|Charcoal Print of Joshua Cater, in the|
collections of the Sherburne History Center
The Cater Family served a prominent role in the settlement and development of Sherburne County. Settling in the area of Haven Township in 1860, Joshua Otis Cater and his descendants contributed significantly to the early history of the county. Lottie Cater Davis, the granddaughter of Joshua Cater, the daughter of Levi Woodbury Cater, provided an oral history to the Sherburne History Center, remembering some of the early settlement:
My dad farmed in a big way—he had over 1,000 acres of land. We had an older house in Becker, south of here on Highway 10. I was born in the old house in 1896. When I was four, my dad wasn’t working and he built that great big house. We had that house built in 1900 and moved in there. I can remember when there we ten buildings on that farm, right in the yard.
They could buy land for five dollars and acre, but to get that $5, I don’t know how the young people today would do it. They raised hogs—they had to raise the corn by hand. Cut it by hand and raise the hogs, butcher them and haul them to what was then Pig’s Eye, (St. Paul) and sell them for five cents a pound. It took a 100 pound hog to buy one acre of land.
My grandmother made butter at first. Her job was taking care of the milk and cream. They set flat pans—great big flat pans—in the basement. She would skim off the cream, churn it and pack it in her crocks with a layer of salt on top. Then they would haul a whole load to St. Paul.
Up north here, my dad had 160 acres. They made tons and tons of hay out there and Grandpa sold it—a lot of it went to the place where the stagecoach stopped in St. Cloud—they sold lots of it there.
Grandpa was quite a poet. Any little thing that kind of amused him. He lived with us over here the last part of the time and every once in a while he would come out with a little smile on his face. My mother and I would know that he had made a poem. Just any unusual incident and he would make up a poem.