Minnesota’s first railroad line begins operation when the William Crooks travels ten miles from St. Paul to the village of St. Anthony (present-day Minneapolis). Within ten years the state is laced with railroad lines, opening up vast inland regions to farming and lumber.
To get here, the William Crooks rode on tracks to LaCrosse, Wisconsin then was shipped by steamboat to St. Paul. Until the railroads, steamboats and the rivers they ride are the most efficient way to move goods in and grain and logs out.*
Thanks for the innovations that led to the railways in MInnesota! We have been blessed with excellent passenger and freight transportation here for about 150 years! I bless the changes the William Crooks brought to this generation by the authority of Jesus. May these rails continue to be a blessing to this state in perpetuity!
Good Dad, as I meditate today with You on the subject of trains, I feel a bit of melancholy. Like any good father, You relish the growth, achievements, and inventions of Your kids as they play. You “play trains” with us, and relish as we delight in building, connecting, and traveling.
While this snapshot of time, the coming of the William Crooks, was born peaceably, our methodology and timing in building many future rail lines left much to be desired. What would a dad say to a kid, who when playing with his siblings, demanded that they sign numerous deeds or legal contracts that gave him dominance of their shared playroom or basement? What would a dad say to a daughter who demanded that her brother be permanently removed from the premises because she needed more room for her elaborate train set?
Granted, the real-life complexities of building these lines in 1862 were much more severe than the basement scenario. How does one negotiate a deal between two parties that share little commonality in their definitions of property and ownership? How does one reach resolution when each parties’ land needs or transportation needs are so different?
Lord, forgive and heal Minnesota of every bad fruit and judgment that sprung from the dissonance of these deals. Will You forgive railway companies, their land agents, or any other parties in authority their sins against Native Americans stemming from the land granted them by the federal, state, or local government? We still bear their burden of having sinned against You when we take land or property from one, and give it to another without price! Will You forgive tribes, though often truly wronged, the maintenance of this offense into the present era? (May they receive justice, but be free from transference in their hearts.) How will You heal these broken hearts? Bind us up, Lord!
Hear my prayer, may all forms of coercive redistribution of wealth and property cease in the state of Minnesota! May your Holy Spirit so move on our state and people that we would give and share our land and property, our selves, and our time according to Your pleasure! In many ways, we have lost the joy of giving because our much of our charity is routed through faceless government institutions rather than through human relationships. Help us solve this problem too.
Holy Spirit, will You enable us to give the unlimited resources of heaven to our fellow man through prayer and fasting! May You fill internal chasms of heart that sometimes drive our reckless consumption and fuel our frenetic needs for doing, and cut us off from being. Change what we desire; what we want! In the words of David in Psalms 23:1, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.”
*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out!