Tricounty News

Early rural mail carriers remembered

We often take our mail delivery for granted – we just open up our mailbox and voilà, there it is!

However, the job of a mail carrier, especially those who deliver to rural areas, can be a difficult one. In addition, in the days of old when the vehicles and roads were not what they are today, the job was even more demanding.

Years ago, we did not have e-mail and texting to receive messages. Cell phones did not exist. That meant that the delivery of mail to our houses and businesses was a lifeline that we could not do without.

Today, with the reality of no more Saturday mail delivery by the U.S. Postal Service, that change does not seem much like a problem at all. However, years ago, it would have been outrageous even to consider.

Think back to 1904, when Otis Kincaid and Eugene Welliver became the first two rural mail carriers to serve Eden Valley. Kincaid served Rural Route 2 and Welliver Route 1.


Civil War digest: This week 150 years ago July 29-Aug 4, 1863

Major Highlights for the Week

Wednesday, July 29, 1863

Major military moves of midsummer tapered off, although heavy skirmishing continued. Fighting occurred near Bridgeport, Ala.; near Fort Donelson, Tenn., and at Paris and Winchester, Ky., brought on by Confederate raids on occupied territory. Federal forces fought against Indians at Conchas Springs, New Mexico Territory, and at the Missouri River, Dakota Territory.

Thursday, July 30, 1863

President Abraham Lincoln issued orders that the government of the United States would “give the same protection to all its soldiers, and if the enemy shall sell or enslave anyone because of his color, the offense shall be punished by retaliation upon the enemy’s prisoners in our possession.”

Skirmishing occurred near Elm Springs, Ark.; near Lexington and Marshall, Mo.; Irvine, Ky.; Grand Junction, Tenn.; and Barnwell’s Island, S.C.


Forest City Stockade: More recollections of the descendants of early settlers

More recollections of the descendants of early settlers

Text from The Meeker REA Pioneer, October 1975.

Reprinted from the Tri-County News Nov. 27, 2003.

James B. Atkinson was one of the first permanent inhabitants of Forest City. Mrs. James D. (Flossie) Atkinson, whose husband was a grandson of James B., told us some interesting things that had been passed down to her.

James B. Atkinson was born in England. It is thought he was about 17 years old when he and his parents left England. They went to Canada first, and then settled in Pennsylvania. James decided to go west. He left his family and came to St. Anthony (Minneapolis) where he purchased some land. Upon hearing about the promising area to the west, he came to Forest City in 1855 and found it very favorable. He decided that the rural area held a better future for him than the city. He sold his land in Minneapolis, which later became the site of the Nicollet Hotel, and purchased three loads of merchandise and made his way back to Forest City where he opened up the first store in Meeker County. At the time he first came to Forest City there was only one dwelling house (made of logs) and one general office.


Civil War digest: This week 150 years ago July 22-28,1863

Major Highlights for the Week

Wednesday, July 22, 1863

As action increased at Manassas and Chester gaps in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Major General George G. Meade ordered his III Corps, under Major General
William H. French, to move forward and attack the Confederates in Manassas Gap. Behind French were two other Federal corps.

The remnants of Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan’s Confederates skirmished at Eagleport, Ohio, as they fled northward.

The New York Chamber of Commerce estimated that Confederate raiders had taken
150 Union merchant vessels
valued at more than $12 million.

Thursday, July 23, 1863

Federal troops under Major General William H. French’s III Corps pushed into and through Manassas Gap in the Blue Ridge Mountains and then, facing a brigade of Confederates, were delayed for hours. This delay allowed Lieutenant Generals James Longstreet and Ambrose Powell Hill to move their corps southward through the Luray Valley of the Shenandoah to safety. Two divisions of Lieutenant General Richard Ewell’s corps came up and established lines of defense. One Federal brigade attacked at Wapping Heights. During the night, Ewell pulled away leaving only a light rear guard near Front Royal. The Confederates continued unmolested to Culpeper Courthouse, below the Rappahannock River.


Be thankful for roads, not upset about road construction

The middle of summer and road construction season can be found everywhere. We like to complain about the bottlenecks and traffic jams that these projects cause, but we would not complain so much if we remembered how road conditions used to be.

It was only 101 years ago that construction began on Minnesota Highway 55 that would connect the Kimball, Watkins and Eden Valley area to the Twin Cities.

In 1912, the road was yet unnamed and known only as the state road that ran along the Soo Line. Following is a short story that ran in the Oct. 10, 1912, issue of the Eden Valley Journal: