Atlases and maps serve as a great means to help locate physical features such as lakes and streams, along with family farms. Maps in our collections include a hand drawn 1881 map which has been indexed; a hand drawn map by Lillie Jacobson of the first pioneers and settlers around Lake Charlotte and Scandia Lake in Framnas Township, a hand drawn map of Framnas Township bought at the St. Cloud Land Office in 1867 by Thomas Thomasson, and fire insurance maps for the towns of Morris (1883), Hancock (1905), and Chokio (1956).
Atlases for Stevens County are available for the years 1910 (indexed), 1927, 1950, 1956, 1963, 1967, 1974, 1985, and 1997.
High School Annuals
High School annuals are a great way for researchers to find their family members. School books available at the museum include the following annuals and school locations:
Atrebla (Alberta) 1942, 1950-57, 1966-67
Comet (Morris) 1910 & 1911
Cougar ( Type University of Minnesota Morris) 1987
Cyrusonian (Cyrus) 1954-1961, 1964-1964, 1966
Iwatka (Morris) 1938-49, ’51-’53, ‘55, ‘57, ‘64-‘78, ‘80, ‘83-‘86, ‘89, ‘91-‘95, ‘97-‘98
Javelin (Chokio-Alberta) 1969-’70, ’72, ’75, ’81, ‘82
Moccassin (West Central School of Agriculture) 1914-1960
Owls Hoot (Hancock) 1949-53, 55, 60-66, 68, 70, 74, 75
Reflections (Hancock) 1938
Venture ( Type University of Minnesota , Morris) 1961, 63, 65-68, 71
These papers were compiled by George Maughan to identify relatives and business associations of prospective jurors in Stevens County. While there are some discrepancies in accuracy, these papers offer a great starting point when doing genealogy.
Newspaper Card File
The card file is most often the first source used. This consists of citations from newspapers printed in Morris for obituaries, weddings, special events, major catastrophes, and some births. The assembly of the card file was the brain-child former Director Carol M. Day. Most of the cards were assembled by school teacher Marilyn Taffe Beyer who has spent the last twenty-seven summers reading the papers, taking notes, and typing cards. The citations from 1970 to the present were done by volunteer Blanche Van Kempen. Today there are over 58,500 cards in the files.
The citations date back to 1876 and include the Frontier Business, theStevens County Reporter, the Stevens County Tribune, the Morris Tribune, the Morris Sun, Republican Times, and the Morris Sun Tribune. In the future we hope to add citations from the Hancock Record and the Chokio Review
From the card file we go to the newspapers. We have the originals from 1876 to 1945.
These are also available on microfilm at the Morris Public Library courtesy of the Stevens County Genealogy Society, and at the Minnesota Historical Society. Both places have filmed newspapers from 1876 to date. Newspapers at the Museum included:
Chokio Review , (1942-1945, 1980-present)
Frontier Business, (1876)
Hancock Record (1899-1920, 1942-1949, 1980-present)
Morris Journal (1882)
Morris Sun (1882-1945)
Morris Times (1898-1906)
Morris Tribune (1894-1945)
Stevens County Reporter (1876)
Stevens County Tribune (1877-1878)
Stevens County Historical Society and the Stevens County Genealogy Society have amassed records of all the cemeteries in the county as well as some of those located in neighboring counties near the border. The information varies with each cemetery. Cemetery Records available at the Stevens County Museum and Historical Society include:
Local history books offer a more in-depth look at the history of a particular area. Often authored by resident authors of the community at topic, these books allow the reader access to the “flavor” of the community. SCHS’ collection includes. Chokio Community History 1898-1973 by Ann S. Dorweiler (indexed)
Progress on the Prairie: Chokio Centennial 1898 – 1998 by Carol Ritter
Keeping Track of Alberta(published 1998) by JoAnne Foley
The History of Donnelly (published 1972) by Edna Mae Busch
Morris Area Centennial 1871-1971 Historical Album by T.L. Underwood & Committee
Donnelly Centennial 1900-2000 (editors Kathy Eystad and Mike Kopel)
Celebrating 125 years of Morris (published by the Morris Tribune) 1996 (indexed)
Historical Section…In commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the Founding of the City of Morris 1947 (published by the Morris Tribune)
Other Research Materials
Other records at SCHS include scrapbooks, cemetery sexton records, photo albums, various business records, church records, some government ledgers and files. Farm ledgers, and many other items are available. Total there are some 16,100 archival and artifact items in the collection
SCHS has an excellent collection of photographs documenting Stevens County ’s history and its peopleThere are over 10,800 items in this collection, which include originals, copy prints, negatives and slides.
The following organizations have artifacts of various sorts in our collection.
4-H Military Records (Civil War, WWI, WWII, Korean,
Thomas Thomasson, his wife Jorgine and one-year-old daughter Maria arrived in Stevens County via an ox team in July 1867. The first permanent settlers a small group of Norwegians, had arrived the year before. In his later life Thomasson compiled three journals which include reminisces describing events and people of the early days in Stevens County.
The Stevens County Historical Society has a collection of telephone directories which are valuable resources in finding locations of both family residences and businesses. Included are directories for:
These weather statistics from the West Central Research and Outreach Center (formerly West Central School of Agriculture) have been compiled for Stevens County since 1885 by weather observers D.T. Wheaton, R. O. Bridgeford, R. L. Thompson, S.D. (Sam) Evans, and George Nelson. The use of weather statistics adds a unique dimension to a family story.
Published by the Stevens County Historical Society in 1995, this book is a compilation of stories by service and non-service people who lived in Stevens County at the time of World War II
The History of Stevens County
This 1976 edition by Edna Mae Busch covers a vast area of topics and family names. The index created by Margie Holmen allows researchers to do a more thorough study of the work. While the sources used for the book were never documented, The History Of Stevens County offers a great starting place for genealogy and family history research in Stevens County. The book is available at the SCHS Gift Shop.
This special Historical Review published in 1996 by the Morris Tribune with the assistance of the staff at the Stevens County Historical Society offers great insight into the history of Morris since its being platted in 1871. There is an index available in the research area.
Great Northwest Magazine
This Stevens County booster publication published by the Crawford-Dickey Company, Minneapolis, in 1911 lists businesses and political figures from the county for 1911. A great asset to finding information on local Stevens County family businesses in the early 20th century, this book has been indexed.
By Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Hon. Calvin L. Brown. Brown came to Stevens County in the early 1880’s as a lawyer. His reminiscing of those days, reprinted from articles he submitted to the Morris Tribune in 1922 and 1923 cover such topics as railroads, politics, and early pioneers and settlers. This book has been indexed.
Historical Section . . . In commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the Founding of the City of Morris.
Published by the Morris Tribune in 1947, this edition not only relates the first days of Morris, but gives an insight to life in Morris in the 1940s. There is a separate index.
An Honest Day’s Work
Published by the Stevens County Historical Society in 1992, this book describes various occupations and enterprises that once existed in Stevens County. Articles submitted by private individuals offer an inside look at topics ranging from milking a cow, mercantile trading in the 1930s, to the chimney sweeper and the blacksmith shop. This book is available at the SCHS Gift Shop.
Published by Alden, Ogle and Company of Chicago in 1888, this book remains a popular source for genealogists. While these individual biographies can be overflowing with descriptive grandeur, they can also be very helpful with names, dates, places, and occupations. Some 240 biographies of male Stevens County residents are listed.
Korean Veterans: The Forgotten War but not The Forgotten People
This book compiled by JoAnne Foley in 2003 gives brief biographical descriptions as well as some first hand accounts of servicemen from Stevens County who served on Korean soil. The book is available at the SCHS Gift Shop.
Syrup Pails and Overshoes
This book published by the Stevens County Historical Society in 1988 contains first hand accounts of both students and teachers connected with the county’s 70 plus rural schools. While out of print, Syrup Pails and Overshoes continues to answer questions about a way of education that no longer exists in the county.
The Wadsworth Trail
Originally written in 1938 by Grace Hall, a member of the local DAR, this book is composed of remembrances of stories she was told growing up in Stevens County. It was republished in 2007 with an index and table of contents.
Who’s Who in Minnesota
This book published by the Minnesota Editorial Association, Minneapolis, in 1941, offers abbreviated histories of all the counties in Minnesota. Stevens County written by Glenn I. Prickett and Mrs. F. A. (Ida) Hancock detail the history of Stevens County from its Indian inhabitants, to the county’s topography, to live in the county in the early 1940s.