DCMA, Defamation, Copyright and Trademark Infingement Policy
Greetings from Minnesota Large Mug
Fear Me Hat
Uffda Minnesota License plate Cap
Greetings from Minnesota Large Mug
Fear Me Hat
Uffda Minnesota License plate Cap
Historical Sketches of Royalton
Originally scanned by Hillbilly Blue at http://www.hillbillyblue.com/
How Royalton Was Named
In the year 1853, seventy-seven years ago, R.D. Kinney, a native of the state of Vermont, came west into this territory as a missionary among the Indians. At that time travel was not what it is today. Railroads ran only as far west as the Mississippi River in Illinois. From there to St. Paul, travel was by steamboat. From St. Paul north all travel was by stage and dog trains. This was the route traveled by Mr. Kinney when he arrived within the present limits of Royalton.
At that time settlers in this part of the country were few and Indians roamed the land. Mr. Kinney preempted a quarter section of land which according to the government survey made the previous year was described as the southeast quarter of section 35, town 39, range 32. That the reader may better know what part of the present village was comprised in Mr. Kinney's holdings, we will describe the present boundaries. Starting at the bank corner, east to the cross roads at Skinner Corner, south to Riverside Cemetery, west to the old Catholic cemetery, north to the place of beginning. Mr. Kinney erected a log house near the south line of his property about 30 rods east of the old Catholic cemetery. The house was located at this point for the reason that at this time the military road from St. Paul to Fort Ripley passes close to this location.
Soon after Mr. Kinney erected his house the government appointed him postmaster of an office to be established, and the newly appointed postmaster was asked to suggest a name for the same. In a conversation with the writer some years ago Mr. Kinney stated that he suggested several names, among which were "Burr Oak," "Platte River," and "Royalton." The latter was the name of the village of his birth in Vermont. His preference among the names submitted was Royalton and the post office department decided on this name. Mr. Kinney retained the post office for several years until he returned east. It was then located in the home of some other settler until the railroad was built in 1877, when it was located in the pump station where the Northern Pacific crosses Platte River below town.
When the depot was erected, the post office was turned over to the station agent. The post office having borne the name Royalton for so many years, the railroad company gave this name to the station when established in1878.
Mr. Kinney was the first settler in the present boundaries of the village of Royalton. After several years residence in Cincinnati, Ohio, he returned to this place in 1878, and in the early nineties built the residence now occupied by John Pennie. He and his wife occupied this home up to about 25 years ago, when they returned to Cincinnati to live with a daughter until death called then at a ripe old age.
Early Settlements in the Vicinity of Royalton
Before going further into the early history of Royalton as a village, we will take up briefly the history of the surrounding territory, especially the township of Bellevue which surrounds the corporation.
When the first white man arrived is not definitely known, but it was about 1830, when a trading post was established by Allen Morrison on the eas bank of the Mississippi near where the power dam northwest of Royalton in located. Allen Morrison, from whom Morrison County derived its name, came into norther Minnesota as early as 1820. He resided in Crow Wing for many years, later removing to White Earth where he died on the 28th of November, 1878. He was prominent among the early traders in this section and was a representative in the first territorial legislature of 1849.
The first settler to make a home in the township (Bellevue) was William W. Warren, who was of mixed blood and arrived in the late forties. He erected a house and cultivated land close to the Mississippi River on the line between sections 28 and 29. In the field notes of the government survey made in 1852, Warren's home is located 200 links west of the southwest corner of the northwest corner of section 28. This description would bring the location very close to the present home of Thomas McDougall. Mr. Warren was aman of education and was elected as arepresentative to the second territorial legislature of 1851. In a copy of the "Frontierman" published in Sauk Rapids, June 7, 1855, editor, William H. Wood, as follows: "The memory of W.W. Warren, then the best talker and most graceful writer in the territory, remains with us, and ever will, a bright and precious treasure. We often met him, and never shall cease to admire the reverential, thoughtful spirit, in which he was wont to discourese of the religion, customs, and history of the Indian. His knowledge in these matters was inexhaustilbe. He talked and wrote much and well. But his days were few. He has gone. That journey to the Spirit Land which he so often describe the Indian as traveling, he, distant from home and loved ones, commenced two years ago."
William Warren died in St. Paul in 1853, when about 30 years of age. From all records obtainable he must be given the honor of being the first permanent settler of Bellevue township. This township and adjacent territory was first a part of the county of Benton, organized in 1849, and remained as such until the organization of Morrison County in 1856. A military road established by the U.S. Government, and known as the Point Douglas and Fort Ripley road, passed through the township. This road crossed the Platte River a short distance below (southwest of)the present railroad bridge south of Royalton, and ran in a northwesterly direction to a point one-half mile west of the school house on the prairie, where it joined what is now called the river road to the north.
Over this road passed all traffic from St. Paul and the far north trading posts. It was the route taken by the famous Red River trains of two wheel carts carrying furs to the south and returning with supplies. The Red River carts were usually constructed entirely of wood and drawn by a single ox, and most of the drivers were half-breeds. They came from Pembina and other points to the north and northwest. The trains sometimes contained as many as 150 cars, and on account of the construction of the vehicles, their approach could be heard form miles by the squeak of the wheels on the wooden axles.
With the flow of immigration from the east in the early fifties, Bellevue received many settlers who came to make permanent homes. The majority were Scotch Canadians and natives of the state of Maine, and nearly all settled on the edge of the prairie and opened up farms; spending the winters in the pineries to the north, cutting and hauling logs. At that time lumbering in Minnesota was an infant industry, and the belief was as one early historian wrote: "The pine forests of Minnesota are inexhaustible." Today, 75 years later, the virgin pine forests are but a memory.
Next to W.W. Warren, the earliest settler in Bellevue Township was John McGillis, a Scotchman, who settled on the northwest quarter of section 33 in 1852. He resided here until September, 1855, when he sold the place to Henry Clark, a native of Maine, born in 1832.
Clark first came west in 1854, to St. Anthony, where he resided a short time before coming to Bellevue. He first settled in the meadow country north of the prairie, but soon left that locality to buy the McGillis place. In 1863 he sold the place to Calhoun Hayes, a native of West Virginia, born in 1832.
Hayes came to Minnesota in 1857, when appointed receiver of the land office in Sauk Rapids. Later he removed to Little Falls and held the office of register off deeds and county attorney. He lived on the place bought of Henry Clark until 1867 when he sold to James Muncy who arrived that year from Maine. From this time the place was know as the James Muncy place to all residents of past and recent years.
Among the settlers to arrive in 1853 were Duncan and James McDougall and Hugh Patterson who settled at the north end of the prairie near the river road. Henry Meyers and John DePue also arrived that year, the former settling on the northwest prairie, while DePue made claim on the west bank of Platte river about a mile south of Royalton. R.D. Kinney arrived this year and, as previously mentioned, was the first settler in the present limits of Royalton.
In the year 1854, P.A. Green, a native of New York, arrived and settled on section 35 and was the second settler of the territory of what now comprises the village of Royalton. Green's holdings of 160 acres lay three forties west of First Street, and one forty north of Center Street, west of the river. The depot and most of the business section of Royalton are located on the original claim of Green. When Mr. Green arrived, his family consisted of himself and wife, two sons, Charles and Frank, and daughter Mary. The Green home was located west of the lumber company's office, and was for many years a landmark in the village. It was torn down about 30 years ago.
In the 1855, James Lambert and sons, William T., Richard L., Josiah B., Isaac P., and James M., arrived from the state of Maine. The Lambert family was prominently identified with the early history of this territory. James, Sr., settled on section 33, engaged in farming and lumbering for many years and in his old age retired to a home in Royalton where he passed away in 1895. During his residence on the prairie he kept a stopping place on the old stage road and the Lamberts were widely known among the early travelers of this highway. Two other sons were born after the arrival of the family in Minnesota: Mark P. and John E. William T., the oldest son, was a soldier in the Civil war, and was later treasurer of Morrison County. Of the seven sons of James Lambert but three are now living: Isaac P. of White Earth, James M., of Funkley, and John of Little Falls.
Richard Lambert, a brother of James, arrived in 1855, settled at the north end of the prairie, and was one of the first officers of Bellevue Township. Daniel Lambert, father of James and Richard, came the same year and made his home with his son Richard.
Among the prominent citizens of the early days to arrive in 1855 was Sylvester Henenlotter, a native of Prussia, who settled on section 27, just west of the railroad and two miles north of Royalton. Mr. Henenlotter was one of the early county commissioners and held many town offices during his life. His son, Severin Henenlotter, now living here, is the oldest living native of Bellevue.
Another settler of 1855 was Mathias Roof, who lived on what is now the Charles Borash farm. One of Mr. Roof's daughter married Sylvester Henenlotter, and another married Nathan Richardson of Little Falls, who was prominent in the origination of Morrison County and one of its first officials.
This year saw the arrival of a new settler from across the sea, Henry Armstrong, a native of Holland, born in 1818, and a carpenter by trade. Contrary to the usual custom, Henry Armstrong did not settle near the prairie but went into the wilderness east of Platte River on section 25, on the north of what is now the Nick Younk farm, and was the first in the township of Bellevue to make a home east of the river. After living in this location for a few years, he moved to a farm on the south of the prairie near the Mississippi, known later as the James Black place, and in 1866 moved to the town of Two Rivers where he lived until his death in 1894. In the early days Mr. Armstrong followed carpentering as well as farming, and during this time built the Peter Green house previously mentioned as the second home in the present boundaries of the village of Royalton. Henry Armstrong, a son, is at present a resident of Royalton, and was a small boy when his father settled here.
Among the pioneers who arrived in 1856 were Stephen Hill of the state of Maine, sons Jonas, Jasper, Henry, and Stephen, Jr. E.G., another son, had arrived the year previous. William Trask, one of the first commissioners of Morrison County, and sons Richard, Daniel, Mark, and Samuel, arrived in 1856. Another arrival that year was George Borman, a native of Ohio, born in 1812. He was the first chairman of the board of supervisors of Two Rivers where he moved in 1865. Two of his sons served in the Civil War, one of whom died in the service.
Other arrivals who came in 1856 were Donald McDougall, who was the first town clerk and served in the capacity until his death in 1874, with the exception of one year; John Frye, Joseph and John Stewart, John Deering, and James Chapman.
James Chapman was a native of England, born in 1815. He purchased of R.D. Kinney, the first settler of Royalton, the northwest quarter of the southeast quarter of section 35, west of the Platte River. This plot of about 40 acres lies east of First Street, and south of Center Street in what is now Royalton. Mr. Chapman built his home, a log structure, close to where the Charles Berry house now stands. Later he added a frame addition to the original structure. Here his sons George, Nathaniel, and William were born. James Chapman lived on this farm until 1878, when he moved to a new farm of 320 acres in section 33, having sold his first holding to Jewett Norris of St. Paul. The farm in section 33 is now owned by his son William, and grandson N.P., son of George. William Chapman is the oldest living native of the village of Royalton.
Allen Blanchard, a native of Maine, settled in Bellevue just west of the Henenlotter farm in 1858. He lived here until 1865 when he moved to a farm on the west bank of the Mississippi in the town of Two Rivers, and on the organization of that town in 1865 was one of the first town officers. Blanchard's Rapids, the site of the present power dam, was named in his honor. Mrs. Allen Blanchard is at this date a resident of Royalton, and is in her 92nd year. She is the only one of the early settlers of the fifties now living here.
The township of Bellevue was organized in 1858, and at that time extended east to the county line. Later, other towns were formed to the east, reducing it to the present boundaries. The territorial name of the township was Platte River, but it was changed to Bellevue when Morrison County was organized. The first town officers were: Supervisors, Richard Lambert, chairman, S. Henenlotter, Duncan McDougall; clerk, Donald McDougall; treasurer, William Trask; constable, J.H. Hill; justice, John McGillis; assessor, John Frye.
The first school was held in the home of Jasper Hill in 1857, Mrs. Hill being the teacher. Later a school was built at the north end of the prairie. Mrs. R.L. Lambert, then Miss King of Anoka, now a resident of Royalton, taught in this building, which was later moved away. Miss King was married to the R.L. Lambert in 1869, and is among the oldest of the settlers now living in this section.
At an early day the settlers established a township cemetery on section 21, just south of the G.E. Brockway farm. Although in a state of neglect, the cemetery still remains, and here is the last resting place of many of the early residents.
Bellevue sent its full quota of soldiers to the Civil War, among whom were Richard Lambert, who enlisted at the age of 42 years, William T. Lambert, E.G. Hill, Stephen Hill, Jr., Jonas Hill, George Stewart, Frank Green, Henry Meyers, Joseph Stewart (died in service), John Deering, Frank Flint, A.A. Morrill, Louis Borman (died in service), and George Borman, Jr.
Early Settlers and Settlements Near Royalton
No history of pioneer days would be complete without mention of several early residents who, while not settlers within the present limits of Royalton or Bellevue Township, were so closely identified with the early development of the country as to deserve notice at this time. One of these was Calvin A. Tuttle, born in Connecticut in 1811. He came to Minnesota, then a part of Wisconsin Territory, in 1838. He was a millwright by trade and came west to build a saw mill at the falls of St. Croix. Later he built the first saw mill at the falls of St. Anthony, now Minneapolis, and one for himself at Lake Minnetonka where he was one of the first settlers. In 1854 he came to Little Falls, then a frontier hamlet, and became a member of the Little Falls company formed to develop the water power and erect mills.
High water in the summer of 1860 carried away the dam and mills, and they were not rebuilt by the company. Mr. Tuttle returned to Minneapolis, where he resided until 1867, when he located in the township of Two Rivers. There he built a saw mill, the first in the town, and also operated a ferry on the Mississippi where the present bridge west of Royalton is located. His home was on the bank of the river, west of the bridge site. Mr. Tuttle was member of the convention of 1857 which framed and adopted the constitution of the State of Minnesota, and from 1849 to 1853 was treasurer of Minnesota Territory. Mrs. Belle Graham of Little Falls, an extensive holder of real estate in Royalton, is a daughter of Mr. Tuttle.
One of the earliest settlers in this neighborhood was Robert Russell, a native of Scotland, who settled on what is now the George Yanitz farm two miles south of Royalton, in 1851. He was well known to all old settlers as "Scottie." He went to the mines in Colorado in 1860, where he was killed in an accident. His eldest son, Robert L., carried on the old farm until 1873 when he moved to Brockway, Stearns County, and later to Rice where he died a short time ago. Robert Russell, Sr., was the father of W.W. and John H. Russell, early merchants of Royalton.
One of the best know of the early settlers at the south end of the Prairie was John Higgins, born in New York in 1836. Mr. Higgins came west in 1854, settling near the Robert Russell place in what is now the town of Langola, Benton County. He followed teaming as well as farming in the early days, and during the Sioux Indian outbreak in 1862 joined General Sibley's expedition in the war against the redskins. He was always prominent in public affairs, and held many local offices. He was well posted in the events of the early days, and the writer is indebted to him for much data of this history of early settlement. Mr. Higgins died about 25 years ago. A daughter, Mrs. M.J. Bowers, is a resident of Royalton.
The state of Vermont furnished one of the early pioneers in the person of Schuyler Flint, born in 1814. He came to Minnesota in 1856 and settled at the lower end of the prairie, on the bank of the Mississippi, where he resided until his death in 1882, and was the first person buried in Riverside Cemetery in Royalton. Mr. Flint devoted his time to farming, and held the office of county commissioner of Benton County for several years. He was the first chairman of the board of supervisors of Langola, and was also town clerk and assessor. He was the father of Francis S. Flint, a solder of the Civil War, who settled in the township of Swan River, Morrison County, and on the organization of that town was one of its first officers. F.S. later moved to Langola, east of Rice, where he operated a farm. For several years before his death he was postmaster of Rice.
Maine furnished another early resident of Langola, when Albert A. Morrill, born in 1833, came to this town in 1856. Mr. Morrill settled in the "lost village" of Langola, a description of which we will take up later, based largely on information furnished by him. While a resident of the village of Langola, Mr. Morrill was elected constable and tax collector. During the war he enlisted in the Eleventh Minnesota regiment, and after the war located in Brockway Township, Stearns County. In 1875 he moved to Buckman township where he engaged in farming, and was elected county commissioner in 1875. In 1884, he moved to Royalton where he resided until moving to the state of Washington in 1903. The town of Morrill, Morrison County, was name in his honor.
The "Lost Village" of Langola"
Perhaps but few of the present generation know that 75 years ago there was located at the present site of the bridge over Platte River, two miles south of Royalton, a thriving village of which no trace is now visible except some almost filled cellar holes and a few timbers sunk in the bottom of the river. Here from 1854 to some time in the early sixties was located a town first called "Platte River," but later, "Langola." After the establishment of the place, the old stage road crossed at this point and passed through the village. From an old plat taken from the records of Benton County we find the town was laid out into 26 blocks, each divided into lots, the location being given as Section 11, Township 38, Range 32. The names of some of the streets were Washington, Jefferson, and Jackson Avenues, Main, Oak, and Elm Streets.
The water power on Platte River was improved by the erection of a dam. Flour and saw mills were erected; stores, a hotel, Indian trading post, blacksmith shop, and many residences were built, and for years it was a thriving town. After years of prosperity high water came. Platte River became a raging torrent, the dam broke, and the entire town, being built on a flat but a few feet above the river was washed away. The home of John Higgins, located on the high ground above the flat, was not damaged. Mr. Higgins later moved his home south to a location on the bank of the Mississippi. The town was never rebuilt, and if the curious wish to investigate the site of the "lost village" a few depressions in the earth will indicate where homes and business buildings once stood.
Again quoting from the "Frontierman" published at Sauk Rapids in 1855, and the first paper published in Minnesota outside of St. Paul and St. Anthony, we find the following in reference to Langola:
"The town of Langola is situated above the mouth of the Platte River, which is a stream of considerable importance, both on account of the extensive pineries on its upper banks, and the fertility and loveliness of the country through which it meanders after leaving those pineries. The town has but just started. It has, however, an auspicious beginning. A good grist mill is in successful operation, at which as good flour is being manufactured as can be made at any mill in Minnesota. Arrangements are being made by the proprietors of the town for the erection of a substantial saw mill which, we are authorized to say, will be ready for work during the present season. Several new houses have recently been built, one of which is now being occupied as a boarding house and hotel. The place is surrounded by a rich farming country; is eligibly situated; possesses a valuable water power, and we see no reason why, with the energy they have thus far exhibited, the proprietory of Langola may not concentrate there considerable business and capital, and thus add one more to the long list of thriving towns in our county."
Such is the story of Langola. Few people now living ever saw the town on the banks of lower Platte River. Langola was not the only early day town in the vicinity of Royalton to pass out of existence. Seven miles to the northwest of Royalton, on the east bank of the Mississippi River, was located the thriving village of Swan River. Its history dates back to 1848, when William Aitkin, one of the early Indian traders, who had been in charge of the American Fur Company posts in northern Minnesota since 1830, settled on the east bank of the Mississippi, opposite the mouth of Swan River. He built a ferry on the Mississippi, and erected a building for a trading post. His reason for establishing his post here was that the Winnebago Indians had been removed by the government from Iowa to the west of the Mississippi in the vicinity of the Long Prairie River, and the road to the reservation joined the Fort Ripley road at this point. Here he traded with the Chippewa and Winnebago Indians and the early white settlers. Mr. Aitkin was one of the first commissioners of Benton County, which in the early days embraced the territory around Swan River. Aitkin County was named for him when organized in 1872. No better idea can be gained as to the importance of Swan River than to again quote from the comments of Editor William H. Wood, in the "Frontierman" of 1855.
"This has been a somewhat noted place for some time. The original proprietor was the late William A. Aitkin, of Scotch descent - a man of fine education, of strong will, and large business experience. He was for many years a fur trader among the Ojibway Indians, and settled at Swan River in 1848. There was probably more business done at that point during his life than at any other place in the county, and more than has ever been done there since. It was a rendezvous of all the principal Indian traders among the Chippewas and Winnebagos, of who, up to the period of his death, Mr. Aitkin was an active and leading spirit. The establishing at Long Prairie of the Winnebago Agency did much for a time toward making Swan River a place of trade by making it a depot for Indian goods. The place at that time was always filled with strangers. All was life and animation. The hotel was well kept and was always crowded. Money was plentiful, and so were good liquors. There was music and dancing, and frolicking and rollicking, never seen there before or since. The oldest inhabitant mentions those days with a tear in his eye at the 'Good time, not coming, but past.' We have listened to his story many a time. It seems that all sorts of spirits gathered there - some for fun, some for money, and all for something. Strangers at night invariably became friends closely compact before morning. It was like a great house, at the four corners where men coming from different points of the compass met, had a good time, and according to our oldest inhabitant, always left feeling better and richer than when they came. The principal actors in the early history are gone. William Aitkin and Duncan Stewart are dead. Joseph Brown long since removed, and Thomas Sloan in ill health is rusticating in the South. Swan River is not what it was in Aitkin's day. considerable business, however, is still done there. Sloan's store is always filled with goods designed for both the Indians and the whites. Mr. Gibson also has a store, and we have been informed that he is doing a first rate business. The old hotel is now occupied by James Warren. Between the hotel and Sloan's store is the best warehouse in the county. It is a two story block building, and good as new. The country contiguous to the town is even and generally handsome. Now we have only further to say, that we have passed many a pleasant hour at Swan River."
From this it would seem that Editor Wood from his experience, considered Swan River a lively town in more ways than one. Today, one passing this point on the river road would never suspect that a town had existed. Not a building or sign of a building of the old town remains. If Langola is the "lost town" of the early days, Swan River must be the "deserted village."
Incidents of the Early Days
As before mentioned, the early settlers built their homes and farmed near the border of the prairie. Many have wondered why this location was chosen when heavier and better land was available farther back. In the early day the prairie soil was very productive and could be cultivated without the labor of removing brush and trees. The prairie soil produced good crops, 40 bushels of wheat to the acre not being an uncommon yield. The stock grazed on the uncultivated part of the prairie where grass was abundant. Hay was to be had for the cutting on the unsettled meadow land to the north.
The early settler endured hardships common to all pioneers. Not the least of these was the grasshopper scourge which visited this section in the summer of 1856. These pests appeared in clouds in midsummer when crops were maturing, and the growing crops were nearly all consumed. From the great quantities of eggs deposited, an immense swarm appeared the following year, devouring all green growth. They suddenly left this section early in the summer of 1857, and since that time have not appeared in numbers to do much damage.
The early stage road which was the route to the north for all freight and passenger traffic, changed its location after the village of Langola sprang into existence, and erected a bridge at that point over Platte River, which had previously been forded. From this point it extended north past the Lambert stopping place. This road was the location of the telegraph line of one wire that provided communication with the south long before the railroad was built.
Religious services were held in this neighborhood as early as 1855 by Father Pierz, an early missionary among the Indians as well as the whites. He held mass at the home of Sylvester Henenlotter, one of the early settlers of section 27. Stephen Hill, one of Bellevue's pioneers, held services and preached at the home of settlers in 1856, and later in the first school house on section 21. Others who conducted religious services in the early days were R.D. Kinney, Rev. Hoppel, and Rev. T.C. Kinney, who arrived in the early seventies, built a home, and remained several years. Services were held mostly in school houses, no church building having been erected until the village of Royalton sprang into existence. The early day post-office which we mentioned as being first located in the home of R.D. Kinney, was moved many times. P.A. Green and Schuyler Flint were among those to hold office of postmaster.
Execution of Indian Murderers
In the year 1857, two Indians killed a German peddler traveling on the old stage road. Robbery was the motive, and the guilty parties confessed the crime. We do no know just where the crime was committed, but the old pioneers have stated that it occurred just west of Royalton. The culprits were captured by Sheriff Jonathan Pugh near Gull Lake. He started for St. Paul, where he expected to lodge the prisoners for safekeeping until they could be given a trial. When just south of the village of Langola, the sheriff and his prisoners were halted by a posse of armed men who demanded the prisoners. Resistance was useless, so the officer of the law gave them up to the men who had decided to take the law into their own hands and administer speedy justice.
The two were taken back to the hotel at Swan River where they were given a good meal, and afterwards, cigars to smoke. While enjoying the smoke in the bar room they witnessed the preparation of the hangman's noose on the ropes with which they were to be executed, showing no particular interest in the proceedings. If they were interested, they showed no sign of it. When the preliminaries were completed, the march was resumed to a point just south of the present gold links at Little Falls. Here a pole was suspended between two trees, to which the ropes were attached. The Indians were placed standing on the seat of a wagon which had brought them there, and at a signal from the leader, the horses jumped ahead leaving the doomed men suspended in mid-air. They were cut down and buried on the spot where they met their end. About 29 years ago a party under the direction of Nathan Richardson, an early pioneer, opened the graves and removed some of the bones. In the grave a few coins were also found.
The leader of the execution party, of which several early settlers of this section were members, was Anson Northrup, a well known citizen of the early days of Minnesota. In 1855 he lived in the township of LeSauk, a few miles above St. Cloud. In 1856 he built and operated a saw mill at Swan River village. He served as senator from this district in the first state legislature of 1857-58. He had charge of the transportation of a steamboat from the Mississippi to the Red River of the North in 1857. On this trip he was accompanied by John Higgins, of whom mention has been made in another chapter. On the outbreak of the Civil War he became wagonmaster of the First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, serving until the summer of 1862, when he returned to the state to fight the Sioux Indians in the outbreak of that year. Anson Northrup was typical of the early pioneer, a man of great energy, a born leader of men who knew how to overcome the obstacles and hardships of the early settler.
From war time until the latter seventies, new settlers were few. The building of the railroad brought a new influx of people seeking homes. This period brought many settlers to the territory east of Royalton, where the soil was better for agricultural purpose, and it eventually became the more thickly settled portion of the country. The grade for the railroad from Sauk Rapids to Brainerd was constructed in 1871-72. The company failed, and no further work was done on the line until 1877, when upon reorganization, the rails were laid. During the intervening years the settlers used the grade as a wagon road. The first train was run from Sauk Rapids to Brainerd on November 1, 1877, in charge of Conductor William Spaulding.
When word went out that a train would start service on that date, it was an event in the history of this section. Settlers for miles in every direction flocked to what is now Royalton to witness the passing of the first train on which was later to become one of the great trans- continental railway systems. The crowds cheered lustily as the small wood-burning locomotive appeared, hauling a short train on its way to the north. It was a great change from the old stage line which had been the method of transportation from the early days. To give an idea of the time consumed in traveling by stage we will quote from an advertisement for the stage line as published in the "Frontierman" at Sauk Rapids in 1855.
St. Paul, Sauk Rapids, & Fort Ripley Stage Line
"The stage leaves St. Paul every Monday morning at 8 o'clock, and arrives at Fort Ripley on Wednesday evening, giving passengers who have business at the land office at Sauk Rapids time to attend to it, and take a return stage for St. Paul, where it arrives at 4 o'clock Saturday evening."
Three days from St. Paul to Fort Ripley! This would take about four hours with the present day automobile. The auto bus time for the trip is about five hours, including stops at all towns.
Among the settlers who arrived to make homes after the Civil War were Samuel Muncy and sons James, Robert, Samuel, Willard, William, and Frank, who arrived in 1866. George W., another son, arrived later. All made homes in this vicinity and were prominently identified with the early development.
Peter McDougall, a native of Canada, born in 1820, arrived with his family in 1873 and settled on the bank of the Mississippi on a farm which had formerly been the home of John Dearing, an early pioneer. Two son, Thomas and James McDougall, are living on the farm at the present time. James Borden, who had been a resident of Bellevue in the fifties, but had returned to Canada, came back in 1877 and settled on a farm north of the McDougall place. This brings us to the time when a village was about to come into existence, the first in this section since the passing of Langola and Swan River. Its name was Royalton.
The Founding of Royalton
The Northern Pacific railroad was built and the first train run over the line in the fall of 1877. The beginning of Royalton, however, may be said to have dated from the spring of 1879, when George Newman of Minneapolis came here and opened the first store. He erected his building on the corner where the Royalton State Bank now stands. The store faced west, and living rooms were built in the rear and were occupied by the Newman family, who arrived later in the year. This was the first store in the village, but some years previously a store had been operated by T.D. Williams who came here from Massachusetts, and opened business on what is now the Charles Borash farm, about a mile above town. Mr. Williams owned considerable land on the east side of Platte River, which was later platted as Williams' Addition. After locating here Mr. Newman was appointed postmaster, the office having previously been located in the railroad depot with the agent as postmaster.
On June 12th, 1879, J.D. Logan and family, consisting of Mrs. Logan and sons Harry M., Frank B., and Charles W., arrived from Pennsylvania. Mr. Logan brought with him the machinery for a saw mill which he erected on a site just below the present Center Street bridge, it being the first mill in the village. Soon after his arrival Mr. Logan purchased from Jewett Norris of St. Paul, an extensive land owner in this vicinity, the former James Chapman home and farm of about 40 acres which lies south of Center Street between the bank corner and the river and extending south from Center Street a quarter of a mile. At the time of this purchase Royalton consisted of a depot, section house, the old Green house west of the track, the Chapman house, and the first house built in Royalton in 1853 by R.D. Kinney, which was unoccupied, as was the Green house. The only residents were Frank Hardy and wife, who lived in the depot; F.M. Lawhead and family, living in the Chapman house; Ole Black and family, living in the section house, and George Newman, in his store building. The total population was approximately 11 people.
Soon after purchasing the former Chapman farm, Mr. Logan proceeded to lay out into lots a strip from the bank corner to the river, one and one-half blocks wide, south of Center Street. The surveyor engaged to do this work was Richard Cronk of Sauk Rapids. After receiving the plat from Mr. Cronk, Mr. Logan named it Royalton, after the post office, and had it placed on record at the county seat as the original plat of the village. A year or so previous to this time, P.A. Green had surveyed into lots a strip on each side of the railroad north of Center Street, but had not had the same recorded. When recorded at a later date it was as Green's Addition to Royalton. At the time the first plat was made the village had two county roads passing through it, which had been laid out for some years but never opened. One was what is not Center Street, and the other running north and south, is now First Street. The land, except what Chapman had cultivated in the south part of the village, was covered with a thick growth of oak trees and underbrush. There was a winding road following no line except to avoid trees, running from the depot to the Newman store. A road ran to the river from the Chapman home to a point where it was forded just below the Center Street bridge. In the summer of 1879, Mr. Logan erected his mill, platted the town, and moved into the Chapman house with his family.
John D. Logan was a native of Crawford County, Pennsylvania, born in 1838. In 1855, at the age of 17, he came west by rail to the Mississippi, and up this river by steamboat to Hastings, Minnesota Territory. He resided at Hastings, Northfield, and other nearby points until the outbreak of the Rebellion in 1861, when he enlisted at the first call in Company G., First Minnesota Infantry. He served with this regiment in all its battles in the Army of the Potomac until discharged for disability in 1864. Upon leaving the service, he returned to Pennsylvania where he engaged in the lumber and mill business until coming to Royalton in 1879. During his residence in Royalton he held many offices of trust. He was the first president of the village council, a member of the first school board, and chairman of the board of supervisors of Bellevue township for many years. He organized and was the first commander of Phil Sheridan Post of the Grand Army of the Republic. Mr. Logan continued in the lumber business until 1892, when he retired. He died at his home here in 1907.
The year 1880 saw a number of new residents of Royalton. Among these was Ira. W. Bouck who came from Iowa in the spring, purchased a lot where his present brick store is located, and proceeded to erect a building for a store with living rooms in the rear. This building faced west, with the front where the post office is now located. It was of frame construction, with the walls filled with sawdust to insure warmth. In this store Mr. Bouck carried a varied stock consisting of groceries, dry-goods, clothing, hardware, guns and revolvers, shot, powder, and cartridges. It was what would now properly be called a department store. He, like the other early merchants, bought grain, wood, ties, and farm produce. Soon after opening his store Mr. Bouck was appointed postmaster, the office being located in the store. As Mr. Bouck is still living here he must be given credit for being Royalton's pioneer resident merchant.
Ira W. Bouck was born in Independence, Iowa, in 1855. After graduating from the Iowa State Agricultural College in 1876, he taught school until 1880, at which time he was principal of the high school at Dunlap, Iowa. In the spring of 1880, he came to Royalton and opened a general store which he operated for many years. He was always active in politics, and held many public positions. He was a member of the first school board of this district, and is at this date president of the board, having been a school officer for nearly 50 years. Soon after coming to Royalton he was elected clerk of the township of Bellevue. He has served as postmaster and member of the village council. In 1902 he was elected as a representative in the state legislature, and served in the sessions of 1903-5-7. He served on the governor's staff for a number of years, and was delegate to a Republican national convention in Chicago. Mr. and Mrs. Bouck are among the oldest residents of Royalton, being preceded only by H.M. and F.B. Logan, who arrived one year earlier.
Another early merchant of Royalton who came in the summer of 1880, was Mark Kobe. He erected a building near the depot, and opened a store in the fall. A year later he built an elevator, the first in Royalton, and in 1887 he added a flour mill which he operated for some years. He also built the Hotel Royalton, which first was known as the "Tivola." This, while not the first hotel, was the most popular in Royalton, and was a favorite stopping place among commercial travelers. It is being torn down at the time this is written.
Mark Kobe was a native of Austria, born in 1848. He came to America in 1869, and to Minnesota in 1871. He was engaged in the mercantile line in Melrose and Rice before coming to Royalton. He served as commissioner of Morrison County for a number of years, and resided in Royalton until his death, which occurred several years ago.
Early Days in Royalton
The building of the saw mill in 1879 made it necessary for some one to erect a hotel to house and feed the men employed in this industry, so another early resident, Robert Brown, in the fall of this year erected the first wing of a structure long associated with the history of Royalton, and named it the Royalton Hotel. This was the first hotel in the village. A short time later the building was enlarged by the addition of a larger front section, and could accommodate 25 guests.
After operating the hotel for several years, Mr. Brown sold it and the name was changed to the Merchants Hotel, which name it bore until torn down four years ago by Robert Kuschel, the last proprietor. The building was located just south of the bank corner, facing First Street. The hotel was at various times operated by Lou Forbes, G.A. Hollenbeck, L.W. Farnham, Fred Hammond, Mrs. Stewart, Joseph Orth, Harris Noggle, and the last owner, Robert Kuschel. In the early days the hotel and large barn in connection were filled to overflowing with men and teams bound for the pineries in the fall.
Robert Brown was a native of Missouri, born in 1839. He enlisted in the Confederate Army during the War of the Rebellion, and served through that conflict. He came to Morrison County in 1877 and taught school for a time before coming to Royalton in 1879, when he erected a hotel. He was elected clerk of the township of Bellevue in 1880, and for many years served as justice of the peace. Robert M., a son who died in infancy was the first death in the village.
In 1880, what is now Center Street was opened for travel to the river by removing the trees and brush. Up to this time the river was crossed by fording, a difficult task in time of high water. During the winter of 1880-81 the township erected a bridge supported on piling. This bridge filled the needs until 1886, when it became unsafe and bonds were voted to erect a one-span truss bridge supported on granite piers. The cost was to be $6500 complete, and many settlers of the township objected strenuously to the expenditure of this immense sum. Better judgment prevailed, however, and the bridge was built. This is the present Center Street bridge, and with the exception of painting and new floors, is the original structure as erected 44 years ago. What to many in the early day seemed an extravagant outlay has proved to have been a wise investment.
Numbered with the early residents of Royalton was Charles W. Bouck, who arrived in the spring of 1880. He was a native of Illinois, born in 1852. Mr. Bouck came here from Iowa, and for a number of years followed the trade of carpenter. For a time he lived in Brainerd, where he worked for the Northern Pacific Railroad, building bridges and section houses. He returned to Royalton in 1889, when he purchased the J.N. Carnes hardware store and was appointed postmaster. He operated the store with his son, A.C. Bouck, until 1914 when he sold his interest, and the business was continued by his son alone. C.W. Bouck served as a member of the village council, and four terms as representative in the state legislature. He was a large land owner in this vicinity, and in 1896 erected the C.W. Bouck block on Center Street. Mr. Bouck passed away after a short illness from pneumonia in 1920.
Among the other early residents was Harry T. Gilbert, who came in 1880. Mr. Gilbert is a native of England, but came here from Iowa. Early in life Mr. Gilbert learned the trade of carpenter and cabinet maker, and followed this line and contracting after coming to Royalton. He is still a resident of Royalton, and is one of the few who came when the village was in its infancy.
E.A. Bowers was another early resident, coming here in the year 1879 from Missouri. He was born in Virginia in 1856. During his residence here he engaged in farming and dealing in livestock. Mr. Bowers died at his home here in 1916.
Among the few survivors who came to Royalton when it was founded is Harry M. Logan, born at Greenville, Pennsylvania, in 1867. He came to Royalton with his parents in 1879. During his early life he engaged with his father in the lumber business, and later became a partner. He served for several years as rural carrier when the service was inaugurated from the local post-office. In 1922 he was appointed postmaster, and has held the office since that date. Mr. Logan has held many local offices of trust, having served as clerk of Bellevue, member of the board of education, and president of the village council. He has been a resident of the village for over 50 years.
J.N. Carnes is another "old timer." He came here from St. Paul in the early eighties, and at first engaged in farming. Later he operated a hardware store and held the office of postmaster. He also engaged in the farm implement business, but later returned to the farm. For several years he represented his district as county commissioner, and it was mainly due to his efforts that the present fine steel bridge over the Mississippi was constructed. He lives on a farm just north of the village at the present time.
John H. Russell was one of the early day merchants of Royalton. He was born two miles south of Royalton, the son of Robert Russell, Sr., mentioned as one of the early pioneers of this section. His father having died when John H. was an infant, he lived with his brother, Robert L., until attaining manhood. Early in life he, with his brother, Wallace W., engaged in the meat business at Gull River, and in 1884 they opened a store here under the name of Russell Brothers, in the building now occupied by Frank Karlinski. Later J.H. bought the interest of his brother and for many years continued the store, and bought grain and produce. For several years he operated a creamery located in upper town. The creamery was destroyed by fire and was never rebuilt. Mr. Russell now lives in Little Falls and is engaged in the life insurance business.
The first hardware store in Royalton was opened in 1884 by Geissel & Fietsam. Mr. Geissel was a general merchant at North Prairie, where Mr. Fietsam was employed as clerk. The building still stands on Front Street and has lately been occupied by Geer's implement shop. Later J.N. Carnes became a partner, Mr. Geissel retiring, and the firm was known as Fietsam & Carnes. Mr. Carnes retired from the firm and bought the Crossman & Boutwell store, and from that time until a few years ago Barney Fietsam conducted the business alone until he sold to Peter Kroll. Mr. Fietsam moved from the original location when he erected the brick block on Front Street. He now resides in California.
The first implement business in Royalton was opened in 1882 by Young and Holmes, and was located where the Muncy block now stands. The firm was composed of Thomas M. Young, who later studied medicine and became a Seattle physician, and John Holmes, his brother-in-law. Both moved to the state of Washington, where they passed away several years ago.
Royalton was without a drug store until 1884, when Dr. James Lonsdale came from Iowa, and in partnership with his brother-in-law, I.W. Bouck, erected a building which was an extension to the east of the Bouck general store, and in this put in a stock of drugs. The firm name was Lonsdale & Bouck. Dr. Lonsdale practiced his profession here form many years, until he retired and moved to Sauk Rapids.
The first physician to practice in Royalton was Dr. J.H. Kinney, who came in 1883. Dr. Kinney was the son of R.D. Kinney, the first settler of Royalton, who has been mentioned as coming in 1853. During this early settlement Dr. Kinney was born in a log cabin in the south part of the present village, being the first child born in Royalton. His parents moved east when he was a child, and he was educated in Cincinnati, and did not return here until as a doctor in 1883. He lived here until his death about 25 years ago.
Early Days in Royalton
The period from 1880 to 1884 saw a number of new industries located in the new town, and many residences were erected. The village suffered for the want of road leading to it, and a move was made to correct this condition in 1882. The rich farming country to the east was being rapidly settled, and the communities of Buckman and Pierz, then known as Rich Prairie, had been developed for many years. The trade from these points had gone mostly to Little Falls and Rice, although Royalton was the nearest railroad point. A contract was let to James Lambert and sons to build a road east to Buckman township line, which was known as the "Tamarac road," and later another road was opened farther south. With the construction of these roads trade from the east was drawn to the village, and most of the wheat from the east settlements was marketed in Royalton.
Wheat was the leading crop in those days, and about the only crop of the farmer to bring cash. In the fall, wheat flowed to market in a constant stream, hundreds of loads being marketed on some days. The first building for the handling of grain was built just south of the depot by Barnes & McGill of Minneapolis, soon after the railroad was built. The first wheat buyer was the station agent. Later this business was taken over by local merchants. The first grain houses, known as flat houses, were operated without power. The grain was hauled up an incline to the floor built on a level with the car floors, unloaded and weighed by hand, and dumped into open bins. Cars were loaded by hand, the moving of the grain from house to car being done by wheel-barrow. Houses of this type were operated by I.W. Bouck and J.H. Russell. In 1882, Mark Kobe erected the first grain elevator with steam for power. this was a six bin structure and was an imposing building for the new village.
In the early times Royalton was a leading market for railroad ties and cordwood. Ties were marketed in such quantities that the railroad was lined with piles ten tiers deep and half a mile long, the numbers running into the hundreds of thousands. These ties were bought by the local merchants, mostly in trade for goods. they came from the territory on the west side of the Mississippi. The bulk of the ties were made from clear white oak, hewed flat, eight inches thick, and if the face measured 12 inches and had no defects, brought from 25 to 30 cents each. Wood was marketed in large quantities and was mostly hard maples, and brought from $2 to $2.50 a cord. This wood was shipped to the cities and to the prairie country to the west. In the early days the railroad company bought considerable wood for use in the locomotives. For several years after the road was build, only the passenger trains burned coal, all freight engines using wood for fuel.
At this time but few horses were used in hauling products of the forest and farm, oxen being the rule. Large quantities of hardwood logs were brought to the local saw mill to be made into lumber. The early settlers' houses being built mostly of logs, the lumber produced at this time was used in many of the first frame houses erected on the west side of the Mississippi. White oak logs, as fine as ever grew, could be purchased at the mill for the sum of $4 per thousand feet. The local mill manufactured pine lumber form logs floated down Platte River in the summer, and sawed oak, basswood, and other local timber during the winter season.
In 1882, George Boyce arrived from Kansas and bought the Newman store building, located where the bank now stands. This he raised to two stories and built an addition and opened a hotel with a saloon in connection. This was Royalton's first saloon, and during the spring and summer when the log drive was on the "lumber jack" made this a lively place. Boyce operated the place for a number of years, and then moved to the state of Washington. In 1884, Charles Gillpatrick, a resident of Two Rivers, moved to Royalton and opened the first furniture store, located opposite the depot on Front Street. This building was later moved to Center Street where it still stands and is occupied by Thelen's shop. George Pavitt arrived in 1884 from Clearwater, and built a building on Center Street in which he opened a harness store and shop, the first in the village. This building, the first facing Center Street east of First Street, is still standing, just east of C.W. Bouck block.
The roller skating craze struck the village in 1882, when it swept the country in general. Local parties erected a rink on Front Street, opposite the depot. The building was 50 x 100 feet in size and fully equipped for skating. Where the people all came from in this early day to patronize this new amusement is a mystery, but the fact is that when it was opened it was crowded nightly, sometimes overcrowded. Later a stage was added to the end of the structure and shows were given, both professional and amateur. It was a popular amusement place for dances and large gatherings until it burned in 1889.
Up to 1889 all buildings in Royalton were of frame construction, but in this year James Muncy, who lived west of town and was extensively engaged in farming and lumbering, built the first brick block. It is still standing on Front Street.
Wages at this time were low compared with the present. Mill hands received $1.50 per day; carpenters, $2.50. Drivers on the river, working from 15 to 18 hours, sometimes in the water, received $2.50 which was considered high wages. Workers in the woods received from $15 to $18 per month with board. Farm products brought low prices, wheat being about the only cash crop. It sold for from 40 to 60 cents per bushel. For potatoes there was no market. Butter brought as low as 10 to 15 cents per pound, and eggs as low as six and eight cents per dozen. Merchants were compelled to do mostly credit business, and many settlers were carried from fall to fall when the wheat crop was marketed. In spite of these conditions the village made rapid strides from 1889 to 1890, and acquired many industries and rapidly increased in population, until it soon became the second largest town in Morrison county.
The Tornado of 1886
The year 1886 witnessed a great calamity which befell this neighborhood, but fortunately Royalton was not in its path. We refer to the cyclone of April 14, 1886. This storm originated in the suburbs of St. Cloud and passed through the village of Sauk Rapids, then to the north through Langola and Buckman townships. Sauk Rapids was the worst sufferer, a large part of its business section and many residences being completely demolished. Brick buildings as well as frame buildings were completely leveled. Merchandise from Sauk Rapids was found, after the storm had passed, as far north as Buckman. East of Rice, the storm struck a house where a wedding was taking place, killing several of the party, including the groom and the minister and his wife. Children playing in an outbuilding but a few rods from the house were uninjured.
In Buckman Township, many settlers lost all their buildings and much stock. The large farm plant of Senator C.B. Buckman was among those destroyed by the storm. The tornado occurred on a still, warm, sultry day, and was funnel-shaped, the small end sweeping the ground. Its power was so great that the largest trees were torn up by the roots and carried away. In this storm 74 people were killed outright, and 136 injured; 138 buildings were destroyed, and the loss was estimated at $500,000.
The Lumber Business in Royalton
In pioneer times Royalton was an important point in the production of lumber, and so continued until the pine timber on the Platte River and its tributaries was exhausted. Lumbering on the Platte dated back as far as the sixties, when loggers cut and drove timber from the upper Platte River to the Mississippi, where the drive was continued to the mills at Minneapolis. These logs started with the going out of the ice in the spring and sometimes continued until midsummer. In the early eighties from 30 to 50 million feet of logs a year were driven down the Platte River.
The first attempt to build a mill to saw logs in this vicinity was made by John DePue, whose claim joined the present village on the south. Some time in the fifties he started the erection of a mill on Platte river, about a half mile below the present railroad bridge. Here he built a dam and dug a millrace, it being the intention to operate the mill by water power. A Crew of men ascended the river to the pine forests and cut logs which were floated down to the mill site, where they were hewed into timbers for the framework for the mill structure. The frame was completed and a partner of DePue went east to purchase the necessary machinery for the mill; but he never returned and the mill was never finished. Years later, after DePue had moved away, the settlers nearby used many of the timbers in the construction of other buildings. Today, the millrace can be plainly traced, and the timbers used for mud sills or foundation logs for the mill are still in place.
At this point, just below the mill site, are embankments built to the river's edge, on each side of the stream. Many who have seen this work have wondered who built these earth works and why. In the early fifties, when the government was building the Point Douglas-Fort Ripley road, it was decided to build a bridge over Platte River, which had previously been forded. A contract was let and the earth approaches constructed, but a bridge was never built for the village of Langola had sprung into existence and a bridge was built there which diverted travel through that town. To those who may be interested in early history, a visit to this old mill site will be interesting. Trees over a foot in diameter have grown up in the old millrace and on the bridge approaches.
The first mill to operate in Royalton was erected in the summer of 1879, by J.D. Logan. Hardwood from west of the Mississippi was sawed in the winter, and pine from Platte River was sawed in the summer. The mill had a capacity of 15,000 feet per day, and used steam power. After the first year, a shingle mill, planing mill, and feed mill were added to the plant. This mill did a thriving business until 1883, when it was destroyed by fire. In 1884, T.W. and J.W. Bell, with Mark Miller, arrived from Pennsylvania with machinery for a saw mill, which they erected on the river just below where the creamery now stands.
After operating the plant for a short time this firm sold out to A.C. Wilson and Garry Peavy, who continued the business under the name of Wilson and Peavy. Mr. Peavy retired from the business, which was from then on known as A.C. Wilson & Co. this mill had a capacity of 40,000 feet per day, and also made shingles, lath, and all kinds of dressed lumber, and ground feed. It was leading industry of Royalton for many years, and employed many men in the mill in summer and in the woods in winter. The plant was burned when struck by lightning in the summer of 1903.
In 1886, J.D. Logan erected a saw mill on the east side of the river, just above the flour mill dam. This was operated for two years, when it was moved to the timber country near Randall and Lincoln.
In the days of lumbering the streets were often filled with "lumber-jacks" dressed in their bright colored mackinaw clothes and spiked shoes. When they struck town bent on a good time many of the citizens feared for their safety, but the log driver was not as fierce as pictured and little trouble occurred, although they patronized the saloons freely and produced a harvest for the keepers. They did at one time take possession of a saloon where the owner through fear of trouble refused to serve them. After drinking their fill they filled pails with liquor and carried it back to camp. The "lumber-jack" was a hardy character who worked hard and played hard. The work was sometimes in ice cold water, and the hours from sunrise to dark. They were fed well, and many old timers will recall the fine meals served at the camps where the cook was king. The passing of the "river driver" in Royalton dated from 1900 when the last log drive was seen on Platte River.
The flour milling industry in Royalton dates from 1884, when J.D. Logan offered free a site and water power to anyone who would build a mill. James Hill came from Roberts, Wisconsin, and after looking the place over decided to erect a mill. The first structure was about 200 barrel capacity and was run by water power. Later, steam was added and the capacity increased until 500 barrels per day were produced. The firm name was Hill, Putney, and Nobles. Dr. Putney was a son-in-law of Mr. Hill, and G.B. Nobles was head miller. A side track connected the plant with the railroad, and a merchant milling business was conducted, most of the product going to eastern markets. As a large amount of the flour was packed in barrels, a cooper shop employing eight coopers was added to the plant. This mill was Royalton's greatest industry, employing about 30 men the year round. It was located in lower town and boomed that section of Royalton. At this location two store were erected, and also a saloon.
With the flour and saw mills running steadily, times were good in Royalton and the place prospered as never before or since. The mill erected by Mr. Hill passed through the hands of several firms before it was destroyed by fire in 1908. In 1888, a flour mill was erected by Mark Kobe as an addition to his elevator, located near the depot. This was not operated steadily until acquired by Mark Murphy in 1896. Mr. Murphy had been connected with the Hill mill since 1884 as wheat buyer. He built up a prosperous business with the Kobe mill, and operated the plant until it was destroyed by fire in 1901. Mr. Murphy proceeded to build a new mill in lower town which he ran steadily until his death in 1909, when it passed into other hands, and while still standing does little but grind feed. The Kobe and Murphy mills were of 50 and 100 barrels capacity. Mr. Murphy, in addition to his milling business, shipped a great deal of the grain marketed in Royalton. When the milling industry prospered in Royalton, the flour produced had a reputation for quality surpassed by non, and no flour from outside ever gained a foothold in the local markets. Who of the old timers will ever forget the brands, "Primus," "Sparkle," and "Manna?"
The only resident in Royalton at present who was prominently identified with the milling industry is Richard Wilde. "Dick" was a miller in the "big mill" for many years, later going into the general store business, from which he retired a few years ago.
Royalton's First Newspaper
In the year 1885, Royalton felt the need of a newspaper. Charles C. Brown, who at the time was working in Little Falls, came down to look the town over. He was promised the necessary support so decided to commence the publication of a paper and named it the Royalton Record. The first few issues were printed in St. Paul, but Brown soon was able to acquire an "army" hand press which printed one page at a time. this, with some second-hand type purchased from the St. Paul Globe, and a few used type cases comprised the mechanical equipment at the start. Patronage for the new paper was good and for a time the editor prospered, but true to his past record of staying but a short time in a place, Brown moved on and the paper was taken over by Welch and Henenlotter, W.M. Welch, a former country school teacher, being the editor.
C.C. Brown, the founder of Royalton's first paper, was a man of wide experience in both country and city papers. He was not only an expert printer but a brilliant writer. He had the reputation of making news where there was no news. He could by his gift of writing make the most trivial incident seem like an event of great importance. He delighted in a battle of words with other country papers, and wrote many scathing articles directed at contemporary editors. His office was invaded many times by infuriated citizens, the victims of his sarcasm, but they usually left in better humor without doing the editor bodily harm. Brown went from here to Duluth where he held the position of night editor on one of the daily papers for a number of years. He died at that place while still in the prime of life. The office of the Record was located on the second floor, over the saloon of the Boyce hotel, then known as the Platte House, which was located on the corner now occupied by the bank.
When Welch and Henenlotter acquired the paper the name was changed to The Banner. After a short time the paper changed hands again, W.F. Street, an attorney who came here from Sauk Rapids, taking it over.
Mr. Street ran the paper but a short time when A.W. Swanson of Wisconsin acquired the property. Mr. Swanson had learned the printing trade on the Shell Lake Watchman in his native state. He published the paper continuously for over 20 years. During Mr. Swanson's ownership great changes were made in the equipment of the plant. The army press was replaced by a Washington press, formerly used on the Princeton Union. Later an Ideal hand press was installed, soon to give way to a modern power cylinder press. Power job presses replaced the old foot power machine which had seen service for years. When Mr. Swanson disposed of the plant it had become an up-to-date country newspaper office.
Mr. Swanson carried the paper through it most critical period, and many time had a hard struggle to collect sufficient revenue to pay for the cost of material to issue the paper. To his credit, he never gave up the fight, and when he sold the paper, to which he had given his best under adverse conditions, it had reached the stage of prosperity. Mr. Swanson, when he sold the paper, moved to California where he now resides.
The next owner of The Banner was A.E. Joslin. He did not publish it, but rented the plant to Harold Knutson, the present congressman from this district. Mr. Knutson had learned the printing trade on the Clear Lake Times. Knutson published the paper for but a few years, when it was sold to Verne Barstow, who in turn sold to Willis Dally. After a short experience, Dally sold to L.R. Lisle, who had worked first for Knutson, and later published a paper in North Dakota. Lisle retired in favor of J.E. West, who a short time ago sold to the present publisher, E.R. Salisbury. This is a brief history of the paper for the past 45 years, which, as far as we are able to remember, has never missed an issue.
In the early day, every business house without exception was a regular advertiser. The business men were public-spirited to the extent that they realized the need of a paper in the town and considered the money well spent even if they could not see direct returns in money. It was the old spirit of "live and let live." Our town would be more prosperous if we had more of this spirit today.
Royalton's First Bank
Up to 1888, Royalton was without a bank. In that year, O.H. Havill of Brainerd, associated with C.M. Herig of Minneapolis, opened a private bank in a building located where the Energee filling station now stands. Mr. Havill was cashier and everything else connected with the bank. The name of the institution was the Bank of Royalton. The second bank was started by Charles R. Rhoda and associates, and was known as the Merchants, and later as the First National Bank. Mr. Rhoda had been cashier of the Bank of Royalton, taking the position when Mr. Havill moved to St. Cloud as an officer of a bank there. Mr. Havill later was connected with the state public examiner's office in St. Paul, where he died about 10 years ago. Royalton has had other banks than those mentioned, but these were the pioneers.
Charles R. Rhoda was connected with the banking interests of Royalton for about 30 years. He was interested in other lines of business as well. He, with A.C. Wilson and Mark Murphy, built the local electric system. Power was first furnished by a local plant located in lower town, where both water and steam were utilized. Later, current was obtained from the power dam at Little Falls. Mr. Rhoda owned and operated, for a number of years, the local show house, and installed the first moving picture machine in Royalton. This house was built by James Muncy and originally was located on Logan Street, one block south of Center Street where it now stands. Logan Street, when the mills were running in the eighties and early nineties, boasted of a number of business houses. At one time there were located there two shoe stores, two grocery stores, a meat market, photograph gallery, show house, and saloon. Most of these buildings were later moved away when the town found its civic center.
Before we pass on from this early date we might mention a few of the early residents who were here in the eighties. Among these was W.L. McGonagle, who arrived in 1887. Mr. McGonagle was born in Illinois in 1859. He was interested in a grocery store in Chicago until 1882, when he came to Minnesota, locating in Minneapolis. Here for a time he followed the trade of his father, that of barrel maker. Later he lived at Elk River and Clearwater before coming to Royalton. Upon his arrival here he opened a barber shop and confectionery store where he operated for many years. Soon after locating here he built a building of his own on Front Street, to house his growing business. In 1914, having been appointed postmaster, he sold his business. He served as postmaster for eight years, being succeeded by H.M. Logan in July, 1922. After his service as postmaster he went west on a visit, and while preparing to return to Royalton was stricken suddenly and died in Seattle, Washington, February 9, 1924. "Mac," as he was commonly known to his friends, was always interested in the welfare of his town, and during his residence here held many positions of trust, among which was chief of the fire department, and member of the school board. Soon after coming to Royalton, in 1889, he was married to Miss Cora Gallery of Elk River, who survives him. Of his four children, two are residents of Royalton, Dr. E.H. McGonagle and Mrs. L.B. Billig. Loren lives in McCloud, California, and Ralph in Seattle, Washington.
Another pioneer of the early days, and one of the early business men, is L.J. Dassow, who is still a resident. Mr. Dassow ran one of the first meat markets in Royalton, coming here in the eighties. Later he engaged in farming, but retired several years ago and moved back to town. During his residence here Mr. Dassow has several times held the position of president of the council, and was for a long time chairman of the township board of Bellevue.
A prominent business man of the present day, Albert C. Bouck, came near being a native. He came here when a boy with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. C.W. Bouck, in 1881. He attended the local schools and later Shattuck Military Academy. Upon graduation he entered partnership with his father in the hardware business. In 1914 he purchased his father's interest and continued business, and recently added other lines of merchandise and changed the name to Bouck's Department Store. Mr. Bouck has served several terms as president of the village council, and is at present village treasurer.
T. Fulton Bell, known to all his friends as "Fult," dates his residence in Royalton from 1884, so he can be considered among the pioneers. Mr. Bell spent his early life in working in the local saw mill, and later was employed in the flour mills of Minneapolis as packer. He returned to Royalton when the rural mail delivery was instituted from this office, and has held the position ever since. For a time he was interested in the automobile business in which he was very successful. He has served several terms on the village council, and is a member at the present time. "Fult" was known in his youth as one of the best ball players this section ever produced. He was a member of several semi-pro teams of the nineties, and started his baseball career at an early age, being referred to many times as the "kid wonder."
As we stated in the history of the early days, the post office of Royalton, was established in 1854, seventy-five years ago, and 23 years before the railroad was built. R.D. Kinney was the first postmaster, holding the office until 1858, when he returned east. It was then moved to the old village of Langola, with the name changed to Langola. Lewis Stone was appointed postmaster. Stone was the man who built the dam and mills in this "lost village." From 1859 to 1869 the office was held successively by a party by the name of Sherman, H.B. Smart, and S. Flint. In 1869 Frank Green was appointed, and held the office until 1878, when it was moved back to the Kinney homestead and again named Royalton. Bradford Lufkin, who operated the Northern Pacific pump station on Platte River, and lived in the Kinney cabin, was appointed postmaster, and in 1879 was succeeded by Frank Hardy, the station agent. Since that date the office has been held by the following: George Newman, mentioned as the first store keeper in the village; Ira W. Bouck; John H. Russell; Barney Fietsam; J.N. Carnes; C.W. Bouck; Barney Fietsam (second appointment); A.W. Swanson; A.E. Joslin; W.L. McGonagle, and the present incumbent, H.M. Logan, who was recently reappointed for his third term. Mr. Logan served for 18 years as rural carrier before becoming postmaster.
The First Church in Royalton
The first attempt to organize a church in Royalton was made at a meeting held in January, 1880. At this meeting J.D. Logan was chosen chairman and R.D. Kinney secretary. It was decided to take steps to organize the First Presbyterian Church of Royalton, and at a meeting at the home of J.D. Logan held a month later such an organization was effected. Services were conducted at this time by the late Rev. E.V. Campbell of St. Cloud. There were nine charter members at the time of organization. R.D. Kinney and J.S. Bouck were the first ruling elders. The same year a church building was erected on the lot where the Ed Stodolka residence now stands. At one time the church had a large membership, but most of them moved to other places and the congregation disbanded and the building sold to be wrecked.
A Methodist church was organized in 1886, Rev. J.N. McDonald being the first pastor. In 1886 a church building was erected which still stands, although somewhat improved from the original structure. A parsonage in connection with the church was built in 1890.
The first Episcopal church services were held at the residence of George Newman in 1880, the pastor coming from Brainerd. In the fall the building of the present structure was begun on lots donated by Mrs. Peter Green. The first location, facing east, was on the opposite side of the street from where the building now stands.
Holy Trinity church was organized in 1896 by Bishop Torbec of St. Cloud. The first building was a frame structure located west of the railroad, where it still stands and is used as a storehouse. The present imposing structure was erected in 1912 and is one of the finest church buildings in this part of the state. The first pastor was Rev. Urbanka. The present pastor, Monsignor August Plachta, has had the charge of the parish since 1907, during which time it has grown rapidly.
Royalton's First School
Until the year 1882, there was but one school house in Bellevue Township: that on the prairie. In that year the Royalton district was organized, the first officers being I.W. Bouck, J.D. Logan, and J.C. Higgins. The first school was held in a small frame residence building which still stands of Logan Street, near the river, and is at present owned by William Yahn. The first teacher was Miss Mary Green, the daughter of an early pioneer of this section. The first school building, a two-story frame structure, was erected the following year on the lot west of the site of the first school. The building was occupied until 1889, when it caught fire from a defective chimney at the noon hour and was completely destroyed. Mrs. Milo Young, now a resident of Swan River, was one of the teachers in this building. At the time of the fire the town had grown to such an extent that the building could not house all the pupils, and a primary department was conducted in another building.
After the fire, quarters for the school were obtained in the Presbyterian church and a vacant store building, and the sessions continued until the end of the term. Steps were taken by the board to secure a new and larger site and to erect a building to take care of the increasing number of pupils. The location, which created a stiff contest, was decided on by a vote of the people. The site of the present buildings was the one chosen. The first building erected was a four room brick veneered structure, and was built by local contractors. This building is the north wing of the present grade school. A few years later, another wing to match the first was erected, and a high school was organized, offering a full four years course. In 1911, the building crowded, bonds were issued and the present modern high school was erected. The bonds have all been paid and the district is out of debt.
I.W. Bouck, a member of the first school board of 1882, is the president of the present board.
Organization of Royalton Village
Until the 1882, the town meetings and elections had always been held in the school house on the prairie. That year it was voted to move the voting place of Bellevue township to the new village of Royalton. Many of the old pioneers resented the change, and one old settler made the remark that "the glory had departed from the prairie." The change was a wise one, however, for the country to the east was rapidly being settled and Royalton was the central point. Until 1886, Royalton had no separate organization, but was a part of the township of Bellevue and was governed as such. The village was incorporated and the following officers elected: president, J.D. Logan; recorder, John Holmes; trustees, R.L. Lambert, J.C. Higgins, and Frank Caughy.
By this time the village had assumed such proportions that some of the citizens decided to organize a fire company. A meeting was held and an organization effected, to be known as the Royalton Hook and Ladder Company. This company had no equipment except a silk flag for parade purposes. In 1888, the council decided to purchase some sort of apparatus, and a small steam engine, hose cart, and 1000 feet of hose were purchased. Water was secured from a large tank located under the engine house, the railroad water tank, and the river. The purchase of this equipment caused a great deal of protest at the time from the more conservative element, but its good work done at several fires which soon occurred justified the outlay, and all objection ceased. The first engine did good service until 1901, when a large steamer was purchase, which served until the water works were installed in 1922, when it went out of commission. After the purchase of the first engine the name of the company was changed to Unity Fire Company.
In 1892 an aerial hook and ladder truck was purchased and Hook and Ladder Company No. 1 was organized to take charge of the new apparatus. At this time the other company changed its name to Engine Company No. 1. The early firemen were strict on discipline and this tended to make the organization efficient. Regular meetings were held twice a month, one for the transaction of business, and the other for practice. The rules were strict, and any member not present was fined 25 cents. No excuse except sickness or absence from town was accepted. The fines, when levied were paid, and no member ever quit on account of the drastic rule.
At practice meetings, work was the order of the evening. If runs were not made, there was brass to shine and cleaning and polishing to be done, and the officers were unrelenting in their demands for perfection. The engine house, as a result of this rigid system, had the appearance of a paid city department. At one time the engine company was equipped with regulation blue firemen's uniforms, and after some drilling made a fine appearance on parade. The old time fireman worked without thought of reward other than that of service well done. He took great pride in his organization, which was a social as well as a practical factor of the village. Who of the old timers can forget the "firemen's ball," an annual event of the early day?
After the village was incorporated, many improvements were made by the council. Streets were opened to travel which had formerly been left as nature made them; sidewalks, then made of plank, were constructed and the appearance of the town otherwise improved. The section house which had stood between the railroad and the I.W. Bouck store was removed to a site near the depot. This left an unsightly plot with an abandoned cellar hole facing the main streets. George E. Wilson who was president of the council for several terms, took the matter up with the railroad company and obtained permission to take over this plot and beautify it for a park. The land was graded, trees set out, an iron fence built, and the present park on Front and Center Streets is the result of this forethought.
George E. Wilson may rightfully be classed among the pioneer residents of the village, having come here in 1887. He is a native of Canada, having come west to Minneapolis in 1883. After having been employed in that city for four years, he came to Royalton and engaged in the lumber business with A.C. Wilson & Company until the timber in this section was exhausted. Since that time he has engaged in the real estate and insurance business, and has farms which he rents. During his residence here he has held several public offices, among which were president of the village for several terms, secretary of the school board, and is at present time justice of the peace.
As early as 1886 the citizens of Royalton desired a band. An organization was formed that year and a band of about 20 pieces was formed. The members bought their own instruments and paid their teacher from their own pockets. The first director was Prof. J.M. Van Camp who was at the time instructing bands at Little Falls and Sauk Rapids. Prof. Van Camp was an expert cornet soloist in addition to being an able band leader, and the new organization made rapid progress under his direction. The only resident here at present who was a member of this organization is H.M. Logan, who first played a trombone, and later baritone.
In 1894, a band of 12 to 14 pieces was organized and was known as the Fire Department Band. Every player was a member of the Royalton fire department. This band was also instructed by Prof. Van Camp, who had taken up his residence in Royalton. This bad was self supporting; revenue aside from that contributed by the members was raised during concerts, dances, and other entertainments. During its existence the band was engaged many times for events away from home. It played twice for fairs at St. Cloud, Woodman picnics at Detroit and Glenwood, gave concerts at Little Falls, and entered a contest at St. Cloud where it won second place against a large field. After Prof. Van Camp moved to Minneapolis, the band was led by both H.M. Logan and Fred McGonagle. The only members of this band at present residents of Royalton are H.M. and F.B. Logan. The band had uniforms of gray trimmed in black.
The Struggle for a Bridge
By 1890, Royalton had become an important trading center for this section. The country both east and west had been settled up rapidly, and Royalton merchants drew trade from a large territory. At this time the only connection from the west side of the Mississippi was be ferry, and it was realized that this was a handicap in getting trade from that section. The ferry was built and put in operation in 1868 by Calvin A. Tuttle who received the sum of $200 from the county to aid in the construction. This ferry was operated by Mr. Tuttle for a number of years and finally became the property of Mark Kobe, a local merchant. The ferry was an uncertain means of crossing the river on account of saw logs that floated down the stream all summer, and greatly hindered the running of the boat. The need of a bridge was imperative.
A meeting of our citizens was called to discuss ways and means to procure one. It was decided to ask aid from the county and hold elections in the village of Royalton, and townships of Bellevue, Two Rivers, and Elm Dale to vote on a bond issue to finance the project. A committee went before the county board and were given no assistance whatever. Elections were held in the towns mentioned for the purpose of issuing bonds, but Two Rivers and Elm Dale voted against the proposition. This was a great surprise to those behind the projects, for these were the towns which would have received the greatest benefit from a bridge. They would not only have had the convenience of an all-year-round crossing, but would have been relieved of the expense of ferry charges. Had the people been allowed to vote without outside influence being brought to bear on them the bonds would no doubt have carried, but paid workers from rival trading points did a great deal of effective work just before election with results disastrous to the bridge prospects.
These setbacks were enough to discourage most people, but not those who constituted the businessmen and leading citizens of that day. They had set out to have a bridge and were not to be defeated by outside influence.
Royalton and Bellevue voted $10,000 bonds, and this with some private subscriptions from public spirited citizens of the west side towns provided the funds. A contract for a bridge was let and a combination wood and iron truss bridge of two spans was erected, and for the first time in the history of Morrison County, a bridge outside the town of Little Falls spanned the "Father of Waters."
This bridge was of great value to the whole of southern Morrison County, as well as Royalton. A short time after completion, this bridge which had cost this community so dearly was carried off the piers and landed in the river badly wrecked. The wrecking of the bridge was caused by the combined force of ice and the logs frozen in the ice during the spring breakup. As the local taxpayers felt that they had assumed a burden sufficiently heavy in the erection of the bridge, the county was appealed to for funds to rebuild. Again through outside influence, help was denied and again the township and village assumed the burden and replaced the bridge. A few years later the bridge was again carried down river by the combined action of the ice and logs. This time the county board gave assistance in replacing the structure. This bridge remained in use until 1918 when Morrison County, during the time J.N. Carnes represented the district on the board, built the present fine steel structure which now spans the river.
Royalton Votes Out the Saloons
While our business men were always ready to get behind any movement for the betterment of the town, they did not always agree. The question of licensing of saloons came up in 1894, and a "no license" club was organized to put out the saloons, and the fight was on. Royalton had had saloons almost from the beginning of the town, and at the time the question was brought up, had several. Every citizen lined up one way or the other. The feeling was better and many friendships were broken, for a time at least, over the saloon question. The advocates of no license insisted that the sale of liquor was a detriment to the town and the place would be better off without saloons. On the other hand, those favoring the sale of liquor claimed that as long as surrounding towns had saloons, no benefit would accrue from voting out the liquor, but on the other hand, the town would be injured by the loss of the trade of those who desired to patronize the drinking places.
A hot campaign was waged by both sides and every means used to secure votes. At the spring election the saloons were voted out. As some of the licenses did not expire for several months after the election, the town was dry but a few months before the election of the following year when the question was again submitted to the voters. During the time the saloons were out arrests were made of "blind pigs," so it is a question if the place was really dry. The second time the question came up, in the spring of 1895, the campaign on both sides waged hotter than ever. In addition to the question of license, two complete village tickets were in the field, one favoring license, and the other against. After a warm campaign, the advocates of license won and the saloons came back to stay until the country "went dry." During this election, about 300 votes were case, and as only men voted at that time, it would have indicated a population of 1500 people in the village. It is safe, however, to say that such was not the fact, as many voters who drifted during the winter, left soon after election.
Twenty-five years and more ago Royalton had a reputation as a great place for sports. Its baseball teams were famous in this section of the state. Perhaps the best known player who represented Royalton in the old days was Joe Doty. Joe was a pitcher of note - a southpaw - and had a reputation far beyond this section. Royalton was in the class of towns much greater population and won a majority of its games when playing such towns as Little Falls, St. Cloud, Brainerd, Staples, and others. Among the members of the earlier teams who are still residents are Ira Bouck, who played first base on the first team organized; J.N. Carnes, who played in the early days, and Fulton Bell. Fred McGonagle, now of Seattle, who came here about 1890 from Minneapolis, was a pitcher of ability and did much to put the place to the front as a baseball town.
Horse racing interested the sporting element in the early days, and a half mile track was built on the prairie south of the village. This track was the scene of many races between running horses and it was no trouble in those days to raise sufficient purses by popular subscription to attract the best horses in the state. These events were so popular that the saw mill would shut down during the races that the employees might witness the sport, to which no admission was charged. The races drew large crowds from the surrounding towns and country. Roller Bros. developed a runner from a western horse named "Chess," that became quite famous in this part of the state. Although not of running stock, this horse developed such speed that the thoroughbreds sent here to race him could never beat him on a half mile track. Those were the good old days in sport in Royalton. Hundreds of citizens followed the ball teams to games in surrounding towns, and for one game in St. Cloud, a special train was chartered to carry the crowd. This was before the day of motor cars.
Early Dams on Platte River
In early times, when the flow of water on the river was much greater than it is at the present time, promoters and speculators were on the lookout for sites for water power dams. Many dams were built that were never used for power. One such dam was located just above the present bridge in upper town, and was built by James Muncy in 1884. Efforts were made to secure some industry to utilize the power, as a considerable head of water was raised at this dam, but they never succeeded. After a few years the dam was washed away by high water and never rebuilt. Another dam, the ruins of which may still be seen in the river, was built by A.C. Wilson & Company, but not for power purposes. This dam was constructed to raise the water to make a pond for the storage of logs for the saw mill, and was made necessary by the lower dam at the flour mill going out. The dam at the flour mill was carried away three time, twice while used by the mill, and the last time when owned by the Royalton Power and Light Company. During the life of this dam the village maintained a bridge on it which was a great convenience to this part of town. The present low stage of water existing on Platte River has ruined the former water powers, and none are utilized at the present time. In early times the stage of water was such that log drives passed through the village as late as July, and the logs of that day were not small.
Civic Spirit of Early Days
From a small beginning in 1879, Royalton had by the year 1900 become a flourishing village with a reputation for trade that extended over a large territory in all directions. This did not come by chance, but from the fact that the town had the type of business men who went after the things that would benefit and build up the place. The town needed a bridge to draw business from the west of the river, and we have related how it was obtained under discouraging circumstances. When our citizens felt that a flour mill was needed they did not wait for one to come to them but went after it by advertising in the city papers, showing the advantages offered and tendering financial assistance. One citizen offered the water power and several acres of land suitable for a mill site. Others subscribed sums up to $100 each to make up a cash bonus to offer to any one who would build a mill. Several parties investigated the offer, and as we have related in another chapter, a mill was built in lower town which steadily enlarged until it had a capacity of 500 barrels a day.
The time arrived when it was realized that a creamery was necessary to the prosperity of the town. No individual cared to make the investment needed, so a meeting was held to take up the creamery proposition. The result was that a company was formed, stock subscribed for by the business men, and a creamery constructed. Some citizens subscribed for as much as $500 worth of stock in this venture. This creamery was operated as a stock company for a time, but finally passed into private hands. It was located in upper town and after running for many years was destroyed by fire. When this creamery was built the cream was gathered by the company, routes being established on which the hauling was done by teams.
There were times when the roads leading into town became very poor and were not repaired by the authorities in the townships through which they passed. At that time the attention pain to the upkeep of the highways was not what it is today. Poor roads kept people from coming to town, and if they did not come it hurt business. In many cases like this, the business interests of the village raised money by subscription, and crews were sent out to repair the roads where needed. The business man paid out his money freely if it was to enhance the interests of the village as a whole. For many years the village paid regular road tax into the road and bridge fund of the township of Bellevue, not a dollar of which was expended in the village. The citizens realized that money spent on roads surrounding the village was a benefit to them and paid the tax willingly. We could give many instances where the old spirit of "live and let live" prevailed in the young village which grew and prospered.
Royalton had the distinction of being the first town in this section to inaugurate the plan of paying the farmer cash for produce. Previous to 1902, eggs, butter, and other produce was traded for merchandise in all sections of the state. When the cash for produce plan was started in Royalton, the town drew trade from territory never tapped before, and its fame as a trading place increased. Royalton became the leading produce market in this section of the state. Figures of shipments by rail, as shown by the railroad agent's records for the year 1906 show that during that year the car load shipments totaled 1597 cars in and out. This did not include local shipments, which were large. The item of eggs alone was 7,000 cases shipped out. The shipments of butter totalled 200,000 pounds, and 12 cars of clover seed were shipped out. The shipments from this point included grain, flour, feed and other milling products, wood, ties, and livestock. During one week in the fall, the shipments of dressed turkeys totalled eight tons. One dealer made a shipment of a carload of dressed turkeys at one time. The were shipped by express to Montana, in a special express car set out here to be loaded.
From 1907 to 1910 a citizen of the village had charge of and produced the Morrison County agricultural exhibit for the Minnesota State Fair. These exhibits were gathered from in and around the village. They consisted of specimens of all kinds of grains, vegetables, grasses, fruits, and other agricultural products. The first exhibit, in competition with the entire state, scored second in points, and first in beauty. The three following exhibits scored first in points and beauty. As the county appropriation for these exhibits was only from $100 to $150 per year, the balance of the expense was raised locally. This competition with counties from every section of the state, indicated that our territory was equal to any from an agricultural standpoint. As these county competitions are still the leading feature of the agricultural department of the State Fair, it is a matter of regret that some public spirited citizen does not at this time place our resources before the thousands of visitors who annually visit the big exposition.
About Frank B. Logan
The publisher of the Royalton Banner is deeply grateful to Mr. Logan for his compilation of these very interesting sketches, which he wrote voluntarily and without thought of remuneration. We regret, however, the modesty which prevented him from including his own biography and his part in the history of the community. It was he who had charge of the Morrison County exhibit at the Minnesota State Fair from 1907 to 1910 and won three successive first prizes and one second prize. Later he had charge of the agricultural department of the fair, and for nine years was a member of the board of managers.
Born in Greenville, Pennsylvania, Mr. Logan came to Royalton with his parents in 1879. During his youth he worked with his father, J.D. Logan, in the lumber business, and later attended Bradley Polytechnic Institute at Peoria, Illinois, where he learned the watch-making trade. After completing the course he returned to Royalton and opened a jewelry store which he operated for over 30 years.
In 1907 he took charge of the Morrison County Fair exhibit, and in 1911 was appointed assistant superintendent of the agricultural department of the state fair; in 1913 he was promoted to superintendent. He was elected to the board of managers in 1915, and served in that capacity until 1924. At that time he nominated his successor and was made a life member of the State Agricultural society, sponsors of the fair.
Mr. Logan has held many positions of trust in the township
and village. He served 18 years as clerk of Bellevue township,
has been president and clerk of the village council, president
of the school board, and is now clerk of the Royalton School
District. He is engaged in an insurance business now, and is one
of the oldest residents of Royalton in length of residence here.
|© 2004-2023 Lakeweb1 Internet Services All Rights Reserved||