Early History of Longville Minnesota


Written by George W. Englehart in 1948

It was the first of November 1904 that I was asked by my good friend William Locke of Brainerd how I would like to take a homestead. I was just past twenty-one then. There was a timber cruiser just told him about it and said it was worthwhile and would like to seem some young man take it. Mr. Locke said he planned on moving here the next spring and start a store so we went to the courthouse in Brainerd and filed on a homestead like a blind date now.

So on May 1, 1905, I left Brainerd by stage to Cross Lake then came to Longville by logging train, got off the train and looked around at my new undertaking and new home with all old friends left behind.

I found we had a post office with mail three times a week which looked pretty good to an already homesick kid. There was a large log­ging camp, about fifteen buildings in all, besides a few small houses that some families lived in and the hotel, that was built the summer of 1904 was the only place outside of the logging camp.

The hotel was managed by Mr. & Mrs. Tom Nashe family of Brainerd and Pine River, it was the foresight of Mr. J.G. Dawes of Pine River that thought this was an ideal spot for a town site. So he bought the property and had the town site platted. I thought this a real lively place just starting building the railroad to Pine Lakes as it was the starting of cutting timber on the reservation by the Northland Pine Company under the management of James A. Long of which the Longville Post Office was named.  He was the first postmaster.

There was several hundred men employed. Seven large camps were built and timber cutting started late in 1905 and winter of 1906 logs were landed on lakes for summer hauling, some landed along the rail­road and hauled in the winter to Cross Lake. There was three engines, two hauled to cross Lake, one did the local loading and switching.

The store building was built in the summer of 1905 and in the fall the Lockes moved in and William Locke was the second postmaster. I came along and built on my homestead and got out timber all winter. All the goods for the store was shipped to Jenkins then hauled to Longville by logging train. The first mail was carried from Pine Riveron horse back. It is impossible to find some of the trails now as we had no roads then, just woods, everyone walked. I found a few homesteaders ahead of me. They were Joe Carver, John Ford, Jacob Smith, George Woodley, George A. Ford, Al Showalter, William Tumpe and Frank Pinkert. Then Fred Craig and Frank Kinkle the barber. First thing we got together and said if we intend to stay here what we will have to have so we got a petition and signed and got our first school room. It was then District No. l. Olaf Oleson who was superintendent at that time helped start the Longville School. The fall of 1905 school started with about twenty pupils. Miss Nellie Timple was the first teacher who walked from their homestead near Little Rice Lake, by Bill Johnsons, done her own janitor work and got $35.00 per month. One teacher later rode a horse seven miles each way.

All road work was done free. We finally got a road to Longville and Pine River built. The bridges with poles and poled the swamps as there was lots of water then, also mosquitoes and flies. All team work was done with oxen at this time.  I got married so quit batching.

Most everything was hauled from Pine River now. Then came the end of log cutting and headquarters camp moved to Leech Lake so this portion was open to homestead. We sure welcomed the new homesteaders. To help boost Longville, Ardell Craig became the village blacksmith and saw mill man, sawed lots of lumber for the homesteaders. Henry Manders and Joe Berres were the carpenters and James Haskell the stone mason and brick layer. Ben Clarth was the surveyor and locator. He surveyed nearly all the township roads. At this time we built the creamery which operated a good many years.  It now is a locker plant.

At this time the little school house was too small and we got two more rooms built on and Howard Chambers became superintendent which position he held about twenty-five years. Then more rooms was needed and thank to W. P. A. we got an up-to-date building and High School. The first class graduated in 1940. There are very few of the pioneers left. Mr. and Mrs. John Ford still live on the original homestead, then myself and wife, Mrs. Ben Clark, Charley Wheeler is on his origi­nal homestead, Lloyd and Carl Showalter who grew up here, those who came later - Charles Slagle family, Margaret Culhane, Herman Yochum, Mrs. Harder, R.A. Manders, Mrs. H.C. Manders, Mrs. Charles Hoirton, Mrs. Maud Underhill and Charles Wilson are on their original places. Fred and Leo Jordan bought the property from J.G. Dawes and had the hotel a good many years.

We got our first telephone line the fall of 1919 which Mrs. Fred Jordan operated, and thanks to the late H.V. Jones of the Minneapolis Journal we got the Bell Telephone line from Brainerd, now we can call anywhere. Then we got a good road to Pine River which now is state road 84 which is tarred and connected to highway 34 so we can travel anywhere by car on tarred road. Now we have electricity and a good busy village, thanks to the Pioneers.


Written by George W. Englehart in 1958

The first logging camp in this area was built in the middle 1890's. It was known as the "Girl Lake Camp" and was the organization that cut timber South of the Reservation line. Logs were loaded out of Girl Lake, the last ones being hauled to Cross Lake in 1904. Some of the land was then put up for sale.

J. G. Dawes of Pine River saw an opportunity, so bought this piece of land east of Girl Lake, had it platted and built the Hotel Dawes Block in 1904 (this building is the present Longville Hotel). This called for some sort of mail service so James A. Long negotiated for the establishment of a post office which was named "Longville" and he was the first postmaster. Mr. Long was also the Superintendent of the logging company that was to cut the timber on the Reservation. This operation started in the fall and winter of 1905-1906. The rail­road was built to Pine Lake and Long Lake during the summer of 1905. There were seven camps, with about 125 men employed at each camp.

All this activity and growth brought in many families with school age children, so a petition was made to the Unorganized District for a school. This was erected in the summer of 1905 so that in the fall thirty students entered school under the direction of Miss Nellie Timpe. The teacher's wages then were $35 per month, plus an addition­al $1.50 for janitor work.  The first school board was Olaf Oleeon, County superintendent, C. D. Bacon, Clerk and Andy Linden, Treasurer. This original building is still in use, having been incorporated into an addition that was built many years later. Miss Timple and her younger brothers and sisters walked to school from the family homestead on Little Rice Lake. There are only 2 of the original signers if this school petition still living. They are John Ford and George Englehart.

The first general store was built in 1905 and operated by William  I LocKe, a friend of James Long.  It was located on the site where FullersShopping Centernow stands.  William Locke was appointed postmaster so the post office was moved into his store building.

The mail came three times a week, by horseback. The rider trav­eled trails around Wabedo Lake. A lot of donation work was done, on a road to Pine River so that a stage line could be operated. Bill Bur­rell was the mail carrier. All of the roads in the area were built by donation works - swamps were "poled" as was the first bridge across the Boy River east and south of Longville. Among those I would like to give credit as the first "trail blazers" and road builders were Mark Snell, George Snell, Charley Wheeler, Saul Whitted, Frank Dinkle, Lee Rose, also Nate and Frank Rogers.

Kego and Inguadona Townships were not yet organized.

HOW PEOPLE CAME to Longville, MN

The John Fords and the Woodleys came to Cross Lake from Brainerd - loaded their belongings on the logging train and landed on the south end of Inguadona Lake. They built a raft and floated it, loaded with possessions to the John Ford homestead. The Joe Carvers came by team via trail around Wabedo Lake to the Hunter Lake Camp, thence to the present George Hagen place. From there it took two days to cut trail and travel to their homestead on Woman Lake (the present Jim Stuart and George Cook property.) The Barker girls arrived by ox team from Crosby, via Cross Lake then the old railroad grade to Longville. Showalters came by team from Jenkins in 1906. Lloyd and Carl are still with us.

Those who still live on their original homesteads are Herman Yochum, Margaret Cullhane, Mrs. Harder and John Ford.

Longville was first incorporated as a village in 1906 with William Locke as the first mayor. A saloon license was issued to. Tom Marsh for $500.00. Most of this money was spent on the Pine River road. Mr. Marsh operated for two years and then Bill Burrell, the mail man, took over.

Logging was in full swing by this time. Logs were loaded out of Long, Pine and Island Lakes. Log trains were side tracked in Long­ville. Trains made trips daily to Pine Lake and often jumped the tracks. Two wood burning steam engines made three trips daily to Cross Lake. Wood was $1.45 per cord - ties twelve cents each. The last logs were loaded out of here during the summer of 1909.

Headquarters was moved to Leech Lake from Cross Lake and cutting operation began on what is called the "Island" between Leech and Big BoyLake. Part of the cut over land was opened to homesteaders and this encouraged a number of new settlers.

Longville wat the trading center for the indinans from Sugar Point, Bear Island, and Big Boy Lake. Mony of these young Indians became skilled log drivers and usually worked the boom, loading cut logs. When the Soo Line was built through Remer, Boy River and Federal Dam, it stopped a lot of Indian trade in Longville. But the homesteaders made up for that.

Ardell Craig put in a saw mill and cut lumber for the settlers.  He was also the village blacksmith.  Henry Manders was the chief carpenter and helped build many homes in the area.Walter Hafcerman purchased the store and became the third postmaster.

We had a lot of "get together" picnics - the highlight of which was the "Good Roads Picnic" held in the summer of 1921. The late P.h. McGarry, who was then our State Senator, was the speaker. He urged every one to vote for Amendment No. l, which was the beginning of the present State Highway System, in his speech he said, "Who knows,' per­haps you people in Longville might have a state road someday." His prophecy came true, as today we have tarred highway to Pine River and one to Walker.

While the late Dan DeLury was our representative in the legisla­ture he was instrumental in having a law passed whereby townships could legally levy taxes for telephone lines for fire protection. So, the "Longville Fire Phone Exchange" came into being in the fall of 1919 with Louise Jordan as operator. This installation included Wabedo, Kego and Pine Lake Townships. The Jordans came to Longville in the fall of 1915, bought the Dawes property and took charge of the hotel.

The first car brought to Longville was a 1914 Model T Ford. H.D. Sickels brought it in for Severt Murphy.

Longville today is a model little village, and a fine resort center. It was re-incorporated in 1940 with L.W. Orton as Mayor, Ed Johnson, Fred Jordan and Florence Nyvall on the council. The village has made fast growth since - a municipal liquor store building, village hall, fire department, street lights and the beginning of a muni­cipal park. An approved airport, big enough for any but the very largest planes to land is another accomplishment. Longville has four nice churches; a beautiful cemetery where most of the old settlers are now peacefully at rest. The school has shown the most growth perhaps. The last addition to the building was erected in 1939 by W.P.A. labor. It houses 250 students (grades 1 - 12); eleven teachers and has six school bus routes. More classroom space is badly needed as one grade is now being housed in the Salem Lutheran Church basement. All so-called "busses" in the early days were horse drawn wagons or sleighs. Lots of deep snow and often 45 below Zero. What little snowplowing was done, was done by team.

Old settlers from Wabedo Township still with us are Ralph Felton, Mrs. Saul Whitted and Mr. and Mrs. George Englehart; also our good friend L.M.  Howser who had a home for his    folks on the east side of Wabedo Lake.

It was hard to get around during the early days - lack of trails or roads made any means of travel except walking impossible, Frank Kinkle and I often walked to the old Wabedo school house to attend town meetings (10 miles each way.)

Game and fish was plentiful in those days. Ducks filled the air like blackbirds, also grouse and deer, bear and wolves were very com­mon. Walleye fishing for market was a well-paying pastime for many people in those days.

Everyone enjoyed the dances held anywhere there was room. Music as usually furnished by the Daniels family, Woodfords, and in later days by the Mills family. Ardell Craig organized the "Longville cor­net Band" which was quite an organization. George Englehart organ­ized the first baseball team.  We had many good times in those days.

Supplies of all kinds were hauled into Longville by team from PineRiver. Each trip took two days - one down and one back. The haulers were paid at the rate of forty cents per hundred and about one tone being the maximum load.

Anyone having business in Walker in the early days found themselves walking there. The railroad ties to Pine Lake, thence Indian trails to the railroad track into Walker.


The site of the cemetery at Longville was owned by the Jordan brothers of Bide-A-Wee Inn, the hotel. An infant child of one of the brothers, Leo, was buried there. There was not cemetery in the town­ship, and the town board was asked if they would consider taking over the responsibilities of a cemetery organization. They refused and a ladies society, "The Willing Workers" took the matter under considera­tion.

Jordanbrothers gave them an acre of ground along the Little Boy River and then sold an adjoining acre to the organization for $100.00. John M. Green of Reiner, Minnesota surveyed and platted the grounds for $70.00, and the work of clearing began at once.  This was in 1918.

On the thirty-first day of May 1921 articles of incorporation under the name of "The Longville Welfare Society, Inc." were signed by the members whose names appear below:

Mrs. FlorenceCraig - President

Mrs. Louise Jordan - Vice President

Mrs. Letta Manders - Secretary

Mrs. Gladys Fuller - Treasurer

Mrs. Jessie Englehart

Mrs. Marie Thorson

Mrs. IonaRose

Mrs. Emily E. Spooner

Mrs. FlorenceNyvall

Mrs.     Aurla Jordan

Miss   Amanda Toland

Merritt Turner was appointed sexton.

The improvement and fencing of the cemetery was financed by card parties, socials and dances. At one time 500 envelopes were sent out for a mile of pennies in donations. This drive netted $128 and in 1925 the fence was purchased and roads in the cemetery were graded, in 1929 the name of the cemetery association was changed to Riverside.

Cemetery Association. In 1942 this association turned the business of the cemetery over to the Village of Longville, as most of the original members of the association were deceased or physically unable to carry on any longer. No younger women were interested in shouldering the responsibility.


 Written by Mrs. Carl (Betty) Showalter

I first lived in Longville in 1906 while by father Den Clark, was working for the Northland Pine Company, whose operations were under the direction of Jimmy Long, for whom Longville was named.

We lived across the dam and I have vivid memories of the loads of logs on the box cars as the Company had a railroad coming from Cross Lake. After living at Longville for two years in the height of the logging operations, we moved to "Headquarters Bay" on Leech Lake (part of where Brevik now stands) and lived there during the years of 1908-1909. There were logging camps there under Jimmy Long. We lived in a company house, with the houses built similar except Mr. Long's house which was larger. My sister Victoria was old enough for school and the teach was Miss Mabel Rogers (a sister of W.A. Rogers, a pioneer family.)

We then moved to Blackduck Minnesota to be near my father's work as he was busy appraising timber for the different logging companies and he also surveyed. Besides Northland Pine Company, there was Weyerhauser, Willow River Land Company and the Pine Tree Lumber Com­pany.

In March of 1910 we came to our present home at Lake Inguadona. Never will I forget the trip from Pine River to Longville. Bill Burrill, who was the first stage driver, had horses and a spring wagon. It took from early morning until noon to reach Pontoria, which was the half-way place to rest the horses and to eat dinner at Mrs. Tripp's, who served meals.

I felt terrified as we approached the Woman Lake hills. They were so steep, that at any moment I expected to be hurtled down upon the horses but nothing did happen except that I was very sick to my stomach.

There was only a logging road eastward to the new home my father had built. Ardell Craig and his brother Fred built our home. Since my sister Victoria, who was twelve years old, had enrolled in the Longville School, it was found to be too much of a walk for her, so my parents then went to the different families to see if they would be interested in getting a school as some were teaching their children at home. Our first school was named the Clark School after my father who leased the land to the school board. It was built in the fall of 1910 but we didn't get started to school until in October because the school had to be built and the lumber and materials brought by tote team from Pine River.

After the first year the name was changed to Ford School and it kept that name for two school terms, 1911 - 1913, because some of the parents felt that after all there were more children by the nameFord in the school. Then, to please everybody, the name was again changed to the name of Inguadona School. The lake itself about a mile distance from the school was also called Inguadona.   Some of the old

timers still call the lake Inguadona although by 1914 we then had an organized township called Inguadona but the name of the school was not changed until 1915 to Inguadona School

The great barrier to travel was the narrows between Upper and LowerInguadona Lakes. This was a shallow portion of water which tended to remain open even in winter. A bridge was built in 1914 so that people could travel without fording the stream with horses. It was only fixed with boards at the approaches and the road or fill was made the following fall of 1915.

With the building of the bridge we were able to have a mail route from Remer to Inguadona three times a week. Some of the mail carrriers were Claude McVay, Adolph Metzer and Perry Rowen. The Inguadona, Post Office was closed in the 1930's and the mail route now comes from Longville.

The first Inguadona Lodge was built by George Woodley. They also had the first post office.

In the early days the Indians came with their wild rice to trade with us. Only the Indians harvested wild rice in those days. They liked to trade for staple things such as flour. It would have been difficult to understand them but for Charlie Mitchel, a Frenchman, married to an Indian, could speak both the Chippewa and English lan­guages. Some of his descendants still live in our township of Ingua­dona.

I noticed that in the Minnesota Statehood's Centennial writings that someone thought there were only ox teams in the vicinity when they came in 1917. There were also teams of horses in the vicinity as early as 1906. Silas Ezra Showalter came with his team of horses and settled at their homestead in Wabedo Township. George Ford, Sr. and George Englehart also had horses.

The history of the area would not be complete without Hiram and Ida Ames, missionaries of "The Church of God," who held meetings at the school house and worked for the betterment of the community. Hiram worked at road work when the bridge was being built. He had a team of oxen for the road work there but they later had a horse and buggy for transportation.

More families came to live in our community in 1914. There were the Hortons, Slagles, Gadbals and Ewings. So at one time there were twenty-one children crowded into one small schoolroom. The union School was then built to accommodate these latter families. Inguadona School became consolidated with the Longville School in 1920 and, the children were transported by bus. The roads were not the best,so part of the pupils were hauled by a team of horses for many years. Mr. Howard Chambers came to Longville in 1921 and two years of High School were taught.

Popular Lakes in Longville Minnesota Area both in the early days as well as today