Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wistful Wednesday: Ponsford Minnesota

I have an old postcard of Ponsford Minnesota.

Ponsford MN Indian Camp

Indian Camp Ponsford Minnesota

I wrote about the bad spelling of the Ponsford sign yesterday.  Ponsford is seven miles from where we live.   Ponsford used to be one of “the” places on the map with a bank, two boarding houses, grocery stores, Post Office, gas stations and even a movie theater. Then a new highway was built and Ponsford became one of those forgotten towns.

Ponsford and Pine Point Indian Reservation are one mile apart. Once a year on the 4th of July there would be a big gathering and a party in Ponsford…everyone would come.  Far Guy’s Mother remembered going there as a child.  There would be a Pow Wow and a parade.  The Ojibwe; Ottertail Pillager Band settled at Pine Point.  Some Indians were traditional hunters, gatherers…and some adopted white mans practices and built homes and sent their children to school…and some mixed part of the two cultures. The whites lived at Ponsford and the Indians at Pine Point.

The Mission:  When I was growing up we always called it “The Mission”…not Pine Point and not the RES.  Long ago they had a Mission School and a Episcopal Mission Church, and a Catholic Mission Church on the reservation. 

One of the first teachers at the mission school in 1890 was Orville D. Ponsford.  He taught for two years and then went back to farming.  The school had troubles and was taken over by the Government…then it was called the Government School and it boarded the students there during the school year.

In 1890-1891 the residents wanted their own Post Office so names were sent in…Pine Point was one possibility but it was rejected because another place was using that name. The petitioners sent in their own names and as it happened Mr. Nunn underlined Ponsford’s name so the Post Office became Ponsford. The Nunns remained in the area for years and still have descendants in the area…and Mr. Ponsford well he visited Ponsford twice before he died.

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16 comments:

  1. How interesting : In Springfield, MA (which neighbors my small town) there is a section called Pine Point.

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  2. Wonderful old photo . Great info nice to learn a bit of your history over there ! Thanks for sharing , Have a good day and A Happy First Day Of Fall/ Autumn .

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  3. Thank you for sharing the history of Ponsford; it is very interesting. Those are some great photos also. Happy First Day of Autumn.

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  4. That old photo is indeed very interesting. I'm hoping that the Powers that Be will now fix that darn sign with the misspelled town name. Mr. Ponsford would be turning over in his grave, I expect. :-)

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  5. Fascinating history. The railroad missed the town of Forestville here and it slowly died out. Now the area is a State Park and a Minnesota historical site with re-enactors and the whole bit....

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  6. It's interesting to read how the old towns got their names. We used to live in Rio, Wisconsin, which was meant to be named Ohio, Wisconsin, but the town clerk's writing wasn't quite legible and it became Rio instead. I love the photo of the Indian village.

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  7. Ponsford has an interesting history. Sadly, many towns shrivel up and die when the new highways bypass them.

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  8. Interesting history and I agree with Teacher above..so many of the little towns just die off..leaving a run down store building and a few fences...it's a shame. Neat photo!

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  9. Small things change local history a great deal.

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  10. Such a historian to provide us with this info today! My little town in Illinois (actually a pretty big small town for Illinois with almost 2000 souls) is really working hard at survival. They have even voted in a new high school. Amazing support for the project.

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  11. What. great old postcard! Fun to see it. I don't think I have ever seen the Ponsford signs - correct or incorrect. Sounds like a filed trip to me!

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  12. ...and I was just about to ask you about the history of the town, to see if there were any reason why the place was called Ponsford instead of PonDsford...

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  13. very interesting post about our area

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  14. The wagon in the foreground is interesting to see. Our old resort area on Pokegama had this kind of sight on it early on. I found pottery shards on the beach below the hill which is where the teepees were assembled overlooking the lake. It is amazing to think that those days were not that far back in history.

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  15. You always find such interesting history to share!

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  16. This is why you were a blessing to the museum. :) :)

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Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your comments! If you have a question I will try to answer it here. Connie