Chapter XLI.

I came to Detroit from the Black Hills, S. D., June 22, 1882, and came to this town from Frazee, the only way at that time, for the Shell Prairie road was only opened as far as Erie Town where the town hall now stands. We came from Frazee with about the only white inhabitant on the east side of the Otter Tail River at that time, a man by the name of Molen. He lived in Erie on Section 14. From his house John H. Jones and I came up here on a trail, for that was all the "go" this way then. We found here a very nice country, only wild, as were the inhabitants, for the Indians were the only inhabitants when we first came. There were over a hundred Indians around Height of Land Lake. I became acquainted with most of them and found them peaceable and straight to trade with. After we were here a few days and had .seen the country and got lost a number of times (I was lost on my own place twice) we went to find the best way to cut a road to get in and out. After working for three weeks, we came out with our road in Erie at Cotton Lake, and I well remember how glad we were, too. The road, such as it was, finished, we began to look for places to build, and after finding them to suit, we commenced to cut the big trees and make them into house logs. Jones left me about this time here all alone. I was then about six miles from Molen, the nearest white settler. I went an with the house logs until I had enough, which took me about six weeks, during which time I did not see a white man, except A. H. Wilcox, who was well known out here then among the aborigines, as the man that kept a "post-office." He used to pay them bounty as county auditor for wolf skins. "A. H." used to stop at my abode, which was only a small tent but it served for the time, and many a pleasant story I heard from the old pioneer. At the same time we could hear four or five Indian pow-wows around the lake. These Indian dances used to go on for three or four years afterwards, until the white men took their dancing grounds and this lake front, and "Poor Lo" left us and now it is hard to find his trails.

In the fall, a party of whites, about seventeen in number came in, most of them by the name of Soper. At this time I was ready to build and they turned to and helped me, and in less than a month I had my house so that I could go into it. The Sopers went at it and put up four or five houses, such as they were. These were made entirely by hand with what they call skoot roofs. Lots of work, but there were lots of them, and time was more plenty then than money. That winter was very cold with deep snow. Some of the settlers were very poor. as in any new country, but they all pulled through with big hopes for the future.

About December I had my house pretty well finished. By this time Jack Jones came back and put up a small house and said he would use it for a chicken house after a year or two, but Jones is the only "chicken" that has been in it yet. When he got back I left him in charge of my household, and I went to Wisconsin to get married, and on the 20th of January, 1883, we were back home with our friends.



Grand Park Township was organized in 1892, the first town election being held at the schoolhouse on Section 27 on the 31st day of July, 1892.

The first set of township officers were: Chairman of board of supervisors, Adam Prahler; supervisors, John Hopsted and Edward Evans; town clerk, Willard Eastman; assessor, Charles Mitchell.

The next settlers who came after Evans and Jones, were Charles Soper and wife, Marcus Soper and Frank Soper.

Mrs. Charles Soper was the first white woman to settle in Grand Park Township.

Charles and Marcus Soper both took land on Section 28 and Frank Soper located on the northwest quarter of Section 32. There were several others who came with the Soper party, but they settled in the township south. These settlers all came into the township about the 10th of August, 1882, coming from Rooks County, Kansas.

The next settlers were Thomas Lucas and family, Lowell Smith and Frank Smith, who came a few months later.

Edward Evans and Miss Mary Ann Miller are entitled to the honor of being the first couple married.

The first white child born in Grand Park Township was Fred Evans, born April 6th, 1884.

The first girl born in the township was Katie Jones, born June 1st, 1884.

The first death was a little daughter of Lowell Smith and granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Soper, who died about Christmas, 1885. The funeral sermon was preached by J. H. Abbey.

Emma Renwanz taught the first school in the township, commencing about the first of December, 1888.

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Last updated: 11 Feb 2018