29 November 2021

CSI, nineteenth-century style

"A short distance from the village of Bertha, Todd County, was one of those burned out meadows on which grass had been cut for many years and no one who had travelled over its smooth surface ever thought that it was the burial place of a human being.

After the turf had been burned off, there lay the scattered bones of a man.  Among them was a silver watch and the remains of a jackknife... 

A short distance from where the cabin had stood was a tree on which were scars as if it had been cut into with an axe.

When the remains were found, the Clines remembered about... the scarred tree and went there and cut into the scars to see how many years had elapsed since they were made.  They found that the scars had been caused by some person cutting bullets out of the tree in order to save the lead, as was a common practice in those early days, and they also found that there were 42 annual rings of growth over the scars, showing that those bullets had been cut from that tree about the year 1850.  The fact that his watch was with his remains indicated that he had not been murdered but why did he die on the meadow instead of in his cabin?  The conclusion that young Cline and I arrived at was that he had a place were he obtained water dug in the meadow and while very ill had gone there to quench his thirst and had been unable to return to his cabin and had breathed out his life all alone on the turf."
Excerpted from Tracks and Trails: or Incidents in the Life of a Minnesota Territorial Pioneer, by Captain "Nate" Dally, Owner and Captain of the "Leila D" Steamboat, the First Steamboat Built and Operated on Leech Lake by a Private Individual.  Published by the Pilot-Independent, Walker MN, 1931.  Reprinted 1994.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...