RED RIVER VALLEY

Threshing

Courtesy of Alf L. Elden, Oslo, Minnesota 56744 Threshing near Minto, Manitoba in 1939. Owner's name not known.

Alf L. Elden

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Oslo, Minnesota 56744

It was a cold stormy evening in the winter of 1879 or 1880, when an unknown man came rushing in through the door of a settler's house near what is now the village of Alvarado, Minn. He was very excited and told the folks for God's sake blow the lamp, the Indians are coming as he had seen some of them. So then these people contacted their closest neighbors to decide what to do in this emergency. These few families had settled in this vicinity only a year or two before this, so being strangers in this part of Minnesota they thought there was a possibility there would be a band of Indians on a rampage. Well, they come to the conclusion to send word from neighbor to neighbor about this news, and then they gathered up food and supplies, loaded their sleighs, hitched up the oxen took the women folks and children along, and were going South where the settlers had come earlier, and also a lot more people. One family and some relatives had come over here shortly before this, from Long Prairie, Minn., so one of the women wanted to go right back there that evening, a distance of 190 miles! Two of the men with the party going South stayed behind to watch and listen for any signs of Indians and if they come these two were to cut the ropes tying the cattle in their stalls turning them loose and chasing them out of the stable, and then these men would have to get away as fast as possible.

It was around midnight when a neighbor came to wake my father, coming inside he said- 'They say the Indians have broke loose'' My father answered, 'Oh, may be so' Being in a hurry to go out and notify other people, my father forgot to take his gun with him. He had a U. S. Springfield muzzle loader Civil War gun. Both men started walking across the prairie in the bitter cold winter night. The snowstorm had then subsided. Coming to a home the man there went along with them, leaving his wife and baby alone at home. When arriving at the next place they stayed until morning playing cards and waiting and watching for Indians, but none showed up, as there were no Indians around. It was only a false rumor started by this stranger who set out walking cross country from Crookston, Minn., heading for Graft-ton, North Dakota, a distance of 55 miles. While on the way he was caught in a big snowstorm and at a point West of Warren, Minn., he saw a man on horseback rounding up his cattle to get them in out of the storm. Being crazed by the storm and almost overcome, his first thought was of Indians riding horseback, and the strong wind swaying trees and bushes made him imagine there was Indians all over. As he was traveling in a Westerly direction, he claimed he saw light from a house way ahead of him. It was now dark, but by aiming for the light he came to the home where he told the Indians were on a rampage. How he could see the light through all the timber and brush no one knew, as the people living there said it would be impossible. If he had not found the house he might have perished in the snowstorm and cold.

The next day after nothing happened a bunch was talking the situation over so they decided two men were to go and see Mr. F. W. Carlton, clerk of Madison Township, (later changed to Oak Park Twp.) my home Twp. in Marshall County. Mr. Carl-ton had settled a little earlier so they thought he would know more about this wild part of the country. Well, he told them they were foolish to believe Indians were around in this kind of weather and in middle of winter, so then everybody went back home feeling more satisfied and secure.

We had our 12th Threshing Bee last fall. The weather was perfect all 3 days and perhaps the largest crowd of any year, 5,000 or more people.

I have to mention a little bit about actual steam threshing in this community 50 or more years ago. A man who always used to haul water year after year for the engine, was also heavy on the bottle at times. He hauled water from Snake river. Somehow he slipped and fell into the river, but luckily the water was not deep, so he managed to climb up the bank- then he saw his team and wagon on the opposite side of the river so he had to get down into the water again and go up on the other side. He then walked over to a house near by and asked the lady if he could borrow a shirt as he was soaking wet.