SOURCE: Compendium of History and Biography of Polk County, Minnesota, Major R.I.
Holcombe, Historical Editor; William H. Bingham, General Editor; W.H. Bingham
And Company, Minneapolis, Minn.; 1916; reprinted by Higginson Book Company;
Salem Massachusetts; (book no longer copyrighted)
Library of Congress control number 16009966
This book can be ordered from Borders Book Store or from Higginson.
Both companies have web sites.  The cost is about $70
and well worth the price.
pages 183-184

Having become a resident of Crookston in 1879, Mark Rauenbuehler is one of the pioneer residents of Polk county; and having been the first harness maker in Crookston, he is also one of the pioneer manufacturers and merchants of that city.  Moreover, having borne his share of the privations and hardships of the early days, and helped to build the town to its present state of advancement and importance, and having, at the same time, made his own advancement in business and material gains keep pace with the progress of the community, he is entitled and prepared to enjoy his share of the pleasures and prosperity of the present period and look with pride upon the structure his hands have helped to build and improve.

Mr. Rauenbuehler was born in Baden, Germany, July 5, 1852, a son of Alois and Mary A. (Stahlberger) Rauenbeuhler, who were natives of the same province as himself, and passed their lives in it, profitably engaging in farming.  They were the parents of three sons and five daughters, of whom all of the sons and one of the daughters are now living in the United States.  The father took an active part in the public affairs of his native land and served as a soldier in the Revolution of 1848 in that country.

His son Mark remained at home until he reached the age of seventeen, the, in 1869, came to this country and located at Fort Madison, Iowa, where he learned his trade as a harness maker.  He next passed four years in Wisconsin, and then moved to Anoka, Minnesota.  In 1879 he located at Crookston and opened a small harness shop on Second street, in front of which he planted the first hitching post in Crookston.  During the first three days of his venture his cash receipts amounted to ten cents, but as the town grew his trade increased until it reached a considerable magnitude, and for many years it has kept him busy all the working hours of the day.

Mr. Rauenbuehler was married in 1861 to Miss Emily J. Martin, a daughter of Swiss and German parents, and was born on the Atlantic ocean while they were on their way to America.  Five children were born of the union, three of whom are living, Louisa, Paulina and George.  Their mother died in 1889 and in November, 1890, the father contracted a second marriage in which he was united with Mrs. Johanna Netzer, a widow.  They have two children, Madonna and Eugene.  The parents are members of the Catholic church.

submitted by Jon Raymond Jan 2003

Dorothy Reeves Recalls the Old School

SOURCE: “A Meeting of the Reds: East Grand Forks, 1887-1987, pp 524-526
                 Originally published in The Exponent, August 6, 1980

“I was kind of strict, but I think discipline might be a little harder now.”

Dorothy Reeves, who retired in 1968 after teaching for 43 years—all but one in East Grand Forks was reminiscing about the educational system in years past.

“The kids have more opportunities now.  The schools are better equipped, there are more teachers, specialists, and there are all those trips and tours.”

“When I substituted (after retiring as a fulltime teacher), I saw all the specialists and I thought to myself, the kids back then didn’t have a chance.  The community has grown a lot since then, too.  At one time, there were only 23 teachers.”

There were smart kids, though, and many came from the country.

“The kids from the country were often the valedictorian and salutatorian,” Miss Reeves remembers.  “They had to learn to study by themselves.  That was true for a number of years.  They may have been the best students in the first place, though, with the others staying home to farm.  But, we sure had some good students from Bygland and out around there.”

Born Jan. 28, 1896, on the family farm eight miles north of East Grand Forks, she was one of two daughters of William and Jesse Reeves.  Her sister, Grace, also a school teacher, died last January.

“We moved into Grand Forks because my father thought it was too far to walk to school.  That was about 1902.”

Miss Reeves attended Wilder School there.

“The same building, but it’s been remodeled a little.  We lived right across the street.  The house is still there.”

When her mother contracted tuberculosis, Mr. Reeves moved the family to Denver for a year.  “At that time, there was no cure and Denver was supposed to be good for her health, but she didn’t improve and we moved back to East Grand Forks.”  Her mother died in about 1910 at age 34.

After that, Mr. Reeves homesteaded in North Dakota, just six miles north of Lemon, SD.  After a drought and some poor crops, he moved with his daughters to Wenatchee, Wash., to work with his brother, Robert Reeves, in the shipyards on the Columbia River.

“Grace and I both graduated from high school there,” Dorothy says, explaining the background of the shipyards job.  “R.S. Griggs had owned the line on the Red River and my father’s father had worked for him here.  Griggs had gone to Washington, where he owned a shipyard, after James J. Hill brought the railroad in and the river shipping dropped off.”

Miss Reeves returned to Minnesota to attend Bemidji State Normal School, graduating from her first two years of college in 1923.  That’s the year she joined the East Grand Forks School System as a junior high teacher at the old Lincoln School on the Point.

There were three teachers at the school, Marie Bossler (who later because Mrs. I.G. Connelly), Evelyn Harm, and Dorothy Reeves.

“I was there two years before I moved down to Central as a junio high teach and principal for two years,” Miss Reeves says.  The moved was made when the Lincoln School was closed and all students were sent to Central.

Lincoln, she remembers, was a well kept school.  “Barney Baugh was the janitor and he was very interested in the school.  He kept it as well as any new school.  It was just closed because there weren’t enough kids and all the grades were moved to Central.

The Point, she remembers, was a haven for truck farming.  “In the fall, you would meet one wagon load of produce after another as they brought their crops to town.”

“The first year I was at Lincoln, there was a man, I think he was a Negro, who set up a tent and started serving lunches.  The people bringing their produce to town would have to wait to unload their vegetables and he would serve them lunches in the tent,” she says.

Central was a fairly new school then, having been built to replace a high school that had burned.  “There was a period of time then when a firebug was setting fires to a number of buildings in town and the school had been one of them.”

Miss Reeves witnessed that fire from her home just a block down the street and she remembers hearing the big bell fall as the fire burned through the night.  The fire station and a team of horses had also been victim of the firebug about that time.

“There was one fellow going down the street with a load of have and he (the firebug) even snuck up behind that and lit it on fire.  They had a dickens of a time just saving the horses.

Miss Reeves left for a teaching job at Chisholm, Minn., in 1927, but after a year there, working with a lot of foreign children, was back in East Grand Forks.  “I saved enough money, though, to go back to school for a semester.  I had been taking classes through the years and just needed that semester to get my B.S. degree at UND.”

The second semester of that year was spent as a relief teacher in the East Grand Forks system.  She joined the staff again as a fulltime teacher in the high school the next year.  Elmer Eid was the principal of both the junior and senior high schools then.

Miss Reeves earned her masters degree from UND in 1940 and taught social problems and world history after that.

Her teaching career included 20 years as the senior class advisor and being the yearbook advisor from 1945 to 1965.  The school’s National Honor Society chapter was named for her when it was organized in 1963.

She also taught Sunday School at Mendenhall Presbyterian Church, was a church elder, helped with the church newspaper, and was the Sunday School treasurer for 20 years or more.  And, she was elected to membership in the Pi Lamba Theta fraternity and a member and at one time president of Delta Kappa Gama.

Miss Reeves turned over a picture of her grandfather, David Porter Reeves, and other historical items, including the family history that she had written, to the Myra Museum on Belmont Road, Grand Forks.

David Porter Reeves, who was born in England in 1826, was the man for whom Reeves Drive in Grand Forks was named.

According to that history, David Reeves’ father had been anxious for him to become a shipwright and had sent him to the navy years at Glasgow, Scotland, when he was 14.  Reeves later saw many ports of the world, traveling around it three times.

Eventually, he captained a boat that came up the Mississippi and the Ohio rivers, where he met and married Elizabeth Wilkins at Belle Vernon, Pa.  Reeves tried to settle down, but his urge to travel was storng and he finally left his family with relatives and boarded a boat to Panama, walked across the isthmus and caught another boat to San Francisco.  There, he joined the Gold Rush of 1849 but never found more than a few souvenirs.

Stories of Red River steamboating reached him there and, with his wife and six children this time, moved to Fisher in 1879.  He got a job there repairing and building boats for R.S. Griggs.

Later, Reeves filed a homestead and that quarter of land became the site of Grand Forks.  The main street then was Reeves Avenue, now Reeves Drive.

He built a home there.  In 1882, after James J. Hill arrived, Reeves bought a section of land seven miles north of East Grand Forks, paying $9 an acre for it.  His wife remained in town where she boarded shipbuilders, cooking for as high as 60 men, while Reeves farmed.

The family moved to the farm in 1886 and Reeves died shortly afterward.

A son, William, moved to the northwest quarter of that section when he married Jesse Nichols of Winnipeg.  That’s where Miss Reeves and her sister were born.  Dorothy’s writings include their fear of the wolves that howled through cold nights there.

Included in the gifts to the Myra Museum were a photo album, a pillow dating back to the riverboat days and an old lace handkerchief.  The picture of David Reeves is in a massive, well-kept frame.

“I play some cards now and read a lot.  I’m in the Columbia Study Club and several card clubs.  I used to play the piano, but I haven’t touched that for a year because of arthritis.  I don’t have many hobbies, but I have no trouble keeping busy,” she says.

submitted by Jon Raymond Jan 2003

“These Our Roots: The History of Fertile, Minnesota” (1887-1987)
The Ulen Union, David G. Evans, Publisher, Ulen, Minnesota, 1987

page 149

Carl and Sina Rolland and their two year old son, Bernt, left their home in Bergen, Norway in 1888. They had heard of the land of opportunity and Sina, especially, was eager to better their lives. She was 20 and he was 24, strong, young and unafraid of hard work which they found in abundance.

Carl's brother, Mons, had already immigrated to the new land. He had built himself his home, a log house, in a nice wooded area four miles northeast of the village of Fertile. Arriving tired and hungry after their long voyage, the Rollands were met by Mons who helps them carry Bernt and some of their belongings, for they walked the four miles to his home. It couldn't have been easy for Mons to take in three people, but they were not as comfort minded as we are today.

For several years, Carl worked for neighbors to clear the land of its tall timber. He often worked for Andrew Morvig who encouraged him and loaned him money. Mr. Morvig gave the land that became the site for the first Little Norway Church and hired men to clear the land. Carl was one of those men. Later Mons, still a bachelor, decided to sell the farm and move on. Carl and Sina bought it and in 1905 built the house that was known as home for many years.

There they raised ten children: Bernt, Mathilda, Martin, Clara, Nora, Betsey, Alma, Alida, Selma and Beatrice. They all grew to adulthood there, attended Lake View School and Little Norway Church. A son, Martin, died in infancy. He was always remembered as "Martin sa do," Martin who died, for they had a new lively Martin to take his place.

Carl and Sina have long been buried at Little Norway Cemetery along with Bernt, Beatrice and the first Martin. At this writing, these six daughters survive: Mathilda, Clara, Nora, Betsey, Alida and Selma. Their average age would be approximately 86 years.

submitted by Jon Raymond July 2003

Rutherford, Edmun

SOURCE: A Meeting of the Reds: East Grand Forks, 1887-1987,
Two Volumes, (out of print), Dr. Stephen Sylvester,
East Grand Forks Centennial Committee,
East Grand Forks, Minnesota
Volume One, page 183

Edmun Rutherford was born in Grand Forks, N.D. on Jan. 21, 1923.  He was the third child born to William E. and Mae Rutherford.  He was the grandson of Thomas Rutherford who homestead in Fanny Township, Polk County in 1879.

Edmun attended a local country school through the eight grade and graduated from Fisher High School in 1942.  He attended the University of North Dakota for a short time.  He enlisted in the United States Air Force and served as a pilot in the southwest Pacific until the end of World War II.

He returned home and in 1947, formed an informal partnership with his older brothers Ronald and Donald.  They established a farming operation in Nesbit Township growing sugar beets, wheat and barley until 1985 when they retired.

On June 22, 1947, Edmun married Dona Rae Olimb of Oslo, Minn.  She was born on March 19, 1947 to Lyle and Irma Olimb.  Her father was a mailcarrier for the Oslo Post Office.

Dona Rae graduated from Oslo High School and continued her eduacation, graduating from the Deaconess School of Nursing in 1948 as a registered nurse.  She worked periodically until 1984 as a nurse in Grand Forks and Crookston hospitals.  She was also employed as a school nurse in the East Grand Forks Public School System and then as an instructor of practical nursing at the Agassiz Valley School of Nursing at the University of Minnesota-Crookston.

After their marriage, the Rutherford’s lived for two years in Grand Forks before moving to a farm in Nesbit Township, where they still reside.

They have three children:

Peter, born in 1949, graduated from Fisher High School and Concordia College, Moorhead and the University of Kentucky with a masters degree in sociology and psychology.  He resides in Faribault, Minn., and is employed as a rehabilitation counselor for the state of Minnesota.  He and his wife, Laurel, have two children: Anna and Tyler.

William, born in 1951, graduated from Fisher High School, Concordia College, Moorhead and the University of Minnesota School of Medicine.  He is now a family practice physician in Grand Rapids, Minn.  He and his wife, Dianne, have two children, Casey and Breena.

Shelley Rutherford Mayer, born in 1953, attended Fisher Public School through her junior year.  She graduated from Oak Grove Lutheran High School in Fargo, N.D.  She earned a degree in dietetics from North Dakota State University and went on to obtain a degree in nursing from UND.  In 1986, she graduated from the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver, Colo., and is now living in Edina, Minn.  She is serving her first year of a three year residency in family practice medicine at the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis.

submitted by Jon Raymond Jan 2003


SOURCE: A Meeting of the Reds: East Grand Forks, 1887-1987,
Two Volumes, (out of print), Dr. Stephen Sylvester,
East Grand Forks Centennial Committee,
East Grand Forks, Minnesota
Volume One, pages 183-184

William E. Rutherford was born and raised on a farm in Fanny Township and his wife, Mae (Gunness) Rutherford was born and raised on a farm in Keystone Township.

Mrs. Rutherford graduated from the Agricultural College at Crookston in 1913 and then returned home to take over the household duties and take care of her younger brothers and sisters.

In 1917, she completed the Teacher’s Training Program in East Grand Forks.  She taught for a while in a rural Polk County school.

On Dec. 15, 1920 she married William Rutherford in an afternoon ceremony at the farm home of her father.

Rutherford took his bride to his farm which had been homestead by his father, Thomas, in 1879.  At that time William and his brother, Robert, were operating the farm together.

In 1927 he and Mae built a new home on Section 5 where they lived until 1979 when illness forced them to move to the Good Samaritan Nursing Center in East Grand Forks, where Mae Still resides.  William died on March 26, 1982.  They had five children: twins Ronald and Donald, Edmun, Marian (Mrs. Ervin Gunstinson) and Herbert.  Mae has 15 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.

William was born Aug. 23, 1889.  He attended the Agricultural College at Crookston, but since farming was his interest he returned home to care for the livestock and plant the fields of grain.  They raised sugar beets for a few years but gave that up for small grain crops.

William’s father came to Fisher’s Landing in 1879 and from there walked north to the Robert Nisbet farm near Mallory, where he stayed while he was setting up his own claim.

He walked northeast to Fanny Township and there built a sod shanty on Section 6, next to the John Love homestead.  In 1880, he returned to eastern Canada to Marry Margaret Abernethy Armstrong and brought her back to his homestead in Minnesota.  She was a sister of Mrs. John Love.  They had eight children, all whom are now deceased.

Mae’s father also came to Fisher’s Landing 1879, but chose East Grand Forks, as his destination.  That year he homesteaded land in Section 30 of Keystone Township near friends and relatives.  He worked on the railroad as an extra job and chopped wood to earn money to buy seed for the first planting of his newly acquired claim.  He married Tena McDougall and on Aug. 21, 1893, their first child, Mae, was born.

Two boys, Lloyd and Harold, were added to the family but Mac’s mother died soon after Harold’s birth.  A few years later, Bunness married Emma Woodall and they had five children.  She died in 1912.  Mr. Gunness retired and moved to East Grand Forks, where he lived until his death in 1943.


Bicentennial History of Polk County, Minnesota: Pioneers of the Valley,
Polk County Historical Society, 1976, Copyright 1976, Taylor
Publishing Company, Dallas, Texas
FANNY TOWNSHIP, pages 259-260

A visit with Mr. and Mrs. William E. Rutherford of rural Euclid, Minnesota, who are among the few pioneer couples still living in Polk County, can bring back many memories of the early 1900’s.  Both are lifelong residents of that community.  Mrs. Rutherford (Mae) growing up in Keystone Township and William in Fanny Township.  Mrs. Rutherford graduated from the Agricultural College at Crookston in 1913 and then returned home to take over the household duties and the care of the younger children.  In 1917 she completed the teacher’s training course in east Grand Forks.  She taught for a while in a rural Polk County school.  She married William Rutherford in 1920.  Their wedding took place in the afternoon of December 15, 1920, at the farm home of her father, William J. Gunness, on a beautiful winter day when guests could visit outdoors in shirtsleeves; but, as they recall, the beautiful day turned into a cold, stormy, wintry evening as is typical of our northern Minnesota.

Mr. Rutherford took his bride to his farm which had been homesteaded by his father, Thomas Rutherford in 1879.  William now operated the farm with his younger brother, Robert.  The following year twin sons, Ronald and Donald, were born.  In 1923, Edmun was born and a year later Marian (Mrs. Ervin Bunstinson) joined the household.  The arrival of Herbert in 1931 completed their family.   In 1921, Robert married, and the two families lived in the same home until 1927, when William and Mae built a new home on Section 5 where they are still living.  They have fifteen grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.  They enjoy visiting with their children who live in the area and with their friends who stop to see them to discuss ”old times” as well as the present day pleasures and problems.

The pioneer couple were members of the Keystone Presbyterian Church at Key West, Minnesota, from their childhood until the church was dissolved in 1969.  They joined the Mendenhall Presbyterian Church in East Grand Forks, Minnesota.  The parents of both were instrumental in organizing the Keystone Church of which William was treasurer for many years and Mrs. Rutherford an active member of the Ladies Aid.

William, born August 23, 1889, attended the Agricultural College at Crookston, but since farming was his main interest, he returned home to care for the livestock.  Every winter the horses were sent to the woods shere they earned their keep by working in the logging camp.  When cattle were sold they were put on the train at Buffinton, a loading station located along the Northern Pacific Railroad, a mile north of the farm on which the Rutherfords live.

William’s father came to Fisher’s Landing in 1879 and from there walked north to the Robert Nesbit farm where he stayed while he was setting up his own claim.  He walked northeast to Fanny Township, which was established in 1880, and there built a sod shanty on Section 6 next to the John Love farm which is now occupied by a grandson, Allan Love.  Later in 1880, he returned to eastern Canada to marry Margaret Abernethy Armstrong, whom he had known when he lived in Perth, Ontario.  She was a sister of Mrs. John Love.  They came back to Euclid, Minnesota, by train and then to his homestead.  In a few years they built a frame house on the farm now owned by Robert Rutherford, their youngest son, who now lives in East Grand Forks.

Medical help was not easily available and their first baby girl died shortly after birth and was buried in an old cemetery just north of Fisher.  Other members of the family were Della, now deceased, who married George A. Lee and lived near Mallory, Minnesota; Fred, killed at 25 years of age by a falling tree at his homestead in Baudette, Minnesota; Howard, who died at 19 and Mary at 13, both of pneumonia; Nethy, who married Leo M. Burns and operated the Crookston Dress Club for many years until they retired and moved to their present home in Tucson, Arizona; and Jennie who married Elmour Dangerfield and lived in Winnipeg, Manitoba, until her death in 1957.

Mrs. Rutherford’s father came to Fisher’s Landing from eastern Canada in 1879, but chose East Grand Forks as his destination.  He homesteaded land in Section 30 of Keystone Township in 1879, near friends and relatives.  He worked on the railroad, and as an extra job, chopped wood to earn money to buy seed for the first planting on his newly acquired claim, nine miles east of East Grand Forks.  He married Tena McDougall, and on August 21, 1893, their first child, Mae, was born.  She had two brothers, Lloyd, who died when a young man, and Harold who is living in Oregon.  Mrs. Gunness died shortly after Harold was born, and unable to care for a tiny baby, Mr. Gunness let his brother and sister-in-law in Barnesville [Minnesota] raise Harold.  Later he married Emma Woodall and they lived in the Key West community until her death in 1966.  Other children were Dorothy, Mrs. Harold Hlmes; Charlotte, Mrs. Daryl Manville; and Vernard, all living in California; and Jean who died in 1957 in California.  Mrs. Gunness died in 1910.  When Mr. Gunness retired, he moved to East Grand Forks where he made his home until his death in 1944.
submitted by Jon Raymond Jan 2003

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