RED RIVER VALLEY

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Courtesy of Alf L. Elden, Oslo, Minnesota 56744 Threshing near Minto, Manitoba in 1939. Owner's name not known.
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Courtesy of Alf L. Elden, Oslo, Minnesota 56744 Peaceful and quiet at the Elden place.
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Courtesy of Alf L. Elden, Oslo, Minnesota 56744 Threshing near Minto, Manitoba in 1939.

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.

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