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Meeker County MN 
Genealogy and History


Biographies "K - L"


Ole Nielson Kastett
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler 

OLE NIELSON KASTETT, a respected farmer who resides on section 23, Danielson township, is a son of Niels and Marie (Olson) Kastett, and was born in Norway, on the 15th of July, 1840. He came to the United States in 1861, and first settled in Houston county, Minn., where he remained one summer, and then went to Iowa, where he stayed two years at work for farmers. In December, 1863, he enlisted in the Second Minnesota Cavalry, and was mustered in early in the following January. He served on the frontier, participating in two engagements with the Indians in the Bad Lands of Dakota, and was finally mustered out at Fort Snelling, in December, 1865. He then returned to Houston county, Minn., and remained there until the spring of 1866, when he came to what is now Cosmos township, Meeker county, then a part of Lincoln county. He was the first man to take a team and a plow into that township, and did the first breaking there. He also erected the first house. He remained there for five years, and then lived in Danielson township for five years, after which he spent two years in Cosmos, and then settled on the place where he now lives. In 1878 he sold his Cosmos farm, and now owns a place of ninety acres on section 23, Danielson township. He has taken an active interest in all matters affecting the welfare of the township, and has held various local offices, including that of chairman of the township supervisors for two or three years.

Our subject was married on the 22nd of January, to Mary N. Nelson, who is mentioned at length hereafter. They are the parents of the following children – Nellie Amelia, born October 25, 1870; Regina Marie, born August 19, 1872; Nels Oliver, born July 28, 1874; George Henry Nechalai, born August 8, 1876; Carl Theodore, born July 19, 1879; Helen Matilda, born April 30, 1882; Ragnhild Mary Agnes, born July 16, 1884; and Daniel Anton, born January 26, 1887.

Mary N. Nelson, the wife of Ole Nielson Kastett, is a daughter of Nels and Ragnhild Danielson, the first settlers in Danielson township, and was born in Norway, on the 16th of October, 1849. She came to the United States in 1855 with her parents, and after stopping for two years in Wisconsin, in 1857 they came to Meeker county, Minn., where they have since lived. When the Indian outbreak began, the family with the majority of the other settlers, hastily went to Forest City, and a short time later to Kingston, it being stated that the string of teams extended in procession from one place to the other. They remained at Kingston but a short time, and then went back to Forest City and moved into a house near the river, there being another family to occupy it with them. Mr. Danielson, the father, was helping to complete the fort in the afternoon before the attack was made on Forest City, and, beginning to fear that an attack would be made, he directed the women to take the children and go to the hotel, which they did. He and three other men remained. In the night the house was set on fire, and upon looking out, they could see hundreds of Indians. They succeeded in escaping, however, unhurt. The Danielsons remained but a few days after the attack, and then returned to their farm, but before taking the family back, the father and the daughter, Helen, had gathered some of the grain. The following winter Mr. Danielson took fifty head of cattle to winter, and as he had hay in Kandiyohi county, he took them there and also took his daughters Helen and Mary to aid in caring for them. The father was unable to clothe the girls properly, and as they could not keep up enough fire to keep even water next to the stove from freezing, both the girls froze their feet badly, and the father contracted rheumatism from which he afterward died. This will illustrate some of the hardships which the early settlers were compelled to endure. The daughter, Mary, remained at home until her marriage. Having been among the oldest settlers of the county, she has witnessed the county grow from nothing to its present prosperous and thickly settled condition.


J. H. Kauffman
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

DOCTOR J. H. KAUFFMAN, the leading representative of the medical fraternity located at the village of Dassel, is a native of Newburgh, Cumberland county, Pa., born October 29, 1859, and is the son of Henry and Mary (Wilkins) Kauffman, both of whom are also natives of the “Old Keystone State.” The father of our subject has been for many years in the drug business at Newburgh, and is still carrying on that business. The Doctor received his education in his native town, and, as he grew older, was taken into the store by his father, where he grew to be a proficient clerk. On attaining his majority his father gave him a co-partnership, and the firm name was changed to Kauffman & Son. In the fall of 1881 out subject matriculated at Jefferson Medical College, at Philadelphia, and remained there throughout the terms of 1881 and 1882. He then entered the New York University, from which he was graduated in March, 1884. Returning to Newburgh, he opened an office in his native town, in connection with the drug business, an interest in which he still retained, but in 1887 sold out there with the intention of removing to Dakota, but, on his arrival in Minneapolis changed his mind and came to Dassel, and commenced practice in January of that year. He has gained the confidence and esteem of the people of the village by his honorable principles and excellent judgment, and the surrounding country have a deep regard for his general success and his practice has already assumed good proportions and is on the increase. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, having been made a Mason in Big Spring Lodge, No. 361, at Newville, Pa.


Peter Keilty

Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

PETER KEILTY, a highly respected farmer and stock-raiser, residing on section 28, Forest Prairie township, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on the 20th of September, 1847, and is the son of William and Bridget Keilty, who were natives of Ireland. The family were among the earliest settlers in the township, the father having cut his own road to his homestead on section 34, which he took in 1864. The parents lived here for many years, then went to Kansas, but returned, and are now living in the township.

Peter Keilty spent his school days, receiving a good education, in Kentucky and Illinois, his parents having removed to the latter State in 1863. They remained there for several years, one of which was spent in the city of Chicago, and they then went to Berrien county, Mich., where they remained until coming to Meeker county, Minn., in 1866. The most of the life of our subject has been devoted to farming, although there have been some exceptions. For two years he was on the Northern Pacific Railroad as a cook, and he also spent some time in lumbering. He also for some time was in Colorado.

Mr. Keilty was married at Forest City on the 7th of January, 1883, to Miss Gertrude Thissen, a native of Minnesota and a daughter of Peter Thissen, a farmer of Forest Prairie township. Their marriage has been blessed with two children, named Josie and Bernard.

In political matters Mr. Keilty affiliates with the republican party. The family are members of the Catholic Church. He has a comfortable home and good farm, and devotes his time and attention to stock-raising and to diversified farming.


V. P. Kennedy
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

DOCTOR V. P. KENNEDY, of Litchfield, besides being a pioneer, is one of the best known citizens in this part of the State. Doctor Kennedy was born in Butler county, Penn., on the 11th of July, 1824. When he was five years of age his parents removed to and became pioneers of Indiana, where the subject of this sketch remained until 1856. His younger days were spent upon a farm, but when twenty-one he entered the Asbury University at Greencastle, Ind., where he spent two years, and then went to Rockville, Ind., where he began the study of medicine. A year later he went to Louisville, Ky.; later to Chicago, and in 1851 finished his course and graduated from Rush Medical College. In 1875 he took an ad-eundum degree at the Bellevue Hospital College, New York.

Doctor Kennedy’s parents were Martin and Elinor (Pellett) Kennedy. The father died when the Doctor was ten and the mother when he was six years of age. He was then thrown upon his own resources and for a time lived with an uncle; but when sixteen he left his uncle’s roof and began the battle of life on his own account. In June, 1856, he came to Meeker county, Minn., and took the same claim which had been held by Dr. Frederick N. Ripley, which is mentioned at length elsewhere in this volume. Ripley had been frozen to death in March of that year. Dr. Kennedy at once began improvements in a light way, building a little cabin on the place, but he lived in Cedar City, McLeod county, until the spring of 1857, when he settled on his claim. During the season of 1856 he had “broke” some land and raised a few potatoes, the Indians, however, getting the benefit of his labor. Doctor Kennedy remained on his claim until the fall of 1860, when he was elected to the State Legislature. He was re-elected in the fall of 1861. In the spring of 1862 he entered the United States service as surgeon of the Fifth Minnesota Volunteer Infantry and remained with his regiment until the 1st of May, 1865, when he was mustered out at Montgomery, Ala. The following summer was spent upon his farm, and in the fall he received the appointment of physician for the Chippewa Indians at Red Lake, and remained there from November, 1865, until March, 1867. He again returned to Meeker county, and bought what was known as the Cedar Mill and ran that until 1869, when he came to Litchfield and resumed the practice of his profession. In 1880 he went to Brown county, D.T., and took a claim, but continued his practice at Litchfield until 1883, when he removed to Ordway, D.T., and engaged in the drug business, also becoming postmaster. In the fall of 1885 he was elected to the Dakota Senate and took an active interest in shaping Territorial legislation. In the spring of 1886 his family returned to Litchfield and for some time the Doctor was back and forth between the two points, but the latter place is now his home.

Doctor Kennedy was first married on the 19th day of July, 1849, to Miss Julia A. Rudisell, who died July 13, 1854. This union was blessed with two children, one of whom is now living, Julia A., wife of Nimrod Barrick, who lives at the Doctor’s original claim in Meeker county. Dr. Kennedy was again married, on the 2nd of July, 1860, to Caroline Rudisell, a sister of his first wife. They have three children now living – Milford P., who lives on a farm in Dakota; Harry M. and Lewis H., who are attending university at Minneapolis.

Doctor Kennedy is an active member of the Grand Army of the Republic. At the annual encampment in 1887 he was elected medical director for the department of Minnesota and served for one year. He is also a member of the Masonic fraternity, having joined Golden Fleece Lodge in the fall of 1875. He is prominently identified with the State Medical Association and is recognized as one of the best educated and most experienced members of the medical profession in this part of the State. During late years, however, he has devoted his attention chiefly to his extensive farming interests, having 360 acres in this county all of which is improved; and 640 acres in Dakota, with 400 under cultivation.


E. Kimball
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

E. KIMBALL, who was for many years closely connected with the business life of the country, and one of its leading mill owners, although now retired from the active pursuits of trade or manufacture, still keeps up his interests in whatsoever is for the benefit of the community. He is a native of the State of Maine, having been born in Oxford county, Jan. 4, 1832, and is the son of Asa and Esther A. (Walker) Kimball, both of whom were  natives of the “Pine Tree State.” His mother was a daughter of the celebrated Col. Dexter Walker, whose history is too well known to be repeated in this connection.

The subject of this memoir was reared in Androscoggin county, Me., and received a fair business education. From his boyhood he has always had a taste for study, and is to-day a ripe scholar. On reaching the years of manhood he embarked in mercantile business, which he carried on successfully for some thirteen years in his native State and then came to Minnesota, locating at Forest City in the fall of 1867. The same year, the firm of Hines, Kimball & Beedy built the large flouring mill at that place, and the same time opened a store in the village. This business arrangement continued until 1873, when Mr. Hines retired from the firm, the company having erected the Manannah flour mill on the Crow River, some ten miles above Forest City. This last Mr. Hines took and operated for several years, the business at Forest City being continued by Kimball & Beedy until 1882, when Mr. Kimball retired from the business on account of ill-health, paying all his attention to the improvement of his place, one of the handsomest in Forest City township, and to bee keeping, in which he is preeminently successful.

Mr. Kimball was united in marriage, February 7, 1854, with Miss Phoebe Manwell and they are the parents of two children: Georgiana, the wife of Dr. W.E. Chapman, of Litchfield, and Edna Cecil, at home. Both Mr. K. and his estimable wife, are members of the Baptist Church. He is a republican in politics, and is filling the offices of justice of the peace and coroner, and is a pension and real estate agent. He has held the office of justice for over fifteen years.


Harold Kittelson
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

HAROLD KITTELSON, of Acton township, is one of the pioneers of Meeker county. He was born in Norway, on the 8th of February, 1840, and came to the United States in 1846, with his parents, Kittel and Carrie Haroldson. They settled upon a farm in Rock county, Wis., where they remained until 1857, when they removed to Meeker county, Minn. Harold remained with his parents until 1864, when he moved onto a farm of 149 acres on section 24, Acton township, which he purchased of his father for $300. He has since bought additional land, until he now has 319 acres in all, a good share of which is under cultivation. In 1874 he erected a story-and-a-half residence, 24x32 feet in size, and in 1886 built an addition 18x20 feet in dimensions. In 1884 he built a large barn, with a basement, and besides these, has other substantial farm buildings. On the 25th of July, 1863, he was married to Miss Martha Paulson. She is a daughter of Mathias and Mary Paulson, and was born in Norway July 18, 1835. Her father, Mathias Paulson, with his family, five in number, were included in the first party of emigrants that ever started for America from Saelboe, South Throndhjems, Arnt, Norway, May 18, 1857, and landed in Quebec, Canada. The family traveled partly by railroad and the balance of the way with team, to Berry, Compton county, Canada East, where they settled June 22, 1857. In the spring of 1860 Martha came with her brother Paul to St. Paul, Minn., and in the fall of 1861 she came to Meeker county, where her parents had settled in the fall of 1860.

Mr. and Mrs. Kittelson’s marriage has been blessed with the following children – Carrie, born April 3, 1864; Carl, born August 26, 1866; Mathias, born December 1, 1869; John, born May 31, 1873, died in September, 1874; Hannah M., born February 1, 1877; and Nellie Christina, born March 12, 1879, died September 12, 1879. Mr. Kittelson was living with his parents when the Indian outbreak of 1862 began, and he was one of the first settlers to see Jones after that unfortunate pioneer was murdered. He was also present when Jones and the other victims were buried, and with his team hauled from Litchfield the first base of the monument which now marks their last resting-place. Mrs. Kittelson was also here during that eventful period, and was at work in the family of A.C. Smith at the time the attack was made on Forest City. Smith came in that night while she was clearing off the supper dishes, and stated that he believed an attack would be made that night, directing her to go at once to the stockade. She desired, however, to stay until she had finished her work, but Smith explained that she could finish the work in the morning if she was alive. She therefore threw a quilt over her head for a shawl, and went to the stockade, and, not realizing the approaching danger, went peacefully to sleep. The same night the attack was made, and for a time all thought that the Day of Judgment had come. In the morning she found that Smith’s advice had saved her life, as the Indians had, in the meantime, been to the vacated house and stolen all they could carry off, and set it on fire, but the blaze had died out before much damage was done. A full account of the Indian troubles is given elsewhere in this volume, so it is unnecessary to go further in detail in this connection.


Ole Kittleson
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

OLE KITTLESON, a prominent old settler who resides on section 31, Litchfield township, is a native of Norway, born in 1844, and a son of Kittle and Carrie Haroldson. In 1846 he came to the United States with his parents and they settled in Rock county, Wis., where they remained until 1857, and then removed to Meeker county, Minn., and the family settled on section 30, Litchfield township. Ole Kittleson was only a boy of eighteen years of age at the time the outbreak of the Indians began, but the duties of a man devolved upon him. He assisted in the burial of the first five victims, and was one of the pursuing party that chased the redskins who came upon the ground while the inquest was being held. When the danger seemed to have passed, he and his father and brothers returned to their unfinished harvesting, but the news of the bloody massacres and murders that followed, drove them to Forest City for refuge. The family spent the following winter of 1862-63, on the old Gitchell place, near Kingston, but Ole stayed a portion of the time on the old claim, sleeping in the house alone. In 1863 they gathered together what stock there was left and did a little farming.

Ole Kittleson finally purchased a farm adjoining that of his father’s and went to farming on his own account. He has been very successful and now has a valuable farm, upon which he devotes his time, carrying on diversified farming and stock-raising. In 1869 he was married to Sarah Halverson Ness, a daughter of Ole Halverson Ness. Their marriage has been blessed with eight children, seven of whom are living – Carrie, Christian, Olavus, Mary, Henry, George and Ida. At the time of the grasshopper plague in 1877, Mr. Kittleson lost about all his crops, having some seventy bushels and only raised five.
Mr. Kittleson has taken an active interest in all matters affecting the welfare of his township, and is justly regarded as one of the solid and substantial citizens of the county. He has held various township offices and has been school director of his district for over twenty years. The family are members of the Ness Norwegian Lutheran Church.


James A. Kline
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

JAMES A. KLINE, who has been engaged so successfully in carrying on farming and stock-raising on his fine farm on section 22, Kingston township, is a native of Amsterdam, Montgomery county, N.Y., born December 17, 1813. He remained in the place of his nativity until some twenty-two years of age, when he emigrated to the wilds of Michigan, settling in Genesee county, where he was engaged in farming and lumbering. From there about 1855, he removed to Winnebago county, Ill., where he made his home until 1867, when he came to Meeker county, and settled where he now lives. He received in his youth the elements of a good common-school education and by a diligent use of it has well-informed himself on all general subjects. While a resident of Michigan he went to Tuolumne county, Cal., where he engaged in mining for two years and then returned home. Most of his life has been actively engaged in agricultural pursuits, but in succeeding in achieving an easy competence, he is spending his declining years in the enjoyment of home. Our subject is the son of Adam and Elizabeth (Cryslor) Kline, both of whom were natives of the Empire State, and who emigrated to Michigan in 1838, where the father died at the age of fifty-two years. His wife, the mother of our subject, died after attaining some eighty-three years. They had a family of twelve children – William A., born August 21, 1810, died April 15, 1840; A. C., born May 31, 1812; James A., born December 17, 1813; John, born January 24, 1851; Joseph, born August 20. 1823; George, born November 10, 1827; Sarah Jane, born March 23, 1830; Henry, born May 15, 1832, enlisted in the Eighth Michigan Infantry, and was killed July 12, 1864; Maria, born April 28, 1819, died August 1, 1822; Margaret, born November 17, 1822, died August 8, 1823; and Elizabeth J., born January, 1826, died November 8, 1826.

James A. Kline was first married on the 11th of October, 1840, in Michigan, to Mary Ann Perry. They had one son, who is living – George P. Kline, a resident of Dakota.

Mr. Kline’s second marriage occurred December 12, 1848, when he was wedded to Mrs. Ann Talbott, nee Shimin, who was born in England, a daughter of John and Ann (Corris) Shimin. The date of her birth was November 21, 1815. A sketch of the Shimin family is given elsewhere in this ALBUM. By this union Mr. and Mrs. Kline have had two children – Anna, wife of Mr. Hiram Ramsey, and James E., a farmer of this township, who married Miss Emma Baker. Mrs. Kline by her former marriage had two children – Henry T., killed in the army November 25, 1863, at Lookout Mountain, a member of the Seventy-Fourth Illinois Infantry, and William, born January 18, 1846, married in 1868 to Miss Amelia Boom.


John W. Knight
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

JOHN W. KNIGHT, dealer in tubular well machinery, wood pumps, rubber goods and engine extras, and one of the prominent business men of Litchfield, is an old settler in Meeker county. Mr. Knight is a native of Burrilville, R.H., born on the 18th of August, 1841. His parents were William and Abigail (Olney) Knight, both natives of Massachusetts, whose forefathers on both sides were among the first settlers of that region, and the mother’s brother, Wilson Olney, was an Indian agent in Massachusetts many years ago.

The subject of this sketch was one of a family of six children, as follows – William Henry, of Swanzey, N.H., where he has been steadily employed in a bucket factory for thirty years; Abigail, now Mrs. C.C. Carpenter, of Graceville, Minn.; John W.; Lizzie G., now Mrs. Fitch, of Swanzey, N.H.: Mary, now Mrs. White, of Keene, N.H.; Dutte S., of Hinsdale, N.H., an overseer in a large blanket factory; and Hattie N., now a Mrs. White, of Keene, N.H.

John W. Knight remained with his parents working on a farm and attending school when opportunity offered until he was eighteen years of age, when he purchased his “time” of his father and began life on his own account. He worked in factories and at whatever he found profitable until March 3, 1861, when he enlisted in Company K, Second New Hampshire Infantry for three years service. He was mustered in at Concord, N.H., on the 4th of April and his regiment was assigned to the Army of the Potomac. The first actual service was at the siege of Yorktown, Va., under Gen. G.B. McClellan. From there they went to Williamsburg with the division under General Hooker, and there Mr. Knight was seriously wounded by the concussion of a shell; a comrade to his right having his head taken off, and one to his left having his leg amputated by the same shell. Mr. Knight was taken to the Williamsburg hospital and a short time later to the Yorktown hospital, and there remained until the latter place was evacuated. He was finally mustered out and discharged for disability July 31, 1863, at Concord, N.H.

On the 27th of August, 1863, he was married by Rev. S.S. Dudley to Miss Abbie P. Fletcher, a native of Acworth, N.H., born March 18, 1845. A short time later they went to Winchendon, Mass., where Mr. Knight was engaged in the sewing machine factory of Goodspeed & Weyman, for about one year, when he went to Marlborough, N.H. A short time later he went to Bellows Falls, Vt., and remained there until May, 1866, when he came to Meeker county, Minn. He selected a homestead on section 28, in Forest City township, and commenced improving his land, erecting the kind of a cabin customary with the early settlers. His family arrived in October of the same year. Mr. Knight remained on his farm for seven years, when he sold out and removed to Litchfield, where for a year he followed carpentering and draying. In 1873 he went into the pump business which he has followed constantly since. In 1886, in company with his son, Wilmer W., he opened a shop in Paynesville, Stearns county, which his son now conducts. Mr. and Mrs. Knight are the parents of five living children – Wilmer W., born in New Hampshire, November 28, 1864, now in Paynesville, Minn.; Almon E. and Almina E., born in Forest City, April 21, 1869; Elsie V., born in Forest City, October 23, 1873; Ernest A., died at the age of fourteen months; and Inez O., born at Litchfield, May 31, 1879. The family are members of the Christian Church.


John Knights
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

JOHN KNIGHTS, one of the leading stock-buyers of Litchfield, is also engaged in the livery business in that village. He is a native of Eaton, Canada, born February 27, 1837, and is the son of William and Catherine (Hoburn) Knights. Both of his parents were natives of the Emerald Isle, who had come to the Dominion several years previous. John was reared in the county of his birth, upon the farm of his father, until he had reached the age of nineteen, when he came to the United States and located at St. Paul, this State. He remained in that place and in Hennepin county for about four years, engaged in lumbering, and then moved to Oshkosh, Wis. In the spring of 1861 he enlisted in the First Minnesota Infantry, for three months, and on the expiration of his term of service, re-enlisted in the Third Minnesota Infantry. He participated in the fortunes of the regiment until March, 1863, when he was mustered out for disability. Settling in Wright county, at the time of the outbreak he was made a scout and guide to one of the columns, after which he served as deputy provost marshal until the close of the war. Mr. Knights remained at farming in Wright county six years, and then ran a store at Cokato for eighteen months, and after spending another year in lumbering, he came to Litchfield and went into the livery business with A.L. McCarger. Four years later he commenced the cattle business. In 1866 the firm of Ross & Knights was formed. In April, 1864, he married Miss Helen Marr Jenks, a native of Illinois, who had come to this State in her childhood. By this union there have been born nine children – Henry H., Viola E., Gertrude E., Bertha M., Winnie M., Arthur E., Allie F., Harry M. and John A.


August T. Koerner
Source: Progressive men of Minnesota. Published by The Minneapolis Journal (1897) submitted by Diana Heser Morse

August T. Koerner, now serving a second term as treasurer of the State of Minnesota, is a German by birth. In 1843 he was born at Rodach, Saxe-Coburn-Gotha, and until he was fifteen years of age the fatherland was his home. It was there that he attended the common school, and leaving school at fourteen years of age, his parents being poor, began to learn the trade of a toy maker. After working at this trade for about a year he came to America alone and without friends to carve out his fortune among strangers. This was in 1858. The three years that intervened before the commencement of the civil war he spent in Indiana and Missouri. April 17, 1861, at the age of 18, he enlisted for three months in Company C, Sixth Indiana volunteers and re-enlisted at the end of this short service for three years in Company II Twenty-sixth Indiana volunteers. January 31, 1864, he was discharged, but became a veteran on the same day, and received his final discharge June 25, 1865, after a continuous service of four years, two months and eight days. He can talk from personal experience of the campaign in West Virginia, including the battles of Phillippi, Laurel Hill and Carrack's Ford, and of the year and a half during which the Federal forces chased Price through Missouri. In the Missouri campaign, at the skirmish of Prairie Grove, he was wounded. He participated next in the siege of Vicksburg, and then followed his regiment into Texas and Louisiana, closing an honorable military career at New Orleans, where he was given his final discharge. Mr. Koerner was a bookkeeper at Troy, Illinois, for about two years following the close of the war, and then, in 1867, came to Meeker County, Minnesota, settling on a farm near Litchfield. For the thirty years that have ensued, Litchfield has been his home, and the reputation which he acquired there among all with whom he came in contact, for integrity, industry, sound business judgment, and unswerving loyalty to his friends, is the foundation upon which his splendid public record has been built. In his early manhood days he was a Democrat, and from 1868 to 1874 he was a member of the Greenback party; but since 1874 he has been a Republican. In the village of Litchfield, during the early days of his residence there, he filled a number of minor offices, among them that of village clerk. From 1878 to 1884 he was register of deeds of Meeker County. In 1891 President Harrison appointed him postmaster at Litchfield, a position which he resigned in 1892, preparatory to becoming a candidate for membership in the lower house of the legislature. He was elected, and during the session of 1893 his record was such as to commend him to the Republican party as a suitable candidate for state treasurer. He was elected to this high office in the fall of 1894 and re-elected in 1896. In the spring of 1894, Mr. Koerner associated himself with S. W. Leavitt, ex-state senator, at Litchfield, for the organization of the Meeker County Abstract and Loan Company, and was chosen president of the company, a position he still holds. He is a member of the Christian church at Litchfield. Since 1868 he has belonged to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and since 1878 to the Masonic fraternity. He has been commander of Milita Commandery, No. 17, Knights Templar. For years he has been an enthusiastic member of the G. A. R., and Frank Daggett post, No. 35, once honored him by making him its commander. Mr. Koerner married Miss Kate McGannon, of Litchfield, while a resident of Troy, Illinois. Of six children born of this union, three survive: Mamie, the eldest, is the wife of William Miller, of Litchfield; P. C. Koerner is a clerk in the state treasurer's office; Pauline, the youngest, is a girl of thirteen, at home.

Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

AUGUST T. KOERNER, real estate and loan agent, is one of Litchfield’s most prominent citizens. He is a native of Germany, born July 7, 1843. He remained in his native country until fourteen years of age when he started for this country, practically alone, and made his way to Ste. Genevieve, Mo., where a sister was then living. Until the fall of 1860 he made his home with his sister, and then went to Vernon, Ind., for the purpose of learning the millers’ business. He remained at his trade until April, 1861, when he enlisted for ninety days’ service in Company H, Sixth Indiana Volunteers, being then three months short of eighteen years of age. After the term of enlistment expired he reenlisted for three years in Company H, Twenty-sixth Indiana Volunteer Infantry. In the spring of 1864 he veteranized and served until the close of the war. His service covered a period of four years and three months, the time being spent in West Virginia, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and Alabama. He was wounded in the left arm by a minie ball at the battle of Prairie Grove; was all through the siege of Vicksburg, and in all, participated in seventeen battles. After the close of the war he located at Troy, Ill., where he was employed at book-keeping for Throp & Co., merchant millers. During his residence at that point he made his first trip to Meeker county in August, 1865, and while here was married to Miss Katie McGannon, after which event he returned to Troy. In 1867 he again came to Meeker county, Minn., this time to stay, and settled upon a farm on section 2, Greenleaf township.

There he remained for two years, and then gave up the farm and made several trips to Illinois. In the spring of 1873 he again moved onto the farm, and, after losing three successive crops from grasshoppers and hail, gave it up and removed to Litchfield. For two years thereafter he was engaged at clerical work, and in 1877 was elected register of deeds of Meeker county. He was twice reelected and therefore served three successive terms. During this time he opened a real estate office, and since the expiration of his term of office has devoted his whole attention to his real estate, loan and insurance business.

In 1877, in company with N. A. Viren and P. Ekstrom, Mr. Koerner opened the first set of abstract books in Meeker county. Mr. Koerner has taken an active interest in all matters affecting the welfare of his home, and during his residence here has almost constantly held some public position of trust and responsibility. He was one of the charter members of the Frank Daggett Post of the Grand Army of the Republic, and has taken a prominent part in its history. He is a Mason, being a member of Golden Fleece Lodge, No. 89, Rabboni Chapter, No. 37, and Melita Commandery, No. 17, and has held various offices in each organization, filling all positions with credit to himself and honor to the fraternity. Mr. Koerner and wife, with their family, are members of the Christian church. Their family consists of three children – Mamie, Carney and Pauline – all of whom are living at home. They have lost three children by death.


John Konsbrick
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

JOHN KONSBRICK, of the city of Litchfield, is a native of the duchy of Luxemburg, Germany, born in the year 1839. He was reared in the land of his birth, among its picturesque and vine clad hills, and remained there until he had reached the age of one and twenty. He then emigrated to the shores of the new world to better his fortunes, and on arrival in this country settled at Aurora, Ill., where he lived for some two years, and at the expiration of that time came to Minnesota. For two years he was employed in farming in Dakota county, after which he spent a couple of years more at Bellevue, Jackson county, Iowa. From the latter place he returned to Dakota county, this State, and after a trip to the Territory of Dakota he came to Litchfield, and for three years was in the employ of John Rodange, a fellow countryman and an acquaintance of his boyhood. In 1883 our subject started for himself in the retail liquor business, but some two years later his place was destroyed by fire by which he lost some $700 over the insurance. He, instead of being discouraged, at once commenced to put up a new building. It was erected at a total cost of something like $4,500, and is a credit to the town. Mr. Konsbrick is one of the leading saloon men of the town and a square business man.


John C. Kruger
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

JOHN C. KRUGER, a prominent and representative citizen of Ellsworth township, living on section 8, came to this county May 27, 1862, and settled on section 8 of the same town, where he remained until the Indian outbreak that fall. At that time he went to Forest City, Kingston, and Clearwater, but soon came back and remained that winter in Forest City. In the spring he moved to a farm in that vicinity, and from there after one season spent in Greenleaf township, came to his present residence, where he took up eighty acres under the homestead law, to which he has added some 300 acres, and now has an excellent farm.

Mr. Kruger was born in the northern part of Germany, May 1, 1815, and is the son of Charles D. Kruger, who was the parent of five children – four besides our subject – William, Herman, Charles and Mary, the latter the widow of John Putzer, of Greenleaf.

Mr. Kruger remained in the “fatherland” until 1851, when he sought in free America the chance for achieving a competency denied in the land of his birth, so down-trodden is it by military despotism. He located in Illinois, where he remained until coming to Minnesota. Before leaving his native country, October 20, 1846, he was united in marriage with Miss Mary Long, a native of the same Empire, a daughter of Fred Long. She was born March 20, 1824. By this union there have been born five children, as follows – Charles, Ferdinand, Mary, Minnie and Lizzie. In his political faith Mr. Kruger strongly clings to the republican doctrines, and supports the candidates of that party.


James Lang
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

JAMES LANG, one of the old settlers of Manannah township, and the merchant, postmaster and hotel proprietor of the village of Manannah, is a son of James and Margaret (Leech) Lang, natives of Scotland, who were married in that land of heather and emigrated to the United States about 1822, settling in Vermont. About a year later they removed to Canada where they both died, the father in 1886, the mother in 1847.

The subject of our sketch was born in LaPrairie county, Canada, December 20, 1838, and remained at home with his parents until 1857, when at the age of eighteen years he came to the “States” with his brother Robert, who had been here the year previous, and settled in this county, where he lived, on section 18, Harvey township, for some years. He went to work putting up a cabin, and breaking up the prairie sod with a yoke of oxen. In the fall of 1857 he built a house upon the site of the village, in company with Robert Lang and S. Dickinson, and for two years lived there during the winter months, and upon his farm in the summer. From that time on he made his home upon the homestead until the Indian outbreak in 1862. On that eventful Sunday, Mr. Lang and several other parties started for Forest City with the intention of enlisting, but hearing of the murders in Acton, they suspended action, waiting more definite news. Hearing that some Indians had been seen going toward Manannah, they returned speedily, he remained until the following Wednesday, when all the settlers left, as it was unsafe to remain. At Kingston he heard of the organization of Captain Whitcomb’s company of Home Guards, and with others came and enlisted in that company. With them he participated in all the movements as detailed in the chapter devoted to the massacre in this volume. He it was, who was riding with Mr. Britt, when their horses were stuck in the slough. As got out of the slough, he was some eighty rods behind the party, and he had to run for his life. When he saw that the teams had gone on and left him, he laid down to pull off his shoes, and the Indians thinking they had killed him, stopped to get the horse. Starting to run, three savages pursued him on their ponies, but the wagon waited for him, and it is said that the Sioux ponies did not gain on him in his race for life.

Mr. Lang remained with this company until it was disbanded and during that winter followed trapping and hunting. In March, 1863, he enlisted in Company C, First Minnesota Mounted Rangers, and served in the West with them until their discharge in the fall of 1863. In August, 1864, Mr. Lang again enlisted, this time in the Second United States Sharpshooters, which were attached to Colonel Berdan’s famous regiment, and joined the Army of the Potomac, in front of Petersburg, Va., and were assigned to the Third Division of the noble Second Corps. He was under fire for the first time in this company at the second battle of Hatcher’s Run, and served until the close of the war.

On receiving his discharge and pay about which there was some trouble owing to “red tape,” our subject returned to Meeker county, where he has made his home ever since. He was married, March 29, 1870, to Miss Juliet Murray, a native of Waukesha county, Wis., and daughter of John Murray, of that place. By this union there have been born a family of four children – Lily M., Mary J., and James A., all living, and Lizzie, deceased.

In the spring of 1875 Mr. Lang, in company with A. P. Grey, bought out the store of Hines & Campbell, and for four years ran it in partnership, but since that time has been carrying it on alone. He was appointed postmaster in 1881, and still holds that office. He has served some six years on the school board, and is regarded as one of the leading citizens and representative men of the county. No man has been more prominently identified with the development of the northern part of the county or figures more conspicuously in its history, and both he and his estimable wife merit and receive the highest esteem of all. Through his many years’ residence here Mr. Lang has become well-known to nearly all the old settlers of Meeker county. He is a man of the strictest honor and integrity, and his word is recognized as being as good as a bond.

Elsewhere in this volume will be found portraits of both Mr. Lang and his wife.


Larson Family Biographies of Meeker County Minnesota


H. J. Lasher
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

ONE OF THE LEADING and most prominent farmers in Meeker county, is H. J. LASHER, a resident of section 4, Cedar Mills township. He was born in Switzerland on the 22nd of August, 1832. When he was six months old his parents came to the United States and settled in Philadelphia, where they died when the subject of this sketch was eight years old. H.J. then went to Jersey City, where he remained until he was eleven years of age. From there he went to Dryden, N.Y., and was adopted by Albert Phillips, with whom he remained until he was fifteen years of age. At that time he went to Homer, N.Y., and learned the tinner’s and coppersmith’s trade, serving until twenty-one. He followed this business for years afterward in various cities throughout New York.

While at Marathon, N.Y., on May 15, 1854, he was married to Catherine J. Topping, of Dryden, N.Y. They remained there until 1859, when they came to Meeker county, Minn., and located on section 12, Cedar Mills township, having an interest in a claim taken by his wife’s father, Mr. Topping. He also claimed land on section 4, and in 1861 moved on to the latter claim. For a time they lived in an Indian tepee, then in the stable, and finally when their house was ready for occupancy they moved into it December 31, 1861. There they were living when the Indian outbreak began. As a full history of this matter is given in another department, it will only be necessary to briefly refer to Mr. Lasher’s personal movements during those trying times. On Monday morning, August 18, 1862, he learned of the massacre at Acton, and sent his family to section 12, where his wife’s brother-in-law, D.B. Peck, lived, while he started to notify the settlers in Greenleaf. He found them all gone and he made his way down to Peck’s. The same day his family returned to his farm and he remained to help Peck harvest. Thursday he was notified of firing near his farm and went to Cedar Mills to get some one to accompany him for his family, but no one would venture, so he went alone. On reaching the farm he met some twenty parties who had started from Forest City to bury those killed at Acton, but they had been chasing Indians into Kandiyohi county and had made their way back this far in the night. Mrs. Lasher got supper and breakfast for them and they then started for Forest City. The family returned to Cedar Mills, and Peck, with his team, hauled 1,600 pounds of flour and other provisions from the farm to the same place. When they got there they found some eight or ten families gathered from the surrounding country, all bent on fleeing for safety, but after some talk it was decided to build fortifications and remain. While they were talking, Dr. Earl, from Beaver Falls, Renville county, came up and stated that all were killed in his neighborhood except a very few, and that his three boys were wandering on the prairie somewhere southwest of them. Mr. Lasher and L.S. Weymouth started out and soon found and brought in the boys. They had met three Indians on the prairie who had passed through Greenleaf and Cedar, and had given them food and had traded guns with them. These Indians they recognized as Little Crows. When Lasher and Weymouth got back, however, all the rest had fled. They were soon overtaken and brought back. Mr. Lasher was appointed captain, and they decided to fortify “the Point” in Cedar Lake and remain there until the trouble was over. Weymouth and Lasher stood guard at the crossing by the mill. On Wednesday a party of thirty or forty refugees from Yellow Medicine county came up, accompanied by the friendly Indian, “Other Day.” With them was a Mr. Garvey, who had been wounded, and who died the following day at Mr. Lasher’s house. Thursday all the new-comers left for a safer place, and a few days later the “Point” was evacuated, and all the settlers went to Hutchinson, through the advice of "Other Day," Mr. Lasher and several others returned to the farm to care for the grain, Mrs. Lasher, Miss C. Jewett and Mrs. Geo. Wills accompanying them to do the cooking. While there Strouts' company came through from Minneapolis on their way to Acton, and the next morning were surprised by the Indians, and routed and returned to Hutchinson. The others also went back except Mr. Lasher and Frank Jewett, who remained upon a hill till they saw the Indians passing east and west, when they also started for Hutchinson, and met a party in search of them. The following day the Indians made the attack on Hutchinson. The next day Lasher and Weymouth returned to Cedar Mills and set loose all the stock. They found the mill running, it having been started by the Indians, who had stolen all the flour. They returned to Hutchinson, and the next day Mr. Lasher organized a company, went back and repaired the mill and ground some flour for the settlers, who were sadly in need of it. Shortly after this a portion of the Third Minnesota Regiment, under command of Major Welch, came through, and Mr. Lasher joined them as a scout, and remained in the service with Gen. H.H. Sibley for three years and a half, participating in all its expeditions and battles, being in the engagements at Wood Lake and Lac qui Parle, etc. At the latter place they captured a number of Indians, thirteen of whom were afterward hung at Mankato.

During this time, Mr. Lasher’s family had returned to the old home in New York. In the fall of 1864 they returned to Hutchinson, and in the following summer again settled on the farm. In 1869 Mr. Lasher removed to Litchfield, where he followed his trade until 1881, when they again settled upon the farm, and have since remained there. While in Litchfield Mr. Lasher took an active interest in band matters, and was leader of that organization for six years. He has now a valuable farm of 400 acres, with good improvements and has it well stocked.

Mr. and Mrs. Lasher are members of the Presbyterian Church. Mr. Lasher has always taken an active interest in church matters. He was one of the prime movers in securing the organization of the church in this township. He had charge of the erection of the building, and besides devoting much time, he personally became responsible for $200 to complete the edifice. He was also chosen superintendent of the first Sunday school organized in the township in 1860, and when they removed to their farm on section 4, they organized a Sunday school there.

Mr. and Mrs. Lasher have been the parents of eight children. Only four of them are living, as follows – Hulda C., now Mrs. H. P. Pfaff, of Greenleaf; Albert P., Sarah A. and Daniel B. The last three are still at home.


Charles A. Laughton
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

CHARLES A. LAUGHTON, one of the prominent men of Litchfield, was born in Platteville, Grant county, Wis., March 20, 1851, and is the son of George R. and Mildred (Durley) Laughton. His father was born in Soho Square, London, Eng., June 27, 1820, and came to the United States in 1835, arriving in New York October 25. He came to Southport, now Kenosha, Wis., with L. G. Merrill and John Nichols, who brought some $56,000 worth of goods to that place October 30, 1842. In December following, these parties sent him to Platteville, with a large stock of goods. He became a large land owner in that county and lived on a farm in the environs of Platteville until 1870, when he removed to that village, where he lives retired from business. He was married, May 1, 1844, to Miss Mildred Durley, who was born August 9, 1828, at Greenville, Bond county, Ill., who died January 8, 1864.

The elder Mr. Laughton owned and operated a splendidly equipped woolen factory upon his farm, and Charles A., who attended school in the summer months, during the winters worked in the mill, and there showed his mechanical ingenuity. In 1870 when the place was sold, Charles entered the Young Men’s Academy, at Lake Forest, Ill., where he spent two years. He then entered into the mercantile trade at Platteville, with his brother, but finding the work too confining for his health, entered the employ of J. I. Case & Co., of Racine. The following spring of 1874, he commenced traveling in their interests, as an expert, over the United States and Canada, and has seen much of the world while doing so. He followed that line of work, in the service of the same company, until September, 1881, when he came to Litchfield, as the resident agent for Case & Co.’s threshing machinery. In the spring of 1887, he built the machine shop where he does all kinds of repairing of machinery, especially engine work, which he carries on in connection with his other business.

November 10, 1887, C.A. Laughton was united in marriage with Miss Julia Gratiot, a native of Platteville, Wis., daughter of the late Lieut. Col. E. H. and Ellen (Hager) Gratiot, natives of St. Louis, Mo., and Baltimore, Md., and niece of the late Hon. E. B. Washburn. While Mr. and Mrs. Laughton are not among the older residents of the village, their genial dispositions and happy manners have won them a high place in social circles. Mr. Laughton is ranked among the leading business men of the place, and a bright future is evidently before him.


Andrew O. Lawson
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

ANDREW O. LAWSON, senior member of the general merchandise firm of A.O. Lawson & Co., one of the leading merchants of Grove City, was born in Sweden, November 3, 1855, and is the son of Lasse and Christina Ostradson. In 1872 he crossed the ocean in search of fortune and happiness, and for a time was engaged in taking care of and driving the carriage horses of a business man in Minneapolis. During the summer of that year he came to Acton township and worked in the harvest fields of this locality, and spent the following winter here in attending school. In the spring he returned to Minneapolis, where he was variously employed for some two years. Returning to Meeker county he entered the employ of Peter E. Hanson, with whom he remained five years. In the spring of 1881, in company with O.H. Peterson, he started in the grocery trade in Grove City, but sold out to his partner in the fall, and made a trip to the home of his boyhood, and returning in spring he again engaged with P.E. Hanson in the real estate business, where he remained some two years. About that time the present firm of A.O. Lawson & Co. was formed between him and T. G. Forster, since which time they have been engaged in this line.

Mr. Lawson was united in marriage, October 16, 1884, with Miss Betsey Larson, the daughter of Ole Larson, of this county, and they have been the parents of two children – Cora, born September 7, 1885; and Josephine, whose birth occurred February 25, 1887.

In his political views Mr. Larson is entirely independent of party lines, preferring to cast his ballot for the best men or the best measures, irrespective of political platforms or dictates.


James Lawton
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

JAMES LAWTON, one of the pioneers of Forest Prairie township, came to Meeker county in 1867, and took up a homestead on section 32, where he now resides, carrying on general farming. He was born in Hadley, Saratoga county, N.Y., March 19, 1825, and is the son of David and Thankful (Parmeter) Lawton, the latter a native of White Hall, N.Y., and the former of Dennison, Vt. During the childhood of our subject his father’s house was destroyed by fire, and with it the records of the family, so they are lost. In January, 1856, the mother of our subject died in Lafayette, McKean county, Penn., and the father’s decease occurred in 1858.

James Lawton passed his school days in Wayne and Morgan counties, N.Y., with his brothers and sisters, whose names were – Amos, Ruth, Pollie, Lucy, David, Huldah, Hester, Daniel and Jonathan. In 1846 he removed with his parents to Warren county, Penn., where they lived some six or seven years, he being engaged in farming and in lumbering. In 1856 he came west and settled in Shelby county, Ill., where he remained until August 11, 1862, when, leaving wife and family, he enlisted at the call of patriotism, in the One Hundred and Fifteenth Illinois Infantry, and participated in all the skirmishes and battles in which his regiment was engaged, the principal one being that of Chickamauga. He was discharged on August 14, 1864, on account of disability, and returned home. He then came to Meeker county to look over the country, and went back to Illinois, where he remained two years longer, and then came here and settled.

Mr. Lawton was married March 25, 1859, to Miss Mary M. Vermillion, a native of Shelby county, Ill., where she was married, and daughter of James and Jane (Fletcher) Vermillion. Her birth took place December 26, 1842. By this union there has been born one son – David E., whose birth took place July 26, 1882. Mr. Lawton is a staunch republican in political faith; and has held various local offices. He is a prominent and zealous member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and class leader of the congregation at Forest City.


Jeremiah Leaming
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

JEREMIAH LEAMING, one of the most prominent and successful farmers in Union Grove township, is a resident of section 34. He is a son of George and Juliette Leaming, and is a native of Laramie township, Tippecanoe county, Ind. He left the parental roof when seventeen years old and apprenticed himself to learn the cabinet- maker’s trade, remaining as an apprentice for three years, after which he worked as a journeyman for a year. He then came to St. Anthony, and for two years worked at his trade, after which, for a year, he was employed in a sash and door factory. At the expiration of that time, in company with J.W. Bassett, he opened a wagon, carriage and plow factory, and also ran a blacksmith shop in connection. He continued this business until 1857, when he sold out to his partner, and went to Monticello, in Wright county, where he had charge of a lumber yard for Charles King for nearly two years. In the spring of 1859 he came to Meeker county and bought a claim on section 34, in what is now Union Grove township, of a man named Judson Pearson. This is the farm where he still lives, and it has been his home ever since with the exception of four years during the Indian troubles, a history of which is given elsewhere. When they first heard the news of the massacre at Acton the family went to Forest City, and two days later to Monticello, in Wright county. The family remained there while Mr. Leaming worked at different places as millwright, farm hand and whatever else turned up. Upon the close of hostilities the family returned to the farm, where they have since lived. Mr. Leaming has a splendid farm of 200 acres, a good share of which is under cultivation, and he devotes his attention to farming and stock-raising.

Mr. Leaming, in some respects has been very unfortunate, and has had to surmount difficulties and misfortunes which would discourage most mankind. He was a heavy loser on account of the redskins, and also by the white men after the trouble was over. The Indians destroyed his grain and his residence was burned during his absence. It was hard to accumulate anything. Wheat was only thirty-five cents a bushel, eggs five cents a dozen, and butter five cents a pound. When the Indians drove him away he was almost penniless, and he was not much better off when he returned. In 1877 the grasshoppers took about all of his crops, and another year he lost nearly all his grain by hail. Notwithstanding the disadvantages with which he had to contend, his energy and enterprise have never flagged, and his present comfortable circumstances attest to this fact.

Our subject has taken an active interest in township matters and has been closely identified with the official history of the town. He has held numerous local offices, including the following: Assessor, thirteen or fourteen years; supervisor, one year; school treasurer, three years; and justice of the peace, six years.

On the 31st of March, 1857, Mr. Leaming was married to Phebe W. Bryant, a daughter of Ambrose and Narcissa (Merrill) Bryant, and their marriage has been blessed with the following children – George A., born March 4, 1859; Ella J., born December 6, 1860; Curtis M., born January 22, 1866; Juliette, born February 26, 1868; and Clara B., born September 4, 1869. George A. is married to Annie A. Barrie, and lives on section 35. Ella J. married J.B. Tuttle, and they reside on section 20, Union Grove.

Mrs. Leaming was born in Kennebec county, Me. Her father was a blacksmith when a young man, but for a great many years before he left his native State was engaged in the mercantile business. In 1855 he came to Wright county, Minn., and engaged in farming, but has now retired and resides at Buffalo, Minn.

Mr. Leaming’s father was a farmer. For a number of years he operated a pottery in connection with his farming operations, but later sold that and devoted his entire attention to farming until the time of his death, in 1880. Mr. Leaming’s mother now lives in Jasper county, Mo.

Mr. Leaming became a Mason when twenty-two years of age, joining, at St. Anthony’s, Cataract Lodge, No. 2, A.F. & A.M. He is a man of the strictest integrity, and no one stands higher, or more fully holds the respect of the community, than he. A portrait of Mr. Leaming will be found elsewhere in this volume.


Silas V. Leavitt
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

SILAS V. LEAVITT, one of the leading citizens of the village of Litchfield, is a native of Gilmanton, N.H., born in 1848, and is a son of Joseph S. and Hannah (Cotton) Leavitt. He remained at home with his parents until he had attained the age of seventeen years, when he enlisted in August, 1863, in Company A, Fifteenth New Hampshire Infantry, and with that gallant regiment served one year. He participated in the siege and capture of Port Hudson, and was discharged with the regiment in October, 1864. For the two years following he was compelled to suffer much from a disease of the eyes contracted while in the service. Becoming able to use his eyes he went to Dover, in the same State, where he remained a year. From there he moved to Boston, and for three years he was engaged in clerical labor in that city. Following the advice of Horace Greeley, he then came West, and for some time was prospecting through the country. After looking the State over, Mr. Leavitt decided to locate in Meeker county, and, in 1868, purchased a farm in the town of Greenleaf, where he made his home until the fall of 1871, when, being elected to the office of clerk of the district court, he removed to the village of Litchfield. For twelve successive years he filled that responsible position with the utmost credit, and declined a fourth re-election. During most of this time he was also engaged in the lumber business in Litchfield. Mr. Leavitt was elected president of the board of education of the village, in September, 1880, and still fills that office. On the organization of Company H, First Regiment, Minnesota National Guards, in February, 1883, he was elected captain, and has served his full term of five years, but at the solicitation of the company still remains in command. At the close of his time he tendered his resignation, but the company unanimously rejected it, and as testimony of their appreciation of his services they presented him with a very handsome gold watch and chain. On the formation of the creamery association, Mr. Leavitt was elected secretary and general manager of that institution, and has charge of that business at the present.

Our subject was married in August, 1866, to Miss Mary D. Chapman, a native of Worcester, Mass., and by this union there has been born two children – Grace W., and Marian H.


Andrew Lee
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

ANDREW LEE. The subject of this biographical notice is a respected farmer, who resides on section 15, Greenleaf township, where he has a valuable farm, a comfortable home, and building improvements which reflect much credit upon his enterprise and thrift.

He comes of the same nationality which has made so many sturdy and substantial citizens of Minnesota, having been born in Sweden on the 31st of August, 1847. His parents were natives of the same country, his father having been born there in 1809, and died in the land of his birth in 1862, while his mother is now a resident of Meeker county. Andrew left his native land in 1872 for America, and settled in Chautauqua county, N.Y., and two years later, in 1874, again took up his westward march and settled in Minneapolis, Minn. Three years later, in 1876, he came to Meeker county, Minn., and purchased a farm of eighty acres in Greenleaf township, where he has since lived. Since that time he has purchased an additional forty, and also ten in Ellsworth, which makes his present farm 130 acres, a good share of which is under cultivation. He devotes his time to general farming and stock-raising, and has a good number of head of cattle on the farm.

In 1875 Mr. Lee was married to Miss Mary Anderson. Her parents were natives of Sweden; her mother died there when she was only seven years old, and her father now lives in Meeker county. Mr. and Mrs. Lee have been the parents of seven children, all of whom are living. Their names are as follows – Frank E., born June 4, 1877; Ernest V., born February 13, 1879; Alex T., born December 30, 1880; Hjalmar E., born October 23, 1882; Hilma V., born May 27, 1884; Carl E., born December 30, 1885, and Polly O., born June 20, 1887.


Luther W. Leighton
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

LUTHER W. LEIGHTON, the junior member of the firm of Osterlund & Leighton, general merchants of the village of Dassel, came to that place in the fall of 1872, and in the spring of 1874 opened the first wagon shop, in which he continued to carry on the business until 1881. Closing out, then, his interests in that mechanical trade, he entered into the hardware business in company with J.M. Johnson, and continued in that line until January 1, 1887, when, after selling his interest to his partner, he entered into the new copartnership, the firm named above.

Mr. Leighton, who is a native of Penobscot county, Me., born March 25, 1850, and the son of Stillman W. and Thressa E. Leighton, received his education in his native State. He left that portion of our great Republic in 1872, and came directly to this part, as stated above.


Jacob Lenhard
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

JACOB LENHARD, of Darwin township, is a native of the German Empire, born July 1, 1827. He was reared in that classic land and remained there until 1852, when bidding adieu to the beloved fatherland he crossed the ocean to the shores of free America, in search of the liberty of action and the chance of competency not afforded to him in the land of his birth. He settled near Buffalo, N.Y., where he remained some three months, after which he went to Canada, and worked on the construction of the railroad suspension bridge over the Niagara river. From there he proceeded west to Chicago, Ill., but less than a year later removed to Polk county, Wis., and there purchased a farm and settled down to the life of a Western farmer. He made that part of the “Badger State” his home for thirteen years and at the expiration of that time, in 1868, came to Meeker county, and settled in Darwin township. He was united in marriage, September 4, 1854, with Miss Dora Yerkes, who is the mother of seven children – Henry P., born June 22, 1855; John P., born January 9, 1857; William F., born December 9, 1858; Jacob A., born January 21, 1860; Mary M., born December 25, 1862; Conrad E., born March 24, 1865; and Anna D., born January 18, 1869. The sons are all well-to-do farmers of the township.

Mr. Lenhard and his family are members of the Lutheran church and respected and honored citizens.


Michael F. Lenhardt
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

MICHAEL F. LENHARDT, a respected and enterprising farmer, who resides on section 1, Litchfield, was born in Saxon-Meiningen, Germany, on the 30th of October, 1827, and is a son of Michael and Margaret Lenhardt. He remained with his parents in his native land until 1853, when he came to America, landing in New Orleans shortly after the great yellow-fever scourge had abated. He located in St. Louis and remained there for two years, then went to Kansas, but, not being favorably impressed with the outlook there, he returned to St. Louis, and, the following year (1856), he came to Meeker county, Minn., and took a claim on section 11, Litchfield township, where the village of Litchfield now stands. The following year he gave up that place and took up a claim on section 1, in the same township, where he still lives. In 1859 he was married to Rebecca Louhan, a native of Kentucky, and two children were born to them, one of whom is deceased, and the other – Minnie – is the wife of Frank Maetzold, of Litchfield. In 1863, Mrs. Lenhardt, the wife, and youngest child, died. In 1872 Mr. Lenhardt made a visit to his native land, and while there was united in marriage with Margaret Peipus, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Peipus. Four children were the result of this union – Ricke (deceased), Anna, August, and Bertha.

At the time of the Indian outbreak, in 1862, Mr. Lenhardt was operating his farm in a quiet way. He did not become much alarmed at first, but soon felt the gravity of the situation, and, on Wednesday following the massacre at Acton, he started with his family for Clearwater. The road en route was literally alive with people and stock, and the woods were full of panic-stricken beings. After remaining in Clearwater a short time, he concluded the matter was more a scare than anything else, and went back to his farm. He was not long in discovering, however, that the people were not terrorized without cause, and, therefore, took his family to Forest City for safety, arriving there just before the Indians made the attack on the fort. After spending about one month at Forest City, Mr. Lenhardt went back to his farm for the winter, and the following year put in his crops and has since made that his home. He devotes his entire attention to farming and stock raising, and has a most pleasantly situated and comfortable home. He is one of the most highly respected old settlers and substantial citizens of the county.


Ole Nelson Lindell
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

OLE NELSON LINDELL, one of the leading, enterprising merchants of the village of Grove City, is a native of Sweden, born March 9, 1844, and made his home in the land of his birth until after his marriage which took place Nov. 7, 1867, on which day he wedded Miss Ella Nelson. In 1869, the young couple decided to leave their home beneath the frowning rocks and rocking pines of Norway, and seek in the new world that easier road to competence that America affords. On their arrival they came at once to Minnesota, and Mr. Lindell bought a homestead claim in Swede Grove township, of O. Levander. This was in the southeast quarter of section 26, and constituted the south half, and upon this farm he lived some eight years. In 1871 he bought sixty acres more; his father’s family emigrated to this country. Renting his place to an individual for six years, Mr. Lindell removed to the village of Grove City, and engaged in the furniture business and gave some attention to his trade, which was that of a carpenter. A year’s trial satisfied him that the venture would be a judicious one, he added a full and complete stock of hardware and has now as large an assortment in both lines as is needed by the necessities of the trade. In the cellar of his store building he carries all kinds of heavy hardware; on the first floor shelf and fancy hardware, and the second story is packed with furniture of every description.

Mr. and Mrs. Lindell are the parents of four children, three on Earth and one in Heaven. Their records are as follows – Mary Christine, who was born Nov. 27, 1871; Mina Albertina, born in September, 1880; Otto, born Dec. 23, 1885, and died March 25, 1886; Otto Anton, born Feb. 19, 1887.

Mr. Lindell in politics affiliates with the Democratic party and usually supports the candidates of that organization. He has held the position of village trustee for two years, and in March, 1888, was elected president of the village trustees, and is looked upon as a representative citizen. Mrs. Lindell is a consistent member of the Swedish Lutheran Church.

In 1884 our subject became a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen, was elected financier and served for two years and was then chosen master workman of the lodge.


John Lindgren
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

JOHN LINDGREN, who has charge of the Farmer’s and Merchant’s Co-operative Elevator at Litchfield, is a native of Sweden, born in 1854. He was brought to America when still less than four years of age by his step-father, his father having died when John was an infant.

Mr. Lindgren lived with his step-father, T. G. Cornelius, until he was thirteen years of age, when he began life for himself, working on a farm in Meeker county. In the spring of 1880 he went to Hallock, Kittson county, Minn., where he had charge of a large farm for four years, after which he returned to Litchfield, where he has since been connected with the grain trade. Mr. Lindgren was married in 1876 to Miss Matilda Olson, of Stevens county. They have four living children – Annie M., George J., Bertha E. and an infant.


S. O. Lindgren
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

S. O. LINDGREN, one of the active, enterprising business men of the village of Dassel, is a member of the firm of Thompson & Lindgren, general merchants. He was born in Sweden, July 13, 1857, and is the son of Olaf and Anna Lindgren, natives of the same kingdom. He came to this country in 1879, and came to Meeker county direct, and during the summer of that year worked on a farm near Litchfield. In November he removed to the village of Dassel, and attended school until spring, when he entered the store of August Sallberg, as clerk, with whom he remained some two years. He, at the expiration of his engagement, went to Minneapolis and engaged in business for a time. In the summer of 1883 he returned to Dassel and formed a partnership with John Thompson, and the following September opened a stock of general merchandise in a building that they had erected. They have continued in that line of trade ever since, and are now doing a large and increasing trade, their fair dealing and uprightness in all business matters winning them hosts of friends.

Mr. Lindgren has taken great interest in all local politics, and was elected one of the village trustees in 1884. In 1885 he was chose to fill the position of recorder, and has been re-elected his own successor ever since, and now fills that office. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, having been made a Mason by Cakato Lodge, No. 134, in 1884.

The marriage of Mr. Lindgren and Miss Mary Peterson took place in August, 1885.


O. M. Linnell
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

HONORABLE O.M. LINNELL, of Acton township, is one of the most prominent citizens of Meeker county. He was born near Wexio, in Sweden, on the 21st of April, 1840, and is a son of Magnus Jonason and Lisa C. (Falk) Linnell. With his parents he came to the United States in 1852, and they settled on Lake Chisago, in Chisago county, Minn., the same year. O.M. Linnell, being the oldest in the family, had to work very hard in the summer time to help his father clear off a farm in the heavy timber and had to work out for others to earn money for clothing. Most of the year 1857 was put in at or around the city of Superior, Wis., when the noted hard times in Minnesota set in, of 1857, 1858 and 1859, when it was next to an impossibility to get a dollar in money. The winter of 1859 and 1860 our subject spent near St. Joe, La., cutting cordwood, where money was paid for labor. He was there offered the charge of a cordwood landing, with three large wood barges and twelve negroes, but could not stand it to hear the abuse of the Southerners toward the Northern men, nor see the abuse of the slaves; so in April he went back to his home in Minnesota, where he remained with his parents part of the time, and to earn money for the family worked on the St. Croix river during the summers, on the logs, driving, or on the booms. In August, 1862, he enlisted in Company C, Seventh Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, and was mustered in at Fort Snelling, just at the time the Sioux Indians’ noted massacre broke out in the town of Acton, where Mr. Linnell now lives. Company C, of the Seventh Minnesota Infantry, was sent on foot, marching to Fort Ripley without having time to wait for uniforms. They received bright, shining Springfield rifles, but not a single cartridge. It looked, as the boys used to express it, “kind of funny to meet the savage Indians without powder or lead, meeting citizens by the hundreds fleeing from their homes for their lives.” From Fort Ripley the company was ordered to the Chippewa Agency to guard the government stores. There they were soon surrounded by 500 Indian warriors, and as the company had only a few rounds of ammunition the position for a time was a dangerous one. They were kept in this shape for four days, when the Indians learned that the Sioux were defeated at Wood Lake, and were then very glad to make a treaty. Had the Indians known the condition of the soldiers and made an attack, Company C would have been annihilated. After the treaty was perfected the company was sent back to Ripley, where they built large barracks, and with other companies expected to camp over winter, but in the latter part of November they received orders to report at Fort Snelling, to go South. The company got a few days’ furlough to go home to visit friends, and during this time the governor of Minnesota got permission to keep what soldiers were in the State for fear of a new outbreak of the Indians in the spring, and Company C was sent to Mankato to guard the Indian prisoners. This company afterward carried out the final execution of the thirty-eight Indians who were hanged there. The last military duty Mr. Linnell did was on December 17, 1862, when he was detailed to help ferry the government teams across the Minnesota River, and was taken sick with a disease of the lungs. He was under the doctor’s care for eleven months. He has never fully recovered from this sickness. He was honorably discharged from the service for disability, at Fort Snelling, on the 4th of August, 1863, and returned to his home, and from 1864 to 1876 was farming, lumbering and dealing in rafting materials. In 1876 he came to Meeker and settled in Acton township, where he now lives. He now has a good farm of 520 acres of land, with excellent machinery and a good stock of horses and cattle. All of his property has been accumulated since his army service.

Mr. Linnell has taken an active and prominent part in public matters ever since he attained his manhood, and he has held some town or county office each year since he has been old enough, with the exception of the first year in Meeker county. Since coming here he has held the offices of county commissioner, school treasurer for nine years, and is at the present time. He is the present town clerk. In 1880 he was elected to represent this district in the legislature, and was re-elected in 1882. The sessions in which he served were three of the most important ever held in the history of the State, particularly in settling at fifty cents on the dollar the “Eight-Million-Dollar State Railroad Bonds,” which had been a stain on the glorious banner of our North Star State. Mr. Linnell had always advocated a settlement of the bonds to redeem the honor of the State. In 1883 he was chairman of the standing committee of agriculture and manufactures, and, as usual, a member of several different committees.

Mr. Linnell strongly supported temperance legislation, and a reduction of interest on money. He served with honor to himself and credit to the district.

Mr. Linnell was married on the 24th of June, 1884, to Carolina Sophia Anderson, a daughter of C.M. and Kaisa Anderson. She was a native of Smaland, Sweden, born November 11, 1839. Mr. and Mrs. Linnell have been blessed with the following named children – Luther A., Medora E., Emely L., Herbert M., William Sabin, Mary A., Albert T. and Annette E. The daughter Medora is now a teacher in the graded schools at Grove City. Mr. Linnell has all his life been a worthy member of the Lutheran Evangelical Church, and is now one of its trustees and treasurer. He is a man of the strictest honor and integrity, and his word is recognized as being as good as his bond, wherever he is known. He is well read and well posted on all public topics and justly holds the confidence and esteem of all who know him.


Oscar E. Linquist
Transcribed by K. Torp

Our efficient postmaster, is a Dassel boy, having been born here in 1874, and here he received his education and grew to manhood. He is probably the youngest postmaster in the state of Minnesota, he having assume the duties of his office while in his twenty-second year, yet in his official capacity he has proven himself in every way worthy of the confidence reposed in him by the people of the community. Careful, courteous and painstaking, he has conducted the affairs of his office to the entire satisfaction of the public whom he serves. He is a republican in politics, yet so popular is he that he received the indorsement of both republicans and democrats for the position he now holds, and to which he was appointed on March 3, 1897. Mr. Linquist is a prominent member of the Knights of Pythias and is at present Master of Finance of Dassel Lodge No. 145.


Michael Lovett
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

MICHAEL LOVETT, deceased, was at one time a prominent citizen of Manannah township. He was a native of County Cavan, Ireland, and came to the United States about the year 1848, and located in the city of Boston, Mass. Two years later he went to the State of New York, where he also lived for about two years, after which he removed to Canada. That Dominion was his home for about eighteen years, and then, in 1870, he came with his family to Meeker county, Minn., and located on a farm is what is now Manannah township, where he remained until the time of his death, on the 29th of April, 1879. He was married to Miss Bridget Fanley, who still survives him. They had a family of nine children, five girls and four boys, whose names were as follows – Bridget, Alice, Peter, Catherine, Mary, Ann, John, Michael and James. All of the children are still living, except Mary and Alice. The widow still carries on the place, which consists of eighty acres of land. She is a member of the Catholic Church, and holds the respect of all of know her.

James Lovett, a son of Michael, who owns forty acres of land in the township of Manannah, was born in Canada on the 13th of November, 1865, and still resides with his mother. He is also a member of the Catholic Church, and in political matters he acts independently of party creed, and votes for the man rather than the party.


Peter Lund
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

PETER LUND, a resident of section 17, Greenleaf township, is one of the leading farmers and stock-raisers in the southern portion of the county. He was born in Sweden, on the 15th of August, 1846. His younger days were spent in his native land, and in 1872 he came to the United States, and located in Minneapolis, where he remained for eight years. He was at work in the Buell, Nutten & Co. flouring mill in 1878, when the terrible mill explosion occurred, in which eighteen were killed and others seriously injured. His escape at that time was almost miraculous. He was attending to the machinery, and a few moments before the disaster he was talking with a fellow-employee, named Peter Hogberg. The latter suggested getting some water, but Mr. Lund told him to attend to the machinery, and he would get the water. Accordingly, Mr. Lund took the pail and started, having to go about 200 feet. He had just stepped outside of the door, when he noticed a queer smoke coming from the suction pipe of the Washburn A mill, which stood about 100 feet from the mill in which he worked. He had only gone about 100 feet when the first explosion occurred, and was thrown to the ground. He scrambled to his feet and tried to run, when the next explosion took place, and he was again thrown down. On his hands and knees he crawled under a box car, and the debris was falling thick around him. A few moments later he ran to where the mill had been, to rescue Hogberg, but he found the mill leveled to the ground, and nothing was ever found of his companion except a few pieces of bone and a knife blade. Out of all the men who worked in the three mills, he, and one other, were the only ones who escaped unhurt.

On March 27, 1881, Mr. Lund came to Meeker county, and settled in Greenleaf township, where he still lives. He has a valuable farm of  210 acres of land, and has splendid farm buildings. Mr. Lund was married January 1, 1875, to Anna Anderson, and they have had seven children, all of whom are living, as follows – Charley A., born March 5, 1876; Alma H., born November 29, 1877; Levi V., born January 23, 1880; Mimmie V., born May 5, 1882; Edward E., born November 12, 1883; Oscar T., born September 27, 1885, and Amanda V., born January 27, 1888. The family are members of the Swedish Lutheran Church.

The parents of Mr. Lund were natives of Sweden. They came to America a number of years ago, and are now residents of Meeker county.


Peter J. Lund
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

PETER J. LUND, one of the pioneers of Meeker county, and the first settler in Acton township, still has his residence on the southeast quarter of section 4, where he first located in 1857.

Mr. Lund is a native of Skone, Sweden, born October 2, 1821, and came to this country in 1852. After short stays in Knoxville and Moline, Ill., he located in Chisago county, this State, where he remained until coming here. During the Indian troubles he suffered much loss of property, the savages burning his houses, stealing his horses and running off his stock. He heard of the outrage and left his house in a hurry with his family to Forest City, and leaving them in safety returned to his place with six or seven neighbors, for he had considerable provisions, etc., in his house, which he had accumulated to sell to such of his neighbors as needed them. They approached the house cautiously, seeing everywhere the evidences of the Indians having been about, and did not dare to light a candle or even a match. The house had been broken open and Mr. Lund, entering, could see by the dim light that the drawers and trunks had been forced and their clothing stolen. He went upstairs and dropped two sacks of flour to the friends below, and, taking a trunk that was still intact, left. These depredations he lays to the Home Guards, as the Indians had not been there yet, but at the time he did not know it. After loading these things on a sled, they got a yoke of the neighbors’ oxen which they hitched to it, and drove out on the prairie, where the others had congregated with their teams. All being afraid, he volunteered to lead, but confesses that he lay pretty close to the sled and kept his eyes wide open for the Indians. They got through safely to Forest City, although the savages shortly afterwards burned his house and destroyed all the property they could. During the attack on the stockade at Forest City, on the morning of the 4th of September, Mr. Lund says that an opening existed in the line of fortification on the north side, and that while he and another man held poles and planks across the opening, Hamlet Stevens, now the banker at Litchfield, calmly nailed them fast, although the bullets were singing around their heads pretty freely, and also says that Mr. Stevens built the first house in Grove City, while he boarded with Mr. Lund.

Mr. Lund has now a fine farm of 350 acres of land, although he was a poor man when he came here. He was married, in May, 1850, in Sweden, to Miss Ellen Nelson, who is the mother of seven children – Anna, deceased; Ingra, Sarah, Joanna, Amy and Nels, deceased.



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