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 Category:  War and History Poetry
  Posted: May 3, 2020      Views: 35

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Retired from Lockheed Martin as a Purchasing Manager on August 26, 2011 after 44 years with the company. Born in St. Paul. Married for 40 years. Lived in St James, Long Island and Co - more...

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Super Sonnet
"Cadwallader Washburn" by Treischel
When Cadwallader Washburn built a mill
right at the foot of St. Anthony Falls,
he left a legacy that would fulfill
a city, from which his pursuit installs.

As Minneapolis became "Mill City,"
with wheat becoming the new state's crop king,
its long, cold winters were a troubling pity.
for winter wheat to profit every spring.

So spring wheat was what all the farmers planted.
The problem was its tougher stubborn husks.
Cad Washburn had a plan the task demanded,
with rollers versus grindstones and wind gusts.

These rollers made of metal, corrugated,
would rip the husks to blow away the bran,
effectively to keep flour separated.
A process stone wheels couldn't countermand.

His flour moniker became "Gold Medal."
Its fame was later known as world renowned.
As farmers came along nearby to settle,
a city grew around the town he'd found.

About his General Mills, I hoped you'd learn
that Minneapolis owes much to Washburn.

Author Notes
My wife attended Washburn High School in Minneapolis, so I was curious about who this person, for whom that school was named, was. So I researched his name on the internet and found out that he was a very important person who founded the company that later became known as General Mills. But more than that, he revolutionized the milling process by creating one known as the Millings Purifier. Because of his mills. the prosperous city of Minneapolis grew up around it. This poem becomes part of my Minnesota History collection.

Cadwallader Washburn (April 22, 1818 - May 14, 1882) was an American businessman, politician, and soldier, was a member of the Washburn family of Maine. He was a U.S. Congressman and governor of Wisconsin, and served as a general in the Union Army during the American Civil War.

In 1840 Minnesota became a territory after the way was cleared to open it by the purchase of the land from the Sioux. In 1856, the Minneapolis Mill Company was chartered by the Minnesota territorial legislature. Among the incorporators were Washburn's cousin Dorilus Morrison, and Robert Smith, an Illinois congressman who had acquired the rights to the water power at the west side of St. Anthony Falls in Minneapolis. The company struggled initially, and several of the early investors sold out. Washburn bought in and eventually became president. The company built a dam, a canal and a complex set of water transfer tunnels which were then leased, along with land that the company owned at the foot of the falls, to a variety of mills - cotton mills, woolen mills, sawmills and grist/flour mills, including one of their own. Soon after Minneapolis was born on the Mississippi's west bank, the city's flour milling industry skyrocketed. Powered by the mighty river and fed by boxcars of grain rolling in from the plains, the industry gave Minneapolis bragging rights as the "Flour Milling Capital of the World." But there was a problem. The first mills used traditional technology of millstones that would pulverize the grain and grind as much flour as possible in one pass.This system worked best for winter wheat. However, the harsh winter conditions of the upper Midwest did not lend themselves to the production of winter wheat, since the deep frosts and lack of snow cover killed the crop. Spring wheat, which could be sown in the spring and reaped in the summer, was a more dependable crop. However, conventional milling techniques did not produce a desirable product, since the harder husks of spring wheat kernels fractured between the grindstones. The gluten and starch in the flour could not be mixed completely, either, and the flour would turn rancid. Washburn solved this problem by inventing the Middlings Purifier, which made it possible to separate the husks from the flour earlier in the milling process. They also developed a gradual-reduction process, where grain was pulverized between a series of rollers made of porcelain, iron, or steel. This process resulted in "patent" flour, which commanded almost double the price of "bakers" or "clear" flour, which it replaced. He named his product "Gold Medal Flour," still available today. The Washburn mill attempted to monopolize these techniques, but Pillsbury and other companies lured employees away from Washburn and were able to duplicate the process.

The city of Washburn in Bayfield County, Wisconsin was named after him as were Washburn County in northern Wisconsin and the city of Washburn, North Dakota, as well as Washburn High School in Minneapolis, Washburn Observatory, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, were also named for him. La Crosse, Wisconsin, where Washburn is laid to rest at his memorial in the Oak Grove Cemetery, has a downtown neighborhood and park named for the former governor. Source Wikipedia.

This poem is a Super Sonnet.
A Super Sonnet is composed of several Quatrains closed by a Rhyming Couplet, as opposed to a typical Sonnet that has 3 Quatrains and a Couplet, this form contains 4 or more. If done with 4 Quatrains, it generally utilizes all four of the primary Rhyme Schemes:

Alternate Rhyming - abab
Coupled Rhyming - aabb
Enveloping Rhyme - abba
Skipping Rhyme - abcb

However, I chose to have 5 abab Rhymed Quatrains here for a total of 22 lines, versus the typical 14 lines of a Sonnet.

This picture is one I took of St. Anthony Falls, as it looks today.
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