441 North Park Drive, Morton, MN 56270 [email protected] 507.697.6147

Carolyn Mankell Sowinski author Presentation

Date(s) - 05/20/2024
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Renville County Historical Society and Museum


The Great Storm: Minnesota’s Victims in the Blizzard of January 7, 1873 by author Carolyn Mankell Sowinski Monday, May 20, 2024 at 6 PM on the Museum Grounds. Free Will Donations & a non-perishable item for the Renville County Food Shelf. Refreshments Served!

On January 7-9, 1873, Minnesota residents experienced a violent blizzard when dozens of people died primarily on the State’s flat, tree-less prairies. Minnesota native, Carolyn Mankell Sowinski takes the reader back 150 years and tells the stories of these victims using primary documents and secondary sources in her latest book, The Great Storm: Minnesota’s Victims in the Blizzard of January 7, 1873. She has identified 84 people from 31 western and southern counties who died in this storm: men and women; children and babies; Civil War veterans and recent immigrants; homesteaders and villagers; state residents and visitors. Friends died together; neighbors died together; family members died together. Many died alone—suffering for one, two, or all three days. Sowinski also tells the stories of 25 people who suffered amputations and other life-changing injuries. The biography of each victim provides genealogical information, immigration story, place of residence, journey in the storm, and burial location. Each biography also includes a section titled “Adventures in Research” where Sowinski provides other information about the victims, local history, or her research process in identifying these victims. The reader will also learn about the State’s Native American population who were removed from their historic lands, making room for the homesteaders.

Born and raised in Kandiyohi County, Minnesota, Carolyn Mankell Sowinski graduated from the New London-Spicer school district and St. Olaf College in Northfield. She received Masters Degrees in Library Science and American History from the University of Wisconsin—Madison. An archivist and historian, Sowinski has written several non-fiction books about her ancestors and the farming community in Lake Andrew Township where she grew up.