Slide: American Flag in Turmoil

Slide: American Flag in Turmoil

2017 LNC Summit PP Presentation

Slide: American flag in turmoil

Good afternoon everyone. Today I want to paint you a picture of the United States. I’m sure you will recognize it. It is a picture of a nation divided. Partisanship has tumbled Washington into rancorous namecalling and stalemate. A wave of nativism has gripped the country and there are moves to limit immigration. Existing immigrants are under attack and live in fear.

Women are marching in mass demonstrations. Minorities, especially black minorities, are angry and suffering from centuries of oppression. The average man lives modestly while a small class of men are accumulating vast fortunes.

Slide: Sign from 1855: No Irish, Dogs or blacks

The year is 1855.

The dangerous immigrants are Jews and Irish and German Catholics. In Kentucky, on Bloody Monday, protestant mobs attacked Irish Catholics. In the Cincinnati Riots,nativist mobs attacked Germans.

Slide: Sign: Fugitive Slave Act

The fugitive slave act of 1850 has stirred up a hornet’s nest of pro vs anti slavery forces. Uncle Tom’s Cabin has just been published and the first national Women’s Rights Convention is held. In Minnesota and the Dakota’s the Mendota Treaty has opened vast Western areas for a rush of settlers, callously displacing the original inhabitants.

Slide: Classic Manifest destiny painting

This partisanship has as a political backdrop the popular notion of manifest destiny. This isthe belief that it is America’s destinyto own and control and bring western style civilization to all of what we now know as the United States. From sea to shining sea.The question of what to do with the Native Americans prompts a mass forced exodus.

Slide: Civil War

How, and whether, slavery fits into the expanding nation will boil over into civil war within a few years. The first blood shed between the pro and anti slavery forces occurred in the Kansas Warusa War in 1855.

In the newly acquired lands of Minnesota, in the four-year-old town of Winona, a small lumber company is born.

Slide: Early Laird Norton logo in marble

Three Laird brothers from a frontier town of Pennsylvania seeking opportunity but also the comradeship of other abolitionist brethren, make their way to the new town of Winona MN. There they pool their resources and make a bet that the new rush of western settlers will need lumber from the seemingly endless White Pine forests of Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Slide: Early Winona LN mill photo

A year later two Norton cousins will join their enterprise.For most of the next half century Wm Laird, and Mathew and James Norton will weather economic downturns, devastating fires, personal tragedies and, yes, a civil war to grow their company, the Laird Norton Co., into one of Winona’s strongest institutions. So strong, it exists to this day. 162 years later, here youare.

Slide: Winona Foundation logo

My name is Scott Hagg. I am the current President of the Winona Foundation and I want to thank you for giving me a moment of your time. I personally think it is important to know the creation story of your business. Forgive me if I tell you things you already know.

Slide:Early American shanty

First, you have to know that it wasn’t all pretty. The country as a whole was in a political, economic and moral chaos. And westward expansion, the settling of the untamed west, was a rough and tumble business. The beginnings of the Laird holdings in Winona are shrouded in contradictory stories of land jumping,threats, fisticuffs and outright theft.

Slide: Map of Indian relocation in 1850’s

And, as we know, the forced removal of the Native Americans was a national disgrace.

Slide: Lumber mill on fire photo fire

Tragedy, too, was always a shadow to everyday life, whether from disease or murder, suicide, fire or natural disaster.

Slide: Catherine Goddard photo

Your original ancestor in Winona, Catherine Fruit Goddard Smith, lost four of her children to scarlet fever, two children and her husband, Abner, to Cholera,another husband was murdered and her son, Charles, returned home from the Civil War and died from an illness at age 23. Only one of her 8 children survived her.

Slide: Beautiful photo of White Pine trees

And of course there is the white man’s collective guilt concerning the decimation of the vast and beautiful White pine forests.

Slide:River filled with logs

But, please, as a family we need to put this logging business in proper context. When the Lairds and Norton’sfirst settled in Winona there were already crews harvesting the forests and mills cutting lumber.

The western land rush was beginning and farmers settling the newly opened Great Plains had no forests for the lumber they needed. Entrepreneurs flocked to meet the demand. Railroads were quickly built and supply streams created.

Slide: Early Laird Norton logo

Your ancestors first business was not a sawmill but a lumber and wheat selling concern. They got into lumber milling because it was a way to guarantee their cut lumber stocks for sale. Likewise they got into lumbering to keep a steady supply to their mills.

Slide: Multiple logos of lumber mills

Before Laird Norton there were already mills in Eau Clair, St. Paul, Stillwater and LaCrosse. Even in Winona. Elsewhere on the Chippewa and St. Croix and Mississippi rivers there were much larger mills.

So this is what you have to understand. Had the Lairds and Norton’s stuck to wheat trading, or stayed in Pennsylvania, it would not have prevented a single tree from being cut.

Slide:Winona First Congregational church

So we are left to judge this early family not so much by the nature of their business enterprise necessarily, but bythe integrity with which they lived their lives and built their community and the morality they brought to the expanding United States.

What unique traits did they instill and pass down to their children and their children’s children and how did the responsibility they demonstrated to Winona manifest itself then and what are we supposed to make of that now?

Slide:Cluster of buildings: churches, schools, etc.

As you know, the original cousins were significant contributorsto much of what became the cultural heritage of Winona. They built the first public schools, the city library, churches, city parks and universities. This is our fascination and our legacy.

Slide:Lucas Hall, Winona State University

But let’s never forgetthe fact that subsequent generations of your family,not only were able to keep the business healthy, but they continued as important civic leaders and philanthropists for well over 150 years.

Slide:Beautiful wall of art glass

They continued to restore the magnificent organs and art glass windows. They improved the schools. They added chapels to the churches and remained great citizens of Winona even after their operations, and eventually the business headquarters itself, moved to Seattle.

Slide:Plaque saying laird Norton on Winona Co. Historical Society

Wealth doesn’t always arrive to the deserving, but hopefully, those to whom it arrives will rise to deserve it. The Winona Foundation, as well as the Laird Norton Family Foundation, is simply a continuation of this family exhibiting the kind of historic responsibility that has always made them great.

Slide: Bus on us

So let’s talk a minute about what your family, through the Winona foundation, has done in the last year.

In 2016 we awarded 13 grants to Winona area non profits for a total of $57,550.00.

Once again we kept the Winona Foundation’s Bus on Us program able to transport hundreds of kids to the MN Marine Art Museum

Slide: Old Bunnel House

We helped fund the preservation of the first home in Winona Co., the Bunnel House, for the Winona Co Historical Society

Slide: art center

We also funded the restoration of the Winona Art Center, one of the oldest churches in the area.

Image: John Latch Film cover art

We funded a film honoring a great Winona philanthropist, John Latch, who not unlike James Norton, preserved thousands of acres of land in Winona County.

Slide: Indians in native dress on Dakota Friday

Again this year we funded the Friday education day during the Winona Dakota UnityAlliance’s annual pow wow. We were able to do this and much more.

Slide: Book cover

I hope every family here received a copy of this book: Lairds Legacy, A History of the Winona Public Library. It was a Winona Foundation grant that enabled its publication and the Winona Foundation proudly gifts each family here with a copy.

The bookchronicles the amazing gift of the Winona Public Library from William H. Laird to the city of Winona in 1899 as well as Laird and Norton family continued support though the years.

Although it’s a hard comparison to make, it is estimated that thevalue of this gift in today’s dollars would be between 2 and 11 million dollars.

Slide: Book shelf detail in Library

Laird oversaw this project down to the tiniest of details, designing even the bookshelves and the unique glass floor. Look at this amazing floor from 1899. No one else was doing this back then.

Slide: Library glass floor

The family also gave much of the artwork and statuary that adorns the building. Today the library is listed on the national historic register. It is the oldest public library in Minnesota and is still functioning 118 year later. This is just another reason, besides visiting your cousins Lorie and Lindy Lucas, to visit your Winona birthplace.

Slide: Chart of 2017 giving:

This year the Board of the Winona Foundation has just awarded 10 new grants. The continuing support from this family insures that the work your family has always done in the area of Winona continues to this day.

Do we owe this much to the three men who built this company that still sustains us all these years later? I would say yes. Yes we do.

Over the last 34 years the Winona Foundation has awarded over one million dollars in grants. I eagerly anticipate the great good that will be achieved with the awarding of the next million.

Slide: Old photo of Pennsylvania relatives

There is one other observation I want to share with you. It’s about this family thing you all got going on.

Your devotion to family is not a new thing. The Lairds and the Norton’s and related clans all initially gravitated to Lewisburg, Pennsylvania in the 17 & 1800’s.

Slide: Catherine Goddard -photo

Then, Catherine Goddard, half sister to Wm. Laird and cousin to the Norton bros, left with her family for Wisconsin and eventually Minnesota. Whether to avoid the consequences of the Slave Revolt Act, to extend the reach of the underground railroad or to take advantage of opportunities from the surge of western bound settlers, she became one of a very small handful of early Winona settlers in 1851.

She was, in fact, the third woman to live in Winona.

Image: Catherine and 2 more family -photo

Very soon many other family members left Pennsylvania and joined her there. Your family settled Winona as a family.

Slide: Catherine and six more - photo

You stayed and you prospered as a family.

Slide: Catherine 12 more - photo

Within six years, the Laird Norton family was all over Winona. Here is my partial list of family members here by 1858:

Slide: List of family members: 1858

So you see it is no accident you are all in this room together today. Your family has always weathered the ups and downs together. You are just the latest iteration of a family that values family above all things. Only 3% of family businesses survive four generations. Congratulations to you in your seventh.

Slide: Statue of Winona

Thanks for allowing the Winona Foundation to continue your great traditions. Thanks for your support all these years.

Tomorrow we will be having our annual Board meeting at 10:30 In Gallery 2and you are all welcome to come. We are on the lookout for new Directors and Officers. Would the current Board members and Ads stand. If you have any questions about Board membership just ask one of these remarkable people. Thank you.

Slide: Photo of 100’s of Laird Norton family- faded

But now, for a minute I, want you to look around this room .These are your people. Your family.This is your business.

You need to know that you should be very proud of your Winona legacy. Proud of the business you support that continues to support you. And proud of the family that has stuck together all of these years.

Slide: Same photo as above with “The Company You Keep” & WF logo

You should be very proud of the company you keep.

From all of us on the Winona Foundation Board, past and present,to all of you, Thank you.

Slide: The Company You Keep” & WF logo in reverse w/o family – black background