City Of Windom History
Source: History of
Cottonwood and Watonwan Counties, Minnesota; Chapter XVII;
Illustrated, Volume I; by John a. Brown; B. F. Bowen & Co.
(1916). Text scan courtesy of
Genealogy Trails History
Windom, named in honor of United
States Senator William Windom, a native of Ohio, but long an
honored resident of Minnesota, is situated on the banks of the
Des Moines river, one hundred and fifty miles southwest of St.
Paul and one hundred and twenty-two miles northeast from Sioux
City, Iowa. Windom was declared the county seat of Cottonwood
county in the autumn of 1872, the county officers having
maintained their offices at a point a few miles up the river at
what was known as Great Bend, for a short period after the
county was organized.
The population of Windom, according
to the United States reports for 1890, 1900 and 1910 was as
follow: In 1890 it was 835; in 1900 it had reached 1,944, but in
1910 had fallen to 1,749. It is now supposed to have about two
thousand-possibly twenty-one hundred.
The first building
really worth mentioning on the plat was the one erected on lot
8, block 18, about the middle of June, 1871, by S. M. Espey,
which was used by Espey & Lukens as a hardware store. Among the
early buildings, one of importance was the Windom hotel, erected
on the corner of Third avenue and Ninth street by Clark & Bell.
E. C. Huntington established the Reporter as the first newspaper
of Windom and Cottonwood county, issuing volume 1, number 1, on
September 7, 1871.
Perhaps the description of Windom
given by Editor Huntington in his paper will give a clearer
understanding of the surroundings and first events than any
other account that can be now reproduced.
Windom As Viewed In 1893
Editor Huntington, of the Windom
Reporter, in his paper in April, 1893, speaks of Windom and its
prospects after the following fashion:
"The history of
Windom is not one of the precious relics of the ancient world,
which the capricious centuries have let drift to us, nor is it
one of the precious treasures which lies buried beyond recovery
under the 'tide whose waves are years.' There is no spirit of
Attica breathing through the records, telling of the valor of
barbarian founders; no pre-historic ruins or relics of dead ages
encumber the site of the growing city. The city and surrounding
country are but a chapter of American life, with its push and
energy. The pioneers, many of whom are still living happily in
the retrospect of labor well done, were not the 'sons of holy
gods, culling the fruits of illustrious wisdom from unharried
land,' but were the sons of the unconquerable Anglo-Saxon, who
gave to the world the Magna Charta, political and religious
liberty, and whose onward march has planted civilization and the
Cross wherever its sturdy sons have gone. There is but little
romance connected with the early days of this prosperous town
and county. Its lowly history deals more largely in the modest
yet manly experiences of the ones who toiled and laid the
foundations of a prosperity that has continued and widened, and
will continue to grow until the brightest dreams of the most
hopeful have been realized.
"Its shipping embraces grain,
stock and flour and a large local trade has built up an
aggregate of many large, thriving establishments creditable to
the little city. Her school building is a model structure of
modern convenience and architecture. Her schools are on a par
with any of the country, being taught by competent and skilled
instructors. She has six churches; three solid banking
institutions; a flour-milling capacity of one hundred and
twenty-five barrels daily; four large elevators, a tow mill and
a splendid stock market. Windom now has a population of nearly
fifteen hundred as cultured and refined people as can be found
in our great state of Minnesota. The streets are wide and well
kept, and the business portion of the place completely surrounds
a beautiful park which is nicely grown up to large shade trees
and is laid out in beautiful driveways; some of the beautiful
dwellings are nestled beneath the side of a towering hill, while
others are on the banks of the historic Des Moines river, which
carves its way to the great Mississippi, thence to the ocean.
Then, in closing, we may be pardoned for mentioning the two
It was in the early spring of 1871
that S. M. Espey first came to Windom, after having traveled
over the territories from the Pacific slope in search of a home.
He came to Windom before the railroad came through, hauled
lumber from St. James to erect his store and, in company with A.
P. Lukens, set up an establishment on the southeast corner of
block 18. They engaged in the hardware business for a year or
two and then the firm sold to Stark & Williams. Mr. Espey, soon
after the opening of his store, was appointed postmaster and
served in that capacity for ten years.
In 1871 John
Hutton and W. H. Wilson began business together. In a short time
Wilson sold his interests and, moving to LuVerne, engaged in
business there. During the several years of grasshopper
devastation, Mr. Hutton gave immense credit to the farmers, with
little prospect of payment, but, strong in the faith that the
country must in the future outgrow its then bad record, he did
much toward holding settlers on their claims, for without
indulgence on the part of the business men depopulation would
have become complete. The country rallied from the distress, the
farmers began to prosper, and Mr. Hutton, with the rest of the
business men, were finally rewarded with the payment of old
The village of Windom was platted
June 20, 1871, by A. L. Beach, of the St. Paul & Sioux City
Railroad Company. One week before its platting, A. P. Lukens, S.
C. Highly and others arrived with lumber and commenced the
erection of buildings. Early in June of that year S. Hunddleston
& Sons erected a bakery on lot No. 8, of block No. 8, and dug
the first well in the village plat. They built an oven with blue
clay obtained in the digging of the well. In this oven was baked
Windom's first loaf of bread.
Among the first events in
the young village may be mentioned the following: The first
sermon in Windom was by Rev. J. E. Fitch in Espey & Lukens'
hardware building. The first dance in town was in the same
building. The first attempt at organizing a lodge in Windom was
in October, 1871, when the Masonic fraternity commenced its work
here. The first attorney in the place was Emory Clark. The first
physician was Dr. Allen Smith, who commenced his practice in
October, 1871. He returned to Ohio, from which state he had
emigrated, and there died. The first death was that of P. A.
Ruhberg, on March 13, 1873. The first school was taught as a
"select" school by Miss Hellen F. Lawton, in the winter of
1871-2. The first train of cars to enter the village was early
in July, 1871. The first postmaster was S. M. Espey. The
Presbyterian church was organized on October 15, 1871, with
eight members and Rev. E. Savage as its pastor. The first
Methodist Episcopal church quarterly conference was held at
Windom in December, 1871. In September and October, 1871, ten
thousand dollars were paid out in the village for wheat. In 1874
Windom had three churches-Baptist, Presbyterian and Methodist
Episcopal. Prudence Masonic Lodge was also then in operation. In
1873 a large two-story school house was erected at a cost of
four thousand dollars. The first term of school was taught there
in the winter of 1873-4. In the spring of 1873 large quantities
of lumber were rafted to Jackson and to points in Iowa, on the
Des Moines river. That year the wagon bridge was constructed by
N. H. Manning.
Commercial Interests, 1872 and
Upon the first anniversary of
the village of Windom, the following business interests were
Attorneys-E. Clark, J. G. Redding and A. D.
Furniture dealer-McMurtrey & Freeman.
General dealers-D. Patten & Co., M. E.
Donohue, Hutton & Wilson.
Harness shop-J. Hoople.
and implements-Espey & Lukens.
Hotel-The Windom, the Hyatt
Implement dealer-Graves & Co.
Jeweler-C. A. Ludden.
Lumber dealer-G. L. Loope, St. Paul Lumber Co., T. W. Gilleland,
Meat market-H. M. Clark.
Reporter, S. and E. C. Huntington, editors.
Physician-Dr. A. Smith.
In a period of ten years the village grew
considerably, as is evidenced by the business directory of 1882:
Attorneys-A. D. Perkins, Redding & Laing.
implements-B. W. May, S. S. & A. W. Johnson.
shops-P. A. Ruhberg, John Svenson, Sherwood & Hubbel, J.
Bank-Bank of Windom.
Druggists-D. Patten & Co.,
Tilford & Klock, A. Quevli.
Flour and feed dealers-S. S. & A.
W. Johnson, LeTourneau & Gillam.
Furniture dealers-Mrs. L. D.
Smith, Jenness Bros.
General dealers-John Hutton, R. R.
Jenness, P. Seeger, A. Quevli, E. & S. Sevaton.
shop-J. A. Hoople.
Hotels-The Clark House, owned by J. Clark;
Windom Hotel, M.Grimes, proprietor; The Hyatt House, W. W.
Barlow, proprietor; City Hotel, John Nolan, proprietor.
Hardware dealers-R. E. McGregor, William Besser.
pressers-J. H. Clark, Paul Seeger, J. G. Redding, Clark & May.
Jeweler-C. A. Ludden.
Lime and fuel dealer-George Besser.
Livery-James Hanton, Gabriel Oleson.
Lumber dealer-J. H.
Meat Markets-H. M. Clark, Nason & Halter.
shops-Mrs. H. S. Ellis, Mrs. LeTourneau.
owners Collins & Drake; Seeker's Custom Mill.
shop-Novelty works, owned by L. Clark.
Greene, J. H. Tilford, S. D. Allen.
Repair shop-H. C. Gillam.
Restaurant-Mrs. A. H. Bosworth.
dealers-Huntington & Perkins, Redding & Laing.
refinery-B. W. May.
Wagon shop-W. B. Cook.
In 1882 the
village had seven hundred inhabitants, two neat little churches,
Methodist and Episcopal, and a Presbyterian church under
Windom Post Office
Windom postoffice was established in
1871 and up to this date there have been no irregularities or
robberies in the postoffice here. The receipts of the office,
not including money order transactions, during the last fiscal
year ending July I, 1916, were $10,282.27.
free delivery routes extend out from Windom into the surrounding
country. The following is a list of the postmasters who have
served since the establishment of the Windom postoffice: S. M.
Espey, H. A. Cone, S. B. Stedman, Joseph McMurtrey, George E.
LeTourneau, M. T. DeWolf, A. J. DeWolf, H. E. Hanson, G. E.
LeTourneau, present postmaster. These names are given in the
order in which the postmasters have served, nine in all, making
the average term held by the several postmasters, five years.
These men have been fairly representative citizens of the place
and have sought to serve the patrons faithfully and well.
Windom was separated from Great Bend
township and incorporated as a village in the spring of 1875.
Emory Clark, attorney, was elected the first president and C. H.
Smith, recorder; the trustees were, M. Grimes, L. D. Smith, J.
N. McGregor. The first ordinance was passed by the council on
April 15, 1875, and related to the selling and bartering of
intoxicating liquors within the village.
presidents who have served the village have been: Emory Clark,
John Clark, S. M. Espey, A. W. Annes, John Hutton, M. T. DeWolf,
C. W. Gillam, W. A. Smith, E. H. Klock, Jens Anderson, L. Sogge
and Gustav Miller.
On September 9, 1884, an election
was held to determine whether the village should remain under
the original charter or reorganize under the provisions of the
law of 1883. The reasons for this action on the part of the
council were the doubts in regard to the construction of the
charter, which had been amended and so mutilated by the
insertion of an amendment in the wrong place as to make it
almost impossible to construe it at all, thus leaving the city
with a form of a charter which might have been good, but under
which it was unsafe to proceed further. The trouble was
discovered at the time of the Woolstencroft prosecution in 1882,
but it was not until 1884 that the charter began to show lack of
value in the prosecution then pending. It was thought by able
counsel that the village had no right to prosecute for an
offense against the ordinances and the opinion involved so much
doubt that the council thought it wise to incorporate under the
general laws rather than take a chance of testing the old
charter in the courts, with little hope of success. The result
of the election upheld the opinion of, the council, the
proposition carrying by a vote of sixty-six to thirty-nine. The
first officers under the new incorporation were: A. D. Perkins,
president; C. F. Warren, recorder; trustees, C. A. Ludden, A. W.
Johnson and John Hutton.
In 1916 the town was again
re-incorporated and this time with the following officers:
Gustav Muller, president; O. E. Elness, J. O. Thompson and T. A.
Perkins, trustees; P. S. Redding, clerk.
indebtedness of the town is forty-five thousand dollars. An
electric light system was installed in 1915 and 1916 at a cost
of twenty-six thousand dollars and a great amount of money has
been expended on street improvement, for which the town has
every reason to be proud. In the way of fire protection, the
city depends upon direct pressure and is equipped with two hose
carts, one hook and ladder wagon, one thousand feet of fire hose
and a volunteer fire company of twenty-five men.
way of parks, the town has two, well provided with shade trees
and nicely kept.
The water supply for the town of
Windom up to early in the year 1913 was from a well, generally
supposed to be two hundred and eighty feet deep. In addition to
this deep well, were a couple of small points feeding into the
bottom of a large pumping reservoir from a sixty-five-foot vein.
The deep well pumping outfit had become stopped up in some
manner and all efforts to dislodge the obstruction or get hold
of it failed. It was decided to procure a deep well drilling
outfit and put down a twelve-inch pipe and point in the
reservoir where the small points were feeding into the bottom. A
contract was entered into with the J. F. McCarthy Company, of
Minneapolis, to do the work. A twelve-inch pipe and a point or
strainer was put down to the sixty-five foot vein, with the
result that an additional supply of water was secured, but not
enough to supply the demands.
While the well outfit was
still on the grounds, it was decided to try and remove the
obstruction in the deep well. When the obstruction was
encountered the drillers could not drill through it faster than
six to eight inches in two days and they could not pull the old
pipe and get to the strainer. The deep well was abandoned.
The supposition prevailed that another twelve-inch pipe to
the sixty-five foot water vein might supply enough water to make
another storage reser�voir and thus get a sufficient supply
without going to the expense of another deep well. The drilling
machine was moved to the west side of the power house and a
twelve-inch pipe put down. The water vein was very shallow and
so full of fine sand that its use was almost out of the
question. A test was made and, at the very best, the flow was
only eighty-five to ninety gallons per minute. The old deep well
pump was set up over this well and pumped occasionally to help
out the reservoir supply on the east side.
On the 8th of
June, 1914, the council decided to put down another deep well
and advertised for bids. The J. F. McCarthy Company were the
successful bidders, the price being six dollars per foot, the
town to furnish the fuel for the engine and they to pay all
other expenses. Work was commenced on July 13, 1914. The well
when completed consisted of a twelve-inch hole to the depth of
two hundred and ninety-one feet from the surface of the ground.
The pipe used was standard well pipe, forty-nine pounds to
the foot. The well is equipped with twenty feet of No. 12
Johnson strainer in two pieces, six and fourteen feet long
respectively. This screen sets in about a foot of clay on the
bottom of the well; a course of gravel strata of nearly nine
feet above that and another strata of gravel about six feet
above that. This gives the well about fifteen feet of gravel on
the strainer. As a test, the well was pumped twenty-three hours
continuously, from ten o'clock in the morning, September 4, to
nine o'clock in the morning, September 5. This test developed
over two hundred and twenty gallons per minute and seemed to
improve as the pumping continued.
The Windom Library Association was
organized in November, 1883. At the first meeting, which was
held in the school house, G. M. Laing was chosen temporary
chairman and H. J. Keith, secretary. The meeting proceeded to
perfect an organization which resulted as follow: Doctor
Tilford, president; Mrs. LeTourneau, vice-president; Mrs.
Huntington, secretary; Mr. Perkins, treasurer; Mr. Espey,
librarian. The object of the organization was to advance the
mental and moral interests of Windom and the surrounding
community. Any person could become a member of the organization
upon the payment of two dollars or the contributing of five
dollars worth of books. A ticket of membership could be used by
any member of the family. For non-subscribers a nominal fee of
ten cents was charged for the use of a book.
The state of
Minnesota has made it possible for all towns and communities
that cannot support a library to make use of the traveling state
library. It was really by this means that the present library
The Tourist Club first made it possible to
secure the traveling library of fifty volumes and had their
headquarters in the directors' room of what is now the Farmers
State Bank. After two or three years of successful operation, it
was requested of the club that they should take over the
subscription library of the town, consisting of three hundred
and fifty volumes. This was accomplished and a room was given
them in the basement of the court house.
At present the
library consists of one thousand one hundred volumes and two
traveling state libraries, one of which is the juvenile.
Seventy-five books of general literature belonging to the state
are in the library all the time. Three thousand five hundred
books are loaned annually. In the way of magazines and papers
nothing is taken but the Book Review.
The means of
support is the one big question in connection with an
institution of this kind. As the books are loaned free of charge
to anyone in the county, little is derived from this source
except in the way of fines, which amounts to about fifteen
dollars per year. In order that expenses may be kept at a
minimum, members of the Tourist Club act as librarian, serving
in alphabetical order. The city council appropriates the small
sum of fifty dollars annually and the club a sum equal to about
half the amount. The library is kept open only on Saturday
True, it can readily be seen that the library
is being kept alive with the fond hope that in the near future
it may receive the support from the town and county to which it
is rightfully entitled.
In April, 1881, rain and melting
snow occasioned a rapid rise in all the rivers with the result
that the railroad and wagon bridges in Windom were washed out.
The loss of the wagon bridge made immediate action necessary for
a means of crossing the river until a new bridge could be built.
Private boats were put into use for a day or two and twenty-five
cents charged for the carrying of passengers across. The village
council deeming that suitable means and safety should be
provided for the convenience of the public, at once decided to
operate a rope ferry, together with a small boat, first as a
matter of convenience to the public and, second, to protect them
from imposition. Failing to find private parties ready to engage
in the enterprise, council began work upon the boats. In a day
or two a skiff was put on for immediate use, which served well
for the removal of freight and passengers until a larger boat
could be built. But the large boat could not be used until eight
hundred feet of one and one-half inch rope was secured. About
two hundred dollars were expended, besides paying a man two
dollars per day for operating the ferry.
To meet the
outlay, the council established the following schedule of rates:
Footmen, ten cents for round trip; man and horse, ten cents each
way, fifteen cents a round trip; cattle, five cents each; teams,
one way, twenty cents; both ways, twenty-five cents; single
horse and carriage, fifteen and twenty cents; school children,
free; tickets for foot passengers, in packages of twenty-five
and upwards, half price.
The First Elevator
In August, 1873, D. Patten & Co.
began the erection of a grain elevator, the first one to be
built on the Sioux City & St. Paul railroad, with a capacity of
fifteen thousand bushels. The firm commenced buying grain in
1871 in a little warehouse on the side track between Eighth and
Ninth streets. Soon the capacity of this structure became too
small and in 1872 the firm constructed another warehouse between
Ninth and Tenth streets, and finally the increased amount of
business led to the construction of the elevator.
The Ruse Hospital
The Ruse hospital was started by
Mrs. A. Ruse in 1906 and has earned quite a reputation as a
place of exact medical science and courteous treatment. All
kinds of surgical operations and medical treatments are
conducted by the physicians in charge, namely, Doctors Sogge,
Dudley and Weiser. Most of the time three nurses are employed
who have in their care about two hundred patients annually.
The cigar factory No. 194, owned and
operated by O. S. Skillingstad, was started in 1905 by the
present owner and since that time has enjoyed a most profitable
business. Mr. Skillingstad manufactures several different
brands. The high quality and satisfaction of his goods is
evidenced by the fact that the smokers of the town of Windom
consume nearly his entire output, which averages about one
hundred thousand annually.
Windom Ice Cream Factory
Probably but few Windom people
realize that they have a most flourishing little manufacturing
plant in their midst in the Windom Ice Cream Factory. H. E.
Hakes, the owner and proprietor of the ice cream factory and the
creamery in connection, removed here from Bingham Lake in the
fall of 1915, and his coming brought with it the removal of the
ice cream plant from that place. Mr. Hakes has a most enviable
reputation as a producer of pure ice cream, and the high quality
of goods he puts out keeps spreading the sale of his products.
He has the most improved machinery for the manufacturing of ice
cream and he is able to turn out several hundred gallons of the
cooling cream a day. Every train out of Windom carries it in
large quantities. Besides Windom, he supplies every town on the
Currie branch, as well as supplying dealers at Mountain Lake,
St. James, Heron Lake, Sibley, Iowa; Slayton, Lake Nelson,
Brewster, Adrian and other places. At the present time Mr. Hakes
employs four people in the ice cream factory and on the milk and
cream routes which he also owns.
The Flouring Mills
The flouring mill is one of Windom's
prides. The mill was built by E. F. Drake and Samuel Collins in
1878. The first mill dam was constructed in 1878 just opposite
the mill. For some reason or other this dam proved very
inadequate and was constantly washing out and in need of repair.
The present dam was constructed in the summer and fall of 1885.
The dam is one hundred and twenty-five feet long and forty feet
wide at the top, giving a fall of ten feet. It was constructed
of brush, hay and gravel and is known as Bell's patent. The
system was successfully used by Captain Eads in his jetty work
at the mouth of the Mississippi river. This dam is located about
eighty rods below the wagon bridge and about twenty rods below
the bridge is the mill race which leads to the flume, which is
seventy feet long and fourteen feet square.
alone was employed until 1882, when steam power was added, to be
used when the water in the Des Moines river was too low to
furnish the power required. In 1882 Drake became the sole owner
and continued to operate the mill until 1902, when T. C. Collins
acquired the plant and continued to run it until his death, in
October, 1914. In 1906 the firm became known as T. C. Collins &
Son and since the father's death the son has had control and
management of the concern. Thus three generations of Collins
have had to do with the flour-making industry of Windom.
The daily capacity of the mill is one hundred and fifty barrels
and their well-known brands of flour have ready sale within a
radius of one hundred miles. Another article of merit that is
here manufactured is a breakfast food.
The Windom Wagon
Factory was organized January 10, 1899, with a capital stock of
five thousand dollars. The officers in 1901 were, W. A. Smith,
president; C. W. Gillam, secretary and treasurer; O. S.
Thompson, general manager. During the first two years of
operation this company built and placed on the market fifty
The tile factory owned by Walter
Cowan has been in existence for many years, but the exact date
of its beginning cannot be obtained. Mr. Cowan has owned the
factory for several years and has manufactured many thousands of
tile. Since the farmers are beginning to realize the necessity
of tiling, Mr. Cowan can hardly supply the demand. During the
summer months he gives employment to several men and it may be
said that through the influence of the factory much business is
brought to Windom that otherwise would go elsewhere.
The Windom Manufacturing
The Windom Manufacturing Company was
one of the early industries of Windom. It served well its day of
usefulness, when flax was raised on the broad prairies of
southwestern Minnesota. About 1892-3 W. A. Turner established a
large tow-mill at Windom. He had a large building and dry rooms
in which the raw material was dried before entering further into
the mill. He had a fifty-eight-horse-power engine to propel his
machinery. He had to run the flax straw through his mill twice
after it was taken from the dry room, which was kept at a
temperature of two hundred and twenty degrees, with a drying
capacity of one ton per hour. His mill had a capacity of six
tons a day.
This concern also started in to manufacture a
new kind of self-feeders for threshing machines, flax breaks and
rice machines. After the growth of flax was discontinued in this
section of the country, this factory had to abandon its
enterprise, but, while running, paid out eight thousand dollars
a year for flax straw to the surrounding farmers.
The following item is taken from the
Windom Reporter of October 28, 1884: "One by one the old
landmarks are being replaced by better and more substantial
buildings. The old house on the corner of Third and Tenth
streets, erected in 1871 by A. Huddleson and son, and occupied
as a bakery and residence, was one of the first buildings in
Windom and the one in which the first child was born in the
village and named William Windom Huddle-son. The building soon
after completion was vacated by Mr. Huddleson, who removed to
Wisconsin, and was occupied through the winter of 1871-1872 by
E. Clark. In the spring of 1872 the house and lot was bought by
S. S. Johnson, who resided there for several years using the
lower floor for flour, feed and pumps."
In 1885 the village of Windom had a
"lock-up," twelve by fourteen feet, built of two-by-four
dimension stuff and painted on the outside. It contained two
cells, seven by twelve feet, and two iron-barred windows, twelve
by thirty inches, six feet from the floor. At that date it was
very poorly kept, inhabited by many rats and mice and naturally
very unsanitary. For a time it was used by both county and
village, but subsequently it was condemned by the authorities.
Windom's Commercial Interests In 1916
In the summer of 1916 the business
and professional interests of the city of Windom were as follow:
Auto-garage-John Moore, Silliman Brothers, Frank Pope.
Attorneys-Wilson Borst, Newton L. Glover, P. S. Redding.
Banks-Farmers State, First National and Windom National banks.
Barber shops-Newell P. Freeman, H. C. Hamilton and Richard S.
Blacksmith shops-John Loken & Son, Smestad & Grotte
and Ole S. Thompson.
Bakeries-J. M. Eibright and the Windom
Clothing stores-Gustav Mueller and G. A. Peterson.
Cigar manufacturer-O. S. Skillingstad.
Creamery stations-J. E. Jenness and E. E.
Berry & Son.
Confectioneries-John F. Hinkley, Nick Hules,
Thomas Hules, Charles J. Koob.
Draftsman-William A. Peterson.
Druggists-Andrew A. Quevli, Frank Stedman.
contractors-Samogge & Redding.
Dray lines-William Belton, W.
Dentists-John A. Adamson, Henry Beise and C. H.
Elevators-Co-operative Elevator Company, St. John's
Elevator Company and G. W. Gillam.
Furniture dealers-James A.
Crane, E. E. Berry & Son.
Feed store-John Loken.
Barns-Thomas Chatham, Miller Brothers.
Fuel dealers-Walter J.
Johnson, Ole Grotte and the lumber companies
Ebright & Son, Headley & Miller.
contractors-Christopherson & Westgard, Carl Peterson.
dealers-Michael L. Fisch, Foss Mercantile Company, A. Quevli &
Hotels-The Park, Commercial.
Devlin and A. D. Nelson.
Hardware dealers-Earl Marshall &
Son, C. Nelson & Co., Albert Wynne.
Anderson, Ole Elvrum.
Ice dealer-Yerkee Brothers.
Jewelers-Arthur B. Cone, Charles W. Lowery.
dealers-Grosjean & Lampert Lumber Company, Struck-Sherwin Lumber
Company, and the Tuthill Lumber Company.
T. Chatham, J. C. Church.
store-Edward E. Gillam.
Moving picture show-"The Wonderland."
Milliners-T. Kittleson, Mrs. Josephine Lowery.
markets-M. S. Potter, Wieks & Burrill.
Anderson, John Hoffman.
Newspapers-The Cottonwood County
Citizen, The Windom Reporter.
Notions-Orris M. Garrett,
Windom Variety Store, S. L. Rogers.
Physicians-Dr. William T.
DeCoater, Dr. Joseph H. Dudley, Dr. Ludwig Sogge, Dr. Frank R.
Weiser, Dr. F. C. Griffith, Doctor Tegland.
Photographer-Jesse O. Thompson.
Produce dealers-John F.
Jenness, Windom Produce Company, J. F. Reide.
Restaurants-Minute Cafe, Frank R. Shaub, J. G. Hinkley.
estate dealers-Kettlewell & Jeffers, Silliman Brothers Land
Company, Ringkob-Peterson, Sanger Land Company, Marshall Land
Company, Benjamin A. Cone, Andrew Cowan, George F. Robison,
Robinson & Potter, J. T. Johnson Land Company.
Stock buyers-Gus Swanholm, Miller Brothers, M. T.
Tile works-W. P. Cowan.
Northwestern. Veterinaries- F. E. Judd, John Tyas.
In February, 1908, there was formed
in Windom a Commercial Club, with officers as follow: President,
W. F. Savage; vice-president, C. W. Gillam; secretary, F. G.
Dunnicliff; treasurer, John T. Johnson; directors, W. J. Clark,
T. C. Collins, M. L. Fisch. Rooms were kept open over the First
National Bank until that structure was burned. The membership
fee was thirty dollars.
The present Commercial Club was
organized on March 4, 1914. All phases of business were
represented at the meeting, which was held at the court house.
It started out with seventy members. The first officers were:
President, C. W. Gillam; vice-president, J. O. Thompson;
secretary, L. S. Churchill; treasurer, M. L. Fisch. The club has
already secured many advantages for the city of Windom. The
present month - August, 1916 - it has secured a great band
tournament, representing bands from St. James, Currie, Heron
Lake and other neighboring towns, six in all.
The Tourist Club
The Tourist Club was organized in
October, 1896, with Mrs. T. C. Collins as president; Mrs.
Wellington, vice-president; Mrs. C. A. Greene, secretary; Mrs.
Force, treasurer. The club derived its name from the fact that
the club members took up the study of things beyond their own
immediate realm for the purpose of self-improvement. The
membership is limited to twenty-five. The club carries an
associate membership, members of which are taken from the active
list. To become an honorary member one must have been an active
member for a period of five years. At present there there [sic]
are eleven associate members and four honorary members. The club
meets every Monday evening. For the coming year the club begins
the study of the "Romance Cities of America" and "Problems of
The officers for the coming year are as
follows, among whom are Mrs. Collins and Mrs. Greene, who are
holding the same offices as at the time of organization:
President, Mrs. T. C. Collins; first vice-president, Mrs. George
Robison; second vice-president, Mrs. Gillis; corresponding
secretary, Mrs. Harriet Hunter; recording secretary, Mrs.
Greene; treasurer, Mrs. Strunk; critic, Mrs. Chestnut; assistant
critic, Mrs. Emor Smestad.
Woman's Literary Club
The Woman's Literary Club of Windom
was organized on June 27, 1903, with Mrs. C. W. Gillam as
president. The club has studied the works and literature of many
of the best writers, including Shakespeare, Marlowe and many
others. But the efforts of the club are not confined wholly to
the study of classic art and literature, but also home problems
and home economics.
The officers elected for the year
1916 are as follow: Mrs. Carpenter, president; Mrs. J. T.
Johnson, vice-president; Mrs. Scurr, recording secretary; Mrs.
A. D. Perkins, corresponding secretary; Marie Quevli, treasurer;
Mrs. A. D. Perkins, chairman of program committee. The Mayview
course of study has been selected for the coming year's work.
The following is a list of the
pioneers Who helped to lay well the foundation stones of the
sprightly little city of Windom: W. A. Smith, George F. Robison,
William Besser, George Miller, O. Elvrum, D. C. Davis, C. A.
Lowe, C. H. Rupke, H. A. Cone, John Hutton, E. Gillam, James
Dolan, Frank Stedman, W. B. Williams, George E. LeTourman, C. W.
Gillam, L. J. Robinson, J. F. French, Charles B. Pierce, R. H.
Reese, W. A. Cook, E. L. Leonard, NI. T. De Wolf, E. C.
Huntington, T. C. Collins, H. M. Clark, E. Sevatson, R. R.
Jenness, Will Gillam, S. S. Gillam, J. N. McGregor, H. Bosworth.
Windom's Greatest Fire
A fifty-thousand-dollar fire visited
Windom in July, 1900. It commenced about noon, with a high
northwest wind. There was but little water in the tank and the
hose owned by the town was rotten and soon found to be useless.
Not an ax nor any implement for fire-fighting was to, be found
for the use of the firemen. It was believed the fire had its
origin in the old Mason barn hay-loft, back of the Quevli store.
When it was known that the fire laddies could do nothing, St.
James and Heron Lake were appealed to for aid. The railroad gave
special trains to bring the fire companies from these places. In
a short time men and hose came from St. James and in less than
thirty minutes from the time of call, the Heron Lake fire
company was landed in Windom. Dick Gage, the engineer that
hurled the company up from Heron Lake, made the run in an
incredibly short time. On authority, never disputed, he made the
twelve-mile run in twelve minutes and unloaded his freight at
the Windom depot. The St. James company made their run in
thirty-one minutes, including a stop at Bingham Lake. After the
water supply was found giving out, the Heron Lake engine run to
the Des Moines river, but it was found they could not force the
water up that far, so when the Luverne company arrived a line of
hose was established between the wagon bridge and town, but
again it was found that the engines were not making steam
sufficient. Then a steam threshing engine belonging to Matt
Miller was fired and run to the scene and greatly aided the
other engines in pumping water sufficient to check the flames
somewhat. Coal ran out and a special was sent to Heron Lake for
a supply from the railroad yards. A passenger train brought a
hundred laboring railroaders from Bingham Lake, and more were
tendered if needed. These were stationed all over the southeast
part of Windom with pails of water ready to quench any fire that
might be set from flying cinders, etc. As a matter of fact, had
the home fire company been encouraged and the supply of water,
so near at hand, been looked after before the day of fire,
nearly all this heavy loss might have been saved Windom. The
thanks of the people of the place to the kindness of the
railroad company, the fire companies at St. James, Heron Lake
and Luverne, are even to this late day being expressed by the
citizens of the place.
A. Quevli was the heaviest loser,
$17,000; he had $2,000 insurance. Thurston Bros. had $8,000
insurance and estimated their stock at $16,000. M. D. Gates had
on stock about $1,500 insurance and, all told, lost about
$5,000. Johnson & Foss had $800 insurance and lost about as much
more. Fish Brothers had an insurance of $2,500, and saved most
of their stock. A. Opperud lost the building in which Arthur
Cone was doing business; this was worth about $2,000. O. Nason
had $1,500 insurance and lost $2,000. Olf Erickson had some loss
in his restaurant. Dr. Moen lost his library and many valuable
surgical instruments, at a loss of $2,000. George F. Robison, L.
J. Robinson and Dr. De Coater, all occupants of the Robison &
Robinson building, lost about $2,000. The above named losses
only include the business places and there was, besides these
losses, several small buildings and barns, easily totalling
[sic] a thousand dollars more.
On March 1, 1885, a fire destroyed
the store of R. R. Jenness, occupied by N. Freeman as a general
store. Loss, $8,000; insured for part of the amount.
February 1, 1910, the First National Bank building, with most of
its contents, was destroyed by fire, which originated in the
basement. The first floor was occupied by the bank and the large
store of M. L. Fisch. Mr. Fisch was the heaviest loser, with a
loss of $25,000; insured for $15,000. The bank lost $16,000 on
building and $3,500 on fixtures; insured for $10,000.
November, 1910, another fire burned the Farmers' Elevator, built
in 1885, at a cost of $5,000, and owned by E. Sevatson. It was
insured for $4,000. Four thousand bushels of wheat was lost.
Source: History of Cottonwood and Watonwan Counties, Minnesota;
Chapter XVII; Illustrated, Volume I; by John a. Brown; B. F.
Bowen & Co. (1916). Text scan courtesy of
Genealogy Trails History