1910 Forest Fire in Baudette MN

Recently I was stunned by a story. I suppose it will bug me until I write about it.

In 1859 a young boy was born in Sweden, his was named Edward Rulien but he was known as “Erik”. I am not sure when he came to the United States, it was before 1882. In 1884 he married Mathilda Johnson in New Richmond Wisconsin. They would have four children for sure. William born in 1884, Anna in 1887, Hulda in 1888 and Teodor who was born in 1890, his birth on February 8, 1890 would claim his mothers life two weeks later. Teodor would live but only for seven months.

Erik was widowed with children aged 6, 3 and 2 and a brand new baby. He quickly married his wife’s sister, her name was Augusta Johnson. In 1891 they welcomed Ellen, Herman in 1893, Lillie in 1895, Hildegard 1897, Judith 1899, Evelyn 1901, Agnes 1904 and finally Elizabeth Margaret in 1910.

In 1907 they moved to Minnesota, settling near Baudette. Baudette was a logging area. Big timber surrounded the area with a few small homesteads where cleared land would raise a garden and enough grain and hay for their animals. Most everyone cut and sold timber for a living. It was a summer of drought. In the Fall Typhoid was making the rounds. There were fires in the area, either from brush piles or sparks from the train tracks, on October 4, 1910 the towns of Graceton, Pit, Williams and Cedar Spur would be wiped out. On October 7, 1910 the winds would fan four fires into one burning tornado. The residents of Baudette and Spooner would have little warning. A few trains left with people, some survived by going into the river, the sick were taken down to the river on cots. Some people fled by boat.

The rest of this story can be found HERE. 

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