I will take for the subject of my sketch Mr. George Mennig who lives in Sheldon at the present time.
He was born in Pennsylvania in 1841 where he spent his boyhood days among the pioneers of that section. At the age of thirteen he, with his parents, emigrated to Davenport, Ia where he worked in the sawmills and other work until 1861 when the Civil War broke out. He was one of the fist volunteers to sign the muster roll. He served in the Union army during the duration of the war. He was in Sherman’s march to the sea, Donelson, Corinth, Shilo. After the war, he worked on the steamboats of the Mississippi River running from St. Paul to lower points on the river. In the fall of 1870 he and N.F. Worth drove a team overland to O’Brien County to look the territory over for a location. He liked the looks of the country and the following April he bought two yoke of oxen and a wagon then loading his wife and baby and all their possessions in the wagon, they started for O’Brien County. They traveled with a number of their old neighbors whom they left at Storm Lake, the others going to Plymouth County, Ia. Mr. Mennig arrived at Peterson, Ia in about three weeks, he soon preempted 160 acres near the present town of Sutherland where they lived in a tent. A year or two later they homesteaded the S.E. ¼ of section 18 Carroll township. A brother-in-law homesteaded the N.E. of the same section and another brother-in-law the N.W. ¼ and Mr. Mennig's mother an 80 of the S.W. ¼ of 18 (Soldiers having the right to homestead 160 acres). The rest of the relation left the country at various times, but Mr. Mennig and wife remained on the same farm for about forty years or until 1913 when they moved to Sheldon. They went through all the usual hardships and privations of the typical homesteader such as going forty miles to market, having crops destroyed by grasshoppers etc. etc. This is but an outline of the life of a pioneer, much more can be written.
The grasshoppers destroyed all his crops one year and damaged them on other occasions. He hauled the lumber for his house from Cherokee to the farm which is 4 miles south of Sheldon. He frequently made trips to Cherokee with four oxen to a wagon and cut a load of poles along the banks of the little Sioux which he hauled home for firewood and for a frame work for a straw or hay shed. On one occasion of his absence, his wife and her sister (now Mrs. Byron Donovan) counted a drove of thirty-five elk on section 17 Carroll township. They were traveling in a northwest direction followed by hunters who later slaughtered them all in Dakota. At another time his nephew Geo Klindt saw a fawn pass through the yard. Mr. Mennig occasionally saw deer and elk on his trips but no buffalo. At one time when lost in a blizzard he unhitched his oxen and tied a rope to the yoke and followed, holding on to it, trusting to one ox that could usually find his way back to where he had been fed at sometime, and so they took him to a settler’s house.
Submitted by Christine Murcia, Missouri Valley, Iowa (George Mennig was my great-grandmother's first cousin)