Tricounty News

Civil War digest March 16-22, 1864

Major Highlights for the Week

Wednesday, March 16, 1864

Federal troops occupied Alexandria, La., a salient Red River town. Elsewhere, fighting broke out at Annandale and Bristoe Station, Va.; Confederates raided the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad near Tullahoma, Tenn.; and skirmishing broke out at Palatka, Fla., and Santa Rosa, Texas.

Major General Sterling Price took command of the Confederate District of Arkansas, succeeding Lieutenant General Theophilus Holmes.


Pioneer life in Stearns County (part 2 of 2)

Text is from the Tri-County Messenger from 1937. The newspaper was loaned to the Kimball Area Historical Society by Ruth Brower.

Reprinted from the Tri-County News March 20, 2003.

In spite of all the hardships, the early settlers found ways to play. They had quilting bees and dancing. The only means of lighting for dances was homemade tallow candles. They were molded by the women and put in holders and lanterns. Some of the candles consisted of tallow, some of beeswax, and they also had a lamp that held fish oil. A string was inserted in the oil and lit, this being a means of illumination. One form of amusement was called a yankee picnic: everyone paid 10 cents for refreshments and dancing.


Happy 136th birthday Cokato open house

The Cokato Museum and Historical Society invites the public to join us at the museum for an open house from 1-4 p.m. Sunday, March 16, to celebrate the 136th birthday of the Village of Cokato.

The earliest white settlers came to this area in the spring of 1856, staking claims along Sucker Creek. It would be another 13 years before the First Division of the St. Paul & Pacific Railway stretched westward from near Howard Lake to Willmar, in 1869. With that, settlers began pouring into the region.

As a planned stop along the rail line, the still unincorporated settlement called Cokato (after the Dakota word roughly meaning “in the middle of”) saw the construction of homes and businesses to serve the area residents. By late 1877, the drive to incorporate was coalescing. In early 1878, a petition circulated calling for a vote. That vote was held on March 9, 1878, and the Village of Cokato was officially born.

In addition to a fun and informative slide show about the village/city through the years, attendees can enjoy the last few days of our current display, The Keyboard That Killed Cursive. They can also see some of the many changes to the museum’s permanent gallery and what we also are planning for future upgrades. Oh, and don’t forget about our new doors.

This event will be held at the Cokato Museum, 175 Fourth Street SW, and is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

For more information, please contact the museum at (320) 286-2427, on the web at, or check out their Facebook page.

The Cokato Museum is a cooperative effort of the city of Cokato and the Cokato Historical Society.

March 19: Vital Records 101 - Research Center Workshop

Have you ever wondered what resources are available in the Research Center and Archives of the Stearns History Museum? The Stearns History Museum is offering an Intro to the Research Center and Archives class to highlight the many resources available and to show how easy they are to access. Beginning at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 19, archivist Sarah Warmka will show patrons how to use the archives and all of the different databases and collections that are available. This is free for members, $7 for non-members. Stearns History Museum is located at 235 33rd Ave. S., St. Cloud.

Want to learn even more? Stay for the Vital Records 101 workshop at 10 a.m. Sarah Warmka will explain the different types of vital records, how to access them, what important information they contain, and how this can help you bridge gaps in your genealogy. Please RSVP to (320) 253-8424, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Civil War digest: March 9-15, 1864

Major Highlights for the Week

Wednesday, March 9, 1864

The President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, in the presence of his Cabinet, officially handed Ulysses S. Grant his commission as lieutenant general. In the brief White House ceremony, both Lincoln and Grant uttered perfunctory remarks. Grant then discussed in private, his plans for future operations, with the president.

Thursday, March 10, 1864

Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant was given the official authority to take command of the Armies of the United States, but the general himself had already left for Virginia to meet with Major General George G. Meade with the Army of the Potomac. The generals discussed the position, condition and future of the army, and worked out their relationship to each other. Grant expected himself to be in the field with his army commander.

Federal Major General Franz Sigel superseded Brigadier General Benjamin F. Kelley in command of the Federal Department of West Virginia.

Confederate raiders hit Clinton and Mayfield, Ky., while skirmishing broke out near Charles Town and Kabletown, W.V.