|A History of STRUM
and the TOWN OF UNITY by Roy Matson
|furnished power for threshing machines with steam making its debut about the mid 1880’s.
The Flaten brothers owned the first of these engines. Elsewhere is pictured Horace Fields’
binder delivery day in Strum. This piece of equipment came into use during the early
1890’s. Nels Kleven was an early owner.
According to the Tucker map of 1877, Sumner township, which included Unity at that
date, had over 4800 acres of wheat that year. Only 47 1/2 acres of rye were reported, and
68 acres of corn.
The Coming of the Railroad
Present day youth have a bare memory of the railroad. To them it is an abandoned grade
that provides a short snowmobile ride during winter and is intended as a bike trail some
summer soon. Time is not too long passed when meeting the train four times a day was a
daily adventure for several elderly people, not to mention salesmen calling on local
merchants, real estate men buying and selling land or relatives arriving for a visit. In fact,
almost any traveling required use of railroad service.
The Beef River Valley was handicapped for some thirty years without a railroad. Farm
produce was delivered for shipment at Eau Claire and Augusta or at the Green Bay line in
the Trempealeau valley. Herding cattle twenty miles was difficult so it was small wonder
that wheat provided what cash a settler in this valley could produce. Attempts to have the
Green Bay line build a spur up Elk Creek Valley, Chimney Rock and into Eleva, then
westward to Durand met with no response from railroad moguls. Then in 1886 some
influentual men in Sumner and Osseo sold N. C. Foster, a Fairchild lumber baron, on
building a spur to that village. They pledged a township bond issue amounting to $10,000
|Scan of Original Page & Picture