From the Twin cities I have travel to Danube, Albert Lea, and to Watertown. Now this last month I have raked enough months to travel to Jackson, Minnesota.
I walked 147 miles. Jackson is 141 miles from Watertown. I have some extra miles under my belt. Here are some interesting facts about the little city I found online. I thought the history was particularly interesting. Here is what I found.
It is speculated that early trappers and explorers were the first to enter the Jackson area. The first white settlers in Jackson were brothers – William, George, and Charles Wood of Indiana, by way of Mankato. In July 1856, they established a trading post and named the proposed town “Springfield” because there was a spring near where they built their cabin, a large one-room log building near the Des Moines River. Forty settlers followed in that summer of 1856. The greater number were of English and Scottish descent, from Webster City, Iowa. Over a dozen log cabins were built by that fall.
The winter of 1856-1857 was one of the most severe that was ever experienced because of its bitter cold, deep snows, and violent storms. Food was scarce as all the white settlers had come too late to raise a crop or plant gardens. Consequently, all provisions had to be hauled from the nearest settlements of Webster City or Mankato.
Several bands of roving Indians visited the white settlers that winter. They were always received kindly, the settlers sharing their supplies. One of these was a gang led by Inkpaduta, a lawless band, who were enemies of all Indians because of their plundering, robberies and outrages. This was the group that in March 1857, after not being extended hospitality at Smithland, Iowa, massacred 40 settlers and took four women hostage in the Okoboji and Spirit Lake area before proceeding to Springfield, Minnesota.
On March 26, 1857, there were 11 able-bodied men in the Springfield settlement. Inkpaduta and his gang came down from the Heron Lake area by way of Gaboo’s camp. They first attacked the Woods’ store where, after killing William and George, they replenished their stock of ammunition and proceeded to attack the other cabins. At the Thomas cabin gathered the greater number of settlers, a determined fight was put up, and they succeeded in standing off the Indians. For the first time since leaving the Smithland area, the Indians encountered men who were not afraid to fight for their lives, and the attempt to wipe out the settlement failed. However, they did kill seven and wounded three others. Terrified of a possible second Indian attack, the beleaguered people who survived left for Fort Dodge.
Just two months after the massacre and when the area was completely depopulated, the Minnesota State Legislature made this county a political division, naming it Jackson County – after the first merchant of St. Paul, MN. The temporary county seat was located at Jackson, the town site of Springfield having been renamed. Resettlement was slow, since settlers still feared the Indians.
In August 1862, the Sioux nation went on the warpath. On August 25, the Belmont community was attacked. Most of the settlers were gathered at one cabin for church. The Indians thought that they had gathered to resist their attack, so they fled before there was much of a fight. However, when they first arrived, they did kill 13 and wounded three. This scared the settlers, so the pioneers took flight for Iowa. For a second time, the county seat was entirely deserted.
Determined not to give up, the settlers soon returned following the Civil War in 1865 and resettled the depopulated Jackson County. They were followed by many others whose homelands were in Europe. A new era began. A stockade was built on what is presently Thomas Hill, manned by the military, which encouraged people to settle in the Jackson community. Homes were built from native timber and some from prairie sod. There were no wagon roads, no bridges, no churches, and only one school that served the community. Despite the terrors of living in a country exposed to Indian attack, numerous disasters, prairie fires, severe blizzards, crop failures, and the grasshopper devastation of 1873, these hardy, courageous pioneers survived and gave us a heritage we can be proud of.
From the birth of Springfield Addition in July, 1856, the pains and suffering of a strong settlement have established a prosperous farm and industrial community known as Jackson.
Jackson lies on the southern and is close to the Iowa border.
Wow, I can’t believe that I have traveled this much these last few months and learning about these different cities. I hope that you are enjoying a little a bit each Minnesota cities as I am.