Musings: Gumbo Land

Opening the Marshall County Book at random and scanning those pages found me some interesting information right off the bat. Here was the section on the East Valley Township, south and east of Mud Lake. This area was settled a bit later than what I call the “gumbo” land, and even though life was as hard for them as in other settlements, they seem to have come with a purpose, like they knew what they wanted.

They certainly were ready and willing to work for all they had. So many of them apparently had settled elsewhere — Iowa or North Dakota — and came to Marshall County in a quest for a final home. Contributors to the book from that township had a number of interesting stories to tell that certainly were unique.

A wild fire swept the area around Kuriko Lake, north of Mud Lake in 1928 and had unearthed for some hunters the body of a trapper who apparently had died there 40 years before. The skeleton, with its old gun, empty shells and old coins was finally exposed after such a long time.

On the lighter side, is the story of the plight of the local caribou. (Sometimes the account calls them caribou, sometimes moose.) A herd of these wild animals had lived in East Park Township, but were gradually becoming extinct, with only a few cows left. It was 1922 and someone decided that the Minnesota Dept of Fish and Game would bring in a bull moose to rebuild the herd and would bring it all the way from upper Canada.

Mr. Moose had quite a trip. First he was hauled 200 miles by dog sled to an air port, then flown by plane to this area. He was then trucked to the north side of the Red Lake Reservation and put into a fence 14 feet high. When the cows found him, he jumped the fence and — as the account in the Book says — “they all lived happily ever after”!

Written by: Ethel Thorlacius

Author: W Saewyc

An amateur genealogist and internet hobbyist.

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