Sunday, July 15, 2012

Dodge County History

Last week it was my pleasure to visit Mantorville, MN and the Dodge County Historical Society Museum. I visited with one of the board members about the Red Cross Signature Quilt my sister-in-law and I are making to honor Dodge County World War One Veterans and commemorate the release of my next novel, A Bride Sews With Love in Needles, CA. The idea for the book came on my first visit to the DCHS museum where I saw a World War One era Red Cross signature fundraiser quilt.

Included in the DCHS properties are several sites in the town of Wasioja, and I couldn't resist driving over to take some pictures. The above photograph is of the ruins of the Wasioja Free Baptist Seminary. During the Civil War, the students at the seminary along with their teachers, volunteered for service in the Union Army. The majority of the enlistees were killed or wounded at the battle of Chickamauga.

The DCHS erected a Civil War Memorial on the grounds of the seminary, and have provided engraved pavers to remember Dodge County Civil War Veterans. I found the above stone near the memorial. It is of William Bircher, Drummer Boy for the 2nd MN Infantry.

This is a photo of the Wasioja Recruiting Station. This is the only recruiting stations till standing in the state of MN.

History is all around us, waiting to be discovered. Every town, every building, every road, every railroad has a history, not just dates and names, but the men and women, boys and girls who lived and loved and laughed, toiled and travailed, fought and died. Everybody has a story, and I love uncovering those stories.

Do you have any history you've recently discovered? Anything that surprised you?


  1. I'm researching St. Louis for a contemp novel and I found the 10 tunnels under Benton Park fascinating. Some old businesses with cellars led to them and were used during prohibition. Intriguing to use those tunnels for a murder! Although, not in this particular WIP!

    1. OOooo! That's cool! I didn't know there were tunnels under St. Louis! They'd be perfect for a murder, wouldn't they???

  2. Anonymous9:44 AM

    Wasioja is a Civil War fantasy. The "Boys of Wasioja" were invented. The "recruiting station" is imaginary. The "eighty young men" never existed. The story of the 55 killed and wounded at Chickamauga is a fraud.
    Writers have fabricated Wasioja history for over a century. It has become the quintessence of stolen valor. Wasioja is "history in the faking."

  3. Anonymous5:51 AM

    Interesting. My parents are from here, would love to know who you are and get more information.

  4. Anonymous10:38 AM

    What kind of information?

  5. Anonymous11:48 AM

    Who promotes the fake Civil War history of Wasioja?

  6. Anonymous9:52 AM

    Wasioja Civil War fantasies including the "Boys of Wasioja," the "last recruiting station west of the Mississippi," and "devastated" Wasioja are promoted and sold by Hennepin Technical College, the Friends of Wasioja, and Owatonna writer Michael Eckers in "From Wasioja to Washington," a "documentary" produced and peddled by HTC and FOW.
    Of course, the Minnesota Historical Society and the Dodge County Historical Society continue to present this historical fraud.