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.
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.
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:
Major Highlights for the Week
Wednesday, July 15, 1863
The New York Draft Riots, now in their third day, were becoming less violent.
Skirmishing broke out at Halltown and Sherpherdstown, W.V.,
as Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia slowly moved south down the Shenandoah Valley, where it remained for most of the month.
Other fighting broke out at Jackson, Miss.; along Forked Deer River and at Pulaski, Tenn.
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.