Looking Back

Compiled by Joan Isaacs from the files of the Deer River Newspapers.

110 Years Ago—Only Wild Rice Farm Known in the World is conducted by F.L. Vance on Big Fork River. A unique person is F.L. Vance…the first businessman to locate in Deer River…Mr. Vance had a small fortune in hay at one time in Deer River and controlled the working of several thousand acres of meadow lands on the Mississippi…But the hard times setting in in 1894-95 practically broke him. He had a small store and dealt largely with the Indians buying their furs, rice and work made of skins…He moved to his new home on the wild and uninhabitable Big Fork…Vance talks the Chippewa language fluently…He had surrounding his new lodge about 40,000 acres of wild rice lands and to this crop he gave much of his study…He ships both the cured rice, ready for table use, and in the unthreshed state for planting…he has devised a machine which cuts and reaps the heads of the rice onto a raft…It is astonishing what a great and growing demand there is for this new cereal product.The content you are trying to access is only available to members. Sorry.

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