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History of Otter Tail County, Minnesota

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History of Otter Tail County, Minnesota

its people, industries, and institutions : with biographical sketches of representative citizens and genealogical records of many of the old families
  • by John Wintermute Mason, 1846 - 1927
  • published by B.F.Bowen & Company, Inc, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1916

Available online at these locations:

Table of Contents

Volume I
Chapter I— Related State History
A Portion of Minnesota Originally Included in Louisiana Purchase — Indian Cessions and Treaties — Territorial Government Established — Boundaries — Governor Alexander Ramsey — First Territorial Legislature — The Historic Council with the Indians at Traverse des Sioux — The Treaty — Indian Hunters Cause Trouble — Townsite Speculation — Constitutional Convention — First State Legislature — Admission of Minnesota as a State — Aid to Railroads — Financial Stringency — Unrest Among the Indians — Massacre of 1862— Punishment of the Indians— Subsequent Treaties— A Period of Rapid Development — Trouble Because of the State Issue of Railroad Bonds — Settlement of the Question and Activity in Railroad Building — Diversified Farming Interests — Population Statistics — Military Record — Name —Geography — Area — Rivers — Lakes— Elevations— Climate— Chronological Record of the State.
Chapter II— Geology Of Otter Tail County
Situation — Area — Surface Features — Natural Drainage — Lakes — Topography —Altitudes— Soil— Timber— Geological Structure— Aboriginal Earthworks — Prehistoric Mounds and Relics — Capt. John Pope's Trip Through Otter Tail County in 1849 — "The Garden Spot of the Northwest."
Chapter III— Otter Tail County In 1860
Map of the County, 1860 — Boundaries — A Peculiar History During the Decade, 1858-1868— Character of the Early Settlers— Early Religious Services- Land Office — Surveys — Otter Tail City — The First Trader and Other Early Merchants — Villages in the County — Copy of the Census Return for Otter Tail County, 1860 — Waseata Post office — Its Census Returns — Farm Statistics.
Chapter IV— Organization Of Otter Tail County
Territorial Act Defining the County — Changes in Boundaries — Origin of the Name — Formal Organization of the County — Southern Influence— -Otter Tail City, the County Seat — Early Settlers — Exodus from County Because of the Indian Outbreak — Changes in Boundaries — First Commissioners — — County Seat Changes — Legislative Enactments — Final Removal to Fergus Falls — E. E. Corliss — Range 44 Attached to the County — A Peculiar Legal Case Pertaining Thereto — Proposals to Divide the County — Otter Tail City in 1858 — Population Statistics— Platted Townsites — Financial Statement of the County for 1915 — Naturalized Citizens of Otter Tail County — Naturalization Laws — Births and Deaths.
Chapter V— County Buildings
Court Houses— The Present Court House— The First Tail— The Present Jail — County Tuberculosis Sanatorium — County Poor Farm.
Chapter VI— Officials Of The County
First Meeting of the County Commissioners — Salaries of First Officials — Legislative Enactments Relating to County Officers — Commissioners — County Auditor — Treasurer — The First County Tax Receipt — Banks as Depositaries of County Funds — Register of Deeds — Sheriffs — County Attorneys — Coroners — Surveyors — County Superintendent of Schools — William M. Corliss — District Judges — Judge of Probate — Clerk of the District Court — Presidential Elections — Otter Tail County in the Legislature — State and National Officials from Otter Tail County.
Chapter VII— Legislative Acts Bearing On Otter Tail County
State Burdened with Peculiar Special Legislation— A Summary of the General and Special Acts Relating to Otter Tail County from 1858 to the Present Time.
Chapter VIII— Townships of Otter Tail County, 1868-69
Townships Settled in Groups — Four Principal Languages in the County —Difficulty in Naming the Townships — Chronological List of the Townships in the County — Historical Mention of the Townships of Clitherall. St. Olaf. Tumuli. Tordenskjold, Aurdal — Villages of Dalton and Parkdale.
Chapter IX— Townships of Otter Tail County, 1870
Townships of Parkers Prairie, Dane Prairie, Fergus Falls, Eagle Lake, Elizabeth. Otter Tail. Pelican. Erhards Grove, Buse — Villages of Parkers Prairie.
Chapter X— Townships of Otter Tail County, 1871
Townships of Rush Lake. Aastad, Hobart. Scambler, Maine. Nidaros — Villages of Richville. Hobart. Clitherall and Vining.
Chapter XI— Townships of Otter Tail County, 1872-73
Townships of Perham, Effington. Norwegian Grove, Western. Deer Creek. Oscar, Trondhjem, Gorman — Villages of Perham. Deer Creek and Luce.
Chapter XII— Townships of Otter Tail County, 1874-77
Townships of Leaf Mountain. Friberg, Compton, Eastern, Oak Valley, Woodside, Newton — Village of New York Mills.
Chapter XIII— Townships of Otter Tail County, 1878-79
Townships of Sverdrup, Inman, Henning, Bluffton, Lida, Amor, Dora, Everts, Leaf Lake — Villages of Underwood, Henning, Bluffton and Battle Lake.
Chapter XIV— Townships of Otter Tail County, 1880-81
Townships oi Candor, Star Lake, Elmo, Dunn, Maplewood, Homestead, Carlisle. folden -Village of Vergas.
Chapter XV Townships of Otter Tail County, 1882-97
Townships of Edna, Girard, Paddock, Pine Lake, Otto, Butler, Corliss, Blowers, Orwell, Dead Lake - Village of Dent.
Chapter XVI Transportation
Highways River Transportation Red River Navigable Stan- Aid for Roads and Bridges Present Road Conditions State Highway Commission Railroads— Early Resolutions renaming to the Need of— Building of the Roads— Local Vote of County Aid Present Roads Removal of Railroad Shops from Fergus Falls.
Chapter XVII— Agriculture
Influence of Topography on Development of Agriculture in Otter Tail County — The County Characterized by Small Farms — Character of Settlers- Table of Farm Products, by Decades — Live Stock Statistics — Dairy Interests — The Grasshopper Pest — Bumper Crop of 1895 — The Grange Movement — Farmers Clubs and What They are Doing — Co-operative Elevators — Mutual Fire Insurance Companies — Fair Associations and Agricultural Societies — County Agricultural Agent — County Farm Bureau — Elements Contributing to the Progress of Agriculture.
Chapter XVIII— Banks And Banking
The First Banks in the County — A Study of Banking Conditions in Fergus Falls — Banks of the County, with Date of Organization — Brief Sketch of Each of the Banks.
Chapter XIX— The Press
First Newspaper in the County— Brief Mention of the Various Papers Which Have Existed in the County — Legal Newspapers of the County — The Amenities of the Press.
Chapter XX— The Otter Tail County Bar
High Character of the Legal Profession— Splendid Personnel of the Otter Tail County Bar— Distinguished Members— A List of the Attorneys of the County, with the Date of Their Settlement.
Chapter XXI— The Medical Profession
No Physicians in the County Prior to 1871— Dr. R. M. Reynolds, the First Physician in the County— The Various Schools of Practice— A List of Physicians Who Have Regularly Practiced in the County — Osteopaths and Chiropractors— Dentistry— Optometrists— George B. Wright Memorial Hospital—St. Luke's Hospital— State Hospital for the Insane.
Chapter XXII— Churches Of Otter Tail County
A List of Ministers Registered in Otter Tail County— A Brief History of Each Church in the County— The Federated Church in Fergus Falls— First Congregational Church— First Presbyterian Church— Other Presbyterian and Congregational Churches— Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Churches— German Evangelical Lutheran Trinity Church— Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church— Bethel Lutheran Church— Bethania Norwegian Lutheran Church- Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Churches— Hauges Evangelical Lutheran Church— Evangelical Free Church— Methodist Episcopal Churches — Swedish Baptist Churches— Baptist Church— People's Union Church— Episcopal Church— Zion Church— Finnish Apostolic Lutheran Congregation— Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene— Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints— Christian Science Society— Catholic Churches— Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Churches— United Brethren Churches -Scandinavian Churches— Immanuel Churches— Swedish Baptist Churches— Miscellaneous Churches.
Chapter XXIII— Fraternal And Benevolent Societies
Ancient Free and Accepted Masons— Independent Order of Odd Fellows — Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks — Royal Arcanum — United Commercial Travelers Knights of the Maccabees Ladies of the Maccabees Brotherhood of American Yeomen — Modern W limn of America Royal Neighbors of America— Knights of Pythias -Catholic Order of Forest Degree of Honor — Independent Order of Foresters — Fraternal Order of Eagles.
Chapter XXIV— Education
Inefficiency of Early Schools, Due to Unavoidable Conditions — Unanimity in the Building Up of a School System — Petitions for Schools — First County Superintendent of Schools — Sketch of a Pioneer School — Development of the Educational Work of the Count}- — Introduction of the Study of Physiology and Hygiene and the Results — State Aid to Standard Schools — School Statistics — County Superintendents — Assistant Superintendents — Schools of Fergus Falls — Park Region Luther College — Northwestern College.
Chapter XXV— Telephones In In Otter Tail County
The County Quick to Install the New Invention in the Eighties — Its General Use and Importance to the Community — A Brief History of the Companies Doing Business in Otter Tail County.
Chapter XXVI— Creameries
A History of all the Creamery Companies Doing Business in Otter Tail County.
Chapter XXVII— Military Affairs
Veterans of the Civil War Residing in Otter Tail County — The Spanish- American War — Daughters of the American Revolution — Grand Army of the Republic — Woman's Relief Corps.
Chapter XXVIII— Postal History
Fergus Falls Post office — Other Post offices in the County- — Salaries of Postmasters — Rural Free Delivery.
Chapter XXIX— City Of Fergus Falls
James Fergus, the Founder of the City — Joseph Whitford. the First Settler on the Townsite— The Sioux Massacre of 1862— Ernest Buse, the First Permanent Settler — George B. Wright, and His Influence on the Early Growth of the Place — Fergus Falls in 1873 — Pioneer Advertisers — Fergus Falls in 1871 — Water Power — Incorporation as a Village — First Election — Village Boundaries and First Officials — Council Proceedings — Railroad Bonds — Amendments to the Village Charter — First School District — Becomes the County Seat — Early Lack of Railroad Facilities — Presidents of the Village Council — Incorporation as a City — Fergus Falls in 1881 — Lincoln Avenue vs. Bismark Avenue — Municipal Affairs — City Charters — Gas and Waterworks —Fire Department— Electricity— Otter Tail Power Company— The City Dam and Its Destruction — Hoot Lake Project — Police Department — Streets. Sidewalks, Bridges, Parks. Etc. — Care of the Poor — City Funds — Libraries — Clubs and Organizations — Commercial Club — Town Improvement Society — Park Region Anti-Tuberculosis Society Street Railways — City Officials — Fergus Falls in 1916 — Directory oi Present Business and Professional Interests
Chapter XXX— Reminiscences Of Otter Tail County, 1869-72
Story by Ole Jorgens, of His Settlement in Otter Tail County - Inconveniences of the New Settlers— First Visit to Fergus Falls - Elected to Public Office— Taking the Census Under Difficulties— First Mail Route -County Seat Contests — Division of the County - Story of a Steer -Traveling in the Early Days— First Workings and Fish Laws - A Ninety-Dollar Story - First Christmas in Otter Tail County— A Deer Fight— Bootlegging— Assessing of Taxes in 1870 — First Insanity Case in the County — The Grasshopper Scourge — Fourth of July Celebration, 1870 — First Bridge in Fergus Falls — Two Interesting Early Letters.
Chapter XXXI— Reminiscences Of The Early History Of Otter Tail County
E. E. Corliss Tells in an Interesting Way of the Beginnings of Things in Otter Tail County — The Journey to the Promised Land — Otter Tail City in 1858— Breaking New Land— Clitherall— The Mormons— The Settlers in 1870— A Judicial Court Run by Prayer — Highway Robbery — The First District Court — Craigie's Mill — Organization of the County — Attempted Organization of Holcomb County— Acquisition of Range 44 — Wilkin County in 1872 — Fergus Falls Made the County Seat — Removing the Records — Legislative Changes — Pioneer County Officials — Some Early Settlements and Settlers- Edmund A. Everts.
Chapter XXXII-Reminiscences By John W. Mason
The Coming to Fergus Falls— A Callithumpian Serenade— "Hanging Out the Shingle" — Early Mails— The "Good Old Times" in Comparison with the Present — A Visit by Celebrities — "Lord Gordon" — Casus Belli — The Graveyard—The New Church— The Church War— A Fondness for Bonds— "Old Settler" to the Front — Repudiation — Charter Amendments — The School Record— Bribery and Corruption— Political Schemes— The Waterworks Scheme — Major Beach's Telegraph — The Rat Skin War — The Dam-site at Guttenberg — Mistaken Identity — What Can Be Done with a Dime — The Stage Robber — The Fergus Falls Vigilantes — A Romance and a Tragedy — Luedke vs. Luedke — The Lo-cus(t) — A Sad Tale with a Happy Ending — The Fergus Falls Cooking Club — The Village Baker — The Esthetic Side of Fergus Falls— The R. R. S. W. N. Co.— A Dash of Local Color— "What's the Matter with Fergus" — The Captains of Industry at Play.
Chapter XXXIII— Who's Who In Early Fergus
Doctor Goodale — James M. Gray — Levi Sartwell — Victor Landquist — Bill Wilson — Bert Melville — Jim Spendlove — Jacob Austin — Capt. H. S. Cole — Sam H. Nichols — Frank Hoskins — Opperman, a Dutchman — Edwin M. Wright— Charles William Kaddatz.
Chapter XXXIV— Sidelights of Otter Tail History
Why Otter Tail— The Tale of the Otter Tail— Origin of the Name of Otter Tail County — A Complete History of Otter Tail County in 1874 — The Fergus Falls Land Office and Otter Tail Democracy — Reminiscences of Fergus Falls —George B. Wright's Story— The Story of Knut O. Harris— Story of G. O. Dahl— Story of T. A. Huff— Great Indian Scare of 1876— Prairie Fire— Gold in Otter Tail County — First Law Firm in Fergus Falls.


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WikiTree Syntax

  • ''[[Space: History of Otter Tail County, Minnesota| History of Otter Tail County, Minnesota]]'' (B.F.Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1916), [ Page ].
  • <ref>[[#History of Otter Tail County, Minnesota|History of Otter Tail County, Minnesota]]</ref>

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