My Home Town

Aitkin, Minnesota

An Introduction

by Bob Chatelle

Aitkin, Minnesota, according to the complementary visitor guide, is located “1200 miles and 16 toll booths” from Lake Woebegon. I would’ve estimated much farther myself. I was born in Aitkin (September 23, 1942 at Draper’s Maternity hospital) and I consider Anoka (Mr. Keillor’s home town) just a suburb of Minneapolis.

Aitkin sits at the dead center of the state–about a dozen miles north of Mille Lacs and 130 miles north of the Twin Cities; thirty miles northeast of Brainerd and 90 miles west of Duluth. We are at the confluence of the Mud and Mississippi rivers. (In the early ’50s, local boosters and resort owners renamed the former, Ripple River, but the new name never took.) Native Americans hunted bison in the vicinity 8,000 years ago. When the French arrived in the 1600s, the inhabitants were Dakota Sioux, replaced later that century by Ojibwe.

William Alexander Aitkin, a Scots-born partner of John Jacob Astor, was in charge of the Fond du Lac district of Astor’s American Fur Company. Aitkin operated a trading post near the Mud and Mississippi junction between 1831 and 1841.

In 1870, the town was established by Nathaniel Tibbetts and his two brothers, Joshua and James. Nathaniel was a surveyor for the Northern Pacific railroad, and he recognized that the site of what became Aitkin provided the first access by rail from the port of Duluth to the Mississippi river. Aitkin became a lumber industry boom town and a major riverboat transportation center, boasting 17 saloons that never closed and several bawdy houses.

The lumber industry petered out as the area became deforested, and the riverboat traffic ended in the 1920s. Aitkin now has a population of about 1700, and the chief industries are agriculture (especially turkey farming–the high school teams are called the Aitkin Gobblers) and tourism. Wild rice is grown commercially and also harvested from many of the county’s 365 lakes. Aitkin is the county seat of Aitkin County, and it possesses the only stoplight in the entire county.

By 1883, Aitkin had a newspaper, The Aitkin Age, and soon there was the Independent and the Republican as well. The Age and the Independent eventually merged to form the Aitkin Independent-Age, which still comes out weekly. The following items all come from the Age and were published during the year 1896.

These excerpts are a sampling of many that were painstakingly compiled by Chuck Butler for the Steamer Gazette, published by the Aitkin Area Chamber of Commerce. They are posted with Chuck’s permission. Copyright 1996, Aitkin Area Chamber of Commerce.

Here are some Aitkin photos.

A Year in the Life of Aitkin, Minnesota

January 4, 1896

Mr. A.E. Gyde arrived in town last Saturday, and at once set to work getting the foundation beams of his new stave mill into position. It will not be long before the mill will be completed, and Mr. Gyde will at once place the machinery and begin work.

An interview with the genial clerk for Aitkin county reveals the fact that 34 marriages were issued last year. In strict confidence however, Frank informed us he expected a land office in them this year. A number of the girls, so he says, made a pool, and propose to get licenses at a discount from the regular rates by buying them wholesale. Frank has ordered a new licenses blank book, and is all prepared for the anticipated rush of business.

January 18, 1896

Whether it is dread of what leap year may bring or not, we don’t know, but it’s a fact that lots of our bachelors attended the cooking school conducted by Miss Thompson, at the farmers’ institute, and seemed very interested in the proceedings. “It’s never too late to mend.”

January 25, 1896

One of our ladies keeps house for her brother, and rather prides herself on her cooking ability, but the brother in question has never been able to tell what she lived on, as he said she did not eat enough to keep a canary alive. But after each meal the young lady invariably was missing and nobody knew where she went, until the dog was remarked as frequently sitting on the doorstep of Chet. Lawson’s restaurant–and the truth was cut. She could not stand her own cooking.

February 15, 1896

J.W. Copeland yesterday sold his temperance billiard hall, better known as the “Calico Front,” to Arthur McQuillan.

February 29, 1896

The vanguard of the army of lumberjacks began to arrive in town this week owing to the early breakup. Better let the boys have their own way for a brief season, and no one will be the worse off.

To accommodate a large number of people who desire to attend the performance of “In Old Kentucky,” at Fargo tonight, train No. 8 will be held at that point until 11:15 p.m., making it two hours late. The train No. 18 east-bound on this division will be correspondingly delayed.

Owing to an overindulgence in intoxicants, Frank Pelky and David Courtemanche indulged in an exchange of courtesies last Wednesday, culminating in an attempt on the latter to slash Pelky’s physiognomy with a razor. Bystanders interfered and Courtemanche was locked up, arraigned before Justice Williams on Thursday, and was given the alternative of $10 and costs or 20 days in jail.

March 7, 1896

About two minutes after the current had been turned on at the power house last Monday evening the lights suddenly went out, and remained in that condition. Later the report came up that an accident had occurred to the engine, and to replace the broken parts would require several days time. We are glad to announce, however that all damages have been repaired and the lights will glow as usual tonight.

D.P. Dolan was taken into custody last Wednesday, his queer actions and incoherent talk seeming to indicate that his mind had become imbalanced. Two days confinement cleared his mind and yesterday afternoon he was permitted to transact some business about town, while accompanied by an attendant.

March 21, 1896

A movement is on foot to organize a permanent dramatic club in Aitkin. Considering the amount of latent talent lying around loose hereabouts, this is a move in the right direction, and we hope the organization will be effected.

The Electric Remedy Concert Co. will hold forth at Knox’s Hall next week commencing Tuesday evening March 21, for one week. They give a series of refined performances and ladies are especially invited. They are advertising and selling “Improved Common Sense Electric Belt.” The performance is free next Tuesday night and everyone should attend and witness a good show.

Price’s Georgia Minstrels showed to a packed house last week at Knox’s Hall. They have a good band which gave a very credible street parade in the morning.

That duel between Rev. Kathan and Col. Potter in which the weapons are to be flails has not yet come off, but when it does it will be a well attended affair.

March 28, 1896

Contractor Falconer is a busy man these days. Having just finished driving piling for the boom of the Gyde mill, he is now filling the cold storage house of the John Gund Brewing Co. with 100 tons of ice.

April 4, 1896

There is a great demand for houses and buildings of all kinds here. Why don’t some capitalist build a number? There ought to be money in it.

April 18, 1896

A dumping ground for refuse and offal of all kinds, has been established by the village council on the land owned by C.D. Berry on the Pine Knoll road. The spot is located south of the road and is marked by a signboard, so that there need be no misunderstanding regarding the location.

April 25, 1896

Miss Laura Scott is now the proud possessor of a new Arena bicycle.

Little Sadie Mausten hitched up a pet yearling heifer to her little red wagon last Tuesday, and then seated herself in the wagon, generally enjoying life as the calf wandered about the court house grounds in search of a mouthful of grass. Suddenly the scene changes, however. A little dog comes trotting along, spies the combination of pet yearling an unalloyed happiness, darts under the fence and makes for the heifer with a few well-chosen barks, and away goes calf, wagon, doggie and Sadie like a streak of greased lightning of a summer’s day. But all things come to an end, so did this runaway, when the little red wagon collided with the big pine tree. The tree did not give way and that’s why the little red wagon went to smash, and the calf got its liberty. And was Sadie hurt? Not Sadie.

R.C. McMurdy has purchased a phonograph with a gramophone attachment, and is much pleased with the wonderful little machine.

May 2, 1896

Dr. A. Leonidas Johnson, of Leavenworth, claims to have made a discovery. He finds that old age, bald heads, and gray hairs are produced by microbes. These microbes are taken into the system through drinking water, and afflict all persons outside of Kentucky. Dr. Johnson is busily engaged in waging an experimental war against these microbes. He has found a means of killing them but the dose that is fatal to them is also fatal to the man. When this slight objection to the manner of destroying microbes shall have been overcome Dr. Johnson will give his discovery to the world.–Duluth Herald.

On complaint of C.D. Wilkinson, John Robinson was arrested by Sheriff Mausten last Saturday, charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, to wit, an axe. The preliminary examination was held before Justice Murphy on Monday and Tuesday last, but the evidence did not warrant his retention and Robinson was discharged.

A considerable bad feeling prevails among the settlers on Little Willow over Berry’s dam on that stream. Proceedings had begun in justice court to have it removed, when certain parties, so ’tis said, took the law into their own hands, and with the aid of a little dynamite, blew the dam into everlasting nothingness.

May 9, 1896

The AGE is indebted to Mr. E.A. Gyde for a sample barrel hoop, one of the first sawed at his mill on starting up last Saturday. It was a courteous act and duly appreciated. Owing to the high water but little sawing will be done at present.

Musical circles are all torn up over the departure last Tuesday evening of Frank Seavey Jr., for Ohio, where he goes to join the orchestra of an Uncle Tom’s Cabin company. His going virtually breaks up our brass band again, and seriously cripples the orchestra, which was just beginning to rise from mediocrity to something better. The best wishes of a host of friends attend young Frank in his new departure.

Geo Keefe the trapper and hunter hailing from Stillwater, was committed to the insane asylum at Fergus Falls, yesterday. He was found on Tamarack river, in a deplorable state.

May 16, 1896

The supreme court of the state has declared unconstitutional the inebriate law enacted by the last legislature, which provides that any drunkard who has not the means to defray the expense of the bichloride of gold cure may borrow the necessary sum, not exceeding $100, from the county in which he resides, giving his note therefore payable at any time within five years, without interest.

Prof. Donavan (a strongman) gave an exhibition of his strength with dumb bells, etc., at Cameron & Akelstad’s saloon last Saturday evening.

May 23, 1896

There will probably be a game of baseball tomorrow between the newly organized club and the “Irish Invincibles.”

May 30, 1896

A man who came here from Aitkin last and has been doing team work here since, seems to have become demented of late and Tuesday night his actions were such as to cause his friends considerable uneasiness and he was locked up in a room at the Irwin hotel. His symptoms are apparently of a softening of the brain. The man is about 42 years of age, and it is said has been quite well-to-do but has recently lost all his property, and his present condition may be caused by brooding over his misfortune. At last accounts he was at his camps and his condition was improved.–Hibbing News

June 6, 1896

The booms of both the Hodgeden & McDonald and E.A. Gyde’s mills gave way last Monday, releasing a large number of pine and hardwood logs. Mr. McDonald estimates that about $1,000 worth of logs got away from his boom.

June 13, 1896

A steam launch, to be used by Mr. A Gyde for his river work, arrived last Tuesday.

A “gramophone” party was given by Mr. and Mrs. R.C. McMurdy, to a number of their gentlemen friends last Tuesday evening.

The hoop and stave mill started last Monday, the river having subsided sufficiently to permit the work being resumed.

June 20, 1896

The launching of Mr. E.A. Gyde’s little steamer last Saturday was celebrated in the evening by a excursion given by Mr. Gyde to a party of friends.

The phonograph concert at the M.E. church on Wednesday evening last, was rather poorly attended, which is to regretted considering the merit of the entertainment. It was a thoroughly enjoyable affair from first to last, and the character of the music was unexceptional. We think Mr. Howe would be assured a full house should he return at a later date.

Jolly Mattie Vickers and her fun-making associates will be the attraction at the opera house for one night, Monday evening, June 22nd. The company is an expensive one and the same that play all the larger cities, and will prove one of the very best farce comedies seen in Aitkin.

Notwithstanding the passage or an ordinance by the village council, prohibiting the running at large of horses and cattle, our streets are filled day and night with horses and cows in defiance of the ordinance. It looks to us thought the law ought to be either enforced or repealed, as the present state of things is in a discrimination against law abiding citizens.

In climbing over a picket fence at the schoolhouse this morning, little Sadie Mausten broke a leg. Dr. Graves set the injured member, and Sadie is made as comfortable as possible under the circumstances.

June 27, 1896

Dr. S.S. Kathan was examined before the probate court last Wednesday as to his sanity. As has been known to our people for some time, the Dr. is addicted to the use of cocaine, the indulgence of the habit having shattered his health, and ruined his practice. Dr. Kathan fully realizes his condition, and expressed himself as perfectly willing to be committed to the Fergus Falls hospital, in hope that the restraint there may benefit him, a hope in which his friends heartily join. He left for Fergus last evening.

July 4, 1896

Objection is again being made by some of the residents along the Mud river to the use of that stream for the dumping of sewage. An old petition which was tabled by the village council two years ago was resurrected and presented to the local board of health, asking that sewers emptying into the stream be declared unlawful.

July 11, 1896

Rev. Dr. Kathan took for the subject of his discourse last Sunday evening the late fire, and likened the fire of Sin. The doctor handled the subject in an interesting manner, giving his auditors many hard facts and serious thoughts to meditate on during the week.

Dr. S.S. Kathan and wife returned home last Sunday morning from Fergus Falls, the doctor having been promptly discharged by the physicians of the hospital within a day or two after his arrival. Dr. and Mrs. Kathan will shortly go east to the old home to remain some time.

Mr. E.A. Gyde acted as host in a very enjoyable excursion in his steamer to a party of friends from Pine Knoll on the Fourth.

Anna Norton, the landlady of the bawdy house on the outskirts of the village, died on Wednesday evening after a brief illness. The funeral took place on Thursday.

July 18, 1896

Three valuable draft horses belonging to Abner Bonness, which had been turned into Dr. Graves’ pasture just outside of town, died during the week, and two of the Doctor’s horses in the same pasture have been very sick but are recovering. It is thought that the animals must have eaten something poisonous, as the symptoms shown were exactly the same in all cases.

Sheriff Mausten has received an invitation from Sheriff Spalding of Crow Wing county, to attend the execution of Geo. Pryde, the self-confessed murderer, which occurs in Brainerd on July 23.

The unceremonious departure from the parental roof of one of our well-known young ladies this week, is generally said to be due to unhappy home relations and unfair treatment. When parents learn that children have rights and feelings which must not be trampled on and abused, they invariably find that the home life is made much sweeter, and contentment comes as a matter of course.

July 25, 1896

Sheriff Mausten, Deputy Boyd, O.M. Otis, John A. Cameron and Geo. Zuver were a delegation from Aitkin who witnessed the execution of John E. Pryde at Brainerd on Thursday morning.

Dr. H.J. Riesland of Brainerd, an optician of rare ability, arrived at the Willard hotel on Thursday, and judging from the way people flock to him to have their eyes examined he is giving general satisfaction.

August 1, 1896

It is quite the proper thing to do to go camping out at Cedar lake just now.

A great many former wearers of McKinley buttons in town are now sporting the 16 to 1 emblem on the lapels of their coats, but we regret to be under the necessity also of recording the fact that John A. Danewick, who has heretofore the daisy badge this week displaced it with one bearing the legend–“Girl Wanted.”

Camping out is getting to be a regular mania. The camp at Cedar lake on the McQuillin ground on McGee’s bay, now numbers twenty tents and three houses, and there are new accessions everyday.

August 8, 1896

An X-ray social is on the tapis for next Thursday evening, August 13, on the grounds of the M.E. church. If you don’t know what an X-ray social is, go and find out. It is given under the auspices of the Epworth League, and we are informed that photos of the heart will be furnished at the modest price of 10 cents, and that refreshments, such as ice cream and cake, will be dispensed for an additional dime. Everyone is invited and will be made welcome.

Quite a number of campers at Cedar lake have returned to town, but the mania seems unabated, and there are always new people to take the place of those who had enough.

August 15, 1896

The peculiar, fatal illness among the horses hereabouts, claimed two more victims this week, one belonging to the Hon. T.R. Foley, and the other two Dr. Graves.

The X-ray social given by the Epworth league on the grounds of the M.E. Church on Thursday evening was as novel as it was entertaining. The X-rays focused on the heart of the victim disclosed the true moral state of that organ, and it may readily be imagined that some startling disclosures were made. For instance, the photograph of Deacon Young’s heart, now in possession of F.P. McQuillin, clearly showed an odd mixture. The entertainment was a success in every way and netted a neat sum.

August 22, 1896

While examining a piece of machinery in his mill last Monday, which had become clogged in some manner, Mr. E.A. Gyde was struck in the left eye by a piece of hoop, and so severely injured that for some time he was under the impression that he was struck blind in both eyes. He was at once taken to his room at the Foley, and for 24 hours hot water applications were constantly kept on his eyes, with the result that inflammation was averted, and on Thursday Mr. Gyde was out again wearing a bandage over the injured optic. The fear that the site had been destroyed has been shown groundless, but the extent of the injury has not yet been established. We trust it may not be so serious as to be permanent.

The last remnants of campers at Cedar lake broke camp yesterday and returned to town. As a wind-up to the season of pleasure, Marcia Potter and Tim McGonagle furnished a little excitement on Wednesday by a narrow escape from drowning while bathing.

Griswold’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin Co. played to a crowded house in their big tent, which was pitched on the vacant lots corner Fourth and Birch streets last Wednesday evening. In fact, the deserted streets testify to the fact that everybody had gone to the show. The splendid band, which is one of the leading attractions, was probably the means more than anything else of filling the tent, as their music was really superb.

August 29, 1896

John A. Danewick will recreate by bagging a few wagonloads of prairie chickens before getting into harness again. Even at the rate of slaughter he will be several birds shy, for it is said the number he has promised his very intimate friends alone would make a carload.

September 5, 1896

Sheriff Mausten returned from Fargo yesterday morning, having in custody Omer Sivney who was charged with having wronged the daughter of Henry Brooks, of Pine Knoll. It is probable that a prosecution of the case will be avoided by the marriage of the parties.

While washing his shop windows on Tuesday last, Albert Zeeze was suddenly seized with a severe pain in the small of his back. He at once retired to his home, where he had been laid up ever since with lumbago. He is somewhat improved today.

An accident to the alternator at the electric light plant caused the current to be turned off at 8:30 on Wednesday evening last. An examination of the dynamo revealed the fact that the shaft had become sprung, which necessitated sending away the armature for repairs. It is probable that the current will not be turned on again for three or four days yet.

September 19, 1896

Adie Gwathmey gave her parents a bad scare on Thursday evening by swallowing a portion of the contents of a plihial containing creosote and peppermint. Besides a burned mouth, however, the little one sustained no serious injury or even discomfort.

We were pleased to see Mr. E.A. Gyde’s familiar figure reappear on our streets on Thursday, after his protracted illness.

Mr. T.R. Foley is severely poisoned by poison ivy.

September 26, 1896

A special train bearing Generals Alger, Sickles, Howard and Stewart, and Corporal Tawner, passed through Aitkin yesterday morning at 7:30 o’clock, but as the distinguished party had not yet arisen, the scheduled speeches were not made.

We understand that there is a scheme on foot in social circles to organize a musical and dramatic club among the ladies and gentlemen of our city for the purpose of furnishing intellectual entertainment for our young people these long winter evenings. The ultimate result to be an established and regularly organized club that will be able to present at any time in public attractions that will be a credit to the participants and something to be enjoyed by our people.

It is pretty certain that Wm. Jennings Bryan will make two speeches in the Sixth congressional district of Minnesota, probably in Duluth and St. Cloud, and we have it on good authority that when the train passes through here en route between the two cities, the people of Aitkin will be given an opportunity to hear him in a 15-minute speech.

October 3, 1896

Congressman Hartman, of Montana, will address the citizens of Aitkin county at the Court House next Monday evening. Let everybody turn out to hear this brilliant orator.

In driving piling for the foundation for the abutment piers of the new village bridge, the water main running under the riverbed to the south side was fractured last Saturday, necessitating the shutting off of the entire water supply for that section of the village. The break is due to an error in calculating the location of the main, and is inexcusable as it is unfortunate. A quantity of pipe is now on its way here, and upon its arrival work will at once begin to lay a new main under the river.

Prof. K.A. Ostergren, of Duluth, delivered an address on the money question at the court house last Tuesday evening. The gentlemen spoke in English although advertised to speak in Swedish, and there was some disappointment on the part of the Scandinavians in the audience. He handled the question from the democratic standpoint and did so ably.

While assisting in the preparation of the gravel roof on his new store building last Monday, Hon. T.R. Foley lost his footing and fell headlong into some hot tar spread on the roof, quite severely burning his left hand and forearm.

October 10, 1896


in Aitkin

Aitkin is to be honored by a 15-minute speech by William Jennings Bryan, candidate for president of the United States on

AT 3:15 O.clock

The special train which bears Mr. Bryan from Minneapolis to Duluth will arrive here en route about that hour, former notices having set the hour at 5 p.m. Mr. Bryan will probably speak from the rear platform as is his custom where the stop made is brief.

October 17, 1896

Mayor Marr is enjoying a duck hunt on Moose river.

Messrs. Geo Featherly and Max Steinhauer, representing the well-known dealers in horse flesh, J. Hammel & Co., arrived in town this week with a carload of horses to meet the unexpected demand which has again sprung up in this county. Their horses can be seen at Hardman’s barn.

All sections of the county were represented here on the occasion of Bryan’s visit, many visitors having traveled many miles that day to hear and see the champion of the common people.

October 24, 1896

It is a queer looking pump that has been procured to perform the work of keeping the trench clear of water while the water main is being laid under the riverbed.

We regret to learn that the injury which Mr. Gyde sustained to his eye through an accident in his hoop mill, has permanently destroyed the site of that member, an examination by a Duluth oculist this week revealing that fact.

October 31, 1896

Look out for campaign roorbachs which the opposition will endeavor to spring between now and Tuesday.

Rumor says that the silverites have brought a colony of free-silver men from Dakota to vote here. It is known the local committee is well provided with the “sinews,” and Republicans are warned to be on guard.–Aitkin Republican

The foregoing is a lie, pure and simple in every particular. There has been no such rumor. No colony of free-silver men have been brought from Dakota by the silverites to vote here. We do not know which local committee is referred to as being known to be well supplied with the “sinews” but if the Democratic committee is meant, we deny it absolutely. Not one cent of campaign fund has been received from any source.

Chronic constipation is a painful, disagreeable and life- shortening difficulty. It deranges the system, causes sick headache, causes bad breath and poisons the blood. It can be readily overcome by DeWitt;s Little Early Risers. These little pills are great regulators.–W. Potter & Co.

News of the drowning of old man Pippin of Hickory, in the lake back of his home on the West Mille Lacs road, on Tuesday afternoon, was received here on Wednesday morning, and caused general regret among the people who were acquainted with the old man. It seems that the accident occurred while he was out in a boat to attend his nets which he had placed, and in some manner lost his balance and fell overboard. The drowning was witnessed by some neighbors on shore, but as there was no boat at hand no assistance could be rendered the unfortunate man. Relatives and friends have been dragging the lake, but so far the body has not been recovered. Mr. Pippin leaves an aged wife to mourn his loss.

November 7, 1896

The Foley children mourned the loss of their beautiful, black shetland pony, the proud, stylish little fellow succumbing to a peculiar illness of only a few days’ standing last Saturday night.

Last Saturday night was Hallow’een, and the appearance of the good town early on Sunday morning gave evidence of the fact that the same old harmless pranks were played by the present generation of kids as were indulged in by “us folks” when we were of the years of ebullient enthusiasm and restless activity.

November 14, 1896

Ice man Falconer this week harvested some of the new crop of Mud river ice, finding the same five inches in thickness and of very good quality.

The body of old man Pippin, who was drowned in Spirit lake about two weeks ago, has not been recovered and all attempts to do so have been abandoned. It is thought that the body will rise in the spring, and the relatives will be on the lookout for it.

The local disciples of Rev. Earl Hicks, the St. Louis weather prophet, informs us that he has prophesized that the present winter is to be the coldest within the memories of out fathers. Present indications all point to a corroboration of the prediction.

The electric lights throughout the village suddenly ceased to glow early on Wednesday evening, and remained in a state of innocuous desuetude for about one and a half hours. It appears that a collapse of a portion of the rear brick wall of the new furnace was responsible for the slight break in the service. Connections were made with the old boiler and it was steamed up, and there has been no interruptions since. Jack Knowles, who was on duty, is deserving of great credit for the manner which he met and conquered the difficulty.

November 21, 1896>

An athletic club and gymnasium with all the necessary apparatus are being talked of by the young men with a super abundance of animal spirits and vigor. We hope the idea may blossom into realization.

November 28, 1896

The distinguished weather prophets H. and H. (which initials stand for Hicks and Haines) accurately predicted the bad storm of rain, sleet and snow, which was a feature of Thanksgiving day,

Mr. Beecher, the local representative of that soulless corporation, the Standard Oil Company, appeared on our streets last Monday with his new tank wagon, and appears to be very proud of it.

More obstacles and more disappointments were the features of this week’s work on the water main laying under the bed of Mud river. It is confidently asserted however, that the last joint will be caulked this afternoon.

Those to who I’m indebted will learn something to their advantage by addressing me at Winamac, Indiana and enclosing a bill for the amount due. I will be remembered as having worked for the AGE in 1888 and left town leaving a lot of unpaid bills, which I propose, God helping me, to pay up.

David H. Smith

December 5, 1896

After eight weeks of waiting the water consumers of the South side finally had their patience rewarded last Sunday by the completion of the difficult and vexatious job of placing a water main under the bed of Mud river.

We are pleased to learn that Gyde’s hoop mill is to be operated throughout the winter.

Has. Gaus, who travels for a jewelry house, entertained an imprompteau but delighted audience at Gwathmey’s store last Wednesday with some excellent banjo music. He is an artist.

Judge Danewick has made a chemical analysis of the Hodgeden & McDonald spring on the riverbank, and finds that “sulphurated hydrogen” forms one of the chief constituent parts. People who had used the water thought it was something else.

December 12, 1896

For chasing and killing a few of Geo. Jenkins’ chickens, the career of the handsome and valuable St. Bernard pup belonging to Walter Markham was cut short by a rifle bullet from a weapon in the hands of the owner of the chickens last Thursday. Walter is disconsolate and refuses to be comforted, and the deed is quite generally deplored.

Frank Seavey, Jr., returned home on Wednesday morning, looking well and prosperous, having enjoyed fairly good fortune during his first flight from the home nest into the wide world. He has, in following his profession as a musician, traveled over considerable territory since he left here last May, and has gained an experience which will be of great value to him in the future. He intends to remain here this winter.

December 19, 1896

Joe Freflette, of McGregor, an Italian about 20 years of age, was before the probate court last Tuesday, and adjudged insane. The examination was conducted by Drs. Graves and Reid, who were considerably puzzled by the peculiar condition in which the young man exists. He seemed to be about half asleep, and when left to himself would not stir from the spot he happened to be, but would move readily enough at the suggestion and command of the doctors. His condition more nearly resembles a hypnotic state than anything else, and his neighbors say that he has had similar spells before, but not of such long duration. Sheriff Mausten took him to the state hospital at Fergus Falls on Tuesday night.

December 26, 1896

A visit to health Officer Graves for the purpose of obtaining for publication the vital statistics for the year, revealed the fact that our citizens are entirely too lax in reporting births and deaths as required by law. Only 16 births and 7 deaths have been reported during the year 1896, figures which are palpably incorrect and misleading.

Clerk of the Court Seavey kindly furnished us with a list of marriage licenses issued by him during the year, but this list includes the entire county. They number 49.

The leap year ball of the Cotillion Club, which was to have taken place on Thursday evening, fizzled out for want of dancers. The evening was poorly chosen, the other attractions being more potent.

An old man named Smith, living with his wife and young children near Dean brook, in Cass county, was brought into town by neighbors last Monday for protection, and they allege, that his sanity has given way, and he was liable to do his family some injury if not restrained. His poverty is so preyed upon him that he is in constant fear that he and his family will starve to death, and to prevent such a dire catastrophe he proposed to end their existence with the aid of a shotgun. Sheriff Mausten took Smith to Brainerd on Monday night and there turned him over to Crow Wing county authorities.

Hodgeden & McDonald have erected a neat sign on the roof of their lumber office on Cedar street.