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Dakota County Minnesota 
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Sciota 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.


This town is situated in the southern part of the county and contains but fifteen sections of land. It is bounded on the north by Castle Rock, on the east by the town of Randolph and Goodhue county, on the south by Rice county and on the west by Waterford. At the session of the board of county commissioners held at Hastings, April 6th, 1858, for the purpose of forming the boundaries of the different towns in the county, Sciota was set off with all in the county of township 112, range 19. At another session held April 20th, following, this action was re-considered, and the west half of Sciota was taken to form Waterford. The Cannon river crosses the west line of the town about eighty rods south of the north-west corner of section 22, and flows north-easterly, crossing the east line at the southeast corner of section 12. Chub creek crosses the west line about eighty rods south of the north-west corner of section 15, flows northeasterly and south-easterly, crossing the east line about a half-mile north of the Cannon river. Another small stream crosses the north line, flows south and empties into Chub creek about a mile below. All the timber in the town is on a small island in the Cannon river. The surface in the extreme north is a beautiful, undulating prairie, with an occasional knoll containinig gravel, and in some places limestone appears. Between Chub creek and the Cannon river it is mostly level, the soil being a rich black loam. South of the Cannon river an occasional high knoll appears, some of them containing gravel and others limestone, which furnishes excellent building stone. Several quarries have been opened. The soil, generally, is a black loam, with a generous mixture of sand in places. The principal product is wheat. Corn and other grains are raised extensively. The town is purely agricultural, having neither mills, stores nor shops of any kind. These conveniences happen to be located just beyond her borders in other towns.

The first settlers in the town were Charles Lewis and his son "Zach" and Charles, Jr. They came in 1854. Mr. Lewis made a townsite claim in sections 14, 15 and 22. Most of it being on the north side of the Cannon river. In the spring of 1855, he had the ground surveyed and a town laid out, which he called Lewiston. The settlement from that time was quite rapid, and the embryo city began to grow. In 1856, a bridge was built across the Cannon river, the first one built across that stream. S. N. Casey obtained an interest in the town and built a small flouring mill. C. T. Collins built a commodious hotel. A Mr. Amsden built a store, Mr. Lewis a blacksmith shop and a number of private residences. Few towns of its age, had better prospects, and had the proprietors been wiser, a thriving town might have built up. But they, thinking their town was an undoubted success, put their property at top prices and drove many away who would have been glad to make it their future home. The Archibald's came in with a view to erecting mills on an extensive scale, but the exorbitant price wanted for the mill-site, caused them to look elsewhere, and the pleasant little village of Dundas in Rice county, is the result. In the meantime other towns around had sprung up and soon distanced Lewiston. The decline began, and but a short time elapsed before the town was a thing of the past. The buildings were moved away by the owners. The bridge was washed away by a freshet. Parties looking the ground over would not suspect there ever had been a village there. Mr. Lewis now lives in Minneapolis, where he moved some years since. His son Zach made a claim in the north-west quarter of section 22, which he sold and made another just north of it. This he also kept but a short time. Charles, Jr., made his claim in the north part of section 15, and lived on it several years, then sold and left with his father and brother for Minneapolis. Zach is now in California, and Charles in Dakota. Edward Hone also came in 1851, and made a claim in the northwest quarter of section 23. He soon sold and returned to his former home in Washington county.

Those that came in later, previous to 1856, were George Daniels, J. C. and J. H. Couper, A. J. Kibbe, Alexander and James McCulloch, E. B. and Ebenezer Slocum, C. B. Bullock, James Law, a Mr. Woodworth and his sons Hamilton and Nelson, C. T. Collins, John Hoople and his son David, G. C. and Mark Chamberlain, Deacon Roland Weeks, Walter Hunter, and Frederick Kleeberger. Mr. Daniels located in the south-west quarter of section 2, where he still lives. The Coupers selected the east half of section 14. J. H. lived on his claim a number of years, then sold out and moved to Faribault county, settling about three miles from Blue Earth City. J. C. remained on his until 1866, with the exception of three years, during which he served in the army, when he sold out and bought a farm in Rice county. He is now manager in the Granville Mills in Goodhue county.

Mr. Kibbe located in the north-west quarter of section 14, where he has since lived, having added to his farm largely by purchase. Alexander McCulloch made his claim in the north-east quarter of section 13, where he still lives, having a fine farm and nice home. James McCulloch made his claim partly in the south-east quarter of section 13 and partly in Goodhue county. He lived in the town a few years, when he moved to Iowa, where he died in 1879. Mr. Collins came and built the hotel in Lewiston, as elsewhere stated, which he operated a few years, then sold out. He died in Northfield during the summer of 1880. E. B. Slocum located in section 3, where he still lives, having a fine farm, having added to the original claim by purchase. Elijah Slocum also located in section 3, where he lived several years, then moved to the south side of the Cannon river, and eventually to Northfield where he now lives, following the trade of shoemaking.

Mr. Bullock located in section 24, where he lived a number of years, when he moved to Northlfield, where he now resides. Mr. Law is a native of Scotland; he first settled in Canada, where he remained a year then moved to Minnesota and settled in this town. He made two pre-emptions, the north-east quarter and the south-east quarter of section 27. He now owns the second one, viz: the south-east quarter. He went to Northfield in 1873, where he now lives.

Mr. Woodworth made his claim in the south-east quarter of section 23, which he stayed on sufficient to prove up, when he returned to Ohio, where he died. His son Hamilton, made a claim in Rice county, but made his home in Lewistown, which he continued to do for a number of years, when he moved to Otter Tail county. Nelson Woodworth made his claim in the west central part of section 15, which he lived on a number of years. Being on a prominent road he opened an entertainment house, which he kept until about the year 1866. He also lives in Otter Tail county. Another entertainment house was kept by a Mr. Sherwood on the south side of section 1, which he continued as travel demanded, a number of years after Mr. Woodworth closed.

Mr. Hoople made his claim partly in sections 12 and 13, where he lived until he died, about ten years later. His son, David, made a claim in the south-east quarter of section 12, where he lived a few years, then sold and moved to the southwestern part of the town and eventually, to Waseca county, where he now lives. G. C. Chamberlain made his claim partly in the two towns, Sciota and Waterford, but built a cabin in Sciota. He subsequently built across the line in Waterford, where he now lives. Mark Chamberlain located in the north-west quarter of section 10, where he lived a number of years. He served in the army and also represented his section in the state legislature and is now living in Iowa. Deacon Weeks made his claim then returned to Wisconsin for his family, and came back in the spring of 1856. He lived on his claim several years when he sold and moved into Waterford, where he now lives. Mr. Hunter made his claim in the south-west quarter of section 22, which he lived on long enough to prove up, then located in section 14. After many changes and vicissitudes in life, he died in St. Paul in the spring of 1878.

Mr. Kleeberger came in with his family that year and made a claim. His son, Hiram F., is now living on a farm in section 24.

A few of the earlier ones of 1856, were John M. Scott, Stephen N. Casey, John Hunter and Horace Jamison. Mr. Scott was town clerk thirteen years in all, twelve years in succession. He moved to Otter Tail county about two years ago. Mr. Jamison entered the army and was killed by the Indians on the frontier. Mr. Casey, as before mentioned, took an active interest in the building up of the village of Lewiston. He died early in the sixties near Hastings.

The first child born in the town was a son of J. C. Couper. He was born October 6th, 1855, and died the next day. This was also the first death in the town. The second birth in the town was that of a daughter of A. J. Kibbe and wife. She was born April 2d, 1856. On account of the death of its mother shortly after, the child was sent to its grandmother near Pecatonica, Illinois, where it died in October following. Mrs. Kibbe was the first grown person that died in the town. She was buried in the cemetery on the farm, which Mr. Kibbe subsequently had set apart for that purpose.

The first marriage in the town was that of Zach Lewis to Miss Simons. Owing to the absence of interested participants in the affair, we are unable to give dates.


The first town meeting was held May 11th, 1858, at the Lewiston hotel. E. B. Higgins was chosen moderator and Henry Hoople clerk. After the usual preliminaries necessary to organization, they proceeded to the election of town officers for the ensuing year. They were as follows: M. A. Chamberlain, chairman; Alex McCulloch and C. B. Bullock, supervisors; Henry Hoople, clerk; W. C. Marshall, assessor; J. B. Hawkins, collector; Joseph Sidwell and B. M. Knight, justices; J. B. Hawkins and E. B. Wilson, constables; Zach Lewis, overseer of roads.

Following, we give the names of the members of the board and town clerks, by years, to the present time, the first name, in all cases, being the chairman of the board:

1859-J. C. Couper, Alexander McCulloch, A. J. Kibbe, supervisors; W. N. Woodworth, clerk.
1860-J. B. Hawkins, G. C. Chamberlain, J. H. Couper, supervisors; W. N. Wood, clerk.
1861-H. F. Webb, Horace Jamison, W. H. Conver, supervisors; J. C. Couper, clerk. Mr. Jamison resigned and J. R. Jones was appointed in his place, December 23d, 1861.
1862-H. F. Webb, J. B. Hawkins, John R. Jones, supervisors; J. C. Couper, clerk. Mr. Couper resigned as clerk and James Law was appointed in his place, November 4th, 1862. Mr. Hawkins also resigned his position as supervisor, and his place was filled by the appointment of R. C. Snyder.
1863-Walter Hunter, A. J. Kibbe, Samuel Bullock, supervisors; J. M. Scott, clerk.
1864-David Higgins, Alexander McCulloch, Ebenezer Slocum, supervisors; J. M. Scott, clerk. Mr. Slocum refused to qualify and Nathaniel Terry was appointed in his place, April 30th, 1864.
1865-Nathaniel Terry, Alexander McCulloch, W. N. Woodworth, supervisors, J. M. Scott, clerk. Mr. Terry resigned his position as chairman, and J. C. Couper was appointed in his place, January 6th, 1866.
1866-John R. Jones, Alexander McCulloch, John E. Wilson, supervisors; J. M. Scott, clerk. Mr. McCulloch resigned and James Law was appointed in his stead.
1867-B. McElrath, J. E. Wilson, A. J. Palmo, supervisors; J. M. Scott, clerk. On account of the resignation of Mr. McElrath, Geo. Danieis was elected in his place at a special election, held June 8th, 1867.
1868-Geo. Wells, Geo. McNeal, Arthur Dickson, supervisors; J. M. Scott, clerk. Mr. Dickson resigned and 0. J. Austin was appointed to fill the vacancy, January 2d, 1869.
1869 and 1870-George Wells, George McNeal, O. J. Austin, supervisors; J. M. Scott, clerk.
1871 and 1872-George Wells, 0. J. Austin, A. J. Kibbe, supervisors; J. M. Scott, clerk.
1873-P. F. Penniman, 0. J. Austin, T. W. Wallace, supervisors; J. M. Scott, clerk.
1874-A. W. Riddle, T. W. Wallace, J. W. Hunter, supervisors; J. M. Scott, clerk.
1875-A. W. Riddle, J. W. Hunter, J. D. Wilson, supervisors; J. F. McCulloch, clerk.
1876-C. B. Bullock, James Hunter, John E. Wilson, supervisors; A. J. Kibbe, clerk. Mr. Kibbe resigned as clerk, and J. M. Scott was appointed in his place September 27th, 1876.
1877-A. J. Kibbe, William Ramage, James Hunter, supervisors; W. T. Law, clerk.
1878-A. J. Kibbe, William Ramage, Walter Hunter, supervisors; W. T. Law, clerk.
1879-I. D. Wilson, George Grant, Walter Hunter, supervisors; W. T. Law, clerk.
1880-George Grant, 0. J. Austin, William Hunter, supervisors; W. T. Law, clerk.
1881-P. F. Penniman, Walter Hunter, George Grant, supervisors; W. T. Law, clerk; James Hunter, assessor; William Ramage, treasurer; T. W. Johnson and I. D. Wilson, justices; John Hunter and Albert Bowe, constables. On account of the resignation of Mr. Law, James Hunter was appointed clerk, April 29th, 1881.

In accordance with a petition of the freeholders of the town, a special town meeting was held August 24th, 1864, for the purpose of raising money to pay bounty to volunteers and to facilitate the filling of the quota of the town, under the last call of the president for troops. A resolution was presented, and carried, to raise two thousand dollars, or as much thereof as may be deemed necessary to use in paying bounties to volunteers accredited to the town. The promptness with which this action was taken is enough to show the patriotism of the citizens.

A post-office was early established at Lewiston and continued there several years. Mrs. Hunt was subsequently appointed deputy, and the office moved to her house in tile north-west quarter of section 14. She simply finished the quarter when the office was discontinued.


The first school in the town was taught by Mrs. Thomas Wilson, during the summer of 1857, in the village of Lewiston. It was a select school of three months duration. The term of school was begun in a carriage shop. Shortly after, the school was moved into a vacant dwelling house and there the term finished. There were about thirty scholars. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson were married the February previous in New York, and came to Sciota that spring. They lived with Mrs. Wilson's brother (J. C. Couper,) that season. Mr. Wilson bought a claim partly in each of sections 11 and12, and moved upon it in the fall of 1857. He lived there several years, when he bought a farm just across the line in Rice county, five miles east of Northfield, where he still lives.

No more school was taught until a year later. From that time until 1860, private houses were used for school purposes. That season a schoolhouse was built on the site of the village. It was a frame structure about 18x3O feet. It is still doing service as a school-house. It stood upon the original site until the fall of 1879, when it was moved to its present location in the northeast corner of section 22, and belongs to district number 69. This is the only entire district in the town, the others being joint, of which, there are four. There is one other school-house in the town. It belongs to joint district number 67. It is located in the north-west corner of section 1, and was built in 1867. It is a nice country school-house, frame, about 18x24 feet, contains patent seats, and has a capacity for comfortably seating about fifty scholars. The district now contains about thirty-five. Previous to building the present house, the district had a building a little further north and east, in the town of Castle Rock.


The first religious services in the town were held at tile funeral of the child of J. C. Couper and wife, October 7th, 1855. They were conducted by the Rev. Charles Curran, then living in the town of Randolph. He also conducted the funeral services of Mrs. A. J. Kibbe in April, 1856.

The Congregational Society organized under the auspices of the Rev. J. R. Barnes, at Lewiston, in the spring of 1859, with about a dozen members. Previous to that time for about three years, meetings had been held without organization, once in two weeks, at the Lewiston hotel, after the organization, meetings were held in a store, until the school-house was built in 1860.

The Rev. Hiscock belonging to the circuit, including Lewiston, followed Mr. Curran as a Methodist, and was the first regular preacher of that denomination in Lewiston. The Methodists had services once in two weeks, alternating with the congregationalists. Both churches continued their organization at Lewiston, until about 1866, when the congregationalists moved down to the Granville mills, in Goodhue county.

A union Sabbath-school was organized under the auspices of both these churches and maintained as long as the church organization remained J. C. Couper was the first superintendent, and continued to act as such until 1862. He was succeeded by E. B. Higgins, he in turn by Mr. Huntress who was the last one. At first, about thirty scholars attended, which number increased to about fifty. The residue of the Methodist branch of the school became attached to the one at Haven chapel.

Haven Chapel. This church is located in the north-west quarter of section 1. It belongs to the Methodist denomination and was built during the summer of 1874, at a cost of about $1,500. It is about 24x42 feet, has twelve foot posts and a moderate steeple. It is nicely furnished and has a capacity for seating about one hundred and fifty persons.

Sometime during the summer of 1857, Rev. Hiscock began holding services at tile house of Joseph Sidwell in the north-west quarter of section 1. They were conducted irregularly at his house about a year, when they were transferred to the school-house built that year, in the southwest quarter of section 36, in Castle Rock. They were held there until 1867, when they were transferred to the new school-house in the north-west corner of section 1, in Sciota. There they were conducted until the church was built in 1874. The Rev. A. B. Bishop is the present pastor. Services are conducted once in two weeks.

The Free Will Baptists began holding meetings under the auspices of the Rev. J. D. Batson, alternately with the Methodists, at the new schoolhouse, about 1870. A regular organization was effected in 1878. They now have a membership of nineteen, and the Rev. Batson is still their pastor. They now hold their meetings in Haven Chapel.

A Sabbath school has been conducted in connection with the Methodist church since 1859. E. B. Higgins was the superintendent and continued to be until a few years since. The present superintendent is J. C. Davidson. The two sects unite and they have a prosperous, well attended school.


Crystal Spray lodge number 67, I. O. G. T. was organized at the school-house in district number 67, January 13th, 1875, with twenty charter members, and the following officers: J. H. Childs, P. W. C. T.; Walter Roath, W. C. T.; Jennie Baird, W. V. T.; R. M. Johnson, W. C.; W. W. Childs, secretary; S. S. Radcliff, F. S.; Bell Gray, T.; E. Childs, M.; G. Huntress, I. G.; Herbert Childs, O. G.

The society increased its membership to about sixty. The present membership is about forty. They meet every Friday evening at the schoolhouse. The present officers are: H. D. Childs, P. W. C. T.; George Hunt, W. C. T.; Nellie Crowther, W. V. T.; Jennie Dilley, W. C.; John Childs, S.; Humbolt Bliss, F. S.; Beatrice Stocking, T.; De Forest Child, M.; Carrie Johnson, I. G.; Asberry Higgings, O. G.; Hattie Johnson, R. S.; Lydia Hall, L. S.; H. D. Childs, lodge deputy.

The Oriental Grange number 36, P. of H. was organized November 27th, 1869, at the schoolhouse in district number 67, with thirty charter members, and the following officers: T. C. Childs, M.; Uriah Sherd, O.; W. F. Smith, L.; W. A. Gray, C.; Gilbert McNutt, S.; J. N. Martin, A. S.; H. D. Childs, G. K.; J. C. Davison, S.; E. B. Slocum, T.; Mrs. T. C. Childs, Ceres; Mrs. J. C. Davison, Pomona; Mrs. J. N. Martin, Flora; Mrs. C. W. Childs, L. A. S. The greatest membership was one hundred. The organization was kept up until 1878, when the meetings ceased.

A blacksmith shop was built by Jacob Hawkins in 1856 on the north-west quarter of section 2. About three years later, Henry Stone built a rival shop a few rods west of him. Shortly after Mr. Hawkins bought him out and continued the business in his own shop until about the year 1865, when he sold out and went to New York.
[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

Read another history of Sciota Township. (Published Earlier)

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