(Information compiled by Lou Paulson for the book "Nowthen Then & Now" published in 1997 in celebration of Burns Township, Anoka County, Minnesota 100 years.)
James U. Hare
The man credited with naming the town "Nowthen", a robust, energetic man, very well known to residents of Anoka County. He served as postmaster, many other offices in the town board and as a school clerk.
A civil war veteran, the town’s original postmaster, and a bit of a character, he was asked by the postal service to submit a name for their town. He wanted to reactivate his post office but couldn’t call it "Burns", it was rejected because the name was already taken up north. He then submitted Hare’s Corners, Gibbsville, etc. and added a disgusted "Nowthen" and signed his name at the bottom of the page. The department thought it was one of the suggestions and chose the name "Nowthen". Hare really laughed when he got the news of what they accepted in the year 1897.
Here’s what Jim Hare wrote about himself:
"I was born February 18, 1841 in Schoharrie County, New York, I was
the son of John Hare born 16 September 1815, and mother **Katharine Johnson
of Sweden. My folks and Jim Hare had a pioneer life before arriving in Minnesota.
In August 18, 1842, they went west to Walworth County Wisconsin. In 1843, they moved to Jefferson, Wisconsin.
In 1845, they started again and in Iowa got an ox team to come to the Mississippi River and could not ferry across because of too high wind. Steamer Green Slave came up and Charley DuWebber is to go above and to up to St. Paul. We did and lived over Cathcarth Store and my dad cut cordwood in the winter. In March, we moved on
the ice up the Minnesota River to Shakopee by Harvey D.J. Koo’s. About 105 families of Sioux Indians and
many of their dead on kind of platform of poles, and some cross poles. The box made out of elm and some bark
of trees and they were wrapped in white, red and blue wool blankets, kind they wore for overcoats. We now
arrived at about 1849. There was no railroad at this time. At this time I am a ferryman or ferry boy for 7 or 8 years."
His dad died in Burns-March 6, 1882, and his mother died-April 8, 1876.
1861-Jim Hare enlisted in Company A of the 4th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry and also served several years
helping to quell Indian outbreaks. Jim Hare was discharged from service 18 March 1863 by a reason of surgeon’s certificate of disability. (Discharge papers signed by Lt. Ball in 1863)
In 1864 he went to Montana and was engaged in mining gold for two years. Have claims of 1865 and 1868
from Jefferson City that was recorded in Montana newspaper clipping. He came back after two years to Minnesota-didn’t stay long for he went back to Montana for more mining and work in a lumber yard for five
years. One of his good friends was Buffalo Bill Cody.
1870 – he came back to Burns Township and selected 365 acres of choice land in section 20. His first marriage
to Sarah was dissolved and Jim Hare got custody of his daughter Gertie Ann, born 30 Sept. 1873. Later in
25 Nov. 1876, he married Matilda (Martha) Johnson. She was born 3 Jan. 1857 in Varmland, Sweden.
Jim Hare, a Civil War veteran was a leader. He served as first postmaster, school clerk and many jobs in the
town board. He built a house, which burned in 1885. He lived in Anoka while he built another house.
On the farm he moved the old 1870 school house District 27 up on the hill across from the farm, which was
used as the Methodist Church. He was very active in this movement also.
Though Hare was not the first settler in Burns Township, he was the most important. As people came and
admired the location, he sold pieces of his land to them, hence the community grew. He later lived in a huge
house across from the old store in Nowthen. He died June 3, 1936, over 95 years old.
** According to Great Granddaughter, Nancy (Weeks) Pellow, Washington. Jim Hare's mother was Rachael Clow, a descendant of Dutch immigrants from upstate New York. She died April 5, 1901. After the death of Jim's father Rachael remarried a Mr. Panshot and lived on an adjoining piece of property to the other Hare and Sweezo
relatives, this according to old plat maps of the area. She was however, buried with her first husband Jonathan Hare in Oakwood Cemetery, Anoka, MN. The only explanation they have for James' error is that his wife Martha (also called Mathilda) was a Johnson. They haven't been able to verify Martha's mother's first name, but
it could have been the Katharine along with the date of death.