In the 1880s a new generation of our families came into its own. Within the small social confines of Cannon Falls and the surrounding townships, there were Dibble family weddings and births almost every year, and no doubt each event saw most or all of our principal characters facing each other around the altar, baptismal font, or dinner table. On the business side, the Minnesota Dibbles, Haldens, Moruds and Kowitzes prospered both on the farm and in town.
The Goodhue County community itself was acquiring a cosmopolitan flair. The often subtly sarcastic Beacon reported in January, 1884, that "Goodhue County is now blessed with seven first class newspapers," and went on to remark that, "The affairs of the village must be gliding along very smoothly as the council has not had a meeting for months." (That may have been because, at the time, Judge John Wilson was serving as virtually a one-man city government. While continuing his duties as Justice of the Peace, he was also the Village Clerk, Village Recorder, and Village Assessor.) The paper also indicated that Cannon Falls residents were looking outward with interest at the world around them; it reported that regular meetings of a Scientific Society (at which papers were presented) and a Free Trade Club were ongoing.
Yet despite all of these joys, successes and intellectual pursuits, medicine remained primitive, both men and women were often overworked, and illness and death were never far away, even from those who seemed strongest.
The farm in Stanton Township, now under the management of Alonzo's son Ed, began a transformation away from grain to a dairy operation that milked shorthorn cows. We don't really know what Ed and Alonzo were thinking at the time, but we do know that per-bushel wheat prices had declined by almost 70% over the previous 15 years, and that beginning in 1878, Goodhue County wheat crops began experiencing a severe blight due to stem rust. No doubt the move to dairy cattle was good business.
Ed's sister Sarah, with a few years of teaching already under her belt, went back to school to improve her skills. She attended Carleton college for a year and completed the teacher's course at Winona State Normal School. It was possibly during this time that the young Peter S. Aslakson, fresh from getting his law degree at the University of Iowa, taught school in Cannon Falls. It wasn't long, though, before he set up his own law practice in a back room of the second floor of the Thompson building. Later, he succeeded Judge Wilson as Village Clerk.
Meanwhile, Richard "Dick" Dibble, son of the late "townie" Jonathan Dibble, was becoming an entrepreneur. While staying with his Uncle Alonzo, he had learned butchering skills, and as a boy he began hiring himself out to other farmers in the area. Around 1882, when he was 20, he and a partner, George Tanner, bought H.N. Geering's meat market and set up shop on Fourth Street in Cannon Falls as Tanner & Dibble. The shop seems to have been next door to, and perhaps in the same building with, the Kowitz saloon.
In May 1882 the saloon's proprietor, the widower Ferdinand Kowitz, Sr., remarried, to Kate Trenton. Ferdinand's daughter Bertha recalled Kate as a "mean stepmother" and implied that she hired herself out as a housekeeper to get away from her. In fact, it was common in middle-class German families of the time for the sons to work with the father and the daughters to work as maids, laundresses or nannies for other families, and the Kowitzes were probably just following this tradition. Bertha's sisters Edith and Emma also did such work when they became old enough.
Dick Dibble married the mill foreman Norman Coplin's daughter Ella on January 17, 1884. This may have been a fairly posh affair, suitable for an up-and-coming young businessman. Though both families were from Cannon Falls, apparently no venue there was suitable for the event, because it was held at the Batlo House in Red Wing. Probably within a year their daughter, Olive, was born, but her exact birthdate is unknown.
In May of 1884 a massive fire, begun on the second floor of A.O. Sather's store, struck downtown Cannon Falls. Dozens of buildings over several square blocks were destroyed. Though no historical account of the fire mentions Tanner & Dibble or the Kowitz saloon, photographs taken after the fire show nothing standing in the area of Fourth Street where those businesses were. The town seems to have recovered quickly, however, as did both businesses. Dick's recovery was probably accelerated by the fact that Tanner & Dibble had a monopoly on the butcher's trade in town until 1885. Dick may also have been running his father's livery stable at this time; a somewhat suspect source indicates that the "J. Dibble Livery" purchased advertising in the Beacon that year.
Also apparently in 1884, the Kowitz brewery burned, though this was probably not related to the downtown fire, as the brewery was several blocks north and on the other side of the river. It was rebuilt almost immediately. The new brewery boasted a 22' x 43' 3-story stone main building, a 2-story frame building 32' x 40', and a 24' x 36' 2-story malt house. All the machinery and brewing equipment was replaced with the latest models.
The mid-1880s was a time of popular unrest in the United States, both for industrial workers who were experiencing increasing pressure to work longer hours in more difficult conditions, and for farmers, who faced constantly dropping commodity prices on the international market and tighter credit. The farmers around Cannon Falls and the factory workers in Red Wing were looking for relief, and in the fall of 1884 they voted in a new face, the Red Wing lawyer and left-wing Democrat Osee Matson "O.M." Hall, to represent them in the State Senate. He served 3 years in that office. Probably by this time O.M.'s family included a toddler named Charlie, who would eventually have a public career in his own right.
Cannon Falls was well-served medically by the Conley family, several generations of which gave the town doctors and dentists. Foremost of these at this time was Dr. Alva "A.T." Conley, whom many historical accounts refer to as the "town doctor". A.T.'s younger brother, Hiram Edward Conley, known as "Ed", gets second billing through no fault of his own. A.T. went straight to medical school, but their father had incurred a major debt in one of the railroad bankruptcies that were common at the time, and Ed had to help bail him out by working in his sawmill. The brothers were originally from Iowa. A.T. was practicing in Cannon Falls by August 1876; Ed first appears in the town in 1881, when he apparently began his medical education as an apprentice to his older brother. But he soon went back to his home state to attend Iowa University, where he earned his MD in 1884, at the age of 29. He practiced in Waterville, MN, about 50 miles west of Cannon Falls, for a time, then returned to Cannon Falls sometime in 1855, where he married Sarah Dibble. Though Sarah gave up teaching to become a wife and mother, she remained active in politics and the intellectual life of the community. Her new husband went into partnership with his brother and became known as "Dr. Ed".
On March 12, 1885, Sarah's brother Ed Dibble married Laura Crook (born in 1867, possibly in High Prairie, MO). But on May 16 of that year, Dick's older brother Nathan, only about 24 years old, died. Nathan had had "consumption" (tuberculosis) for some time, perhaps for years. We know so little about Nathan that it is tempting to read too much into his obituary, which says, "It is comforting to Nathan's many friends that during the latter portion of his life on earth, he turned his attention most willingly to the study of the cardinal doctrines of Christianity. He took delight, when he was too weak to read the Bible himself, in hearing others read it to him, saying that he enjoyed it." Perhaps the young man had long been inclined toward spiritual things. Or perhaps he simply sought comfort and reassurance as death loomed closer. We may never know.
Perhaps tuberculosis was becoming endemic in the region despite its early claims to be a health haven. Also in 1885, on April 28, and also of tuberculosis, Dick's father-in-law Norman Coplin died. Norman had left his position as foreman at R. Gregg & Co. Mills the year before and traveled to California in an unsuccessful attempt to find a climate that would cure his disease. He was only 49.
By 1886, Tanner & Dibble occupied a 2-story frame building of over 2,600 square feet. As the Beacon reported in one of those items, characteristic of newspapers of the time, that was half news, half advertising, "They keep on hand a full stock of meats and sell at reasonable prices," and, despite the recent arrival of competition, "They have a flourishing trade and are doing a profitable business."
For fun, Dick joined the town's amateur baseball team, which in the 1880s had a winning reputation and was a source of considerable pride. With him on the team was Judge Wilson's son Ed, a very popular young barber and horse fancier. The team played against regional rivals in Red Wing, Northfield, St. Paul and elsewhere.
Dick's sister Minnie married Mr. H.C. Penney of Pine Island, a town in Goodhue County some 25 miles southeast of Cannon Falls, in October 1886. It was probably also during this year that Sarah and Ed Conley's first child, Mira, was born. Sarah and Ed had three other children, sons Eldridge and Alonzo and a daughter Ora, whose birthdates are not known.
The elder Alonzo's youngest child, Alice M. Dibble, married Frank I. Richardson in February 1887. On February 14 of the same year, Peter Aslakson's wife Maren gave birth to their son John. In what would turn out to be an interesting coincidence, it was probably also about this same time that Alice's brother Ed and his wife Laura's first child, Della, was born.
Once again in May, fire struck Cannon Falls. Following a long drought, the mostly wooden buildings of the downtown business district around Fourth and Mill Streets went up like matchsticks. This fire seems to have been worse than the 1884 conflagration. Some 30 buildings and their contents, valued at the time at $125,000, were destroyed. And, once again, though no mention is made in the record, the Tanner & Dibble meat market and Kowitz saloon seem to have burned to the ground. Also destroyed, with only its stone vault left standing, was the First National Bank, in which Alonzo Dibble and Ferdinand Kowitz held stock. Yet again, the town sprang back quickly.
In an even more startling repeat of history, at 10 o'clock in the morning of January 20, 1888, the Kowitz brewery burned again. The frame building was completely destroyed and the stone building was partially damaged. The malt house seems to have escaped. The Red Wing Daily Republican reported that "The fire is supposed to have originated from a drying kiln." Breweries used such kilns for several reasons, including drying wood for barrels and drying hops, the flowers that give most beers their distinctive flavor. The value of the brewery was variously reported as between $7,500 and $10,000 but the insurance paid only $5,500. In early February the papers reported that the Kowitzes were planning to rebuild the brewery in Randolph, a village a few miles northwest of Cannon Falls in Dakota County. However, those plans seem not to have gone forward, and this fire was probably the end of the Kowitz brewery (though one source reports that the brewery burned a third time, without providing a date or other information).
One month after the brewery fire, on February 20, 1888, Ed and Laura's second daughter, Jessie, was born. Then, in March, a son was born to Dick's sister Minnie and her husband H.C. Penney. They named him Milford. Shortly thereafter, Minnie, possibly weakened by her pregnancy, contracted spinal meningitis. She was ill for some time, and died on April 16, 1888. Her infant son, less than a month old, was adopted by James and Lizzie Elder, and he grew up as Milford Elder.
During the following winter, Alonzo's second wife, Rebecca, contracted pneumonia. She passed away on March 10, 1889. Alonzo was devastated by this loss and never fully recovered, though the extent of the damage was not revealed until some time later.
Also in early 1889, Dick Dibble and George Tanner dissolved their partnership. Tanner became one of Dick's competitors at Tanner & Seager Meats. Dick took on his sole surviving sibling, Dan, as his new partner and the firm was known as Dibble Brothers. As the Beacon later reported/advertised, they offered "a choice line of fresh and salt meats, poultry and game."
1889 was also the year when Sarah and Ed Conley's daughter Emma was born.
By 1890, with farm prices dropping, credit growing tighter, and industrial working conditions becoming more dangerous and debilitating, Populism and the related Free Silver ideology had gained a strong foothold in Minnesota. O.M. Hall, after a 2-year hiatus from politics, returned to public life and this time ran for the U.S. Congress. While still a Democrat, he campaigned on a platform very similar to that of the People's (Populist) Party. His firey radical speeches against the moneyed "bosses" were very popular, and he won a seat in the House of Representatives that fall.
Hiram "Dr. Ed" Conley also enjoyed a political career during the 1890s, serving two terms as a Cannon Falls alderman and a term as Mayor. At some point he also was president of the Board of Education and of the Goodhue County Medical Association.
In July of 1891, Alonzo Dibble, at the age of 65 the patriarch of the Minnesota Dibbles, embarked on a trip to Kansas City. When he got there, he wrote his family that he was going on to California. He stayed in Sacramento long enough to "purchase a draft" (perhaps a cashier's check written on a Sacramento bank?). However, he immediately went back to Kansas City and shipped his trunk home from there. Then he journeyed to Des Moines, Iowa, where he mailed the draft and a money order home to his family. Next, he went to Waterloo, Iowa. The Waterloo Daily Courier reported what happened next:
"About 5 o'clock last evening a man came to the Central House and asked for a room. He registered as 'I. William, Minn.' and stated that he didn't want any supper. He had no luggage and retired about 8 o'clock. As landlord Williams showed him to the room which was No. 28, on the third floor, near the head of the stairs, he said to him that the location was such that there would be no noise. 'That's just what I want,' responded the man and closed the door.
This morning he arose early, ate his breakfast and then paid the bill and sat around in the office until between 8 and 9 o'clock when he went upstairs again. A short time afterwards, John Beck, the clerk, heard a noise which he took to be the explosion of a fire cracker. Five minutes later he went upstairs to get the lamps. As he opened the door to room 28 he saw a fearful sight. Stretched upon the floor, diagonally of the room, lay the occupant, dead, with a bullet hole through his right temple and a 32 Smith and Wesson revolver lying on his breast. He had taken off his coat and folded it into a pillow which supported his head. He had taken off his shoes. The bullet had plowed its way entirely through his head and lodged in the lower drawer of the commode. When Mr. Beck reached the room he was gasping for breath but by the time a physician could be called he was dead and only the reflex muscular action following the exit of life was noticeable.
Why did he do it?
This question promises to remain a mystery, as the dead man had used every precaution to conceal all clues to his identity. In his pocket were two pocket books, one of which contained $45 and the other 9.45 in gold and silver coin. In one of the pocket books was a bill of lading with the name of the sender and place torn off, but showing that a trunk containing clothing of the supposed value of $75 was consigned to F.A. Richardson, Cannon Falls, Minnesota.
As stated above every scrap of evidence in regard to his identity was carefully concealed. His name was erased from his memorandum book and torn from the bill of lading, and he had no baggage and nothing else was found about his person, other than stated above, exception an Elgin watch in a silver case.
The anxiety with which he erased his name from his effects makes it probable that the name in the hotel register is an assumed [name] and that he did not desire to have anyone know who he was."
A week later, his trunk arrived at his daughter Alice's house. Two days after that, on Friday, July 10, the bad news came via telegram, confirming the identity of the suicide. As the Beacon reported:
"Mr. Dibble was always looked upon as one of the most substantial and thorough farmers in the vicinity. Thoroughly honest and upright [in his] dealings he was naturally respected and esteemed by all who knew him. He was a thoughtful, unassuming gentle man. He was a careful reader and kept himself posted on most of the questions of the day.
His three children are all married and comfortably settled and his circumstances both financial and social on a sure foundation. His friends did not realize his loneliness that was settled down upon him like a dark cloud after the death of [his] beloved wife two years ago. Naturally inclined to look on the dark side of life at times, this grew upon him as old age came stealing on until his mind seems to have become deranged and he was noticed to be more than usually depressed and thought, as he expressed to a few that his friends were leaving him or had something against him. Had his family and friends but faintly realized his condition how promptly they would have done all in their power to dissipate the gloom.
Alonzo Dibble will always be remembered as a kind and loving father, a true friend, an upright and honored citizen."
There is very little that we can add to this description, except perhaps to speculate that the trip west may have been an attempt to recreate some of the feelings of promise and adventure of his first journey to California, to join the Gold Rush, when he was still a young man. There may even have been a woman in Sacramento, still young in Alonzo's mind, who, he thought, might have missed him when he left, and may still have been waiting... Of course, this is nothing more than romantic imagination, and we probably will never completely understand Alonzo's final wanderings.
1891 was a year of widespread tragedy in Cannon Falls. A diptheria epidemic took many lives, including those of two of Sarah and Dr. Ed Conley's daughters, 6-year-old Mira and 19-month-old Emma (actually, Mira's age at this time is questionable; see the previous note). Ed treated them himself, struggling during what must have been a horrendous 48-hour period to perform tracheotomies to enable the gasping children to breathe, only to watch first one, then the other, die.
As the allegedly "Gay Nineties" continued, family members constantly changed partners with joy and sadness in the dance of life. Dan Dibble married Isabelle Sanders (daughter of W.H. Sanders and Emma Ellsworth Sanders) on August 11, 1891 or 1892. Dan's brother Dick's wife Ella finally succumbed to a long battle with macrosis of the spine on September 8, 1893. Ed and Laura Dibble became the parents of twins, Willard and Willis, on November 18 of that year.
Dan and Isabelle's son Donald was born on June 21, 1894. They also had a daughter Jean.
Dick, still young at 31, remarried on September 26, 1894. His second bride was the 25-year-old daughter of the man who owned the saloon next door to his butcher shop, Bertha Kowitz. Once again, the event took place in Red Wing, not Cannon Falls. It was Bertha's second September wedding in a row; the previous year she had been a bridesmaid at her sister Edith's marriage to Dick's baseball teammate Ed Wilson. (Ed's and Edith's first son was named Clair; he was born before 1899.) Bertha, despite her complaint of having had a "mean stepmother" herself, did not want Ella's daughter Olive around, so she was sent to live with Ella's mother Eliza Coplin, but Dick visited her regularly and showed great tenderness to her at holiday family gatherings.
Up north, another matrimonial union was shaping up, and the struggle to build a life in the wild, long ended with a decided victory in Goodhue County, was continuing.
In the vicinity of Fergus Falls, Lars Halden had donated land on which to build the "Kongsberg" church. (Kongsberg is a town in Norway and was probably the name of a neighboring town in Minnesota, though it doesn't appear on on-line maps.) The church construction was underway, but nobody knew how to build a steeple. A young homesteader and carpenter from even further north in Warren, MN, Ole Morud, who had been making winter visits to his cousins in the area, had the requisite experience, so the townsfolk invited him to return in the summer to do the job. This he was happy to do, because it would give him a chance to spend more time with Lars' daughter Eline (known as Ella). She had inherited Lars' love of music, and much like Sarah Dibble, was the organist at this church, and at the Fergus Falls church, on alternate Sundays.
Ole returned to his farm and built a real frame house, sixteen feet square with a root cellar and a loft. He continued to work hard, improve his land, and visit Ella on occasion.
On December 9, 1895, Ole Morud married Ella Halden at the Kongsberg church. When they went back north to Warren, Ella's bachelor younger brother Peter accompanied them and established his own homestead about a mile south of Ole's. He would come over when Ella was baking bread and buy some loaves for himself.
Farm life was strenuous on the prairie around the turn of the century. The farms were large, as were the ambitions of the farmers, and even with the machinery of the time, it wasn't possible for one farm family to bring in the full harvest alone. So farmers routinely worked together during harvest, going from farm to farm, sharing equipment and draft animals, to make sure everyone's crops were brought in on time.
A major task of the harvest was "threshing" the grain--usually wheat or oats--which meant separating the grain kernels from the stalks they grew on. Someone in the neighborhood owned a newfangled steam thresher, successor to the horse-powered thresher of Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House" books, itself a step up from the ancient method of piling the stalks on the ground and beating them with sticks. The thresher took in the stalks that the farmers had cut and stacked, separated the grain and spewed it out into sacks, and chopped up the stalks and blew them out the back. It traveled majestically from farm to farm at the head of a procession that included wagons full of coal to fuel it, wagons hauling tanks of water to make the steam, and the farmers and farm hands in wagons and on horseback to do the work.
It was heavy work, and Ole's daughter Olga (known as "Ollie") later described how the workers were fed to keep up their energy:
"Before the threshers were coming, a young calf or hog were butchered. Some was given to a neighbor, and they returned the favor when they threshed. There was no refrigerator for keeping the meat except the cool cellar, where it was salted down in crock jars. It would keep a few days this way, but if there was a rainy spell so they couldn't thresh, it had to be canned or put in brine. Much was ground for meat balls. This was prepared, fried until done, then put it in crocks with lard poured over it. If put in a cellar this would keep for several weeks."
While the farmers threshed, "The housewife brought forenoon and afternoon lunch out to the field. Forenoon lunch usually consisted of doughnuts, cookies, and a big pot of coffee. Afternoon lunch was sandwiches, cake and cookies. Cups and the food were carried out in large dish pans. Cream and sugar were always included since most of them used it in their coffee then. The noon meal was served in the kitchen. This consisted of beef, pork or chicken, with mashed potatoes, gravy, several vegetables, cabbage salad, pickles, and several kinds of pie for dessert. There were always home-made buns and bread. The cooking was done on the wood stove, so with the smell of food being prepared, the flies were always a problem. So one of the women-folk was shooing the flies away from the table with a clean dish towel."
Meanwhile, down south in the somewhat grandiosely, but legally, styled "City" of Cannon Falls, there were no flies on Dick and Bertha Dibble. Their first child, Archibald Richard, was born on June 12, 1896.
1896 also saw President William McKinley's (actually William Randolph Hearst's) "splendid little war", the Spanish-American War. None of our major characters was involved, but a Corporal Charles Ahlers was wounded while serving with Company G of the 13th. Volunteers in the assault on Manila in the Phillipines. He was probably a younger brother, or perhaps a cousin, of Alonzo Dibble's first wife, Louisa Ahlers.
About a year after his grandson Archie's birth, Ferdinand Kowitz, Sr. died at his home on the North Side on August 16, 1897.
It was probably around this time that Ella Halden Morud's sister Inga Halden married Gustav Johnson in Fergus Falls. They had a son, Melvin Johnson, whose birthdate we don't know.
Shortly thereafter, the first of Ole and Ella's own nine children, Leonard, was born, on October 1, 1897. The others were:
Alice (b. February 19, 1900)
The Morud household was a cultured one. In addition to playing the organ, Ella also played the guitar. On Sunday afternoons she and the children would sing together around the organ. They often sang Norwegian songs, even though the children didn't understand the language. Ole had a wind-up "victrola" phonograph, and was a fan of opera. He had records by singers Alma Gluck, Galli-Curci and Madame Schuman-Heink, piano compositions by Paderewski, and the violin music of Fritz Kreisler. The children had to stay still and quiet when Ole played these records so he could "hear the overtones". All the children learned to play instruments such as the organ or ukelele. Together they must have produced a sound that warmed many a chilly heart, or at least kept many ears warm from vibrations, on frigid winter nights.
Further south, but in the still chilly neighborhood of Fergus Falls, the Morud kids' uncle Martin Halden passed away at the age of 20, in 1900.
In the somewhat warmer environs of the Cannon - Mississippi River junction, the small town of Bay City, Wisconsin hugged the northwest tip of Lake Pepin (the setting of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House in the Big Woods). Bay City was founded in 1853 as Saratoga, Wisconsin when the Philip brothers and a relative of President John Tyler, Charles Tyler, established a steam-operated sawmill there. Apparently the sawmill failed, because Saratoga was eventually abandoned and most of its buildings moved to another town. Tyler bought the town site for $1700 in back taxes and renamed it Bay City in 1886. The town was the site of the first recorded murder in Pierce County. A squatter named Dexter was upset because a man named Morton had bought the land he was occupying, and he killed the surveyor who was sent to lay out the town. Around the turn of the 19th. - 20th. centuries, Bay City was an important source of freshwater fish, and had a pickle factory and a train station on the line between Chicago and St. Paul.
Just across the lake (actually a wide spot in the Mississippi), about 5 miles away, lay Red Wing, Minnesota. On the outskirts of Bay City, on the road to Red Wing, was the small farm where, soon after the turn of the century, Francis A. Johnson and his wife Rose L. Chiecke Johnson raised four children. One of them, Clarence Casper Johnson, was born on August 8, 1904. The others were Francis, Sidney and Leslie, who was born in 1905. Rose was born in 1877 and is said to have been of German extraction. At present we don't know anything more about her, except that she may have come from western Minnesota, and that in later years she always seemed to wear the head scarf known as a "babushka" (the preferred headgear of Russian grandmothers, the Russian word for whom is "babushki"). Rose had a sister named Agnes Chiecke and a brother, August Chiecke, about whom we know very little. As always, research continues.
On the other side of the river, in Red Wing, O.M. Hall was back in his law practice, having lost his bid for a third Congressional term in 1894. His son Charles had attended Hobert College in New York and law school at the University of Michigan, graduating in 1901. He was admitted to the Minnesota Bar in 1902 and joined his father's practice. It wasn't long, though, before he struck out on his own. He set up a practice in Cannon Falls, and became the city attorney there in 1904. It must have been around this time that he met, courted and married Dick Dibble's daughter Olive, known as "Ollie".
Ed and Edith Wilson's second son George A. Wilson, known as "Dody", was born in 1901. Dick and Bertha Dibble's second, and last, child, Glee, was born in 1902.
Ed and Laura Dibble's daughter Jessie graduated from Cannon Falls High in December of 1905. Desiring to pursue a career as a teacher, she went to college at Mankato Normal School. While studying there in February 1907, she became ill and was hospitalized in Mankato. We don't know what her illness was, but after several months of treatment, the doctors felt nothing more could be done for her. She returned to the Dibble farm in May, and died there, at the age of 19, on July 5, 1907.
Dr. Ed Conley gained a certain amount of notoriety around this time for owning the first automobile in Cannon Falls, a vehicle manufactured by International Harvester. No doubt his wife Sarah gained even more notoriety through her activities as an officer of the Women's Christian Temperance Union.
Dr. Ed and his brother A.T. continued to do their best to provide medical care to the people of Cannon Falls. There is an interesting and tragic record of a procedure A.T. performed, with the help of other doctors, presumably including his brother, in 1908. The school superintendent A.W. Newman's wife, Minnie, was near the end of her term of pregnancy and had been having "difficulty" for a week. The doctors had to anesthetize her and crush the baby's skull and remove it or, they believed, the mother would have died. The baby boy weighed about 12 pounds and was full-term. Today this procedure would be called a "partial birth abortion" and be heavily politicized. At the time, it simply was considered necessary, both by the doctors and by the attending nurse, Dick Dibble's sister-in-law Emma Kowitz, to save the life of the mother. Unfortunately, the procedure wasn't enough. Though Mrs. Newman at first seemed to be doing well, it wasn't long before Emma had to call Dr. Conley back. Minnie was having complications and weakening. A.T. was unable to save her. The distraught husband and father was reported as saying he "hasn't anything to live for." The reader is left to draw whatever conclusions he or she wishes from this story.
Also in 1908, Eline Morud's bachelor brother, and neighbor, Peter Halden, died at the age of 35.
Somewhere around this time, Ed Dibble's daughter Della married John Aslakson. They had a daughter named Jessie. And up in Fergus Falls, also probably around this time, Oscar Halden married Ruth Torgerson and his brother Alfred Halden married Olga E. Overby.
Ollie and Charles Hall's daughter Betty Hall was also probably born during this period, whether in Cannon Falls or Red Wing we don't know. By 1910 they had returned to O.M. Hall's old stomping grounds in Red Wing, and Charles was the city attorney there.
Although the century had turned ten years previously, and "modern" technologies such as general anesthesia, mechanically-powered farm equipment, and automobiles had begun to trickle in, the big changes that are usually associated with the 20th. century were yet to be felt in Goodhue County, or for that matter, in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and most of the rest of the nation. Some of those changes resulted from a new wave of immigration that had been building for the last twenty years. That is where our story turns next.