Estherville Daily News 19 Aug 1966
Silent Hoprig Once Boasted Thriving Creamery By DOROTHY STORY Hoprig, one of Emmet County's ghost (owns, had a creamery doing $150,000 a year business, a clipping found recently by Mrs. Helena Marie Rovn, 94, of Ringsted reveals. A history of Hoprig was written by the late J. W. Oakes, father of Joe Oakes, for the Ringsted Dispatch shortly after World War I. The Oakes farm is located in the Hoprig area. Hoprig was founded in 1880 by a Scottish immigrant named Samuel Blair who came with a group from Scotland that settled in Palo Alto and Emmet counties. Blair purchased the SEVi of section 28, Jack Creek township. His birthplace in Scotland had the name of Hoprig and when he settled in Emmet County he named his new home after the old. Later he petitioned for and received a grant for a post office and became postmaster, naming the post office Hoprig, also. (Another source sets the date of the post office establishment as July 7, 1883. It was discontinued June 15, 1914). Mr. Oakes story continues: On September 8, 1884, the patrons received their first mail at this office, the government sack being brought from Wallingford and delivered once a week. In 1889 John Mowitt purchased the Hoprig farm and con tinued as postmaster until 1900 when it was transferred to P. F. Gyllin^ of Emmetsburg. The previous fall Mr. Gylling had erected a store building east of ths church. While serving as postmaster, Mr. Mowitt also carried a general line of groceries. Eggs and butter were accepted in trade. "If I happened in Hoprig on baking day," Mr. Oakes recalled, "I generally found Mrs. Mowitt baking pies, and I often visited hev orchard." The Farmers Creamery Co. of Hoprig was incorporated Dec. 14, 1897, and the following April it started in business with John Brick as but- termaker and W. H. Crimrine, A. E. Bigelow, George Lorimer, J. A. Bosold, and Mowitt as directors. George Doughty was secretary. Creamery supplies were purchased from Preston Fahnestock of Graettinger for $2,500. It continued doing business until 1915 when the company was dissolved and the property sold at auction. "At one time," Mr. Oakes said, "the Hoprig creamery stood fourth in the state, doing a business of $150,000 for several years. "When the creamery first sold butter on the eastern market it netted HVi cents per pound. During this time hogs sold for three cents per pound, and some of us are still kicking with butter at 40 cents per pound and hogs selling at 10 cents." Mr. Oakes first arrived in Graettinger March 1, 1892, and found the ponds "all full and running over. You would get stuck on horse back unless you got off and walked." The first school in Hoprig was held in Mr. Blair's kitchen with Maggie Blair as teacher. Some time later a school house, the Bon Hill school, was built a mile and a half west and a mile and a half south of Hoprig. Church was also held in this building. Later Arthur Kethen gave a room for school purposes until a school house was built north of his farm, and church was held in that building. The Hoprig church was started in 1903 and dedicated Sept. 18, 1904. "A prairie fire swept Hoprig and vicinity Oct. 2, 1889," Mr. Oakes recalled. "Mr. Blair lost 16 stacks of grain and all his hay. Mr. Mowitt was badly burned fighting the fire, and one woman was burned to death were Ringsted now stands." (The woman who was burned to death was Mrs. Rovn's mother, Anna Marie Gaarde. She died on the farm where Mrs. Rovn still lives, according to a granddaughter, M*"s. Robert Nielsen, of Ringsted.) The fire burned peat beds until snow covered the smoldering deposit. A hail storm June 20, 1896, did a great deal of damage to crops, according to Mr. Oakes, and was followed that fall by the army worm, "which finished almost everything." Hoprig was proud of its record in World War I. Mr. Oakes recalled that when the summons came for Red Cross workers and organizations, "Hoprig came to the front as an auxiliary member to Estherville, with a Red Cross membership of 270 at one time. "On Jan. 24, 1918, the chapter held a s.ile at the Hoprig church and after everything was cleaned up and the columns totaied we found we had cleared the neat little sum of $600." The site of Hoprig, is now occupied by a county maintain- ence shed. It is on the extension of county road J and the cast-west mile road north of the Palo Alto County line. The intersection is still referred to as Hoprig corner. N J 6 RINGSTED HOPRIG COUNTY LINE ) mile Once-thriving Town Now Gone Creamery, Post Office Flourished.