Gopher Tales of Minnesota

A few years ago, Blake Haddon of The Minneapolis Tribune, gave its readers ‘”Gopher Tales of Minnesota”, with suitable illustrations. Dassel was given a few of these interesting old historical events and here they are:

When the Dassel-Hutchinson mail carrier became lost in the blinding blizzard of 1873 and wound up in Litchfield instead of Hutchinson he was docked a day’s pay which was later restored to him through the efforts of Senators Alexander Ramsey and William Windom.

On July 18. 1886, a farmer’s ox fell into an old well in Dassel, Minnesota. A resourceful citizen rang the fire-bell and the “Department”, equal to the emergency, pumped enough water into the well to float the ox up and he came out without a scratch.

The business men of Dassel, Minnesota paid $35 to have an automobile exhibited at the street fair of 1900. The driver from Minneapolis carried passengers around the block for 10 cents per, and took in $87.60 during the day.

Nip DeLong was the first white child born in Dassel, Minnesota, and that was on August 16, 1869. His first thirty years was on a farm south of the village. Now for over forty years he has lived in the village where he was born.

On October 10, 1896, the people of Dassel, Minnesota gathered at the depot expecting to hear Wm. Jennings Bryan make a 16 to 1 speech, but the train on the Great Northern, with engine No. 131, went through at sixty miles an hour, killing one man and scattering the citizens in all directions.

Bernard Dassel, railroad official and friend of James J. Hill, was once in charge of the pay car which made monthly visits to the stations, drawn by the famous Wm. Crooks Engine No. 1, the first locomotive in Minnesota.

Minnesota winters too tough. – A number of Kakelungs. a type of a Swedish tile stove, were brought from Sweden to Dassel, Minnesota in 1885 by Peter Johnson who built a factory there for their manufacture, which was soon discontinued when it was found that Minnesota weather was too severe for this type of heat.

The record still stands. – On June 20, 1894, Ludvick Beckstrom and Oscar E. Linquist rode bicycles from Dassel to Minneapolis, a distance of about 62 miles over uncertain roads, before breakfast, arriving at the Windsor Hotel, Washington and First Avenue North at 8:30 a. m.

Louis Palmersten, a Meeker County pioneer, invented a calendar which told, the day of the week for any date during the period from January l, Year 1, to December 31, 4000 years B.C. and from the Year 1, to December 1, Year 6000 A. D. To find the day of the week, the hand of the dial was turned to the date, month and year of the present time, and the date wanted. The result was the name of the day on the date desired.

Once during the grasshopper plague of 1877  it took a train traveling between Dassel and Darwin, three hours to make a run of five miles. The rails were so thick with grasshoppers, they looked like steampipes and had to be scraped before the train could proceed.

In 1868 Andrew Davidson, a Meeker County pioneer, solved his personal economic problems by shooting enough deer in a month, many from his front porch, the venison and hides of which he sold in Minneapolis for enough money to keep the family in supplies all winter.

Meeker County

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