operated the Gibson Funeral Home in Swanville. A popular mystery writer, Joanne has also written suspense novels, humorous nonfiction and romance. Her various pen names include Kathryn Kirkwood, R. J. Fischer, Gina Jackson, Joanne Fluke, Jo Gibson, Chris Hunter and John Fischer. Her many published books include The Stepchild (1980), Video Kill (1989) and the popular Hannah Swensen mysteries (i.e. Lemon Meringue Pie Murder, Blueberry Muffin Murder). Joanne’s husband, Ruel E. Fischmann, is a television writer who taught philosophy at St. Cloud State University from 1968 until 1984. Joanne and Ruel have five children.
Walter Folsom (1863-1954) – According to his obituary in the Little Falls Daily Transcript, Walter Folsom was “one of the pioneer music men in Minnesota” and “a talented and versatile musician.” (LFDT, December 4, 1954) He organized bands in Wadena, Detroit Lakes, Perham, Verndale and Little Falls. In 1898, he founded Folsom Music Company in Little Falls, operating it in several downtown locations until 1923. In 1921, he opened a music store in Brainerd, MN. He taught lessons in violin, cornet, and piano.
Charles A. Fortier (1901-1976) – Judge. Charles Fortier became an attorney in 1927. In 1928, he served one term as mayor of Little Falls. From 1931 to 1951, he served as the City Attorney. In 1957, he was appointed probate judge and then was elected to the office in 1960 and 1966. He retired as probate and juvenile judge in 1971.
Dr. G. M. A. Fortier I (1857-1926) – Physician and surgeon. George Marie Alma Fortier I came to Little Falls in 1881and set up his medical practice. Fortier served in various public offices in Morrison County. He was elected twice to the Little Falls City Council (1887 and 1889), was elected mayor of Little Falls in 1914, served as the city physician and was a member of the Board of Health. Fortier also served as a United States pension examiner and a United States marine examiner.
Dr. G. M. A. Fortier II (1903-1988) – Physician and surgeon. Named for his father, Dr. George Marie Alma Fortier I. Started practicing medicine in 1929, practiced medicine for 45 years, 41 of which were spent in Little Falls, MN. He had the Little Falls Clinic built in 1945 and practiced medicine there until he retired in 1974. Was a past director of the Chamber of Commerce and also helped to organize Winter Wonderland.
Dr. G.M.A. Fortier III (1936-1998) – By now you’ve got to be wondering how many Dr. G.M.A. Fortiers are going to make this list. There is one more Dr. Fortier following this one, plus a G.M.A. Fortier V, who just did quite well on the golf course, but we’ll leave them for a future list. Dr. G.M.A. Fortier III, like his father and grandfather, was a physician and surgeon. He expanded the Little Falls clinic and recruited medical specialists to the area. In addition, he developed a surgical outreach program for smaller communities in central Minnesota. Dr. Fortier III was also an airplane pilot and Chairman of the Morrison County Airport Commission for over 20 years, working to improve the facility. He died on June 1, 1998, when the plane he was flying crashed near the Morrison County Airport.
Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, MN – (1891 – present) – The Franciscan Sisters first made their appearance in Morrison County in 1872, when Mother Mary Ignatius of Jesus was sent to start a mission in Belle Prairie. She led the construction of a convent and boarding school and recruited local women to the Sisterhood. She and the Sisters established the Institute of the Missionary Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception. In 1889, as a result of arson, the convent and school were destroyed by fire. The Sisters decided to move in to Little Falls, where they constructed a Mother House and founded the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception in 1891. The Franciscan Sisters were responsible for starting many community services, including St. Gabriel’s Hospital, St. Otto’s Home, an orphanage, a music center, and a girls’ high school. The Franciscan Sisters continue to be a vital part of the community to this day.
Clara Fuller – Following the death of her husband, Wheaton M. Fuller, who had been the editor of the Little Falls Daily Transcript for 27 years, Clara became editor of the paper and president of the Transcript Publishing Company, which her husband had founded. (Sounds like I need to add Wheaton Fuller to the list, doesn’t it?) What we know Clara for, more so than her role with the Transcript, is for a two-volume set of books called the “History of Morrison and Todd Counties, Minnesota,” which was published in 1915. These two volumes, one of general histories, the other of local biographies, are indespensible in providing an overall look at the history of Morrison County.
Wheaton M. Fuller (1862-1908) – This was the freebie from last week because I mentioned some of his accomplishments in the description for his wife Clara. To recap for those of you just tuning in: Wheaton Fuller purchased the Little Falls Transcript at the age of 19 (c. 1881) and ran it for 27 years (until his death). “In 1892 he organized the Transcript Publishing company and began publication of the Daily Transcript.” (LFDT, Oct. 31, 1908) Prior to this, the Transcript had been a weekly publication. In addition to his work with the newspaper, Wheaton “served one term in the lower house of the state legislature and one term in the state senate.” ((LFDT, Oct. 31, 1908). He died at the age of 46, at which time his wife took over the operation of the newspaper.
Frank Gessell – Morrison County, Minnesota, is known for turkey production, ranking second in the state in 1999, with 5,497,442 birds produced. (Morrison County Record, November 20, 2002) The Gessell family of Swanville, MN, is one of the families involved with turkey farming. In 1998, Frank Gessell, then Chairman of the National Turkey Federation, presented President Bill Clinton with a turkey to be pardoned. (Morrison County Record, December 6, 1998)
Cass Gilbert – St. Paul-based architect, Cass Gilbert, designed the Northern Pacific Depot in Little Falls. The depot, which was built in 1899, was one of Gilbert’s last works in Minnesota before he moved east to New York City. A pioneering American architect best known for his skyscrapers (i.e. Woolworth building), Gilbert designed a wide variety of structures, including the Minnesota State Capitol. A mix of Shingle and American Craftsman styles, the depot in Little Falls attained National Register of Historic Places status in 1985.
Gale Gillingham (1944-2011). Football player. Born in Madison, Wisconsin, Gale Gillingham moved with his family to Little Falls when he was a junior in high school. In 1966, Gillingham was the first-round draft pick for the Wisconsin Green Bay Packers. He played with this team for ten years and earned two Super Bowl rings. Gillingham owned Goedker Realty in Little Falls.
Thomas C. Gordon (1866-1923) – Businessman. Born in Wales. Came to the United States when he was 21, arriving in New York City and moving directly to Minnesota. In 1887, he started working for the Little Falls Water Company in St. Paul, but was transferred to Little Falls within a month. Gordon served as an assistant to the engineer and kept the books for the company. In 1889, he became the Secretary/Treasurer. In 1903, he became the General Manager of the company, which operated the dam in Little Falls. In 1888, he started the Gordon Lumber Company in Little Falls, running it for 3 years. In 1890, he formed the Peoples Ice Company, and ran it for 12 years. Also in 1890 he organized the Little Falls Building and Loan Association and served as its Secretary and Treasurer. He was Secretary of the Little Falls Milling Company from 1890 to 1894 and also served as Secretary of the Little Falls Electric and Water Company. He helped form the Morrison County Electric Light, Heat and Power Company and Pike Rapids Hydro Electric Company. In 1918, he got out of the water power business and started the Gordon Motor Company with his sons Warren and Harker.
Hans Henry Gosch (1865-1933) – Who hasn’t heard of Gosch’s grocery store in Randall, Minnesota? Hans Henry (his father was Hans, as well) was one of those do-everything kind of guys. In 1901/02 he started Gosch’s grocery store – a business which continues to operate to this day, albeit in a different building from the original. According to Hans’ daughter Maryellen (Gosch) Hughes, Hans “taught himself photography, became the village (Randall) photographer.” Along with these occupations, Hans also invented a road drag, a device to smooth rough dirt roads. He had the invention patented in 1921 in Canada.
Charles Gravel, Sr. (1844-1922). Businessman. Charles Gravel Sr. was born in Montreal, Canada, to Maxime and Rose (Dugal) Gravel. In 1873 he married Mary Louise Braun. Charles and Mary had nine children – Sophie, Charles, Frederick, Eugene, Clarisse/Clarice, Mayme, George, Louis and Mary. Gravel operated a drug store, a general mercantile store and built houses in Little Falls until 1870 when he moved to Brainerd, Minnesota. In Brainerd, Gravel built culverts and bridges for the Northern Pacific railroad for two years. After moving back to Little Falls, he operated a stage line between St. Cloud and Brainerd, carrying mail and passengers until the Northern Pacific railway was completed in 1876. Gravel built a flour mill at Gravelville in Belle Prairie Township with F. X. Goulet. The mill was in operation from 1876 until 1905, when he sold the mill and built a new one at Pierz, Minnesota. Gravel also built a saw and grist mill with his brother, Narcisse, on the Platte River in Belle Prairie, nine miles northeast of Little Falls. This mill was in operation for about a decade. Gravelville is named for Charles Gravel, Sr. In 1879, Nathan Richardson described Gravel as the original owner of the village of Gravelville. Gravel moved to Onamia, Minnesota, several years before his death.
-Captain Napolean Jackson Tecumseh Dana
-Henry M. Rice
-Captain John Blair Smith Todd
These men were all partners in building the first dam and sawmill at the “small falls” in Little Falls in 1849. The waterfall was located where the current Little Falls dam is now located. The first dam is often called the James Green dam. From what we can gather of the historical record, James Green was the sweat equity for the dam and sawmill. He was the on-site man in charge of operations. The other men in the partnership were primarily investors in the project, but some of them had ulterior motives.
Henry M. Rice, who was behind a number of large early Minnesota projects, was a major player in a treaty that established a Winnebago Indian reservation on the west side of the Mississippi River in central Minnesota. The reservation was bordered by the Long Prairie, Crow Wing, Watab and Mississippi Rivers. The Winnebago were moved into this area from Iowa. The Winnebago were brought in to serve as a buffer between the warring Ojibwe and Dakota Indians. Because the Winnebago didn’t appreciate being in the middle of things, a fort was planned to offer them some protection.
The construction of the fort was probably the primary motive for the dam and sawmill. Captains Todd and Dana, on the list of Influentials, were military officers who were stationed in this area. Captain Todd, for whom Todd County was named, was the first commander of the fort, which was originally called Fort Gaines, but soon became Fort Ripley. Captain Todd later became governor of Dakota Territory (1869-1871). Captain Dana later served as a Brigadier General during the Civil War.
Other than being a co-partner and investor in the dam and sawmill project, little is known about how else John Irvine contributed to the Morrison County area. He did, however, plat the Irvine Park neighborhood in St. Paul in 1849, along with Henry Rice.
Austin Grimes (1901-1955). Attorney, Mayor. Austin L. Grimes was born in Little Falls to Austin and Theresa (Johnston) Grimes. Grimes served with the Sixth Marines during World War I. In 1927 Grimes married Kathryn Mary Kenna of St. Paul, Minnesota. Austin and Kathryn had four children – Donald, Richard, Philip and John. Grimes served as mayor of Little Falls in 1927 and 1928 and as Morrison County attorney from 1931 to 1942. He was acting county attorney during World War II while Morrison County attorney Attell Felix was in service.
Gordon Guy (1915-2006). Photographer. Born in St. Cloud to Colie and Naomi Guy, Gordon Guy worked as a professional photographer in Morrison County for many years. Guy leased Frank A. Nelson’s photo studio in 1936 and established Gordon Guy Photography. Ten years later, he purchased the building, also using the structure as a combined business and residence. In 1940, Gordon Guy married Virginia (Bunny) Rosenberger. The Guy’s had four children, Tom, Joannie, Bill, Ellen.
Ben Hanowski – Hockey player, set the all-time career scoring record for high school hockey with a total of 405 goals during the 2008/2009 season.
Alonzo D. Harrison (1857-1922) – Contractor. A.D. Harrison was born in Maine and came to Minnesota in the early 1880s, settling first in Minneapolis and shortly thereafter, moving to Little Falls. He was responsible for building many of the large, notable structures in the city.
Among some of his first contracts were the old dam, Antler’s hotel, Buckman hotel, Major Morrill home at Little Elk, and the first four schools. In partnership with Jerome McCusker he built the Broadway bridge over the Mississippi in 1902 and the library in 1904. In 1903, the firm of Harrison & Peterson laid the first paving in the city, a stretch on Broadway. For four or five years he engaged in county ditching, putting in 19 complete ditches in the county. The Harrison & Peterson building, now the K. C. Home building, was erected in 1910. Among the business blocks which he built were the Golden Rule, Joslin block and Sprandel block. The academy at Belle Prairie was also built by him, as was the hospital at Breckenridge. The [Little Falls] city hall* is probably one of the oldest of his works. (Little Falls Daily Transcript, December 2, 1922)
As if that’s not enough to make you thoroughly exhausted, Harrison also built the Charles Weyerhaeuser and Richard Drew Musser homes that were designed by architect Clarence H. Johnston.
*(The City Hall referenced here was the old Little Falls City Hall that was located near the Buckman Hotel, not the current City Hall.)
George Harting. Artist and photographer. George Harting was born in 1877 in Little Falls, Minnesota, where his parents owned the Harting & Sons Furniture Store. In 1890, Harting & Sons was chosen to oversee the building of the Little Falls City Hall. George attended the Minneapolis Art School in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and was known for his skill at drawing. His illustrations appeared in the following national magazines: Vogue, Harper’s Weekly, Life, Broadway Magazine, The Circle Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, The Woman’s Home Companion, House & Garden, and Browning’s Magazine. His photographs appeared in Camera Craft, a highly influential photography publication. Brother of Lloyd Harting.
Lloyd Harting. Artist. Born in Little Falls, Minnesota, in 1901, Lloyd Harting was one of the Art Directors on the Disney cartoon, Bambi. Lloyd worked for the advertising agency, Brown & Bigelow, and for 20th Century Fox Film Co. Studio. Brother of George Harting.
Philip Hartmann (1869-1949). Businessman. Philip A. (P.A.) Hartmann was born in Scott County, Minnesota, to Valentine and Rosalia Hartmann. In 1895 Hartmann moved to Pierz, Minnesota, and opened a hardware, harness and grocery business with Jacob Neisius. After the partnership dissolved a year later, Hartmann established his own grocery and hardware store. In 1896 Hartmann married Margaret Hennen. Philip and Margaret had four children – Alexander, Herbert, Reinhart and Leo. After Margaret died in 1904, Hartmann married Margaret’s sister, Elizabeth. Philip and Elizabeth had nine children – Alphonse, Delores, Clarence, Leander, Margaret, Roman, Lavina, Lorraine and Louella. Hartmann was assistant postmaster for Pierz from 1899 until 1914 and was the chief president of the Pierz German State Bank.
Elizabeth Hayes (Mother Mary Ignatius of Jesus) – Franciscan nun who started the Institute of the Missionary Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception in Belle Prairie c. 1872. Also started St. Anthony’s Academy in 1873. After her convent burned in 1889, some of the Sisters started the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception in Little Falls.
Chief Hole in the Day I (Pugona-geshig) – Objiwe chief and warrior – He played a pivotal role in the Governor Lewis B. Cass expedition of 1820. Pugona-geshig and his brother Songa-cumig inherited the role of chief from their father in 1825 after he died following the signing of the Prairie du Chien peace treaty. Pugona-geshig was chief of a north-central area in Minnesota, including Gull Lake and the Morrison County area. As chief, Pugona-geshig was involved with the signing of several treaties. He died in 1847 near Royalton, MN, while on a return trip from a meeting with government officials at Prairie du Chien. His final resting place is on the bluff north of Little Falls.
Chief Hole in the Day II (Kwi-wi-sens) – Kwi-wi-sens was the son of Pugona-geshig and inherited the position of Ojibwe chief upon his father’s death. Like Pugona-geshig, Kwi-wi-sens was involved with several treaty negotiations. He was considered to be a great orator, another trait he shared with his father. During treaty negotiations to establish Ojibwe reservations, he tried to convince the U.S. government to grant citizenship to the Ojibwe. Unfortunately, he also worked to keep metis, or mixed-blood, Indians off the White Earth Reservation, which created ill will in the Ojibwe community. Kwi-wi-sens also attempted to mount his own uprising against European/American settlers in central Minnesota in August of 1862, in concert with Chief Little Crow’s Sioux Uprising in southern Minnesota. His efforts were blocked by several people, including a group from his own tribe. Kwi-wi-sens was shot in 1868 by members of his tribe because of some of his controversial activities.
Alex Huddleston (1882 – 1958) – Alex Huddleston came to Little Falls, MN, in 1945 and served as the Executive Secretary of the Little Falls Chamber of Commerce. Following Val Kasparek’s death, in 1952, Huddleston became curator and secretary of the Morrison County Historical Society, revitalizing the organization. He served as secretary and curator until his death and during his tenure was instrumental in increasing the collections of the Society.
Clarence Johnston (1859-1936) – American architect who designed the Weyerhaeuser and Musser homes in Little Falls. Other buildings designed by Johnston include several on the various University of Minnesota campuses (St. Paul, Minneapolis, Morris and Duluth), the Minnesota State Fair Grandstand, the Glensheen Historic Estate in Duluth, and the St. Paul Central High School. Johnston held the title of Minnesota State Architect for thirty years and was the favored architect for the upper-class of St. Paul, Minnesota. According to Paul Clifford Larson in his book, Minnesota Architect: The Life and Work of Clarence H. Johnston, forty-two of his designs line Summit Avenue in St. Paul.
Gustav Valdemar “G.W.” Karlsson (October 16, 1880-?) – Founder of the Little Falls Granite Works in 1911. This business continues on to this day, just shy of 100 years of operation.
Valentine Kasparek ( 1871-1951) – From 1904 to 1925, Val Kasparek ran a clothing store in Little Falls, MN. In 1914, he placed the original animals and birds at Pine Grove Park/Zoo. In 1918, he assisted in founding Memorial Park in Little Falls. All of that is good, important work, but we find Val influential for another reason. He helped to organize the Morrison County Historical Society in 1936 and was first president and curator of the organization, which made its home in the basement of the Morrison County courthouse. Val was also in charge of the W.P.A. Biography project that served as the basis of our Family Files here at the museum.
Elliot Kidder (1831-1911). Politician, Businessman. Elliot Joslin Kidder was born in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, to John and Lidia/Lydia Kidder. At the age of six, Kidder moved to Iowa City, Iowa, with his family. In 1853, he came to Little Falls with his father and opened a store. The store was operated by Kidder until the summer of 1864. Kidder remained in the then village of Little Falls until 1877, when he moved to a farm south of the city. Kidder was one of the first county commissioners of Morrison County and held several local offices. Elliot married Mathilda Trimble on 25 December 1853 in Iowa City, Iowa. Elliot and Mathilda had nine children, six of whom survived – Lydia, John, Carrie, Jeanette, Irene and Viola.
Jacob Kiewel (1846-1928) – Jacob Kiewel was known for beer. In 1893, he bought a small brewery in Little Falls from Rudolph Koch and renovated and expanded it. The brewery was a family affair and the family also owned a brewery in Crookston, Minnesota. Together, these businesses were incorporated under the name “Jacob Kiewel Brewing Company.” The Little Falls brewery produced White Rose Beer and the Crookston plant made White Seal Beer. During Prohibition, the Kiewels produced ice cream and dairy products at their breweries. After Jacob’s death in 1928, his sons took over the business, which operated in Little Falls until 1959.
Mary Kiffmeyer (b. 1946) – Politician. Raised in Pierz, Minnesota. Graduated from Pierz High School, and from St. Gabriel’s School of Nursing with an RN degree. Elected as the 20th Minnesota Secretary of State in November 1998. Was re-elected to the office the following term and served through 2006. She was recently elected to the House of Representatives to serve the people of District 16B. Her term of office is from 2009 to 2001. Kiffmeyer has her own Wikipedia page, plus a number of other online references.
Dr. Samuel Graham Knight (1869-1954) – Physician. Born in Canada. Graduated from the University of Toronto Medical School in 1907. Came to Randall in 1912 and operated a medical practice, making house calls using his horse and buggy. He also had a drug store with his medical practice. Dr. Knight was president of the Randall village council, served on the Randall school board, the Boy Scout board, and the Morrison County Medical Association. He was a president of Randall State Bank. He retired from practicing medicine in 1949. In 1960, the community of Randall dedicated its new school to Dr. S. G. Knight.
Austin F. Koslosky (1871-1953). Businessman. Austin F. Koslosky was born in Poland to Martin and Pauline (Kowalewski) Kozlowski. The family moved to the United States in 1873, settling in Carver County, Minnesota. In 1898, Koslosky came to Little Falls and worked at the St. Paul Store until 1903, when he became manager of The Emporium in Royalton, Minnesota. In 1904, Koslosky moved back to Little Falls and organized the Victor Clothing company. Koslosky operated the business until 1931, when he turned management over to his son, Oswald. Koslosky remained in the business until his retirement in 1951. Koslosky was a member of the Little Falls School board from 1920 until 1936, served on the Little Falls City Council for three terms and was a member of the Morrison County Agricultural Association. Koslosky served on the board of directors of the First National Bank and was president of the Morrison County chapter of the American Red Cross from 1917 until 1926. He was also one of the incorporators of the Black Granite Company and the Northland Shoe Factory and helped to locate the Garment Works in Little Falls. Koslosky married Caroline Masog in Little Falls in 1900. Austin and Caroline had four children – Oswald, Loretta, Ione and Mildred.
Father Kost (1918-2000). Harold Joseph Kost was born in St. Cloud, Minnesota, to Louis and Anna Ellen (Tracy) Kost. Kost attended St. John’s Seminary in Collegeville, Minnesota, and was ordained by Most Reverend Joseph E. Busch at the Cathedral of St. Mary in St. Cloud on 2 September 1945. Kost served in Morrison County as the pastor of St. James Church in Randall, Minnesota, from July 1950 until October 1957 and as pastor of Holy Family Church in Belle Prairie, Minnesota, from July 1974 until his death. In 1997, the Little Falls Exchange Club awarded Kost with the 1998 Book of Golden Deeds, an annual distinction given to outstanding volunteers in the community. The club cited Kost’s work as confessor to nuns at St. Francis Convent, on-call chaplain for Camp Ripley, spiritual director for the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women and the Daughters of Isabella, and chaplain for the local Civil Air Patrol. Prior to his death, Kost was the oldest licensed pilot in the state. An amateur ham radio operator, he relayed messages from soldiers to their families during the Korean, Vietnam and Gulf Wars.
Moses Lafond (1836-1905) – Moses Lafond was one of the early settlers to Morrison County, arriving in Little Falls in 1856. He owned a number of businesses, including a butcher shop, mercantile business, and saw mill. In 1874, he was a member of the State Legislature.
Henning Landahl (1864-1941). Real Estate. Henning Landahl was born in Sweden to Mr. and Mrs. Fredrik Landahl. Landahl came to the United States in 1887. He worked in North Dakota for a few months and then moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, where he started work with the A. E. Johnson Company. The company sold land for the Northern Pacific railway. In 1889, Landahl came to Little Falls to establish an office for the company. After disposing of the railroad property, he purchased several tracts of land in the Little Falls community, securing control of what was then owned by the Little Falls Improvement Company, a corporation based in Louisville, Kentucky. Landahl was responsible for encouraging settlers to purchase and improve thousands of acres of land in Morrison County. Clara Fuller, author of History of Morrison and Todd Counties, Minnesota, stated that all the large and prosperous Swedish settlements in the county, except for Upsala, were founded by Landahl. Henning married Amy Borchert in 1890. Henning and Amy had two children – Olga and Carine.
Jessica Lange (b.1949). Movie Actress. Born in Cloquet, Minnesota, Jessica Lange’s family moved often when she was young. According to an April 16, 1995 article in the Morrison County Record, “Jessica was about eight years old when her family resided in Little Falls. Her father (Al), operated Lange Ford and the family lived at 514 Northeast First Street. Langes bought the house from Leonard and Margaret Sweeney.” The Lange family was in Little Falls in the late 1950s, eventually moving back to Cloquet where Jessica graduated from high school in 1967. Jessica Lange won an Academy Award for Best Actress in 1995 for her movie, Blue Sky. She has appeared in many films throughout her career, including King Kong, Tootsie, The Postman Always Rings Twice, Cape Fear, Rob Roy, Titus and Big Fish. Lange made her Broadway debut in 1992 in the play, A Streetcar Named Desire, by American playwright, Tennessee Williams.
Fred Larson (1892-1974) – Born in Chicago, Illinois, to Ben and Mary Larson. The family moved to Little Falls in 1898. Served as Deputy Register of Deeds under F. X. Bastien for 2 1/2 years. Elected as Morrison County Register of Deeds in 1922 and served in that position until 1971. He served for 48 years, the longest continuous service in the state.
Paul Larson (1894-1983) – Boat manufacturer extraordinaire. Larson built his first boat out of scrap lumber when he was 11. By the time he was a teenager, he was building duck boats and fishing boats for his friends. Eventually, he opened Larson Boats and Crestliner, two large boat manufacturing facilities in Little Falls, MN. They are still in operation today, but under different ownership.
Charles Lindbergh, Jr. (1902-1974). Aviator, Environmentalist. Famous for his 1927 flight across the Atlantic Ocean, the first solo nonstop flight from New York to Paris. Charles Augustus Lindbergh was born in Detroit, Michigan, to Charles August (C.A.) and Evangeline Lodge Land Lindbergh. In 1902 he came to Little Falls with his family where his father had a law practice. In 1929 Charles married the daughter of the United States Ambassador to Mexico, writer Anne Morrow. Anne and Charles had six children – Charles A., Jon, Land, Anne, Scott and Reeve. Their first child, Charles A., was kidnapped and killed in 1931. In the 1930s, Charles worked with Nobel Prizewinning surgeon Alexi Carrel on the design for a perfusion pump, which kept blood circulating through organs during surgery. In 1954 he won the Pulitzer Prize for his book, “The Spirit of St. Louis”. Towards the end of his life he turned increasingly to conservation and the preservation of wildlife. In 1974 Charles Lindbergh Jr. died of cancer of at his home on island of Maui, Hawaii.
Charles Lindbergh, Sr. (1859-1924). United States Congressman. Born in Stockholm, Sweden, Charles Lindbergh, Sr., moved to Melrose, Minnesota, with his parents when he was a baby. Charles attended the University of Michigan Law School, graduating in 1883. Three years later, he moved to Little Falls and began practicing law. The next year he married Mary LaFond and the couple had two daughters, Lillian and Eva. In 1898, Mary died of a stomach tumor. Three years later he married Evangeline Lodge Land and they had one son, Charles Lindbergh Jr. Charles and Evangeline divorced in 1909. In 1890 Charles was elected Morrison County Attorney. In 1907 he was elected to the congress, representing Minnesota’s Sixth Congressional District, and the family moved to Washington D.C. Charles served five terms as a congressman. Charles was aligned with the Nonpartisan league movement and opposed both the United States entry into World War I and the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. During his career in congress he wrote books on financial and economic subjects, including “Banking, Currency, and the Money Trust” (1939) and “Why is Your Country at War?” (1917). Prior to his death in Crookston, Minnesota, of an inoperable brain tumor, he had filed as a Farmer-Labor candidate for governor.
Verne “Vernie” Lockwood (1877-1962) – Born in Hennepin County, Minnesota. His father, Isaac Lockwood, died when Vernie was three years old. At the age of 22, Verne opened his first business, a grocery store, “with seventy-five dollars cash and some money which he borrowed from his neighbors.” (pg. 590, History of Morrison and Todd Counties, Clara Fuller, 1915) He ran this store from 1899 to 1905, at which time he started a general mercantile store in Motley, Minnesota. He closed his Motley store in 1910 and “established a general line of implements and hardware, furniture and harness” (pg. 590, Fuller), valued at $10,000 worth of stock in 1915. He was one of the incorporators of Land O’ Lakes Creamery in 1921. Verne Lockwood served on the Motley City Council and school board and was Treasurer of the Morrison County Fair Association. He was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1931 and served in this position until 1938.
Frank B. Logan (1871-1943) – Born in Pennsylvania. Came to Royalton with his parents in 1879. Learned the watch-making trade in Peoria, Illinois, and returned to Royalton to open a jewelry business. “In 1907 he took charge of the Morrison county fair exhibit, and in 1911 was appointed assistant superintendent of the agricultural department of the [Minnesota] state fair; in 1913 he was promoted to superintendent. He was elected to the board of managers in 1915, and served in that capacity until 1924.” (Historical Sketches of Royalton and Vicinity by Frank B. Logan – Yes, he also wrote a history of Royalton, but not that biography, which was supplied by The Royalton Banner, publisher of the Royalton history.)
John D. Logan (1838-1907). Businessman. John D. Logan was born in Pennsylvania. Logan moved to Northfield, Minnesota, in 1855 and six years later enlisted in Company G, First Regiment, Minnesota Volunteer Infantry. In 1864, after being discharged for disability (sunstroke), he married Mary J. Walker. The Logans had three children – Harry Milton, Frank B. and Charles W. In 1879, Logan moved to Royalton, Minnesota, and built a saw and planning mill on the Platte River near the southern boundary of Morrison County. In 1887 he opened a mill in Lincoln, Minnesota, which he operated for four years in partnership with his son, Harry. Logan laid out the original town site of Royalton in 1879. The town site covered about twenty acres of land that was owned by Logan. Logan served as the president of the village council and as the chairman of the first school board for the Royalton school district.
Becky Savage Lourey (b. September 24, 1943) – Daughter of Everett & Alice Savage. Graduated from Little Falls High School in 1961. Has served several terms as both a Minnesota State Representative and as a Minnesota Senator. Ran for Governor of Minnesota for 2006 elections. Founder of the Wedge Co-Op in Minneapolis in the 1970s.
James (Jim) Madden (d. 2001) – Hotel and resort owner. Purchased the Malcolm Hotel in Little Falls, MN, with his brother Jack Madden in 1939. The Malcolm was the former Elk’s Lodge. The Malcolm was renamed the Pine Edge Inn by the Maddens. In 1932, Jack and his uncle Tom Madden had leased the Pine Beach Golf Clubhouse to run for the summer. Two years later, they purchased the business. In 1937, Jim Madden took over Tom’s interest in this business. Jim and Jack continued on in the resort and hotel business, eventually creating Madden’s on Gull Lake. Jack died in 1978, leaving Jim to run the Madden enterprise. [Perhaps this Influential listing should have been the Madden Brothers, or Jim and Jack Madden.]
Charles “Charley” Martin (1909-1981) – Teacher and poet. Charley Martin was born in Parker Township in Morrison County. He was a well-loved English and speech teacher at the Little Falls Community High School for 34 years. His teaching career spanned almost four decades. He was named Teacher of the Year in 1964 and 1971. In 1974, the auditorium on the new Little Falls High School was dedicated to Charley. That same year, Minnesota Governor Wendell Anderson declared May 6, 1974, as “Charles Martin Day.” He received the WCCO Radio Good Neighbor Award and the Exchange Club’s Book of Golden Deeds Award. He was a member of the Carnegie Library Board, secretary of the Little Falls Chamber of Commerce, and a charter member of the Barbershoppers. Charley wrote a book of poetry called “Voices of Yesterday” that was published by the Morrison County Historical Society and the Morrison County Arts Association.
Gerald W. Massy (1859-1933) – Born in Ireland. Came to the United States in 1880. Settled in western Minnesota and began farming. Four years later, he moved to Morrison County. Was the head foreman for the construction of the third dam in Little Falls (1887-1888 construction). Began a real estate and insurance business in Little Falls in 1891 near the Northern Pacific Depot. Was an agent for the St. Paul & Northern Pacific Railroad lands.
Marcus Maurin (1837-1905). Businessman. Marcus Maurin was born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1837. In 1855, he moved to America and settled in Chicago, Illinois. Two years later he moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, and worked as a traveling merchant. In 1863, he married Mary Lauer in Chicago and the couple moved to Cold Spring, Minnesota, where Marcus established a mercantile and real estate business with his brother. Marcus and Mary had five children – Mary, Louisa, Annie, Peter, and Marcus. Marcus eventually opened a mercantile business in Little Falls. Maurin & Medved’s general merchandise store was established in Little Falls in 1878. The store carried dry goods, clothing, boots and shoes, crockery, glassware, groceries and provisions. Maurin not only managed the store, he was also a proprietor of the Little Falls Steam Brewery, was a member of the board of county commissioners, was a Little Falls councilman and served for five years as mayor of the village of Little Falls.
Gilly Maus (1947- 2010). Musician, Farmer. Gilbert “Gilly” Maus was born in Little Falls, Minnesota, to Albert and Alma (Heinen) Maus. Maus is the founder of the Morrison County band, The Country Polkateers. Formed in 1972, the band was named 2008 Band of the Year by the Minnesota Ballroom Operators Association. Gilly plays the concertina, guitar and sings. Gilly married Joyce Olson in 1976. Joyce, who is also a founding member of the group, plays bass, rhythm guitar and sings. The band is featured routinely on Polka Spotlight, which is aired in the Twin Cities on the cable TV network. The band plays throughout the state and has played in Germany during Oktoberfest. Gilly and Joyce have five children. Daughter, Jenny Meyer, currently plays trumpet in the band and son, Jim, plays drums.
Dr. Earl McGonagle (1890-1983) – Dentist. Dr. McGonagle served as a dentist in Royalton, MN, for 67 years. (For 63 of those years, he was Royalton’s only dentist.) As part of his profession, “he held offices including president of the West Central District Dental Society, Vice-President of the Minnesota State Dental Association, and was associate editor of its (Northwest Dentistry) Office magazine for 15 years.” (Morrison County Record, March 28, 1983) Dr. McGonagle was no mere dentist, however. He was also heavily involved in the community or Royalton, serving as Mayor of the city for two terms, and sitting on the school board and village council for several terms. In addition, he “organized the Royalton Municipal Band, serving as director for 30 years.” (MC Record, March 28, 1983) The trombone was his instrument, although he could also play French horn, flute, and piccolo. Dr. McGonagle also helped to organize the Royalton Historical Society (not that we’re biased in favor of history, mind you. Ahem.)
Alexander Duncan McRae (1874-1946) – If you remember correctly, this man was a bit of a carry-over from last week. He was involved with the same major business deals, including the massive Canadian real estate purchase and the Little Falls Granite Company, as his cousins, Andrew D. Davidson and Alexander Rae Davidson. While as a young man he made his home in Minnesota, he eventually returned to Canada, the country of his birthplace, and continued with his business dealings. He served as a Senator in the Senate of Canada for approximately 15 years. Betty O’Keefe and Ian Macdonald have written a biography of Alexander called “Merchant Prince: The Story of Alexander Duncan McRae,” a copy of which is in the MCHS collections.
Lee Mero. Successful commercial artist and illustrator of Christmas greeting cards. Lee Mero was a younger brother of Dr. Frank H. Mero, a prominent dentist in Little Falls around the 1900s. Lee, who was born in 1885 in Ortonville, Minnesota, frequently visited Morrison County and became well known in the Little Falls area. Mero studied art and illustration at the Minneapolis School of Art and later at the Chase School of Art in New York City, both schools which Little Falls artist George W. Harting also attended. Lee won both first and third prizes at the 1918 Minnesota State Fair art exhibit. Merrick worked briefly for the Chas. D. Frey Advertising Co. in Chicago, Illinois, where he designed ads for Coca-Cola. After his return to Minneapolis, he became head of the art department of the George Buzza Company (later Buzza-Cardoza Co.) where he worked on poem cards and posters. Around this time he began to concentrate on Christmas greeting cards. Merrick was a longtime contributor to the Augsburg Publishing House’s famous annual Christmas publication. (For more information on Lee Mero, see the article by Bruce Mellor http://www.morrisoncountyhistory.org/histlmero.html).
Don Merrick. Painter. Born in 1929 in Crosby, Minnesota, Don Merrick grew up in Little Falls and graduated from the Little Falls High School. Merrick illustrated the 1946 and 1947 Little Falls High School yearbooks. In the 1950s Merrick was painting in abstract expressionist and surrealist styles. In the 1960s he completed a series of architectural paintings which were later destroyed in a gallery fire. Afer a nine year hiatus from painting following the fire, Merrick created his “Paintings of Real People” series, which focused on depicting people in their working environments. Merrick’s work was exhibited throughout the United States in numerous one-person shows.
R. B. Millard. Educator. Ralph B. Millard established the Little Falls Business College in Little Falls during the summer of 1904. Millard was the principal and proprietor of the school. The Little Falls Business College offered a practical business education for those students who wanted to continue their education but did not want to teach. Courses that were offered by the college included business, shorthand, salesmanship, and civil service. The college also had an employment department that assisted students with finding jobs. By the time the 1928 Morrison County Directory was published, the school was no longer in operation. Millard was one of the early automobile owners in the county and served as the State Secretary for the Minnesota Jefferson Highway Association.
Edward Morey (1909-1987) – Founder of the Morey Fish Company in Motley, Minnesota. The Morey Fish Company, a wholesale and retail operation, began in 1938 when Edward Morey smoked his first fish in a homemade smoke house on a farm near Motley. A wholesale and retail operation, the company shipped its products throughout the continental United States. In 1979 the company was sold to Multi-Foods.
Major Ashley Cutler Morrill (1830-1904) – Ashley Morrill came to Morrison County in 1861 to work as a clerk for Ojibwe Indian Agent Major Lucius Walker. After Walker committed suicide a year later, Morrill was appointed to take his place. It was with this position that he was given the title “Major.” After serving a term as Indian Agent, Morrill moved to Minneapolis and worked in the lumber industry. While in Minneapolis, he served a term in the State Legislature as a senator for the 25th District (not the Morrison County area). Even though he was not in the area for a number of years, he still maintained business interests in Morrison County, specifically in the Little Falls Manufacturing Company, in which he had acquired most of the stock issued by the company. He and his second wife (his first wife had died while the couple was in Minneapolis) decided to move back to Morrison County. The move had been made at the urging of Morrill’s second wife, who had been the widow of Arthur Garden, a friend of Morrill from his Indian Agent days. Morrill and his wife built a large and magnificent home at the confluence of the Little Elk and Mississippi Rivers. This home burned in 1894 and was replaced by another magnificent home. Morrill constructed a flour mill at his Little Elk site. It was later purchased by Alfred Tanner and moved into Little Falls. Major Morrill donated a piece of property in Little Falls to the Franciscan Sisters so they could build their convent. Some of this land includes that upon which St. Gabriel’s Hospital and St. Otto’s Home now sit. (Sources: LFDT, May 6, 1904, LFDT, April 5, 1894, other documents in MCHS Morrill Family File)
Allan Morrison – Brother to William Morrison and namesake of Morrison County. Allan was a fur trader, beginning his career by working for his brother at the American Fur Company. Allan was elected to the first Minnesota Territorial Legislature and it was that group that created the counties in Minnesota. Allan was also one of the partners involved in building the first Little Falls Dam and sawmill.
H. B. Morrison (1843-1890). Businessman. Henry B. Morrison was born in Vermont to Mr. and Mrs. Francis Morrison. In 1855 he moved with his family to Minneapolis, Minnesota. Morrison later moved to Clearwater, Minnesota, and ran a hotel and sawmill for his father. Morrison married Ida A. Benson in 1868. The Morrison’s had two children, Oscar and George. In the spring of 1878, Morrison moved to Motley, Minnesota, and built a sawmill on the Crow Wing River.
William Morrison – Brother to Allan Morrison and namesake of Morrison County. William worked as a fur trader in the Leech Lake area in Minnesota. In 1803-04, William made a visit to the source of the Mississippi River, being the first European American to do so.
Laura Jane Musser (1916-1989). Musician and philanthropist. Daughter of Richard Drew (R. D.) and Sarah Walker Musser, Laura Jane attended the Juilliard School of Music in New York, graduating with a degree in piano and composition. A patron of education and the arts, Laura Jane sponsored high school scholarship programs and served on the Little Falls school board, the State Arts Board and the Minneapolis Symphony Board. Laura Jane helped finance several beautification projects in the city of Little Falls, including renovations to the Cass Gilbert Depot and the Little Falls Carnegie Library. Laura Jane shared her love of music with the area by offering free piano lessons and by sponsoring concerts in Little Falls that were given by such internationally-known musicians as pianist Van Cliburn and opera star Marian Anderson. Laura Jane was a member of several organizations, including the Morrison County Historical Society, the Minnesota Historical Society and the International Wizard of Oz Club. She was also active in the formation of a museum for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians.
Richard Drew Musser (1865-1958). Lumberman and banker. Richard Drew (R. D.) Musser, with his business partner Charles A. Weyerhaeuser (see above), operated the Pine Tree Lumber Company in Little Falls, Minnesota. R. D. took care of the financial side of the business while Charles managed the operation of the mill and dealt with personnel issues. R. D. became president of the Pine Tree Lumber Company and its retail sales outlet firm, the Morrison County Lumber Company (formed in 1907), after the death of Charles in 1930. Influential in organizing the American National bank, R. D. served as bank president from 1928 until 1945 when he became chairman of the board of directors, a position he held until his death. R. D. was a member of the Masonic Lodge and the Zuhrah Temple in the Shrine and served on the board of trustees for Carleton College.
Sarah “Sally” Walker Musser (d.1953). Born in Glens Falls, New York, Sarah “Sally” Walker married Richard Drew (R. D.) Musser on June 3, 1903. The Mussers had four children – one son, Peter, who died in infancy; an adopted daughter, Mary (Mrs. Alan Gilmore); a foster daughter, Alice (Mrs. Edward C. Davidson); and Laura Jane Musser. With her husband, Sally Walker helped to build the golf course and country club in Little Falls and assisted in the formation of the Little Falls Carnegie Library. Sally served as Chairman of Child Welfare Work for Morrison County (1918), helped to organize the Civic League of Little Falls, was on the state board of education, was a member of the local Child Interest Club and was prominent in the organization of the Musical Art Club in Little Falls, serving as club president for two consecutive years (1914 and 1915).
Neal & Simmons. Photographer. Clinton C. Neal worked as a professional photographer in Little Falls, Minnesota, in the 1880s. Under the name Neal & Simmons he published and offered for sale several stereo-opticon photos entitled “Views of Little Falls and Vicinity” (Little Falls Transcript, 31 August 1883). In September of 1883, the C. C. Neal & F. B. Simmons Photograph Gallery opened above Tuttle and Churchill’s Store in downtown Little Falls. Four years later, Neal sold his business to G. H. Squire and moved with his wife to Long Prairie, Minnesota. (Little Falls Transcript, 5 August 1887).
B. F. Nelson – Benjamin F. Nelson started the Hennepin Paper Company in Little Falls in 1890 with fellow businessman, Thomas B. Walker. Nelson and Walker already owned a pulp mill near St. Anthony Falls in Minneapolis, Minnesota, when they chose Little Falls for a new mill. Little Falls was selected because of the city’s water power facilities, close proximity to pulp wood sources and good railway connections. The Little Falls mill, which was built with local brick, produced its first pulp in early October 1890.
David Nelson (b. 1947) – Geophysicist. Born in Little Falls. Graduated co-valedictorian from Little Falls High School. Co-discoverer of the Margham condensate “oil” field in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Built and managed a computer department for the Exploration Division of ARCO International Oil and Gas. Contractor for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory writing software that will help scientists analyze information from the TERRA spacecraft, which gathers information about the earth’s climate.
Frank Nelson (1872-1963). Photographer. Frank A. Nelson was born in Sweden and came to the United States in 1892. Before moving to Little Falls, he worked as a machinist in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and operated a photograph gallery in Anoka, Minnesota, with his brother, Peter J. By 1897 he had moved to Little Falls and had purchased the A. E. Boyce photograph studio on First Street Southwest (Little Falls Daily Transcript, 11 August 1897). In the spring of 1908, Nelson built a new studio at 42 Broadway East. The two-story building served as both a gallery and residence. Nelson also had branches in Pierz, Royalton and Staples. In 1936, fellow photographer Gordon Guy took over Nelson’s business. Frank Nelson married Othelia (“Tillie” or “Willa”) Victoria Eklund in 1900. The Nelson’s had two children, Frank Victor and Floyd Edward.
P. H. Newman (1849-1908). Businessman. Peter Henry Newman was born in New York to Peter and Ann Margaret (Clemens) Neumann. In 1870 Peter married Gertrude Dueppen of Madison, Wisconsin. Peter and Gertrude had fourteen children (two possibly stillborn) – Margaret, Kathrine, Peter, John, Herbert, Jacob, Anna, Mary (Mayme), William, Christine, Frank and Thomas. The Newmans moved to Morrison County in 1874 where they homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres of land near Pierz. After selling the homestead, they moved to Pierz where Newman worked in the hotel business. After trading the hotel for a farm in Buh Township, which he farmed for two years, Newman came to Little Falls and operated a livery business and a meat market. After selling this livery to F. P. Farrow in 1898, he erected a brick building just south of the Farrow livery and started a sales stable, which he operated until his death. Newman also invested in land and, at the time of his death, owned about eight hundred acres, part of which was under cultivation.
Ellen Nichols – During the summer of 1855, Ellen was the first teacher in the first public school in Morrison County. The school was located in the village of Little Falls. Ellen and her husband C.S.K. Smith also had the distinction of being married in the first wedding ceremony known to have been held in Little Falls. The year was 1856.
Joseph Nicollet – created the first accurate map of this area after his 1836 exploration of the Mississippi River.
Jack Niewohner (1921-1985). Airport. John “Jack” James Niewohner was born in Little Falls, Minnesota, to Frederick and Lucile (Edwards) Niewohner. Jack worked as a truck driver for various trucking companies, including DeZurik Corporation of Sartell, Minnesota. Jack was instrumental in reopening the Little Falls/Morrison County Airport in 1960. Jack solicited donations to have the buildings fixed up and the runways, which were grass strips, mowed and repainted. He also helped to encourage the City of Little Falls to enter into a lease for the airport with the Little Falls Flying Club, an organization composed mainly of members of the local Civil Air Patrol. Jack was Senior Commander of the Civil Air Patrol in Little Falls at the time. Jack married LoRayne A. Johnson on 24 October 1942 in Swanville, Minnesota. Jack and LoRayne had three children – Ronald, Joanne and Janet.
Harry Norr (1913- ). Manager. Harry Norr was born in Illinois to Edwin and Jenny Mathilda (Dahl) Norr. In 1934, Harry began working for Minnesota Power and Light Western Division, based in Little Falls. Harry was customer services manager for the company until 1976, when he was named Western Division Superintendent. Harry opened the first broadcasting station in Little Falls in the fall of 1935. The station was operated from his home on Thirteenth Street Northwest and had the call letters W9VJP. Harry served in the United States military signal corps for four years during World War II. Harry and his wife, Lois, had four children – Catherine, James, Paul, and Robert. Harry and his wife lived in Little Falls until 1999, when they moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota.
George Flint Parker (1846-1926) – Born in Massachusetts. Entered the Civil War as an infantryman when he was 15 years old. Served until the end of the war, spending his final four months and twenty days as a prisoner of war. Worked in a shoe factory after the war. Came to Morrison County in 1879 and homesteaded land in what was then Green Prairie Township. In 1880, Parker Township was formed, being named after George Parker because he was its first white settler. He contracted with the railroad to cut ties and managed six sawmills, which were part of a larger company. Parker “was the first man to introduce sawed ties for railway construction.” (pg. 579, History of Morrison and Todd Counties, Clara Fuller) Between June 1889 and October 1892, he managed Brooks & Company, a general merchandise store. He served as Treasurer of the township and later as postmaster of Randall.
John C. “J.C.” Patience (1873-1972) – Long-time employee of Pine Tree Manufacturing Company and associated companies in Little Falls, MN. Vice President of Americal National Bank of Little Falls for 39 years. Organized Little Falls Federal Savings & Loan Company with John Vertin, W. A. Molde, Arthur Simonet, and A. F. Koslowsky. Also served as an officer and director of said company. Was President of the Little Falls Board of Commerce.
Vernon Pick (c. 1904 – ?) – Vernon Pick was a transplant to Morrison County. As an electrician, he long was interested in having his own water power plant. In 1942, he was shown an old mill site on Two Rivers near Royalton, MN. He purchased the mill site and in April 1946, he started the Two Rivers Company. He started the water power plant on his property. He used this to operate his electrical shop and furniture factory. These he ran with the assistance of his second wife, Ruth. In 1951, fire decimated his mill site. He did not receive enough in insurance money to rebuild, so he and his wife decided to go west on vacation. He got sidetracked from his vacation by talk of people looking for uranium mines. He set about looking for his own uranium mine in Utah and found “one of the richest uranium finds in the country.” (LFDT, Sept. 13, 1954) He sold his mine in 1954 for $9,000,000. Vernon used his money to build and house and laboratory near Saratoga, California. His California home site is now a part of the Sanborn Park Hostel, with his lab becoming Santa Clara County’s Environmental Education Center.
Keri Pickett (b.1959).Photographer.Keri Pickett attended school at St. Francis High School in Little Falls.Pickett’s photographs have been exhibited throughout the United States.Life and People magazines and Good Morning America have featured her work.Pickett’s book, Love in the 90’s, is filled with photographs of her grandparents.Other published works by Pickett include Saving Body and Soul:The Mission of Mary Jo Copeland and FAERIES:Visions, Voices & Pretty Dresses. Her first documentary film is The Fabulous Ice Age, a film documenting a century of theatrical skating.
Father Francis Xavier Pierz – Catholic priest who came to Minnesota in 1852 from Austria. He started missions at Belle Prairie, Swan River, Sobieski, Sauk Rapids, St. Cloud, St. Joseph, St. Augusta, Leech Lake, and Rich Prairie, which was later renamed Pierz in his honor. He urged people to move from his home area to Minnesota and many did, including Father Joseph Buh, for whom Buh Township was named. In 1862, Father Pierz was one of the people critical in stopping the uprising planned by Kwi-wi-sens. Father Pierz served as the first resident pastor of St. Joseph’s parish in Pierz. He returned to Austria in 1873 and died in 1880 at the age of 95.
Zebulon Pike – conducted the first official government exploration of Morrison County when he was sent to explore the upper Mississippi River (1805-06). When he reached Morrison County, winter descended and he was forced to build a fort for shelter. A monument to Pike’s expedition sits on private property near the fort site, which is now underwater. The monument is constructed of stones used in the fireplace of the fort.
Sue (Gruber) Poser – In 1982, Sue Poser and her brother Paul purchased Gruber’s Market in Genola, MN, from their parents. The business had been started by their grandparents. Sue opened a quilt shop in one section of Gruber’s Market and quickly made a name for herself through hosting a variety of quilting events. She and her brother sold Gruber’s Market in 1998, at which time she relocated her business to St. Cloud and renamed it Gruber’s Quilt Shop. In 2002, “Gruber’s Quilt Shop was inducted into Crafttrends Independent Retailer Hall of Fame.” (Morrison County Record, August 11, 2002) Due to Poser’s business acumen and her success as a female business owner, in August 2004, she played host to First Lady Laura Bush at her Quilt Shop. (Morrison County Record, August 15, 2004) In 2006, Poser received the Chamber of Commerce’s first Business Central Mark of Excellence Award. (Morrison County Record, May 4, 2006)
S. M. Putnam – Samuel M. Putnam was a surveyor who drew the original Little Falls village plat in 1856.
Father Edward Ramacher (1917 – 2007) – Father Ramacher served in the St. Cloud Diocese of the Catholic Church for 49 years. He served in parishes in Little Falls and Randall in Morrison County, and also served in Melrose, Sartell, Pearl Lake, and Long Prairie. He was ordained in 1945. While serving in Little Falls, fresh from his ordination, he developed Winter Wonderland, a popular community celebration, which he led until 1949/50. During the 1949 Winter Wonderland event, over 15,000 people were in attendance, including BeBe Shopp, a Minnesota native and Miss America for 1948. She was crowned Miss Wonderland for the event. In 1948, Fr. Ramacher was named “Outstanding Man of Minnesota” by the Minnesota Junior Chamber of Commerce. In 1952, he was named one of “Minnesota’s 100 Living Greats.” In 1994, Fr. Ramacher gave $25,000 to the St. John’s Boys Choir. The money was used to start an endowment for the choir.
Phil S. Randall (1865-1960). Real Estate, Judge. Philip Sheridan Randall was born in Vermont in 1865 to Francis and Fanny (Colby) Randall. Phil married Nora Delahunt in 1890 at North Prairie, Minnesota. Phil and Nora had eight children – Bernadine, Walter, Francis, Ramona, Zella Marie, Robert Anthony, Phyllis, and Charles Edward. In 1903, the family moved from North Dakota to Little Falls and the next year Phil opened a land and real estate office in the city. In 1905, Phil was appointed city engineer, a post which he held for about fifteen years. Phil also served as justice of the peace, county surveyor, county highway engineer and deputy clerk of district court. Phil served as a municipal judge from 1922 until 1950.
R. A. (Tony) Randall (1912-1998). Insurance. Robert Anthony Randall was born in Little Falls, Minnesota, to Phil S. and Nora (Delahunt) Randall. In 1935, he married Marie Schmid and opened the R. A. Randall Insurance Agency in Little Falls. Tony held the position of president of the agency until he retired in 1977. Tony served in the United States military during World War II. In 1965, he was named a Knight of St. Gregory by Bishop Peter W. Bartholome. Two years after his first wife, Marie, died he married Luverne Powers. Tony had six children – Jim, Gertrude, Pat, Nora, Jackie, Mary.
Bertha Rhodes (1875-1957) – Artist, teacher, writer, community organizer. Born in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Daughter of J. H. and Ellen Rhodes. Moved to Little Falls in 1879 with her family. Studied art at the Minneapolis School of Fine Arts and Art Students League in New York. Trained as a kindergarten teacher in Minneapolis and conducted a private kindergarten class in Little Falls, which included story hours for the children. She opened a private art studio in Little Falls in 1900. “She organized the Junior Boy Scouts, helped campaign for the city gymnasium and organized to arouse public sentiment for the high school at Little Falls. Miss Rhodes was founder and first settlement worker of Little Falls Civic Improvement League and first juvenile court officer. She organized Garden clubs and held street fairs to display produce until the plan was taken over by public schools.” (pg. 267, Who’s Who Among Minnesota Women, Mary Dillon Foster, 1924)
John Henry Rhodes (1846-1903). Businessman, Lawyer, Farmer. John Henry Rhodes was born in New York to Henry and Marilda (Ludlow) Rhodes. In 1873 he moved to St. Cloud, Minnesota, where he operated a drug business. Four years later, the firm of Rhodes, Spencer and Wetzel opened a drug store in Little Falls. Rhodes moved to Little Falls in 1878 after the new firm of Rhodes & Wetzel took over the enterprise. After this partnership dissolved in 1883, Rhodes turned his attention to operating a large farm in Bellevue and to the study of law. Rhodes began practicing law with the firm of Taylor, Calhoun & Rhodes of St. Cloud and Little Falls. Rhodes later formed a partnership with I. E. Staples and focused on law and land business until 1900. Rhodes gave up his law practice in 1902 and devoted his time to a large rice plantation in Louisiana until his death. During his professional career, Rhodes served as both county and city attorney and as the principal of Little Falls schools. Rhodes married Ellen Vernette Perrigo in 1879 and had eight children – Harrie Vernette, Bertha Marilda, Cora Anne, Carrie Delia, Frances Louise, Lillian Ludlow, George Wilber and Taylor Calhoun. After Ellen’s death in 1892, Rhodes married Nettie May Brown and had one child, Alice Arlene.
Nathan Richardson – Oh, I could write a book about “Uncle Nate,” as he was affectionately known. Wait a minute, we have a book on Nate, which MCHS published in 2006. It’s called “A Big Hearted Paleface Man: Nathan Richardson and the History of Morrison County, Minnesota.” Nate is known as the Father of Morrison County. He helped organize the county and was first Clerk of the Board of Commissioners and first Register of Deeds. He served as the first Mayor of Little Falls and held more public offices than anyone else in the history of the county. He also wrote the first two histories of Morrison County – one in 1876 and an updated version in 1880. These histories can be found in “A Big Hearted Paleface Man,” along with a list of Nate’s offices and his inaugural addresses as Mayor. The book is serving as my handy reference in writing descriptions of our early Morrison County Influentials.
Henry Adelbert (H. A.) Rider (1851-1931) – Born in Massachusetts; came west in 1878 and had a long career in the railroad. He worked for several railroad companies, including the Northern Pacific and the Soo Line, the latter of which originally brought him to Little Falls in 1886. Although he hadn’t been educated as an engineer, he had a mind for it and learned while on the job, engineering bridges, terminals and round houses, and surveying railroad lines. In 1894 he was elected Sheriff of Morrison County and served in this capacity until 1901. He was elected to three terms in the State House of Representatives (1893, 1903, 1905). Morrison County was part of his district. In 1905 Rider was appointed U. S. Deputy Marshall and served until 1910. At that time, he resigned to take the position of Executive Agent of the State Game and Fish Commission, to which he was appointed by the state governor. In 1929, Rider wrote a brief history of Little Falls, MN, that appeared in the Little Falls Daily Transcript (March 16, 1929).
John Roch (1813-1908). Early Pierz settler. John Roch was one of the first settlers of Pierz, Minnesota. Born in Prussia (Germany), Roch immigrated to Wisconsin in 1847 and came to Pierz (then Rich Prairie) around 1865/6. When Pierz Township was organized in 1869, Roch was elected one of the supervisors. Roch married (Anna) Clara Huebsch in 1852. John and Clara had eleven children – John Jr., Franciska, Elizabeth, Joseph, Anna, Henry, Jacob, Mary, John Collison (foster child), Amelia Thomas (adopted).
Christian Rosenmeier (1874-1932). County Attorney, Banker, State Senator. Christian R. Rosenmeier was born in Denmark and moved to Kandiyohi County, Minnesota, with his father in 1888. Both father and son worked to earn enough money to buy a farm and to bring the rest of the family (mother and two sisters) to the United States. Between 1895 and 1899, Christian worked as a rural school teacher. In 1901 he graduated from the state normal school in Mankato and became principal of schools at Dundee, Minnesota. In 1903 he attended the University of Minnesota, graduating with a law degree in 1906. In the summer of that year, Christian moved to Royalton, Minnesota, and married Linda Bakken. The Rosenmeier’s had three children – Gordon, Margaret and Donald. Christian was a practicing attorney in Royalton until he was elected Morrison County Attorney in 1914. Christian resigned this post in 1920 and the next year became Vice-President (later President) of the American National Bank of Little Falls and the newly organized American Savings & Trust Company of Little Falls. From 1922 until his death, Christian served as a Minnesota State Senator. Among the many projects he worked on in the legislature were the establishment of Camp Ripley in Morrison County and the Lindbergh State Park.
Gordon Rosenmeier (1907-1989). State Senator. Born in Royalton, Minnesota, Gordon moved with his parents to Little Falls when his father was elected Morrison County Attorney and lived there until his death in 1989. Gordon graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in history and political science and from the Leland Stanford University Law School in California. When his father died in 1932, he took over his law practice. In 1940 he was elected to the first of eight consecutive terms in the Minnesota Senate. Gordon authored at least three hundred bills during his career, including the legislation to expand Camp Ripley and to develop the Charles A. Lindbergh Home as a state historic site while retaining the state park as a separate institution under Department of Natural Resources. A State of Minnesota Senate resolution designated September 19, 1974, as Gordon Rosenmeier day for his service as chairman of numerous commissions and Senate Committees on Military Affairs, Civil Defense, Civil Administration and Judiciary Committees.
Colonel Raymond A. Rossberg (d. 1975 at age 82) – Colonel Rossberg served as the first commander of Camp Ripley while it was being constructed in 1930. He served in this position until 1959. Under his direction, Camp Ripley grew in size from an area 16 miles around (12,000 acres) to one with a circumference of 54 miles (45,000 acres).
Peter Roy – We’ll let Nathan Richardson describe the life of the Honorable Peter Roy: “Hon. Peter Roy, a mixed blood consisting of French and Chippewa Indian, was born on Rainy Lake in 1829, within the limits of the present State of Minnesota. At the age of 10 years, he was sent to Lapoint, Wisconsin, where he was educated. At the age of 21 years, he came to the Chippewa Agency at Long Lake, and received the appointment of Indian interpreter. Two years afterwards, the Agency was removed to Crow Wing river where he went and continued to hold the office of interpreter until the fall of 1853. He then resigned that position, and was elected that fall to the Territorial Legislature. He also served in the Session of 1854. He moved to Belle Prairie and opened a farm in 1855. He went to Crow Wing in 1857; became a member of the State Legislatures of 1860 and 1862. he then returned to his farm on Belle Prairie where he resided until he sold out in 1866. He then purchased the Northern Hotel in Little Falls where he was a genial and accommodating landlord. Not meeting with much pecuniary success, he sold out about two years since, and bought a private residence in town [Little Falls] where he now resides.” Note: While serving several terms on the Legislature, Peter Roy would have represented what is now Morrison County, even though he was living in Crow Wing, because the legislative districts were much larger.
John Schmolke (1861-1934) – Born in Germany. Came to the United States when he was 22, after having learned the shoe-maker’s trade. He arrived in New York City “with only one German penny, [which was worth] one-quarter of a cent in American money.” (pg. 566, Fuller) Came to Buckman, Minnesota, in 1883, also virtually penniless. He spent his last penny on a community picnic the day he arrived. John worked for a thresher for 20 days and earned $20, which he used to buy leather to repair shoes. With the money he earned, he purchased a house and a half acre of land in Buckman. He and Joe Hortsch opened the first store – a grocery store – in Buckman, remaining partners for one year, when Schmolke bought out the business and ran it himself. Eventually, he began to deal in farm real estate and started a small hotel. He became an agent for cattle buyers and is responsible for buiding five creameries – Buckman, Lastrup, Ramey, Agram, New Pierz (Genola) – in order to provide a market for cream. “Today , after a little more than thirty years in America, John Schmolke is what might be called a land baron. He owns several thousand acres, most of which is in Canada. In Morrison county he owns about fifteen hundred acres.” (pg. 567, Fuller) A copy of a piece of his letterhead says, “Catholic Colony Organizer” under his name.
Christian Von Schneidau. Painter. Born in Sweden in 1893, Christian Von Schneidau moved to the Little Falls area with his parents while he was still a teenager. Von Schneidau’s painting of M. M. Williams earned him second place at the State Art Society’s show in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Von Schneidau eventually moved to California where he became an important figure in the California Impressionist movement.
Mike Schulte (1915-2007). Businessman. Michael “Mike” Theoden Schulte was born in Stearns County, Minnesota, to Bernard and Margaret (Schrammel) Schulte. Schulte is the founder of Little Falls Machine, Inc., a family-owned business that is currently the Midwest’s largest supplier of truck and motor grader mounted snow handling equipment. Products sold by the company include plows, snow wings, spreaders, scrapers, hitches and lifts. Little Falls Machine originated in Royalton, Minnesota, when Schulte opened a steel fabricating and repair shop there in 1939. After a fire in 1942, the company moved to Little Falls. Schulte, who was also known as “Iron Mike”, owned and operated the business until he retired in 1980. Schulte married Theresa Reller in 1941. Mike and Theresa had three children – Ray, Greg and Margaret. Schulte serve in the United State Army during World War II in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater.
Ron (1939-2002) & Dan (1948-2013) Shimek – Brothers and the co-founders of Heat-N-Glo. Ron and Dan are sons of George and Laura Shimek. They grew up in Ripley Township in Morrison County, MN. Ron showed a mechanical aptitude early in life, building a rotary law mower at age 10 and a small car at age 13. In 1975, Ron’s wife Pat told him she wanted a free-standing fireplace in their home. Ron decided to build one himself, becoming interested in inventing a non-smoking fireplace. Within the year, his brother Dan would join him to start the Heat-N-Glo fireplace manufacturing business. Because the brothers were working full-time at other companies, they hired their brothers Steve and Gerald to help with the business. By 1987, the company had grown to the point where Ron and Dan had to quit their other jobs to run the business full-time. The headquarters of the business were located in Savage, MN, with manufacturing facilities in Burnsville, Lake City, and Montgomery. In 1996, Ron and Dan sold Heat-N-Glo, Inc. to HON Industries for $76 million. They “held more than 20 key patents” related to their fireplaces. (”Under My Roof: The George and Laura Shimek Family – Seven Generations – 1700’s-2007? by Laura Shimek, 2007)
Anne Simonett (1952-1995) – Daughter of John Simonett. Grew up in Little Falls. Was a partner in the Faegre & Benson law firm. Served as a District Court judge in Hennepin County. Was the first woman appointed to hold the position of Chief Judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals.
John Simonett (1924-2011 ) – Minnesota Supreme Court Justice. Born in Mankato, Minnesota. Settled in Little Falls after college and practiced law in the city for 29 years. His law partner was Gordon Rosenmeier. In 1980, he was appointed to the position of Supreme Court Justice, replacing Walter Rogosheske. He served in this position for 14 years.
Jonathan O. Simmons (1821-1890) – Jonathan O. Simmons is one of those names that crops up often in the early history of Morrison County. Given that, you’d think our Simmons Family File would be bursting with information on the guy, but it’s not. Complicating matters is the fact that there were several Jonathan Simmons – J. O. named one of his sons Jonathan and there was a Jonathan III. According to Nathan Richardson, J.O. Simmons moved with his family to Little Falls in 1856. The more I look through Richardson’s history, the more confused I get about J.O. and his son Jonathan. From the History of the Upper Mississippi Valley, it indicates that J.O. ran a mercantile business for two-and-a-half years after he came to Little Falls and then ran a hotel for one year. He left Little Falls, presumably with his family, in 1861, then returned in 1867 for two years. He left again for three years and returned to Little Falls. Richardson indicates that J.O. became a homeopathic physician in 1875. Simmons held several public offices, including Coroner, Justice of the Peace, Probate Judge, County Attorney, and Register of Deeds.
Here’s the confusing part. One of the Jonathan Simmons served as a senator in the Minnesota State Legislature. From what I can make out in Richardson’s history, the state senator was Jonathan Simmons (1850-1896), the son of J.O. He was elected in 1879 and would have been only 29 years old when he was senator. If this was the case, it was this Jonathan Simmons who assisted Richardson on two very large projects, establishing the Little Falls & Dakota Railroad and writing a petition on behalf of the Mille Lacs Band of Objiwe in order to assist the band in dealing with timber thieves. I can’t be entirely sure of this, since Richardson also wrote the following in his 1896 mayoral inaugural address:
“Before closing, I deem it my duty to note the death of Honorable Jonathan Simmons, who passed from time to eternity, in this city on the 4th inst. he was an old resident of Little Falls and did much to advance the material prosperity of this city. During the years of 1887 and 1888 he occupied the position of president of the village council, being the two years just prior to the change of Little Falls from a village to a city government, which position he filled in a manner that was conducive to the best interest of the town and that was creditable to himself.” (pg. 153, A Big Hearted Paleface Man)
See, it’s the “old resident” part of Richardson’s statement that has me confused. When Jonathan Simmons (the second) died in 1896, he would have been about 46 years old. Until this can be sorted out, I guess we’ll have to consider this Morrison County Influential entry as a two-for-one deal.
Gertrude Staples – The first woman elected to the board of education in Little Falls was Gertrude Hilborn Staples. Gertrude, who worked as a teacher in Little Falls prior to her marriage to Isaac E. Staples in 1888, took an active interest in her community. According to the 1899 publication of Nichol’s Headlight, “(S)he is prominent in church and educational work; is a leader in all public movements….Her services are sought in all local literary and musical events”.
Patricia (Pat) Spence – First female mayor of Little Falls, Minnesota. She served from 1982 to 1991, resigning from her position in October 1991 after her husband, Guy Spence, accepted a position as an elementary school principal in Alden, MN. Pat was a home economics teacher before becoming mayor and she and her husband owned a gift shop called the “Treasure Chest” in downtown Little Falls. Since leaving Little Falls, Pat has served on the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota, acting as chair of the board for some time. Governor Arne Carlson and the Minnesota State Legislature proclaimed Patricia Spence Day (date unknown) to honor her exeptional service to the state.
Gary Stangl (1954-1995) – Costume designer. Born in Little Falls to Urban and Viola (Gross) Stangl. Graduated from Pierz Healy High School. Received a degree in Theatre Arts from St. Cloud State University in 1976. Was a costume designer from 1976 to 1985 in New York. Worked for Eaves-Brooks Costume Company working on costumes for Broadway and off-Broadway productions. Became a freelance designer and did costuming for various operas, ballets, plays, movies, and commercials. He designed Star Trek costumes for Universal Studio and the costume for McDonald’s “Mac Tonight” advertising campaign. “Mac Tonight” featured a moon-faced piano player and was popular in the late 1980s.
I. E. Staples (1859-1942). Jeweler, Businessman, Politician. Isaac Edwin Staples was born in Kanabec County, Minnesota, to George and Emily H. Staples. In 1880, Staples moved to Little Falls from Delano, Minnesota, and opened a jewelry store. Staples also worked as a real estate business manager with John H. Rhodes in the firm of Rhodes & Staples. In 1895, Staples became the business manager of the Transcript Publishing Company, opened a general store in Little Falls and a general merchandise store in Randall. The Randall store included logs, hardwood lumber, cordwood and ties. In 1900, Staples also had a saw mill near Sullivan Lake. Staples served as justice of the peace, clerk of court, Little Falls city councilman and mayor of Little Falls (1893-1894). He was also one of the organizers of the city’s first brass band. Staples had three wives. His first wife, Minnie Chance, lived in Delano. Staples and Minnie had three children – Cora Maie, F. E. and Fannie. Staples married his second wife, Gertrude Hilborn in 1888. Staples and Gertrude had two children – Celia and George. Staples and Gertrude were separated in March of 1900 and divorced soon after. Staples married his third wife, Pearl Shorey, shortly after his divorce and moved to Portland, Oregon where he opened a jewelry store and became a state senator. Staples and Pearl had three children – Herbert Carpenter, Pearl and Isaac E. Jr.
Carlos Stroia (b. 1957) – Ballet dancer. Born in Transylvania, Romania. Began training at the School of Choreography in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, at age 8. Started dancing professionally (and internationally) at the age of 14. Defected from Romania at the age of 19 in order to dance with the Compagnia-Clasico Cosi-Stefanescu in Italy. Danced in a variety of ballet companies in 26 countries around the world. Came to Minnesota 1979 to visit a friend in the ballet and was offered a job with the Minnesota Dance Company. The same year, he started teaching ballet part-time at the St. Francis Music Center in Little Falls. He began the Stroia Ballet Studio in Little Falls in 1982 and opened a studio in Brainerd in 1983 and one in St. Cloud in 1985. Stroia became a U.S. citizen in 1987 and continues to teach classical ballet in central Minnesota.
William Sturgis – Partner with James Fergus and Calvin Tuttle in the Little Falls Manufacturing Company. Sturgis purchased the first dam and sawmill after James Green’s death and was contracted to build the first courthouse in Morrison County, a job he left unfinished. Sturgis laid out the town of Little Elk and built a sawmill at the site. In 1856, he was a member of the Minnesota Territorial Legislature. In 1857 he established a ferry at Little Falls.
The Louisville Syndicate – A group of businessmen from Louisville, Kentucky, the Louisville Syndicate was responsible for building a new and more structurally sound dam in Little Falls, Minnesota, in 1887. One of the businessmen, I. N. Hubbert, is believed to be a relative of C. H. Hubbert, who was secretary of the Little Falls Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber led the effort to transform Little Falls from a village into a city. The organization drafted a city charter in February 1889 which laid out the boundaries of the city, the number and type of city officers, term limits, and precincts.
Alfred Tanner (1840-1912) – Little Falls businessman. Alfred Tanner came to Little Falls, Minnesota, in 1857 and established a mercantile business. In 1868, Tanner switched to farming and five years later entered the hotel business, operating the Northern Hotel in Little Falls. When he returned to the mercantile business in 1881 Tanner also started the Little Falls Milling Company on the west side of the Missippippi River. Six years later he built a general merchandise house, known as the Tanner Block, in downtown Little Falls. Tanner served as mayor of Little Falls in 1897 and was a Morrison County commissioner and postmaster.
Calvin Tuttle – Partner with James Fergus and William Sturgis in the Little Falls Manufacturing Company. Tuttle served as the Minnesota Territorial Treasurer from 1849 to 1853. In 1868, he established a ferry near the mouth of South Two Rivers and later built a sawmill on Two Rivers in Morrison County.
Judith Savage Ulug – Daughter of Everett & Alice Savage. Graduated from high school in 1958. Professional musician (concert pianist), received degrees from the University of Minnesota and Julliard School of Music, moved to Turkey with her husband, taught at the University of Istanbul.
Charles Edward Vasaly (1869-1935) – State Prison Superintendent. Born at Old Fort Ripley in Morrison County, Charles was the son of Louis and Frances Vasaly. He learned the printing trade as a young man, working at a publishing house in Chicago from 1891 to 1894, when he returned to Little Falls to work as a reporter for the Little Falls Transcript. He and his brothers, Stephen and Peter, purchased the Little Falls Herald in 1895 and Charles became the paper’s editor. He served for 7 terms as Mayor of Little Falls. Was president of the Commercial Club. In 1909, the governor of Minnesota appointed him to the Board of Control and became the first person to be reappointed to the office. He became chairman of the Board of Parole and then was apponted to the position of superintendent of the St. Cloud Reformatory in 1920. He served in this position until 1933, working to refore inhumane prison practices.
John Vertin (1866-1955). Businessman. John Vertin was born in Austria to Mathias and Katherine (Maurin) Miller. Vertin immigrated to the United States in 1881 and moved to Little Falls in 1892 in order to take over the Maurin and Medved general store. Two years later he married Agnes Miller of Duluth, Minnesota. John and Agnes had eight children – Marcus, Mathias, Bernadine, Rose, John, Margaret, Agnes and Florence. Vertin worked in the real estate business in Little Falls from 1898 until 1902, when he became cashier of the Merchants State Bank of Little Falls. After resigning this post in 1904, Vertin once again took up land business. Vertin also sold insurance and in 1915 built the Vertin Block in downtown Little Falls. Vertin served three terms on the Little Falls City council before becoming city treasurer in 1911, a post which he held for forty-four years. He also served as the president of the Board of Commerce, as director of the fair board and was on the board of the Morrison County Agricultural association. In 1934, Vertin was one of the organizers of the Little Falls Federal Savings and Loan association, serving as secretary for ten years.
William Whipple Warren – Part Ojibwe, French, and English, Warren was a descendant of a fur trading family and grew up in a unique position to understand the mix of cultures in early Minnesota. He was taught both the English and Ojibwe languages as a child and became an interpreter between the Ojibwe and U.S. government during treaty negotiations. He served on the Territorial Legislature in 1851. He spoke extensively to his tribal elders in order to learn the history of his people. He was urged to write down these stories, which he did while living in Morrison County between 1851 and 1853. His manuscript became the book, “History of the Ojibway People,” one of the most important books ever written about the Ojibwe. William Warren died in 1853 at the age of 28.
Charles A. Weyerhaeuser (1866-1930). Lumberman and businessman. Charles A. Weyerhaeuser, with his business partner Richard Drew (R. D.) Musser, operated the Pine Tree Lumber Company in Little Falls, Minnesota. Charles managed the operation of the mill and dealt with personnel issues while R. D. took care of the financial side of the business. Established in 1890 with the purchase of the Little Falls Lumber Company on the east side of the Mississippi River, the Pine Tree Lumber Company quickly grew to become the second largest mill in the Northwest. Soon after it was established, a new sawmill was built on the west side of the river (the present location of Larson Boats and LeBourget Park). This site became the company’s main base of operations.
The Charles A. Weyerhaeuser Memorial Museum is named in honor of Charles A. Weyerhaeuser.
Maud Moon Weyerhaeuser (1876-1965). Frances Maud Moon married Charles A. Weyerhaeuser on December 14, 1898. The Weyerhaeusers had two children, Sarah Maud and Carl. Maud Moon was a talented musician and active community member. She was prominent in the organization of the Musical Art Club of Little Falls. On March 3, 1919, the Maud Moon Weyerhaeuser Hall was dedicated as the permanent home of the club. The hall was a gift of Mr. and Mrs. Weyerhaeuser to the community. The Weyerhaeuser family stayed in Little Falls until 1919/20 when the Pine Tree Lumber Company closed. After the death of Charles in 1930, Maud Moon married Bruce W. Sanborn. The Sanborns had four children – Conradine, Eunice, Theodore and Bruce W., Jr.
Florence Williams (1863-1945). Library Founder. Florence E. (Bennett) Williams was born in New York. In 1889 she married Milton M. Williams. The Williams lived at Meadow View, a diversified and model dairy farm located just west of Pine Grove Park in Little Falls, Minnesota. Florence and her husband were part of the group that founded Pine Grove Park. Florence was instrumental in organizing the public library in Little Falls in 1892. She developed and implemented a plan to establish a library by raising funds through popular subscription. In 1918, Florence and her husband moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota.
M. M. Williams – Milton M. Williams was a railroad man originally. He worked for the Northern Pacific Company and later on the Little Falls and Dakota Railroad. While he was working on the latter project, “he became interested in the water power possibilities of the Mississippi River at Little Falls. A company was formed, of which he was chosen Secretary-Treasurer and Manager of this company.” (From a brief history by Gladys Coenen) Williams supervised construction of the third dam at Little Falls after finding investors from Louisville, Kentucky, to finance the project. The third dam led to a major boom in population and prosperity for Morrison County. Milton married Florence Bennet in 1889. The couple was part of a group that founded Pine Grove Park in Little Falls.
George Edward Wilson (1860-1934) – Born in Canada. Came to Minneapolis with his family in 1882. Came to Royalton, Minnesota, in 1886 to serve as bookkeeper in his brother’s saw mill operation. After the saw mill business, he worked in real estate and insurance until his retirement. He served as Justice of the Peace in Royalton for almost 40 years, and served terms on the Village Council and School Board. George Wilson left behind 15 small day books in which he recorded events of his daily life. (Dated 1891-1928.) These came to the Morrison County Historical Society through a donation by Lewis McGonagle.
Warren Woodworth (1923-2005). Artist. Warren Wesley Woodworth was a self-taught artist known mainly for his oil paintings. Woodworth considered himself to be an impressionist, painting with vivid colors and a thick impasto. Among his many creative talents were photographer, opera singer, floral designer, chef and caterer. Woodworth also worked as a clothing and costume designer for 1948 Miss America, BeBe Shopp, and singer, Marian Anderson.
John Workman – According to Nathan Richardson’s 1876 history of Morrison County, John Workman was one of the first settlers in Little Falls. What is now Culdrum Township was beginning to be settled by J.C. Stebbins in 1859, but the Civil War caused him to leave and Culdrum was deserted. John Workman served as a soldier in the Civil War. When the war ended, he moved to Culdrum and named it for his native town in Ireland. Workman served as Culdrum’s first treasurer, and he ran the post office and a hotel there. Richardson names Workman as one of the men who helped him to get a portion of Todd County attached to Morrison County.