Civics, Faith, History, Prayer, Uncategorized

Cushman Becomes Governor Jan 7, 1874 to Jan 7, 1876


During his single term as Minnesota’s seventh governor, Cushman K. Davis confronted a menace that threatened to ruin the state’s farm economy. A five-year-long grasshopper plague began in 1873, and Davis’s offer of aid to farmers whose crops had been devoured by invading locusts represented an early form of state-sponsored disaster relief.*

“The state, governed by three different men during the grasshopper plague years, also failed to provide adequate relief to affected farmers. Under governors Horace Austin and Cushman K. Davis, the state provided small sums of direct, state-funded relief, but the governors focused their efforts on encouraging charitable giving to the cause. Unlike his predecessors, Governor John S. Pillsbury did not call for any direct, state-funded relief for farmers. Elected in 1876, Pillsbury believed that poverty was a fact of life on the frontier and that providing relief would make farmers dependent on the state. Instead, Pillsbury focused on efforts to eradicate the grasshoppers. This included a controversial bounty measure that required every able-bodied man in affected counties to destroy grasshopper eggs for one day a week, for five straight weeks.
In the summer of 1877, the grasshoppers left just as quickly as they had arrived. An April snowstorm damaged many of their eggs, which encouraged farmers to redouble their efforts to destroy the grasshoppers. The surviving grasshopper eggs hatched, but by August, the grasshoppers had flown away. Many attributed the end of the grasshopper plague to divine intervention, since Governor Pillsbury had proclaimed April 26 a day of prayer, after receiving many requests to do so.”
I’m first thunderstruck by two facts jumping off the page at me: that Cushman spearheaded state charity, and that a day of prayer is recorded as an action point. Will You guide me to ponder these notions? Will You give some insights as to how to intercede?

To the first point, it seems quite unusual for a Republican of this era to use state-funded relief. Cushman appears to be a man of principals, but not so rigid that he fails his constituents during such dire times of need. Will You bless him, and his commitment to the survival of his fellow man? Will You keep balance in this constant teeter-totter of public versus private charity within the souls of our leaders? If taxes were gifts, we would give them for Christmas. If charity is coerced, the heart disengages, and it no longer is charity but, perhaps, extortion. Have mercy on our “mercy”!

It’s curious to me that politicians sometimes endorse prayer as an action point. Many leaders currently would see the endorsement of prayer as a failure to adequately separate “Church and State”. (Help me probe this a little longer!) Yet we condition our minds and spirits through repetitive thoughts daily; we listen to songs over and over, view movies again and again, and repeat instructions internally to project us past sales objections. (I know these are quite random, but perhaps they are also a form of prayer?)

I’m grateful to You, the masterful inventor of every grasshopper, for Your beautiful destruction of our security. Will You forgive our barriers to seeing the heart and mind conditioning, aka “prayer” as a legitimate response to the plagues of our lives? Will You make us flexibly rigid in our principals enough to love our neighbor?

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL:
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, , is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from; again, an amazing resource!

Agriculture, Prayer, Uncategorized

Grasshopper Plague 1873


Grasshoppers darken the skies of southwestern Minnesota. For the next five summers they strip the land bare. Charities and the state provide some relief, but many farmers lose everything.
“‘The wheat!’ Pa shouted. He dashed out the back door and ran toward the wheat-field.
“The grasshoppers were eating. You could not hear one grasshopper eat, unless you listened very carefully while you held him and fed him grass. Millions and millions of grasshoppers were eating now. You could hear the millions of jaws biting and chewing.
“Pa came running back to the stable. Through the window Laura saw him hitching Sam and David to the wagon. He began pitching old dirty hay from the manure-pile into the wagon, as fast as he could. Ma ran out, took the other pitchfork and helped him. Then he drove away to the wheat-field and Ma followed the wagon.
“Pa drove around the field, throwing out little piles of stuff as he went. Ma stooped over one, then a thread of smoke rose from it and spread. Ma lighted pile after pile. Laura watched till a smudge of smoke hid the field and Ma and Pa and the wagon.
“Grasshoppers were still falling from the sky. The light was still dim because grasshoppers covered the sun.”*

Holy Spirit, we don’t know why You allow tragedy, but we thank you that you work ‘all things together for good for those that trust him.” This event must have felt like some kind of biological warfare; its’ devastation being so total.  How helpless it must have felt to take any useful action in the face of this swarm?!

Many would find this type of annihilation a ‘proof’ that You are not God. They may fail to see beyond the immediate to the fact that You’ve given us a will to choose lightness or darkness when our the object of our security is touched. They may fail to see that in the depths of pain, one’s greatness of character arises. Nearly every Bible story contains a main character who suffers, and often suffers unjustly.

Lord, I do not want to judge my state in their response to this plague. I do want to ask forgiveness for responses of anger or bitterness and unforgiveness towards You. Whether You allowed us to be tested, or whether the grasshoppers came because of natural law and overpopulation; You are righteous in Your judgments. Lord, forgive us our lack of trust that You bring life to the land, whether human or not? You truly are King of the Universe! May we bless You and not forget the days of life and health you have given. Will You show us how to work with insects in balance? Will You bless all insect and plant life through out our land?

We are fickle. We think You serve us instead of the truth that we are Your people and the sheep of Your pasture. Father, help Your Church to not cower in fear in the face of this accusation of the enemy, but answer with confidence in Your love. May we believe as David, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust him.”

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL:
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, , is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from; again, an amazing resource!

Energy, History, Minnesota, Uncategorized

Industry at St. Anthony Falls 1872


Minneapolis industries cluster around the power of St. Anthony Falls. The Minneapolis Board of Trade estimates that the 95 waterwheels at the falls produce 6,000 horsepower.*

Lord, thank you for the gift of the Mississippi and those who harnessed its power. Thank You for the individuals and groups that contributed to its’ planning and investment? You work through those who skillfully manage money! Will You bless the entrepreneur? You work through those who take major risks to create business? Too often we are guilty of failing to properly acknowledge the reflection of Your glory through the wonderful skills of tradesmen and women! Will You bless these and their generations’: the cement worker, the engineer, the steel worker, the electrician, the riggers, the teamsters, and any other who labored on these projects?
Lord forgive us the sin of loving ‘science’ while simultaneously negating your creation. You had a plan for this city far before we began to envision what was possible. You created many electrical systems as well as the principals of hydraulics and physics in nature long before we were alerted to their existence.
How many more mysteries do You have to reveal to us? Forgive this root of ‘scientific pride’ in Minnesota. Will You replace it with humility and eternal curiosity that makes us better stewards of Your creation, technological advancement, and more receptivity to Your ideas?

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL:
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, , is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from; again, an amazing resource!

Faith, Ministry, Uncategorized

The Lutheran Hymnal


I start my job quite early, often about 4am, and want to read something as I eat breakfast alone. My lovely bride is purging the house of clutter, and during the process she found my grandparents’ copy of “The Lutheran Hymnal”.  For the past few weeks, I’ve been reading these ancient hymns each morning with my egg and hard bread.

Today’s hymn is #605, written by Bernard of Morlas ca.1140; “The World is Very Evil”. Listen to these lyrics?

“The world is very evil, the times are waxing late;

Be sober and keep vigil, The Judge is at the gate;

The Judge that comes in mercy, The Judge that comes with might,

To terminate the evil, to diadem the right.”

The part that makes me weep is about the judge who comes in mercy. Is it possible that G-d is our beloved elder who kindly picks us up, dusts us off, and sets us on a new path? So good to see such grace in the midst of the Dark Ages! May you be blessed by the kindness of G-d today! Amen.


Agriculture, Energy, Uncategorized

Energy Crisis 1872


Epizootic fever strikes horses throughout the Midwest. The three-month sickness plunges horse-powered Minnesota into its first energy crisis.*

I need to let this one simmer for a bit; “the three-month sickness plunges horse-powered Minnesota into its first energy crisis.” It’s hard to relate to this not-so-distance past when “horse-power” really meant the labor of a workhorse. I believe it was as late as W. W. II when the majority of Minnesotans still lived on farms, and felt this connection to living “horse-power. (I still need to let this steep.)

There’s something good about the connection between human and horse. Your draft animal as a precious commodity, means of production, and even friend?! A car with a face? A tractor with a face? A companion who saw the same sights, and explored the same paths as its master?

Below is some documentation of the breadth and width of this epizootic fever.
“Beginning in Toronto, Canada, in the late summer of 1872, in only three days the disease hit nearly all the livery stables and the horses used to pull streetcars in that city. By mid-October, horses in all of Canada, Michigan and the New England states were infected. By the beginning of November the disease had spread to Illinois, Ohio and South Carolina. By the end of the month, Florida and Louisiana reported cases.”

Holy Spirit, today I remember the I remember this equine flu epidemic of 1872. I relationship between the suffering of animals and the people of this state. I acknowledge the contribution of veterinarians to the well-being of these individual animals, and indirectly to our state.

Will You forgive us any judgments made against Your goodness or holiness because of the epizootic fever then? You care about each detail of our lives, and of each creature in Your world. We give You thanks for these horses past, and sincerely thank You for Minnesota’s present stock. We ask Your blessings on each colt, filly, mare, stallion, bronco, foal, and gelding that will walk the North Star state in perpetuity!

The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, , is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from; again, an amazing resource!

Civics, History, Intercession, Uncategorized

Austin Becomes Governor


Jan 9, 1870 to Jan 7, 1874
Horace Austin takes office as the state’s sixth governor. A reputation for clearheaded objectivity and disdain for contentious party politics enhanced the appeal of Judge Horace Austin as a gubernatorial candidate in 1869. Minnesota’s sixth governor was determined to bring legislative power to bear against the railroad barons. His advocacy of strictly regulated passenger and freight rates and his opposition to the wholesale allocation of state lands to railroad development earned him a second term. But he was unable to resolve completely the problems inherent in controlling a booming transportation industry and curbing the excesses of its owners.*

Lord, thanks that You are our shield! To my knowledge, our people have suffered much historically through the over-reaching hands of the railroad. (Especially the farmers!) Thank you for providing Governor Austin that would stand up to these barons; even if only partially successful. Furthermore, thank You for his example of nonpartisanism, and the bridge-building he achieved with this more nuanced approach to solving problems for Minnesotans!

Will You forgive the judgements between Minnesotans, the railroad barons, the U. S. Government, and our state government? We know that You have told us in Lev. 19:35,36 to use “honest scales and honest weights”. Because You have forgiven us our debts, we forgive the numerous injustices perpetuated by all railroads, their employees, their owners, financiers, and any other party unnamed that have been bound in this unforgiveness.

Will You return us to a right relationship? Will You restore the lands that have been cursed through the contention between First Nations, citizens of the state, and the railroad companies? May these same rails become pathways of blessing!

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL:
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, , is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from; again, an amazing resource!

History, Minnesota, Uncategorized

Nininger City Fails 1869


The Panic of 1857 and the decision of the steamboats to use Hastings instead of Nininger as a river port doom Nininger City, the dream town of Ignatius Donnelly.

Nininger declines steadily after the financial panic of 1857 that causes banks across the country to call in loans. Donnelly tries to put a positive spin on the eastern bank failures by issuing a handbill entitled “Cure for the Panic. Emigrate to Minnesota! Where no Banks exist.”

People move away anyway. By the 8th U.S. census in 1860, only 469 remain. Buildings disappear and by 1869 no other buildings remain besides Ignatius Donnelly’s house. The town eventually disappears from the map.*

Have mercy on us! We make our dreams into idols, and are heartbroken and bitter when they fail us! Thank you for Donnelly and bless Your heart within his dreams! There is much good in wanting to provide a shelter for others in volatile times. How bitter for him it must have been to see Hastings thrive?!

Lord, will You forgive any judgments that Donnelly had against Hastings, and vice versa? Will you make us free in the present from this bitter root? Will You bless the river and the lands involved? Will You preserve Nininger and Hastings in the season of flooding? Will You cause us to bless the town next door as much as our own?

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL:
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, , is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from; again, an amazing resource!