Women in History: Carver County Style
By Marlene Magnuson
Throughout generations women have played an important role in settling of Carver County, as well as the whole nation. While there are many names we recognize (such as Carol Molnau, Marion Ross, Clara Judd, and Rosa Knotz) there are many "Prairie Women" who gave up so much to live in America-the Land of Opportunity. They came to find it meant lots of hard work, heartache, disappointments and loneliness. Newspaper articles, diaries, scrapbooks, and word of mouth passed down through the years give us a peek into the lives of these women.
In articles by Larry Anhalt, we found a Mrs. Patske, who emigrated from Prussia to a better life in America only to be murdered by her husband in 1903. Masa Dorthea (Sontag) Rudieger came to the Minnesota wilderness with her husband in 1850. She was hampered by illness, mosquitoes, and swamps. Through much hard work, they managed to create one of the best farmsteads in Carver County.
We also learned of Lena Luedloff, who was reaching for her husband's trousers to mend them when she was hit by a bullet from a hidden revolver he had purchased to kill her. This would have enabled him to collect on the $8,500 insurance policy he had taken out on her. She survived and he was sent to prison. Later, she married Edmond Anhalt and, through lots of hard work and love, they built a prosperous farm and raised a loving family.
In a newspaper article about Meta Braun Luebke, the 102 year-old shared her life story of growing up on a farm in Camden Township, and living in a log farmhouse with her parents and siblings. Her life at home was spent working on the farm, going to school, and learning to speak English. She attended Central High School and later Normal School training to become a teacher. In 1927 she married Alfred Luebke, and they raised a son and daughter on their successful farm in Helvetia. She was able to accomplish this through diligence and love for her family.
There are many more interesting stories hidden in the annals of our research library. Most have been donated by patrons who have passionately researched and written these articles.
Do you have a story you would like to share? Please contact us at (952) 442-4234.
Clara Judd was a spy in the US Civil War. She was arrested and held at the Alton military prison before being released to the state of Minnesota in 1863.
Marion Ross was an actres, born in Watertown. She is most famous for her role on the long-running sitcom "Happy Days."
Carol Molnau was born in Carver County and is the 46th Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota.
Sophia Bost kept letters to and from her family in Switzerland about her life here, which were published in a book called "A Frontier Family in Minnesota."
Mathilda Ochs Weingarth was the first female school superintendent in Carver County.
Mary Wemeier Anderson graduated in the class of 1944 from Waconia High School. She was the second woman appointed as Chair of the Metropolitan Council of Minnesota, and was former mayor of Golden Valley.
Mabel Monson Burford was born in Watertown. She traveled to Alaska in the 1930s and was an educator, traveler, and adventurer.
Laura Emily Mau was born in Young America. She was a poetess, author, and educator.
Rachel Vogler Gran was the first female pharmacist in Carver County.
Louise Kowalke Butke was the first female mayor of Waconia.
Ethel Akins was a missionary to China.