Minnesota is booming with grandiose plans and get-rich-quick schemes. John Nininger and Ignatius Donnelly establish the town of Nininger—on the south bank of the Mississippi River, five miles up river from Hastings—in the summer of 1856. Their town exists only on paper, but in their dreams it is a great metropolis, a center of commerce and culture, a rival of Chicago. Active sale of land and building operations begin about October 1, 1856.
Donnelly promotes Nininger across the nation. In February 1858 the legislature grants a charter to the town, and the town has shops, churches, a dance hall, a poor house, a school, and a population of perhaps as many as 1,000 persons. The dream town of Nininger declines steadily after the financial panic of 1857 that causes banks across the country to call in loans. People move away. Buildings disappear. The town eventually disappears from the map.*
Lord, we are looking for heaven… but usually the one of our own design. You have given us imagination to organize society and solve civic problems. We often lack the humility to remain in relationship when we are hurt, or to forgive and resolve problems. Forgive any judgments of Donnelly and Nininger towards the residents of Nininger and each other. Forgive any counter judgments of the people of Nininger. Will You continue this process until full restoration?
Also, I acknowledge the financial judgments made in the panic of 1857: Eastern banks judged Western farmers, small business judged large business, etc. Lord, we have sinned against You by the judgments of the panic of 1857! Many have paid debts unfairly placed on them, and made counter judgments towards banks, businessmen, lawyers, city, county, and state officials etc.
Unfortunately, we are bound by our judgments of banks, as well as state and federal laws! Free us as a Minnesotan people! Heal our economy and our hearts that easily are swayed into discontent! We have coveted our neighbor’s property! We have coveted our neighbors’ real and imagined legal freedoms! We often submit to debt out of envy! Hear our prayer! Heal our land!
*Note – PrayThroughHistory uses the timeline located for several years at the Minnesota Historical Society Web site, at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm or visit http://www.mnhs.org.