The Project Gutenberg EBook of Catholic Colonization in Minnesota, by 
Catholic Colonization Bureau of Minnesota

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Title: Catholic Colonization in Minnesota
       Revised Edition

Author: Catholic Colonization Bureau of Minnesota

Other: John Ireland

Release Date: February 24, 2013 [EBook #42187]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Demian Katz and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (Images courtesy
of the Digital Library@Villanova University


Transcriber's Notes.








[Pg 3]


The increase in the number of our Catholic Colonies in Minnesota, and the changes which population and other causes have brought about, make it necessary to publish a revised edition of the Immigration Pamphlet, issued by the Catholic Colonization Bureau of Minnesota, in 1877.

We are pleased to notice the increased interest which is manifested all over the country, by Catholics, in the matter of Catholic immigration from the cities to the land.

The sympathy, aid, and words of cheer, we are continually receiving from friends totally unconnected with our local work, assure us of this pleasing fact; which we attribute, in a great measure, to the honest, intelligent advocacy, and generous support our Catholic newspapers have given to the question.

For ourselves, we are glad to gratefully acknowledge the liberal support the Catholic editors have given to our work: the confidence which they placed, from the very beginning, in the purity of our motives and the soundness of our business arrangements, is an indorsement of which we are justly proud.

They have recognized that our aim is to do good to the many; and in all cases where our advice has been taken, our instructions followed, our warnings heeded, we do not fear that we have injured one.

The approbation of our co-religionists, conveyed to us from all parts of the country, the success which God has been pleased to give to our humble labors, are cheering guarantees that we are on the right road; and we pray God that He will continue to bless our efforts, enlighten us in our present task, and keep our ardor in the cause we have espoused strictly within the bounds of truth.

It is an axiom that "they who own the soil own the country."

Happily, in this country, the people's title to the land is recognized, they are invited to take possession of their own, and the tall, luxuriant grasses of the broad prairie are the messengers it sends forth from its virgin bosom, telling of the wealth it has in store to reward honest, patient labor.

There is no angry contest here for the possession of the soil, but there is, and should be, a noble, wise emulation among the[Pg 4] various races that have emigrated to these shores, for their just portions of it. The surplus populations in our cities, the depression of business, the scarcity of employment, the poverty, suffering and discontent attending thereon, the magnitude of labor strikes, and the dread of their repetition, have made the question of immigration to the land from our over-crowded cities of pressing, national interest. The policy of our people immigrating in large numbers to the lands of the West, is no longer a theory to discuss, but a necessity, calling for the active support of every good, intelligent Catholic.

It is not necessary to review the many causes which have heretofore retarded the immigration of our people to the land. Among those causes was one which should endear them to every Catholic heart, and which stands out in bright contrast to the irreligious indifference of the age.

They feared that if they came West, they would be beyond the reach of church and priest.

The danger of a Catholic settling in any of the Western States now, and finding himself entirely isolated, by distance, from his church, is scarcely to be apprehended, for the West has now its handsome churches, its priests and Catholic schools; but it might come to pass, that coming undirected, and without any Catholic organization to which he might apply, the Catholic immigrant might find himself settled in a locality inconveniently distant from church and priest, and where he and his family would be separated from Catholic associations.

Bearing this in mind, the religious welfare of those coming to our colonies, was one of the main features to which Bishop Ireland devoted his attention when organizing the Catholic Colonization Bureau. Before the arrival of any of our immigrants, the rule was established that whenever we opened a colony and invited our people to it, the resident priest and church should go in with our first settlers, be their number small or large. To this good rule we attribute, to a great extent, not alone our success in bringing settlers to our colonies, but likewise their general contentment in their new homes and brave cheerfulness in meeting the trials, hardships, and set-backs, which are incident to new settlements.

No question is so frequently asked by our correspondents as, "How near can I get land to a Catholic Church?" In no portion of any of the Catholic Colonies of Minnesota, established by the Catholic Bureau, under the auspices of the Right Rev. Bishop Ireland, shall a settler find himself beyond the easy reach of church and priest.

[Pg 5]







"It's na' to hide it in a hedge;
It's na' for train attendant;
But for the glorious privilege
Of being independent."

Thus sung Robert Burns long ago in praise of independence. This is one of the rewards which the land holds out to the honest, hard-working, persevering settler; and never does it break its promise to industry and perseverance.

In the city, dangers surround the poor laboring man; temptations arise on every side to drag him down; insurmountable barriers oppose his advancement.

Well, he may avoid the dangers—we wish to give the best view of the case, and, thank God, there are thousands of instances to sustain it—spurn the temptations, and even surmount some of the outward barriers to his advancement. He may be respectably housed and clothed; he may have a good boss. Ah, there is the rub, good or bad—


a man at whose nod he must come and go. He may have money in a savings bank honestly managed; but if a spell of sickness prostrates him, how much of his hard-earned savings will be left when he rises from his sick bed? And suppose he feels that he has his death sickness, can you, by going into sorrow's counting-house, attempt to estimate the agony of the poor Catholic parent when he thinks of the fate which may await his children, left fatherless in a sinful city?

There are other pictures of a poor man's city life, which we care[Pg 6] not to draw. But we will take this prosperous workingman, with a good boss, from the city, and place him in his first rude house on his own land. He misses many things, many comforts. He misses the society of friends who used to come round from time to time—the milkman's bell, the butcher's cart: everything was so handy in the city.

He is lonely: a feeling of desolation comes over him as he stands at the door of his new home, and looks around at the unimproved land. The land is rich and good, and the scene is fair to look at; but the reality is so different from the mental picture he made before setting out for the West, that he feels sad and disappointed. Then as he looks around him at his own,


At the thought, the spirit of independence which has led this man thousands of miles, perhaps, to seek a new home, and which sadness and disappointment—the first effects of a great change—for awhile subdued, leaps in his heart, and sends the red blood surging through his veins.


His eyes grow bright with pride as he looks out upon the land, a wide circle of which he calls his own.


And the man, the owner of a wide stretch of real estate, conscious of a great awaking of self-respect in his being, stands erect at the door of his own house, on his own property, and feels that no one better than he is, shall pass him by all day.

How the consciousness of independence, the feeling of self-respect, will sustain this man through many hardships, disappointments and trials!

In a short time one or two cows take the place of the dingy cans of the milkman, and some young grunters in the hog pen represent the meat-market.

After some years are past we visit the scene again. There is no loneliness here now, for it is harvest time, and the farmer and his sons are busy in the fields, his wife and eldest daughters busy in the house preparing for the keen appetites the men will bring in with them. The first rude shanty has given place to a nice two-story frame house, well sheltered from sun and wind by the healthy young trees the farmer planted with his own hands, and in the rear are the snug barn and granary.

[Pg 7]

Where once the wild prairie grass waved, comes the cheery clatter of the harvester, and swath after swath of the golden grain falls down before it.

By and by the younger children return from school, rosy and hungry, and a small skirmisher is thrown out and enters the pantry; he is repulsed and falls back on the main body; then, taking advantage of the "good woman," being obliged to run to the oven to keep the bread from burning, the whole force advance, a pie is spiked and carried off in triumph.

As the shades of evening fall, a herd of cattle march lazily into the farm yard, and then from the field come the farmer and his sons. Lonely, indeed! Why the noise of Babel is renewed here. Dipping his hot face in a basin of cool water, the farmer splutters out his directions; seizing a jack towel, he scrubs his face, and continues to halloo to Mike, and Tom, and Patrick. Why, the boss has come back. Ay, but


All things come to an end, so does the farmer's supper; and as we sit with him on the porch outside we say,

"You have a splendid place here."

"It will do," he answers quite carelessly; but he can't fool us. We know that he is proud of his success.

"I had to work hard for it," he continues, "but God has been very good to us."

We are not romancing. We have drawn a picture from the original, which can be duplicated a thousand fold in this State.

It is not individual success alone we can point to, but likewise the success of whole farming communities, where the people commenced poor—many of them, perhaps the majority, with scarcely any means at all—under disadvantages that would now appear to us, with railroads and markets on every side, almost insurmountable, and where to-day we cannot find one exceptional case of failure without an exceptional cause for it.

Thoroughly acquainted with the Catholic settlements in Minnesota, we cannot call to mind a case where a hard-working, industrious, sober man failed to make a comfortable home for his family. We know of many cases where such a man met with reverses, lost his crop, his cattle, his horses; but never a case where a man met his reverses with a brave heart and trust in God, that he did not overcome them, and come out of the battle a better and prouder man.

Let a poor man in the city find his all swept away from him,[Pg 8] and what does he do? He slinks into its alleys and lanes, his pleasant, decent rooms are changed for one foul room in a tenement house, from whence, after a little, charity carries him to a pauper's grave.

We have spoken of the general prosperity of our Catholic settlements in Minnesota, and we have not to travel far from its capital to find some of them—only into the adjoining county, Dakota, one of the very finest in the State.

Fully two-thirds of the lands of the county are owned (mind, owned.) by Catholic settlers, Irish and German.

Some twenty-five years ago, a few poor Irishmen settled in the timber in this county. It was very generally supposed, at that time, that people could not live on a prairie in Minnesota; but by and by, those who had settled in Dakota county found out their mistake, and commenced making claims on the adjoining prairie, Rosemount prairie, to-day the garden of Minnesota.

But not before Hugh Derham, of the County Meath, Ireland, now the Honorable Hugh Derham, came along and put up his shanty on the prairie. "I had seven hundred dollars," he said to us some time ago, "when I came on here; oxen were dear then, and when I had a yoke bought, together with a cow, and my shanty up, I had little or none of the money left. But I went to work, broke up all the land I could, got seed, put in my first crop, and lost every kernel of it."

To-day this man owns four hundred acres of improved land, in a circle round his house. Fifty dollars an acre would be a low value to put on his land. Some four years ago his neighbor, a man of the name of Ennis, bought one hundred and twenty acres of land adjoining, for something like ten thousand dollars.

When Hugh Derham settled here there was not a railroad nearer than two hundred miles of him, now passengers on the Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad, passing within half a mile in front of his house, point from the windows of the cars to his place, as a model home of a thrifty farmer.

His handsome, two-story frame house stands embowered in the orchard and shade trees, sturdy Hugh Derham planted with his own hands; his barn alone cost three thousand dollars; he has flocks of sheep, herds of cattle, and horses as he requires them; and he has a good wife, who assisted him in his early struggles, healthy, fresh and handsome still. He has had his eldest daughter at a convent school, and bought for her last year a five hundred dollar piano. It is said that he has some ten thousand dollars loaned out at interest.

Now, is Hugh Derham's an exceptional case?

[Pg 9]

If you came along, and we were inclined to brag, and show you a specimen of our Catholic farmers in Minnesota, we would bring you direct to Hugh Derham, not for his herds, and stock, and well filled granary—he is surpassed by many of our farmers in all these—but for the look of respectable thriftiness all around him. There is his next neighbor, Wm. Murphy, another well-to-do, respectable farmer, not perhaps as well off as Derham, but still able to bear some time ago a loss of five thousand dollars by fire, and to make no poor mouth about it. Another neighbor, Mich. Johnson, a prosperous man, better still, a high spirited, fine fellow, and an earnest worker in the cause of temperance. Another neighbor, Tom Hiland, as rich a man as Derham. In the next township, the Bennetts—three or four brothers that a poor but good, intelligent, widowed mother, with much struggling, managed to bring West, and locate on government land. These brothers now farm five times as much land as Derham, and raise five times as much wheat.

And as we have been led into giving individual cases of success,—not at first intended, for such cases must be always in certain features more or less exceptional—we will give one more, that of Mich. Whalen of Whalen township, Fillmore county.

His history is a remarkable one, as told by himself to us; remarkable in his brave struggle for independence, his sagacity, and final success. We give some points:

About thirty years ago Mich. Whalen landed from Ireland in New York. He was then forty years of age, and had a wife and eight children—all his wealth.

Yes, his wealth, he thought, if he could but reach with them the broad acres of the West.

So he sawed wood for seventy-five cents a cord in the city of New York: the more he sawed the less he liked the work, and making a brave effort he found himself, with wife and children, squatted on one hundred and sixty acres of government land in Fillmore county, Minnesota.

When the land came into market he was not able to pay the government price, one dollar and twenty-five cents an acre, but Capt. McKenney, the then receiver of the U. S. Land Office, managed to give him time, and the next year's crop enabled him to pay up. At this time John, his eldest of six sons, was sixteen years of age, and able to help his father.

To-day Mich. Whalen is the owner of thirteen hundred acres of land in Fillmore county. The village of Whalen with mills and a fine water power, is on his land: or rather, on the land of his son John, for as the boys get married the old man gives them[Pg 10] title to portions of the land, on which they build. There is another mill within a few rods of the old homestead, and there is not less than from six thousand to ten thousand bushels of wheat raised on the farm each year.

"Why, Mr. Whalen," said a friend some time ago, "you got on splendidly; with such a large and almost helpless family at the beginning, I don't see how you could have managed it."

"We put our trust in God, avourneen!" replied the old man, "and we stuck together."

Where were the special advantages in this man's case; which enabled the poor wood-sawyer of New York to become one of the solid men of a rich county?

They are to be found in the fact that he was blessed with good children, who, as they grew up and became able to help him, remained at home and did help—and amply are they rewarded for it to day—


But it is of the general prosperity of our Catholic settlements in Minnesota that we wish more particularly to speak, for as a general rule there is no business which has not its representative successful men.

Dakota County being close to the capital of the State, (St. Paul,) and possessing the advantage of having, on the Mississippi River, a market for its produce, at a time when there was not a mile of railroad in the State, was settled up at an early day. Among its settlers were Irish and German Catholics. From that period out these settlers have not alone held their own, but, year after year receiving fresh additions to their numbers, they have advanced from township to township, buying improved farms and wild land, until, as we have stated before, two-thirds of the lands of the county belong to them.

Travel which side you will, and you shall find evidence that one "can read as he runs" of their prosperity, intelligence and respectability; handsome houses, good offices, young orchards, ornamental planting, and the grand big wheat fields around, which have supplied the means to build up those pleasant homes.

Traveling along down the Mississippi to the eastern boundary of the State and taking a wide range of country on the Minnesota side of the river, we find many prosperous settlements of our people. Again southwest, up the beautiful valley of the Minnesota River, in Scott, Sibley, Le Sueur, Nicollet and Blue Earth counties, there are numerous Catholic settlements, both in the woods and on the prairie. So, too, in the midland counties of Rice,[Pg 11] Steele, Waseca, Olmsted, Dodge and Mower counties, our people are settled, prosperous and happy, their valuable farms giving ample and cheerful evidence, how bountifully the soil rewards honest labor. Nor, in their prosperity, have they forgotten Him from whom all blessings flow.

Where a few years ago the Catholic settlers, few and poor, waited anxiously for the visit of the priest, and where the holy sacrifice of the mass was offered up in the settler's cabin, we now find the resident priest, the handsome church, and in many instances, the Sisters' school. In those settlements the whole atmosphere is Catholic; here, with no bad influences around them, the young people grow up pure and virtuous, with the love of their religion warm in their hearts. An ample reward to their parents, those brave men, the early settlers, who displayed such indomitable perseverance in their battle for


They had to steer their way with the compass, over trackless prairies, often while the snow lay upon the ground, to blaze their way through the forest or follow an Indian trail, carrying their provisions on their backs, and when the claim shanty was put up and the provisions exhausted, the new settler would often have to return twenty, forty, sixty miles to some place where he could buy a few more pounds of flour, and with this and perhaps half a bushel of potatoes to put in the ground, he would again set off to his new claim.

But in all the privations they went through, those connected with religion they felt the most. And, praise be to God, among the earliest evidences of their growing prosperity was the erection of temples to His worship, that to-day, on every side, ornament the State. Wherever in the State there is a clustering of Catholic settlements, there you will find a clustering of Catholic churches.

[Pg 12]


To a Catholic, this is, after all, the most important view, and must not be overlooked; at the same time it is obvious that it cannot be done justice to in a condensed pamphlet of this kind.

There is about the same difference between the moral atmosphere of the rural Catholic colonies to which we invite our people, and the back streets and alleys of the over-crowded city, as there is between the pure air of the prairie and the foul air of the city lane.

Some time ago, a friend from the East, to whom we were showing some of our Catholic settlements, said to us,

"Why, it is not surprising that the people settled out here in the country should be moral and religious, they have much to make them so, and nothing to make them otherwise in their surroundings; but look at our poor people, huddled together in the tenement houses of New York. When you find them good, give them praise."

"And many of them are good," we said.

"Oh, yes," he answered; "but the great danger is to the children. The priest does his best, the Catholic parent grounded in his religion before he ever saw a city does his best, but his circumstances compel him to live where the foul air reeks with blasphemy, and low debauchery; vice and drunkenness are ever before their eyes."

This is a very sad picture, but a very true one. It is a fearful reality before the eyes of many a poor Catholic parent, who obliged to be continually absent from his children, knows but too well the society they are likely to fall into.

In our Catholic colonies in Minnesota a parent has no such dread. He knows where his boys are on week days; they are helping him on the farm. He knows where they are on Sundays; they are with him at church. When they are amusing themselves, he knows that they are with the young people of his neighbors, their companions and co-religionists.

Here, too, the anxious heart of the loving mother is at rest; for she sees her daughters associating with the good and innocent of their own age, and growing up pure and virtuous.

[Pg 13]

"God made the country and man made the town," is an old saying. The immigration of those of our people adapted to agricultural life from the city to the land will be a benefit, not alone to themselves, but to those they leave behind. By this healthful drain the latter will be left more room, and have more opportunities to better their condition.

From any side we view it, it is a great and good work to encourage and labor for Catholic immigration to the land, where independence shall reward labor, and Catholic zeal shall spread our holy faith over the fertile prairies of the West.

We would be very sorry to see, even if it was practicable, our people leaving the cities en masse. Many of them, well adapted for city life, rise to prosperity and social position in the city. Some to high professional or business standing, others to moderate respectable independence; others, in humbler walks of life, to decent homes of their own, and the city affords to the well brought up children of such homes, many solid advantages. We want full representation for our people in the city, and full representation on the land. By encouraging those of our people adapted, and best adapted for agricultural pursuits, to seek the land, we benefit them and benefit those who remain behind as well, for we give the latter healthy room and more opportunities: in a word, we improve the condition of our people, both in the city and in the country.



The great drawback to organized colonization is, that people expect too much; therefore we will be explicit, and state exactly what is proposed to be done for those coming to the Catholic colonies of Minnesota. In the first place, they will get in this pamphlet truthful and full statistics of the State, so far as those statistics are of interest to them; they will also get full details in regard to our colonies, and all the directions and information necessary.

[Pg 14]

When they arrive here (in St. Paul,) by calling at the office of the Catholic Colonization Bureau they will be directed to whichever colony they may wish to go. Arrived at the colony, they will be shown over its lands. Then when the immigrant has made his selection and taken possession, he must depend from thenceforth, on himself, and the more he does so the more he will feel himself a man.

The Catholic immigrant coming now to Minnesota will not be subject to the severe trials and hardships the early settlers encountered, while he will be altogether exempt from the religious and social privations they had to bear through many lonely years.

The immigrant is now conveyed to the Catholic Colony he may select, by railroad train, and finds before him church and priest, market and settlers; nevertheless he should be a man possessing that noble quality which western life so well develops—


Under God, it is on himself he must depend for future success.

And here is the proper place to speak of the class of persons whom we can confidently invite to our Catholic colonies—


Not necessarily those who have heretofore been engaged altogether in agricultural pursuits, but persons who come to settle on farms, and who are able and willing to hold the plow. The poor man to succeed on a farm in Minnesota, must hold his own plow, and do his own chores; and, above all, have courage and strength to depend upon himself.

If he has a good, healthy, cheerful, wife, who prefers the prattle of her children to the gossip of the street, why, all the better—let him come along, and we will put him on the road to


He has made more than half the journey already, when he has secured a good wife.

[Pg 15]



The State contains 83,153 square miles or 53,459,840 acres, and is, therefore, one of the largest in the Union. It occupies the exact centre of the continent of North America. It lies midway between the Arctic and Tropic circles—midway between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans—and midway between Hudson's Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. It embraces the sources of three vast water systems which reach their ocean termini, northward through Hudson's Bay, eastward through the chain of great lakes, and southward via the Mississippi River. It extends from 43-1/2 to 49 of north latitude, and from 89 29' to 97 5' of west longitude; and is bounded on the north by the Winnipeg district of British America, on the west by the Territory of Dakota, on the south by the State of Iowa, and on the east by Lake Superior and the State of Wisconsin.

In official reports before us, we find many interesting extracts from the writings of well-known public men, agriculturists, geologists, professors in various branches of science, engineers, surveyors and government officials, who have visited Minnesota at various times on business or pleasure, and who have borne enthusiastic testimony of her resources, the fertility of her soil, the healthfulness of her climate and the beauty of her scenery.

A few sentences from all these writings will suffice for us in this place.

In the official report of General Pope, who was commissioned by the government to make a topographical survey of portions of the State, we find the following sentence, which embraces almost all that can be said in praise. He says:

"I know of no country on earth where so many advantages are presented to the farmer and manufacturer."

The adaptability of our rich soil for all the staple crops, as proven by experience, the large yield per acre in wheat, oats, potatoes, &c., &c., the immense quantity of good land in large bodies, the truly magnificent water power within the State, and so beneficently located in its different sections; all these advantages, seen beneath a sky always bright, and in a climate at all[Pg 16] seasons healthy, may well account for the enthusiasm which inspired the above eulogy on Minnesota.

The accredited correspondent of the Chicago Tribune, who visited this State some three years ago, is equally enthusiastic in his published letters to his paper. We give two extracts from those letters.

"No wonder the people here wear such smiling countenances. They are full of hope. I have yet to see the first despairing or gloomy face. Melancholy belongs to the overcrowded cities, and there is plenty of it in Chicago.

"Is it not astonishing that so many able-bodied men should hang about our large cities doing nothing, because they can find nothing to do, and nearly starving to death, when these broad and fertile prairies are calling upon them to come and release the treasures which lie within the soil.

"The resources or this State are immense. It has every variety of wealth, and every facility for profitable exchange. There is no more productive soil in the world. Then the State has an abundance of pine timber. It has a vast amount of available water power, and offers every facility and encouragement to manufacturing industry. It has mineral wealth on Lake Superior of iron and copper, in inexhaustible abundance. There is no region in this country, or any country, that I am aware of, that is so well watered. And the water is everywhere clear and pure. It is a land of great rivers, pellucid lakes, and sparkling streams.

"All this may sound enthusiastic, but every word is calmly written and justified by the facts; and it is strictly within the facts. If the advantages of this region were only adequately made known, there would surely be a great flow of labor from the cities and places where it is not wanted, into a region like this, where every variety of labor is needed and where it is certain to meet with a rich reward."

In the second extract we give, this correspondent expresses himself in language very similar to that made use of by General Pope. He says, still speaking of Minnesota:

"I know of no other portion of the earth's surface where so many advantages are concentrated, and where the man of industry and small means may so quickly and with so much certainty render himself independent. Here you have a climate of exceeding purity, a soil of amazing productiveness, abundance of the clearest water, with groves, and lakes, and rivers and streams wherever they are wanted. Then the great railway lines are beginning to intersect this country in all directions, and thus furnish the farmer with a cheap and immediate outlet for his produce."

We will close these brief extracts—taken from the writings of persons well qualified to form a sound judgment on the subject they were discussing, and totally unconnected personally with the interests of Minnesota—with two extracts from a speech of the distinguished statesman, Hon. Wm. H. Seward, delivered in St. Paul, the capital of our State, so far back as 1860.

[Pg 17]

Mr. Seward said, and America has not produced so far-seeing a statesman:

"Here is the place—the central place—where the agriculture of the richest region of North America must pour out its tributes to the whole world. On the east, all along the shore of Lake Superior, and west, stretching in one broad plain in a belt quite across the continent, is a country where State after State is yet to rise, and where the productions for the support of human society in the old crowded States must be brought forth.

I now believe that the ultimate last seat of government on this great continent will be found, somewhere within a circle or radius not very far from the spot on which I stand, at the head of navigation on the Mississippi river."



In the following we have borrowed much from authorized State reports, adding our own comments when necessary.


Minnesota abounds in lakes of great beauty. They are from one to fifty miles in diameter, and are well stocked with a variety of fish. Those beautiful lakes are found in every portion of the State, sparkling on the open prairie, hidden in groves, or resting calm and pure in the depths of the silent forest.

"It may be interesting," says John W. Bond, Secretary of the Minnesota State Board of Immigration, "to note the areas of a few of the largest lakes in our State. Lake Minnetonka contains 16,000 acres; Lake Winnebagoshish, 56,000 acres; Leech Lake, 114,000 acres; and Mille Lacs, 130,000 acres. Red Lake, which is much larger than any other in the State, has not yet been surveyed.

"The above estimate of 2,700,000 acres in lakes does not embrace the vast water areas included in the projected boundary lines of the State in Lake Superior and Lake of the Woods, and along the great water stretches of the international line."

The importance to the State of having Lake Superior as an outlet for its produce cannot be overestimated. The day is not distant when a large amount of grain will be shipped in bulk from the Minnesota harbor (Duluth) on Lake Superior, to the Liverpool market in England.

[Pg 18]


Minnesota has five navigable rivers. The Mississippi (The Father of Waters,) having its rise in Lake Itaska, in the northern part of the State.

The St. Croix, flowing through a large portion of the lumbering region.

The Minnesota, rising in Dakota Territory and flowing through a large portion of the State empties into the Mississippi, five miles above St. Paul. It is navigable, in favorable seasons, about 300 miles.

The Red River of the North, forming the northwestern boundary of the State for a distance of 380 miles, and navigable about 250.

The St. Louis River, flowing into Lake Superior on our northeastern boundary, a distance of 135 miles.

Besides these, the largest rivers are the Root, Rum, Crow, Sauk, Elk, Long Prairie, Crow Wing, Blue Earth, Le Sueur, Maple, Cobb, Watonwan, Snake, Kettle, Redwood, Wild Rice, Buffalo, Chippewa, Marsh, Pomme de Terre, Lac qui Parle, Mustinka, Yellow Medicine, Two Rivers, Cottonwood, Cannon, Zumbro, Whitewater, Cedar, Red Lake, Straight, Vermillion, and others. These, with a vast number of smaller streams tributary to them, ramifying through fertile upland and grassy meadow, in every section of the State, afford invaluable facilities for the various purposes of lumbering, milling, manufacturing and agriculture.

In connection with her rivers, we will say that Minnesota has perhaps the finest water power, within her bounds, to be found in the world. This power is found all over the State, and though only very partially developed, it serves to manufacture 2,600,000 barrels of flour annually, and runs 250 saw mills.


Minnesota is neither a timber nor a prairie State; yet it possesses in a large degree the advantages of both, there being unquestionably a better proportion of timber and prairie, and a more admirable intermingling of the two than in any other State. It is estimated that about one-third of Minnesota is timbered land, of more or less dense growth. In Iowa, it has been officially estimated that only about one-tenth to one-eight of the State is timbered.

On the head-waters of the various tributaries of the extreme Upper Mississippi and St. Croix rivers is an extensive forest country, known as the "pine region," comprising an estimated area of 21,000 square miles. Extending in a northeasterly and[Pg 19] southwesterly direction, about 100 miles long, and an average width of 40, is the largest body of hard-wood timber between the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. It lies on both sides of the Minnesota River, comprising in all an area of 5,000 square miles, and is known as the "Big Woods."


Prominent among the questions proposed by the immigrant seeking a new home in a new country, are those concerning the climate, its temperature, adaptation to the culture of the grand staples of food, and its healthfulness.

"The climate of Minnesota has often been the subject of unjust disparagement. 'It is too far north;' 'the winters are intolerable.' These and other similar remarks have found expression by those who should have known better. To the old settler of Minnesota, the seasons follow each other in pleasing succession. As the sun approaches his northern latitude, winter relaxes its grasp, streams and lakes are unbound, flowers spring up as if by the touch of some magic wand, and gradually spring is merged into the bright, beautiful June, with its long, warm days, and short, but cool and refreshing nights. The harvest months follow in rapid succession, till the golden Indian summer of early November foretells the approach of cold and snow; and again winter, with its short days of clear, bright sky and bracing air, and its long nights of cloudless beauty, completes the circle."

"Men," says the late J. B. Phillips, Commissioner of Statistics, "suffer themselves to be deluded with the idea that heat is in some way a positive good, and cold a positive evil. The world is in need of a sermon on the gospel and blessing of cold.

"What is there at best in the indolent languor of tropic siestas for any live man or woman to be pining after? Macauley, after his residence in India, did not. He said that you boiled there four or five months in the year, then roasted four or five more, and had the remainder of the year to 'get cool if you could.' 'If you could!' No way of refrigerating a tropic atmosphere has ever yet been devised; while you can be perfectly comfortable in any north temperate zone."

Again he says:

"The healthfulness of Minnesota is one of its strongest points. Having been, for a long time, a sanitary resort for persons threatened with pulmonary complaints, it has disappointed no reasonable expectation. It is equally favorable for those afflicted with liver diseases. Thus for the two great organs in the tripod of life,[Pg 20] the liver and lungs, that is for two-thirds of life, Minnesota offers the most favorable conditions. She is more exempt from paludial fevers then any new State settled in the last half century. The fearful cost of human life it has required to subdue the soil in the States along the line of lat. 40 has never been estimated. With a moist, decaying vegetation, and a certain intensity and duration of summer and autumn heat, sickness of that kind is certain to come, no matter what they may say about having 'no sickness here.' It always exists when the requisite conditions are present. Freed from the depressing influence of this decimating foe, the average Minnesotian eats with a craving appetite, sleeps well, moves with a quick step and elastic spirits, and fights his life-battle sturdily and hopefully to the issue."

The mean yearly temperature of our Minnesota climate, (44.6,) coincides with that of Central Wisconsin, Michigan, Central New York, Southern Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine; but in the dryness of its atmosphere it has, both for health and comfort, at great advantage over those States. It is well known that dampness is the element from whence come sickness and suffering, either in cold or warm weather, and the dry atmosphere of winter in Minnesota, at an average temperature of 16, makes the cold less felt than in warmer but damper climates several degrees farther south.

With the new year generally commences the severe cold of our winter, but for the last few seasons the old Minnesota winters seem to be giving place to much milder ones. During last winter the thermometer, in the most exposed places, scarcely ever marked zero, and now, on the 21st of December—weeks after they have had fierce snow storms south and southwest of us—good sleighing in Chicago and St. Louis—we are getting our first regular fall of snow, (only a slight sprinkling before,) which is falling unaccompanied with either wind or cold and giving a good promise of merry sleigh rides during the Christmas holidays.

Whether or not there has come a permanent change in our Minnesota winters, brought about by causes affected by population and settlement, we cannot say; but that such a change would not be acceptable to many of our old settlers we are convinced; not certainly to the enthusiast who writes as follows of our old, crisp, bright winters:

"Winter in Minnesota is a season of ceaseless business activity, and constant social enjoyment; and by those accustomed to long wintry storms, and continued alternations of mud, and cold, and snow, is pronounced far preferable to the winters in any section of[Pg 21] the Northern States. Here there is an exhilaration in the crisp atmosphere which quickens the blood, and sends the bounding steps over the ringing snow with an exultant flurry of good-spirits akin to the highest enjoyment."

Doubtless this was written from the stand-point of warm robes, a light cutter, a fast horse, and tingling sleigh-bells; nevertheless it is in the main true. When the surface of the body is warmly clothed, one can enjoy out-door exercise in the winter with every comfort.

The greatest and only objection that we find against the winter season in Minnesota, is its length.—It is true that, as a general rule, we have all our spring wheat in the ground, and for the most part over ground, before the end of April.—This infringement of winter, as we may term it, upon the domain of spring, is the draw-back to our climate.

It is a slight one compared to those of other climates, where spring brings with its flowers, fever, ague, and chills.

The summer months are pleasant. We have hot days, as one can judge by bearing in mind that our wheat crop is put into the ground, cut and often threshed, all within three months, but our nights are always beautiful and cool. Then comes autumn, when the wayside copse, blushing at the hot kisses of the sun, turns scarlet, and every tint of shade and color is seen in the variegated foliage of the forest; and then the hazy, Indian summer—nothing so lovely could last long on earth—when forest and prairie, dell and highland, palpitate with a hushed beauty, and to live is happiness sufficient.

Pure air is health, life. Winter and summer, fall and spring, the air of Minnesota, free from all malaria, is pure. We promise to the new settler making a home on land in Minnesota, plenty of hard work, and the best of health and spirits—so far as climate has any effect on those blessings, and it has a great deal—while doing it. It will not be necessary for him to get acclimated, but to pitch right in.

Disturnell, author of a work on the "Influence of Climate in North and South America," says that "Minnesota may be said to excel any portion of the Union in a healthy and invigorating climate."

In connection with this very important subject, health, the following comparative statement as to the proportion of deaths to population, in several countries in Europe and States in the Union, will be read with interest:

[Pg 22]

Minnesota 1 in 155 Wisconsin 1 in 108
Great Britain and Ireland 1 in 46 Iowa 1 in 93
Germany 1 in 37 Illinois 1 in 73
Norway 1 in 56 Missouri 1 in 51
Sweden 1 in 50 Michigan 1 in 88
Denmark 1 in 46 Louisiana 1 in 43
France 1 in 41 Texas 1 in 46
Switzerland 1 in 41 Pennsylvania 1 in 96
Holland 1 in 39 United States 1 in 74

The above is so conclusive an exhibit in confirmation of the healthfulness of the Minnesota climate, that it exhausts the subject.


Under this head, the late J. B. Phillips, Commissioner of Statistics, from whose work we have already quoted, says:

"The soil of the arable part of the State is generally of the best quality, rich in lime and organic matter, and particularly well adapted to the growth of wheat, over 26,400,000 bushels of which cereal were produced in 1873, and over 30,000,000 in 1875. Although its fertility has never been disputed, these authentic figures prove it beyond question. Good wheat lands in a favorable season will produce from 25 to 30 bushels to the acre. I believe the whole county of Goodhue, in a yield of between 3,000,000 and 4,000,000 bushels, very nearly averaged the first figures in 1875. A great portion of the State is equally adapted to stock raising, and many farmers think it would be more profitable."

We will add to this, by way of a note, that in 1877, as will be seen on another page, Minnesota with only 3,000,000 acres of her land under cultivation, produced 35,000,000 bushels of wheat, almost all No. 1 quality, and that Goodhue County, mentioned in the extract quoted, had a yield of 4,050,250 bushels.


We know of no country where stock, horses and sheep, do better than in Minnesota, and we believe that it will be found true that the climate conducive to the health of human beings is one where all kinds of domestic animals will thrive.

We had, some time ago, a very interesting conversation with Mr. Featherston, an English gentleman residing in Goodhue County, on this subject.

He informed us that he had farmed in England, in the State of New York, in Kansas, and now in Minnesota, and he was never in a place where sheep and stock did better than here. "I attribute this," he said, "to the dryness of our winter weather. Sheep here are not weighed down with wet fleeces; and as for cattle,[Pg 23] they suffer more in southern Kansas, where they can remain out all the year, than they do here in the coldest days of winter."

"How is that?" we asked.

"Easily accounted for," he replied. "One part of the day, in Kansas, it will be raining, the coats of the cattle will be saturated with wet, then it comes on to freeze, and they become sheeted with ice; this is very injurious to the health of a beast. Sheep raising in Minnesota I have found very profitable farming indeed."

"What about the soil of Minnesota?" we asked.

"Well," he replied, "I was home in England two years ago, traveled about a good deal, and did not see any soil equal to the soil of Minnesota."

Now, in speaking of Minnesota for stock-raising, it must be borne in mind that it is more expensive to keep cattle here, where they must be fed many months in the year, than where they can run at large the whole year; but, if properly housed during winter, young cattle fed on wild hay—which can be put up for $1.50 per ton—will come out in the spring in fine condition.

The opportunities of getting wild hay in the localities where our Catholic colonies are located, are not surpassed in any part of the State; and it will be borne in mind that if there is extra expense and trouble in raising cattle here, there is also extra good prices to get for them. A steer that will sell for $10 in places where, like Topsey, he "just grows," will sell here for from $30 to $40.

The following, taken from a late report of a committee of the Chamber of Commerce, St. Paul, will be read with interest:

"Our climate and soil appear to be peculiarly adapted for grazing purposes. Its healthfulness for cattle of every kind is well established. The abundant and prolific yield of both tame and wild or natural grasses, of every description incident to the West, affords abundant and cheap pasturage during the summer, and the choicest of hay for winter, which is produced at less expense per ton than in most of the States in the Union. If necessary, your committee could refer to countless instances in regard to the profit of raising stock in the State. The demand for horses has always been in excess of the supply. Thousands are introduced into our midst every year from the adjoining States. The demand will increase as the country west of us becomes settled. Choice herds of cattle have been imported into the State during the past few years, attended in every instance, as far as your committee have been able to learn, with much profit to the enterprising parties who embarked in the lucrative business. The dairy is being introduced in the shape of cheese and butter factories in many[Pg 24] neighborhoods and attended with much success. It appears that shipments of both these home products have been made to England with satisfactory results. The sheep-fold to some extent has been neglected, but those who have engaged in wool-growing are greatly encouraged. Flocks of sheep brought from the East have, with their progeny, improved to such an extent by the influence of our climate, that they have been repurchased by those from whom they were originally bought, and transported back East to improve the breed of their stock. The wool becomes of a finer texture when produced in our State, also an increase in size of the carcass of the sheep."

The advantages which our present Catholic colonies afford, abounding in nutritious grasses and the best quality of wild hay lands, will we trust turn the attention of settlers to stock raising, butter packing and cheese factories, and we are informed that some enterprising parties are going to establish one of the latter at Clontarf, in Swift County Colony. Farming to be prosperous the industry on the farm must be diversified; there should be rotation of crops. It will not do to depend altogether on wheat or to be too ambitious to have a great breadth of it under cultivation; not an acre more than the farmer knows he will be well able to have out of the ground in good season, making no chance calculations.



In 1849, Minnesota was organized into a territory, and the following year, 1850, she had under cultivation 1,900 acres of land. In 1877, she had 3,000,000 acres. In these twenty-seven years, during which the breadth of her cultivated lands has increased over one thousand five hundred fold, the quality and average quantity per acre of all the great staple crops have been equally satisfactory, until we find her to-day, taking the foremost place as an agricultural State.

To quote from the writings of the Hon. Pennock Pusey, than whom there is no more upright gentleman nor one more qualified to deal with statistics, we find that

"According to the census of 1870, the entire wheat product of New England was sufficient to feed her own people only three weeks! That of New[Pg 25] York sufficient for her own consumption six months; that of Pennsylvania, after feeding her own people, afforded no surplus; while the surplus of Ohio was but 3,000,000 bushels for that year, and for the past six years her wheat crop has fallen below her own consumption. In the ten years ending in 1870, the wheat crop of these States decreased 6,500,000 bushels.

"In the light of these facts, the achievements of Minnesota in wheat growing, as well as her untaxed capacity for the continued and increased production of that grain, assume a proud pre-eminence."

This is not too high praise for Minnesota, when we find the great State of Ohio for the last six years failing to raise sufficient wheat for her own consumption, while Minnesota with but 2,232,988 acres under wheat, has, after bountifully supplying her own population, exported in 1877 over fifteen million of bushels.

The important position which Minnesota is destined, in the near future, to assume as a great contributor to the supply of the most important article of food used by the human family, is well put forward by Mr. Pusey in the paper we have already quoted from. He says:

"But a more practical as well as serious aspect of the subject pertains to those social problems connected with supplies of bread. The grave significance of the question involved is not susceptible of concealment, when the fact is considered, that while the consumption of wheat, as the choice food of the human race, is rapidly extending, the capacity of wheat-growing regions for its production is rapidly diminishing."

We will now give some extracts from the report of the late J. B. Philips, Commissioner of Statistics. We select from his report with great satisfaction, because he has been very careful to make his calculations rather under than over the truth.

We find the following under the head of

WHEAT, 1875.

The number of bushels of wheat gathered and threshed, according to the returns reported to the Commissioner for the year 1875, was 28,769,736; but there were 77,032 acres unreported, which at 17-1/2 bushels per acre, (the general average,) would make a total of 30,079,300 bushels.

The number of acres reported as cultivated in wheat for 1875 was 1,764,109.

Illinois, with her large cultivated area, has until recently been the largest wheat-raising State. In 1860 she produced 23,837,023 bushels, and in 1870 30,128,405 bushels.

"In 1871," says one of her statisticians, "the United States produced 235,884,700 bushels of wheat, of which 27,115,000 are[Pg 26] assigned to Illinois, or about 700,000 bushels more than any other State."

In 1871 the product of the United States was 230,722,400 bushels, of which Illinois had 25,216,000, being followed by Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin and Iowa.

In 1870 Illinois produced 30,128,405. "But," says the same authority, "we now (1870) find Iowa close alongside of us, her product being 29,435,692 bushels of wheat."

It is to be remarked that neither Minnesota nor California were deemed worthy of notice in this rivalry of these older States. But in three years from that date Minnesota, as well as Iowa, was "close alongside" of Illinois, raising from 15 millions in 1870 to 22 millions in 1872, and 26,402,485 in 1873. In 1874 the wheat product of Minnesota was within a fraction of 24 millions. I give her yields in this table:


 Bushels.Average per acre.

I am not aware that any State ever did, or can, show a better record than this for four successive years. I give below a few of the


Ohio, 1850 30,309,373
California, 1874 30,248,341
Illinois, 1870 31,128,405
Minnesota, 1875 30,079,300
Iowa, 1870 29,435,692

"It will be observed," remarks the Commissioner, "that according to these figures Minnesota ranks fourth."

True enough, but fast on the heels of 1875 comes the crop of 1877, and with a bounce to 35,000,000 bushels of wheat Minnesota stands at the head of all as a wheat-producing State.

35,000,000 BUSHELS

of almost all No. 1 grade. In 50,000 bushels of wheat graded in Minneapolis, something less than 300 bushels graded No. 2, and none under that figure.

We now give the following condensed statistics for the year 1877.

[Pg 27]

Number of acres under cultivation in 1877

Wheat 35,000,000
Oats 20,000,000
Corn 12,000,000
Barley 3,000,000
Potatoes 3,000,000
Total 73,000,000

Or 24-1/3 bushels to every acre under cultivation. But the average is much higher than this, for in the above table no account is taken of the gardens and large breadth of flax under cultivation.

The official report, when published, may differ slightly with the above, but not to an extent to make any alteration necessary.

We are informed that, in several instances, land giving wheat for the last twenty years, without being fertilized or manured, produced in 1877 over twenty bushels of wheat to the acre; a fact creditable to the land, but very discreditable to the farmers engaged in such land murder.

While Minnesota has, without dispute, established her reputation as a great wheat producer, and the dangers which always lie in wait for the growing crops are perhaps less here than in most of the other western States, still it must not be supposed that we can expect to be always free from them. If we had any such idea it would have been dispelled by our experience the past season. Never since the State was organized was there a finer prospect of a magnificent wheat yield than we had during the months of May, June and the first half of July, 1878. It was not that the general crop was good, but one could not, in a day's travel, find one poor looking field; but just as the wheat was within a few days of being fit to cut, a fierce, hot sun, lasting a week or so, came and wilted up the grain, so that the crop lost materially in quality, weight and measure.

Yet this evil had its compensating good. Our corn and potato crops were very fine, so that our farmers have learned a lesson in the value of having diversity of crops as a leading feature in their farming system, and be it remembered that without system there is no successful farming.

The following statement is taken from the immigration pamphlet, issued by the Minnesota Board of Immigration for 1878:


Oats is peculiarly a northern grain. It is only with comparatively cool atmosphere that this grain attains the solidity, and yields the return which remunerate the labor and cost of production.[Pg 28] The rare adaptation of the soil and climate of Minnesota to the growth of this grain, is shown not only by the large average, but the superior quality of the product, the oats of this State being heavier by from three to eight pounds per bushel than that produced elsewhere.

The following is an exhibit of the result for the several years named:

Year.No. acres sown.No. bushels
Average yield
per acre.

The following is a statement of the product of oats in Minnesota, compared with that in the other States named:

per acre.
Bushels to
each inhabitant.
Ohio, average of 11 years 23. 9.17
Iowa 28.30 17.80
Minnesota 37.70 23.88


The foregoing exhibits abundantly sustain the extraordinary capacity of Minnesota for the production of those cereals which are best produced in high latitudes. Our State is often supposed to be too far north for Indian corn. This is a great mistake, founded on the popular fallacy that the latitude governs climate. But climates grow warmer towards the west coasts of continents; and although its winters are cold, the summers of Minnesota are as warm as those of Southern Ohio. The mean summer heat of St. Paul is precisely that of Philadelphia, five degrees further south, while it is considerably warmer during the whole six months of the growing season than Chicago, three degrees further south. The products of the soil confirm these meteorological indications.

The average yield of corn in 1868 was 37.33 bushels per acre, and in 1875—a bad year—25 bushels. In Illinois—of which corn is the chief staple—Mr. Lincoln, late President of the United States, in the course of an agricultural address in 1859, stated that the average crop from year to year does not exceed twenty bushels per acre.

These results, so favorable to Minnesota as a corn growing as well as wheat growing State, will surprise no one who is familiar with the fact established by climatologists, that "the cultivated[Pg 29] plants yield the greatest products near the northernmost limits at which they will grow."


A comparison with other States affords the following exhibit:

 Bushels per acre.
Ohio, average of nineteen years 32.8
Iowa, average of six years 31.97
Minnesota, average of nine years 30.98


The average yield in Minnesota and other States is here shown:

 Bushels per acre.
Minnesota, average for five years 120.76
Iowa, average for five years 76.73
Ohio, average for nine years 74.55


Among the grasses that appear to be native to the soil of Minnesota are found timothy, white clover, blue grass and red top. They grow most luxuriantly, and many claim that they contain nearly as much nutriment as ordinary oats. So excellent are the grasses that the tame varieties are but little cultivated. The wild grasses which cover the immense surface of natural meadow land formed by the alluvial bottoms of the intricate network of streams which everywhere intersect the country, are as rich and nutritious in this latitude as the best exotic varieties, hence cultivation is unnecessary. The yield of these grasses is 2.12 tons to the acre, or 60 per cent more than that of Ohio, the great hay State!


The cultivation of the sugar cane is fast becoming popular among the farmers of Minnesota, and one Mr. Seth H. Kenney, of Rice county, claims that it can be made more profitable than even the wheat crop. The syrup and sugar produced is of the finest character, possessing an extremely excellent flavor. An acre of properly cultivated land will yield from one hundred and seventy-five to two hundred gallons of syrup, worth seventy cents a gallon.


The following short extracts are taken from a paper written by Col. D. A. Robertson, of St. Paul, a scientific amateur fruit grower; one thoroughly conversant with the subject on which he[Pg 30] writes, and to whose disinterested labors in this branch of industry the State owes much:

"There is no doubt that Minnesota will become a great fruit State, because wherever wild fruits of any species grow, improved fruit of the same or cognate species may be successfully cultivated. The indigenous flora of Minnesota, embraces apples, plums, cherries, grapes, strawberries, raspberries, currants and gooseberries. We may, therefore, successfully and profitably cultivate the improved kinds of all these fruits. The conditions of success are only these:—experience, knowledge and perseverance.

"All kinds of Siberian Crab apples, (which are valuable chiefly for preserves,) including the improved Transcendant and Hyslop, are perfectly adapted to our climate; and flourish in almost every soil and situation where any other tree will grow, and also produce great crops.

"At our State Fair at St. Paul, in October, 1871, there was a magnificent display of home grown fruits, which would have been creditable to any State in the West. Among the numerous varieties of excellent fruit exhibited in large quantities were the following:

"Apples.—Duchess of Oldenburg, Red Astracan, Saxton or Fall Stripe, Plum Cider, Fameuse, Haas, Jefferson County, Perry Russet, American Golden Russet, Yellow Bellflower, Ramsdale Sweeting, Geniton, Lucy, Winona Chief, Jonathan, Price's Sweet, Westfield, Seek no Further, Sap, Wagner, Winter Wine Tay, English Golden Russet, Dominie, St. Lawrence, Pomme Gris, Ben Davis, Sweet Pear, and about thirty other varieties."

[Pg 31]




The Railroads of Minnesota, with Termini and Lengths in this State, on June 30, 1876.

Name of road.Termini.Miles.
Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul--
River DivisionFrom La Crescent to St. Paul128
Hastings and Dakota Division    "     Hastings to Glencoe75
Iowa and Minnesota Division    "     St. Paul to Southern State line127
Iowa and Minnesota Division, Branch    "     Mendota to Minneapolis9
Iowa and Minnesota Division, Branch    "     Austin to Lyle12
Chicago, Dubuque and Minnesota    "     La Crescent to southern State Line25
Central Railroad of Minnesota    "     Mankato to Wells40
St. Paul & Duluth    "     St. Paul to Duluth156
Minneapolis & Duluth    "     Minneapolis to White Bear15
Minneapolis & St. Louis    "     Minneapolis to Sioux City Junction27
Northern Pacific    "     Duluth to Moorhead253-1/2
St. Paul & Sioux City    "     St. Paul to St. James121-1/4
Sioux City & St. Paul    "     St. James to southern State line66-1/4
St. Paul & Pacific, First Division--Main Line    "     St. Anthony to Breckenridge207
"                            --Branch    "     St. Paul to Sauk Rapids76
"                            --St. Vincent Extension    "     Sauk Rapids to Melrose35
"                                      "    "     Brainerd, 4-1/2 miles south4-1/2
"                                      "    "     a point 12 miles S. of Glyndon to a point
28 miles N. of Crookston
St. Paul, Stillwater & Taylor's Falls    "     St. Paul to Stillwater17-1/2
"                            --Branch    "     Junction to Lake St. Croix3-1/4
"                            --Branch    "     Stillwater to South Stillwater3
Southern Minnesota    "     Grand Crossing to Winnebago City167-1/2
Stillwater & St. Paul    "     White Bear to Stillwater13
Winona & St. Peter    "     Winona to western State line 288-1/2
Winona, Mankato & New Ulm    "     Junction to Mankato3-3/4

[Pg 32]

Since the publication of the report of the railroad commissioner as given above, showing 1978 miles of railroads in Minnesota; there have been 216 miles built in 1877, and 350 miles in 1878—total, 2544 miles now operated in the State. In 1862, we had but ten miles of railroad in Minnesota; in 1878, sixteen years afterwards, two thousand five hundred and forty-four miles.

This past year, the St. Paul & Pacific Railroad has extended its line to the British Possessions in Manitoba, connecting with a road there and giving us direct railroad communication with the vast country lying north of us; while the Southern Minnesota, the Hastings & Dakota, the St. Cloud branch of the St. Paul & Pacific, are extending their lines, like arteries, through the heart of the State. In much less than ten years, Minnesota will have the most perfect railroad system on this continent.


Population in 1870 439,706
Population in 1875 597,407
Population in 1877 750,000


We are proud of the Homestead Law of Minnesota. The State says to its citizen: you may be unfortunate, even culpably improvident, nevertheless you and your family shall not be left homeless or without means to enable you to retrieve past misfortunes or faults.

The law reads—

"That a homestead consisting of any quantity of land not exceeding eighty acres, and the dwelling house thereon and its appurtenances, to be selected by the owner thereof, and not included in any incorporated town, city or village, or instead thereof, at the option of the owner, a quantity of land not exceeding in amount one lot, being within an incorporated town, city or village, and the dwelling house thereon and its appurtenances, owned and occupied by any resident of this State, shall not be subject to attachment, levy, or sale, upon any execution or any other process issuing out of any court within this State. This section shall be deemed and construed to exempt such homestead in the manner aforesaid during the time it shall be occupied by the widow or minor child or children of any deceased person who was, when living, entitled to the benefits of this act."

Thus the State, in its bountiful protection, says to its citizen, "You may be unfortunate, even blamably improvident, nevertheless the State shall not allow you and yours to be thrown paupers on the world. Your homestead is still left to you, a competency at least."

[Pg 33]

There are also reserved for the settler, free from all law processes, all his household furniture up to the value of $300, 3 horses, or in lieu 1 horse and yoke of oxen, 2 cows, 11 sheep, 3 hogs, wagon, harness, and all his farming machinery and implements; also a year's supply of family provisions or growing crops, and fuel, and seed grain not exceeding 50 bushels each of wheat and oats, 5 of potatoes, and one of corn, also mechanics' or miners' tools, with $400 worth of stock-in-trade, and the library and instruments of professional men.

This is the beneficent protection which the State throws around the poor man's home. Yet there is one way in which he may forfeit it.

Should he have the misfortune to mortgage his homestead the law can no longer protect him; he is in the toils of the money lender, and should poor crops or other set-backs come to him now, there is every probability that he will lose his home.

We say to our settlers, avoid this fatal error, misfortune almost always follows it; toil, slave, fast, rather than mortgage your homestead.


We come now to a very important part of our work. Under this head we have made several calculations, for the guidance of the immigrant. They have been made with care, and are, we think, as nearly correct as it is possible to make such calculations. By a careful study of them the intending immigrant will learn





These, with minor details, we have set forth in the following calculations. They embrace the case of the poor man with a small capital and the man with quite a respectable capital, who may wish to put it in a bank that never fails, and in which he will himself be the director and owner.

[Pg 34]


a man requires to settle in one of our colonies, and also, if he can afford it, how advantageously he can lay out a considerable sum for which he will receive a quick return.

We will take up the poor man's case first, as it is the one we have the most interest in, and we land him on his land


He puts up a very cheap house; by and by, he will have a better one—but, in the meantime, he can make this one comfortable, warm and clean—much better than a cheap lodging in a city.

We will give the dimensions of the house as 16 18 ft., to be built of single boards; these to be sodded on the outside to any depth the owner may wish. In this way, he can have a house far warmer than a poorly put up frame house, at the following cost:

1,600 feet of lumber $25 00
2 windows, 2 doors 6 50
Shingles 7 25
Total$38 75

Now, we must furnish the house:


Cooking stove $25 00
Crockery 5 00
Chairs 2 00
Table 2 00
3 bedsteads 9 00
Total$43 00


He buys a breaking yoke of oxen, weighing from 3,200 to 3,400 lbs. at about$100 00
Breaking plow 23 00
Wagon 75 00
Total$198 00

Then he goes to work and breaks up, we will say, 50 acres of land. He has to live sixteen months before his principal crop comes in, but he can have his potatoes and corn, planted on the sod, within a few months, to help him out in his living; that is, when he breaks his land the first year, he will plant a portion of it under corn, potatoes, and other vegetables, sufficient for his own use, and for feed for his cattle.

[Pg 35]


For a family of four, 30 bushels of wheat, ground into flour, at $1, a bushel$30 00
Groceries 15 00
1 cow for milk 25 00
Fuel 30 00
Total$100 00

He has besides, vegetables, and corn sufficient, that he raised on his breaking, and two hogs that he raised and fattened on the corn, and for which we should have charged him two or three dollars. In the fall, his hogs weigh 200 lbs. each, and he can sell them or eat them; we recommend the latter course.


He has laid out, for a house $38 75
For Fuel 30 00
   "   Furniture 43 00
   "   Cattle and farming implements 198 00
Cost of living, including price of cow 100 00
Total$409 75

This sum he will absolutely require to have when he arrives on the land. To this, in his calculations, he must add his expenses coming here.

Railroad fares from different points will be given in another place.

We have not here made any calculations in regard to the purchase of his land, in the first place because the lands are different prices in different colonies, and secondly because most of our settlers with small means, buy their farms on time, getting very easy terms of payments. All information in this respect will be found in its proper place, when we come to speak of our colonies. It must be born in mind (and it may be as well said here as elsewhere) that the Catholic Bureau owns no lands; we but control them and hold them at their original prices for our immigrants. We have also secured advantages in prices and terms of payment which immigrants cannot get outside of our colonies.

Now having no crop the first year, he works out in the harvest and earns $60.00.

This he requires now, and more when he puts in his first crop, but, as he will get time for some, perhaps all, of the following charges, we will not charge them to his original capital.

[Pg 36]


1 drag to put in the crop, shaking the seed by hand $12 00
Seed wheat for 50 acres. 1 bushel and 2 pecks to the acre 75 00
Hires his grain cut and bound 75 00
Shocking, stacking, etc., done by exchanging work with neighbors.
Machine threshing at 5 cents a bushel 50 00
Extra labor done by exchanging work.
$212 00

We have now come down to the harvest and the second year on the land

Up to this the settler's expenses have been $621 75.

Let us see what the land is likely to set off against this sum,

50 acres of wheat 20 bushels to the acre $1,000 00
Charges 621 75
Balance in favor of crop$378 25

Adding to this the sixty dollars the man earned the first harvest, he has in hand $438.25.

It must be borne in mind that the settler has supported himself and family for sixteen months, his home is made, stock paid for, his farm opened, and at least $300 added to the value of his land. We will suppose that he plows the second year fifty acres more and has one hundred acres under his second crop. With this good set off, we leave him. Now we will give the


for the same number of acres, where a man hires all his work done. He may prefer to do this, to buying cattle or horses to break, as he may be a man who can earn high wages, until his first crop comes in.

Breaking 50 acres, at $2.50 per acre $125 00
Seed wheat 75 00
Seeding and dragging, at 90 cents per acre 45 00
Cutting and binding, $1.50 per acre 75 00
Stacking, five days, two men and team 25 00
Threshing and hauling to market, at 12 cents a bushel 120 00
Cash expenses of crop$465 00


Fifty acres of wheat, 20 bushels to the acre, at $1 per bushel $1,000 00
Charged to the crop465 00
Balance in favor of crop $535 00

Now, the expense of breaking, by right, should not be charged[Pg 37] to the first crop, for it is a permanent value, added to the value of the land, and should be calculated as capital: 50 acres broken on a farm of a 160, adds fully $2 an acre to the value of the property.

But in the above calculation, we have not alone charged the first crop with the breaking expenses, but also with the cash price of every dollar's worth of labor expended, until the wheat is in the railroad elevator, and the owner has nothing more to do, unless to receive his money for it; and yet there is a clear profit over all expenses of $535.00.

In making these calculations, it is necessary to put a certain value on the wheat per bushel, and to allow for a certain amount of bushels to the acre, but it will be obvious to any reader that in both these important items there are continual variations.

The calculations we now give appeared in the edition of our pamphlet for 1877, and were based, in a measure, on our fine wheat crop for that year.

The crop of 1878, as we have already stated, fell short of 1877, and were we basing our estimate on it we should calculate wheat second grade at 66 cents per bushel, but the crop of 1879 may surpass the crop of 1877; taking the average of many years' crops and prices, our calculations are as near correct as they can be made.


In our calculation of the smallest sum a man would require, coming to settle on the land, we made an estimate of a very cheap house indeed, nevertheless one that can be made warmer than many a more expensive one. We give an estimate of the cost of a frame house 1624, a story and a half high, with a T addition, and a cellar 12 by 16.

We give the exact expenses of a house of this kind as it stands at present in one of our colonies. It has three rooms up stairs with a hall, two rooms down stairs with a hall and pantry, and has had one coat of plaster:

Material for house $280
Work 75
Total $355

A man himself helping, can lessen this item for work, say $25, leaving the cost of the house $330.

In our first calculation we put down as the lowest sum a man would require to have after his arrival on the land, $409.75. But in this calculation we gave him a house, such as it was, for $38.75. Now, if he wants the better house we have just described, his capital should be $726.

[Pg 38]


We now come to the case of a man with moderate capital, who wishes to start with a complete outfit of farming machinery, &c. Coming in the spring, in time to commence breaking, the end of May, he buys

Three horses $375 00
One sulky plow—seat for driver, breaker attachment 70 00
Seeder 65 00
Harrow 12 00
Harvester and self-binder 285 00
Horse rake and mower 125 00
Wagon 75 00
Total$1,007 00

N. B.—It is calculated that the grain saved by the self-binder over hand work, pays for the wire used in binding, and in labor 50 cents an acre is saved, besides the board of two men. We will soon have twine and straw binders perfected, an improvement which will do away with the expense of wire altogether.

With a sulky plow and three horses, our farmer breaks 100 acres of land, and puts it under wheat the following year.

He has been already at an outlay for horses and machinery, of $1,007 00
Seed wheat costs 150 00
Shocking and stacking 70 00
Threshing and hauling, using his three horses, 10 cents a bushel 200 00
Total$1,427 00


2,000 bushels of wheat $2,000 00
Hay cut by mower 200 00
$2,200 00
Expenses1,427 00
Balance in favor of crop $773 00

Now, it will be born in mind, that we have charged the first crop with horses and machinery, property that, by right, should come under the head of capital; we have charged it with what will work the farm for years, and help to produce successive crops, not of one hundred acres, but of two or three hundred acres; and yet, with all the charges, the crop shows a profit of $773.

What other business can make such a showing as this?

As a matter of fact, all the ready money the settler will require to provide himself with machinery, will be ten per cent. on the price; for the balance he will get two years time at 12 per cent. interest.

[Pg 39]


While our figures and illustrations in regard to the opening of a farm, and the expenses attending thereon, have been as explicit and full as our space would permit, still we regard them but as a basis for a variety of similar calculations to be made by intending immigrants.

For instance, two friends might buy a breaking team between them, and break, say twenty acres, on each one's farm. One could do the breaking, while the other might be doing some other work.

In fact, each man's case has its own peculiar features, which he must bring his own judgment to bear upon, and we don't pretend to have done more than to have given him a good guide to assist him in his calculations.

Twenty acres would be a pretty fair breaking for a poor man the first year, and quite sufficient to enable him to support a small family. We have farmers in the woods, now prosperous men, who for years had not more than from five to ten acres cleared, for it is hard work to clear heavy timbered land, and much easier to plant young trees than to cut old ones down. But heretofore poor men were frequently deterred from going on prairie land on account of the heavy expense attached to fencing their tillage land. This was about the highest item of expense. It is not so now, for in the counties in which our Catholic colonies are situated, and in the adjoining counties,


is in force, whereby cattle have to be herded during the day, and confined within bounds during the night. In this way one man or boy can herd the cattle of a whole settlement, and the heavy, vexatious and continual tax of fencing is entirely done away with.

All the lands in our Catholic colonies are prairie lands, and in the colonies and adjoining counties, as we have already stated, the herd law is in full force.

No one, at the present day, who has any experience in farming in the West, would settle on an unimproved timber farm. It takes a lifetime to clear such a farm, and even then a man leaves some stumps for his grandchildren to take out. But we earnestly[Pg 40] impress upon our settlers the necessity of setting out trees around their prairie homes. The rapid growth of trees set out on any of our prairies, is absolutely wonderful. In six years after planting, a man will have nice, sheltering, young groves, around his house. One of the first things a settler should do after breaking up his land is to set out some young trees, which he can buy very cheap. All our railroads carry such freight free. If he cannot get the trees he can sow the seed, which will do as well.

For comfort on a prairie, trees are a necessity; but it is worse than useless, it is loss of time, to set them out, unless they are taken care of: give them solitude, and keep the weeds and cattle from them for a little while, and they will soon be able to take care of themselves. Cord-wood can be bought at any of the railroad stations in our colonies at an average of about five dollars a cord.

There is another matter which may well come under the head of general remarks.

While we have shown by figures the good profits which may be calculated upon by an industrious farmer, still, he must not look for a great increase of money capital, for some years at least.

While he will be enabled under God, by industry, sobriety and perseverance to give his family a good, comfortable living, it must be to the increase in the value of his farm each year, that he must look for an increase of capital, to that and the increase of his


Above all things, he must attend to the latter; it is almost incredible the way young stock will increase. A man starting with one cow will have his yard full of young stock in a few years by raising the calves that come to him.

It is a fact that men who came to this State without any means whatever, and settled on land, are to-day among our most prosperous farmers; but they came uninvited, at their own risk, and if they had failed, they could only blame themselves.

The case is altogether different in regard to persons coming to our Catholic colonies. They come invited, and depending upon the information we give to them; therefore, there must be no misunderstanding on either side.

We say to the immigrant, with the capital we have specified, you can open a farm in Minnesota, and if you are industrious, brave and hopeful, we promise you, under God, an independent home. If you come without this capital, you do so at your own risk.

[Pg 41]



We now come to speak of our Catholic Colonies. In doing so we will be as accurate and as truthful as it is possible to be. At the same time we recognize the difficulty of making others see things as we see them, they are too apt to draw imaginary pictures from our facts. For instance when we speak of settled communities and towns, it should be borne in mind that our oldest settlement was only opened in the spring of 1876, our two latest in the spring of 1878, and that both farms and towns exhibit the rough, unfinished appearance of new places in the West, which it takes time, perseverance and industry to mould into thrifty comeliness; with the aid of the two latter (perseverance and industry) the former (time) will be but a very short period indeed. We have now four Catholic Colonies in Minnesota, two in the western and two in the southwestern part of the State.

[Pg 42]


This is the oldest and doubtless best known of our colonies. The colony lands commence 120 miles west of St. Paul and extend for 30 miles on each side of the St. Paul and Pacific railroad. Within the bounds of the colony are four railroad towns, one of them, Benson, being the county seat; but the two colony towns proper, are De Graff and Clontarf, being organized and run, as they say out West, by our own people.

In fact, Swift County Colony may very well be spoken of as two colonies, for the present under one name, the Chippewa River dividing the colony lands about in the center, having De Graff on the east and Clontarf on the west. Each town too, has its own Catholic church, congregation and resident priest—the Rev. F. J. Swift, pastor at De Graff, and the Rev. A. Oster, pastor at Clontarf.

The colony lands on the east side of the Chippewa, stretch out from the town of De Graff, 18 miles in length and 12 miles in width, and Clontarf lands on the west side of the river, have equal proportions.

This division and explanation may be of service to correspondents, some of whom frequently write to one or other of the resident priests, for information, in preference to writing direct to the Catholic Bureau, in St. Paul.

When Bishop Ireland in 1876, got control of the unsold railroad lands within the present bounds of Swift County Colony, there was a large quantity of Government lands lying beside these railroad lands, and open for homestead and pre-emption entries, so that a great number of our people were able to secure farms of 80 and 160 acres by merely paying the fees of the U. S. Land Office.

Early settlers too, on the railroad lands, had an opportunity by paying cash to get their farms much below the market value, for the St. Paul and Pacific Railroad Company (the owner) having fallen behind hand in paying the interest on its bonds held by foreign capitalists, these bonds became depreciated in the market, but were, nevertheless, good for their full amount, in payment of the lands belonging to the company.

In this way we were enabled in the first edition of our pamphlet for the year 1877, to offer lands, much below, in some instances[Pg 43] more than half below, their average value; but as prices depend altogether on the market value of the bonds, a value which is always fluctuating, we deem it unwise to bind ourselves to arbitrary prices. The average railroad price of lands in Swift County Colony is $6.50 per acre; the actual cash price, by buying bonds and paying for the land with same, will be much less than this, and we will, when called upon get the bonds for the immigrant at their then value, but what the exact prices of the bonds may be or how long they will remain in the market available for the purchase of land, we cannot take upon ourselves to say.

In this connection we wish to point out to immigrants, that irrespective of paying for land in bonds, for which they must pay cash, they can make contracts, on long time, with the company, for their farms.

There are other ways too by which our people can make homes in this well-settled colony. Non-Catholics who were settled in the county before the colony was established, will be willing to sell out. Homesteaders, too, who got their land free from the government, and made improvements, are frequently anxious to realize a little capital by the sale of those improved farms, and go still farther west. There is also a large quantity of school and State lands in the county, which will be in the market in 1879; so notwithstanding that the greater part of the colony railroad lands have passed from the control of the Bureau into the possession of settlers, and that all the government lands have been taken up, we look forward, with pleasure, to see many more of our people settling in Swift county next spring. They will find a goodly number of their co-religionists settled before them and anxious to give them a friendly welcome. There are very few of the New England or Middle States that have not representatives in the colony.

From a communication received from the Register of the United States Land Office at Benson, the county seat, we find that since the Bureau opened this colony in 1876, 425 Catholic settlers have taken up government land in the colony; of these, 300 families were Irish, the remainder Germans, Poles and French. About an equal number of Catholics—a large majority Irish—have taken railroad lands—80,000 acres of which have been sold; so that we can claim at least 800 Catholic settlers, with their families, in Swift County Colony at the present writing. Driving west from De Graff to Clontarf, seventeen miles, and still eleven miles farther west from Clontarf to the Pomme de Terre River, one is never out of sight of a settler's house; and some of those farm houses would[Pg 44] be a credit to a much older settlement, for we have settlers who farm as much as five hundred acres, while others again farm but eighty acres. The general quality of the soil is a dark loam, slightly mixed with sand and with a clay sub-soil, admirably adapted for wheat, oats, &c., &c., while the bountiful supply of good water and the large quantity of natural meadow lands, scattered all over the colony—there is scarcely a quarter section (160 acres) without its patch of natural meadow—give the settler an opportunity to combine stock raising and tillage on his farm.

The village or town of De Graff has a railroad depot and telegraph office; a grain elevator, with steam power—which is the same as saying, a cash market for all farm produce—six or seven stores, with the general merchandise found in a country town; lumber yard, machine warehouse, blacksmith, carpenter and wagon maker shops; an immigrant house, where persons in search of land can lodge their families until they are suited; a resident doctor, and resident priest, Rev. F. J. Swift; a fine commodious church; a handsome school house and pastor's residence. No saloon. The business men of the town are our own people, and a Catholic fair, for the benefit of the new church, held last fall, and patronized exclusively by the colonists, netted $1,000 clear.

Traveling along the railroad and passing through Benson, half way between De Graff and Clontarf, we come to the latter, the youngest town in this young settlement, but it has a very fine class of settlers around it: west of the village the land is as fine as any in the State, known as the Hancock Ridge.

Clontarf has two general stores, a grain elevator, an immigrant house, a railroad depot, blacksmith shop, a large church and a very handsome residence for the priest, the Rev. A. Oster. No part of the colony is settling up more rapidly than the portion around Clontarf and several new buildings will go up in the village next summer. Swift County Colony is fast beginning to wear the features of a settled community. Many of our farmers have harvested this year their second crop; our merchants report that they are doing a lively business; bridges are being built, roads laid out, plans of improvement discussed by the settlers; and we challenge any part of the West to produce a more intelligent rural class.

True to the memory of the old land and their love for their church, the settlers have given familiar names to many of the townships in the colony, such as Kildare, Cashel, Dublin, Clontarf, Tara, St. Michaels, St. Josephs, St. Francis, &c., &c.

The St. Paul and Pacific Railroad, running through the whole[Pg 45] length of the colony, has, by its late extension, become one of the great railroad thoroughfares of the northwest, and added much to the value of the colony lands. Commencing at St. Paul, the capital of Minnesota, it crosses the Northern Pacific at Glyndon in this State and continues on to St. Vincent, situated on the line separating the State of Minnesota and the British Possessions in Manitoba. Here it connects with a railroad just completed and running to Winnipeg, the capital of the British province of Manitoba.


This colony is located in Big Stone County, west of Swift. It is our Homestead Colony, and one which we feel very proud of. What is thought of Big Stone County by Western men, in connection with stock raising, is shown by the following extract from a published communication.

"Stock raising now receives more attention from the prairie farmers than ever before, since the erroneous impression heretofore existing that the wintering of cattle was too expensive, has been entirely disproved. Numbers of settlers from the lower part of our State, and from Iowa, have removed to Big Stone County with large droves of cattle, that they herd on the vast natural meadows of that county, which also furnish all the necessary hay for winter food." We will add to this, that the soil of Big Stone County, for agricultural purposes, is deemed as good as any in the State, without exception.

The lands in the county being government lands, we could not of course have any control of them, they were open to all comers; but by prompt action the Bureau located during the months of March, April and May, one hundred and seventy-five families in the county. Many of those colonists were poor people who were induced to leave Minnesota towns and settle on land.

But we will let a resident of the colony, one who has examined every quarter section in it and materially aided in its settlement, speak for it.

In answer to a letter from us, Col. J. R. King, a resident of Graceville, and a practical surveyor, who has acted as agent for the Bureau since the opening of the colony, writes:

[Pg 46]

"During the months of March and April, 1878, a great number of claims for our people were entered in the United States Land Office, but before any of them come on to their lands, Bishop Ireland shipped, in March, five car loads of lumber for erecting a church building; the church was commenced the same month and completed, in the rough, in about three weeks. This is the first instance, in my knowledge, where a church was erected in advance of settlement. Our Right Rev. Bishop must have had a foreknowledge of what was to follow.

"In the short space of three months there was built, in a radius of six miles from Graceville Church, over 150 comfortable cabins, and on each claim from five to ten acres broken for a garden and planted with potatoes, corn, beans, turnips, &c., &c., which yielded quite a good supply for the present winter. Our colonists had the advantage of being early on the ground and had their gardens planted in May.

"The colonists broke during last summer from fifteen to thirty acres per man, so that next spring they will be able to get in wheat sufficient to carry them through the second winter handsomely. They are all in the very best spirits and could not be induced to return to the cities—for they already feel independent and masters of the situation.

"The soil here is splendid and the country beautiful. Gently rolling prairie, with numerous ponds or small lakes and plenty of the finest hay.

"The balance of Big Stone County, outside of our colony, has all been taken up; a large majority of the claims occupied and substantial improvements made by the settlers, who are first class. Traverse County, adjoining us on the north, is fast filling up.

"I must not forget to say that we have good water in abundance; my own well is sixteen feet deep, with as fine, pure water as ever was found.

"And now to tell you about our little village, Graceville, named in honor of our revered Bishop, the Right Rev. Thos. L. Grace. It is beautifully situated on the north shore of one of the two large lakes known as Tokua Lakes, and has three general stores, one hotel, one blacksmith and wagon shop, a very handsome little church and the priest's residence attached. Around the lake is a fine belt of timber which adds much to the beauty of the place. The village is 26 miles due east from Morris, on the St. Paul & Pacific Railroad, but the Hastings & Dakota Railroad, now built close to the line, will run through our county next summer; by and by we will have a cross road running through the colony lands.

[Pg 47]

"Our resident pastor is the Rev. A. V. Pelisson, a veteran missionary, who is doing a wonderful deal of good, temporal and spiritual, among his people, and is 'the right man in the right place,' full of energy and zeal.

"The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered up in our church every day, and on Sundays we have High Mass, for Graceville has a sweet church choir.

"It is most edifying to see the crowd of men, women and children who flock in from all points of the compass to church on Sundays. Father Pelisson had the first temporary church taken down and in its place he has erected one of the prettiest and neatest churches in the State; a credit both to the good father and his people who so cheerfully assisted in its erection, under many difficulties.

"From the roof of the church I can count to-day over 70 houses where last March there was nothing but a bare prairie. If God prospers our people next season with good crops, they will be over their difficulties, in a fair way to prosperity."

We do not know that we have anything to add to Col. King's very graphic and truthful statement in regard to Graceville Colony and the prospects of its settlers, very many of whom were so poor when they went in, that it required Western pluck to face the prairie. The building of the Hastings & Dakota Railroad last summer, giving them employment, was a great help.

No doubt they had and will have a rough time of it for a little longer, but, they are toiling with hope, with the hope of an honest independence in the future. And with this hope in his heart, the settler toils and feels himself "every inch a man."

Traverse County, mentioned in Col. King's letter, has, at the present writing, a large quantity of government land open to homestead and pre-emption entries. (See the Homestead Law in another place.) There is no doubt too, but that persons, during the land excitement last year, made government claims in Big Stone County—some within the colony bounds—which, from one cause or another, they will neglect to hold, by not fulfilling the conditions required by the law governing such claims. In all cases of the kind the lands revert to the government and are again subject to entry. Yet, so rapidly are those lands taken up that we cannot promise to our people, coming from the East, that when they arrive, they will find any homestead land adjoining or within any of our colonies.

[Pg 48]


This colony, situated in Nobles County, in the southwestern portion of the State, close to the State line of Iowa, on the Luverne and Sioux Falls branch of the Sioux City and St. Paul Railroad, was opened in September, 1877.

Before going into details in regard to the colony we will give some extracts from an article (lately published) treating of southwestern Minnesota, where, as we have stated, St. Adrian colony is located.

"Southwestern Minnesota has made rapid progress in stock raising. As capital increases, and the utility and profit of stock raising become better understood by the farmer, we shall see fine flocks and herds, in addition to the fields of waving grain, and our rich prairies teeming with the life they can so amply sustain. The abundance of clear, sweet water, dry atmosphere, its elevation, rich pasturage, freedom from disease, and direct and ready access to all the prominent markets, unite to make Minnesota the paradise of stock raisers. Good hay can be put in the stack in Southwestern Minnesota for $1.25 per ton. It can be secured without other expense than cutting, and with very little labor, enough can be made for the maintenance of a large amount of stock.

"This section has been settled but seven years, yet it is already teeming with a population of wide-awake, industrious people, whose fields are evidences of the innate wealth of the region. The soil of Southwestern Minnesota is adapted to the successful cultivation of grain, and so celebrated has its grain producing qualities become, that capitalists have put their money into large tracts of land, and have now immense fields under cultivation, and their investments have proven extremely profitable. There are farms of 600, 1,000 and 2,000 acres, all producing Minnesota's great staple, wheat. Every year, as the success of these investments becomes known, new and large farms are opening.

"Southwestern Minnesota is on the move, and to those who wish to locate in a thriving, driving, pushing, growing country, no locality on the green earth promises more faithfully, and none will redeem its pledges with greater pride to the wide-awake,[Pg 49] stirring husbandman. The very soil teams with wealth, and the air is laden with the most precious gifts of health."

Making allowance for the rather high coloring of the above extracts, its facts are correct. Southwestern Minnesota has many advantages for stock raising, its soil is good, none better. Stock raising has been carried on successfully there to the advantage of a great many poor settlers, and men of wealth have opened large grain farms in this section of the State; the largest of these farms adjoins the colony lands of St. Adrian.

Of the 70,000 acres of railroad land which Bishop Ireland holds the control of for colony purposes, 22,000 acres have been sold to settlers.

The colony lands adjoin the railroad town of Adrian. A little over a year ago it had three houses, now it is one of the brightest, liveliest, most bustling little burgs in Southwestern Minnesota. But, as in the case of Graceville, we will let a resident of St. Adrian speak for the town and colony. The following is an extract from a letter which we received the other day from the Rev. C. J. Knauf, the pastor in charge of the St. Adrian colony.

Father Knauf resides in the town of Adrian—where immigrants, bound for the colony, leave the train—and takes an active part in locating immigrants. Father Knauf writes:

"The village of Adrian consisted of three houses when I came here, September 20, 1877, one year and three months ago to-morrow; now there are 68 houses in the village. We have three hotels, one restaurant (no beer,) three lumber yards, one steam feed mill, four general stores, one drug, two hardware stores, one jewelry store, one barber shop, one large livery stable, two furniture dealers, four dealers in farming machinery, one shoe maker, one tailor, three blacksmiths, one carpenter shop, four wheat and produce buyers; a public school house, costing $1,800; a Catholic Church, well finished, and the pastor's house, the latter costing $1,840.

"I sold, up to date, 22,000 acres of land. Thousands of acres were broken last season. I was the first Catholic to arrive here: now we have sixty Catholic families in the colony. Next spring we will have 160 Catholic families, for a great many bought farms last year, had breaking done—some broke extensively, others moderately—and will move on, with their families, to their new farms, next spring, in time to put in their first crop."

In explanation of that portion of Father Knauf's letter which speaks of parties who have purchased farms in the colony but who have not moved on to them as yet, we will say, that since the Bureau, at the solicitation of many correspondents, agreed to have[Pg 50] land selected and contracts made out for persons anxious to secure land in some one of our colonies, and yet unable, from one cause or another, to come on immediately; a great many have adopted this mode to get land.

We find from Father Knauf's letter that he has on his books the names of one hundred families who have secured land in St. Adrian colony, and will move on to their new homes next spring, so that he is looking forward to very lively times.

There is also coming out to St. Adrian Colony in the spring a brave-hearted little lady from Brooklyn, N. Y., to get in her first crop, and put up her first farm house. She was on here last summer, spent a month or so at St. Adrian, bought 270 acres of land, left money to pay for the breaking of 200 acres, and will come on to settle in the spring. She has no doubt but that she will make the venture pay, and prefers to make the trial rather than have her money bearing small interest in the East.

Lands sell in the colony from $5 to $7.50 per acre. A discount of 20 per cent. from these prices is allowed for cash. The conditions for time contracts are as follows: At time of purchase, one-tenth of principal and interest on unpaid principal; second year, interest only; third year one-fourth of remaining principal and interest on unpaid principal; same for three ensuing years: after the expiration of which the full price of the land is paid.

As an instance, showing the value set on land in this part of Minnesota, we will state, that school lands, sold last spring, at public sale, in the neighborhood of St. Adrian, brought from $7.50 to $17 per acre: the price obtained heretofore having been $5 per acre.

On stepping from the train at St. Adrian, last summer, one witnessed a scene of bustle and activity similar to those frequently described by writers in sketches of Western life in new settlements, with some important exceptions, for neither in Adrian nor in any of the towns under the control of the Catholic Bureau, can there be found rowdies, nor the saloons that vomit them forth. This fact may take from the dramatic effect of such sketches, but it is the anchor of family unity and love, the harbinger of prosperity.

The town of Adrian is 197 miles from St. Paul. A daily train from St. Paul to Sioux Falls, D. T., passes through it; it has also railroad communication with Sioux City, Iowa.

The lands of the colony are first-class, both for agriculture and stock raising: and to those of fair capital we strongly recommend St. Adrian Colony.

The colonists are German and Irish Catholics.

[Pg 51]


This is the latest opened of our colonies, Bishop Ireland having only secured control of the lands last April. It is situated in Murray County (Southwestern Minnesota,) adjoining Nobles County on the north, and in the whole 52,000 acres of land secured by the Bishop for the colony, we very much doubt if one poor section (640 acres) could be found, nor do we suppose that any of the land will remain unsold by the 1st of next July.

While the beauty of the location and fertility of the soil, make Avoca one of the most desirable locations in Minnesota, the easy terms on which a farm can be secured, are additional and substantial advantages for men of small means.

The centre of the colony—the village of Avoca, situated on a beautiful lake—is just twenty miles from Heron Lake, a station on the St. Paul and Sioux City Railroad, 160 miles southwest of St. Paul; but the Southern Minnesota Railroad, which will give this portion of the State a direct communication with the Milwaukee and Chicago markets, is now completed to within forty-five miles of Avoca, and we expect to see it running through our colony lands by next fall. This will give to the settlers in Avoca Colony, a direct southern route to Chicago, and a choice of markets for their produce: the latter an advantage which farmers can well appreciate.

The price of lands in the colony are from $5 to $6.50 per acre, on the following easy terms of payment. At the time of purchase, interest only, one year in advance, seven per cent., is required; at the end of one year, interest only for another year; at the end of two years, one-tenth of the principal, and a year's interest on the balance; at the end of three years, one-tenth of the principal, and interest on balance; at the end of each year thereafter, twenty per cent. of the principal, and interest on balance; until all is paid.

We subjoin a practical illustration of these terms:

We will say that January, 1879, a man contracts for 80 acres of land at $5 per acre, this will come to $400, with 7 per cent. interest, which sums he will have to pay as follows:

[Pg 52]

Jan. 1st, 1879, At time of purchase, one year's interest in advance, at 7 per cent.$28 00
Jan. 1st, 1880, One year's interest in advance, at 7 per cent. 28 00
Jan. 1st, 1881, Ten per cent. of principal. $40 00
One year's interest on balance $360, at 7 per ct. 25 20
———65 20
Jan. 1st, 1882, Ten per cent. of principal. 40 00
One year's interest on balance $320, at 7 per ct. 22 40
———62 40
Jan. 1st, 1883, Twenty per cent. of principal. 80 00
One year's interest on balance $240, at 7 per ct. 16 80
———96 80
Jan. 1st, 1884, Twenty per cent. of principal. 80 00
One year's interest on balance $160, at 7 per ct. 11 20
———91 20
Jan. 1st, 1885, Twenty per cent. of principal. 80 00
One year's interest on balance $80, at 7 per ct. 5 60
———85 60
Jan. 1st, 1886, Twenty per cent. of principal. 80 00
Total.$537 20

The advantage of the terms is, that the principal payments are all postponed until the farmer has had time to raise several crops from his land. A quarter-section of land will support a family, pay for itself, leave after seven years a balance in cash, and be worth more than twice its original value.

We have already selected several 80 and 160 acre farms in Avoca for persons not in a position to come on immediately to the land. Now let us explain how this operates.

An intending immigrant writes to the Bureau to have 80 acres of land in Avoca at $5 per acre, selected for him, (as a general rule a man should take a quarter-section, 160 acres, by doing so he will be likely to have both meadow and tillage land on his farm.) For those 80 acres, he pays down, before getting his contract from the railroad company, one year's interest, $28. He writes on then, next spring, to the Bureau, to have 30 acres of his land broken and ready for a crop the following spring—1880. His breaking will cost at $2.50 per acre, $75. He will have paid the first year $103, and have his land ready for the seed; he comes on then the second spring, 1880, pays $28, another year's interest, to the railroad company, puts in his crop and has it saved and ready for market in August. Up to this time—not calculating the expenses chargeable to the crop, which we have estimated already in another place—he has paid out $131, and has his farm opened and in a fair way to pay for itself.

[Pg 53]

In soil and location the Colony of Avoca is not surpassed in the Northwest. Nine miles from the village of Avoca there is a large body of timber. Settlers can also get coal from Iowa.

The Rev. Chas. Kœberl is pastor of the colony, address, Avoca, Murray County, Minnesota. He writes to us under date of December 20th, 1878:

"In regard to this colony it promises, thank God, to be a great success. Since June, when the land sales commenced, we have sold 9,850 acres, and forty-five Catholic families are preparing to move into the colony next spring. Immigrants will have in our village of Avoca, a building where they can leave their families until they have put up their houses, also a boarding house and store.

"In speaking of our climate you can boast honestly of its health. Among 200 families belonging to my missionary district, I have not known of one case of internal disease, during my seven months' stay here. It would be well to particularly mention in your forthcoming pamphlet, that this is a prairie, not a timber county. I receive so many letters asking about the cost of clearings, &c., &c.

"I expect quite a rush for land in Avoca, next spring, and will be glad if our people come on early, in time to plant potatoes, corn, &c."

In bringing this brief review of our Catholic colonies to a close, we again thank the Catholic press of this country, for its honest advocacy of Catholic immigration to the land. The favorable notices its editors have given to our humble labors in our own field of duty, and the service rendered to our work thereby, can never be forgotten by us.

Our friend, P. Hickey, Esq., editor of the Catholic Review, came specially from New York, last summer to visit our colonies, to judge for himself; and what he saw, the favorable impressions he carried away with him, together with sound argument in favor of Catholic colonization, have appeared, from time to time, since his return, in able and lucid articles from his pen.

God has blessed our labors beyond our expectations. We see our colonies fast merging into settled communities, where honest labor goes hand in hand with religion, and where men work not for a mere pittance from a master's hand, to support them for a day or a week, but with the hope, the prospect, of an inheritance for their children, in the future.

[Pg 54]




Decidedly the best time for the emigrant to come to Minnesota is the spring. If possible, he should not arrive later than the first week in May. He should have his land selected in time to commence to break for garden stuff and corn about the 20th of May, then he can continue to break, for his next year's wheat crop, up to the early part of July.

The month of June is the month for breaking, for then the grass is young and succulent, and will rot readily. A man coming in the early part of June can have land broken for his next year's crop, but he loses the advantages of garden stuff and sod corn to help him out in his living until his first crop comes in.


All your bedding that is of value. All your bedclothes. All wearing apparel, good clothing of every description: nothing more. Do not think of bringing stoves, nor any kind of house furniture. You can get all such at the stores in the colonies, or here in St. Paul, new, for nearly what the freight on your old furniture, worthless and broken, perhaps, by the time it arrived here, would come to. The better way is to sell what you have in this line, before leaving, and buy here.


We intend that our closing remarks shall treat fully and clearly on this very important portion of our subject. They will be found under the head of


Here we will but say what we have already written.


to our colonies.

No doubt the country builds up the town, and we look for quite[Pg 55] a building up of our young Catholic towns next summer; but, in the way of business, stores and mechanics' shops, the home supply is generally fully up to the demand, and at present we would not feel justified in inviting any one to our Catholic colonies but a man


And who is able and willing to work one.


1st Class.2d Class.Immigrant.
New York $35 25 $30 25 $24 00
Philadelphia 33 50 28 45 24 00
Montreal 36 25 26 00
Toronto 29 25 23 00
Buffalo 29 25 23 00
Cleveland 25 25 20 00
Chicago 15 25 12 00
Milwaukee 12 25 9 00

N. B.—The above are the fares from the points mentioned to St. Paul. Doubtless persons coming in a large party from the same place would get special low rates. From St. Paul to any of our colonies, immigrants are carried for half fare; about $3 for an adult. They also get low rates for baggage &c., &c.


Immigrants, on arriving in St. Paul, will immediately report themselves at the Catholic Colonization Office, situated in the basement of the Cathedral school building, corner of Sixth and Wabashaw streets. There they will be received by an agent of the Bureau, who will give them all necessary information and instructions, also half-fare tickets to railroad points in the Catholic colonies, and procure for them half-freight charges on goods and extra baggage. Office hours from 8 o'clock a. m. to 6 o'clock p. m.

All communications should be addressed to

The Catholic Colonization Bureau,   
St. Paul, Minn.

[Pg 56]


We wish that this concluding chapter of our pamphlet may be read carefully, and thought well over by intending immigrants.

We wish it for their benefit, and our own benefit and protection. It is, we might say, a fearful responsibility to advise another in a matter which contemplates a change in his habits, mode of life, and home, and such a change should never be undertaken, especially by a man of family, without a most thorough investigation, not alone as to the place he intends going to, but likewise as to his own fitness for the change.

When you have examined this pamphlet from cover to cover, then commence an examination of yourself, not forgetting your wife, if you have one, who is part of you, and a very important part in connection with this question of your going upon land.

This is especially necessary if you and your wife have lived for years in a city and become habituated to city life. It is a great change from city life in the East to country life in the West, especially when the part of the country one moves to is new and settlements just forming.

You are not to expect to realize the advantages of the change right off; it is through yourself, through your own grit and industry, those advantages must come.

To a Western farmer there is nothing bleak or lonely in a prairie; to a man coming fresh from a city and looking on it, for the first time, with city eyes, it may, very likely, seem both. Indeed, a sense of loneliness akin to despondency is a feeling which the newly-arrived immigrant has generally to contend against, a feeling which may increase to a perfect scare if he is a man anxious to consult Tom, Dick and Harry—who are always on hand—as to the wisdom of the step he has just taken.

We speak from experience, from facts we have a personal knowledge of. Our labors in the cause of immigration have brought to us much happiness and some pain.

To illustrate: Two immigrants arrived here last year, in high spirits, called at our office a few minutes after landing, and so impatient were they to go hunt up land that they were quite disappointed to find they would have to stop over one night in St.[Pg 57] Paul. Well, the next morning they called at the office again, all courage, all desire to go upon land wilted out of them, and informed us that they had changed their minds and were going back to Massachusetts.

Why? Well, they had met a man at the boarding house they stopped over night at, who advised them not to go out and settle on a prairie. He told them, too, that "he was fifteen years in Minnesota and never could get a dollar ahead."

Now here were men, rational to all appearance, having traveled two thousand miles or so to settle upon land, when they came within sight of the land, as we may say, losing all desire to visit it, all courage, all confidence in disinterested, experienced friends, and in the information they gave to them; in everything but the word of a loafer, who never did a day's good in his life, nor never will, and who was anxious to shuffle off the onus of his slipshod condition from himself to the country.

Here is another case, which occurred a few months after Swift Colony was opened and while the country around looked still wild and lonely.

Two men arrived here from Philadelphia. They went on to the Catholic colony in Swift County, and in a day or two returned, saying that they had made up their minds to go back to Philadelphia. Why? Did they not find everything as it was reported to them? "Oh, yes, the land was good, and there was a good chance for a poor man to make a home on it, if he could content himself, but it was too lonely for them."

Lonely, to be sure it was; with the noise of the city still ringing in their ears, with its crowds and its gaslights still in their eyes, these men found the prairie lonely, and without pausing to consider all the circumstances, they turned their back upon it.

They were both decent, intelligent men, and, had they remained, taken land, gone to work, opened a farm, and seen their first crop ripening, you could no more have got them back to Philadelphia than you could get them into the penitentiary.

Now, we say to those for whose benefit this pamphlet has been written, if you come here you must come fully prepared to feel the effects of a great change. If you come from a city, you will, doubtless, feel lonely for a while, until you get accustomed to prairie life; you will miss many immediate comforts; you will have to put up with discomforts, with disappointments, with trials. The man who feels he can stand up against all such difficulties in the present, and look bravely to the future for his reward, let him come to Minnesota. The man who feels within him no such[Pg 58] strength, who is easily disheartened and inclined to listen to the idle talk of every man whom he meets, let him stop away and listen; better to listen now, where you are, than after going to the expense of coming here.

To the family man we say: We would much prefer that you should come on here in the spring and see for yourself before breaking up your present home and bringing on your family.

If you settle down, you can send or go for your family; if you are not pleased with the change, there will not be much harm done.

Another very important piece of advice we give to you: If your wife is very much opposed to going upon land, do not come out. A discontented wife on a new farm is far worse than the Colorado beetle. But if she urges you to come, if, in this matter, she thinks of your welfare and that of her children, rather than of the society of the gossips she will leave behind her; if she says to you, "we will have the children out of harm's way anyhow," then come with a brave heart and the smile of the true wife and mother shall be as a sunbeam in your prairie home.

[Pg 59]


Although we cannot promise government land in any of our colonies, still we give the following synopsis of the laws affecting such land, as likely to be of benefit to those who wish to secure homes in this way.


1. Who may enter.—First, every head of a family; second, every single person, male or female, over the age of twenty-one years, who are citizens of the United States, or have declared their intentions to become such.

2. Quantity that may be entered.—80 acres within ten miles on each side of a land-grant railroad, and 160 acres without.

3. Cost of entry.—Fourteen dollars.

4. Time for settlement.—After making his entry the settler has six months within which to remove upon his land.

5. Length of settlement.—The settler must live upon and cultivate his entry for five years. At any time after five, and within seven years, he makes proof of residence and cultivation.

6. Proof required.—His own affidavit and the testimony of two witnesses.

7. Residence.—Single, as well as married men, are required to live upon their homesteads.

8. Soldiers' Homesteads.—Every honorable discharged soldier, sailor or marine, who served for ninety days, can enter 160 acres within railroad limits, upon payment of eighteen dollars. The time spent in the service will be deducted from the five years' residence required.


1. Who may enter.—The same qualifications are required as in a homestead entry.

2. Quantity that may be entered.—40, 80, or 160 acres.

3. Limitations.—But one-fourth of any section can be entered.

4. Requirements.—No settlement is required. By the amended[Pg 60] law only ten acres need be broken and set out in trees on 160 acres, (quarter section.)

First year, break five acres.

Second year, break five acres and cultivate in crop first year's breaking.

Third year, set out trees in first five acres broken and crop second five acres.

Fourth year, set out trees in latest five acres broken.

N. B.—Seed or cuttings can be put in in place of trees.

If the timber entry be but 80 acres, one-half the quantity before given is planted; if 40 acres, one-fourth.

5. Proof required.—Affidavit of party, and testimony of two witnesses.

6. Cost of entry.—Fourteen dollars for any entry, without regard to quantity.

A man making a Homestead entry, is also entitled to make a Timber-culture entry. This would give him, outside of the ten miles railroad grant, half a section of land; a son or daughter, twenty-one years of age, can also enter under the Homestead and Timber-claim acts, half a section; and thus one family can secure a whole section of land.


Under this act, a man can enter 80 acres of government land, inside the ten miles railroad limits, price $2.50 per acre; or 160 acres, outside the railroad grant, for which he will have to pay, getting two years time $1.25, government price.

If he wishes, he can pay up in six months, on proof of actual residence, having made the improvements on the land required by the law, which are easily done, and get his title; having secured this, he can then enter 80 or 160 acres more, under the Homestead act. He cannot Pre-empt and Homestead at the same time.

None of the government conditions for securing land are at all burdensome to the actual settler; whether required by law or not, to be a farmer, a man must live upon his land and cultivate it.

[Pg 61]







It is the only Northwestern Line connecting in same Depot in Chicago, with any of the great Eastern or Southern Lines, and is the most conveniently located with reference to reaching any depot, hotel, or place of Business in that city.


ASSENGERS approaching Chicago by any Railway, will find Parmalee's Omnibus Checkman on the trains, who will exchange their checks, and give them all requisite information. Parmalee's Omnibusses are on hand at all depots, on arrival of trains, to convey passengers to the depot of this Company. Passenger Agents of this Company are at the several depots, on arrival of connecting trains, for the purpose of directing and assisting passengers.

A thoroughly ballasted Steel Rail Track, Palace Coaches and Sleeping Cars, and finely upholstered Second Class Cars, all perfect in every particular, equipped with the WESTINGHOUSE IMPROVED AUTOMATIC AIR BRAKE, with MILLER'S SAFETY PLATFORMS AND COUPLINGS, are distinguishing features of this Popular Route.

Tickets for St. Paul and Minneapolis are good either via Watertown, Sparta, La Crosse, Winona, and the famed Mississippi River Division, or via Madison, Prairie du Chien, McGregor, Austin and Owatonna.


228 Washington Street. Boston.
63 Clark Street, Chicago.
Union Depot, cor. Canal and West Madison
Streets, Chicago.

And at all Principal Ticket Offices in the country.

T. E. CHANDLER, Agent, Chicago.

A. V. H. CARPENTER, Gen'l Passenger and Ticket Agent.

[Pg 62]



The Crowning Success of a Century's Experience.

The Minnesota Chief

Neither Vibrator nor Apron Machine but combines the good qualities of both.

It Threshes more Grain, Separates more Perfectly, is Lighter Running, Cleans Grain Cleaner, than all others, and has no equal for Timothy or Flax.

It will thresh and separate wet grain as well as dry. It has at the same time both an over and an under blast. In strength, durability, and economy, it has no rival.

with a Powerful Brake and a Drop Gear Attachment.

more strongly and durably built than any other of its kind in the market.

For Sale at most of the principal towns in the West.

For Circulars and Price Lists, address,

Manufactured by


[Pg 63]


The North-Western Chronicle.


The Catholic Newspaper of the North-west.

Devoted to Catholicity, Literature and General Information.



Farm Statistics, Local Intelligence,




$2.50 per Year, Payable in Advance.

Catholic Block, Third Street.

[Pg 64]



The Marsh Harvester and Harvester King, with or
without their celebrated Automatic Crane Binder Attachment for 1879.


We present, on this page, a cut representing the latest improvements in grain-cutting machinery, as shown in the celebrated Marsh Harvester with Automatic Crane-Binder Attachment.

The Marsh Harvester itself is too widely and favorably known to require an extended description or commendation. It was the first of this class of grain-harvesting machines, and, indeed, for some years the only one, forcing itself into favor against the united opposition of the various reaper manufacturers who are now so clamorous in praise of their imitation harvesters. It also made practicable automatic grain binding. All attempts to put self-binding attachments to other reapers proved futile, and have only been successful when attached to harvesters cutting and elevating the grain, as is done by this harvester.

The manufacturers of the Marsh Harvester have been fully alive to the importance of having a self-binding attachment to their harvesters that should be correspondingly for a binder what their harvester is admitted to be—the best of its class. To this end they have had skilled labor specially employed for several years, and have invented and patented several important improvements and devices, and have bought others. They have also had their binders in the grain fields for several years past, following the progress of the harvest from Texas to Manitoba. Last season this binder did remarkable work. Such minor defects as the most thorough tests and roughest usage developed have been carefully remedied.

It is no longer a question of success with this binder, success is a fully demonstrated fact. Another thing will be obvious to all who carefully examine this binder, that it is very simple and easily understood. This is an indispensible requisite to a successful machine.

Farmers are too busy and too much hurried in harvest time to study mechanics or tinker on machinery. They want a machine they can put in the field, and do good work, without bother, loss of time or undue perplexity. This harvester and binder will do good work with certainty.

The Marsh Harvester cuts a five-foot swath the King cuts six feet. All of these harvesters are so made this year that a binder attachment can be put on at any time hereafter, so that a farmer, desiring to divide the expense, can buy the harvester this year and the binder next.

Look at it! A few years ago it required six or seven men to do, with a self-rake reaper, what the Marsh Harvester and Binder will do with one man or one boy. The Harvester also does the work cleaner and better. It binds every straw, and saves enough in this way to nearly or quite pay for the wire. The wire-bound bundles can be made as large or as small as you like. The wire is unobjectionable in threshing, the wire passing through without injury to the thresher. No cattle will eat wire, and no one has ever been known to be injured by it. It requires about three pounds of wire to an acre of grain of average stand. This machine reduces the cost and the labor of grain harvesting to a minimum. No progressive farmer can afford to do his work with an old-fashioned reaper. He might almost as well return to the hand sickle.

It is now a question of the best binder. Thus far the manufacturers of the Marsh Harvester have furnished the best harvester, and now they offer the best binder, and still propose to keep their machines in the lead, as they have been, and are now.

We also manufacture the old and reliable WARRIOR MOWER, admitted by all to be one of the best mowers in use. Apply to the nearest agency or to Gammon & Deering, Chicago, Ill., for circulars containing full particulars in regard to those machines.

W. H. JONES & CO.,
General Agents for Minnesota and Manitoba.
Manufacturers, Chicago, Ill.

Transcriber's Notes:

The original edition did not include a table of contents.

Some inconsistent hyphenation (i.e. overcrowded vs. over-crowded) has been retained from the original — text quoted from different sources may have different standards.

Within several long quotes, series of asterisks on line ends have been replaced with thought breaks — these presumably indicate abbreviations to the quotations.

Page 14, changed "successs" to "success."

Page 16, changed "similiar" to "similar."

Page 24, removed stray comma from "average, quantity."

Page 30, changed "indegenous" to "indigenous."

Page 31, inconsistent capitalization in table retained from original.

Page 37, changed "every dollars'" to "every dollar's."

Page 42, added missing period after "Rev" in "Rev. F. J. Swift."

Pages 43 and 44, normalized "DeGraff" to "De Graff" for consistency.

Page 49, changed "$1800" to "$1,800" for consistency.

Page 55, added period after "Minn."

Page 60, removed extraneous space from "$2. 50."

Page 64, changed "to busy" to "too busy." The image on this page has been reconstructed using multiple sources. The majority of the image is sourced from the Villanova University Digital Library, but damaged areas of the graphic have been replaced using a lower resolution image sourced from microfilm.

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Catholic Colonization Bureau of Minnesota


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