Griswold Lodge No. 218. A. F. & A. M. of Dassel was granted a charter by the Grand Lodge. January 16, 1896, which was adopted by a vote of the lodge on May 4, 1896. The charter members consisted of Linzay Pankake, B. A. Records, J. H. Kauffman. L. G. Adkins, E. E. McGrew. Fred C. May. L. W. Leighton. Matt Delong. Chas. B. Dunn. J. C. Thomas. Wm. Frederick, L. L. Sisson. Chas. L. Phifer, R. T. Elliott H. F. Ames, C. W. Sidnam, A. L. Gordon, Nip Lunsford, Thos. Skeen, Isaac Vervalen, B. E. Sherwin, W. W. Jewett. The new members were C. D. Brown. Robert Dalton, E. W. Erickson, Thomas Hardy, Ed. J. Russell, P. F. Spath, Chas. Robison and Ellis L. Gleason.
The officers were: Isaac Vervalen, W. M.; L. W. Leighton, S. W.; Linzay Pankake, J. W.; E. E. McGrew, Treasurer; B. E. Sherwin, Secretary; H. F. Ames, S. D.; C. W. Sidham, J. D.: Nip Lunsford, S.S.; B. A. Records, J. S.; and Thos. Skeen, Tyler.
Dogs always cause trouble so the dog ordinance lasted only 4 years then was repealed. Frederick Spath was appointed poundmaster on March 20, 1878, a position which he held for two years. Others holding this important job later on were F. M. Boyer, John Riordan and P. F. Spath.
Our first butcher shop was started in 1876 by J. H. Mclntyre, who remained in this line of business until 1882 when he sold out to Jos. E. Foster. Mclntyre then became an auctioneer, hoop-pole buyer, and the village constable. The Mclntyre family left Dassel for Livingston, Montana and a few years later moved to Portland, Oregon.
In 1888 Foster sold his meat market to F. M. Boyer, who was also in this business, which was operated by him for many years. Other owners of the meat markets of our early days were John McCollom, Robert Edminster, Jonas Carlson, J. M. Mattson, Wm. R. Benson, O. M. Mattson, Olson & Paul, Jos. Paul, E. J. Sangren and Aleck Lundquist.
A shop then had its own slaughterhouse located just outside the village limits so almost everything sold was a home product except pickled pig’s feet, tripe, oysters, lutefisk and herring.
In the eighties and nineties, local dramatic companies were organized giving plays here and in our neighboring villages. Among the players were F. M. Pendergast, B. A. Records. H. F. Ames, Peter M. Peterson, Frank B. Lamson, Jas. J. Thorpe, L. M. Norgren, Herman G. Holstein, Perry J. Johnson, Lottie Bogart, Anna Singleton, Huldah Nordine and Sarah Gleason. A popular organization in this line of work was the Dassel Dramatic Co., in 1892 and 1893.
A barber shop was established in April 1, 1882 by E. F. Soule, but after two years it went out of business; not enough customers to make it pay.
In 1889 a shop was opened by Thomas Jefferson, a colored barber with the only colored family that ever lived in Dassel. In 1891 he sold this business to Ed Jumer and in 1893 the shop was sold to Chas. Robison who operated it with success for many years. B. B. Bartlett opened a barber shop in 1893 which was destroyed by fire in 1894 at the time Leighton’s store burned down. He then moved to Hackensack. Minnesota and later on became the postmaster of that village.
Robert N. Doucette went into the barber business in 1896 but three years later he moved to Cokato, leaving our village with the Robison shop which took care of the business in a satisfactory manner.
In those days shaves were 10 cents and hair-cuts 25 cents. A barber shop then was a place where you got all the latest scandals and some news, with the privilege of reading the Police Gazette.
Then no person of any standing shaved himself. He had a brush and a mug with his name and lodge or business engraved on it, resting on a pigeonhole cabinet on the wall. Shaving mugs date back to 1763, most of them were in porcelain and earthenware decorated with vignettes descriptive of their owner’s trade or profession. A row of high backed chairs was in the shop and in one of them you had to sit waiting until the barber yelled “Next!”
Our tonsorial parlor had some long hours, opening at 7 a. m., at work until 11 p. m., and on Saturdays until midnight. Also open on Sundays from 8 a. m. to noon so the tired business men could receive service for they were too busy to come in en Saturday when fifteen or twenty would be waiting for a shave or hair-cut.
John H. Wallace was our first drayman in 1878 with his white ponies which gave the merchants excellent service. He sold out to Charles Penney in 1889 who ran the dray until 1893 when Wm. R. Benson bought the business from him. He sold the dray line to Nip DeLong in 1894. Peterson Bros, started a new business of this kind in 1902 and two years later bought out Nip. In 1906 Ed. Hardy bought out Peterson Bros., operating the dray for a year, then selling the business to Nip DeLong, making him the owner of Dassel’s dray business for the second time. He ran this dray line until 1917 when he sold out to Isaacson Bros., who are still in this business and giving the public the best of service.
Dassel commenced selling seed corn in 1884. The following advertisement appeared in the Dassel News Letter on March 6th of that year: “SEED CORN, Home grown and warranted to grow. Both Dent and Flint varieties, only a limited amount on hand. Order at once. Apply to T. H. Pendergast Dassel, Minnesota.” He was County Commissioner in 1878 and 1879. T. H. Pendergast died February 10, 1921; he was 83 years old.
Our village has always had a jewelry store. The first one of this kind was owned by O. H. Sundahl in 1879 and he continued in this business until 1887 when he moved to Fall Brook. California. August Swanson then opened a shop which he operated until 1891 when he moved to Los Angeles. Other jewelers of the early days were E. J. Iverson, R. G. Scott, August Skoog and John Gevart.
The farm machinery dealers of the old days were Alex Cofield, W. S. Bartholomew. Galiger & Cox, John Johnson. T. H. Pendergast & Son. Johnson & Cox. J. C. Thomas. Spath & Smith, and Riordan & Larson. They were reliable and energetic men and did a thriving business. The McCormick was the leading self binder with the Deering a close second. Then we had the Buckeye, Champion, Esterly, Walter A. Wood, Piano, Milwaukee, Osborne, and Minneapolis. When the harvest days came plenty of trained experts were on hand to see that the new machines were started right and operated to the satisfaction of the farmers who bought them.
In the summer months wagons sulkies and buggies with Jarless and Brewster springs were in general use and in the winter bob-sleds and cutters sped over our icy highways. Even the wagons had names, among them being the Studebaker. Mitchell, Lake City. Rushford, Lenhart, Moline, T. G. Mandt, Milburn. Stoughton and LaBelle.
The earliest threshing machines were operated by a horse power, later the steam engine came, first moved by horses, then the traction engine led by a team of horses but in two years the steering wheel was invented which relieved them from that part of the work. The most popular and best selling threshing machine was the Advance.
Dingman & Co. started a brick-yard in the west end of our village in 1881. which was in active operation until 1885. Some of our older buildings have Dassel brick in them. Brick-making in the country towns is now a memory of the past.
In 1886, Peter Johnson on a trip to Sweden for employees in his Kakelungs Fabrik, discovered Henry Hendrickson who came back to Dassel with him. To us he was known as “Dummy”, honest and reliable, helping out with odd jobs and making himself generally useful to his friends, the people, until his death in 1924.
Dassel had a race-track called the Dassel Driving Park, three laps to the mile, in 1897 which was in use for bicycle and horse races for several years. The coming of the automobile seemed to lessen the interest in this sport so in the course of time it was discontinued. The tract is now known as the fair grounds and used for baseball and football games.