Pat Mulso: Reunion is almost here

Published 10:00 am Sunday, June 12, 2016

Preserving the Past by Pat Mulso

Pat Mulso is the interim executive director of the Freeborn County Historical Museum, Library and Village, 1031 Bridge Ave.

The letters and emails have been sent. Now I wait anxiously for the registrations to arrive for our family reunion that will take place in mid-July in Ohio. We have over 150 registrations so far and the details are being ironed out for a program and other events of the day. I did some additional research on Gerhard’s family while I was on vacation.  I found a few new clues to help us unfold the history of our long-lost relative. I’ll keep you posted as new information is located on Gerhard’s life as we fit together the pieces of a 166-year-old mystery.

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Please plan to join us at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the museum when we welcome author Cheri Register. She will talk about her new book,“The Big Marsh.”

A rural community is changed forever when moneyed interests conspire to transform a treasured wetland. Under the corn and soybean fields of southern Minnesota lies the memory of vast, age-old wetlands, drained away over the last 130 years in the name of agricultural progress. But not everyone saw wetlands as wasteland. Before 1900, Freeborn County’s Big Marsh provided a wealth of resources for the neighboring communities. Families hunted its immense flocks of migrating waterfowl, fished its waters, trapped muskrats and mink and harvested wood and medicinal plants as farmland prices rose. However, the value of the land under the water became more attractive to people w

Pat Mulso

Pat Mulso

ith capital. While residents fought bitterly, powerful outside investors overrode local opposition and found a way to drain 18,000 acres of wetland at public expense.

Register stumbled upon her great-grandfather’s scathing critique of the draining and was intrigued. Following the clues he left, she uncovers the stories of life on the Big Marsh and of the connivers who plotted its end: the Minneapolis land developer, his local fixer, an Illinois banker and the lovelorn local lawyer who did their footwork.

The Big Marsh, an environmental history told from a personal point of view, shows the enduring value of wild places and the importance of the fight to preserve them, both then and now.

“The Big Marsh” will be available for purchase after Register’s presentation. Invite a friend and join us for an enjoyable evening.

The museum will host a four-hour AARP defensive driving refresher class from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday. The cost is $20 for AARP members or $25 for non-members, which includes the class materials and administrative fee. You must pre-register for the class and will need your driver’s license to do so. The refresher course is needed every three years after the initial eight-hour class is taken to continue receiving a discount on your auto insurance. Call or stop by the museum to register during our regular business hours. You will receive your certificate at the end of the class. The next class will be from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. July 21.