Parker's Prairie

Parkers Prairie Marker
Early in 1868 Jacob Saunders headed out into the northwest from Stillwater to find a home for his family. He arrived at Osakis when he was told by a man that had helped with the survey of a beautiful prairie about 30 miles north towards Ottertail City. He was also informed that a party of men were on their way cutting a trail north. Mr. Saunders and his partner left to catch up with the blazing crew and helped blaze out the last few miles. They arrived June 2, 1868. Jacob found that the reports were true about the prairie. He left the party and located his homestead. His son, Frank, now lives on that site.

He returned to Washington County to bring his family back to his home site. They traveled by covered wagon. Their oldest son, Frank, who was 12 years old, walked behind the wagon driving two cows and a few sheep.

There were four other children in the family. It took the family three weeks to travel from Stillwater to Parkers Prairie. The family arrived July 17, 1868 and began to build a home. A new son, Charles, was born. He was the first white child born in this territory.

Other settlers arriving about this time were: G.A. Lindquist, Henry Asseln, J.G. Nelson, Ben Pease, Ed. Livernash and Charles Swenson. Henry Asseln became the first merchant and one of the wealthiest men of the county at the time of his death. Location of the Parkers Prairie Historical Marker. He started a trading post, and the first mail was distributed from the little store. The first mail arrived July 4, 1869. It was brought from Ottertail City by a half breed Indian en route to Osakis. He carried the mail once a week on foot, horseback or by dog sled, depending on the weather and season. The Asseln store was the hub of all roads.

In 1870, a second store was located at the junction by Richard E. McMahan. It was facing Lake Adley at the top of the hill and at a point 150 feet from the Immanuel's Church of today. The store was built of native oak logs.

The township was first organized as Jasper in 1870. It was preceded into the County by only five other townships: Clitheral, Oct. 24, 1868, St. Olaf, March 20, 1869; Tumuli, Sept. 8, 1869: Tordenskjoid, Sept. 8, 1869, and Aurdal, Oct. 9, 1969.

The name Jasper was changed to Parkers Prairie by a special act of the State Legislature, approved March 1, 1873. One of the first supervisors was a man named Parker, and the township and village were named after him.

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