Ok, THIS is how Morrison Co looked when Paul Hesch arrived in 1870:See there, below C B Buckman's place? It says "Mostly oak", and north east of Pierz it was "Pine and mixed timber", but look how little land was treeless.
The first order of business when pioneers settled land was cutting down trees, first for a house and then a barn. The stumps would wait to be grubbed out later. They might even rot eventually, but in the meantime cows could graze between em. (Here's a booklet about dynamite uses on the farm, from 1910).
Cropland had to be stump free, tho, so some were pulled out the first summer, but some just...well....stayed put, for 40 years.
This pic comes from Wisconsin, but it was a similar acreage south of Pierz that this next article was about.
FARMING WITH DYNAMITE
Joseph H Virnig and Christ Faust last week blew out with dynamite from 50 to 60 big pine stumps--some as large as three feet in diameter--on the piece of land Christ bought from Jos. Otremba.
Christ reports that grubbing with dynamite is faster, better and much cheaper than that done by hand. It must be much cheaper for Joe says he is willing to pay for the dynamite if Christ will give him the stumps for fuel.
Christ speaks well of Jos. H. as an expert in that line of work for not a single stump failed to come with the first explosion.
Both Christ and Joseph claim that kind of work is not the best for a lazy man, especially if he wears glasses or caries an open faced watch. The moderately rapid guarding, side stepping, dodging, etc, to save these from breakage during the rain of roots and stones which always follow an explosion, is too much like training for a prizefight.
Your honorable scribe is willing to testify that dynamiting stumps must be understood, for Hubert Bares and he once tried it on the Bares farm in Agram. We placed the sticks of dynamite under the stumps, lit the fuse, and ran under cover. The explosion blew great clouds of sand all over the township but the stumps remained as firm as the pyramids.
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Ahem--there HAD to be an element of fun involved in making a lotta noise, too. Ka-BLOOM!!