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the following year. Because a railroad was built through here - a line from Wadena, another from Pelican Rapids - the town and the county were in a position to grow rapidly. In addition to homestead lands, the railroads also offered lands (which they had received from the Government) to settlers at reasonable prices, from five to fifteen dollars per acre. Possession was granted after a down payment, and a part of the price was refunded if a settler began to clear his land promptly for farming. It could happen that a settler who managed to clear 10 acres of his 80 acre purchase within the first year could get a refund of $2.50 per acre on his purchase price.

In 1950, Otter Tail County had 61 townships. About 10 of them, in the northeastern portion, form an area of Finnish concentration, and they will be considered here individually.

Newton Township and New York Mills

Newton Township, provisionally established in 1872-1873, submitted in 1877 a formal petition of establishment, with the signatures of several Finns - Thomas Autio, Alex Pekeinen (Pikkarainen), Andrew Puuperä, Mats Ronkainen - appearing among the 16 signers.

The name first given to the township, which has become one of the most populous regions of the county, was New York Mills, which was changed in 1883 to Woodland and then, because there already was another town of that name in the state, was changed again, to Newton, with New York Mills retained as the name of that part of the township served by one of its railroad stops (the other stop being named Topelius.) The first charted village in the township was Borman, but that was later absorbed into New York Mills.

The New York Mills name first appeared in 1872, when a firm from Oleans, New York, moved to the spot, bought land and started to build a sawmill, which it named New York Mills. After the sawmill came the post office, which was set up in the railroad depot, and so the whole village received the name of New York Mills. Most of the village was originally homestead land owned by one R. L. Frazee, who sold it to the New York Mills Lumber Company, which wasted no time in beginning logging operations. For the first few years, then, the village was essentially made up of loggers and sawmill workers, and farming was almost unknown. Butter, eggs, and other produce came to


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