Discovery of bottle adds to history of 140-year-old home

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 3/28/01.

Rebecca and Karen Mogard A year ago, Jeff and Karen Mogard knew they were purchasing an old home. They knew it had a long history, but they didn't know it had this much history or that they would learn about it in such unusual ways.

This winter workers found a bottle in the living room wall with a message dating back to 1949. "It's intriguing to learn about the history of your home," Karen said.

The Mogards have been slowly remodeling the house at the corner of Maple and Mill Street.

The Anacin bottle with the note was left in the wall by the workmen who remodeled the house for Carl and Doris Block in 1949. The cost of remodeling was $3,000. The note consisted of a list of the workers: Dave Gordon, Elmer Behr, Henry Schultz, Clif Nehring, Ben Bauman, Tod Aasland, Gus Wickstrand, Ben Mohler, and Reuben Schultz.

Karen said the legacy of the house commands respect as history is so important. She hopes to follow in the footsteps of the original owners and open her doors to visitors and be kind to those in need.

The home is the oldest remaining in Paynesville, the only one to survive an 1862 Indian uprising, according to Bertha Zniewski, Paynesville Area Museum curator. The home was built in Old Town, which was located in the area of the Highway 55 bridge over the Crow River, on the west edge of Paynesville.

According to the 125-year Paynesville history book published in 1983, two theories exist as to why the Sioux Indians left the house (then a hotel) and some farm buildings standing in 1862. "One is that W.P. Bennett, while commanding great respect from the visiting Sioux, had also shown them much kindness and on many occasions had fed and lodged the Indians during their trips through the area," the book states. "The Bennetts were the only people who did not go into the fort during the outbreak, but the Indians did not molest them and, in fact, protected them and their property," Mrs. R. F. Schwartz wrote in 1937 in her history of Paynesville. The fort was located in the vicinity of where the Army Reserve building now stands.

The other theory is that Daniel Chisholm had known and been a friend of Chief Little Crow, and the Indians had spared the buildings thinking they belonged to him.

In their abstract, Karen Mogard found the house was moved to its present location by William Pitt Bennett in 1887.

Mary and Jerry Stock lived in the house in the 1980s. Mary recalls finding arrowheads and Indian artifacts and a charred fire ring while landscaping around the house.

When they replaced the original lapboard siding, Stocks found 12- inch oak planks as solid and golden as the day it was built. During another repair project, they found a 120-year-old dime embedded in the plaster.

"I'm anxious to remodel more and see what else we might find," Mogard said.

Return to Archives