“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Eden Prairie in Hennepin County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

Cummins Homestead

Established in 1856, John and Mattie Cummins lived on this farm until 1908.

Cummins Homestead Marker image. Click for full size.
By McGhiever, June 7, 2016
1. Cummins Homestead Marker
Neighbors, horticulture, and wheat
John Cummins frequently exchanged labor with his neighbors, helping with sowing, harvesting, processing and building. He became interested in trees, nuts, flowers and fruits, and worked to promote their cultivation. A row of maples that he planted once stretched from the house to the river bluff. The two shagbark hickory trees on the front lawn were planted by Cummins in 1869. Two orchards planted by Cummins, one north and another south of the house, are now gone. Wheat was the most significant product of this farm during the Cummins' time.
"It was only a few weeks ago that he came to us with his pockets full of seeds of plants that he had carefully gathered for his friends to use. He was a quiet man but always busy studying and working with plants." -Obituary for John Cummins, Transactions of the Minnesota Horticultural Society, 1921.

Cummins the experimentalist
Cummins was a widely respected horticulturalist, and experimented with many plants. He was an acquaintance of many well-known horticulturalists including Henry Lyman, Peter Gideon, William Macintosh, J.T. Grimes, E.R. Pond and others. Cummins was a long time member of the Minnesota Horticultural Society, where he shared his knowledge of plants.

The house
This brick
Cummins Homestead Marker image. Click for full size.
By McGhiever, June 7, 2016
2. Cummins Homestead Marker
house was built for John and Mattie Cummins from 1879 to 1880. John Cummins did some of the work on the house, hauling brick, shingling the roof, lathing, and finishing the interior with locally grown butternut. For most of its life, the house was the center of a 300 acre farm.

Loss of native flowers
"There is some need for those who have a regard for flowers to look after the protection of some varieties that are rapidly being destroyed. Of these are the Cypripedium or Moccasin flower; [and] Noah's Ark... all these are easily grown with the proper soil and some cultivation." -John Cummins, in the Transactions of the Minnesota Horticultural Society, 1906.

"His chief interest lay in horticulture. He would tramp miles in search of some rare plant."
-Edward Brown (nephew)

Cummins mentions cultivating the following in his diary:
1868 Crab apple
1875 Apples of [Peter] Gideon's
1878 Wealthy apple, Oldenberg apple
1889 Catalpa
1892 Evergreens (800 planted)
1894 Lombard, Abundance, Saratoga, Elberta Peach
1896 Wulf (plum), Black Walnut, Walnut, Cherry

John Cummins was born in Pennsylvania in 1834 and educated at Unionville Academy. In 1856, at the age of 21, he left "on [a] trip to the West, Minnesota and St. Paul." After traveling in Minnesota, he purchased this farm. He had little experience

Cummins Farmhouse image. Click for full size.
By McGhiever, July 8, 2016
3. Cummins Farmhouse
as a farmer, questioning in 1857 if the farm was a "burthen beyond my abilities." John Cummins married Mattie Clark in 1862.

Martha "Mattie" Clark Cummins was born in 1837 in New Hampshire and came to St. Anthony in 1858. She was a skilled rugmaker, an amateur painter and an avid gardener, and both her plants and paintings were displayed in the house. The Cummins had no children, but they frequently entertained their nieces and nephews from Minneapolis.

Cummins Diary
John Cummins kept a diary from 1855 to 1916 which gives many details of daily life here.

July 29, 1856 "Went to Shakopee after a cradler for wheat; was obliged to go to Carver where I found one. Rather fine country. Shakopee flourishing; found plenty of stone, brick, and lime."

May 19, 1857 "Came from Minneapolis in little over four hours, the distance being about 18 miles; the road is generally gravel."

May 27, 1858 "There was quite a battle here between the Sioux and Chippewa this morning, about two miles from here; we could hear the shouting and hollering quite plain."

March 17, 1860 "Went to St. Paul on the [steam] boat with potatoes... sold them for 30 cents."

November 1, 1868 "At work on the plowing but it was quite warm work for the oxen. The piece we are on once contained 80 acres and McRae's boys have been plowing on it for three weeks."

February 9, 1880 "Hauled three loads of stone this forenoon. This afternoon, one load of bricks."

May 10, 1880 "Bricklayers got started on the new house."

May 15, 1880 "At work on the house. This afternoon went to Shakopee. We had 30,000 bricks, but on account of small size, will need 2,000 more."

May 28, 1880 "At work on the house, which so far as the outside is concerned, is finished."

December 25, 1880 "At work in the house, lathing."

August 23, 1896 "Found some very fine plums growing in Chanhassen... grown by farmers in that town for over thirty years. The trees are loaded; one tree had on it three bushels."

October 8, 1905 "Came out to Excelsior [from Minneapolis] on electric cars and walked home."

July 2, 1908 "Bargained with Wm. Phipps of N. Minneapolis, a gardener, to take on the farm. 280 acres at $50 an acre, bought in 1856 for about $13 an acre."
Erected by Eden Prairie.
Location. 44° 49.812′ N, 93° 26.952′ W. Marker is in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, in Hennepin County. Marker can be reached from Pioneer Trail. Touch for map. Between house and parking lot. Marker is at or near this postal address: 13600 Pioneer Trail, Eden Prairie MN 55347, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Phipps–Grill Families (within shouting distance of this marker); Shakopee Soldiers Monument (approx. 3.1 miles away); Pond Mission (approx. 3.4 miles away); Camp Savage (approx. 6 miles away); Fallen Heroes Memorial (approx. 6.3 miles away); Christmas Lake (approx. 6.8 miles away); Bloomington Town Hall (approx. 6.9 miles away); Soldiers Memorial (approx. 7.2 miles away).
Categories. AgricultureHorticulture & ForestrySettlements & Settlers
Credits. This page was last revised on September 4, 2017. This page originally submitted on July 9, 2017, by McGhiever of St Paul, Minnesota. This page has been viewed 152 times since then and 43 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on July 9, 2017, by McGhiever of St Paul, Minnesota. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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