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Eagan Township Dakota County, Minnesota


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CHAPTER IX.

An Act to establish the town of Eagan.

Section

1. Boundaries of the town.
2. First election of Township Officers, when and where.
3. Election how conducted.
4. When to take effect.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Minnesota:

Section 1. That town number twenty-seven (27), north of range number twenty-three (23) west, in the County of Dakota, be, and the same is hereby erected into a separate town, to be known as the Town of Eagan. [Boundaries of the Town of Eagan.]

Sec. 2. The first election for township officers shall be held at the house of Michael Conner, in said town, on the first Tuesday of April next; and it is hereby made the duty of the said Michael Conner to post up written notices of said election in three of the most public places in said town, at least ten days previous to the time of said election. [When and where election of Town officers-Notice.]

Sec. 3. The electors, when assembled in accordance with such notice, shall have and possess all the powers conferred on electors at the annual township election; and the said election shall be opened and conducted in all respects as the said annual township election; and the judges of said election shall issue certificates of election to the persons entitled to the same. [Powers of electors. How election conducted. Duties of judges.]

Sec. 4. This Act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.

AMOS COGGSWELL,
Speaker of the House- of Representatives.
IGNATIUS DONNELLY,
President of the Senate.
Approved - March sixth, one thousand eight hundred and sixty.
ALEX. RAMSEY.
Secretary's Office, Minnesota, March 6th, 1860. }

I hereby certify the foregoing to be a true copy of the original on file at this office.
J. H. Baker, Secretary of State.
[Source: General Laws of the State of Minnesota, Volume 2, 1860; transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman]


NOTE: The following history is from an 1882 publication, the term "town" is often used when referring to the township.

The town of Eagan is situated in the northern part of Dakota county, and is bounded on the north by Mendota, on the east by Inver Grove, on the south by Rosemount and Lebanon, and on the west and north-west by Burnsville and the Minnesota river. SURFACE CHARACTERISTICS.

SURFACE CHARACTERISTICS.

The surface of the town is rolling in the northern portion, while in the southern portion it is extremely rough. Lakes appear in several parts of the town, principally in the central and southeastern parts. These lakes are peculiar, from the fact that they have neither visible inlets nor outlets. They have pure, clear water, and some of them are of considerable depth. A large marshy lake extends from Mendota into the north-west part of Eagan township, but with this one exception, the lakes of the town have high, sloping banks, with gravelled shores and bottoms. The largest lake in the town is Black Hawk or Long lake. It lies in sections 16, 17 and 21, and extends nearly east and west. Its area is about ninety acres. Its length is not far from a mile, and its width averages about thirty rods.

Le May lake, situated in the north-western part of section 10, is so named from the settlers living near. It is a beautiful sheet of water, and covers about fifty acres. Fish lake lies in sections 15 and 16, and is about thirty acres in extent.

In early times, there were great numbers of fish in these lakes, but latterly only the smaller kinds remain. Great number of them were killed in the shallow lakes by the past severe winter. Interested parties have at various times, attempted the culture of fish in these bodies of water, but as a rule, they have been unsuccessful.

One small stream, called Black Dog's creek, crosses the west line of the town near the west quarter post of section 18. It empties into the Minnesota river nearly where the north line of section 18 intersects it.

Along the Minnesota river, in the north-west part of the town, a strip of bottom land appears, averaging nearly a mile in width. This principally meadow. East of this, extending to the Black Dog road, is slightly rolling and higher land, finely adapted to agricultural purposes. This portion of the town, with a few hundred acres in and near sections 2 and 3, constitutes all of the original prairie land. The remaining portions of the town were largely covered by a brushy growth, with an occasional spot containing larger trees. These latter were principally oak. At present a fringe of elm timber appears along the river.

The soil for the town is principally a clay loam, unusually fertile, with-proper management. Occasionally a sandy loam appears, with numerous gravely knolls. The principal crop is wheat, though considerable quantities of corn, barley and oats are produced. Some of the farmers engage in market gardening, to a small extent. SETTLEMENT.

SETTLEMENT.

The Indian village, known as Black Dog's, and situated near the mouth of Black Dog's creek, in section 18, has been previously described, After the treaty of 1837, a Frenchman named Louis Martin, was stationed among these Indians as farmer. He located on section 17, and the Indians began to form a new village round him. Several log buildings were erected for residences and shops.

In the spring of 1849, Hazen Mooers, the well known Indian trader, was appointed to succeed Mr. Martin. His wife was a half-breed Sioux, by whom he had three children. After the ratification of the treaty of 1852, when the Indians were removed to Red Wood agency, Mr. Mooers went with them. J. W. Brown, who had married a daughter of Mr. Mooers, in 1846, came down to Black Dog village, in the fall of 1849, and assisted his father-in-law. When the Indians were removed he remained on the land, and pre-empted a farm, in the northern part of section 17, which he lived on until 1857, when he removed to Red Wing. He resided there for six years, returning at the end of that period to his farm in Eagan. Here he lived until 1873, when he sold his original claim and removed to his present place of residence, in the north-west quarter of section 9.

Mr. Brown is accordingly the first white settler of the town. At the same time with him, John Brown and a Mr. Ports made claims also, in section 17. Neither of them remained, however, but a short time.

Two brothers, Campbell, made a claim in the north-east quarter of section 18. They had been attaches of the Indian farm, and soon sold their claim rights to Franklin Steele. A comrade named Benjamin Young then took possession of the claim, probably for Mr. Steele, and continued to live there for several years. Mr. Young was one of the first two justices of the peace elected within the limits of the present town of Eagan. He subsequently removed to St. Paul, and is now somewhere among the Indians in the West.

Michael Le May came soon after the treaty of 1852 was ratified and settled in the southern part of section 10. He brought his family out in October of that year, and still lives on his original claim. His son Flevier came at the same time, and his family also, came on in October. He made a claim on the northern side of section 15, and lived there until 1864, when he went to Canada. He returned subsequently, and father and son are now living together.

Joseph Langlois came at the same time with the Le Mays, and made his claim in section 15. He took full possession of it in the spring of 1853, and continued a resident of the town until about the year 1859, when he removed to Rice county. Somewhat earlier than the last mentioned settlers, came Robert O'Neil, in June of 1852, and made a claim in the central part of section 2, hiring men to work it. Mr. O'Neill was, at that time, a resident of St. Paul. In August, 1853, with his family, he took up a permanent residence in Eagan, and has since lived on his original claim, which has been largely added to by purchase.

Mr. O'Neil has always occupied a prominent position among his townsmen, and in the county as well. He was elected to the first state legislature of 1857-8, and served as one of the first representatives elected from the county. He was chairman of the board of county commissioners from 1863 until 1858, when under the state organization, the office of county commissioner ceased for a time to exist.

Jean Rousseau, who had married a half-breed, was another settler of 1852. He made a claim in the central part of section 12, but after a short time removed to Mendota. In 1860, he went to Redwood Agency, where he died. He was among the first French settlers of Eagan.

Philbert Le Clair came also during the summer of 1852, and made a claim in the south-west quarter of section 2. After a short interval he sold his claim and returned to Mendota. Francis Le Clair made a claim partly in sections 2 and 11. He soon sold it, and after a season, located another where he now resides, in the north-west quarter of section 2.

About this time Mr. Credit made a claim in sections 12 and 13. He died about the year 1866. During the summer of 1852, Joseph Turpin claimed the land now owned by John Shields, in the south-west quarter of section 2. His wife was a half-breed, and like her husband old. Both husband and wife died within a few hours of each other, after living on their claim several years.

John Kennedy made a claim in the northern part of section 3, but never lived on it. His residence at that time was in Mendota. He afterwards served as county register of deeds, and at present is the genial post-master of Hastings.

Louis Letendre came during the summer of 1852, and settled in the central part of section 13. He sold his claim not long afterward to Dr. F. R. Smith, a non-resident. At the same time Louis Lavaille made the claim next north. He went to Hennepin county with Mr. Letendre, where the latter died.

Quite a growth in the settlement of the town was visible during the year 1853. Among the settlers of that year were P. Chapdelan, F. Le Bret, Dosite Auge and his son, Treffle, James and W. L. Wescott, T. N. Dailey, Michael Reid, and T. J. McCollum and sons.

Mr. Chapdelan bought of Edward Bibaux and Felix Ake, who had come in earlier, the claim in sections 12 and 13, now owned by James Wescott. While at St. Paul, the river rose too high for Mr. Chapdelan to return to his land, and Le Bret, taking advantage of this absence, jumped his claim. Mr. Chapdelan then made a claim further south, and lying partly in the towns of Eagan and Inver Grove.

James Wescott soon purchased Le Bret's claim right, and built a house sixteen feet square, which he occupied with his brother, W. L. Wescott. In the fall of 1854, the latter returned to their former home, in Maine, and brought out his family. James Wescott being at that time unmarried, the brothers continued to live together. Along the route, by their house, there was a large amount of travel, and from the time they began to show the first signs of house-keeping, the Wescotts were besought to entertain the travelers. They were soon forced to make a business of this, and Wescott's inn became famous throughout the country as a traveler's rest. Political conventions were held here at an early day. On one occasion, in 1856, a mass convention assembled here, of which John Van Hoesen, of Hastings, was chairman. Among other features of the affair, speeches and motions were in French, and the worthy chairman was forced to call an interpreter to his assistance. After a few years, W. L. Wescott removed to a claim of his own, while his brother James continued to keep public house until 1863. This he did with great success, being unable at times to entertain all who would be his guests. He still occupies his original home, as much distinguished for his private hospitality as he formerly was for hospitality to the public.

Mr. Auge came in the spring, and made a claim on the south side of section 4, where he died December 22d, 1871. His sons, George and Treffle, came into possession of the homestead. Dosite Auge, Jr., made a claim at the same time with his father, and adjoining him on the north. Here he continues to make his home. Treffle Auge made his claim partly in sections 8 and 9. He sold it, after an interval of three years, and at present lives in Mendota.

Mr. Dailey came in the fall of 1853, and settled in section 11. He afterward removed to the south-west quarter of section 10, where he died about four years since.

Michael Reid arrived the twelfth day of May, 1853, and located on what proved to be school land, and hence not subject to entry. He lived on this land about a year, when he settled on the south side of section 9. Here he died, October 4th, 1877.

T. J. McCollum settled in the spring of 1853, on the north-west quarter of section 19, and his son, Jefferson McCollum, pre-empted it. Madison, another son, made a claim partially in the south-west quarter of section 19, while William made his in the northern part of section 30. After a few years, the McCollums removed to Scott county.

The following year, 1854, settlement continued unabated. Among the earlier arrivals were, James Callan, John O'Lary, Thomas Fallon, Michael Eagan, Edmund Barry, Edward Dowling, Patrick Mooney, William Harper, Edward Taylor and John Cheever.

James Callan made a claim in sections 28, 29 and 33, where he has since resided, figuring prominently among his people and in the county.

John O'Lary came in March, and settled on the west side of section 14. He still lives on his original claim, having added to it by purchase. Edmund Barry, came not long after, and settled in section 23, where he now owns a fine farm of three hundred and five acres. Mr. Fallon settled on the west side of section 23. Mr. Dowling in section 26, Mr. Eagan in the north-west quarter of section 22, Mr. Cheever in section 12, Mr. Mooney in the south-west quarter of section 22, Mr. Harper in the south-east quarter of section 21, and Mr. Taylor in the south-west quarter of the same section.

The farm now owned by Patrick Coghlin, in sections 11 and 12, was the home of David Faribault, a mixed blood. A Frenchman, Michel Archambeaux pre-empted it for him. Mr. Faribault built him a pleasant house, and surrounded it with a picket fence. Here he lived for some years, but finally removed.

A well-known character in the town was John Conklin, who had been a soldier, it is said, at Fort Snelling. He early acquired the name of "Black Hawk," and was commonly so called. After his discharge from the army he was in the employ of General Sibley, who placed him on the farm now owned by L. Trapp, in section 3. Mr. Sibley afterwards placed him on a farm at the east end of Long Lake, subsequently known as Black Hawk lake, doubtless in Conklin's honor.

Liquor was the natural enemy of Conklin, and he died in the poor-house at Nininger. Aside from this weakness, he is spoken of as a worthy man. While living on the farm now owned by Mr. Trapp, Conklin married Mrs. Helen Dunn, who died at the lake farm in the spring of 1871.

FIRST EVENTS.

The first birth of a white child in the town was that of Mary A. Brown, November 22d, 1849. She was a daughter of J. W. and Mary Brown, and was born at their home in the Indian village of Black Dog. She lived with her parents until her marriage with Jasper McCollum in 1871. They now live in a house on her father's place, and have had six children.

The next birth was that of Susan F. O'Neill, January 7th, 1854. Her parents were Robert and Catharine O'Neill, and lived at home until she was sixteen years of age, when she lived with her sister in Minneapolis until her marriage with Martin Kennedy, June 8th, 1880. She now resides in St. Paul.

The first marriage of parties living in the town was that of Alexander Huard and Jane McDermott. They were married in 1854, and in 1855 he made his home in the western part of Inver Grove, where he lived a number of years, when he moved to his present location in the north-west quarter of section 12.

ORGANIZATION AND OFFICERS.

Eagan was formerly a part of the town of Mendota as established by the county commissioners, April 6th, 1858. At a meeting held by them on the 20th of the same month, a town was formed consisting of sections thirteen to thirty-six inclusive, in the present town of Eagan, and called Montgomery. This action proved unsatisfactory, and was reconsidered and repealed at the same meeting. By a special act of the state legislature during the winter of 1861, the town of Eagan was detached with its present limits from Mendota. The population at the census of 1880 was 642.

The first meeting for the purpose of organizing the town was held at the house of Michael Comer in the north-west quarter of section twenty-five, April 3d, 1860. Robert O'Neill was chosen moderator and Michael Comer clerk. At the election which ensued, the following officers were chosen for the coming year, viz.: Patrick Eagan, James Collar, Robert O'Neill, supervisors; Michael Comer, clerk; Thomas Fannan, assessor; William Diffley, treasurer; Michael Kirby, William Harper, justices of the peace; Patrick Mooney, Louis Sansoucey, constables; Patrick Eagan, Anthony Devitt, Michael Cain, road overseers.

The following persons have served as chairmen of the town board, and as town clerks, during the years following the organization to the present time.

* 1861- Patrick Eagan, chairman; Michael Comer, clerk. Mr. Eagan resigned during the year and Robert O'Neill was chosen in his place. Mr. Comer also resigned, and Michael Downing was chosen by the board December 28th, 1861, to act in his stead during the remainder of the term.
* 1862 and '63 - Patrick Eagan, chairman, Michael Downing, clerk.
* 1864 - Michael Kirby, chairman; Michael Downing, clerk. Mr. Kirby resigned and Patrick Mooney, one of the board was elected to succeed him, and Michael Gorman was elected to fill the place vacated by Mr. Mooney, September 27th, 1864.
* 1865 - W. F. Donaldson, chairman; Michael Downing, clerk.
* 1866 Robert O'Neill, chairman; Patrick Callahan, clerk. Mr. O'Neill failed to qualify and W. F. Donaldson was chosen as chairman.
* 1867 - W. F. Donaldson, chairman; Michael Downing, clerk.
* 1868 - W. F. Donaldson, chairman; Michael Downing, clerk.
* 1869 - Patrick Eagan, chairman; Michael Downing, clerk.
* 1870 - Patrick Eagan, chairman; Michael Downing, clerk.
* 1871,1872, 1873 - Hugh Barnes, chairman; Michael Downing, clerk.
* 1874 - Eugene Le May, chairman; Michael Downing, clerk.
* 1875 and 1876 - James Callan, chairman; Michael Downing, clerk.
* 1877 - James Callan, chairman; Michael Downing, clerk.
* 1878 Robert O'Neill, chairman; Michael Downing, clerk.
* 1879 - Robert O'Neill, chairman; Michael Downing, clerk.
* 1880 - James Callan, chairman; Michael Downing, clerk. Mr. Callan failed to qualify, and the board at a meeting held March 27th, 1880, chose Jabez Harper in his place.
* 1881 - Jeffrey Fanning, chairman; Michael Downing, clerk.

The first justices of the peace elected within the present limits of the town were James Callan and Benjamin Young, which was prior to the organization.

The valuation for 1860, was $87,342. For 1870, $106,521. For 1880, $177,890.

SCHOOLS.

The first school in the town was taught by Michael Downing during the winter of 1859-'60, in a small log house 14x16 feet, owned and built by Thomas Farman in the north-west quarter of section 14. For a new district the attendance was unusually large, being about forty. This building was used about two years, when a new one of logs was built, and located in the southeast corner of the south-west quarter of section 23, on land now owned by Patrick Quigley. This building was used until about six years ago, when the present school-house was erected. It is a frame structure 18x26 feet, and located on the site of the old log building, containing patent seats, with a seating capacity of about forty. The district is designated as district number 14.

The next school was commenced soon after the first in a house belonging to Bartholomew Dailey, in the western part of section 29. It was a small log house built as a claim shanty, and was used by the district for two years, then others until 1865, when a school-house was erected near the center of section 29, on land owned by Daniel Niemeyer. It is a frame structure about 16x22 feet, contains plain seats, and will hold from thirty to thirty-five scholars. This district is known as district number 13.

In October, 1860, a school was taught in the house of Robert O'Neill, by Mrs. O'Neill for one month, and then the services of Miss Elizabeth McDermott were secured, and she continued to teach in the district a number of terms. The next spring an old building was fitted up and used for a school-house, until a log house was built on land now belonging to P. Coghlin, in the north-east quarter of section 11. This building was burned during the spring of 1865, and was replaced by a frame erected soon after at the same place. The locality was not convenient, and the house was subsequently moved about a mile further west, and during the month of March, 1881, suffered the same fate as its predecessor. A new building is already erected by the district known as number 11, in the south-east corner of section 3. It is 18x26 feet, was built at a cost of $600, with patent seats, seating forty scholars comfortably, and is the finest school building in the town.

In 1869, district number 12 was organized, and a school-house built. The building is about 16x24 feet. The district is the smallest in the town in respect to the number of scholars. The town has four entire districts and one joint district, with four school-houses.

CHURCHES.

The first religious services in the town took place at the house of Edward Dowling, in the north-west quarter of section 26, and were conducted by the Rev. Father Ravoux. Only a few such services were held, however, as, during the following spring, the church at Inver Grove was finished, and services were transformed thither.

The Lutheran church at Inver Grove has a goodly number of members in this town, also in Mendota for whom the distance is so great that they have been holding meetings at the schoolhouse in district number 91, in Mendota, or at private houses every alternate Sabbath under the auspices of their pastor, Rev. E. N. Volgert. The society has purchased about two acres of land belonging to J. B. Pfieffer and his son-in-law, August Nachtigal for the purpose of erecting a church edifice, where they intend holding services in alternation with the church at Inver Grove. The plat of land lies on the east side of the St. Paul road, in the south-east quarter of section 2, and a cemetery will be in connection with the church lot.

RAILROADS.

The Iowa and Minnesota division of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul railway crosses the eastern part of the town, extending from northwest to south-east and leaving the southern line near the quarter post on the south side of section 36. The Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha railway crosses the north-west part of the town from north-east to south-west, and was opened for traffic in 1865.

STATIONS.

In 1866, a flag station without a depot was established on the line of the Iowa and Minnesota division of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul railway, near the south-east corner of section 13, on land belonging to James Wescott, from whom the station is named Westcott station.

Nicols is also a flag station without a depot, established in 1867. It is located on the line of the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha railway, in the north-west quarter of section 17, on land then owned by John Nicols.

POST OFFICE.

Westcott post-office was established in April, 1881, and A. Lau appointed postmaster.

SHOPS AND STORES.

In 1860, a blacksmith shop was opened by Robert Myers, on the south-east quarter of section 17. He remained there about two years, then removed to St. Paul and afterwards returned and rented a farm belonging to James Slater, in the north-east quarter of section 31, where he put up another shop. This he operated several years, and finally removed to Hamilton. He has the honor of being the pioneer blacksmith of the place.

Another shop was opened by George Auge in May, 1867, on the west side of the Mendota road, in the south-west quarter of section 4, which he continues to operate.

In 1869, Edward Rachenberg opened a blacksmith shop in the south-west quarter of section 1, which he operated until about four years ago, when it was closed to the public, and he uses it only for his own work.

Still another shop was opened by Herman Raddatz, in the fall of 1876, in the north west quarter of section 2, where he still continues. He has, however, purchased a few acres of Mr. Burns, a short distance south-west of his present location, and purposes removing there.

A store was established by the brothers, A. and J. Lau, at Westcott station, March 4th, 1881, where they keep on hand a small general stock of merchandise suited to the wants of the immediate neighborhood.
[History of Dakota County and the City of Hastings, by Edward D. Neill, North Star Publishing Co. Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1882, transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman] Return to top of page



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