In 1876, Swedish immigrants John and Sarah Anderson purchased a sod busting plow when they moved to land they bought in Barsness Township, Pope County. They used the thick sod to build their first home on the prairie. and to prepare the ground for planting wheat.
Grasshoppers consumed their entire crop in 1877 and 1878, but they persevered and had a fine crop in 1879.
In 1879, the nearest good market to the Anderson Farm was in Hancock, nineteen miles away. Hancock had a stop on the Great Northern Railroad, and could ship their wheat directly into St. Paul. John started at daylight with his wagon and ox team and headed to Hancock. After unloading the wheat, resting the oxen and eating his packed lunch, he headed home where Sara had another load bagged and tied for the next day’s trip.