Dakota County Minnesota
NOTE: The following history is from an 1882 publication, the term "town" is sometimes used when referring to the township.
This town is situated in the southern part of Dakota county, and is bounded on the north by Castle Rock and Hampton, on the east by Goodhue County, and on the west by Sciota. It is separated from Goodhue county, on the south, by the Cannon river, which flows through sections 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11,12, 13, 14 and 18.
Chub creek also enters the town in section 7. Passing in all easterly direction, through that section and section 8, it takes a south-easterly course, and empties into the Cannon in the southwest quarter of section 9.
The surface of the town is principally rolling prairie. The soil being sandy in its nature, and with a sandy sub-soil. The south-western portion of the town, along the banks of Chub creek, is well timbered, while in sections 2, 3 and 11, there is a range of high bluffs.
John Richmond came to this township in May, of 1854, from Rockford, Ill., where he had resided one year, working at his trade of stonemason. He landed in Hastings, May 1st, having come by steamer from Dubuque, Iowa. After some land hunting, he chose the south-west quarter of section 9, for a permanent home. During the summer, Mr. Richmond secured a quantity of hay, and procured lumber with which to build him a house. He then went to Ohio for some stock, and returned late in the fall, with thirty cows. But a sad misfortune had visited him in his absence. The prairie fires had swept over the township and devoured his stores of hay and lumber.
Undiscouraged, and with the spirit of a genuine pioneer, he at once began to prepare a place for the reception of his family. He made an excavation sixteen feet square in the hill-side, and cut logs, out of which to construct a front and roof. The roof was covered with sods, and the front tightly chinked. A blanket served for a door, and a piece of cotton tacked over a hole, two feet square, constituted the only window.
Into this "home," which they called the "dugout," Mr. Richmond moved his family the first of December. This little group consisted of one daughter, Rosetta, aged fourteen, and four sons, all younger. Miss Rosetta is said to have been the first white lady in the town. She lived in the "dug-out" six months, without seeing but one of her own sex.
Mr. Richmond's cattle subsisted through the winter, by browsing, except that eighteen of them were kept, a part of the season, by someone in Hastings.
The following summer a residence was built of logs, on the hill, split logs being used for a roof. The roof leaked badly, however, and on extreme occasions an extra roof would be made of the bed, until that too, succumbed to the watery element. The "dug-out" was occupied winters, for several years. In the fall of 1855, a door was made, and the cotton window gave place to one of glass.
It was here that the second marriage in the town was celebrated, that of Rosetta Richmond and David H. Morrill. They were married by Rev. J. R. Barnes, March 11th, 1857.
Richard Morrill settled in Randolph, in 1854, or at least located a claim here, in the fall of that year, on section 8. He came to Point Douglas in August, from Shullsburg, Wisconsin, and the following April, settled his family on the claim. The previous winter he had bought lumber at St. Paul, and erected a temporary hut, in the spring, which the family occupied until fall. A large frame house was then built, 20x32 feet.
On one occasion Mr. and Mrs. Morrill entertained twelve Sioux Indians for the night. They had two Chippewa scalps, over which they were rejoicing greatly; yet they were respectful and departed in due season. Mr. Morrill still lives on his original claim.
D. B. Hulbert came from Wisconsin, in May, 1855, and endeavored to locate on section 10. Finding that the land had another claimant, he made choice of the south-east quarter of section 9. Mr. Hulbert was a member of the first town board, and prominent in all the early town affairs. In 1864, he removed to California, and is now a resident of that state.
In May, 1855, Rev. Charles Curran settled on the south-east quarter of section 10. He started from Indiana with an ox team, the March previous, and spent two weeks in Vermillion county, Illinois. On arriving at his claim, he built a log house 12x14 feet, using bark for a roof. Mr. Curran was identified with the religious interests of the town, having been connected with Methodist conferences, in Indiana. He preached the first sermon in the town, early in 1856. He lived in Randolph until 1864, when he became a resident of Hampton. He died at Northfield September 22d, 1868, while returning home from a journey.
George H. Brooks accompanied Rev. Mr. Curran in 1855, and laid claim to the north east quarter of section 10. He held the office of town clerk for one year. In 1864, he removed to Hampton, where he still lives.
Miles Patten also made a claim in the spring of 1855, embracing the south-west quarter of section 10. The following spring he sold his land to James Hassen. Mr. Patten is now a resident of Sciota.
Another settler of 1855, was Alfred Hardy, who made a claim partly on section 7, in Randolph, and partly in Goodhue county. He built his house in Randolph. In the fall of 1857 he visited his old home in Merrimack county, New Hampshire, and never returned to this township except to dispose of his property. He was unable to resist the attraction of the Granite Hills, among which he had been reared.
James Jacobs, from Wisconsin, laid claim in the spring of 1855, to the north-east quarter of section 8. In 1859 he removed to California, and died there in 1865.
Noah H. Kendall, from Hampshire county, Massachusetts, made a claim of the south-east quarter of section 11. This was also in 1855, but he resided in Cannon Falls, Goodhue county, until 1857. The Kendall family lived in Randolph until July, 1878, when they returned to Cannon Falls.
In the fall of 1855. Samuel Eddy, from Ohio, settled on the north-west quarter of section 7. He was identified with the early politics of the town, and served as first assessor. After a few years he removed to his present home in Sparta, Wisconsin.
Robert Mings, from Beloit, Wisconsin, located in section 3, on land now owned by John Hulrley. In 1859, he married Miss Mary, daughter of James Bell, an early settler of Marshan. Mr. Mings lived in the township several years, when he removed to Marshan. He died there, of small pox, during the "big storm" of January, 1873.
J. S. Sheppard came from New York state and settled in the north-west quarter of section 11. He was elected to two positions at the first town election. He remained in Randolph several years.
Joseph Daniels, of St. Paul, made a claim in section 1. He never lived here, but had 100 acres of the land broken, in the summer of 1855.He continued to hold it until 1860, when he sold it to a Mr. Armstrong, also of St. Paul.
Ara Barton came here in the fall of 1855 from New York state. Being a brother-in-law of Mr. Daniels, he took charge of his Randolph property. Mr. Barton was the first chairman of the town board. In 1863, he enlisted and was captain of Company D, of Brackett's Independent Battalion. After the war, he removed to Northfield, and at present is the sheriff of Rice county, with a residence at Faribault.
The first birth in the town was that of George, son of Mr. and Mrs. Kleeberger. He was born in April, 1856.
The first marriage was that of Charles Lewis, of Lewiston, and Mary, daughter of Richard Morrill, of Randolph. The ceremony was performed at the house of Mr. Morrill, December 31st, 1856, Rev. J. R. Barnes officiating.
At a meeting of the county board, held April 20th, 1858, the town of Richmond was formed, and so named in honor of John Richmond, the first settler within its limits. It consisted of all in the county of township 112, range 18 west. The meeting for the election of town officers was appointed May 27th, 1858, at the school-house in district No. 29. At a session of the county board, held September 18th, 1858, it was found necessary to change the name of the new town, as there was another Richmond in the state. It was decided to call the town Wheatland. At the next session of the board, held October 30th, 1858, the state authorities sent notice that the name of the town must again be changed, as Wheatland was a town in Rice county. D. B. Hulbert, an admirer of the Virginia statesman, John Randolph, suggested that his distinguished surname be given to the town. Randolph was accordingly adopted. On the 11th day of May, 1858, the legal voters met at the house of D B. Hulbert, on section 9, for the purpose of duly organizing the town, according to the provisions of the state legislature enacted in 1857-'8.
D. B. Hulbert was elected moderator, and J. L. Armington, clerk. The name of the town was voted on, and Richmond received a majority of the votes cast. This was all the recorded business.
At the next meeting. May 27th, 1858, D. B. Hulbert, Ara Barton and Richard Morrill, were constituted judges of election, and J. L. Armington, clerk. Town officers were then balloted for, with the following result: Ara Barton, D. B. Hulbert, Richard Morrill, supervisors; J. L. Armington, clerk: Levi C. Hillman and William Velie, justices; Samuel Eddy, assessor; J. S. Sheppard, collector, J. S. Sheppard and H. H. Velie, constables; Charles Curran, overseer of poor; Noah Kendall, road-master.
CENSUS AND VALUATION.
The population of the town is one hundred and forty-four. The valuation in 1860, was $30,783; in 1870, $57,883; in 1880, $115,130.
The following gentlemen have served as chairmen of the town board of supervisors, and as town clerks, since the first annual meeting.
- 1859-Ara Barton, chairman; J. L. Armington, clerk.
- 1860-D. B. Hulbert, chairman; J. L. Armington, clerk.
- 1861-W. Paxton, chairman; Samuel Eddy, clerk. At this town meeting held April 2d, 1861, Samuel Eddy and H. H. Velie, each received the same number of votes for town clerk, and at the first meeting of the town board, April 13th, Samuel Eddy was appointed to that position.
- 1862-David H. Morrill, chairman; H. H. Velie, clerk.
- 1863-David H. Morrill, chairman; D. B. Hulbert, clerk.
- 1864-Charles Curran, chairman; G. H. Brooks, clerk.
- 1865-G. W. Penniman, chairman; F. D. Barlow, clerk.
- 1866-G. W. Penniman, chairman; Charles Smith, clerk.
- 1867-Charles Smith, chairman; J. W. Hasson, clerk.
- 1878--Charles Smith, chairman; P. F. Penniman, clerk.
- 1869-Charles Smith, chairman; Stephen Mallet, clerk.
- 1870- R. B. Morrill, chairman; J. E. Jenkins, clerk.
- 1871-D. H. Morrill, chairman; J. E. Jenkins, clerk.
- 1872-D. H. Morrill, chairman; J. E. Jenkins, clerk.
- 1873-Charles Smith, chairman; J. E. Jenkins, clerk.
- 1874-Eli Ellsworth, chairman; J. E. Jenkins, clerk.
- 1875-Eli Ellsworth, chairman; J. E. Jenkins, clerk.
- 1876-Charles Smith, chairman; J. E. Jenkins, clerk.
- 1877-William H. Foster, chairman; J. E. Jenkins, clerk.
- 1878-James H. Abbott, chairman. J. E. Jenkins, clerk.
- 1879-Jas. H. Abbott, chairman; J. E. Jenkins, clerk.
- 1880-Charles Smith, chairman; J. E. Jenkins, clerk. During this year J. E. Jenkins removed to Hastings, and B. McElrath, was appointed clerk.
- 1881-Chas. Smith, chairman; B. McElrath, clerk.
In the early spring of 1858, a log school-house was built on the north-east quarter of section 9, being the first school-house built within the limits of this town. The first term of school taught in the town, was in this house, by Miss Annie Clifford. The school district, at its organization, was designated as No. 29, and so called until about 1861, when the districts throughout the county were divided into sub-districts, and numbered by the township, and this was then known as No. 1. At the re-numbering of the districts in 1862,it was designated as No. 66, which number it still retains.
This organization embracing the whole of township 112, range 18, in the county, continued until 1867, when some dissatisfaction arose among the inhabitants, and it was thought best to divide it. Thereupon the central portion of the town formed a joint district with the southern part of Hampton, the eastern portion joining the Cannon Falls district in Goodhue county, and the western part forming district 83. They procured of William Smith, of Hampton, the old school-house of district No. 57, in which the first school in that town was taught, and moved it to the south-west corner of section 34. Miss Amelia Lemen was engaged to teach during the summer of 1857, but the school had been in session only a few weeks, when the house was burned, which was supposed to be the work of an incendiary. A rough board shanty was soon erected, where Miss Lemen finished her term, and during the fall a new schoolhouse was erected on the north-west corner of section 3, where it still stands. That portion of the township 112, range 18, in the county, that had before joined the Cannon Falls district, with the exception of the north-east quarter of section 12, has since returned to this district.
At the division of No. 66, district No. 83 was organized forming a joint district with Sciota, and Stanton, of Goodhue county, to embrace the south half of section 12, with section 13, and the north half of section 24, in Sciota township, the north half of section 18, Stanton township, and three-fourths of 5, with sections 6, 7 and 8, in Randolph township. A school-house was built in June, 1867, at a cost of $450. Bonds were issued for this amount, to bear 10 per cent interest, due in two years, which the members of the district took, paying for them face value. The school-house is located on the south half of the south-west quarter of section 7. The first school taught in the district was in the summer of 1867. Regular sessions have been held in this district during the school terms since its organization.
The first public religious service held in this town was at the house of Richard Morrill, in the spring of 1856, Rev. Charles Curran, a local preacher of the Methodist denomination, officiating. He continued to hold service at the place every Sabbath, until the fall of 1857, at which time the Methodist Episcopal Conference assigned the town to the Cannon Falls' Circuit, and gave the charge to the Rev. Mr. Hitchcock. In the summer of 1858, he organized a class of about twenty-two members at the school-house, in district No. 29. A Sunday-school was organized in connection with this society, early in 1856, at the house of Mr. Morrill, and sessions were continued in this place until the school-house was built in 1858, where they were afterwards held. The church and school continued to prosper, and increase in members and interest until the war broke out, when, for a time, all religious services were discontinued.
A church was organized at Lewiston, Sciota township, by J. R. Barnes, Congregationalist, sometime in 1858 or 1859, and continued there until Lewiston became a "thing of the past," when for a while they were without any regular service. In 1870, the members of this church united with a few from Randolph township, and organized a church at the school house, in district 83, with Rev. Mr. Morrill, of Cannon Falls as their pastor, who continued to have the charge until 1874. After his departure, an appointment was made for this place by the Methodist Episcopal Conference, and Rev. David Higgins, was assigned to preach there every two weeks. He was succeeded by Rev. Mr. Tucker, and he by Rev. Mr. Bowles, and in 1880, Rev. W. H. Soules took the charge as pastor, holding service in that place at the present time twice per month.
A Sunday-school was organized in connection with this church, in 1870, as a union school. They held regular sessions every Sabbath, until the autumn of 1880, when the prevalence of diphtheria for a while rendered it necessary to discontinue the school. However, in the following spring it was revived, and now numbers about thirty scholars.
The cemetery is the property of the town, and is under the control of the town board. It is situated in the north-east quarter of section 8, and the north-west quarter of section 9, and contains about three acres. The land was donated by D. H. Morrill and J. W. Penniman. The first interment made in this ground, was that of a Miss Reinhardt, of Hampton; the second was Mrs. James Hassan, who died in December, 1857, which was the first death within the limits of this town. This cemetery was for a time enclosed with the farm of Mr. Penniman. In 1877, it was enclosed by a wire fence, and in 1879, was surrounded by shade trees. It contains at present about thirty graves.
In 1858 or '59, the Velie brothers came to this township from Sciota, and erected a saw-mill on Chub creek, locating it on the south-east of the north-west quarter of section 9, putting up a frame building, 16x40 feet, with one upright saw. They operated this mill until they entered the army in 1862, when the property went to Mr. Richmond, on whose land it was situated. It was soon after moved to section 7 by D. H. Morrill, and used as a barn.
The only mercantile business ever carried on within the limits of this township was by Velie Brothers. In some of their trading operations, they came into possession of a stock of goods, consisting mostly of crockery and dry goods. These they moved into a store or shop, erected near the mill, and Randolph boasted of "a store" until this stock of goods was disposed of.
A cheese factory was built in 1871 by Eli Ellsworth, and located on his farm in south-east quarter of section 10. It was in operation for five or six years, but not proving a financial success, was abandoned, and the building now stands, a reminder of what should have been a great addition to the dairy interests of this town, so favorably situated to carry on this branch of industry successfully.
[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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