Mr. John P. Shumway, a native of Connecticut. took a claim in 1855 in Wright County, cleared five acres, and erected a bark shanty. Working without a team, he put in a small crop, sold it, and then went back to Connecticut. In 1856, he returned, purchased 45 acres at $25 each in Crystal Lake Township, where his home later stood, near Twin Lake. It was wild land and as a protection against the strong winds he often had to reinforce the walls of his house with props. He purchased a yoke of oxen, adding to his debt, and by the end of the year his deficit was $1,100. But by sturdy perseverance and hard work—sometimes setting out posts and building fences by moonlight—he managed to get 20 or 30 acres under cultivation, later increasing it to 70 acres.

Esther and Evelyn Shumway

In 1890, he donated a half acre on the corner of Shumway Avenue and Shingle Creek Road (now Lakeland and 42nd) for the Congregational Church and parsonage. He was a charter member of the church and an active one for the rest of his life. He served as Township Treasurer for 20 years. In memory of his wife who died in 1914, he donated a stained-glass window for the original Congregational Church. His twin granddaughters, Esther and Evelyn, were well known in Robbinsdale as keepers of historical records.

This post is the fourth in a series based on the book Robbinsdale Then and Now by Helen Blodgett