THE FOREST AREA
Settlement of the southern regions of they county began about 1914. Lands here were a combination of marshes, bogs and sand ridges left by the slowly retreating glacial Lake Agassiz. These lands were not readily accessible until after much of the ditching projects had been completed. Most other available land had already been taken up before settlers turned their attention to this forest area. For some it was only with an intention to harvest the timber stands and then move on, but others aimed to stay and carve homes and communities in this last piece of remaining wilderness.
Once underway, settlement progressed rapidly until nearly every 160-acre parcel was taken up. Communities developed in the most concentrated area of settlers, many of which are identified by signs today as you drive the forest trails. There was Bankton, Lovedale, Faunce, and Hiwood, which all progressed to the point of establishing post offices, as well as other community designations such as the Finn Settlement and the Pilgrim Hall Country. Each has its distinct history of first settlers and community developments such as schools and town halls.
The Bankton community was located about fifteen miles south of Pitt along the North Branch of the Rapid River. Roger Scott was the first homesteader here. Others who soon followed were Clayton and Hans Germunsons, Art Desmarias, Erwin Hamilton, Tyler Williams, Archie Thurston, George Woollette, Dck Dalziel, Roy Olson, John Cornelius, Frank Parker, John Olson, Charles Hall, Charles Axtell, and Frans Swanson. At one time there were as many as forty-two settlers located along the Bankton Trail between the Pitt Grade at the Faunce Rangeline.
This is a Picture of the Bankton town hall back then. The Bankton town hall was about a mile away from the Bankton school. The hall hall was an eight-sided building and was used for community get-togethers, dances, and parties on a regular basis. The Bankton school was built in 1917.
Located in the north central portion of Minnesota is an ancient sandbank of Lake Aggassiz. This tremendous bank begins in Southern Manitoba and extends in a southeasterly direction through Minnesota to the south of Baudette, a distance of approximatly 120 miles. About 12 miles south of Williams, is the old community known as Faunce.
HIWOOD AND BEAVER DAM
The Hiwood community was located in the forest area on the very western edge of the county in hiwood township, approximatly ten miles west of the present day Red Lake Wildlife Management Headquarters. The First homestead arrived here about 1914.
A post office was established at Hiwood in 1918. it was lcated in the northeast quarter of section 31 Township 160 Range 36. Neal Bliss was the postmaster and operated a store in conjunction with the post office until 1936 when the post office was discontinued. “Old Hiwood Minn, Niel Bliss, Store Post Office” “Hiwood post office and store.”