1836-1912 Nehemiah P. Clarke

Moved to St. Cloud in 1856. He was one of the most prominent local businessmen.

He owned and operated nearly 4,000 acres of farmland in and around Sartell.

Mr. Clarke raised prize winning Shorthorn and Galloway cattle that were known across the United States. His Clydesdale horses won the Worlds Championship Prize in 1893. He also raised hogs and sheep.

He owned a creamery and cheese factory in the area.

He served as president of the State Agricultural Society in 1886.

Nehemiah Parker Clarke

By Kaye Wenker

In the early 1850’s the U.S. Government opened up this area for settlement and homesteads could be legally staked out.

N. P. Clarke was one of those early settlers. He was born April 8, 1836, in Hubbardston, Worcester County, Massachusetts. Nehemiah Parker Clarke came to Minnesota and the St. Cloud area in July of 1856 along with John H. Proctor. In his later years by 1880, the raising of pure bred horses and cattle became his biggest interest. He was devoted to attaining the highest level. He owned three farms, Meadow Lawn, Clyde Mains and Nether Hall. The 1600 acre Meadow Lawn farm which was located on the west end of Sartell around the Pinecone Road and Seventh Street North area, produced Shorthorn and Galloway cattle which was some of the choicest animals in the country, always a prize winner when shown. The Meadow Lawn farm was later sold to his manager, Leslie Smith and Archibald White. Leslie Smith came here from Scotland with N. P. Clarke after Mr. Clarke had been there to purchase Shorthorn cattle. The following is an excerpt from the St. Cloud Journal Press dated December 30ty, 1909. “The biggest sale of fine cattle occurring in the history of the state was consummated today when Archibald S. White of New York and Leslie Smith of St. Cloud purchased of N. P. Clarke his entire herd of full blood shorthorns, known the world over as the Meadow Lawn herd. This is undoubtedly the best herd in this country today. It is the culmination of 35 years of effort and skill in the successful mating of the best strains of Shorthorns.”

This excerpt is from”History of Sartell, Minnesota Lumber, Paper, Valves and Progress A Century of Progress, Welcoming a Century of Promise” page 21

Front: Matt, Julia

Back: Raymond, David, Virginia, Laurence

"I can, I will, I must"

"Stephen DeZurik was born in Bohemia in 1849. At that time, Bohemia was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire ruled by Emperor Franz Joseph. Drafted into the cavalry, Stephen became an excellent horseman. The night before his unit was ordered to put down an insurrection in a nearby village, Stephen was kicked by a horse and taken to a hospital. The next day, trapped within the village gates, his comrades were annihilated.

In a family memoir, Stephen's grandson, David DeZurik, said his grandfather was promoted to a Hussars' company, the elite horsemen of the Austro-Hungarian army. "When he came to America and settled in Royalton, Minnesota, he hung his huge fur coat, tall fur hat, and saddle in the attic."

Prior to settling in Minnesota, Stephen worked in the coal mines of Luxembourg and in the U.S. at Andrew Carnegie's steel mills in Pittsburgh until he had enough money to bring his wife, Anna, and sons, Steve and Mathias, to Minnesota.

In the family homestead near Royalton Stephen bred a line of farm horses of medium size that were also excellent workers. "They made a very beautiful sight, indeed, and people came from many miles around to buy horses from him. This is how my father (Matt) met my mother, "David wrote.

Michael and Anna Rudie, also Bohemian immigrants, and their daughter, Julia, lived in Bowlus, Minnesota. Hearing about Stephen's horses, they visited him, bringing along their daughter. Struck by her beauty, Matt later walked 18 miles to court Julia.

Mathias (Matt) DeZurik, founder of the valve company, was born in 1878 in Bohemia. He came to America aboard the ship that carried his mother and a brother. In 1900 he settled in Sartell where he became a millwright at the Watab Paper Mill. He soon gained a reputation as a man "who could come up with a unique and practical solution for almost any mechanical problem"

Matt and Julia's first home was a 16x20 wooden house without running water or indoor bathroom facilities. Matt was earning 20 cents an hour as a carpenter at the mill working a 10-11 hour day. Later, he was promoted to millwright.

Matt used the machine shop at the Watab mill at night where he invented products that were used by the mill. In 1932, he moved across the river to a garage-sized cement building where he started producing types of valves.

Matt had had only 80 days of schooling and "what he learned he had to teach himself through acute observation and extensive reading." At one time Matt's three sons-David, Laurence, and Raymond-held professional jobs at DeZurik's

In 1928 Matt designed a valve with a segmented plug with a cam (eccentric) closure action-a revolutionary development at the time. Another invention was a knot-sawing machine that handled the work of four to six men using axes.

DeZurik's Eccentric Plug valves are installed in paper mills all over the world. They have a reputation for dead-tight, shut -off service.

During World War II, the company's production was devoted mainly to defense projects like tank brackets for tank tracks, tank periscopes and globe valves for shipboard use.

Today the DeZurik Corporation contains 500 employees worldwide and earns a revenue of $120 million annually.

Where Rivers Merge. Stories for the History of Sartell, MN William Towner Morgan Page 29-30

Sartell Family 1889

On the ground; Vernie Gertrude Sartell, Nora Arnold Sartell
Front Row; Joseph S. Sartell, Hettie Sartell, Katherine Sands Sartell, holding Clara Sartell, Angeline Sartell, Daisy Maude Sartell, Frances Gilman Sartell holding Mabel Sartell, Nancy Lucinda Sartell, Lucinda Jane Johnston Sartell, Henry Joseph Sartell, Charles Francis Sartell, behind Ray Egbert Sartell, Hettie Salome Arnold Sartell, holding Sidney Samuel Sartell.
Back Row; Linton Longley Sartell, Fred Norton Sartell, Egbert Perry Sartell, Frank Arnold Sartell, William, Lock Sartell, Joseph Birch Sartell, Winslow Libby Sartell, Charles Samuel Sartell, Holding George Washington Sartell.

Lucinda Johnston Sartell was born in Camillus NY on 3-21-1834 to Samuel and Anna (Perry) Sartell. She moved to Illinois when she was 16yo . She married JB Sartell on 6-2-1853, then they both moved to Central MN in 1854. They had 9 children; Egbert, Sybil, Charles, Linton, Winslow, Elnora, William, Fred, and Frank.

Joseph Birch Sartell was born in East Pepperell MA on 1-15-1826 to Deacon and Sybil (Shattuck) Sartell. He moved to Illinois in 1848, met & married Lucinda Johnston on 6-2-1853, then they both moved to Central MN in 1854.

He worked as a millwright at a local sawmill. In 1877 Mr. Sartell opened a flour mill on the Watab River, near the present day Watab Creek Park, and in 1884 he and his sons started the Sartell Brothers Lumber Company on the west side of the Mississippi River.

The Sartell Family

"Joseph B. Sartell was born in Pepperell, Mass., in 1826. At age 22, he left home and headed west. In Joliet, Illinois, he operated a sawmill for a number of years, and there met and married Lucinda Johnston. In 1853 Joseph arrived in Minnesota; a year later Lucinda joined him.

In Brockway Township, Joseph establish a homestead at Winnebago Prairie. When the Dakota Conflict flared up in Minnesota in 1862, Joseph moved his family to Clearwater, Minnesota, and back to Winnebago Prairie after the war ended. Between 1854 and 1871 nine children were born to the pair. The girls, Sybil and Elnora, died young, but the seven boys lived into maturity and all served in different capacities as partners in the milling and associated businesses.

An 1896 atlas shows a cluster of buildings owned by the Sartell family. In Section 21, LeSauk Township, the surveyor cites 205 acres owned by J. B. Sartell. That section also records a gray granite and red granite quarry on Sartell property. The Watab River broadens as it nears its mouth and that body of water shows one mill upstream and another at the point where the Watab connects with the Mississippi. Several houses, a shop, an office and a ferry at the Watab's mouth suggest a prosperous community of mill owners, workers, and families.

In 1868, Joseph and Lucinda moved from Winnebago Prairie to Two Rivers Township, Morrison County where Joseph worked in the lumbering and sawmilling businesses. Two years later, he was back at the Watab site where he stayed for the rest of his life.

In time four Sartell brothers joined hands to operate the milling business. They were: Egbert, Charles, Linton, and Winslow. The other brothers- William, Fred and Frank made up the Sartell Townsite & Reality Company that managed land holdings and real estate.

Until the early 1920's, the Sartell brothers used logging camps they owned in Morrison County to feed logs into their sawmills. Thomas S. Sartell, Joseph B. Sartell's great-grandson, quotes a story that says 18M logs passed thorough the town by water that year. (Thomas felt the reporter must have meant "board footage.")

The decade of the 1870's saw expanded logging operations along the Upper Mississippi River. Other enterprises entered into by the Sartell brothers included a grocery, a blacksmith shop, real estate sales, and a grist mill. The brothers also introduced a ferry service that connected the east and west banks of the Mississippi. With other families moving into the area, names like "Sartellville" and "Slabtown" appeared as names for the burgeoning community.

In November, 1888, fire destroyed the business office and all of the company's records. In 1905, a dam was completed across the river facing the mouth of the Watab on the west side. A Grand Rapids, Wisconsin, investor chose the site called Third Rapids to erect a paper mill. The 1905 dam was built of wooden beams, local granite, fieldstone, and 25,000 barrels of concrete. Between 1960 and 1964, the dam was totally rebuilt. A complex of buildings were later erected in yellow brick.

Married men who worked at the mill lived in Sauk Rapids or St. Cloud and commuted to work by way of a Northern Pacific locomotive affectionally called "Maude". On the west side of the river Max Alpine erected a wooden hotel that served unmarried mill workers. Equipped with running water, steam heat and electricity, the hotel often served as a space for dances.

According to a history by David DeZurik, early houses in Sartell were "modest wooden structures" except for those built for the mill owners. Though electricity and phone service were widely available most workers lived in houses without running water or bathrooms until these amenities had become widely available."

Where Rivers Merge. Stories from the History of Sartell, Minnesota, William Towner Morgan pages 8-9