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Dakota County Minnesota 
Genealogy and History

Greenvale Township Dakota County, Minnesota

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NOTE: The following history is from an 1882 publication, it uses the terms township and town interchangeably.

The town of Green Vale is situated in the southwest corner of the county. It contains thirty square miles, the south tier of sections belonging to the congressional township, of which it is a part, being in Rice county. It is bounded on the north by Eureka, on the east by Waterford, on the south and west by Rice county.

The surface of the town is generally slightly undulating. In the north-west it is quite rolling, bordering on rough. In the central and eastern part it is quite level, and in former times was very wet. Except in winter it was impassable and gave rise to the name of North and South Green Vale, as the communication between the two sections was so difficult as to form two distinct settlements. There was a number of these marshy spots, of more or less extent. As time progressed they became dryer. To some extent this effect has been caused by drainage, but it is principally the effect of the general settlement of the country, and natural causes. They have now become valuable for pastures and meadows. The major part of the town was covered by a growth of timber, when first settled, but now the most of it is in the south and west. The rest of the town being cleared up for farms, with here and there a beautiful grove left to vary the landscape and beautify the homes of the settlers. The principal woods are oak, elm, ash and aspen.

Chub creek crosses the north line near the center, flows south-easterly and crosses the east line about one and one-half miles south of the north-east corner. Two smaller streams cross the west line and unite about two miles further east, then empty into Chub creek, near the center of section 10. Mud creek has its origin in tile south-western part. It flows north-easterly, crosses the east line near the center, and empties into Chub creek about a mile beyond.

The soil is principally a black loam, with a clay sub-soil. In the north-east and south-east, a sandy loam appears to some extent. In the north-west, numerous gravelly knolls appear, and occasionally boulders of large size. Wheat is the main crop raised. Corn and other grains are also extensively raised, and some sugar cane.

Green Vale has always been a temperance town. The only saloon ever opened was about ten years since, by a man named John Carney, in the south-east part of the town. He had been in operation about three months, when the regular annual town meeting was held. The question of allowing liquor to be sold was brought up and promptly voted down. This action obliged Mr. Carney to close his saloon, and the experiment has never been repeated.


In the fall of 1854, a party of six persons might have been seen encamped in the eastern part of what is now Green Vale. They had come west, seeking homes for themselves and families, and had concluded to select this spot. Later results have shown the wisdom of their selection. The party consisted of John and William Clague, Thomas Hodgson and son, T. C., William Kegg and Thomas Gill. They had come from Jo Daviess county, Illinois, where they had left their families until they had secured locations of their choice. Mr. Hodgson returned that fall, but the rest of them remained until spring before returning. They had brought a cow with them, to slaughter for their winter's supply of meat. They erected a cabin in the grove, on the south-west quarter of section 2, and prepared for winter. They put in most of the winter cutting trees and sawing them into lumber for use in building their houses in the spring. They had purchased a whip saw in St. Paul, which they used in sawing their logs into lumber. It was hard work, but they were men used to that, and never flinched on that account. They succeeded in sawing several thousand feet, which proved to be invaluable, as there were-no mills to be found for many miles.

In the spring all the party save Mr. Kegg and young Hodgson returned for their families and stock. Mr. Kegg was taken sick, and left alone with a lad of about fifteen years, a deplorable condition for him to be placed in. No neighbors nearer than Waterford, and but few there, and those strangers. The desire to be where he could be taken care of, led him to undertake to get there. Too weak to walk, he crawled on his hands and knees, assisted as much as possible by the boy, to the stage road, about two miles east. From there he was carried to Waterford, and taken in by some of the settlers. His brother-in-law, Robert Moore, came out after him, accompanied by Mrs. John Clague, and Mr. and Mrs. Gill, who were consequently the first white women in the town. Mr. Moore took Mr. Kegg back to Illinois with him, and returned again in June. In the meantime the other members of the party arrived with the stock, consisting of about eighty head of cattle and a number of horses. All joined in, and soon quite a settlement was to be seen.

This was the commencement of the town of Green Vale. A vast change is seen between the country then and now. Then it was a wilderness of uncultivated growth. Now, well cultivated fields, beautiful homes and the luxuries of civilization appear upon every hand. To no one, more than the pioneer, belongs the privilege to end his days in peace and plenty. He it is, who makes it possible for others to possess them, yet, alas! he does not always have it. It is a sad sight to a reflective mind to see an old gray-haired man, who had devoted the energies of his youth to the hand to mouth, or perhaps dependent upon charity. Yet such is often the case. Such can hardly be said of the subjects of this sketch, if comfortable homes, numerous outbuildings and a general air of thrift and contentment be our criterion.

John Clague made his claim in the southeast quarter of section 11, where he still lives, having added largely to his original farm by purchase. Mr. Hodgson made his claim in the south-west quarter of section 11, where he lived until he died in 1874. His wife is still living there, although the family have scattered somewhat; three of his sons have been admitted to the bar, and are practicing law. Mr. Kegg is still living on his original claim in the northwest quarter of section 11. Mr. Gill made his claim partly in the south-west quarter of section 3 and the north-west quarter of section 10, where he still lives, with forty acres added to his farm by purchase. Mr. William Clague made his claim in the north-east quarter of section 10. He left in the spring of 1855 and never returned. His claim was jumped during the season by George Van Slyke, who sold it to his brother, J. E. Van Slyke. He lived on it several years, then sold it, having in the meantime married the widow of James Clague, and now lives in section 14. Mr. Moore made his claim partly in sections 2 and 3 where he has since lived and reared a large family of sons and daughters.

In early winter of '54 and '55, came R. F. Randolph and Michael Kinnery. They located their claims in the south-eastern part of the town, left for a time and settled later. Mr. Randolph died a few years later. Mr. Kinnery is still residing in the town.

Among the earlier ones of 1855, we find James Clague, Joseph Scofield and Absalom Schull, David Muckey, S. C. Howell, Alexander Pryor, H. E. C. Barrett, Hans Ommundson and a Mr. Thompson. The only ones remaining at this time being Mr. Muckey and Mr. Ommundson. Mr. Clague died in 1861. Mr. Scofield entered the army and died shortly after the expiration of his term of service, in Washington county. Mr. Schull moved away the present spring. Mr. Howell was one of the first justices in the town. He was a prominent man in the affairs of the town. He died in 1873. The other Justice at this time was Mr. Barrett. He sold out after a term of years and went to Faribault, where he died. Mr. Pryor had a family of eleven children. Three of his sons served in the army. He lived in the town until about the time of the outbreak of the war, when he moved into Eureka, where he died in 1880. He was a good citizen and his death was regretted by all who knew him.

The first birth that occurred in the town was that of W. P. Clague. He was the son of James and Sophia Clague, and was born April 26th, 1856. He died June 19th, 1867, and was buried in the cemetery on the farm of John Clague. Quite a number of births occurred this year. Catherine, the daughter of Michael and Margaret Hendricks was born early in August. Mary, the daughter of William and Margaret Rowan, was born August 30th, and Mary, the daughter of Luke and Bridget Rowan, was born in October of that year.

The first death was that of a child, Willie Kegg, the son of William and Ann Kegg. He was buried on the farm.

The first marriage of parties living in the town was that of Billious Pond and Miss E. J. Symonds. They were married April 3d, 1856. Miss Symonds was the step-daughter of Wm. Kegg. During the rebellion, Mr. Pond entered the army, and during his term of service his wife died in December, 1863. Three children were the result of this marriage, two girls and one boy. The girls are both married and living in Granite Falls.


The first meeting for the political organization of the town was held May 11th, 1858, at the schoolhouse in district No. 38, now 75. S. C. Howell was chosen chairman. Balloting for officers of the meeting then took place. S. E. Finney was chosen moderator, and H. E. C. Barrett clerk. The meeting then proceeded to business. The town was divided into four road districts. The overseers for the different districts were: R. F. Randolph, No. 1; G. H. Van Slyke, No. 2; James De Puy, No. 3, and W. J. Whittaker, No. 4.

Measures were taken for the future transaction of town business, such as levying taxes, establishment of lawful fences, restraining stock, etc. Fifty-one votes were cast, and the following officers were elected for the ensuing year:

Board-E. B. Carter, chairman; W. J. Whittaker and A. B. Hale, supervisors; H. Marsh, clerk; R. F. Randolph, collector; S. E. Finney, assessor; H. E. C. Barrett and S. C. Howell, justices; Michael Kinnery, overseer of the poor; Robert Moore and R. F. Randolph, constables.

Following are the members of the board and town clerks, since the organization, the first name in all cases being the chairman:

1859--S. C. Howell, J. B. De Puy, Alexander Pryor, supervisors; D. E. Ripley, clerk.
1860--J. P. Campbell, Joseph Winters, Zachariah Bogue, supervisors; D. E. Ripley, clerk.
1861--E. B. Carter, Robert Moore, J. B. De Puy, supervisors; Oscar Tourson, clerk.
1862--John D. Batson, Henry Marsh, Jacob Simon, supervisors; H. E. C. Barrett, clerk.
1863--S. W. Cushman, Jesse Hosford, J. S. Rounce, Jr., supervisors; D. E. Ripley, clerk.
1864--Oscar Tourson, Absalom Schull, John Scollard, supervisors; Franklin Church, clerk.
1865--W. R. Henderson, Absalom Schull, John Scollard, supervisors; Franklin Church, clerk.
1866--E. B. Cater, Henry Marsh, C. H. Holt, supervisors; D. E. Ripley, clerk.
1867--Henry Marsh, John Scollard, Joseph Winter, supervisors; D. E. Ripley, clerk.
1868--Henry Marsh, Joseph Winter, Robert Moore, supervisors; Franklin Church, clerk.
1869--J. B . Simon, J. L. Fink, Richard McAndrew, supervisors; Franklin Church, clerk.
1870--J. L. Fink, Richard McAndrew, Robert Moore, supervisors; Franklin Church, clerk.
1871--D. E. Ripley, John Hendricks, Thomas Gill, supervisors; Franklin Church, clerk.
1872--J. L. Fink, John Hendricks, Zachariah Bogue, supervisors; Franklin Church, clerk.
1873--Robert Moore, Francis Howard, John Hendricks, supervisors; Franklin Church, clerk.
1874--Francis Howard, Robert Moore, John Hendricks, supervisors; Franklin Church, clerk.
1875--Francis Howard, Andrew Fink, Joseph Winter, supervisors; Franklin Church, clerk.
1876--Francis Howard, Richard McAndrew, William Lace, supervisors; William Rowan, clerk.
1877--J. B. Simon, Thomas Fox, Robert Moore, supervisors; Franklin Church, clerk.
1878--Francis Howard, Thomas Fox, Thomas Gill, supervisors; Franklin Church, clerk.
1879--J. B. Simon, Thomas Gill, Thomas Fox, supervisors; Franklin Church clerk.
1880--J. B. Simon, Thomas Gill, G. A. Manhart, supervisors; Franklin Church, clerk.
1881--Francis Howard, John Lace, Thomas Walsh, supervisors; G. H. Manhart, clerk; Charles Blesener, assessor; Martin Fox, treasurer; Franklin Church and Richard McAndrew, Justices; Patrick Hendricks and Michael Gavin, constables. Mr. Howard failed to qualify as chairman, and Van R. Gifford was appointed in his place, March 19th, 1881.

Franklin Church has been a justice almost continuously since 1864, having been out but two years in that time. He was also town clerk fourteen years.


The first school in the town was held in what is now district number 74, and taught by Charles King, in the house of J. E. Van Slyke, in the fall of 1856. There was about a dozen scholars. During that fall and the winter following, a log school-house was built in the south-west corner of section 2. It was about 15x22 feet, contained slab seats, and could seat comfortably about thirty scholars, although the first school taught in it, contained thirty-eight. This house was used until September, 1867, when it was burned. The next spring the present frame building was erected at a cost of $700. It is 24x32 feet, contains patent seats, and has a capacity for comfortably seating about fifty scholars. The district, at present, contains about forty-five.

Closely following this school was the one conducted in what is now district number 75. During the winter and spring of 1857, the people erected a log building on the east side of the road in the south-west quarter of section 24, it was 15x20 feet, contained slab seats, and everything in the most primitive style. The following summer, Miss Mary E. Wheeler, of Sciota taught a three months term, with about a dozen scholars. The log house was used until the present building was erected in the southeast corner of section 23. It is frame about 20x30 feet, and has patent seats.

Between this date and 1860, three more schools were opened in the town. One in district number 73, one in 76, and one in 77. The First school in 73, was taught by Miss Mary Bottomly; she had about ten scholars. A log building was used until 1867, when the present frame structure was built and located in the south-west corner of section 1.

The first school in number 76, was taught by Miss Mary Nelis in the house of Antony Cosgrove; an interval of two years elapsed before there was another school. A log building was then erected, and schools have been taught in the district continuously since. This log building was used a few years when a frame was built a little further south, and in 1880, this was moved about a half mile further west, and located near the center of section 8. This district probably contains the greatest number of scholars of any in the town. There having been fifty enrolled the past winter.

The first school in number 77, was taught by William Cleveland. There was about twenty scholars. The building was a log structure about 16x20 feet. A frame building was erected a few years later and used until 1880, when the present building was erected in the south-east quarter of section 20. It is a frame structure 24x36 feet, has patent seats and cost $700. It has a capacity for seating comfortably about fifty scholars, and is the best school-house in the town, having all the conveniences adapted to a country school.

The last district to organize and build a house in the town was joint district number 86. Their building is frame and contains plain seats. It is located in the south-east quarter of section 29. The town now contains four entire and three joint districts, number 86, being joint with Rice county.


The first religious services in the town were held at the house of S. C. Howell, by Rev. Wm. McKinley, Methodists, during the spring of 1856. Services were conducted at Mr. Howell's house once in two weeks for about two years. They were then transferred to the school-house belonging to what is now district No. 74, where they held until 1868, when the present church was built on the east side of the St. Paul road, in the north-east quarter of section one. It is a frame building, twenty-eight by fifty feet, with eighteen foot posts, and cost about $2,700. It has a capacity for comfortably seating about two hundred and fifty persons. It stands upon a slight eminence and commands an extensive view in all directions. It was dedicated as McKinley Chapel, in honor of the Rev. Wm. McKinley. The dedication sermon was preached by the Rev. D. C. Cobb, in the fall of 1868.

The first local preacher was the Rev. Thomas Day, with his residence at Northfield. His appointments were there and at the school-house in Green Vale, with services alternating between the two places. He came in 1857 and remained two years. The local pastors in the order of their terms of service have been: Thomas Day, J. W. Stogdill, G. W. Richardson, Rev. Bennett, J. M. Rogers (two terms), S. T. Sterrett, L. H. Richardson, John Lamberson, C. J. Hayes, R. Washburn, Levi Gleason, W. W. Rork, and A. B. Bishop, the present pastor. The parsonage connected with the church is located at Castle Rock station.

Previous to the building of the church, a Sabbath school had been conducted at the Union school house in Eureka, which was transferred to the church when completed. The superintendent that season was T. C. Hodgson. The present superintendent is Stillman Meeker. The membership is about fifty.

A Sabbath school was established in 1857, at the school-house in district No. 74. The membership was about fifty. Jacob Shellenberger was superintendent and William Kegg, assistant superintendent. The school has been conducted during the summer season, down to the present time, and now numbers about twenty-five scholars. The superintendent for 1880 was T. H. Graham, and the assistant superintendent, William Kegg.

About the year 1858, Rev. Joseph Rounce, a Congregational minister living in section 23, held church services at the school-house, in what is now district No. 75. He conducted services there once in two weeks for about a year. He also conducted services at the house of Thomas Hodgson, alternating with those at the school-house. At the end of the year, he moved to Northfield, and the services ceased.

The Methodist denomination also had services at this school-house once in two weeks, for a number of years. Of late the services are irregularly held on account of the proximity of other churches. A Sabbath school was organized during the summer of 1858 and continued with but few intermissions, until the present time. The first superintendent was H. E. C. Barrett, and they had a membership of about fifteen. The present superintendent is W. E. Moses, and the membership about forty. The school is under the auspices of the Methodist denomination and is called the South Green Vale Sabbath school. The name of the town originated from the name given this school at its organization, and, to H. E. C. Barrett belongs the honor of suggesting the name.

Episcopal church services were first conducted by the Rev. Burleson, during the summer of 1866 at the school-house in district No. 73. They were subsequently transferred to the school-house in district No. 74, where they are conducted under the auspices of Rev. Charles Rollit, of Minneapolis. Formerly services were conducted once a month. For some time past they have been conducted once in two weeks.


An acre of ground was set apart by John Clague, in the north-east quarter of section 2, in the spring of 1861. The first person buried in it was James Clague, who died February 22d, 1861. Union cemetery is located on the north side of section 1. It contains about three acres and was surveyed in June, 1873. The first grown person buried in it was Thomas Hodgson. It now contains quite a number of graves, and shows that care and attention are bestowed upon it. The cemetary originated in Castle Rock Grange, then holding meetings in the Union school-house in Eureka.


Rescue Lodge, No. 9, I. O. G. T., was organized at the Union school-house, in Eureka, January 26th, 1871. Three meetings were held at that school-house, when they were changed to the school-house in district No. 73, thence to district No. 74, thence again to the Union school, and back to No. 73 again in 1880, where meetings are now held. From the date of organization, regular meetings have been held every Saturday evening, unless upon extraordinary occasions. There were thirty charter members. The following is a list of the first officers: Jas. N. Phare, P. W. C. T.; T. C. Hodgson, W. C. T.; Miss Elizabeth Clague, W. V. T.; S. C. Howell, secretary; Mrs. Mary Merryweather, chap.; John Costain, M.; Miss Eliza Pryor, Dep. M.; Mrs. Ellen R. Phare, R. S.; Mrs. Margaret Shepherd, L. S.; Stillman Meeker, lodge deputy.

Since the organization, there has been about two hundred members belonging to the lodge. The greatest membership, at one time, was about one hundred. The present membership is about fifty.

The present officers are: Alfred Clague, P.W. C. T.; L. H. Dilley, W. C. T.; Miss Nellie P. Lindsay, W. V. T.; Isaac Cowles, secretary; Geo. Batson, assistant secretary; Newton Moore, financial secretary; Miss Jennie How, T.; Mrs. Ellen R. Phare, chap.; James Empy, M.; Miss Lillie Cowell, Dep. M.; Miss Irene Cowell, guard; Edward Chapman, sen.; Miss Maud Rand, R. S.; Miss Kate Clague, L. S.

A temperance society was organized at the school-house in district No. 75, but did not continue long.

Union Grange was organized during the forepart of the winter of 1872 and 1873. It was composed of people living in both Rice and Dakota counties, and they met at the school-house in district No. 86. They had twenty charter members, which number was increased to about thirty. The grange was in operation about three years, when it ceased to exist as a body, by a vote of the members, some of whom joined the Morning Star Grange, of Northfield, which is still in operation. The first officers of Union Grange were: C. H. Holt, M.; George Fay, O.; A. D. Holt, L.; Franklin Hall, S.; Samuel Taft, A. S.; Francis Howard, chap.; Mrs. George Fay, T.; Mrs. Samuel Taft, secretary; John Fishback, G. K.; Miss Angie Howland, Ceres; Miss Lizzie Hall, Pomona: Miss Flora Howland, Flora; Mrs. Francis Howard, L. A. S.


It is probable that the first blacksmith shop in the town was opened by a Mr. Cabahn in the south-east quarter of section 24, near the line between the towns of Waterford and Green Vale. He opened it in the spring of 1858, and continued to operate it several years, when he built a shop in Northfield and moved there.

Another shop was opened later by Ole Nelson in section 8. He operated a shop there about a year, then moved to the north-east quarter of section 10,where he opened a shop which he operated a few years; then moved about a half-mile further south, where he opened another which he operated a couple of years and then moved to Rice county.
[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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