Did you know one of the first professional cartoonist worked for the Minneapolis Journal? Charles L. Bartholomew or Bart drew daily editorial in the late 19th century and early 1900s. I think Bart rules for a number of reasons. Not least of which is because he drew awesome comics about the dominant Gopher football teams of the time.
I have no idea if there is any specific reason behind this Christmas Eve cartoon from 1895. That year had been an OK season for the Gophers. Earlier that year in January the Big Ten had been formed, and the team had won 7 games while dropping 3. I do like the phrasing ‘Gopherland’ and in that world all the people are scary Gopher people.