Tricounty News

Forest City Stockade: (Part 5) More recollections of the descendants of early settlers

Text from The Meeker REA Pioneer, October 1975. Laura Sundahl Crosby of Litchfield has vivid recollections of her grandmother, Laurina Olson, telling her stories about the Indians when she was a child. Laurina and Anders Olson (Mrs. Crosby's grandparents) left Norway in 1846. After 16 weeks on the Atlantic, they arrived in America. They lived for some time in Wisconsin. In 1858 they decided to venture into Minnesota and arrived and settled in Meeker County, and what is now known as Acton township. They lived on the farm now owned [in 1975] by Arthur Olson. The Anders Olsons learned of the massacre at Acton from Mrs. Jones, one of the survivors and wife of one of the five white people killed by the Indians. Mrs. Jones had walked over six miles to the Olsons (who had a blacksmith shop) to spread the news of the killings and to warn the other early settlers about the Indians. Anders Olson, together with his wife and three small children, walked to Forest City where they remained for some time. Olson helped with the construction of the stockade. One of the children was Christina, Laura Crosby's mother, who married Gunder Sundahl. The Olsons remained in Forest City until they were informed that the soldiers from Fort Snelling had subdued the Indians. Some of the men then decided to go back to their homes and see what was left of their property and to gather their cattle and (cradle) harvest their wheat. Anders Olson, Nels Danielson, Berger Anderson and Ole Amundson set out on foot to return to their homes. As they neared the Olson farm in Acton township, Olson parted from he group to go to his own home. The others hadn't gone far when they heard a shot. Anders Olson had been killed by an Indian's bullet. His body was buried on the farm, but later [was] transferred to the Ness Lutheran Cemetery where the other white people who had been massacred were buried. The Indians had visited the Olson farm on several occasions asking for food. The Olsons had always shared their meager food supply with the Indians upon such a request. Laura remembers her grandmother telling that one day she left the children at home and walked to Forest City carrying eggs to exchange for flour. When she had gone, the children saw some Indians approaching their home, became frightened and hid under the beds. The Indians came into the house and helped themselves to the food that was there, taking everything out of the cupboards. A monument was erected by the State of Minnesota in memory of Anders Olson who was massacred on his farm. This monument stands on the Arthur Olson farm in section 25, Acton township.