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Association meetings are first Thursday each month at PM. Meetings are held at the Museum address below. Phone Scheduled hours are Fridays — PM. The museum will also open by appointment for tours and classroom visits. Donations are always appreciated and much needed to continue operation. A chronological history of Truman is also available for your perusal. The first settlement in the township was established in along Elm Creek. In , many of the settlements in the area were burned during an Indian uprising, but many residents soon returned to rebuild their homes and farms.

With the building of the Jackson road from Winnebago to Jackson in , more of the area was opened up for settlement. Two post offices were soon established in the area. One was located near a river ford, and was deated as the West Ford post office, hence the name Westford, after which the township was eventually named. In and , grasshoppers devastated area crops, causing many to abandon their farms and leave the area. By , nearly three out of every four farms was vacant or abandoned. In , an east-west railroad was built crossing the county, and settlers once again flowed into the region, reclaiming the abandoned farms and planting new fields across the vast prairies.

Another rush of settlement occurred with the opening of the north-south railroad in The city of Truman was born with the railroad. The nearest rail station, however, was a distant 12 to 18 miles away, a hard days travel for farmers with nothing but a horse team and wagon. The railroad companies of the time were looking for more business, and the area of Westford seemed an ideal prospect. A rail line ran east-west through Fairmont, but the nearest north-south rail link to Minneapolis and St. Paul only ran as far as Madelia. On January 16, , the Watonwan Valley Railway Company was incorporated for the purpose of building a railroad from Madelia to Fairmont.

Survey work for the new railroad was completed during the winter of On March 23, , the Martin County Independent reported that a meeting was held at the Westford postmasters home to locate a site for mid-line depot. Conflict arose between Antrim farmers, who wanted the depot located on the county line between Martin and Watonwan Counties, and farmers from Westford and Nashville, who wanted it located several miles to the south.

Finally, a compromise was reached that placed the site of the new depot would be located on the south section of line 4 in Westford Township, extending north. Final selection of the site was left up to the railroad company, which selected section 9, adjacent to section 4.

Truman was named when the town was surveyed in the spring of The actual derivation of the name Truman has been the subject of much controversy over the years. Most writers and residents, however, believe that the town was named after Truman Clark, son of J. Clark, who was second vice-president of the Chicago-St. Paul-Minneapolis Omaha Railway at the time the town was surveyed. Not everyone was pleased with the name selection. As Nondie Ploom, a reporter for the Martin County Sentinel wrote at the time, The name of the station in our town should have been Westford instead of Truman, as the township and post office already bear that name.

However, the name Truman remained. On April 20, , the Martin County Independent reported that dirt has commenced to fly. The railroad has boarding tents and shanties scattered between Fairmont and Madelia. A month later, bidding was held for lots in the newly surveyed town of Truman. The ink was scarcely dry on the deeds when building began. Several men had already made plans for business establishments. All through the wet spring and summer wagons hauled lo of lumber from Madelia and Winnebago. The first building to be completed was a barn, where Bert Parks lived while he was building the Hinton Store.

Throughout the summer, work continued on the railroad. The first trains came through during the third week of October, Soon there were two trains daily to and from Minneapolis and St. Paul, so that one could leave for Minneapolis on the morning train, shop or do business there, and return on the evening train. The completion of the railroad eased the burdens of area farmers, who no longer had to haul their crops so many miles to the depot.

Paul, Minneapolis, and Omaha Railway. In its early years Truman boomed. By February there were over inhabitants. Businessmen came from all directions to establish their enterprises. On march 29, , a special election was held to incorporate the town, with 65 voting to incorporate, and 10 opposing incorporation. The newly incorporated town occupied a full squire mile, plus a strip of land 40 rods wide around section 9. Later, much of this land was returned to the township under the provisions of a Minnesota law.

The president of the first town council was F. Council members included E. Fletcher, E. Noonan, and R. The first treasurer was N. True, and the first recorder clerk was R. Hadley and C. Cornell were Justices of the Peace, and H. Fuller and W. Hoover were town constables. One of the first actions of the town Council was to give the town a touch of respectability by building permanent sidewalks. Up until this time, planks scattered on the ground had served the purpose of keeping pedestrians out of the mud. Without the merchants, however, there would be no Truman as we know it today.

Two general stores were completed in Truman by the end of , owned by W. Hinton and the Vandrey brothers of Madelia. The Vandrey brothers had a store in Madelia, and decided to open another in Truman. They came to Truman in lumber wagons, and spent many nights sleeping in them, because there were no rooms available in the few buildings that had already been built.

A third general store was later opened by D. Damon Company of Winnebago. Hardware stores also flourished. Richard Jones, a country storekeeper, moved into town and built one in the summer of Edward Noonan of Madelia also built a hardware store, but soon sold it to August Ebert, who operated it for many years. Williams and Merril built and owned the third hardware store. Williams first bought grain and sold farm implements.

With the coming of the elevators, Williams switched to selling just hardware. Several years later, Jones sold out to Ebert and Williams, who split the merchandise. One of the big unofficial holidays of the newly formed town was the annual Twine Day sponsored by Williams and Merril Hardware. At harvest time, all the farmers would come to town to pick up twine for the grain harvest.

There was a band, and plenty of strawberry pop for all the kids. Williams and Merril also took the opportunity to demonstrate the Majestic Range stove. One year they baked a three-tier walking cake. After being baked, it was wrapped in butcher paper, and a clean plank was laid across it. About six women stood on the cake, and then it was unwrapped and served with coffee to all who were present. During the early years, Truman was host to two large hotels, the Pioneer Hotel, owned by M. Clemons, and the City Hotel and restaurant, owned by M. Competition was fierce between them.

In those days, a room cost a dollar a day. A third hotel was constructed in Known as the Truman Hotel, it was operated by Charles Eickhoff. The first saloon was owned by Charley Becker. His success was short-lives, however, as a fire destroyed the saloon in July Charley was killed in this fire when he went back in to try and salvage something.

A third saloon opened in in the new Truman Hotel. In the spring of , Sam Bursell, a farmer who lived three miles east of Truman, hauled a load of barley to Winnebago. He was paid 58 cents per bushel for it. The next day, he took a load out of the same bin on his farm and hauled it to Truman, where he was offered 50 cents per bushel.

Sam refused to sell his barley at that price to any of the three Truman elevators, and threatened to haul it all to Winnebago. Finally, one of the elevators offered to pay him the Winnebago price. Bursell told his friend, I.

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Truman History