'Almost Saved, But Lost' details snowstorm: New London native publishes book on 1873 blizzard that killed 12 people in Kandiyohi County


NEW LONDON — For three days in January 1873 a severe snowstorm struck the Dakota Territory, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

When it was over, 12 people died in Kandiyohi County.

Some victims were residents of the county. Others were traveling and died here when overcome by the dangerous blizzard — on a day that started out unusually warm and caught people out in the woods or on the road — unaware that a severe storm was approaching.

Kandiyohi County native Carolyn Mankell Sowinski, of Germantownm Maryland, recently published "Almost Saved, But Lost," which takes a detailed look at the victims of this storm: Who they were, where they lived, their journeys and deaths in the storm and the families who mourned.

All victims were immigrants and early pioneers to Minnesota, Sowinski said.

They included brothers Claus and Jorgen Strand; brothers Charles, John and Stephen O'Neil; Thomas Holden, Lars Nelson, Ole K. Skau, Margaret (Lockrem) Soland, Helge Stengrimson, William Crump and Helena (Thorson) Johnson.

The book also includes the story of Ole Larsen Gronseth who died in a February 1872 blizzard but was incorrectly listed as a victim of the 1873 blizzard in the 1905 Illustrated History of Kandiyohi County.

Also of interest is the role Willmar businessman and later Lieutenant Governor Albert E. Rice played in helping survivors obtain financial assistance.

"Almost Saved, But Lost" is available at amazon.com.

Carolyn Mankell Sowinski grew up in Lake Andrew Township. A graduate of New London-Spicer School District, she received her Bachelor of Arts in History from St. Olaf College in Northfield and a Master of Arts in American History and an MA in Library Science from the University of Wisconsin.

She has worked or volunteered at a variety of archives and historical societies.

Sowinski has been involved with three other publications and maintains a website devoted to her family genealogy: mankell.org