DOCUMENT ONE: Northern Victor Township
This is a really classic example of a 19th century network of family farms. The Sawyer clan dominates the northwest corner of Victor Township. Census records from the 1800s indicate that Knud (aka Knute) Sawyer and his wife Anne Johnsdtr Peterson raised their family on a farm in Victor Township. The records also provide the names and ages of their children and which young men were working the family farm as they grew up. Among the children is Nicholas Sawyer, who at the age of 21 in 1880 is working the farm with his older brother, George and younger brother Charles Oscar Sawyer. The plat map we have here is from 1905 and reveals that the children have grown to adulthood and remained in farming in the township, for the most part. The twins Jonas and Joseph (b. 1870) share 160 acres and Jonas farms another 80 acres to the south of that. Their mother Anne is more than likely the woman identified as on the 80 acres to the north of the twins property. Her son Charles operates the 80 acres to her east. To the north we have three more Sawyer properties. All three are identified as N Sawyer. As Nicholas is the only son whose first name begins with ’T’ I am assuming these three properties are in his name.
I have also identified two properties to the south on this plat map belonging to members of the Johnson family: Gustav to the right and ‘Chris’ Johnson to the left. I believe ‘Chris’ would be short for Christian. I believe there is an outside chance they could be brothers to Anne Johnsdtr Sawyer. Her father’s name was John Peterson Aabraaten and he was born in Norway. Scandinavians in my family of Swedes acquired a surname that indicated whether they were the son or daughter of a man by way of his first name. Thus David son of Anders would become David Andersson and David’s daughter Anna would become Anna Davidsdtr. The ‘dtr’ or variations on the syllable would indicate daughter. It is conceivable then that August and Chris are the sons of John Peterson and that John was, at birth, Peter’s son. Of course, all this guesswork goes out the window if someone who knows the truth would please correct me and put me out of my misery!
One last observation. I heard the name Whitman when growing up and I believe it was Donald and ‘Lou’ Whitman. I have indicated a Whitman property in the corner of Victor township. It would have to be a father or uncle to the Whitman’s who grew up with my aunt’s and uncles.
DOCUMENT TWO: Southern Victor Township
On this map I could only find one surname that rang a bell with me and that was the Miller clan. As I go ahead and chart family cousins and second cousins I will have a better idea at to the Miller this farm belonged to. I have probably missed more than a few family farms when perusing these maps. My eyes grew tired and my thirst for a good ale grew exponentially as I gazed at farmland thinking of wheat and barley and hops and beer…..