Text from The Meeker REA
Pioneer, October 1975; reprinted in the Tri-County News Oct. 2, 2003.
The following are incidents relating to those who were residents of Meeker County during the late 1850s and the early 1860s, as told by their descendants, who have recalled various incidents and stories told by their relatives who took refuge in the (Forest City) Stockade at the time of the Sioux Indian Uprising in Meeker County.
These are but a few of the stories that might be told about the residents of that time.
In 1856, three families came by oxen to settle in the north part of Acton township. The Peter J. Lund, Nels Waylander Sr., and John Winquist families came to America from Sweden. They lived in Illinois for a few years before coming to Meeker County (in Minnesota).
The previous year, 1855, Lund and Waylander left Illinois on foot and traveled north until they came to St. Anthony, Minnesota, (now Minneapolis) in search of land. They then decided to go west from Minneapolis and seek their new home. As they traveled, they did not see a white man until they came to Dassel. When they came to Lake Ripley, they met the land surveyor. This was as far as the surveying crews had come at that time.
The surveyor told them that some white people had already come through and were settling southwest of there. The two men then decided to head a little to the northwest. They sighted three tall trees which they used as a landmark, and walked in that direction. When they arrived there, the land was all under water, so they headed a little to the south. They spent the night in a grove of trees. The next morning, when the men saw the area by daylight, they were very impressed. Waylander, driving a stake into the ground, said, “Here is where I am going to have my home.” Lund then began to look around and walked a short distance south and came to a flat clearing. Lund decided, “Here I am going to cut trees and make my cabin.” They had promised Winquist they would also find a place for him close to theirs, so they walked around a small lake (later to become known as Lund Lake) and found another place which impressed them, which they staked for Winquist.
All three of these places are in section 4 of Action Township. They are now owned [in 1975] by Alois Schmalz (the Lund farm), Donald Slinden (the Waylander farm) and Erwin Nass (the Winquist farm).
The Civil War was in progress and the young settlers were being drafted into the National Guard. On Sunday, Aug. 17, 1862, these young men who were waiting to be called to the Guard had a meeting in one of the homes in Swede Grove Township. It was when they were returning to their homes that they met a group of Indians (it is thought they were about 12 in number). The white men noticed that the Indians were excited, and that all were carrying guns. The white men remarked, “There must be something bothering the Indians today, they seem very uneasy.” One Indian in the group spoke English and said they were going to the Big Woods to hunt.
These white men later heard that the massacre had taken place that morning at the Jones and Baker homes in section 21, Acton Township. The farms are now owned [in 1975] by Mrs. George Paulson and Boyd Paulson. A monument stands on the George Paulson farm as a memorial to those five white people who were massacred by the Indians that tragic Sunday, Aug. 17, 1862.
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Not since 2003 have you had opportunity to enjoy the rich history of Forest City recollections of the earliest settlers. We believe you’ll agree once you begin this unique series on their beginnings.
Tuesday, June 25, 7 p.m., Everybody loves a great story-teller. Dean Urdahl is one of those who wrote “Conspiracy: Who Really Killed Lincoln?” Discover a dark secret that could destroy the government if it is revealed. Come hear this gifted speaker. Bring your friends, family, neighbors. There is no charge, everyone is welcome. Refreshments will follow the program.
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The Kimball Area Historical
Society began in 2000 and has never increased its membership
dues. So feel free to join our friendly group as we feature fantastic events like the ones mentioned here.
Need more information?
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Fair Haven Old Settlers Picnic Saturday, June 29,
We’ll be there with
2 exhibits from 9 to 1