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RAMSEY TOWNSHIP

by: Daisy Porter Bradley - written in 1935

    During the winter of 1852, fifteen hundred Indians camped for the winter on the west shore

of the Mississippi River directly across the river from the present Porter and Cutter homesteads.

With scouts camping on the east side of the river, many Indian relics have been found on the 

Porter farm.  The trail that up to this time had led close along the river bank, was changed that

winter.  It led away from the Mississippi and went out through what is now the Dr. Frank farm

and crossed Ramsey about on the line of what is now the "Old State" road and came back 

nearer to the river over what is now the Foster farm.

 

    The more timid white folk followed a hard trail up the east side of the Rum River and fording the river farther north came back tot he Mississippi through what later became Burns Township.  At this 

time the country to the north was a regular forest, very thick heavy timber, hunting and fishing

excellent.  The only buildings were three log cabins on what is now the Foster and Bryant farms,

but they were deserted that winter on account of the Indians.

 

    At this time there was no ferry across the Rum River everybody had to ford the river, those on 

foot had to wait for covered wagon if the log raft happened to be on the opposite shore. Sometimes

the wagon would be too heavily loaded then the man who was carrying his family provisions, loaded

them in or on top of the wagon and swam and waded across.

 

    Richard and Jane Porter came to Minnesota and St. Anthony trading post in the spring of

1852 and lived in a log house on what is now the Bryant farm. Mr. and Mrs. William Payne lived

in part of the cabin and for weeks and months on end, part of the family kept watch through the

night while others were sleeping.

 

    One incident which happened is interesting. One day the Indians ponies were missing and they were

sure the white men had taken them. So a great number of them came crowding into the Porter

cabin all talking angrily.  Jane Porter on seeing them approaching had hidden her little daughter

in back of a door and just in time as the Indians came crowding into the room.  Mrs. Porter 

kept stepping back in the direction of the wood box, they kept saying the white men, "had their

ponies" and she telling them the ponies just went over the hill and eating grass as they went, that

they had gone off and were not stolen.  Finally one stepped up with a long knife and drew it across her throat. She said she did not dare to show fear but with one quick step back she was at the wood box, and had a stick of wood in her hand.  She succeeded in driving them from the cabin. By that time the ponies were in sight.  In the meantime the sister who was there had fainted, this sister, Mrs. William Payne

was the mother of Alice Payne Taylor and Florence Payne Webster.

 

    The family then moved to Paynesville, Minnesota and were driven out by the Indians, at the

time the Indian outbreak and and escaped just with tier lives.  Mrs. Lunette Porter Hall was

born in Paynesville, Minnesota.

 

    The first Sunday School of Ramsey was organized and conducted by Captain Cady, and was

held in the school house.  The first cemetery was located in Section 27 Range 25.

 

    There are four pioneer families, whose families still reside there: J.W. Wilson, Wallace Patch, 

Clarence Porter and the Bowers family, who still own the farm but who live in town.  

 

    The Clark family came to Ramsey in 1862 and it was Gilman Clark who took the present farm

of the Clarks as a claim and members of the family have lived there ever since.  All of the Wilson 

family were born in Ramsey and none of them have lived there.  Sardon Wilson, Louis Carpenter,

Richard B. Porter entered the Civil War at the same time from this township.  Four generations

of the Wilson family attended school here. 

 

    In the summer of 1865, the Great Northern Railroad had been completed as far as the

George Foster farm corner.

 

    Another pioneer family of Ramsey was the Littlefield family who came to settle in that

community at a very early date, in fact there was only one other home in the trail and that

was on the bank of Trott Brook where the Berslien family now live.  Mr. Willard W. Littlefield

of that family still lives in Ramsey and on the farm adjoining the farm his father owned in the

early day.