MORE FAMILIES MOVE WEST; A LINK TO MINNESOTA
by Florence Wright
In late 1855 or early 1856, George and Sarah Jane Lincoln and Edwin Ebenezer and Mary Ann Payne went to Minnesota. Sarah Jane and Mary Ann were sisters. Sarah Jane McIntosh b. 1833 married George H. Lincoln and lived on the Almond Rd. in Hornellsville, just outside the village limits of Almond. Mary Ann McIntosh b. 1823 married Edwin Ebenezer Payne born 1820 from Burns, NY. The Paynes were married in 1844 and had settled in Dansville where their only child Herbert Eugene Payne was born in 1848. Edwin Payne started a grocery business and was involved in both wholesale and retail sales. The Lincolns married and lived on the family homestead along the Almond Rd. where George farmed.
Sometime after the death of Edwin Payne’s mother Delight Payne who died in Burns in 1855 the Payne adult children and their father Ebenezer decided to go West. The Lincolns joined them in their venture as may have others. The group of pioneers traveled to Minnesota. What their route was in getting there is not known nor their means of transportation but many settlers to that state arrived in oxcarts with all their belongings. The Paynes were said to have brought a large bureau, chest of drawers made of bird’s eye maple and cherry among other things.
Minnesota became a territory in 1849 and the land boom was growing as towns developed. The Paynes and Lincolns headed for an area that would become Stearns County. The land there was ideal for planting along with pastures for grazing and timber for building. There was already a trading post where supplies were brought in from St. Cloud. The first settlement developed in 1856 but was not formed into a township until 1857. The first two permanent settlers were George Lincoln and Edwin Payne in 1856 and Grace Lincoln, daughter of George and Sarah Lincoln was the first child born in the fall of that year. Herbert Eugene Payne was said to be the first white child to have arrived in the area. The town was named in honor of Edwin Payne and called Paynesville. Edwin Payne formed a company to settle this township after two attempts by others had failed. He also became its first postmaster. In 1857 George Lincoln and Edwin Payne were appointed judges of election and the elections were held in the home of Edwin Payne. On May 27, 1858 a meeting was held to organize the town and George was elected the Constable and Edwin the Justice of the Peace. That year the settlers staged a large celebration for the Fourth of July. 1858 was also the year that Minnesota gained statehood.
After a time George Lincoln and his family moved on to St. Cloud, MN where in 1860 he purchased forty acres of land through a land patent from the government. That same year Edwin Payne and his family was living in a town called Torah and by 1870 were located in Rochester Township. In 1876 Edwin purchased one hundred and five acres of land through the Homestead Act in Redwood Falls. He also is said to have owned land in E. Rochester and Grand Forks, Dakota Territory. Paynesville was in the path of the Great Sioux uprising in 1862 and was abandoned due to the slaughter and burning of homesteads. Years later a temporary fort was built and eventually the town rebuilt itself.
George and Sarah Lincoln returned to Hornellsville, NY where they were mentioned as being in 1869 by an entry in the Hagadorn diaries (“If Our Earthly House Dissolve” by Helene C. Phelan). Once again they became part of the Almond scene of activities as it is mentioned that George and his son Willie were working on one of the bridges. The federal census of 1870 further confirms them being back on the farm on the Almond Rd. It is unknown where their son William (Willie) was born but he died in 1875 and is buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery. The Paynes remained in Minnesota. Edwin’s siblings and father lived in towns near them. Edwin died in Rochester, MN in 1889 and Mary Ann died in 1898 in North Dakota where she was either living or visiting with a son and granddaughter, Jessie. Edwin and Mary Ann are buried in the Oakwood Cemetery in Rochester, MN. A third McIntosh sister, Catherine married and also went West but it is unknown where or when.
Sources: Paynesville Area Historical Society, Stearns History Museum and genealogies of the Lincolns, McIntosh, Payne families. I researched this after finding that Grace Lincoln’s death record showed Painesville, MINN (which was Paynesville, MN) as her place of birth. Grace Lincoln died in Hornellsville, NY in a fire. She was sewing on a machine or loom when a kerosene lamp tipped over. Her death record shows cause of death as “ burnt to death, accidentally”
Florence Wright 2007