On the Porch

The following is an excerpt from Early Life in Lynd, Minnesota. The story is from hand-written text on a speech which Bessie Pierce Olin Roloff gave to Lynd school children in about 1955. The Early Life in Lynd, Minnesota story is included in a booklet titled, “Legendary Lynd: A Pioneer Minnesota Town.” The booklet was compiled by Marjorie and Craig Nickisch last year. There are copies of the booklet for purchase in the museum’s gift shop. Last year, the Nickisches donated some of the original photographs of early Lynd included in the booklet to the museum. The photograph featured this week is one of the photographs donated to the museum.

“I’m sure it is hard for all of you to realize that when my mother’s (Carrie Blanche Pierce Olin) parents and grandparents came here in the fall of 1869 that there were no groves, no fence line, no roads — just bare prairie lands, except for the woods along our Redwood River.

Because of the vast prairie and tall dry grass the settlers found it necessary many times to band together to fight prairie fires. Sometimes the smoke from the approaching fires could be seen for several days. About all they had to use were wet gunny sacks to whip the fire with. Later on, though, if time was sufficient those who had horses and plows would plow furrows around their buildings and around the grain and hay stacks in the fields. No one had a hay mower at first.

When I was a small child the main road between Marshall and Russell ran diagonally across the prairie to the N.W. corner of Ed Van Nevel’s farm and still diagonally to Russell. We’d start out early in the day on trip to Russell driving an iron gray horse always arriving home before dark.

Just S.W. of Ed Van Nevel’s was a large corral used evenings by the cattle herders who were the settlers taking turns at watching everyone’s cattle during the day. Each eve the owners would come to the corral to take their cows home to be milked. You know there were only small fields plowed — just what one man could take care of as he only had a one lay, walking plow. Eighty acres was a lot for one man to do even in my early days.”

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