Lincoln signed the Homestead Act in 1862.


In 1881 Alonzo Rathbun filed papers to homestead 140 acres, 60 of which become “Jennie’s Woodlot.”  The usual homestead process took 5 years, but since Alonzo was a Civil War Veteran of 4 years, he only needed to live on the land for 1 year.   He built a cabin and got title to the land in 1882.  Then he went on to become one of the first editors of the first newspaper in Pelican Rapids called the “Pioneer Times.”  He appeared to be a partner with J.W. Savacool, in that Savacool was also an early editor of the newspaper.  Savacool loaned Alonzo money and eventually bought the 60 acres that contains Jennie’s Woodlot in 1885 for $500.   Frances Savacool bought the 60 acres from J.W. in 1888 and had it until 1902.

A Brief and Somewhat Accurate History of Jennie’s Nature Preserve


W.P. Davis bought the land in 1902 and soon sold it Elmer and Jennie Davis in 1905 for $3,000.   After the good years of farming in the 19 teens, they took out a loan from a bank in 1920.  They didn’t repay that loan and were foreclosed on in 1939 at the end of the Great Depression.  


Florence Hawks, a widow, obtained the land in 1939 and had it until 1962 when she sold it to C.C. and Mabel Howell for $1 and other considerations.     In 1976, a newly formed corporation, Jennie’s Woodlot Inc bought the land from Howell’s for $10,000.  Signing the papers were George Felde and Art Fosse as vice president and secretary-treasurer respectively.

Jennie’s Woodlot was formed in 1976 by a group of volunteers led by Art Fosse.  The purpose was to raise funds to purchase approximately 47 acres of natural woodlands to ensure that these woodlands remained, in perpetuity, in a natural state free of any commercial enterprise or development.


These woodlands are contiguous to the lake property on three beaches on Lake Lida: Sandee Cove Beach, Timber Cove Beach and Maple Beach.  The action was prompted as C.C. Howell had offer for the woodlands, and the volunteers wished to keep this real estate as natural woodlands.   Membership in Jennie’s Woodlot is limited those who own property on the three beaches.

1997, during the annual meeting of Jennie’s Woodlot a resolution was passed changing the name of the corporation to Jennie’s Nature Preserve.


On June 31, 2001 Jennie’s Woodlot conveyed by deed to Jennie’s Nature Preserve the land known as Jennie’s Woodlot, with a covenant to the deed that stated as follows:  The property shall be held in perpetuity a nature preserve.  Hunting and Residential or Commercial development is prohibited.   The property should not be subdivided.

Jennie's Cabin as it was in 1972

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