GHENT, LYON COUNTY, MINNESOTAMinnesota received its name from the largest river that lies wholly within its area, excepting only that its sources above Big Stone Lake are in South Dakota. During 150 years, up to the time of the organization of Minnesota Territory in 1849, the name St. Pierre or St. Peter had been generally applied to this river by French and English explorers and writers. March 6, 1852, the territorial legislature adopted a memorial to the president of the United States, requesting that this name should be discontinued and that only the aboriginal name should be used for the river, the same as for the territory, by the different government departments; and this was so decreed on June 19 of the same year by an act of Congress.Minnesota became the 32nd U.S. state on May 11, 1858.
Minnesota Minnesota Counties (Lyon county in red)
LYON COUNTYThis county, established by two legislative acts, March 6, 1868, and March 2, 1869, was named in honor of Gen. Nathaniel Lyon, who was born in Ashford, Conn., July 14, 1818, and was killed in the battle of Wilson's Creek, Mo., August 10, 1861. GHENTA city in section 15 of Grandview, platted in June 1878 by the Winona and St. Peter Railroad and incorporated May 15, 1899, at first bore the name of the township but was renamed in September 1881 for the ancient city of Ghent in Belgium, in compliment to Belgian colonists coming in 1880-81, who were led by Bishop John Ireland to settle in this part of the county. The post office was established as Grandview in 1874; however, in 1882 a residents' petition requesting the name be changed to Ghent was granted, the railroad changing the name of the station as well.
The 1878 plat map of Grandview shows the partition of the area in square sections of about one by one mile. The numbers are written in the centre of each section.According to Arthur P. Rose, William Bot lives in the southern part of section 11 (North-east of Ghent), after buying this land of B.F. Jellison in 1866.William Bot is the brother of Catharina Hero Bot (wife Jacobus Tjaarts Alma, like we have seen in the introduction of this website). Raymond Bot lives now on a part of section 33.The size, and numbers of the sections did not change in more than 120 years.
Plat map Grandview, 1878.
Plat map of Grandview, 2010.
I can close this chapter no more fittingly than by reproducing an article written by Mrs. Fellows, of Lynd, and read before the old settlers' gathering in February, 1885. It gives a very true idea of conditions in 1869:The time I first saw Lyon county, in the dark days of 1869, there were about a dozen in our settlement, scattered along the Redwood river in the timber. Another settlement, nearly as large as ours, was on the Cottonwood river, and another at Lake Benton. These constituted the entire population of our county. What was then one county has been divided into two, Lyon and Lincoln.The settlers lived in small, low, miserable log houses; indeed, some of them were originally Indian tepees, remodeled to suit the emergency. Some were without floors, except the solid earth with a covering of prairie grass; after it became dry and broken it was raked off and fresh grass cut and spread down. Of course, the floors needed no sweeping, and that was something saved, as there was a chance to economize in brooms. Economy, rigid economy, was the rule.A roof made of shingles was almost unknown. The houses were roofed, some with hay, some with earth, but the prevailing fashion was a shake roof. I fancy only the initiated have seen or heard of the shake roof. It consisted of flat, clumsy pieces of wood, all sizes and widths, and, as nearly as I can remember, about three feetlong, split and shaped and smoothed with a broad-ax, overlapping each other shinglefashion, serving as a mere covering, keeping out the sun, but affording little protection. The wind and snow and rain and flies and mosquitoes and gnats and all other nice things had full liberty to come and go at will. And of all these things there was no lack.In those days there were blizzards, too, real genuine blizzards. The winds were not tempered to the shorn lamb, not by a good deal. After a blizzard what a picture our houses presented ! Floors, beds, everything, were fancifully covered- decorations enough to have satisfied the most esthetic admirer of Oscar Wilde. Here and there and everywhere were festoons and wreaths and garlands and every imaginary thing of "the snow, the beautiful snow", filling the house, above and below. We didn't enjoy it a bit, however. With the mercury frolicking among the lower twenties, the poetry of our natures was entirely frozen out. Even a board to make a door or case a window was of inestimable value. Flooring, not the best quality by a number of grades, sold for $50 per thousand. Thanks are due a Maine Yankee for introducing an improvement in our architecture.Sod houses made an appearance, and they were much better, being more economical. Here we lived, deprived of every luxury and most of the comforts and necessaries of life, trying to be happy and keep homesickness away, which would occasionally trouble us notwithstanding all efforts to prevent it.We were, so to speak, at the jumping-off place, as another leap would have landed us among the savages. We depended wholly upon Redwood Falls for everything we had, and that a poor trading place, indeed. A spool of thread, a sheet of note paper, a pound of tea or sugar, had to be hauled fifty miles. One of our great blessings was our postoffice with a weekly mail. By the way, the first postoffice in this county was a gigantic affair! It required but one box, fastened with a huge padlock, to preventmail robbery.
Arthur P. Rose writes in his book (b) about the primitive conditions the first pioneers of Lyon County experienced:
Arthur P. Rose, An illustrated history of Lyon County Minnesota.Northern History Publishing Company, Marshall, Minnesota Publishers 1912Page 441
Arthur P. Rose, An illustrated history of Lyon County Minnesota.Northern History Publishing Company, Marshall, Minnesota Publishers 1912Page 45