20th Century, Great Lakes, History, Industry, Intercession, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, Logging, Minnesota, omnipresent history, trade, Unions, World War I

Workers Strike at Largest Sawmill in the World 1917

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1917

“Workers at the Virginia and Rainy Lake Lumber Company sawmill, the largest in the world, strike for higher pay and safer working conditions. Organizers from the radical International Workers of the World spread the strike to the logging camps before police break it up with arrests and force.” *

Minnesota’s history of logging in this era is rife with irony. On one hand, it is a shining example of cooperation and productivity. 

“The VRL Lumber Co. was the largest on earth producing on average a million board feet of lumber a day seven days a week. Production on such a vast scale required an enormous supply of virgin white and red pine harvesting a total of four billion board feet over a 20 year period.” **

On the other hand, this mill was pitifully negligent in its care for its workers’ health and well-being. 

“Toilet facilities were primitive in the extreme. Privies were no more than shallow, open pits with a roof and some poles for seats. Excrement was only rarely treated with lime or even covered with dirt. State inspectors repeatedly and despairingly observed that “there seems to prevail an idea that toilet facilities in a camp are superfluous.””

Safety precautions were ignored, too. Engaged in strenuous manual labor with lethal tools in frigid weather, lumberjacks had an extremely high accident rate. Although immediate first aid was therefore the jacks’ greatest medical need, a survey of logging

camps several years before the strike revealed that “in none . . . were there any facilities for giving first aid to the injured.” **

Below is the an eye-witness testimony regarding the ‘jacks accommodations.

“Prospects of a major IWW walkout were enhanced, however, by the working and living conditions of the lumberjacks. Typically, jacks lived in rough-cut lumber shanties. A bunkhouse 30 feet by 80 feet by 11 feet would house anywhere from 60 to 90 men in rows of double-decked wooden bunks lining each wall. Each individual bed with its mattress of loose straw slept two men. Each jack received two or three woolen blankets from the camp (sheets were unknown). The turnover was so high that four or five men might easily use the same blankets each season. 

Virtually all the beds, blankets, and men were infested with lice. In 1914 inspectors from the State Department of Labor and Industries observed that “the conditions under which the men were housed made it impossible for men to keep their bodies free from vermin.” 

Bunkhouses were ventilated only by doors at each cud and one or two small skylights in the roof. One or perhaps two iron stoves, kept fired all night, provided heat. The poor ventilation compounded sanitary problems.

The men worked 11-hour days in the cold northern Minnesota winter and generally wore two or three sets of underwear in addition to their outer garments. The combination of wet snow and hard labor soaked the jacks’ clothes every day, but the men were without washing facilities either for themselves or what they wore. 

Since most of them put on all the clothing they owned, dozens of sets of wet-from-sweat clothes hung near the stove every night to dry for the next day. The steam from the clothing joined the stench of tightly-packed, unwashed bodies in the bunkhouse, prompting one Wobbly to comment that “the bunk houses in which the lumber jacks sleep are enough to gag a skunk.” **

“Chronology

December 24, 1916

Timber mill workers at the Virginia and Rainy Lake Lumber Company draw up a list of demands.

December 26, 1916

Workers present their demands to the superintendent of manufacturing, Chester R. Rogers.

December 27, 1916

Mill workers decide to go ahead with the strike.

December 28, 1916

Pickets begin at the company’s gates. One thousand workers go on strike. Flying squads (IWW messengers) head north to lumber camps.

January 1, 1917

One thousand lumberjacks walk out of the camps.

January 2, 1917

A thousand more lumberjacks strike. Lumberjacks are banished from Virginia, Minnesota.

February 1, 1917

The lumber strike is officially called off.” ***

So, what was the aftermath of this strike, and how did it improve the lives of lumberjacks and those that worked the sawmill? Below is an excerpt from Wobbly (IWW) records:

“The mill workers returned to their jobs in the last week of January. The lumberjacks held on a bit longer and neither the Virginia and Rainy Lake Company nor the International Lumber Company was able to reopen logging operations until February. What remained of the Wobbly lumber strike leadership gathered in Duluth. On February 1 the leaders called off the strike, claiming a partial victory by way of improved conditions.

Most companies did attend to their camps better after the strike. The ILC bought new blankets for the men and raised slightly the base pay. The quality of food seems to have been improved, too, in most camps. In 1917 the Virginia and Rainy Lake Company spent nearly 20 per cent more per man for food than earlier. Wartime price inflation accounted for part, but not most, of the increase.” ****

What say You of this event and the broken relationships between loggers, their representatives in the IWW, and the V.R.L. company managers and International Lumber Company (ILC) owners? We invite Your timeless knowledge, and graceful judgment into their circumstance Ruach Ha Kodesh. How do we begin to make right this wrong from Your perspective? How have we offended You and the principles of Your kingdom?

You have said clearly through the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthians:

“Do I say this from a human perspective? Doesn’t the Law say the same thing? For it is written in the Law of Moses: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” Isn’t He actually speaking on our behalf? Indeed, this was written for us, because when the plowman plows and the thresher threshes, they should also expect to share in the harvest.” I Corinthians 9:8-10

We acknowledge, first, our offense to You through the judgments of Virginia and Rainy Lake Lumber Company and the ILC. We offend You as employers when we do not provide a Sabbath rest. We offend You when do not provide for the lives and safety of Your workers. We offend You when we fail to provide food, clothing, and adequate shelter for those in our care. We offend You when profit becomes an idol that forgets the contributions of the employees to the health of the corporation. Will You forgive VRL Co.  and the International Lumber Company in this era, and create right relationships that lead to blessing in our timber industry’s management both in the present and future?

Similarly, we have offended You through the judgments of the lumberjacks and sawmill workers towards the VRL Company’s owners and ILC managers. We offend You when we do not take a Sabbath where it is offered. We offend You when we expect our employer to solve our unmentioned problems, and fail to be proactive in our own needs. We offend You as workers through the misbelief that profit is a given, therefore, the company has unlimited resources to spend on labor. Will You forgive the lumberjacks and millworkers of VRL Co. and ILC of this era, and create new 

interconnections between laborers, labor unions, and executives of our logging industry that lead to present and future blessings for all?

Above all, we especially ask for the release of the victims of the injustices of this era from the prisons of their counter-judgments. We know that there are those who lost life and limb. We know that there are those who were circumstantially hemmed in who felt they had no choice but to submit to abusive work conditions to survive. 

Will You forgive those who were ensnared through the maintenance of offense towards the abuses of Virginia and Rainy Lake Lumber Company and the ILC? Will You give them gifts of grace that look to You for justice, while not resubmitting themselves to abuse? Will You take these judgments and counter-judgments up, out, and onto the Cross of Christ? Will You remove the log from the eyes of all in the logging industry?

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

** http://monarchtreepublishing.com/Ilets/1916-Lumbering-Strike.pdf

** Testimony of Jay Hall; Sixteenth Biennial Report, p. 117; Boose, in International Socialist Review, 14:414

*** Chronology and an excellent brief summary by Anja Witek can be viewed at this MNopedia link. http://www.mnopedia.org/event/iww-lumber-strike-1916-1917

**** https://iww.org/node/1524

 

 

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20th Century, History, Industry, Intercession, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, Labor, Lake Superior, Mining, Minnesota, omnipresent history, Suffering, Unions

Iron Range Strike 1916

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June 3, 1916 to September 17, 1916

“Forty miners walked off the job on June 3, beginning the 1916 strike. The unorganized miners soon realized they needed help. Unlike the 1907 strike, this time the Western Federation of Miners was not interested in organizing the miners. Instead, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW or Wobblies) responded, sending in some of their top organizers. Many of the strikebreakers from 1907, ironically, became instrumental in the 1916 strike. The number of strikers swelled to over 8,000. The 1916 strike was marked by violence and repression. Unlike 1907, strikebreakers were not as readily available and other tactics were employed to end the strike. The civil liberties of strikers were violated, mine guards and police used force to intimidate strikers, union leaders were jailed, economic pressure was exerted on merchants who extended credit to strikers, and finally, the Oliver Iron Mining Company refused to negotiate with the strikers. The strike was called off on September 17.” *

Even attempting to intercede for the Iron Range Strike of 1916 is unsettling, Lord. We can empathize with both the ones who own the business, create jobs and make useful products for society, (Oliver Iron Mining Co.),  and those who do the work, (the miners as represented by the IWW). Will You illuminate this moment of history, and lead our prayers and reflections this day, and leave us with a blessing for the future?

Your Word informs of the importance of both why we work, and how we work because it reflects both our character and our assessment of your character. To begin, we work because it is necessary for our survival, and provision for those in our care.

“For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.’ “ 2 Thessalonians 3:10 NIV **

Yet, You also challenge us to take joy in our tasks, and appreciate even the undesirable aspects of them?!

“And do all that you do with all your soul, as for Our Lord, and not as for the children of men.” Colossians 3:23 Aramaic Bible in Plain English ***

Perhaps You want us to take pride in work because it balances our employers reaction of our performance to the pleasure that a job well done gives You?

What’s in Your heart for the working man or woman? What of those who own nothing but their labor? What is the position of Your Kingdom towards their employers?

“Do not defraud or rob your neighbor. “Do not make your hired workers wait until the next day to receive their pay.” Leviticus 19:13 NLT ****

Your Word connotes that those of us who own a company are obliged by the Owner of All Property to account honestly and pay employees on time. 

So, what heart should a CEO have towards his staffers, laborers, hired hands, and factory workers? 

“For the Scripture says, ‘Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,’ and, ‘The worker is worthy of his wages.’ “ I Timothy 5:18 BSB****

In Your economic model, the boss is to remember those with noses to his grindstone are essential as employees, and people of infinite worth as human beings. These Scriptures are a counter-balance to the common lie both the executive and small businessman misbelieves while making payroll; “I’m paying these guys way too much.” 

With this in mind, we pray about  this strike. Lord, will You forgive the pain caused to Oliver Mining Company by the judgments of the Wobblies? Will You forgive the discontent of these miners towards their bosses, and indirectly with Your means of provision for their lives? Will You forgive their rebellions against Minnesota statute and the laws of Your dominion? Will You forgive their envy?

Conversely, we remember the sins and separations of the Oliver Iron Mining towards You and its workers. Will You forgive the injustices of the contract labor system? ******* No one should have to participate in graft or bribery to one’s boss to maintain employment! Will You forgive the pain caused to the miners and their unions? (IWW-Industrial Workers of the World and WFM-Western Federation of Miners) Will You forgive their failures as leaders to understand that right principles alone do not make right relationships or satisfy Your chesed?

Your Honor, will You change our defiance towards You in the maintenance of antagonistic relationships between labor and industry? Will You bless the future of mining in Minnesota, and create fellowships between companies and unions that enhance, not limit, the growth of the other? Will You break our strike against Your peaceful resolutions for our workplaces? Amen.

“Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.” Psalm 89:14 KJV

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

**http://biblehub.com/2_thessalonians/3-10.htm

*** http://biblehub.com/colossians/3-23.htm

****http://biblehub.com/leviticus/19-13.htm

*****http://biblehub.com/1_timothy/5-18.htm

******http://biblehub.com/psalms/89-14.htm

*******https://www.minnpost.com/mnopedia/2015/10/breaking-1916-iron-range-strike

 

 

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20th Century, History, Industry, Intercession, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, Labor, Mining, Minnesota, omnipresent history, Unions

Mesabi Range Strike 1907

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July 20, 1907 to August 15, 1907

“The 1907 strike was the first organized, widespread strike on the Iron Range. The immigrant miners—mostly Finnish—had little experience with unions or large-scale strikes. Although the union (Western Federation of Miners)had been planning a strike, the immediate cause was the layoff in July of 200 union members by the Oliver Iron Mining Company. A strike was called on July 20. In early August, strikebreakers were brought in and “deputies” hired to protect them. By mid-August, sufficient numbers of strikebreakers, combined with improved economic conditions, broke the strike.” *

What causes a man to be ready to say “enough is enough” Lord? Like many strikes, the motivations seem to be dangerous working conditions and too little pay. But is there more to this circumstance Lord?

I ran across the person of Charles Moyer, the leader of the Western Federation of Miners from 1902 -1926. This is a quote I found on Wikipedia regarding this strike:

“His experiences with the IWW led Moyer to the conclusion that the federation was too radical. Moyer was especially disturbed by the IWW’s refusal to ally with or endorse any political party, which had been the key to Moyer’s support for the creation of the IWW. In 1908, Moyer led the WFM out of the IWW, taking most of the IWW’s membership (which belonged to the WFM) with him. Concerned that the WFM’s reputation for radicalism was making it difficult to reach collective bargaining agreements, Moyer re-affiliated his union with the conservative American Federation of Labor (AFL) in 1911.” **

“This strike was not started by the I.W.W., but has been underway the past six years. We have appealed to every labor official in Minnesota to have the miners on the range organized, but we have been shuttled back and forth between the Western Federation of Miners and other organizations who passed us on again until finally the miners took things into their own hands and went out without organization.” ***                                 M.E. Shusterich A leader of the Mesabi Range Strike

So to briefly summarize the situation, Mesabi’s miners wanted relief from the stains of their labor. One union, the WFM, wished to settle with owners, and those influenced by the more aggressive IWW did not wish to settle. This is much more complex than I originally thought, but I ask You to help me unravel these motive conflicts. Like many of our struggles in life, our motives become less clear when loyalties to multiple relationships are involved.

Let’s start at the beginning, with the Finnish workers. Lord, You have seen how these men worked and know the exact conditions they strained under. Will You give acknowledgement to their labors, and remember the dangers they faced? Will You forgive any envy or discontent in their hearts if that led them to demanding more? Will You forgive their judgements and expectations of their employer; the Oliver Iron Mining Company?

Likewise, will You remember the strains of those in management at Oliver Mining? Will You hear their frustrations of trying to communicate with those who don’t speak the language of business? Will You forgive them their false assessments of these Finnish laborers? Assessments such as, “lazy”, “ungrateful”, and “not man enough for the job” come to mind. 

Another set of issues that added to the fog of this strike were as simple as culture and language clashes. These were readily identified and understood by the Italian Socialist Teofilo Petriella who joined with the WFM to assist with the strike.

“The WFM asked Petriella to organize these ethnically diverse miners on the Mesabi Range. In a 1907 report to the WFM, Petriella noted that the steel trust had earned a net total of $156,624,273, but had only paid out $47,765,540 in wages to the 202,457 men they employed. This was important information the miners needed to know because they had not been given a raise in two years. Unfortunately none of the WFM organizers spoke Slovenian, Italian, or Finnish so they could not effectively communicate with the vast majority of disgruntled workers. Petriella’s arrival heralded a new beginning for the organization efforts because he could address the Italians in their native tongue. He also brought in Finnish and Slovenian speakers to assist in the recruitment drive. With their help, he was able to establish or found new union chapters in Hibbing, Chisholm, Buhl, Virginia, Eveleth, and Aurora, plus many other smaller communities in the region. Within these organizations, Petriella split the membership along ethnic lines, which allowed immigrants to organize with their fellow countrymen.****

Will You remember these contributions towards clarity made by Petriella, Lord? Will You forgive the judgments made in this strike based on region? Will You forgive the Northern Europeans their prejudices towards the Southern Europeans, and vice versa? So many of our disputes stem from language and or culture. They did not reach clarity because of imprecise language skills to have a nuanced conversation. Presently, we still have the same problem. Forgive us our failures, past and present, to learn and speak each others’ language. Will You inspire future generations to know each other better by knowing both culture and language?

This event encapsulates the ironies of our human nature and heritage in the conflict of the WFM and the IWW. These two organizations both sought to represent their large memberships in labor disputes. Though their stated purpose was to unify miners, in this case, their conflict with each other left their memberships without representation in Mesabi.

Lord, will You forgive the judgements of the WFM towards the IWW? Will You forgive their assessment of the “radicalism” of the IWW? Conversely, will You forgive the IWW of their judgements of the “conservatism” of the WFM? Will You forgive these internal conflicts of labor leadership that left the miners on their own? Will You show us Your plan to resolve such situations? Will You unify us as Your people and forgive our denial of the other man’s talents? 

When all is said and done, a huge elephant in this room is envy. It reveals itself to be a root cause of many schisms and revolutions, especially driven by the popular socialist thought that justice is necessarily economic equality. Yet, I question if the human heart would be pleased if we ever reached exact and total economic equality.

Why? There are too many examples in history and life where the difference between envy and contentment is a decision of the spirit, mind, will, and emotions. We may not be able to control our environment or living conditions, but we can choose our response.

For example, my wife worked with the Sisters of Charity in Haiti. These nuns owned two changes of clothes and a bucket. That’s it! No other possessions. Yet, they found joy in the midst of squalor, and their contentment brought hope and help to thousands of poor. 

I do not diminish that it’s right to oppose evil. I do not think truth tellers should lose their jobs, be beaten, or even killed for standing up for themselves and others. What I ask of You is that You empower us to oppose evil without becoming evil.

Lord Jesus Christ, You know what it’s like to be poor, homeless, and friendless. Will You give us character that chooses contentment in spite of circumstances? Direct our eyes to You in our seasons of struggle when we are truly powerless and suffering. Will You take this envy from the Mesabi Strike of 1907 up, out, and onto Your cross? Will You be our Heavenly Mediator in our strikes today with oppression, economic injustice, and the envy of our own hearts, and bring a just settlement?

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

**http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Moyer

*** Philip Sheldon Foner, History of the labor movement in the United States, 1980, 4th edition, pages 493-494.

**** This quote is from a transcript on “Teofilo Petriella : Marxist Revolutionary” given by Paul Lubotina at Michigan Tech.   http://digitalcommons.mtu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1001&context=copperstrikesymposium

 

 

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19th Century, farming, Food, Food Science, Industry, Intercession, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, Minnesota, omnipresent history

Hormel Company Opens 1891

george-cip-quote-425

1891

“George A. Hormel, an ambitious entrepreneur and the son of German immigrants, established today’s Hormel Foods Corporation in 1891 as Geo. A. Hormel & Co., in Austin, Minnesota.

George Hormel opened the Hormel meat-packing company at the right time. As corn replaced wheat in some southern Minnesota fields, it created an abundance of hog feed and, as a result, a boom in hog farming and meat packing. 

By 1920, Hormel beat out the south Saint Paul stockyards to lead the state’s meat-packing industry. In the year 2000, only two other states raised and marketed more pork.” * 

Lord, thank You for George Hormel, and his business to make food available and more affordable to more people. Bless his heritage, those who worked with him, competed with him, and the places that they worked. Will You bless the animals, past, present, and future of Minnesota? Will You bless the farms and farmers who raise any animal that is used for food? Will You bless the packers, and all who work in the meat-packing industry?

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

 

 

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19th Century, Agriculture, Governors, History, Industry, Intercession, law, Minnesota, omnipresent history, Politics, Republican, State Government

McGill Becomes Governor

mcgill_andrew_ryan

January 5, 1887 to January 9, 1889

“A. R. McGill becomes the state’s 10th governor on January 5, 1887. During his term he recommends a revision of the railroad laws pertaining to transportation, storage, and grading of wheat; the watering of railroad stocks; a simplification of the tax laws; regulation of liquor; abolition of contract prison labor; establishment of a soldiers’ home; and creation of a Bureau of Labor Statistics.” *

“Transcript

Office of COUNTY AUDITOR, Marshall County Warren, Minn. March 16th 1887 Gov. A. R. McGill St. Paul, Minn. Honorable Sir: I enclose herewith Application from our County for Seed Grain, showing Number of Applicants and Amt of grain desired. We have allowed no one applicant to exceed the Maximum limit of $75.00 worth of grain, although many applied for much larger amounts. You will notice that the average am[oun]t we have allowed each applicant is only about $55.00 worth. We trust that you will allow our County a sufficient apportionment to cover the amount which we have asked for, as these applicants are certainly in needy circumstances. Trusting that our application is all correct and that there will be no delay in getting our apportionment, I am Sir Respectfully Yours, W. F. Powell Ch Bd. of Co. Commissioners Marshall County W. F. Powell. Co. Aud. 

(March. 16th 1887 Matters relating to applications for seed grain relief)” **

Lord, this doesn’t seem like a man whose governorship aroused much controversy at first glance. However, each change in law impacted a powerful coalition or group of Minnesotans. Changing law often seems to use an element of force to exert authority. But how do You view the elimination of law from an eternal perspective?

From what I gather about local perceptions of Governor McGill, he had a mixed reviews. On one hand, he had to mediate between the powerful lobby of the rails, yet gain concessions much needed by Minnesota interests’: farming, lumber, and mining. 

So what did he accomplish, and did he find a middle path?

“During his tenure, a state normal school was established in Moorhead; the improvement of state railroad laws was promoted; iron ore was discovered in the Mesabi Range; liquor regulations were supported; and a state school tax was sanctioned.” ***

Will You forgive our bitterness that comes with new laws whether local, state, or federal? Will You forgive us for the anger we have felt over the perceived loss of freedoms, liberties, and or benefits to us or our business? The state may attempt to take away rights that are not theirs, and give rights that they do not possess in the first place. 

Lord, help us find the middle ground! Will You forgive our usurpation of the other man’s inalienable rights, and teach us how to better protect them in the future? May our civic laws never surpass our privilege to love You, the Lord our G-d, our neighbor, and ourselves!

“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” Colossians 3:14 ESV ****

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

** http://reflections.mndigital.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/mhs/id/624/rec/

*** https://www.nga.org/cms/home/governors/past-governors-bios/page_minnesota/col2-content/main-content-list/title_mcgill_andrew.default.html

****http://biblehub.com/colossians/3-14.htm

 

 

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19th Century, Americana, Architecture, Business, Civics, Energy, History, Industry, Intercession, Minnesota, omnipresent history, Real Estate, Science, Technology

Industrial Exposition 1886

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1886

“The Mill City answers St. Paul’s State Fair with the Minneapolis Industrial Exposition. Despite elaborate attractions and the latest wares of 800 exhibitors, the exposition can’t compete with the fair and closes its doors in 1893.” * 

“The idea for an exposition in Minneapolis arose in August 1885, when it became known that St. Paul had secured the permanent home of the Minnesota State Fair. Prominent citizens of Minneapolis such as Minneapolis Tribune owner Alden Blethen felt slighted, and an open meeting was called to gauge public support for an annual Minneapolis industrial fair, or exposition, to rival St. Paul’s agricultural one.” **

 Lord, we are competitors. Competition is not a sin, but the envy or covetousness that often accompany it leads to disunity or complete breaks in relationship. What do You want to reveal in this moment of rivalry in 1886? 

The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul have had friendly rivalries that go far into our history. Will You forgive, first, the jokes, speech, and written words that have been used to put down the ‘other’ Twin City? Will You forgive the heart it reveals, one of mockery and pride? 

How many actions have resulted in our heritage because one “prominent citizen” felt slighted? There is nothing wrong with a human being of any status in society taking leadership according to their conscience. However, if the attitude of civic pride, in this case personified by Alden Blethen was an offense to You, will You forgive us? Will You forgive us our pettiness over another’s blessing? Will you help us; “seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Jeremiah 29:7 ***

You have ideas for both of these places that we have not considered. What are they? Will You replace the rivalry of Minneapolis and St. Paul stemming from the Industrial Exposition of 1886 with blessing? Will You download into us a mindset that rejoices at the success of the other? Will You bless us with the kind of competition that brings virtue, excellence, and mutual respect?

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

**Learn about the short life of this huge structure?

http://www.mnopedia.org/structure/industrial-exposition-building-minneapolis

***http://biblehub.com/jeremiah/29-7.htm

 

 

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19th Century, Business, Environment, History, Industry, Intercession, Mining, Minnesota

Merritts Discover Mesabi

unknown

1884

“The Merritt brothers find the largest deposit of iron ore in the world in the red earth of the Mesabi Range. Later they lose their mining company and a fortune to John D. Rockefeller.” *

As we interact with the Merritt brothers story, I ask of You, precious Spirit, to guide my thoughts and actions. Reveal the root issue. According to this snippet above, the Merritts’ were likely dealing with a profound sense of joy at their discovery, followed by the injustice of loss. 

As a fellow Minnesotan to the First Nations’, and the Merritts’, i want to acknowledge before You that this land is Your land! These treasures, whether found in the sky, on the earth, or below it are Yours! Lord, we claim ownership because we don’t know a better way to delegate responsibility for a parcel of land. But I ask You, “Is there a better way?” Forgive the Merritts’, their generations, and Minnesotans’ as a people for our trespass on Your land! 

Lord, You have given us laws, and a system through which we possess the land for a time, with rules and conditions that apply. You allow us to pass down these parcels of land to our progeny for their benefit. Will You bless the Merritts’ for the discovery, and subsequent loss of this treasure?

Oh God, the sadness, anger, and bitterness still in the air is nearly tangible! To be a ‘regular Joe’ and have this loss would be toxic for a man’s soul unless he believes that You are the faithful and true arbiter of the universe! Christ, if the Merritts’, their generations, and we as extant Minnesotans are still legally bound to offense through our bitterness, will You forgive it today? 

Will You be merciful to us as you were to King David so long ago? He was confronted by the prophet Nathan, and told the parable of the rich man with many flocks and herds, who stole the poor man’s sheep. He was, at first, enraged by this breech of justice, but then convicted of his sin of stealing Bathsheba and the murder of her husband. Is this applicable to this circumstance when thinking of the Rockefellers’ actions?

If so, and I am trusting that it is your heart, will You forgive the Merritts’, their generations, and us as Minnesotans our offense to you in judging this very  rich family? Will You bring conviction to their hearts, and a spirit of restitution? Will You bless all involved from the machinations of the enemy to divide and embitter us over this land? Will You bless the Mesabi range, and any other lands that have been held captive by this event of broken trust? Lord have mercy! Christ have mercy!

**Learn about the Merritt family? http://www.mnopedia.org/group/merritt-family-and-mesabi-iron-range

***Want a great read about the mischief on the Mesabi Range? https://www.upress.umn.edu/book-division/books/seven-iron-men

 

 

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19th Century, Business, Environment, Geology, History, Industry, Intercession, Mining, Minnesota, omnipresent history

Iron Industry Launch 1884

unknown

1884

“With the state’s first shipment of ore from the Vermilion Range, Minnesota’s iron industry is launched. Within 20 years, new immigrants will mine from the region a great majority of the iron for the nation’s industrial boom.” *

Ore is moved by train to ports like Duluth. From there giant ships carry it to the blast furnaces of Ohio and Pennsylvania where it is melted and processed by the heat of burning coal from mines in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio. The result is steel, which goes to factories in cities such as Detroit to become the rails of railroads, the skeletons of skyscrapers, and the chassis of cars. 

The growth of iron mining brings tens of thousands of new people to northeastern Minnesota. They come from almost every country in Europe and elsewhere, bringing different languages and cultures from places like Canada, Wales, Ireland, Sweden, Finland, Belgium, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Italy, Greece, Syria, Russia, and China. 

Father, we adore You! You have given us an earth full of blessings! We thank You for the gift of iron ore. We thank You for the impact of this gift on our state and peoples!

Father, we are full of bitter roots and rusty hearts! This blessing has been corroded by our mis-dealings. We are guilty of judging the owners of the steel business: Carnegie, Morgan, Rockefeller, etc. We have stolen and tainted the land of the individual, the Indian nations, our neighbor’s business, our state, and our nation. 

We have judged our fellow workers on the basis of his race or culture: Canadian, Welsh, Irish, Swedish, Finnish, Belgian, Lithuanian, Romanian, Slovakian, Slovenian, Hungarian, Italian, Greek, Syrian, Russian, Chinese, and Native American! We have offenses based on interstate prejudices: Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Michigan, Sioux, Dakota, Ojibway. 

Lord, will You have mercy on our humanity? Will You replace this heritage of curses with blessings for us? Will You reverse the curses against the land, and all the pathways it has travelled out this state through out the world? I want to pronounce the blessing of the Lord to every molecule of steel that has passed, is passing, or will pass from this state!  May You grant us humility, wisdom, and imagination to properly use the resources of this state! May the iron of Minnesota, regardless of its present use or form, ring with the unlimited, infinite blessings of its’ King! Hallelujah!

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

 

 

 

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19th Century, Agriculture, Business, farming, Food, History, Industry, Intercession, Minnesota, Mississippi River, omnipresent history

Minneapolis Nation’s Flour Milling Capital 1880

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1880

“Minnesota wheat and the power of St. Anthony Falls make Minneapolis the nation’s capital of flour milling. A year later, Pillsbury’s new A Mill is the largest flour mill in the world.” * 

My first thought is, ”How do I pray for a flour mill, and why is it important?” Show me why Lord. Possible reasons:

1. The Washburn mill exploded, which was the biggest in the world, allowing Pillsbury a chance to take the lead. So, do I pray about the effects of professional pride and jealousy?

2. It could be a simple acknowledgement of a real accomplishment; an amazingly quick rebuild! Simply viewing it as a story of hope.

3. What did the flour industry do for the city of Minneapolis and the State?

Jesus, You know our inmost thoughts, and yet you love us. Lord, Washburn and Pillsbury were competitors in the milling business. There’s nothing wrong with competition between these companies, or any other for that matter. However, if there were underhanded or bitter motives between them, will You release us from  the burden of their jealousy, and or pride? Will You cleanse St. Anthony Falls from any guilt brought on by any unethical competition?  

If everything was on the up and up, and the Washburn mills explosion was purely accidental, will You also cleanse us from the bitterness and sense of loss of that incident? Will You cleanse us of the spirit of blame? Will You heal this rift between  companies then, and show our present-day business culture how to compete without hating their rivals? I thank you today for blessings of outstanding Minnesota companies in the grain and milling business: General Mills and Cargill to name a few! 

Thank you for leaders who face major setbacks, and rebuild something amazing; brick by brick. Will You forgive our judgments of business leaders in milling, as well as their peers in all major industries here? The average person knows nothing of the intensity, risk, and sheer loneliness of being on top. Will You inform our hearts’, minds’, and creativity in the context of leadership?

Will You show us new ways of doing business in Minnesota that honor You and the creation we are stewards of, and help us redeem the business culture of the world? May our progeny say with Isaiah,

“Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.” Isaiah 50:7 **

*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! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

** http://biblehub.com/isaiah/50-7.htm

*** A wonderful synopsis of the explosion of Washburn A Mill. https://www.mnopedia.org/event/washburn-mill-explosion-1878

 

 

 

 

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19th Century, Business, Canada, Civics, Exploration, History, Industry, Intercession, Leadership, Minnesota, railroad, Transportation

Hill’s First Railroad 1879

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1879

“James J. Hill and his Canadian partners buy the near-bankrupt St. Paul and Pacific Railroad and rename it the St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba. This is the beginning of the railroad career that will earn Hill the title “Empire Builder” and cement the importance of the Twin Cities as a commercial center. 

Hill’s career didn’t begin with railroads. He came to Minnesota at age 18, convincing a steamboat man to hire him as a clerk. From making sure freight reached the right people, he expanded into handling freight by boat, stagecoach, and wagon. By the time his empire was built, he was one of the nation’s leading industrialists. 

In 1891 James J. Hill will crown his success by building a house at 240 Summit Avenue in St. Paul. As massive and well-built as its owner’s railroad empire, the mansion will take three years to build and cost $931,275.01, furnished.” * 

Lord, thanks that You deal with us so patiently. You allow us to learn from our errors and seek You for mercy and truth. Thank You for the blessings of James J. Hill and his railroads.

However, we still feel the weight of the blessing and curses in the wake of his empire building! He was alleged to be duplicitous in his business dealings. He allegedly manipulated land grants or sales from cities, tribes, states, and the nations of Canada and the United States. He may have wreaked havoc on the stock market in his battle with Harriman of the Union Pacific line. **

Hill proved to be cut from a different cloth than the Robber Barons of his age whose modus operandi included manipulation of the stock market, public institutions and opinions, or Federal or State governments. In many ways, he retained the common-sense lessons of his Scots-Irish upbringing in Manitoba, Canada and the Midwestern states. A few examples of his forthright tongue and blue-collar wisdom below.

“Give me snuff, whiskey, and Swedes, and I will build a railway to hell.”

“Work, hard work, intelligent work, and then more work.”

“The wealth of the country, its capital, its credit, must be saved from the predatory poor as well as the predatory rich, but above all from the predatory politician.” ***

Lord, You are the righteous ruler and justice of North America. Will You remove the curses we have laid on James J. Hill and the lines he laid? Will You forgive his debts to the people of North America and the Midwest? Will You forgive us our injustices and betrayals of Your trust?

Like Mr. Hill, we kill our competitors and covet and build empires in our hearts. We plunder our enemies in our thoughts, and do not see our brothers and sisters as precious lives that You died and rose for! Have mercy on us: the ambitious, the coward, the sluggard, and the average! Remove the curses brought on us, our generations, the land, the property, and our homes both now and until Your return! May the pathway of this railway become a track of blessing to both Manitoba and the Twin Cities! Amen!

*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! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

** https://www.upress.umn.edu/book-division/books/harriman-vs-hill

*** https://www.azquotes.com/author/6703-James_J_Hill

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