The Calhoun and Winker families of Randall, Minnesota

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Winker/Calhoun property west of Randall, MN
Property owned by the Calhoun and Winker familes in Parker Township near Randall, MN. The parcel closer to town was purchased by Thomas Calhoun in 1898, and sold to Lewis E. Winker in 1919. The 80 acre "wood lot" was purchased by Kate Calhoun Winker in 1917. It went to Lewis Winker after Kate died in 1932.

The reason why Lewis E. and Cecelia Winker came to settle in Randall, Minnesota, was not shear chance. In a 2002 interview with Lew, Jim and Fred Winker about growing up in Randall, Lew said, “It seems to me that when we looked up the records on the farm that a Calhoun had owned it. Remember the old sort of a depression where we used to dump all of our junk? There supposedly was a log cabin sitting there before that, so that must have been a cellar at one time.“

The 100 acre property that the Winkers owned in Parker Township, about a mile west of the town of Randall, was purchased from Thomas R. Calhoun, the brother of Kate Calhoun Winker and Lewis's uncle.

1907 Plat Map: T. K. Calhoun - 138 acresA search through the land records in Morrison County revealed that Thomas R. Calhoun bought roughly 120 acres of land in Section 1 of Parker Township on January 31, 1898, from John V. L. Pruyn for $600.00. The 1907 Morrison County plat book shows it as 138.5 acres. Just when it was reduced to 100 acres was not clear from the land records.

The 1900 Federal census shows Thomas R. Calhoun living in Parker Township as head of household, with his parents, Henry and Mary Calhoun, living with him. They are on the census list just after the John Kempenick family, who owned land just south of the Calhoun/Winker property. It might therefore be assumed that the Calhouns were at that time living on the same property later sold to the Winkers. George E. and Maggie (Margaret) Calhoun (brother of Thomas, son of Henry) are shown as living in Randall (Twp?) that same year.

The 1905 Minnesota census looks like it might have been alphabetized as the George Calhoun family (same as above) is listed just above the Henry Calhoun family. Living with Henry are his wife, Mary O., and son Thomas whose occupation is listed as Farmer. Henry Winker, age 12, lived with them also. (Henry Winker was the younger brother of Lewis E. Winker.)

Mary Calhoun died 15 Dec 1906 in Randall at age 77. Henry Calhoun died 1 Dec 1908 in Claremont, Minnesota, at age 84, presumably at the home of his son Daniel. Both Henry and Mary Calhoun are buried in St. James cemetery in Randall.

1912 Plat Map: Geo. Emert? For the 1910 Federal census, Thomas R. Calhoun was living in De Smet, SD, with Patrick and Mary Kildee. Mary Calhoun Kildee was Thomas’ sister.

A Morrison County Plat Book dated 1912 shows the 100 acre plot as owned by “Geo. Emert,” however, I could not find a reference connecting that name to the property in the land records.

Lewis E. Winker and Cecelia Feuerstein were married on 15 Feb 1916 in LeShara, Nebraska. They lived with his brother and her sister, John and Martha (Feuerstein) Winker, in South Dakota for several months. Lewis and Cecelia traveled by wagon to Randall in the autumn of 1916.

The 100 acre parcel of land in Parker Township was sold by Thomas Calhoun to Lewis and Cecelia Winker on 2 June 1919 for $5000.00.

On the 1920 Federal census, Thomas was living with George and Clara Calhoun (George II, son of George and Margaret) in Parker Twp, MN. Lewis and Cecelia Winker were living in Bowlus, Minnesota, in 1920 as he was employed as a mail carrier in that area at the time.

1923 Plat Map: Lewis Winker 100 acres Thomas Calhoun died 8 Nov 1927 in Staples, Minnesota. Thomas never married. He was buried in the Calhoun family plot in St. James cemetery in Randall.

Another brother of George, Kate, Thomas and Mary Calhoun, Daniel P. Calhoun, was enumerated on the 1900 Federal and 1905 Minnesota census records as living in Randall Twp. The plat map dated 1907 does not show Daniel Calhoun as a land owner. Daniel was married to Mary Jane Parker in about 1900. They are on the 1910 Federal census living in Claremont, Minnesota. Mary died on 23 March 1921 in Faribault, Minnesota. On the 1930 Federal census, Daniel was an inmate at the Rice County Hospital in Warsaw, Minn. Daniel died 28 Nov 1932 in Faribault, Minn. Both Daniel and his wife Mary Jane are also buried at St. James cemetery in Randall.

The Winkers built a house on their land in about 1934-35, a brick house that is still on the property today. Many of the materials for that structure were purchased from Montgomery-Ward.

There was an older house on the property that the Winker family lived in prior to that. Once the new house was complete, it was moved on rollers to a different location on the property and became the sheep shed. Oral history says that there was a log cabin on the land prior to that, and the Winker family dumped their garbage into the pit that had been the foundation of the cabin.

There has also been family lore about the land possibly being tax forfeit. That apparently refers to an 80 acre parcel in Section 4 of Parker Township known as the wood lot, a couple of miles west of the Winker home. Kate Winker purchased that 80 acres from Harry Jones on 30 August 1917. The next reference shows that L.E. Winker paid $6.28 and $6.11 to the Auditor of Morrison County in Tax Court on 14 May 1934. Kate Calhoun died 13 Feb 1932, so a good guess is that taxes went unpaid after her death. The land went to Lewis E. Winker upon payment of the back taxes.

Cecelia continued to live at the farm after Lewis died in May of 1949. After her youngest son, Tom, graduated from LIttle Falls High School, she sold the farm in December 1956, and moved to Crystal, Minnesota, a few blocks from her son, Lewis.

Tim Winker
16 Aug 2008

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