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Dakota County Minnesota 
Genealogy and History

Lakeville Township Dakota County, Minnesota

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


Lakeville is bounded on the north, by Burnsville and Lebanon, on the east, by Empire, on the south, by Eureka, and on the south and west, by Scott county. April 6th, 1858, it was enacted by the board of county commissioners that the town should consist of township 114, range 20, and all in the county of township 114, range 21. The western boundary of the town, as first established, was a diagonal line drawn from near the north-west corner of sections 2, 114, 21, in a south-easterly direction, crossing the town line near the south-west corner of section 36, 114, 21. This boundary was changed to the present one, and Lakeville now consists of township 114, north of range 20 west, and the two eastern tiers of sections in township 114, range 21, the latter being all of that township within the limits of Dakota county.

It contains 30,720 acres, and is six miles in extent, north and south, and eight miles east and west. The Vermillion river flows through the eastern and southern portions of the town, and is made up of several small streams, three of which have their sources here. What is known as the north branch of the river has its source partially in the township, while another small tributary flows from springs in the south-eastern part of section 16, and the western part of section 22. The third branch rises in the south-west quarter of section 25, and flows diagonally through sections 25, 33, 34, 35, and 36.


"On the 25th of March, 1853," says Mr. J. J. Brackett, "I left St. Paul, where I had been spending the winter, equipped with gun, ammunition, blanket and camp-kettle, three loaves of bread, a small piece of pork, matches and compass. Crossing the Mississippi on the ice, I steered southward, without road or trail. The object of the trip was to explore the valleys of the Straight and Cannon rivers, rumor telling of magnificent falls near their junction. I camped that night in the brush, about twelve miles below St. Paul. The next morning I struck the Indian trail leading from Black Dog village to Big Sioux river, and about noon that day, from a spot where the trail crossed what was afterward John H. Thurston's farm, I first saw the place on which I now live. I passed over where the city of Faribault now stands, and found a log building there, owned by Alexander Faribault, and occupied as an Indian trading-post. He was absent at the time, and I continued my journey up the Straight river, nearly to where Owatonna has since been built up.

"Returning to St. Paul, I arrived on the evening of the 31st, having been out seven days and six nights without entering a dwelling or seeing a white man.

"I found the ice in the Mississippi breaking up and unsafe to cross. I accordingly remained on the west side two days, stopping with Mr. Bartlett, afterward a defaulting sheriff, in this county.

"The last of May following, I visited Lakeville again, in company with Griffin Phelps. We looked over the country a little, and deciding to make a settlement here, 'stuck our stakes' and returned to St. Paul. During the summer we were here again with oxen, lumber and plow and did some breaking.

"In July, the surveyors and workmen on the 'Dodd' and 'Big Sioux' roads passed through the town. In October, 1854, I built a small house sixteen by twenty-four feet in dimensions, and situated in lot 1 of section 30. Mr. Phelps and Mr. Farnham stayed all winter in my cabin. The nearest neighbor at this time was Mr. Bissell at line Bend."

The first ground was broken in the town by Griffin Phelps. Mr. Phelps also sowed the first seed, which consisted of one bushel of fall rye, sown very late in the fall of 1853. The crop was an entire failure. Almost every settler, who was here in 1854, broke land, the aggregate amount, however, being small. Some potatoes, turnips and sod corn were grown this year.

In the spring of 1854, immigrants began slowly to put in an appearance. Mrs. Mary Whalen and her son John were the first to come. They lived in the timber land, about a mile beyond the lake, and on the road to Spring lake. Then came George Palmer and George Fagan, who settled on section 30. Daniel F. Smith accompanied them, or came not far from the date of their arrival. Michael Rohan and son, Michael, also came this spring and settled in section 20. John and Michael Sheridan settled in section 17, John Finnegan in section 8, John Houts in section 29, and Jesse Hipple in section 30. The same year Samuel Dunn made a claim in section 33, Dennis Nute in section 28, a Mr. Youngblood and Willis B. Reed in section 32, Rinaldo Thompson in section 20, and S. P. Buker in section 29. Mr. Buker sold his claim, however, to Samuel Johnson, who in turn sold the land to Henry, his son. Roger and Patrick Casey settled on section 5, Michael Hendricks on section 21, but sold his right early to E. Woodhull. James Devitt made a claim on section 17; Anthony Cosgrove settled somewhere in the town during the year, and Michael Johnston and Charles Norling (son-in-law of Mrs. Whalen), came in during the summer or fall. Johnston settled on section 5, and Norling on section 29, the latter claimed forty acres of land which he afterward sold to G. F. Ackley. In the spring of 1855, the great immigration commenced, as well as the era of speculation. The steamers were crowded with passengers seeking homes, as well as with speculators, gamblers and others. The tables on the boats were usually set four times for each repast, and the fasting powers of the passengers were sometimes severely tried. Early in the spring of this year, a Mr. Carpenter was the first to arrive at Lakeville and increase the list of settlers. He settled in the north-west quarter of section 28, now owned by Elisha Batten. David Tougher (called Tucker) arrived April 17th, and a Mr. Parkinson settled on the southwest quarter of section 21, now owned by Edward Woodhull.

The Thurston family also came in early this year, having walked around Lake Pepin, and having first proceeded to St. Paul, which place they reached April 14th. Daniel M. Thurston, the father, arrived in Lakeville, April 30th, and claimed the north-east quarter of section 28, on which Henry Johnson and Henry Perkins now live. His sons, John H. and Sumner C., came May 3d of the week following, and were accompanied by G. F. Ackley. Sumner C. Thurston took the claim east of his father's, in section 28. This estate was afterwards sold to Mr. Brennan. John H. Thurston took the claim next, north of his father's, being the south-east quarter of section 21. At that time, there was not a house, fence or piece of plowed land to be seen, from J. H. Thurston's claim, though the view extended some thirty miles to the north and east. There were several houses not far away, but these were hidden by a ridge on the west. But before fall, the Vermillion prairie was pretty well dotted with houses, some fences were made, and considerable breaking done.

Daniel M. and John H. Thurston and brother lived together in a rude dwelling, in section 21, until a house was built, about fifteen rods east of the shanty and about fifty-five rods east of the west line of the section. The two gentlemen first mentioned are now well known residents of Farmington.

Other settlers of 1855, were Robert S. Donaldson and Isaac Curry, who located in section 33. James Curry, father of Isaac, lived on the latter's place in 1856 or '57. James B. Sayres and Chas. Jones settled on section 34, all these settlements commencing with the date of arrival, May 27th.

Benjamin, George and Jefferson Pratt settled this year, in section 22. These brothers lived together sometime, but Jefferson Pratt remained in the town only a comparatively short season. With these brothers, in the spring, there came also John Brennan, who settled on section 17, George A. Record, who settled on section 34, and Joseph Hamilton, who made a claim in section 32. Lawrence Moran settled in the fractional section 25, Mr. Eagan in the same. Alfred Bean, a non-resident, made a claim in section 32, Alonzo Witherell located in section 24. Oliver P. Clark lived in a hay stack during the first winter, on the same section. Mr. Clark had then been married seventeen years, and had moved sixteen times. Mr. Frazier settled in section 19, Peter Parker in 24, and Lafayette, his son, in section 25. Other settlers were Jabez Smith, (Mrs. J. Hout's brother), Patrick Donovan, Mr. Pinneo, (father of Mrs. Thompson), and Daniel F. Akin, who settled in section 24. In June, George C. Case made a claim in section 15, William A. Ham in section 28, Hobart N. Hosmer in section 22, and Talcott Alderman in section 23. Edward Woodull settled in section 21, August 7th, and Chester L. Hosmer in section 23, sometime in October. Thomas Hyland settled in section 2 the month following. John Curry came not far from the same time, while George Frisbee and S. M. Bolster settled in section 24 during the month of May, and Henry Houts, (brother of John), arrived sometime during the summer. These were nearly, if not quite, all the settlers who arrived in Lakeville during the year 1855.

They were succeeded, in 1856, by Henry Pond and Dr. Horace Phelps, (brother of Griffin), and others. Dr. Phelps settled on the Robert Perkins farm, in section 27. Other settlers were David Partlow, John Strauswell, and William and Abner Waddell. William Waddell settled in fractional section 13. Abner, (said to be the David Lawney of Eggleston's Mystery of Metropolisville), made a claim in section 15, but lived in the town but little.

Other settlers still, came to the town in 1856, but their names will be found in the account of the "Old Village," where they principally settled.

Young ladies were not very numerous in Lakeville, from 1855 to 1857. Their number consisted of only Miss Olivia Town, a relative of the Perkins, two daughters of O. P. Clark, Miss Phoebe Sayres, and her sister, Ann Eliza, afterward Isaac C. Curry's wife, and Misses Melissa Smith and Matilda Frisbee.


The first marriage in the town was that of John J. Hartig to Mrs. Dorothy Muchman, in 1857. Mr. Hartig was born in Meklenburg-Schwerin, Germany, and came to America in 1853, settling in Lakeville village in 1855. Mrs. Hartig was a native of Bavaria.

The first child born in the town was Mary Ann, daughter of Patrick and Anna Casey. She was born May 11th, 1854.

The first death in Lakeville, was that of Thos. S. Farnham, who died in February, 1854, from the effects of freezing his feet, while attempting to cross the "seven mile prairie."


The people of Lakeville were social natures, and it is not assumed in these few lines to more than indicate that fact. Strong attachments are always formed among people who have a community of interests, and who daily endure such experiences as ever fall to the lot of the pioneer. They are made generous and open hearted, and the desire for social intercourse and gathering with their neighbors, expands like a flower in the sun. Many a long winter evening, in all settlements, has been whiled away to the music of the merry violin, whose every familiar tone reminded those gathered, of whatever age, of some happy time in the past. Then there is a long list of quiet amusements, all of which no doubt were enjoyed in Lakeville, in the early days.

Captain Rich makes note in his diary of attending a large husking party at J. H. Thurston's in November of 1857. Red ears, he remarks were not very abundant, but luckily a juvenile belonging to the house had provided himself with a box of the article, which he shrewdly peddled at fair rates. A diminutive scarlet ear often took several gentlemen "to Rome," for as soon as the possessor had completed his mission, the passport was made over to another, who immediately commenced his labor of love. After supper, the guests were prepared for the general good time, which, says the captain, they enjoyed until a late hour.

Other parties also were numerous, and in the summer, Lakeville was noted for its picnics. Fourth of July seems to have been a favored time for holding them, and the national day rarely rolled round without being distinguished in this manner. The first picnic in the western part of the county, was held July 4th, 1856, on a knoll in the south-east quarter of section 25. The locality was near Mr. Clark's house, and was known in general terms as the North Grove. Charles Porter, of Empire, was marshal of the day. Alonzo Wetherell, well advanced in years, played the drum and someone, unremembered played the fife. The stars and stripes were displayed, and the thirty people assembled, passed the day with pleasure, and no doubt with patriotic profit.

The following year two or three hundred people gathered at Prairie Lake, on the same anniversary; there was an abundance of good vocal music; prayer was offered by Mr. Charles Smith, of Eureka; the Declaration of Independence was read by G. B. Mallery, and addresses were made by Rev. J. O. Rich and Henry Caska. An arbor was erected, of goodly dimensions, and under its sheltering shade, the long tables fairly creaked with the weight of good things brought by the generous-hearted house-wives.

In 1858, Hon Ignatius Donnelly delivered an address at the annual gathering, and in 1859, on account of a severe hail-storm, on the evening of the third day of July, the picnic which was arranged for the Fourth, was necessarily postponed. This storm did much damage to crops, and such cold followed, that even the hardy settlers were forced to resort to the protection of overcoats and mittens.

On one of these annual occasions, a party of the picnic people at Prairie Lake, procured a sailboat and endeavored to increase the pleasure of the day by a sail. It happened that a tall, overgrown youth was in the party, whose cowardice was only equaled by his ignorance of boats and water. When a short distance from land he became possessed with an intense desire to "go home," and finally was put a shore, though unintentionally on an island. His ideas had been considerably confused by his fright, so starting boldly out in pursuit of the picnic grounds, he of course made a circuit of the island shores, absolutely puzzled, that while on rounding some point he would come in sight of his longed-for destination, he continually failed to reach it. Round, and round, and round, went the unfortunate young man, each circuit seeming to increase the confusion and hopelessness of his situation. But at length, almost in despair, he racked his brain for an explanation of the phenomenon, and happily hit upon the true one. After much shouting, he succeeded in bringing a boatman to his assistance, but alas, he had lost the chief glories of the day.

Many ludicrous incidents attended the getting home from these pleasant occasions, owing to the bad state of the roads and other causes. But whether a wagon load of people became "set" in a slough, or even overturned therein, or in the water of the fords, their good nature was preserved, and their ardor for "good times," undiminished.


In 1857, the hard times commenced. High prices had been paid for everything requisite to start a farm with, except the land, and just as the farmers began to produce something to sell, the prices of produce went down, partly owing to the insufficient means of transportation, all grain being shipped in sacks. In addition to other causes, the shinplasters, which had been issued by the wild-cat banks, became nearly or quite worthless. No money was paid for produce, and, in exchange for goods, wheat was rated at 45 cents per bushel; oats, 30 cents; and buckwheat, 40 cents. During the era of speculation, values had been much inflated, and when the crisis came, the end was a financial crash. There was no sale for property. Men who were heavy land-holders, and considered rich, became troubled to provide for those necessities which demanded the expenditure of cash. People got ragged, and their garments were adorned with patches. The patches got ragged, and they, in turn patched them. This was repeated so often that it was sometimes difficult to tell of what material a garment was originally composed. If a man was seen with whole clothes on, it was at once inferred that he came from without the state, and it was wondered why he had ventured into it. People remained on their farms because they had no means of getting away, since it was almost impossible to get good money for anything they had for sale. One of the settlers succeeded in obtaining money enough to purchase a few yards of white duck. His ingenious wife colored this by the use of sumach berries, and sheathed his old tattered coat with it. Then making a pair of pants out of the same material, he had the appearance of such a well-dressed gentleman, that he is said actually to have been an object of envy.

Dennis Nute was much in need of a pair of shoes, one winter, so he took the two halves of an old valise and put one on each foot, using rags as straps and supports. With these he got along very well, but, say those who beheld him, "Such tracks as he made in the snow beggar the powers of description!"

This gentleman is said to have been peculiar, though shrewd. The clergyman of the town approached him one day and inquired, with becoming gravity, "Do you ever go to meeting, Mr. Nute?" "Yes," said the old man, sharply; "twice a year, ginrally; town meetin' and ginral election!" After a little further conversation of this order, the clergyman left in despair.


In the spring of 1858, a Mr. Egan was murdered in Lakeville, and his murderer, whoever he was, escaped. When last seen, Mr. Egan was going toward his home in company with one John Whalen. It was election day, and both men had been drinking intemperately and had quarreled. Nothing was heard of them any further, until news was brought the following morning that Egan had been found dead in the road with his skull crushed. A party, with Dr. Horace Phelps at its head, started in company with Whalen to the scene of the crime. Whalen's conduct was deemed to be suspicious and he was accordingly arrested. He was examined before Justices James Curry and John Houts, who after deciding him to be guilty, granted him a release on $500 bail. Whalen immediately left the country, and has always been considered as guilty, beyond doubt.


In June, 1851, a meeting was held in S. P. Buker's store, in accordance with the laws of the state, to elect officers, name and organize the township. The following officers were accordingly chosen: Samuel Dunn, chairman; Richard Mc-Clintock, clerk; T. Bradway, treasurer; W. Kean, assessor; S. P. Buker, justice; G. Eaton and Jabez Smith, constables. The following persons were chairmen of the town board for the ensuing years:

* 1859, J. W. Doyle;
* 1860, E. Woodhull was chosen, but was taken sick and his place was filled by D. M. Thurston;
* 1861, S. P. Buker;
* 1862, G. F. Ackley;
* 1863-'64, G. F. Ackley;
* 1865, S. Jenkins;
* 1866, D. F. Akin;
* 1867, G. N. Moody;
* 1868, J. Conniff;
* 1869 '70-'71-'72, I. Perkins;
* 1873, D. C. Johnson;
* 1874, E. W. Bonham;
* 1875, J. D. Moran;
* 1876, R. H. Donaldson;
* 1877-'78, D. F. Akin;
* 1879-'80-'81, J. Myers. J. J. Brackett was the first justice of the peace, and was appointed by Governor Ramsey, and served until the election in 1858. S. P. Buker was then elected, who continued in office as long as he remained in the township. D. C. Johnson has served as justice nineteen years, being the present incumbent.


The first school taught in the township was in G. F. Ackley's log shanty on the Dodd road, north-west of section 29. This was in the winter of 1855-6, and is said to have been taught by William Cummings. Early in the spring of 1856 steps were taken for the formation of school district No. 44. This seems to have been a joint district between Eureka and Lakeville. The school was kept during the summer in Elder Brown's claim shanty, and was taught by Mrs. Jason H. Paine.

In 1856 a few of the early settlers met to consult as to the expediency of forming a school district. They soon organized by electing M. Sheridan director; John Brennan, clerk; Henry Casey, treasurer. The following year half an acre of land was donated to the district by Mr. Kean, Sr. on condition that the district should erect a schoolhouse. Money was immediately raised by subscription, and a house built on this land, which was situated in the south-west quarter of section 8. It was a frame building eighteen by twenty-four feet. The school was opened with Mrs. Mary A. Kean as teacher, and with twenty scholars enrolled. It was successfully continued until 1873, when the building was destroyed by fire. The district immediately rebuilt on the same site, but in 1879, through the carelessness of the teacher leaving a fire at night this house suffered the same fate as the first. About this time it was deemed desirable to divide the district, which was accordingly done, the old one remaining No. 45 and the new one being designated as No. 102. District No. 45 now purchased half an acre of land in the north-east quarter of section 17, and proceeded to build their third school-house. This is a fine frame building twenty by thirty feet, nicely furnished, and was built at a cost of $550. The present teacher is Miss Casserly, and there are thirty-live scholars on the roll.

The organization of school district No. 41 was commenced at the house of Thomas Hyland, in 1858, by the election of officers, etc. The first school was opened in Mr. Watson's claim shanty, on the shore of the small lake known as Carleton's lake, with Miss Ellen Brown as teacher, and with fifteen scholars in attendance. Soon after, a board shanty was built in the southern part of section 1, where school was held until 1860, when the present house was built. It is a frame building eighteen by thirty feet, was erected at a cost of $500, and is situated in the south-west quarter of section 1.

In 1858 school district No. 42 was organized and the first school was taught in a shanty on the land of C. Smith, in the north-east quarter of section 23, by Miss A. Amidon, with an attendance of ten pupils. School was transferred soon after to the house of Mr. Hosmer, and still again to that of Mr. Alderman. About 1865 or '66 half an acre of land was given to the district by Wells Wescott, on condition that it should always be used for school purposes. A school-house was accordingly built on this land, which is situated in the north-east quarter of section 22. This is a frame building twenty-two by twenty-eight feet. The present teacher is Mrs. Craft, who has thirty-eight pupils in attendance.

Early in 1859, a school was opened by Miss Louise Wetherell in her own house, in the northeast quarter of section 36, with ten or twelve scholars. In the autumn of this year a district was organized, and known as district No. 43. Mr. Earle donated a shanty 12x14 feet, which the district moved to the north-east quarter of section 35, where school was held until Mr. Earle had other use for the shanty and removed it. A house was then procured of J. Curry, which was moved to the north-west quarter of section 35. In 1864, a school-house was built on the north-west quarter of section 36, a frame structure 16x20 feet, plainly furnished, costing $300; Miss Martha Seward is the teacher at the present time, and has an attendance of eight scholars.

Previous to the organization of district No. 46, a school was opened in an old shoe-shop, in the old village of Lakeville, and taught by Sampson Torry, who had about twenty scholars, and still later the school was removed to a vacant building near the shoe-shop. In 1857, the district was organized and a school-house was built on Second street, of the old village, but when completed, some difficulty arose, and the contractor took possession, and now lives in it, though it has been moved from the old village. A second schoolhouse was built on the corner of land owned by G. Phelps. This house was occupied until it was burned in 1867. A third house was built on a quarter of an acre of land situated in the northwest quarter of section 29. In 1877, the district was divided, and the new portion was designated as No. 100. The latter took the school-house and sold it, and it is now in use as a blacksmith's shop. District No. 46 built a new house in the north-east quarter of section 30, a frame building 20x24 feet, at a cost of $125.

District No. 100, as mentioned above, was formerly a portion of district No. 46. It was set off by a petition of the citizens, by a special act of legislature, January, 1878. Bonds were issued to the amount of $1,000, and steps were immediately taken for the building of a new school-house. Lots one and two, in Berras' addition, were purchased, and a frame building 24x36 ft. was immediately erected. The attendance is large, the register having at present about fifty names.

The division of district No. 45, by which district No. 102 was formed has already been mentioned. The organization of the new district took place in 1879, and in the following year half an acre of land on the north-east quarter of section six was bought, and a frame building 16x20 feet was erected. The first school was taught by Leonard Coulter with fourteen scholars in attendance.


The first religious service ever held in the town was at the house of Michael Johnson, by the Rev. Father McMahon, of the Roman Catholic church. The first Protestant services were conducted by George Eaton, at the house of George Fagan, in 1855. The first Methodist preaching regularly established was by Rev. L. D. Brown, Rev. J. O. Rich preaching occasionally. The claim shanty of Mr. Brown was used for a school-house, and also for religious services. It stood on the northwest quarter of section 33, nearly opposite the Vermillion school-house. Meetings were held also in private houses, until the school-house was built. Mr. Brown preached one year, and was succeeded by Mr. Milford in the fall of 1857. The Rev. J. O. Rich was appointed in charge of this circuit until the spring of 1859, when the circuit was divided, Mr. Rich going to Minneapolis, and Mr. Barkalo succeeding to this part of the circuit.

The first Presbyterian service was by Rev. J. G. Riheldaffer and Mr. Sterritt, at the house of Mr. Sayers. In 1857, Rev. F. A. Pratt commenced labor at this place, and continued there until 1864. After the erection of the Vermillion school-house, the Methodists and Presbyterians held services there on alternate Sundays, until a church was built in Eureka.

Rev. Dr. Breck held the first Episcopal service in town, at the house of D. M. Thurston, in the summer of 1861. He came but once or twice, and was succeeded by Rev. Timothy Wilcoxson, of Hastings. His faithfulness is shown by the way in which he kept his appointments. The distance from Hastings is twenty-two miles, which he always traveled on foot, and sometimes in weather quite unsuitable for a horse to brave. These different services were continued with varying regularity until Farmington was built, and now, with the exception of the Roman Catholics, there are no established churches in Lakeville.

In 1867, Thomas Hyland gave to St. Joseph's Catholic church seven acres of land for a cemetery and church. Three acres of this land, which was situated in the north-east quarter of section 2, was set aside for the erection of a church, which was soon after built of wood, 36x70 feet in dimensions. The society became very prosperous, having a congregation of one hundred and fifty members. A sudden and terrible catastrophe, however, has deprived them of their church edifice, and the congregation now worships in Rosemount. On the 7th of May, 1881, a violent hurricane came sweeping through a portion of the town, demolishing this church in its track, and carrying portions of it as far as a quarter of a mile away. The bell, which had a heavy frame attached and weighed twelve hundred pounds, was found one hundred and fifty feet from the site of the church.

As an off-shoot of St. Joseph's church in 1877, the church of All Saints was formed, and two acres of land were purchased from the railroad company situated in the south-east quarter of section 29. A church 36x100 feet, was immediately erected upon this ground, and services were conducted by Rev. Father Ostler, of St. Joseph's. Rev. Father Kimmel is now their presiding priest, and services are held in the church twice every month.


In July, 1868, one acre of land was given by Samuel Osborn to the trustees of the Presbyterian church for a cemetery. The grounds are pleasantly located on a hill-side in the south-east quarter of section 25, but they have never been surveyed nor platted, and there is no regular avenue of approach laid out. The body of Miss Ada Bacon was laid here first in 1859, before the land was formally devoted to its present use. The officers of the Presbyterian church, act as officers of the cemetery.

Four acres of land were surveyed and platted in 1868, by Andrew Keegan, and called St. .Joseph's cemetery. This land is situated in the north-west quarter of section 1. The first interment was a daughter of Thomas Murray, and there are now about one hundred and fifty bodies buried there. The present officers are John Kelly and Thomas Hyland. The storm of 1881, did great damage to many of the monuments in the yard.

All Saint's Cemetery is situated about half a mile south of the village of Lakeville, and comprises three acres of land, set aside for this purpose in 1880. There has been as yet no survey or platting of the grounds, and it is not enclosed, but the location is pleasant, and it will undoubtedly in time become an attractive spot.


The first post-office was established in Mr. Brackett's house, with G. Phelps as postmaster, as early as 1854. It was soon removed to Mr. Phelps' house, in the north-west quarter of section 29. From that time until 1871, it was removed many times and kept in different places, as Postmaster after postmaster succeeded each other. It is now situated in McClintock and Moran's store, near the depot, with Mr. McClintock as postmaster.

In July, 1854, J. J. Brackett made a contract with the government to carry mail from St. Paul to Faribault. In making each trip, he occupied two days in going and two in returning. The stage was a lumber box wagon, drawn by two horses. He started every Monday morning from St. Paul, and arrived at his home, in Lakeville, Monday night, here he staid over night with such passengers as he chanced to have with him, and in the morning they resumed their journey, arriving in Faribault, Tuesday night. The return trip was made in the same way, spending Wednesday night in Lakeville, and reaching St. Paul, Thursday night. Mr. Brackett acted also as an agent for settlers. As St. Paul was the nearest place for procuring provisions, etc., he often had his wagon loaded with parcels of a very miscellaneous description. Cats at $5 per head have been known to become his passengers. The ordinary fare for one trip was $2.50. The only road at this time was an Indian trail known as Black Dog's trail. Bands of Indians were often encountered, but they never proved troublesome. This route became a very important one, and was afterwards extended to West Union, Iowa. Mr. Brackett had also another route, extending from Red Wing to Shakopee. There was a law known as the mail contractors' law, giving to mail contractors the right to claim 640 acres of land every twenty miles on the route. Under this law, Mr. Brackett claimed five sections in different parts of the state. Six months before his contract expired, he was offered $36,000 for his claims, but he refused. He had previously pre-empted 520 acres in parts of sections 19, 20, 29 and 30, and an entire section in Steele county. Gov. Hendricks, who was general land commissioner at Washington, decided that the contractors' pre-emption law was for long routes only, and as Mr. Brackett's route was a short one, he had no right to any of the land. Mr. Brackett immediately set out for Washington, and through the instrumentality of H. M. Rice, who was then delegate, a special law was passed making Mr. Brackett's claim good on land already pre-empted, and for all other contractors who had pre-empted land.


In 1854, George Fagan built a log house for the accommodation of the traveling public. It was of unhewn logs, sixteen feet square, with a loft, and was situated near the lake on land owned by Richard McClintock. It was well patronized, and it was no uncommon occurrence for twenty persons to put up there for the night. Indeed, on one occasion, thirty-four guests were accommodated under the friendly and elastic roof at one time, General Shields and Hon. Levi Nutting being among the number. The following summer, an addition fourteen feet square was made to the building.
[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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