Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Coffee in the 1850s Minnesota Bottineau Prairie Osseo Maple Grove

Coffee Mill
(pictured: Arbuckle Trade Card)

Despite the fact that tea was important enough during the American Revolution to incur the famous Boston Tea Party, coffee even during this period of our history was the drink of choice. Coffee became even more popular during the war of 1812 when access to tea was cut.

Typically coffee beans were bought while green, then roasted and ground just in time for use. Minnesota settlers and pioneers would have roasted their beans in a pan on a wood stove or over a fire while stirring for twenty minutes. Though constantly stirred the roast process did not yield even results. If there was a mill available the beans would then have been readied by grinding in a mill or with a mortar and pestal. The grounds would then have been boiled in water, and egg, fish or eel skins were added to “settle” them.

More often than not the beans would have been boiled whole. Timing was as important then as now, and it seems that cooking the grounds or beans just for the right amount of time was an art not cultivated by all who enjoyed the brew. It didn’t daunt anyone’s ability to drink. In 1859, the year following Minnesota’s independence, average coffee consumption per capital was eight pounds. During the Civil War, mainly in the North, soldiers coffee use rose to 36 pounds per person, per year.

Though the lowly paper bag in today’s society is often taken for granted, in 1862 when the first bags were created to hold peanuts it was a very clever idea indeed. Following on the bag’s heels came the invention by Jabez Carter of the self-emptying coffee roaster – and it wasn’t too much longer before roasters were popping up in every city and town across the U.S.A.

Now along came the Arbuckle family, who put the two inventions together—roasting and bagging the coffee, coated with an egg and sugar glaze—and voila! Arbuckle’s Ariosa, The People’s Coffee, was born! Many familiar names in the business followed—Chase, Sanborn, Folgers… but Arbuckle was the first to promote evenly roasted, ready-to-go coffee beans. (Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World by Mark Pendergrast, 1999.)
written by Mary Katherine May, owner of www.QualityMusicandBooks.com.

The World in 1858 from Bottineau Prairie Osseo Maple Grove Minnesota

  • May 11, 1858, Minnesota becomes the 32nd state of the United States of America.
  • GOLD was discovered near Denver, Colorado, initiating the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush.
  • The first Transatlantic Cable was laid from Ireland to Newfoundland. It failed in less than one month.
  • The first pencil with attached eraser was patented by Hyman Lipman.
  • About 96% of all deaths on the trails going West were due to diseases such as smallpox, typhoid and malaria.
  • Average family size for an American couple was 5.42 children.
  • Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt was born.
  • Stephen Collins Foster, songwriter for the people, was 32 years old.
  • Edvard Grieg and Giacomo Puccini were born.
  • Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas held seven debates in Illinois, including the famous “House Divided” speech.
  • The first non-stop stagecoach from St. Louis, Missouri, arrives in Los Angeles, California. Distance traveled and time: 2,600 miles in 20 days.
  • The streetcar was patented.
  • Rudolf Diesel was born. He was to be the inventor of the Diesel engine.
  • Lake Victoria, source of the Nile River, was discovered.
  • Queen Victoria chooses Ottawa for the capitol of Canada. Reason: It is more than two-days march to the U.S. border.
  • Bernadette of Lourdes sees her first apparition of Mary.
  • John Brown holds an anti-slavery convention.
  • Fingerprints are used as a method of identification for the first time in France.
  • Children’s book author Edith Nesbit (Railway Children) is born.

LIGHT AT NIGHT What Minnesota Pioneers Used for Light

Light at Night
What Minnesota Pioneers Used for Light
Lighting in 1850 Minnesota was achieved through use of candles or whale oil. Beeswax when burned has a soft, sweet scent, and tallow candles made from the animal fat of cows and sheep had an odor. It is doubtful that many settlers had the money to buy and transport expensive bayberry candles from the east coast.

In 1850 James Young applied for a patent to make liquid paraffin, or kerosene, from coal. This made it possible to produce the wax commercially in large volume for the public. By the mid-1860s lamps using this fuel had virtually replaced the used of candles for lighting in the home.
by Mary Katherine May,
owner of
Please come check us out!
Remember... God always leaves the light on for YOU!

Bottineau Prairie Osseo Maple Grove Minnesota 1850s Statehood and Beyond: WHAT DID PEOPLE WEAR?

In the 1850s, in fact just about anywhere, you wouldn’t have seen anyone wearing denim pants or overalls. That’s because they were still coming… in the near future. Jeans fabric was being worn by sailors, the name coming from the color and city in Italy where they were made, bleu de gĂȘnes, or blue of Genoa.

It was when an immigrant to America went West to California for the Gold Rush by the name of Levi Strauss. He brought fabric for tents and the like. When he arrived someone told him, “You should have brought pants.” So, after a little experimentation he came up with his still-famous denim jeans. [Denim coming from the place in France where the material was manufactured, serge de Nimes, in 1873 Levi Strauss and David Jacobs co-patented the pocket design and added rivets.

Up until a boy reached right about the age of four or five years, it was the custom to dress them just as girls dressed. Boys wore dresses, and their hair was often kept long. What we need to remember is that there were no protective pants to go over the diaper being worn. Dresses really did make it easier. When a boy was around four or five years old he started to wear pants. It was called being “breached.” Pioneer boys at this age may or may not have worn the short pants with buckles at the knee, but boys at the turn of the century to about 1930 usually did.

The “knickers” were buckled at the knees as mother wanted when she could see, and then as the boy wanted most often once out of sight, either above or below the knee. Both boys and men used buttons to close their trousers, as the zipper as we know it today didn’t come along until 1917.

The zipper had several names before receiving that name, and the idea was worked on for quite a few years also. Elias Howe in 1851 patented an “Automatic, Continuous Clothing Closure.” Next came the “Clasp Locker” in 1893 invented by Mr. Whitcomb Judson. It was a man from Sweden, Gideon Sundback, who came up with the “Separable Fastener” (1917) that designed what we use today. The title zipper originated with the B. F. Goodrich Company, who put Mr. Sundback’s Separable Fastener in their new rubber galoshes (boots).

Being allowed to wear long pants, as dictated by parents, was a rite of passage for boys. It meant coming into adulthood, and during this era before child labor laws and mandatory school attendance it often meant going out and finding a job. Especially in the 1850s, schools in no way played the roll that they do now. On the Bottineau Prairie in Minnesota there was no school to attend.

With Osseo, Minnesota, just beginning to take shape, any school held would have been of the type called a “subscription school” with a tuition fee per child. School would have been held when their was no farm work to do, during the winter months after crops were in, and also during the summer between planting and harvest.

When boys changed over to wearing pants, girls of course continued to wear dresses. During the second half of the 1850s, an Ambrotype Photograph might have been taken of a girl wearing a pioneer-era dress: A simple dress gathered at neck and waist with pantaloons extending to mid-calf.

The Ambrotype photographic process was patented by James Ambrose Cutting of Boston in 1854. It uses what is called a "wet plate collodian process," which creates a negative image on glass. When the negative is backed with black it becomes a visible picture--everything is reversed: the background looks black, and the image, dark on a negative, is what can be seen.

As the country moved into the 1860s and the Civil War began, women’s dresses became fuller with wide skirts, many petticoats and hoops around the bottom. Metal weights were used in the in the hems, similar to those that are still put into window drapes and curtains today. Women’s undergarments were fastened with “vanity buttons” made from bone, and corsets used bone strips similar in shape to a tongue depressor, for support and shape. We can wonder at how these women ever stayed upright for a whole day while doing their daily work carrying around all of that garment weight.

It didn’t matter who you might be, when weather turned cold everyone’s concern would be keeping warm. If you have ever lived on a farm or land with lots of space, you will know how cold the wind can blow when nothing stops it. The layered look, so stylish in the 1970s, was not a new idea. Back in the 1850s, however, layering was done for warmth. Men and women alike wore shawls out of necessity.

Quilts, considered an important part of our American heritage didn’t originate here, but the craft was certainly developed. At the very beginning of the 1850s most would have brought blankets for bedding because fabric loomed in large quantity for commercial sale was on the cusp, nearing production. Even when this happened, quilts for every day home use were usually created from fabric scraps and old clothing. Elias Howe and Isaac Singer went to court over who held patent to certain parts of the new Sewing Machine. In 1854 Howe won, and after royalties were shared.

The new sewing machine was an invention of large time-saving proportion for women of the day. The first “Family Sewing Machine” manufactured by Singer went on sale in 1858. Nearly half of all American households had a sewing machine by 1885, the cost being just under twenty dollars for Demarest’s New Family Sewing Machine.

It would have been a luxury on the Bottineau Prairie in 1858, but an article of furniture that almost any woman would have enjoyed was a sewing table. These were small tables with shallow drawers, sometimes with drop-leaves, to hold the necessities such as thread and needle, and often could be moved with ease because of the wheels.
We at Quality Music and Books in Osseo, Minnesota are in the process of moving our store to a new location. During the interim, please visit us online by clicking this link: www.QualityMusicandBooks.com. Thank you!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Bottineau Remembered: Historic Minnesota

Bottineau Remembered ...

an Historic Exhibit about Minnesota from the 1850s through mid 19th century during the Minnesota Statehood sesquicentennial year.

1. Vintage Slate Chalkboard with Abacus

Blackboards, dry erase boards and overhead projectors as visual aids in the classroom didn’t exist in the 1800s, and paper and pencils were often scarce. Students used hand-held slate boards, something like the example shown here to do their work. Teachers went from student to student, writing out problems and examples on each board.

Mr. James Pillans, headmaster (principal) of a school in Scotland is called the inventor of the chalkboard and colored chalk that everyone could see, with which he taught geography. Mr. George Baron, an instructor at West Point Military Academy, is considered to be the first to use a large chalkboard for teaching.

These boards were made of slate. Slate is a rock and had to be mined out of the ground before it was made into chalkboards. By looking at the cracked area in the middle you can see that the board is made out of stone.

The wood-framed slate board with top abacus on display here is a representation of how the slate looked. Slate, was mined in Vermont, Maine, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland and New York. Schools in remote areas might have had a wall painted black instead of a real chalkboard, because of the shipping and purchase cost, and also because of the difficulty of communication—transporting objects wasn’t always easy.

By the middle of the 19th century a board in the front of the classroom for the teacher’s use became fairly standard.
Felt erasers had not been invented yet either. Cloth rags would have been used instead to wipe of markings on the boards.

3. Antique Eyeglasses

3A. Eyeglasses and Case
B. F. StraubJeweler & Optician
Masonic Block
Faribault, Minn.

Benjamin F. Straub was born October 30, 1840 in Hemlock Township, Pennsylvania. On April 30, 1862, he married Charlotte Jane Yancey, whose family arrived in America before 1637. He died while en route to his son’s home, traveling from Montesono, WA to his son’s home in Hoquiam, WA. Mr. Straub was buried at Oak Ridge Cemetery, Faribault, Rice County, Minnesota.

In the census of 1870 and 1880 Benjamin’s occupation is listed as jeweler and Charlotte’s as “keeping house.” They had five children: Edgar, Allie B, Fred and Maude. In the census information below we can note that Edgar at age 16 was learning telegraphing.

3B. Pincers in Black Case
3C. Pincers in Red Case


~ Free Historical Exhibit ~



DATE: September thru October 2008
HOURS: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 9-5 Saturday or by appt.
LOCATION: Quality Music and Books
Quality Music and Books is presenting a display of historic objects from the time of Minnesota's entry into the Union in 1858 through the first half of the 20th century.

Pierre Bottineau, instrumental to the founding of the cities of Osseo and Maple Grove, Minnesota, also played an in important role for the whole state of Minnesota. He acted as interpreter, scout, and acted as a guide for expeditions and buffalo hunts. Bottineau was the founder or played a part in the founding of at least four Minnesota towns, and his name appears on both North and South Dakota maps and in their history books. All items are available for purchase at the end of the exhibit. Exhibit items may be held for purchase with a 50% reserve payment.

A Minnesota Sesquicentennial Exhibit is FREE to the public.
DATE: September thru October, 2008