On the Porch

Christopher F. Case has the distinction of being Lyon County’s first historian. Lyon County was established formally on Aug. 12, 1870 when the first meeting of the commissioners was held in Lynd. In 1884, C. F. Case published the first history of Lyon County, published by the Marshall Messenger Printing House. The title of the history book is “Lyon County, Minnesota 1884 Historical and Descriptive.” The book is also known as “History and Description of Lyon County, Minnesota: Including a Farm and Business Directory”. The book features business advertisements in the front and in the back of the book. Businesses featured include: Wakeman’s Drug Store, N.W. Jager’s Pioneer Minneota Store, Kayser’s Book Store and Jewelry Store, The Boston Cash Store, Marshall Marble Works, Watson & Chace Farm Machinery and E.L. Healy’s Beehive Store.

C.F. Case was born in South Manchester, Connecticut on Nov. 1, 1839 to Ashbel W. and Eleanor (Hollister) Case. At the age of 15, he accompanied his parents to Iowa. Case enlisted in Company B, 40 Wisconsin Infantry serving five months. After his discharge from the Army in 1864, he entered the Michigan University at Ann Arbor where he graduated with the class of 1868. After school, he published a newspaper in Iowa for five years. He married Caroline Francis “Fannie” Waller on Nov. 6, 1872 in Waverly, Iowa. They had three children, Frank W., Fred H., and Dorothy A.

In 1874, the Cases moved to Marshall where he purchased the newspaper, the Prairie Schooner from J.C. Ervin and changed the name of the paper to the Marshall Messenger. In 1885, he sold the newspaper to Charles C. Whitney. Whitney was owner of the Lyon County News at the time of the purchase. Whitney consolidated the two newspapers and continued publication under the name of the News-Messenger. In 1890, Case started the Lyon County Reporter, which he ran for several years before turning the management over to his son, Frank W. Case. After retiring from the newspaper business, C.F. Case engaged in other business activities that included receiver of the United States Land Office in Marshall and a mercantile business in Herman, MN. C.F. Case died in 1923, and he is buried at the Marshall Cemetery.

Lyon County’s 150th anniversary is next year. Planning committee meetings are the 3rd Monday of the month at 6:30 pm at the Lyon County Museum. If you are interested in helping with planning activities to commemorate the anniversary in 2020, attend a meeting or contact me at the museum with your ideas.

The Lyon County Historical Society is a nonprofit, member-supported organization. For more information on membership, research, volunteering, or the museum’s collection, please contact us at 537-6580 or director@lyoncomuseum.org. Like our page and follow us on Facebook!