They lived here that long so they got the land free

Mr. Manderfeld talks about his family's experience homesteading in the New Ulm area.

Audio Chapters

WM: In our area, there were about four Manderfeld farms right in a cluster there. They all must have come pretty much at the same time. Then they each took their… Oh the one has got 200 acres but he’s got a lot of woods with it. But the rest of them, I think they all took their 160 acres section. As far as we can figure out, they came here in 1857 but then they had to live there for three years and develop the land and then in 1861 they got their deed. So actually our farm has been in Manderfeld hands for 153 years.

DL: When these early farmers came in, maybe even preceding you…

WM: There had to be some but there couldn’t have been too many because I think the way we were taught, out of New Ulm they came out and they all bought the land.

DL: Together, at the same time?

AM: Yeah, there were four people that came together and they bought farms in the same area. Most of the first farmers went out in Milford Township west of New Ulm. Then Sigel Township was just a little later.

DL: Do you think they had any idea that they were buying land and they were displacing the Dakota people?

WM: I don’t really think so because they thought the Dakota Indians were along the river. They probably figured, oh they got the land and they didn’t go out on the prairie. They probably went out to hunt a little bit but… I don’t really think that they thought that they took it away from them because the land was for sale so they picked their piece.

DL: Who did they buy the land from?

AM: The United States .

WM: Yeah, you’ve got the…[bound family history book and turns to page with copy of deed]

DL: That’s a lovely book. That took a long time.

AM: The United States of America to Hubert Manderfeld

DL: That’s what it says and the date is 1861. The deed and it gives the dimensions of the property. Does it say what they paid for it?

WM: I guess someplace.

AM: There’s no amount listed here.

WM: Oh maybe not there but later on they had places in… Well they probably only paid like a hundred…

AM: There were times you lived on a farm for like four years then you could own it without paying for it.

WM: Yeah that’s what we thought at one time, that that’s probably what happened. That’s why they came here in 1857 and then they first got their deed in 1861. They lived here that long so they got the land free.

Oral History- Interview | Narrator Willard Manderfeld Interviewer Deborah Locke made in New Ulm, MN | Thursday, August 11, 2011

Citation: Minnesota Historical Society. U.S. - Dakota War of 1862. They lived here that long so they got the land free April 23, 2024.

Viewpoints: All viewpoints expressed on this website are those of the contributors, and are not representative of the Minnesota Historical Society.