From Charles E. Brockman, half brother of George E. Brockman, Triumph, postmaster who died suddenly this week, we learn something of the unusual hardships experienced by the Brockman family in the early days of pioneering in Martin county and elsewhere in Minnesota. From this narrative it will be seen that few persons of the present generation really know what hardship is.

"My Father George Brockman was a native of England." Mr. Brockman said. "Immediately after his marriage in 1854 he and mother started for America, with their minds set on a home in the new territory of Minnesota. After their arrival in America they made their way westward as rapidly as their circumstances permitted. There was a short stop at Pittsburgh, Pa where their first child, my brother William, now living in California, was born. They arrived in Cannon Falls, Minn. where I was born in 1857. After a short residence at Cannon Falls, we moved to Stanton, Minnesota not far distant, and this was our home until the move to Martin county was determined upon. At Stanton my mother died and father married a second time. George and his sister Susie were born while we lived at Stanton."

Neighbor of John Canright "One of our neighbors, John E. Canright, had moved to Martin county and from him father learned of the new country of free homes. Another early settler her, Dr. Sylvan Crooker, father of A. G. Crooker, had also visited the neighborhood, selling fish caught in the lakes here. He and Mr. Canright persuaded father to come out and see the country and settle in the neighborhood. My stepmother did not want to go. She feared the newer and wilder country where there would be no schools or churches and where living conditions would be hard for women and children. She persisted that she would not live to see the new home."

Walked to Fort Snelling "While living at Stanton father was called to military service near the end of the Civil War. He was to report at Fort Snelling on a certain day. He missed the stage and made the entire distance on foot, reaching the fort only a few minutes after the stage. Happily the war ended and he was not required to go farther away and soon returned to us. He brought his army musket along which later, in the hands of my 14 year old brother William proved a very valuable possession indeed, for with it he was able to kill geese, ducks, prairie chickens, rabbits and other game. With this weapon he once killed two wild geese at a single shot."

Came Here in 1868 "In 1868 we started for Martin county driving an old team father acquired, and all of our possessions packed in the wagon with father, mother, and five of us children, the youngest a babe in arms, as passengers. Father also had four head of young heifers to drive along. We proceeded to somewhere near Delavan, where we ran onto a settler who wanted to leave and persuaded father to trade him the four heifers for his farm and pay him $50. to boot. Father made the trade and went back to Stanton to get the $50. Returning he learned that the man was a rascal, the he had a $700 mortgage on his farm and had sold the heifers and left the country. This disaster left us nearly destitute. We went back as far as Walton, near Waseca, and spent the winter in an abandoned house. The following June another child was born to my stepmother, which died, and a few days later she also passed away. Following her burial father again, loaded all of his possessions into the wagon and started west. The children were William, 14; myself, 11; Eliza, 7; George, 4; and Susie, 2.

Take Claim on Raw Prairie The weather was fine and we reached Canright's place in Rutland in three or four days. Father made a claim to the next farm east, which was a raw prairie without a stick of timber. The wooded land had all been taken up. Not far away on the place where Weaver Courtney now lives, near the shores of Lake Charlotte was an abandoned settler's cabin. We moved into this to live until father could fix up a dugout and a stable of hay and poles on our place. All that summer we lived like Indians, doing our cooking at an open fire out of doors, as we had no stove. Brother Will and the old musket provided most of what went into the pot. Father planted a little corn and sorghum. The corn made fodder and a few small, ripened ears. The sorghum was never made up into syrup.

Move Into Dugout It was about the first of January, 1870, when we left the little board shanty at Lake Charlotte and moved into the dugout which father excavated in the side of a hill. We had procured a stove and the stovepipe sticking out through the snow was all that indicated a human habitation. Near by was the hay and fodder stack and the shed which sheltered the yoke of oxen and the cow, for which father had traded his old team. After getting us children tucked away in the dugout, the oldest but 14 and the youngest a little more than a baby, father was compelled to go away to try and earn a little money. Leaving us by the grim force of necessity, to get along as best we could, he went to Mankato, where he cut cord wood, when weather permitted, for 40 cents a cord and boarded himself. You can imagine how pitifully small his earnings were. Until well along into March we children lived alone in the dugout and provided for ourselves. The cow, fortunately, gave about three quarts of milk a day, although it was claimed she had given milk uninterruptedly for three years. This milk we shared with the Canright family near by. We searched the fodder stack for such nubbins of ripened corn as there were, ground the kernels in a little hand coffee mill, and this with the milk, furnished our food, supplemented with what small game brother William could kill with the old musket. I recall that he ran out of shot but had some powder left. He then used small pebbles for shot and actually killed some game that way.

Four Without Shoes Neither George nor I or our sisters had any shoes. William must have had some sort of footwear as he was the "man" of the house and had to get outside to tend the oxen, milk the cow, get fuel and hunt for game when he could. When I left the dugout I recall wrapping my feet in gunny sacks and other cotton covering. The girls played barefooted in the dugout all winter. When the thaws came in March water stood several inches deep in the room. This did not appear to hurt us and the little girls had good times floating sticks around, playing they were great ships. Frequently in the blizzards the passage way to the dugout drifted completely over and we had to wait until neighbors came and tunneled in to us. On one occasion a Fairmont man driving to Mankato drove his oxen right over our unseen and frail roof without suspecting that he passed over a human habitation. In March father returned much discouraged, for his winter's toil yielded him little or nothing. He saw no hope of keeping his little ones together. With us two older boys he felt that he could make his way but it was impossible for the little girls to live in this manner. Eliza was given in adoption to Mr. and Mrs. A. M. Nash, for whom Nashville township was named. In later years she married T. B. Boler, is now widowed and lives in California. Susie was adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Bacon, also of Nashville. When grown she married a man named Howe and died many years ago.

Refused to Be Given Away Father also tried to give George away but he refused to leave. At different times he was placed in a better home but he always found his way back to us. He was four years old and considered himself as much a man as his slightly older brothers. He lived for a short time with the Harndens near Sherburn, but was soon back with us in the dugout that to him was "home." There was a school not far away, the present Dist. No. 11, just north of town, and there George attended as soon as he had attained the mature age of five. Some of the time he would stay over at Canright's for a while, then at George Swearingen's and other neighbors. He was very self reliant and we always expected him to turn up safely at home in time, and he always did. George progressed rapidly in the country school, read everything he could get hold of, and got a fair education, which he added to throughout his life. When he was a good sized lad he determined to be a printer, and learned the trade while employed by H. M. Blaisdell, publisher of the old Fairmont News. Of his later years you are well informed.