Rev. Hancock’s Cow

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“Of his arrival here as a missionary (1849), the Rev. Hancock wrote: ‘While we were still somewhere in Lake Pepin there was pointed out to us the top of Barn Bluff, which we were told was where we were to land. Peculiar sensations were felt by us at the sight of that bold bluff standing in the middle of that valley through which our steamer was plowing its way. But there was not much time to indulge in sentiment. It was incumbent upon us to gather up our loose and scattered belongings so that we might be ready for debarkation. We kept as as cheerful as possible while making preparations and saying good bye to our companions in travel. The bell rang to announce that the boat would soon make a short stop. As it began to draw near the shore strange faces began to appear. Nearly the whole village came down to the landing place to give us a welcome. Some were fantastically dressed and ornamented with feathers and paint, while others were almost destitute of clothing. Two pale faces appeared among the motley crowd, our former friends, Rev J.F. Aiton and John Bush.

The boat hands made short work in dumping out our luggage upon the beach. But when the turn came for the live stock, especially the horse and cow, there was labor. Both these animals strongly objected to going ashore. The admiring crowd of men, women and children had no attraction for them. No coaxing could prevail. Human strength and skill finally accomplished the work. The only road up the river bank seemed a sort of gully through a thicket of bushes. The mission premises consisted of two substantial log buildings a few rods in the rear of the native houses. The latter were built of poles covered with bark and stood along the river bank near what is now Main street, between Bush and Potter streets. The mission houses were near the junction of Bush and Third streets. Narrow paths were crossing each other in various directions among the hazel bushes. There was a ravine just back of the mission houses in which many springs water gushed forth, forming a small creek, afterwards called the Jordan. The mouth of this creek was then the safest harbor for canoes. Beyond the creek, on rising ground extending some sixty rods east and west, were the Indian corn-fields. Each family had a separate patch of corn, the whole being fenced around by stakes and willows. Ponies and dogs being the only animals in the village at that time, no domestic fences were needed. There was a fine meadow of wild grass between Sorin and Barn bluffs. We were obliged to keep our horse and cow tethered or in a rude stable. The poor cow seemed to suffer much before being reconciled to the new home. Once she got away and swam the river in her fright. We soon found her on the island opposite the village, and with the aid of a canoe brought her home.’”

History of Goodhue County, 1909

The Missionaries of Red Wing, 1837-1852

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  • zvodret iluret November 5, 2018, 8:24 am

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