Le Sueur County Township Histories
Source: History of Nicollet and LeSueur Counties Minnesota, Volume I, Illustrated; Hon. William G. Gresham editor (1916) Transcribed by Jan Grant
TOWNSHIPS OF LESUEUR COUNTY.
Cleveland township is situated in the southwestern part of LeSueur county, and comprises congressional township 110, range 25, and parts of three sections in township 109. It is situated south of Sharon, east of Kasota, west of Cordova and north of Washington township. The Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad runs through it from southwest to northeast, with the city of Cleveland as a station point about centrally located in the territory of the township.
The lakes of this township are Scotch lake, Lake Henry, Lake Emily (the lesser), Savidge lake,, Mud lake and Silver lake. This township, when first discovered by white men, was largely a timbered section of the county, but has been almost all cleared off and the land is utilized for farming purposes. The soil is rich and valuable and farm lands range in price from one hundred to one hundred and twenty-five dollars per acre.
The population in 1890, was 991; in 1900, it was 1,027 and in 1910, 640, exclusive of the city of Cleveland which at that date had a population of 212.
Cleveland was one of the first of the interior townships in the county to be settled. Among the prominent of the pioneer band may be named: R. H. Everett, Mrs. L. Meeker, George Forsyth and J. W. Chambers, who came in during 1855. The next season these were followed by Andrew Wilfert, Adam Wright, Dennis Hill and Freeman Talbot. The first goods sold in the township were from the general store of Forsyth & Agnew, opened in 1856. The village of Cleveland was started in 1857. The first death recorded in the township was that of Mrs. L. Jones in 1857. In 1856 a son of Mr. and Mrs. David Lloyd was born and named Job. The same year a daughter was born to William Forsyth and wife.
J. W. Chambers, born in 1843, in Ohio, came to Minnesota at the age of twelve years, settling in Cleveland. He served as a soldier in one of the Minnesota regiments in time of the Civil War, after which he engaged in farming in this township.
Florian Drenttel, a German, came to the United States in 1872 and lived at St. Peter four years, then moved to Cleveland and became a permanent settler.
D. Dugaw, born in Lake county, Ohio, in 1848, after living in Wisconsin and other states until 1868, came to this county and engaged in farming.
R. H. Everett, a native of Champaign county, Illinois, in 1855 moved to Minnesota, settling in Cherry Creek run, now known as Cleveland. He served in Company E, Eleventh Regiment, Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, being honorably discharged in 1865. In 1883 he owned one thousand acres of fine land in this township, with almost four hundred acres under a high state of cultivation.
W. A. Flowers, born in 1832, in Ohio, lived on a farm until 1842, then removed to Indiana, remained until 1856, coming from there to LeSueur county, Minnesota, settling in this township. He enlisted in Company G, First Regiment, Minnesota Volunteer Infantry. His children included Mary E., William W., Henry H., John C., Dora E. and Mabel Flowers.
Nelson Goldsmith, born in Kentucky in 1803, came to Minnesota in 1864, settling in section 26, Cleveland township.
Benjamin W. Harriman, born in West Virginia, in 1830, moved to Dakota county, Minnesota, in 1854, remained nine years, and in 1863 moved to this township, locating in section 14. He served in the first Regiment, Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, in Civil War days and was a county commissioner for LeSueur county.
Dennison Hill, born in Ashtabula county, Ohio, in 1838, moved with his parents to Wisconsin in 1843. Ten years later he moved to Iowa and in 1856 to Minnesota, locating in Cleveland, where he operated a steam sawmill. During the Indian outbreak in 1862 he served as a scout and was deputy United States marshal; was also an Indian agent at Winnebago agency two years.
H. A. Johnson, born in New York state, passed his youth on a farm coming to Winona county, this state, in 1855, and to this township in 1857. He was a blacksmith and wagon maker and followed this trade in Cleveland.
Carl Leth, a German, came to America in 1856 and the next year to this state, locating in Cleveland township, in section 29.
J. J. Oehler, a native of Switzerland, born in 1810, came to America in 1856, locating in this township soon afterward. His eighty-acre farm was located in sections 29 and 32.
Lorenzo D. Randon, a native of Kentucky, was born in 1843. In 1861 he enlisted in the Kentucky Infantry (Union) and served in the famous engagements at Kenesaw Mountain, Peach Tree, Atlanta, Jonesborough and others. After the end of the war he came to Minnesota and finally settled in this township. He engaged in the hardwood lumber sawing business and was very successful in the enterprise.
In 1860, George Rinkel, a German, born in 1833, came to the township, locating in section 30. He married the widow Fetman in 1860.
Hon. Freeman Talbot, an Irishman, born in 1811, went to Canada in 1818, with the family, but removed to Minnesota in 1856, settling in this township. During the Indian outbreak in 1862 he was commissioned captain of a relief company to go to New Ulm. He was elected state senator, serving in 1872-73.
Other settlers here were Daniel Van Vleet, from Ohio, who came here in 1876. Christian Vollmer, a German, was early in this township, locating in section 29. He came to the state in 1865. Andrew Wilfert, a German, came here in 1856; served in the Union army during the Civil War and saw hard fighting service. Moses E. Wilson, of Ohio, came to Minnesota in 1873, making Cleveland his place of residence. Adam Wright, a native of Indiana, came to Minnesota in 1856, locating in Cleveland township, this county, in section 28.
VILLAGE OF CLEVELAND.
The little town of Cleveland, once the county seat, was started in 1857, and gradually grew until it was a rival of LeSueur, then the seat of justice. It was during 1858, and for a number of years thereafter, that there arose a great rivalry between the two towns. Several times Cleveland secured a majority of the votes in the county for the county seat, but each time, through some flaw in the proceedings, was beaten. Finally, the county seat was secured in 1875, but the town held its coveted prize for one year only, when it was removed to LeSueur Center.
The first death in the township was that of Mrs. Jones, a newcomer who died suddenly in 1857.
The first birth in the township was a son named Job, born to Mr. and Mrs. David Lloyd in 1856, and the same year a daughter was born to William Forsyth and wife. In the village plat, the first child born was L. Lampman, son of N. B. and M. E. Lampman, in 1858.
As long ago as the record runs this has been radically a temperance village. A third of a century ago the business of the place consisted of two general stores, two blacksmith shops, three wagon shops, one hotel, one gun store and the postoffice, with L. Lampman as postmaster.
The first to carry on general merchandising here was the firm of Boerer & Weise, which firm was followed by William Adams, and he by George Virtue, who sold to L. Lampman and he to Hill & Wolford. Then came George Chegle, W. H. Jeager and H. H. Flowers, who continued many years and finally lost his stock by fire; then Jesse Gutzman and W. O. Shooey. The last mentioned sold to Lloyd Brothers, who in the spring of 1915 sold to Allen & Denker.
The first hotel in the village was conducted by Mr. Virtue. The first grain dealer was S. Y. Hyde and the second was W. Babcock. The first church built was the Methodist Episcopal.
J. Manning had a shingle factory here in 1865 which cut 10,000 shingles a day.
The 1910 census reports gave Cleveland village as having two hundred and ten population. It is situated on the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad. The village was incorporated in 1904. The first mayor was A. Rolphin, who was succeeded by the present mayor, W. H. Barnes. The 1915 municipal officers were: W. H. Barnes, mayor; O. L. Ransome, clerk; John Davis, John Brenshe and Thomas Lloyd, councilmen.
Up to this date no attempt has been made here to provide a water or light system, but the question is now beginning to be agitated.
The business factors at this date are chiefly these: The First State Bank; general dealers, Allen Decker, Lysle Hankins, J. H. Grow, William Robison; meat market, A. Rolphin; hotels, "Milwaukee" by L. Hendrickson, "Commercial," by H. Grow; livery, John Wolford; lumber, Lambert Lumber Company; elevators, Farmers Co-operative and the Commander; live stock, Roscoe Davis; hardware and implements, Lloyd Brothers & Davis; blacksmiths, B. F. Henton, L. C. Herald; harness, D. C. Fryberge; feed, by both elevators; physician, Dr. A. Thompson; garages, William L. Lloyd, H. Grow, O. Ransom; creamery, Daniel Vollic; barber shop and pool room, A. Myers. The Cleveland postoffice now has three rural free delivery routes extending out into the surrounding country.
At this date, 1916, there are three churches, Methodist Episcopal, Christian and Catholic. Lodges include the Masonic, Woodmen of America and Equitable Fraternal Union. The schools consist of the large consolidated township school with eight districts represented. Eight teachers are employed.
A postoffice was established in this locality as randville, in September, 1856, with postmaster B. Y. Couch. The name was changed to Cleveland on September 24, 1857, with John Forsyth, postmaster. Since then the postmasters have been: Thomas M. Perry, 1857 to 1859; William H. Adams, 1861 to 1865; George J. Virtue, 1865 to 1870; F. S. Wilson, 1870 to 1876; S. L. Nichols, 1876 to 1877; William H. Adams, 1877 to 1882; L. D. Lampman, 1882 to 1883; C. P. Lampman, 1883 to 1885; William F. Johnson, 1885 to 1889; George L. Cheadle, 1889 to 1893; William F. Johnson, 1893 to 1897; H. H. Flowers, 1897 to 1915; DeEtta N. Hunter, appointed on February 12, 1915.
Congressional township 110, range 24 west, constitutes Cordova civil township in LeSueur county. It is six miles square, an inland township, rich in the bestowment of Nature's best gifts. It is situated south of Lexington, west of Kilkenny, north of Elysian and east of Cleveland townships. Its population in 1890 was 1,046; in 1900 it was 1,151, and in 1910 the government census gave it as having 869. This township was among the original townships organized by the county authorities in 1858. Its surface is favored with numerous beautiful lakes, including Gorman, Good, Bussuot, part of Mud lake, part of Lake Volney, Sleepy Eye lake and several smaller lakelets, as well as a portion of the large lake known as German in Elysian township. There are no railroads or villages within this township, except the hamlet of Cordova. It is purely an agricultural and stock raising section.
This township was first settled in 1856, A. Hess, H. nelson, Henry Richardson and S. Wheeler taking claims of one hundred and sixty acres each. In the spring of 1857 they were followed by large numbers of families. Mr. Richardson had brought with him a large load of general merchandise with which he commenced business after building a log store early in 1857, continuing for three years. A second store was started the same season by C. Clark, but this was of short duration.
Shortly after his arrival S. Wheeler started his saw-mill, as the settlers were obliged to go to St. Paul and pay as high as eighty dollars per thousand feet for lumber. From lumber cut in this mill the first hotel in the township was built. The first death in the little settlement was Harvey Nelson, who died of consumption. Early in the summer of 1857 William McConkey and Mary Hess were united in marriage, and the following year a son was born to them-the first birth in the township.
A school was taught in the autumn of 1858, in a log house erected by Mr. Richardson for store purposes, the term being taught by Kate Hess and the number of scholars only seven.
A postoffice was established in 1857, with Duran Densmore was postmaster. This being a temperance township, the Sons of Temperance Society was formed in 1877 with twenty-five members.
Among other early settlers in the township was Orange K. Hogle, born in Ohio, who removed to Illinois and later in Indiana, and from that state in 1856 moved to Rice county, Minnesota, where he resided eight years, and then moved to Cordova, this county. He was postmaster for seventeen years; also kept a hotel. He owned village property as well as a good farm in section 14, of this township.
O. A. Jackson, a native of Indiana, born in 1825, lived in his native state till 1860, then settled in Minnesota, at St. Peter. During the Indian outbreak, in 1862, he joined the volunteer company called the "St. Peter Guards," and was stationed with them at New Ulm. From St. Peter he moved to Cleveland township and three years later bought a farm of forty-seven acres in Cordova township, where he resided afterward.
Adam Lucas, born in Ohio in 1823, went at the age of eight years to Indiana, and there received his education and learned the millwright's trade. In 1850 he made a trip to California where for two years he was engaged in mining. In 1864 he moved to Cordova township, where he owned and operated a saw- and shingle-mill, also a grist-mill. He was justice of the peace and township supervisor for a number of years.
Patrick McCoy, who was one of this county's first settlers, located here in 1856 with a small fortune which he had gained in California. He died here in 1865.
Jonathan H. Robbins, born in 1835 in Indiana, enlisted in the Civil War service in the Union cause in 1862, served bravely and was discharged for disability caused by wounds. He was shot at Chickamauga, being struck six times, but escaped death. He came to Minnesota in 1869, locating in section 14, of Cordova township.
VILLAGE OF CORDOVA.
Cordova village was platted in section 14, township 110, range 24, September 28, 1867, by Adam Lucas and O. K. Hogle. It was incorporated in 1878, but never acted separately from the township government. From an old directory of the place it is learned that in 1882 the business of Cordova was at that date: three general stores, one hardware, two blacksmith shops, one wagon shop, two hotels, two saw-mills, a school, and two churches and the postoffice completed the interests of the hamlet. The village was platted on the south shore of Lake Gorman. It is a small but convenient trading place.
Derrynane is the center township of the county on the north line and comprises congressional township 112, range 24 west. It is one of the county's original sub-divisions and is now well settled by an industrious class of farmers. Aside from a little hamlet known as St. Thomas there are no villages within the township. It has no railroad. It is situated east from Tyrone township, north from Lexington, west from Lanesburg and south of the Scott county line. It has several fairly good-sized lakes within its territory-these include School lake, Shea lake, a portion of Graham lake, and another in section 14.
The population of the township for three enumeration periods is: In 1890 it had 970; in 1900 it had 1,102, and in 1910 was placed at 846.
The township was originally know as "Ruggles," but soon after its organization was changed to its present name. There has been two postoffices established in the limits of its territory-St. Thomas, in section 19, with T. C. Kennedy as pioneer postmaster, and St. Hubert's in the eastern portion of the township. In the early eighties there were six school districts.
In the northwestern portion at an early time a German Lutheran church was formed in section 13; St. John's church was located in the northeastern part of the township, and in the western part is St. Thomas's Catholic church. At this locality there was built many years ago a large steam saw-mill. In 1881 the assessed valuation of the township was $173,000, with a personal tax of $22,000.
This is especially a farming section and has a mixed class of nationalities, each and all striving to do their best at being money-makers and at the same time being good, law-abiding citizens of the county. Forests have been cut down, swamps drained out and good roads made. Being somewhat at a distance from towns and city markets, many of the landowners here are quite extensive stock raisers and feeders. This policy keeps rich the land that might otherwise become poor in crop-producing qualities.
Elysian township, which was organized in 1858, is one of the central and most southern townships in the county. It is made up of a varied surface, hilly in places and again fine level surfaces, well adapted to general farm purposes. The soil is more sandy than in a majority of the townships in LeSueur county. There are two large lakes within its borders, German and Lake Francis, besides many lesser lakes, all of which afford fine fishing. These lakes also afford a fine summer camping and resort spot which is annually alive with camping parties and fishermen from various parts of the country.
Elysian township is bounded on the east by Waterville, on the south by the county line, on the west by Washington township and Blue Earth county. Its population in 1890 was 1,004; in 1900 it had a population of 903, and in 1910 it had only 846.
In 1857 the village of Elysian was platted and the next year a postoffice was established. The following is a record of the postmasters who have had charge of this office: February1, 1859, with Francis G. Conway as first postmaster; Israel Bruckmon, January, 1865, to October, 1865; A. H. E. Lange, 1865 to 1880; C. A. Ricker, 1880 to 1883; William M. Sterling, 1883 to 1885; J. T. McNeil, 1885 to 1889; C. G. Chadwick, 1893 to 1897; O. T. Whitten, 1897 to 1903; Mary D. Whitten, 1903 to 1904; William K. Wilcox, October, 1904, to March, 1915; Loyal H. Terrell, appointed on March 5, 1915.
The first death was that of a Mr. McCormick in the summer of 1857; he was buried in private grounds, there being no regular cemetery until 1870. The first marriage was in 1858, uniting Charles Folesmann and Augusta Speber.
Among the pioneer settlers in this township are now recalled M. Logan, George Johnson, Edward Morshing and Mr. Godfrey, all of whom took the most available claims of lands, each a quarter section, in the spring of 1855, and immediately opened up farm homes for themselves. That summer and autumn came in large numbers to locate. Among the more enterprising men of the township in the early eighties were: John Chadwick, a soldier in a Minnesota regiment in the Civil War, settled here in 1857; A. D. Chase, born in Maine, settled in section 32; William Clark, a native of England, born in 1839, located in section 34, in 1857; Ephraim Davis, born in 1809, in New York, was a cooper by trade but in 1858 settled in this township, served in the South during the Rebellion and also fought the Indians in Minnesota; August H. E. Lange, born in Prussia in 1828, came to America and in the spring of 1857 located in Elysian township; Frank M. Long, born in Ohio, 1839, served in the Civil War from Ohio and came to this township in 1871, having been here as early as 1856; Ira Myrick, born in York state in 1820, came west and erected the first building in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and in the fifties came to Elysian township; A. E. Prosser, born in Indiana in 1836, started for Minnesota via the railroad and at Dubuque took the steamer "Lady Franklin" and landed at the wharf in St. Peter on May 10, 1855, pre-empted a farm and for some time worked in the Courier office at St. Peter, but in 1858 went to his farm in Elysian township, the same being in section 33. In 1864 he enlisted in Company H, Second Regiment, Minnesota Volunteer Infantry. He held many public offices.
Other settlers were George H. Sterling, born in York state in 1829, came to Minnesota in 1853, went on a raft from St. Paul to St. Louis. He operated the first buzz saw ever worked in the city of St. Paul. He came to Elysian township in 1856 and found only one family in the township, first located in section 26, but later bought in section 27. Asa B. Swaine, born in Pennsylvania in 1822, served as captain in the Civil War and came to this township later. William Warner, a native of England, born in 1839, came to America in 1853 and ten years later moved to Elysian township, this county, settling in section 23.
A GREAT PRAIRIE FIRE.
In September, 1856, the inhabitants were thrown into a state of great excitement by the announcement that a sweeping prairie fire was approaching their section of the country from the southwest. The ground was deeply covered with dry leaves and great damage was feared, but the sturdy pioneers at once devised a plan which proved successful in saving their houses and stock. There is a chain of lakes reaching nearly across the township, and the settlers at once proceeded to rake leaves, plow ditches and burn the strips of land between the lakes, completing their labors just in time to effectually stop the ravages of the fire. A few, however, living on the southern shores were not so fortunate, having to take refuge in the center of their fall-plowed fields and even then being nearly smothered by heat and smoke; some lost their all, while others saved their houses and portions of their stock. Nearly all the hay that was put up in the sloughs was destroyed, causing much suffering to the remaining stock.
VILLAGE OF ELYSIAN.
What is now the sprightly village of Elysian in 1882 had only the following business factors: The postoffice, kept by G. Raeker; two general stores, three hotels, two blacksmith shops, two repair wagon shops, a steam saw-mill, two shoe shops and a carpet weaver. The village had been platted in 1857. August Lange was postmaster from 1865 to 1880.
Elysian village was incorporated on January, 1884, with officers elected as follow: A. H. E. Lange, president; Dr. William Root, Stephen Goodall and John C. Chase, trustees; E. H. Shave, recorder; Charles Richter, treasurer; Ira Myrick and W. M. Sterling, justices of the peace; Erastus Fish, constable and marshal. The present indebtedness on outstanding orders is seven hundred dollars-no bonded indebtedness.
An elevated tank holding sixteen hundred barrels of water furnishes ample water supply and a pumping and light station supplying light and power is furnished by the Consumers Power Company, under a ten-year contract, at fifty-five dollars and seventy cents per month. The waterworks was put in by the village in 1896 at a cost of five thousand dollars. There are about twenty-five hundred feet of water mains and seven hundred feet of good hose, with an organized volunteer fire company. An old school house was purchased for village hall purposes. It was erected in 1877 and is twenty-four by forty feet, costing one thousand dollars.
The officers of the village in the winter of 1915-16 were: B. R. Flint, president; Joseph Beran, Henry Herdlicke and Charles W. Schneider, trustees; William Waburton, recorder; A. H. Long, treasurer; G. S. Waburton, justice of the peace; J. A. Lamont, marshal. Since the village was organized the presidents have been: A. E. H. Lang, 1884; Ira Myrick, 1885; Patrick Galagan, 1886-87; G. N. Jaqua, 1888-90; Alva B. Swain, 1891; G. N. Jaqua, 1892; C. F. Johnson, 1893-97; F. A. Lange, 1897; C. O. Galagan, 1898-99; John C. Chase, 1900-01; Frank M. Long, 1902; C. O. Galagan, 1903-06; J. F. Galagan; 1906-07; John O'Toole, 1908; B. F. Swain, 1909; J. T. McNeil, 1910; A. E. Jaqua, 1911; E. D. Chase, 1912, F. A. Allen, 1913; E. D. Chase, 1914; B. F. Flint, 1915-16.
BUSINESS INTERESTS IN 1916.
These were the chief business factors in the village of Elysian in the month of January, 1916: Bank, Elysian State Bank; blacksmith shops, Rohlfing & Jewison, J. E. Broulick; barber shop, C. F. Warner; drugs, J. W. Root; clothing, handled by general dealers; cement blocks, Allen Murray, R. Barrington; creamery, Elysian Co-operative, C. N. Smith, secretary; elevator, Commander Elevator Company; furniture, Chase & Collins; general merchandise, Swain, Wetzel & Company, C. O. Galagan, F. A. Lange, E. S. Johnson, S. T. Austin; hotel, Manawa hotel, National Hotel, James Cowna and summer resort houses; hardwares, Chase & Collins, F. W. Fischer; implements, Fischer Hardware Company; harness shop, Frank Meierbachtol; livery, C. A. Crook; lumber, Westerman Lumber Company; millinery, Mrs. L. Hanson; milling, Commander Elevator Company, Backman Produce Company; meat market, W. H. Tuft; real estate, Elysian Land Company; jeweler, A. E. Jaqua; photographs, J. D. Morgan; shoe store, A. Chalupnicek; newspaper, Elysian Enterprise, W. K. Wilcox, proprietor.
Kasota township is in the extreme southwestern part of LeSueur county. It is situated on the east side of the Minnesota river, with Ottawa township at its north, Washington and Cleveland on the east, and Blue Earth county on the south. Exclusive of the village of Kasota, its population for three federal census periods was: In 1890 it was 1,038; in 1900 it was 1,020, and in 1910 placed at 863. Many of the townships of the county fell off during that decade. Kasota comprises irregular portions of congressional townships 109 and 110, ranges 26 and 27.
Kasota township was organized and its first election held on May 11, 1858, when there was sixty-eight votes polled. The township board consisted of J. P. Buell, chairman; A. Pettis and S. W. Davis; clerk, C. A. Shaeffer; assessor, T. G. Carter; collector, H. Morrill; justice of the peace, Daniel Birdsall. Since that date great have been the improvements effected by the citizens of the township. These include one of the best systems of wagon roads and bridges in the county. In the village of Kasota the first term of school was taught in the summer of 1858 by Elizabeth Hunt, who became the wife of Daniel B. Barstow. This school was held at a private residence and was attended by fifteen pupils. In 1882 the township had nine district schools.
The first death was evidently that of a stranger whose name is now unknown, who lost his life by the falling of an embankment while helping to excavate for the Babcock mill in the autumn of 1852. Soon after this the wife of A. Pettis died and was buried at Lake Emily.
The first marriage in the township was that of uniting Isaac Davis and Catherine Pettis in 1854.
The first white child born in the township was Clara Babcock, daughter of J. W. and M. E. Babcock, in 1854. She died in 1861.
The township of Kasota paid in 1861 into the county treasury six hundred dollars in one day as taxes, one-fifth of which was paid in by one man-S. G. Butman.
The following item in the St. Peter Tribune, in September, 1868, gives an account of the Kasota milling interests: "The Kasota mill is now fully completed and is certainly one of the most complete water mills in this state. It is conveniently arranged and all its working machinery is of the best character. It is provided with two runs of French buhrs and the best German bolting cloth. The motive power is furnished by a water wheel measuring twenty0four feet from the top to bottom, and a sufficient volume of water is obtained to drive all the machinery with perfect ease. Messrs. Cook and Millard are determined to make their flour equal to any made in Minnesota."
"The mill built at Lake Emily during the sixties is now in successful operation and grinding from one to two hundred bushels of grain per day. These mills are just to the east of St. Peter, on the high bluff. The proprietor, William Shimmel, and others of this place, deserve credit for the energy exhibited in the prosecution of this valuable work."-St. Peter Tribune of 1870.
The first regular cemetery in the township was laid out in section 33, on the bluff overlooking the village of Kasota in 1854. The Caroline and East St. Peter burying grounds were platted at a much later date.
A postoffice was established at Caroline in 1877, and Conrad Smith was appointed the postmaster. He also conducted a general store at that place a number of years. A limekiln was also one of the first paying industries of that locality. It was from this limekiln business that the village was first known as "Lime."
POTATOES TWO DOLLARS A BUSHEL.
In an old history of the Minnesota valley, there is an account of a wonderful crop of Irish potatoes. The item reads: "One of the most remarkable crops of potatoes ever raised in Kasota was in the season of 1853, when R. Butters harvested nine hundred bushels of potatoes from five acres of land, realizing for the entire lot two dollars a bushel. The next season everyone put in many potatoes, and they became a drug in the market-were quoted at ten cents per bushel."
It is now unknown just who was the first person to actually settle within what is now the limits of Kasota township, but the claim that Reuben Butters was first is disputed by some, contending that he did not locate here for a number of years after other settlers had made claim to lands and had homes well established. It is known that the pioneer band who here sought and secured homes among the very earliest were: J. W. Babcock, George Thompson, James Lindsey, Reuben Butters, C. Schaefer, William Nason, C. Smith, James Warrant, John P. Koenen, S. B. Carpenter, Jacob Klaseus, S. F. Holbrook, E. R. Vernon, John Weger, and possibly a number of others, including some of the township officers whose names have already been mentioned as organizing the township in 1858. E. E. Boutwell located here in 1858-he was a cousin of former Secretary of State Boutwell.
J. W. Babcock was here in 1851, and commenced the first mill in the county the next season. His son, Charles Babcock, is the well-known Kasota marble quarry owner and one of the present operators of great stone industry. The stone business had been really commenced by his father, who was first to develop the famous building stone known as the "Kasota Stone." This handsome pink limestone is to be seen in hundreds of public and private structures throughout the West. Between 1851, when Mr. Babcock arrived in the township, up to 1858-59, there must have been a good many settlers in Kasota township, for at the first election, which was held in the spring of 1858, it has been shown that there were sixty0one votes cast in what was then known as Kasota township. The Traverse des Sioux treaty was made with the Indians in the summer of 1851, and that season it is known that pioneer J. W. Babcock arrived and soon commenced his water power saw-mill operations.
VILLAGES OF KASOTA TOWNSHIP.
Within this township are the villages and hamlets of East St. Peter, Caroline, Pettis and Kasota, the last named being the only one of any great commercial importance.
Kasota, one of the earliest settled locations in the county, is situated in the west half of section 33. It derives its name from the Indian dialect. It was originally platted by J. W. Babcock and Ovid Pinney, March 23, 1855. It was surveyed by Evan Goodrich. Later additions were made by others. The same year of the original platting a general store was opened by C. Schaefer. Another quite early dealer was R. Butters, who traded here during the Civil War. Another dealer, a Mr. Butman, who came in from some one of the eastern cities, carried a splendid and large stock of fine dry goods, including silk and the finest grade of woolen fabrics, of as good a quality as could be had in Minnesota at that date-indeed the best that money could then purchase in the great markets of the world. The first settlers in and near Kasota brought money with them, but the financial panic of 1857-8 ruined many. During the flush times the ladies had the best there was going in wearing apparel. One who was here at the time states that this village had a ball0room in which frequent dances were given, at which the people went dressed as well as at any time in the county's history. These first settlers had nearly all come in from some of the older settled states (with an occasional foreigner) and had been reared in cultured communities and homes-some as far east as New England-and they brought their refinement with them and their sons and daughters kept pace, in many ways, with their forbears.
The first merchandise was sold from the general store of C. Schaefer in 1854. It was also that year that J. W. Babcock operated a ferry boat across the Minnesota river and continued so to do until the wagon bridge was constructed at St. Peter. Mail was brought from St. Paul and Sioux City and a postoffice established at Kasota in 1854.
The first hotel in Kasota was the one that stood near the present residence of C. N. Warrant. It was known as the "Old Nick" house-short for Nicholas. Its original parts were of logs, but to this was added a frame structure about the same size and it was in this old log hotel that the present extensive stone and marble operator, Mr. Babcock, was born. It is said that in pioneer times there were many an interesting gathering under the roof of this hotel-it was noted up and down the Minnesota valley.
The first bank was established by C. W. Babcock, O. P. Buell and T. S. Wilcox, January, 1902.
In 1882 Kasota had two stone quarries in operation, two grist-mills, one hotel, one general store, a blacksmith shop, a wagon shop and a saw-mill. One hundred houses constituted about the number of residences in the village at that time. The chief business at that time, as now, was the extensive stone-quarry interests.
COMMERCIAL INTERESTS TO DATE.
From 1884 to 1906 M. A. Ostrander operated a general store, which business was burned and never resumed.
R. R. Turrittin ran a general store from 1870 for a number of years; was postmaster and railroad agent for the old St. Paul & Sioux City road. He now resided in Estherville, Iowa.
John Weger, who drew a thirty-thousand-dollar Louisiana lottery prize, built three residences and operated a general store a number of years, finally ran through all of his property and died poor at Kasota. He commenced business about 1880.
John Ofenlach started a blacksmith shop in 1871, and now owns the hardware store and implement house of Kasota; these lines he embarked in about 1890.
BUSINESS IN 1916.
Agricultural implements, John Ofenlach; bank, First State Bank of Kasota; blacksmith shop, Nels Olson; cement work, Festus L. Warrant; drugs, J. E. Davies; dray line, Peter Hanson; elevators, Hubbard & Palmer Company; furniture, John Ofenlach; general dealers, Peterson & Kottke, Swenson & Youngren; hardware, John Ofenlach; hotels, H. Stockton, Oscar Wistrom; lumber, Standard Lumber Company; meats, L. C. Nason; opera hall, village hall; physician, Dr. W. H. Powell; restaurant, Charles Johnson; shoe store, Andrew Swenson.
Kasota was incorporated as a village in April, 1890. The following have served as mayors (or presidents): O. P. Buell, 1890; E. E. Salls, 1891-92; O. P. Buell, 1893; M. A. Ostrander, 1894-95; T. S. Wilcox, 1896-97; C. P. Heiberg, 1898099; W. H. Powell, 1900; A. H. Gripp, 1901-02; Jacob Paff, 1903; S. B. Youatt, 1904; O. P. Buell, 1905; T. S. Wilcox, 1906; A. H. Gripp, 1907-12; C. R. Swenson, 1912-16. The village officials in 1916 are: C. E. Swenson, mayor; Charles R. Swenson, recorder; O. P. Buell, treasurer; council, Peter Harmon, L. C. Nason, A. H. Gripp.
Electric lights were installed in Kasota in 1909. A village hall-two-story brick building-was erected in 1899 at a cost of five thousand dollars, when material and work were low, and is now valued at fifteen thousand dollars. It also serves as lodge room quarters for all the lodges in Kasota.
A postoffice was established in Kasota in 1854, with J. W. Babcock as postmaster; he was succeeded on May 20, 1856, by Isaac Allen; P. G. Benson from March to September, 1857; D. R. Hugenin, 1857 to 1859; S. G. Butman, 1859 to 1863; E. A. Dean, 1863 to 1870; Robert R. Turrittin, 1870 to 1878; John Weger, 1878 to 1879; Reuben Butters, 1879 to 1880; John Weger, 1880 to 1891; R. R. Turrittin, 1891 to 1893; F. K. Hugenin, 1893 to 1895; C. H. Davis, 1895 to 1899; R. C. Thompson, 1899 to 1905; Dolly B. Thompson, 1905-1914; S. M. Granger, 1914 and still serving in 1916.
KASOTA'S GREAT STONE AND MARBLE INDUSTRY.
Beyond question the most extensive industry in Kasota and LeSueur county is the stone industry. The milling and brewing business is large, but not as permanent as the stone and marble business, for obvious reasons. What is known the country over as the "Kasota building stone" and in more recent years, as the "Kasota pink and yellow marble," is of a very superior quality and susceptible of a high polish and attractive finish. The pink limestone, as the building stone is sometimes termed, is the older of the two quarrying interests at Kasota, and was really what placed the little village of Kasota on the maps of the country in a prominent way. This excellent stone was first quarried here soon after the county was settled. It was pioneer J. W. Babcock who first turned his attention to quarrying this stone, and to develop what has come to be the great present-day stone industry of the Minnesota valley. Charles W. Babcock, a son of the pioneer referred to, early in the eighties commenced to further explore and develop these interests, and employed modern methods and appliances with which to quarry and ship this most valuable product. Nothing of any considerable consequence was done with this stone, commercially, until the close of the civil War, when Reuben Butters and J. W. Babcock each commenced to operate separate quarries at Kasota, and worked them as best they could with the means then at their command. Court houses, school houses, window and door caps and many other items for both public and private structures were made from the stone here quarried.
At present there are two different companies working the Kasota stone industry-Babcock & Wilcox and the Breen Stone Company, the latter being largely Mankato capital, with a few local stockholders, while the former is purely a Kasota concern. These firms employ about one hundred and fifty workmen in all departments.
PINK AND YELLOW KASOTA MARBLE.
The first of the development of this beautiful marble, which is found in at least two exquisite colors-yellow and pink-making a desirable and very attractive material for interior finish of buildings, was when the Minnesota state house was commenced in 1905, the builders selecting this material for many parts of the interior finish. This soon placed it before the builders of the better class of structures throughout the Union, and today the books of the stone companies show that they have furnished marble for scores of magnificent buildings, including the following: Minnesota state capitol, costing five million dollars; Wisconsin state capital, costing about six million dollars; Hotel Taft, New Haven, Connecticut, cost one million, four hundred thousand dollars; Kansas City railroad terminal, costing ten million dollars; Spalding building, Portland, Oregon, costing six hundred thousand dollars; Woodward building, Washington, D. C., costing one million dollars; Hotel St. Paul, of St. Paul, Minnesota, costing one million dollars; Union National Bank, Houston, Texas, costing seven hundred thousand dollars; Alumni Memorial hall, Ann Arbor; Administration building, south park commissioners, Chicago; Municipal building, Des Moines, costing five hundred thousand dollars; Federal building, San Diego, California; Postoffice building, Chelsea, Massachusetts; Shubert theatre, St. Paul, Minnesota; Masonic temple, St. Paul, Minnesota; Essex building, Minneapolis, and scores of lesser jobs have all been furnished with marble for their interior finish from these quarries. It has found its way for the artistic adornment of cathedrals, public buildings, modern office structures and leading hotels. It is now employed in buildings in more than twenty states of the Union. For corridor and rotunda work it is especially beautiful in effect, as well as imperishable.
The stratum of this marble is about ten feet in thickness and twenty feet down from the surface and is cheaply quarried as compared to many of the world's quarries. The tract of land on which it is located will furnish marble to the public for many long years to come. Columns, wainscoating, window and door casings, etc., are all sawed and handsomely polished after having first been run through a planning machine, giving any desired shape and design pleasing to the architect. These extensive quarries are close to the side-tracks of the Northwestern, Omaha and Milwaukee railway systems, making it easy of shipment. Practically speaking, aside from the rich iron ore deposits of this state, these quarries are the most valuable mineral deposits in the commonwealth. To really appreciate the appearance of these two tints of marble, when in use, one must needs see it in the buildings where it has found its way in so many instances. It was not known until a few years ago that this Kasota stone was susceptible of a high polish, but such was discovered and since then has constituted the intrinsic value of the stone so long used simply as common building stone.
Kilkenny township is the second from the south line of the county, and is bounded on the east by the county line. At its north is Montgomery township; on the west is Cordova and on the south is Waterville township. Originally, this portion of LeSueur county was thickly covered with a heavy growth of timber which has, with passing years, been cut down and the last vestige of stumps has disappeared under the touch of the landowners who made the township one of the finest agricultural sections to be found in southern Minnesota.
The population of Kilkenny township in 1890 was 995; in 1900 it was 901, exclusive of the village of Kilkenny, and according to 1910 federal census it was 821, and there was at that date 208 in the village.
Nothing toward the development of this township had been effected until 1856, when John and Dennis Doyle, William Lee, K. Brock and H. Richardson located here and commenced cutting out homes from the great forest domain now so clear and fair to look upon. The hardships proved too much for pioneer Lee and he soon died, a victim of consumption. A little later came Stephen, son of H. and K. R. Richardson. Prior to 1876 came in such well-known men as Caleb Brock, F. A. Caroll, Hon. Dennis Doyle, Michael Dooly, Lewis Doyle, Jacob Etsel, D. Flynn, William Grinnell, C. M. Hall, M. S. Kendall, John Kenny, J. Kent, Martin Klingele, John A. Knapp, Dennis Moore, John Murray, R. R. O'Hearn, William Oney, Anthony Pittman, Joseph Pittman, Ira Simpson, Joseph Smith and Leopold Zipf.
FIRST AND IMPORTANT EVENTS.
The first store opened in this township was that of Dennis Doyle in 1857, and was operated by him many years and laid the foundation for a handsome fortune for him. It was this Doyle who was first to marry in the township, the event taking place the year after his arrival. He also taught the first school here, in 1858, with an attendance of fifteen pupils. The first religious services in the township were held beneath the roof of his residence, one meeting having previously been held in the timber, "God's first temple." He was appointed postmaster in 1859 and held the office many years. He was the first township clerk and one of the first county commissioners. The old county poor farm was located in section 6, of this township. In the southeastern part of the township a postoffice named Anawauk was established in the seventies, in charge of A. R. Eckert. In section 30 a good saw- and planning-mill was established at an early date, as well as a creamery in section 21.
THE LAKES OF KILKENNY.
Within this township are found several fine lakes, including Lake Dora, in the northern part, covering several hundred acres; Lake Volney, in the extreme northwestern corner; Saber lake in the southwestern part of the township; Lake Mabel in section 5, and Sun Fish lake in section 34.
VILLAGE OF KILKENNY.
In this township its namesake, Kilkenny village, is a station point on the Minneapolis & St. Louis railroad, situated in section 22. For its size there is no better point in all southern Minnesota. It has a population of about three hundred people, all alive to the best interests of the surrounding community. It was platted in 1877 by Henry T. Wells, in section 22, township 112, range 23.
Until within the last few years but little was known of the village, but about 1910, the people there were set toward improving the place and during the last half decade great has been its improvement. The people who dared to start a village here were really laughed at, but went right along and today the laugh is coming from them and not the outsiders. Today the buildings are all modern and tasteful; all lines of merchandise are here well represented. In 1915 there were shipped from Kilkenny more than two hundred carloads of grain and half as many cars of live stock.
Among the leaders in trade there now is Hon. John Murphy, who is the oldest inhabitant of the village. He came here in the early eighties and built the first store building and went to work. He, with his sons, are still carrying on an extensive business here. The firm of Murphy & Company deals in general merchandise and farm implements, as well as in grain.
Another live business man is Frank D. Judge, proprietor of the leading mercantile house of the village today.
The Kilkenny Grain Company has done much towards building up the village, by always paying the best possible prices for grain.
The Kilkenny State Bank is keeping well to the front among the numerous and prosperous banks of LeSueur county.
LeSueur was incorporated as a village on June 3, 1883, and its presidents have been as follows: M. A. Doyle, 1883; Dennis Doyle, 1884; John Murphy, 1886; Dennis Doyle, 1887; L. Ziff, 1888; J. H. Gilda, 1889-90-91; C. D. Cotey, 1892; D. F. Gorman, from 1893 to 1907; March Walsh, 1907-08-09; R. G. Murphy, 1910-14; H. D. Michael, 1915.
The first set of village officers were as follow: President, M. A. Doyle; Peter J. Byrne, recorder; Dennis Doyle, justice of the peace; James Bowe, constable; L. Ziff, R. Dynes, Peter Braman, trustees.
The present-1915-16-officers are: H. D. Michael, president; F. A. Crosley, recorder; Mark Walsh, treasurer; M. D. Brennen, M. H. Bradford, justices; F. Pierce, W. F. Kiewath, constables; William A. Sheridan, A. G. Richter, William Sieneke, trustees; E. L. Cunningham, assessor.
The village has a waterworks system, including a three-inch well. The place is furnished with lights by an acetylene plant having three hundred lights. The village owns its own hall, valued at four thousand dollars.
The postoffice at Kilkenny was established on July 25, 1857, with Dennis Doyle, postmaster. He was succeeded by H. J. Byrne, from 1888 to 1889, when Mary A. Byrne was appointed.
Lanesburg is the extreme northeastern sub-division of LeSueur county, and comprises all of congressional township 112, range 23 west. It is bounded on the north by Scott county, on the east by Rice county, on the south by Montgomery township and on the west by Derrynane township. The township is traversed from north to south, through its center, by the line of the Minneapolis & St. Louis railroad. The lakes of this township include Lake Saborn, Lake Pepin, Mud lake, Eggert and Graham lakes. This township like most all in the county, originally had heavy timber over its surface. New Prague was cut out of a forest largely, and almost all of the surrounding farms were once a dense forest, but one seeing it for the first time today, would scarce believe it to have once been a forest.
The Bohemian and German settlers are responsible for this great change, for these people largely predominate, both in the rural districts and in New Prague, a part of which is within this county.
The population of the township in 1890 was 1,374; in 1910 it was 1,105, a decided decrease, on account of cheaper lands farther to the north and west, in both this country and in Canada.
Settlers began to claim lands here as early as 1854, Frank Heil and A. Stahl taking the lead in the matter of developing this part of LeSueur county. They were soon followed by J. Reueck, F. W. Rolars and A. Richter. Much of the available land was in the western part of the township, hence quite a settlement was effected by 1869, and a postoffice was established at Lanesburg. A Catholic church was organized and a church edifice erected, as most all were Roman Catholic in their religious faith, at that date. The German Lutherans soon had a church, however, in section 6. One of the early industries was the brewery in section 3, owned by Frank Redley, the same having been put in operation in 1877. The township is now thickly settled by a very enterprising class of citizens. In section 19 is situated the little inland hamlet known as Heidelberg. The only town of any considerable importance is New Prague.
CITY OF NEW PRAGUE.
New Prague is in many ways the most up-to-date place in this portion of Minnesota. It is situated both in LeSeuer and Scott counties-the main business street being the county line. The business is about equally divided between the two counties. Its population in 1910 was placed at 1,524, including those living in Scott and LeSueur counties. Ward No. 1, which is the ward lying within LeSueur county, had at that date 640 people. But there are enough just outside the corporate lines to make the total on both sides of the county line about 2,000. New Prague was platted in 1883 by a syndicate of eighty persons, and that portion within this county is situated in section 3, of Lanesburg civil township. It is known as the "City of Bread and Butter" on account of its extensive flouring-mills and creameries.
The oldest settlers and first true builders of New Prague were: Anton Philipp, Albert Vrtis, M. Hanzal, Joseph Stehlick, Thomas M. Stepka, M. Borak, Albert Janovsky. The first settlement here dates from 1854. The bulk of the first settlers were from Germany and Bohemia, while the remainder up to 1895 were Danish, Americans and Irish.
New Prague was incorporated as a village in March, 1877, by act of the Minnesota Legislature. Dr. J. Landenberger, W. S. Broz and Frank Wrabek were appointed to issue notice of the first election of officers to be held in said village. Notice was given that such election would be held on March 22, 1877, and at such election the following were elected officers of the village: Thomas Suchomel, president; W. S. Broz, recorder; M. Remes, Joseph Maertz and Anton Soukup, trustees; Thomas Zak, treasurer; Frank Wrabek, justice of the peace; Joseph Wrabek, constable. At this election there were cast fifty votes.
In 1891 the village government had outgrown its usefulness and the Minnesota Legislature incorporated it into a city. This was in the month of April, 1891, when it was divided into two wards. The first ward to contain all of the territory south of Main street in LeSueur county; the second ward, the territory north of Main street in Scott county. It was in 1891 that the present beautiful city hall was erected at a cost of $4,250. It is a two-story building, the ground floor being the home of the fire department, while the upper rooms are for city offices, court room, etc. This fine brick structure stands on the corner of Simmer and First streets.
The fire department was organized on May 8, 1894, with twenty-seven members, but by 1895 had thirty-six firemen. In 1895 the value of the firefighting apparatus amounted to about $4,290.
ELECTRIC LIGHT AND WATERWORKS PLANT.
In 1895 was commenced the New Prague waterworks system, when a deep well was sunk and a pump installed driven by a gasoline engine. A seventy-thousand-gallon tank on an eighty-foot steel tower was erected and over one-half mile of pipes put in. Year after year these mains were extended until almost three miles of pipes are now in use. There are now twenty-five street hydrants. In 1909 another well was sunk to the depth of three hundred and eighteen feet. This, with the old well, furnishes an abundant supply of the purest water. The waterworks and electric light systems are combined. The waterworks has a patronage of one hundred and ten customers, while the electric light plant has customers amounting to one hundred and eighty.
In 1904 the electric light and power equipment was installed in a brick building. In 1907 an air lift was installed for pumping water.
The old well flows at the rate of thirty-two gallons a minute, while the new well throws out water amounting to ninety-three gallons per minute. The water tank is connected with the mains at the mills, so that in case of any defect at the pumping station, the engines of the mills will do ample service to protect all from flames.
The new, up-to-date, handsome street lighting system was built in 1914 by public subscription and a good appropriation by the city council. It was put in commission by home laborers and is the just pride of the citizens of the place and the comment of the strangers within the gates.
A recent improvement is the drainage system constructed above Grace street to Simmer street, which, from a sanitary point of view, is one of the best investments ever made in the sprightly little city.
The city officials in 1915-16 are as follow: Joseph A. Soukup, mayor; H. H. Heinen, alderman-at-large; John F. Bruzek, clerk; Albert A. Ryback, treasurer; S. A. Vopareck, alderman, first ward; Nick H. Daleiden, alderman, second ward; E. W. Komarek, city attorney; J. F. Barta, municipal judge; E. J. Vanasek, city justice; Frank Bilek, chief of police; W. J. Kritta, assessor; John Broz, street commissioner; Dr. W. J. Kucera, city physician; F. S. Vanasek and Benjamin Kritta, members of board of health; A. J. Rynda, chief of fire department.
The mayors who have served are as follow: John Joach, 1891-92; John Proshek, 1893-94; Frank Remes, 1895-96; C. J. Newcomer, 1897-98; Dr. E. E. Novak, 1899-1900; Dr. J. Landenberger, 1901-04; Frank Soukup, 1905-06; J. J. Remes, 1907-08; Dr. J. Landenberger, 1909-12; J. F. Wrabek, 1913-14.
The electric light plant is valued at thirty thousand dollars. The bonded indebtedness of the city is now (January 1, 1916), a trifle more than nineteen thousand dollars.
This city has varied and quite extensive manufacturing interests, including the plant of the New Prague Foundry Company, which was established over a quarter of a century ago by Frank J. Melounek. Year after year it underwent various changes in equipment and owners, until its present factors are: Mike Machacek, general manager, who looks after the construction work of every description; Frank Basil, who supervises the blacksmith shop and foundry; Thomas W. Marck, foreman of the machine shop and Ford salesman. Among the trusted employees are: Frank J. Bisek, foreman of the bridge crew; Math Mamer, foreman steam fitter; Frank Hurt, iron molder; Frank Marek, machinist; Edward J. Rachac, auto repair man, and Adolph Jelinek, bookkeeper and office man. Everyone of these men has been an employee of the company for years and each is an expert in his special line of work. There are always about a dozen men on the payroll of the company and this number is often increased to thirty-five or forty during the busy months. Mr. Machacek is the inventor and patentee of a safety emery stand which the company manufactures. The works of the company are housed in four buildings, including a new concrete garage and machine shop which was erected about five years ago. Besides this there is the foundry building which was recently erected, a blacksmith shop and a warehouse. The equipment of the plant is first class in every respect and includes a couple of new turning lathes of enormous size and length.
NEW PRAGUE CREAMERY ASSOCIATION.
The New Prague Creamery Association was organized in 1912 by farmers of Scott and LeSueur counties. The present officers are: Dr. E. E. Novak, president; John H. Meyer, vice-president; M. J. Tikalsky, secretary; William Eilers, treasurer; W. Kucera, director. M. J. Tikalsky, is the manager and understands the art of butter making and handling of cream and also the business end of making money for the farmers who furnish the milk. All of the butter made here is from pasteurized cream.
THE FOREMOST INDUSTRY.
The largest industry in the county is the great flouring-mill plant where the famous "Seal of Minnesota" flour is made. A quarter of a million dollars are paid to the farmers of the country surrounding New Prague for the wheat consumed by these wonderful mills. Two hundred and fifty men here find constant employment. This business grew from a small grist-mill of a quarter of a century ago to one of the largest producers of flour in all Minnesota. It was in the early autumn of 1892 when F. A. Bean, Sr., moved to New Prague and leased the old Simmer flouring-mills. The "Seal of Minnesota" grew in popular, almost national-wide, favor until larger quarters had to be provided for its manufacture. This one brand of family flour is known now the world over. It goes now to such great consuming countries as England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, Greece, Holland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Africa, China, South America, West Indies, Cuba and Porto Rico. For a number of years the daily capacity of these mills has been two thousand five hundred barrels. A cooper shop is run in connection, wherein are made the celebrated hand-made barrels. The mill is run by a nine hundred horse-power engine and four large steam boilers. A sprinkling system is in use by which safety is assured to the mill property at all times. The mill also has a scientific testing laboratory in which expert flour men test all wheat and study the conditions of every department before the wheat is finely ground. From this experimental mill bread is baked daily and in this manner no poor flour goes into the market from here.
THE BREWING BUSINESS.
New Prague has a large brewery, but it is located across the line in Scott county, hence does not really belong in the history of LeSueur county. It should however, be stated that it is one of the large concerns of the city and is known as "Kokes' Brewery." Thomas Kokes is the sole owner of this large plant. As long ago as 1895, the New Prague Brewing Company, another brewing plant, was doing an immense business.
Prague had for its first postmaster, Francis Wrabek, December 1, 1879; A. W. Mertins, 1882 to 1884. The name was changed to New Prague, February 25, 1884; A. W. Mertins, 1884 to 1885; W. S. Broz, 1885 to 1889; J. H. Stepan, 1889 to 1893; Albert Rynda, 1893 to 1897; John F. Wrabek, 1897 to 1901; site changed from Scott county to LeSueur, March 7, 1901; John F. Wrabek, 1901 to 1911; Joseph Mertz, 1911 to 1915; James J. Remes, October 20, 1915.
BUSINESS DIRECTORY FOR 1915.
The following includes about all the business factors within this county in the enterprising little city of New Prague: Attorneys, W. T. Hanzal, E. W. Konarek; bank, The First National; barber shops, Alex J. Jeliek, Menchel Mechura; bottling works, Star Bottling Works; blacksmith shops, Frank Maruska, August W. Sticha, Frank Pomije, Frank J. Dvorak; clothing, T. F. Rybak; cement works, New Prague Cement Works; creamery, New Prague Creamery Association; dentist, Joseph W. Janecky, D. D. S.; elevators, New Prague Flouring Mill Elevator-Company; grocer, Joseph Maertz; general stores, Maertz & Renner, J. W. Mach, C. J. Simon; hardwares, Mamer & Deutsch, Sachs & Rynda, Vanaseck Hardware Company; harness, A. A. Zak; hotels, Hotel Broz, W. S. Broz, proprietor, Commercial House; implements, same as hardware dealers; lumber, John Prosek; mills, New Prague Flouring Mill Company; music dealer, J. W. Komarek; millinery, Mrs. Frank Maruska; marble works, Rech & Yackly; meat markets, E. F. Remes & Company, Janda, Kopet & Pesek; newspaper, the Times, by the Times Publishing Company; opera hall, Savoy Theatre, new and one of the best in state; physicians, Drs. E. E. Novak, J. Landenberger, W. J. Kucera; phone company, the New Prague Telephone Company, S. A. Vopaetk, proprietor; shoe repairs, Jacob Blaha; saloons, ten in number, the principal ones in this county are conducted by Zak & Sempbauer, A. A. Rybak, Nicoloy Brothers, Maertz & Renner; stock dealers, Farmers New Prague Equitable Association; tailors, Joseph Palacek, Joseph Lalla.
LESUEUR TOWNSHIP AND CITY.
This is now the smallest of all civil sub-divisions within LeSueur county. Much concerning the history of this civil township is found in the account of the city of LeSueur, the early history of one being intermingled with the other. As now constituted this township is bounded on the north by the Minnesota river, on the east by Tyrone and Sharon townships, on the south by Ottawa township and west by the Minnesota river. It contains three entire sections and fractional parts of ten others. In its early history there were three village plats in the township-LeSueur, LeSueur City and Middle LeSueur, but they are now all known as LeSueur.
Aside from those mentioned in the village history, among the pioneers in LeSueur township should not be forgotten such men as the following: Dr. Otis Ayer, a native of New Hampshire, who came here in 1856 and was still practicing medicine in the eighties. During the New Ulm massacre in 1862, he went with the gun in one hand and medicine case in the other, caring for the wounded along with Dr. Daniels of St. Peter.
Daniel Bannatyne, a Scotchman, born in 1836, came to America in 1858, served in the Union army from New York state and in 1869 came to LeSueur, engaging in the dry goods trade.
F. Baumann, a German, born in 1843, came to LeSueur in 1868, and soon thereafter started a tailor shop, having learned the trade in his native land.
Frank Barnard, a contractor and builder, was a native of Prince Edward Island, born in 1848, came to Mankato in 1871 and to LeSueur in 1877; he was an early lumber dealer in LeSueur.
E. Blaser, another German tailor, located here in 1874.
Rev. Henry Boettcher, born in Germany, in 1834, when eleven years of age immigrated with his parents to Missouri, but in 1855 came to LeSueur, where he gave his attention to general merchandising. He entered the ministry in 1861, being a Methodist Episcopal minister, and held many important charges in southern Minnesota.
Mrs. Julia M. Brown, a native of Detroit, Michigan, born in 1836, was educated at the Kalamazoo Theological College, taught school in Michigan and Wisconsin a number of years a number of years and in 1859 married J. W. Brown and settled in Wright county, Minnesota, where they farmed ten years, coming to LeSueur township in 1868. They purchases five hundred acres of land in this county and her husband was largely interested in milling. Mrs. Brown was active in temperance work.
Patrick Cantwell, first county treasurer, was born in Ireland in 1825, learned the carpenter and millwright trades and in 1848 came to America. After two years' labor in Pennsylvania he found his way west to LeSueur. That was in 1852, when there was only one small shanty in the village of LeSueur. He and a brother operated a simple "whip" saw-mill and thus made lumber for the erection of several small buildings. He later became well known as a public official.
C. M. Cosgrove, of western New York state, arrived in this township in 1872 and engaged in farming and stock-raising; also later sold farm implements at LeSueur.
Henry J. Dane, of New Hampshire, first located in Nicollet county in 1855, but soon removed to this township. In 1866 he embarked in the general merchandising business.
A settler of 1872 was J. E. Derby, born in Missouri in 1848. He was on the western plains many years and farmed in Ohio before locating here. He ran a barber shop in the village of LeSueur many years.
August R. Doescher, born in Hanover, Germany, in 1841, immigrated to LeSueur at the age of eighteen years with his parents. In the fall of 1864 he enlisted in the Tenth Regiment, Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, and was at the great battle of Nashville, Tennessee. Immediately following the Indian outbreak at new Ulm in 1862, he, with others, went to the relief of the settlers at that point and while watering his team at a well-house, the Indians fired a volley at him, but luckily he was not wounded.
J. L. Drake, born in York state in 1823, when fourteen years old went to Ashland county, Ohio, went to school and later learned the cooper's trade. He followed that until 1854 when he came to LeSueur, built a log house and took a claim of a quarter section of land in this township. Later he owned almost four hundred acres.
William E. Elshoff, a German, came to America at the age of five years and in Ohio learned the cabinet-maker's trade. He came here in 1865 and engaged in the manufacture of furniture in partnership with Charles Steinigeweg, and continued many years.
Other settlers included the following: David W. Edwards, 1878; W. D. Evans, 1876; Rev. G. M. Eyrich, a German, and a minister of the Lutheran church, 1879; John M. Farmer, a Virginian, 1852; A. S. Ford, a Norwegian, 1877.
Charles H. Ginther, a German, came to Minnesota in 1855, farmed sixteen years of his life, attended school and learned the tinsmith's trade. In 1876 he came to LeSueur and started a hardware store.
James J. Green, born in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, in 1830, learned the newspaper business in Springfield, Ohio, and in 1857 started a paper at Traverse, supposing that the state capital was to be located near that point. In 1858 he established the Minnesota Statesman, at St. Peter, and in 1865 it was moved to LeSueur and there destroyed by fire. He then conducted newspapers at Winona, St. Cloud, Minneapolis and St. Anthony and finally, 1973, started the LeSueur Sentinel. He was clerk of the courts in Nicollet county at one time, and was really a pioneer in Minnesota and well versed in all of its pioneer history; he was an early postmaster at St. Peter and was mayor of LeSueur.
Ed. H. Huntington, practical printer, and all-around newspaper man, established the LeSueur News in 1879.
Henry Kruse, the old brick maker, came to LeSueur in 1861.
John C. Maag, a native of Switzerland, born in 1811, learned the butcher's trade which he followed in Europe until 1838, came to America in 1847, bought a farm in Ohio, conducted it four years, moved to Toledo and in 1855 removed to LeSueur. He made an eighty-acre claim and in Civil War days served in the Fourth Regiment, Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, as a bugler. After the war he resumed his meat business at LeSueur and finally retired and traveled through Europe, Asia and America.
George Noys, born in England in 1813, learned the shoemaker's trade, went to Canada in 1852, and located in LeSueur in 1855, making a claim of eighty acres. He went to LeSueur City in 1862 and for many years followed his trade.
Hon. William H. Patten, born in Nova Scotia in 1826, was an Indian trader and became wealthy. He with a brother owned a three-mast barque which was finally wrecked and left him penniless. At the New Ulm Indian massacre he aided in defense and relief work among the suffering settlers. He then engaged in trade at LeSueur with the firm of Patten, Taylor & Company. In 1861 he was made revenue assessor, holding that office nine years; was elected to the Legislature in 1864 and for many years was a well-known man in LeSueur county.
George Plowman, the well-known, early-day blacksmith, born in 1839, came to LeSueur township in 1858 and followed his trade until his enlistment in 1861 as a member of Company K, Second Regiment, Minnesota Volunteer Infantry. He was also at New Ulm at the massacre in 1862 and was commissioned second lieutenant of the Fourth Regiment. After the war he resumed his trade.
Livingstone Quackenbush, a New Yorker, born in 1840, settled in this township in 1869, engaging in the hardware trade at LeSueur. In 1875 started the LeSueur County Bank. During the Civil War he was drafted, but owning to a physical disability was rejected.
Hon. Edward R. Smith, born in 1836, in Vermont, came to LeSueur in 1856, forming a partnership with his brother in the mercantile business, remained in trade until 1859, when he went into the county auditor's office, as deputy auditor, and also served two years by election. In 1863 he resumed mercantile business at LeSueur, continuing until 1878, when he formed a partnership with Hon. M. Doran in the banking business at LeSueur; they also owned the mill and grain elevator at that point. In 1868 he was state senator, serving two years; was town councilman five years; member of the school board seven years. He was a Knight Templar and served as master three terms in his Masonic lodge.
Others who helped to develop this part of the county were: Dr. George D. Swaine, George W. Taylor, W. H. Tomlinson, Orr Tousley, Rev. H. J. Van Fossen, Frederick Vasterling, Rev. Maximilian Wurst.
FIRST FUNERAL SERVICES.
One of the earliest religious incidents of the township and county is often spoken of by the old settlers. In the fall of 1852, a laborer who came from the South was taken sick and in spite of careful nursing by companions passed away. After taking his body to the grave those rough frontiersmen laid it carefully down and with sad faces called upon Patrick Cantwell to say a few words in honor of the dead, there being no clergyman in the country. Here is his sermon-and who would ask a better one: "Friends, Jake came among us a stranger. He reached to us an ever helping hand and with a kind, generous heart ever had a pleasant word for all. May we, when the trumpet sounds, be as well prepared to go as he. And now, Jake, we bury you with all your faults and will only remember your noble deeds." This was the first funeral of LeSueur.
CITY OF LESUEUR.
LeSueur, the first county seat of the county, is situated on the east bank of the Minnesota river, and is on the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha railway line, the second station down the river from St. Peter. It is within an independent civil township "City of LeSueur." It now has a population of 1,755. It prides itself on its schools and churches and a few small manufacturing enterprises.
LeSueur was so named from the early explorer of that name. It is the oldest town in the county, dating from 1852, a year before the organization of the county. It is finely situated upon a shelving slope on the river in the northwestern part of LeSueur county. It contains three full sections and the fractional parts of ten other sections. In its early history there were three villages-LeSueur, Middle LeSueur and LeSueur City, also the township of LeSueur. There was a long dispute of title to the property upon which LeSueur City now stands, and owing to the destruction of some of the records by fire in 1866, but few facts can now be secured. It is known, however, that the first claim was made by George W. Thompson in the spring of 1852. Soon thereafter Henry McLean, armed with a license from the governor to operate among the Indians, and in company with John Christy and John Cathcart, forced Mr. Thompson to vacate. A log house was at once erected, the first in the town. Mr. Thompson went one mile up the river, where the business portion of the town now lies. The log house he built that summer was still standing in the eighties.
In June of the same year, J. M. Farmer, James Kern and Alexander Ray purchased two-thirds of Mr. Thompson's claim and immediately had it surveyed into town lots and it took the same "LeSueur." Several log houses were built that autumn by the company. During this time Messrs. Christy, McLean and Cathcart had surveyed their claim, also naming their place "LeSueur." Much to their surprise they found the Farmer party had outgeneraled them by having their plat recorded, and thereby stolen the name. They were obliged to call their town by something else and chose the name "LeSueur City."
There was an attempt to establish a third village between the two already mentioned, called "Middle LeSueur." A dispute arose over the title to the property at LeSueur City, growing out of a forcible seizure by McLean, Christy and Cathcart. The incorporation of LeSueur City and LeSueur was delayed until June 10 and 17, 1858. For nine years thereafter there was great rivalry between the two villages, neither heeding the rights of the other in civil matters. But by act of the Minnesota Legislature in 1867, on March 9, the two rival villages were incorporated in one borough town, LeSueur, and officers appointed as follow: J. H. Swan, mayor; K. K. Peck, J. C. Maag and H. C. Smith, councilmen; F. Cadwell, clerk; J. Oliver, treasurer; F. Cadwell, attorney; A. J. Rutan and G. W. Stewart, justices of the peace; L. L. Kulp and J. W. Wilkins, constables. Again in February, 1871, to avoid the necessity of two sets of officials, the township organization was done away with, and the entire territory included in the borough town of LeSueur.
In a work published in the early eighties it is stated that at that date the only person of all the "first settlers" who was living in the place was Mr. Farmer. Thompson returned to St. Anthony and was accidentally shot in the prairies the following winter. Mr. Christy sold out in 1858, and was killed by the Indians in Nebraska. McLean also moved away at an early day. Cathcart remained until the fall of 1856, having been engaged in mercantile business in company with H. C. Smith during 1855-56; joined the army and was killed during the Civil War.
In the early days of the spring of 1853 George Risedorph took a claim and built a small house, which was soon added to and converted into a hotel, and carried on a big business for some time. In the same autumn, came K. K. Peck, who built a hotel in the lower part of the village, and he was soon followed by Ira Myrick, who erected the third hotel not far from that kept by pioneer Peck. Peck moved to Faribault in 1874.
In 1882 among the more prominent citizens of the town may be recalled the names of W. H. Patton, who came in 1854; Hon. E. R. Smith and Dr. Otis Ayer, in 1856; H. C. Smith and John Maag, in 1855; John Smith in 1857.
AN 1882 DIRECTORY.
A city directory of LeSueur published in 1882 gives the following information. There were then seven secret organizations; two newspapers; large stores by W. H. Patton & Company, established in 1862 by Patton & Taylor; the general store of Mrs. L. A. Dane, opened in 1873; Funk Brothers' store, established in 1877; two hardware stores, the first opened in 1855 by Charles Scheffler; three millinery establishments-Mrs. E. S. Brown opened a shop in 1874, Miss M. A. Salisbury, one in 1881 and Daniel Bennett, one in 1868. A drug store was opened in 1865, by H. Meckstroth & Son; in the spring of 1881, Geltch & Rethvill succeeded the old firm. Pierce Brothers succeeded Doctor Swaine in the drug line. The furniture business was established in 1871 by Elshoff and Company. They made part of their goods and employed five men at their work. W. Weaver started in this line in 1881. There were also three liveries, two jewelry stores, and exclusive grocery by L. E. Olmstead, established in 1881; a harness and trunk store; two agricultural implement stores, one being the Cosgrove place established in 1875. There were six saloons; an exclusive boot and shoe store; a 45,000-bushel elevator built by W. H. Patten & Company, in 1879. Doran & Smith having one established in 1875, holding 28,000 bushels. The LeSueur roller mill, owned by Doran & Smith, was remodeled in 1881 and made to a capacity of 150 barrels daily. W. H. Stewart was also operating a one-run-of-stones mill and a carding-mill, both of which were constructed in 1875. A cooper shop by Doran & Smith employed eight men. Two brick yards, with each about a half million brick annually, were operated by Henry Kruse and H. Dehling. A commission house was opened in 1876 by J. Taylor & Company.
The professions were represented by four physicians and five attorneys-Drs. E. J. Ayer commenced in 1854; C. H. Spratt in 1870; George D. Swain, 1875; Doctor Vosterling in 1861 and dentist D. W. Edwards in 1878. The attorneys were A. W. Bangs, C. F. Cadwell, W. Bright, Thomas Hessian and O. S. Parker. This all goes to show that LeSueur was a lively town more than a third of a century ago, and is still forging to the front among the enterprising places of LeSueur county in 1916.
LESUEUR IN 1915.
On December 13, 1915, the following were the commercial and professional interests at the town of LeSueur: Attorneys, Thomas Hessian, F. Cadwell, O. J. Parker; auto garages, George E. Noys, John Ryan, F. L. Green Auto Company; agricultural implements, John Kehoe, Cosgrove Company, W. H. Tomlinson; banks, First National, Farmers State Bank; blacksmiths, L. Anderson, Iten Brothers, George Busse, James King and M. Nelisen; boots and shoes, McKasy Brothers, H. Weckworth, A. H. Nelson, John Anderson, Fred Eyrich, Albert Ochs; brick factory, William Harder; barber shops, Paul F. Block, Claus Stevens, Otis Schaffer and Herman Gritzmacher; bakery, H. H. Johnson; clothing, McKasy Brothers, A. H. Nelson, H. Weckworth, Diener & Bauman, Sidney York; cement works, LeSueur Concrete Block Company; coal, B. D. Little, Standard Lumber Company, St. John Grain Company, W. H. Tomlinson; canning factory, Minnesota Valley Canning Company, canned pears and corn; drugs, W. H. Rethwell, T. W. Wirewill; dentists, C. E. Conoly, M. P. Salisbury; dray lines, F. St. Peter and Richard Linderman; elevators, Wirewill Brothers, St. John Grain Company; feed mills, H. Wirewill & Son, and Fred Biszey; furniture, Leonard Beer and John Sievert; general dealers, McKasy Brothers, A. H. Nelson, C. A. Kameen, St. Paul Store; grocers, P. W. Bauman, John and Jacob Bachman, Edward Brown, George H. Hughs, M. Murry, E. P. Antonsen, F. W. Viehman and J. P. Hansen; hardware, W. H. Tomlinson, The Cosgrove Company, Huberty Brothers; hotels, H. DeParqc, Mrs. Charles Wandri; harness, J. A. Cosgrove, A. J. Beer; ice dealer, D. B. Little; jewelers, T. G. Mahler and Max Distel; laundry, Leo Quond; lumber, Standard Lumber Company, Lambert Lumber Company; livery, Charles Schaffler; mills, Smith Wilson, flouring-mill; meat markets, W. J. Reiss, George Aufdernar; millinery, M. & C. Iten, Mary McNeal; motion pictures, Mrs. Henrietta Starkey & Son; newspaper, The News, by M. W. Grimes; opera houses, W. C. Snow, Howard Snow, A. H. Budke; photographers, J. A. W. Anderson; photo material, John E. Noys; produce and commission, W. J. Reiss, Ed. Stautz, N. Robinson; plumbing, Anton Snyder; physicians, Drs. F. A. Dodge, J. E. LeClerc, D. W. McDougald (regular), H. A. Hartung (homeopathic), Beatrice and W. H. H. Green (osteopath); phone lines, Northwestern line and Farmers and Merchants line; restaurants, A. Schwob, H. H. Johnson, J. W. McGuckin; stock dealers, J. W. McConnell, Ed. F. Webber; shoemakers, H. Ohde, Fred Eyrich, John Anderson; saloons, Frantz & Bard, Callahan & Murphy, F. Briegel & Son, Con Vogt; shirt factory, Guitterman Brothers & Company employs forty women; Joseph Drecksler and Ernest Billaveau; tailors, Diener & Bauman, Fred Bauman; veterinary, S. J. Murray, F. C. Ozbourne; wagon maker, W. H. Busse; variety store, Mr. Barlow.
THE ARTESIAN WELL.
The water supply of the city of LeSueur comes from an artesian well owned by the city and has been in continuous flow for twenty years. During all this time not a case of typhoid fever has developed in a home where the water is used. The well is six hundred and sixty-eight feet deep, and the water flows through a ten-inch casing. Less than one-half of the flow is used. It is said that about forty thousand gallons are used daily.
WATER AND LIGHT PLANT.
The water and light plant is owned by the city and has been operated at a profit from the time of construction. The lights are of the alternating current and are used generally. Electricity is also supplied for power purposes and much of it is used. There are about four and one-half miles of city water mains.
The postoffice at LeSueur was established on August 4, 1852, with John W. Cathcart as postmaster; K. R. Peck, from January, 1853, to May, 1853; William M. Swan, 1853 to 1855; Kortum K. Peck, 1855 to 1857; H. C. Smith, 1857 to 1869; George Stewart, 1869 to 1874; J. M. Farmer, 1874 to 1886; H. J. Dane, 1886 to 1891; John M. Farmer, 1891 to 1894; E. F. Barrett, 1894 to 1898; M. W. Grimes, 1898 to 1906; Jacob Gish, 1906 to present date-1916.
The place was incorporated as a city on March 16, 1891, by special act of the Minnesota Legislature. The following have served as mayors: J. H. Swan, B. F. Carson, K. K. Peck, George D. Snow, Felix A. Borer, Orr Tousley, Patrick Cantwell, Robert Navis, James A. Wise, J. J. Green, August Freeman, A. Cox, F. A. Borer, T. H. Smullen, A. Cox, T. H. Smullen, H. C. Smith, W. H. Fisher, C. N. Cosgrove, J. H. Termath and D. W. McDougald.
The municipal officers in 1915-16 were: D. W. McDougald, mayor; August E. Budke, John E. Banleke, John Stueven, J. P. Hanson, E. W. Stantz, L. Anderson, councilman; J. A. Morgan, clerk; John McKasy, treasurer; T. H. Smullen, municipal judge; Thomas H. Smullen, assessor; Max Distel, justice; William Morgan and August Denzer, constables; O. H. Parker, attorney.
LEXINGTON TOWNSHIP AND LESUEUR CENTER.
The present county seat of LeSueur county is almost in the exact geographical center of the county, and is within Lexington township. This township comprises all of congressional township 111, range 24 west. It is bounded on the north by Derrynane, on the east by Montgomery, on the south by Cordova and on the west by Sharon township. Its population was 1,337 in 1890; 1,397 in 1900 and 1,188 in 1910, this being exclusive of the city of LeSueur Center, which in 1910 had a population of 741.
The Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad runs through the southern tiers of sections, coming in from the southwest in section 31 and passing out of the township from section 24. The only station point within the township is LeSueur Center.
This township has several lakes, including Wockridge lake, Mud lake, Volney lake, Mary lake, and Tyler lake, all small bodies of water, but usually fed by living springs. The largest of all lakes in this township is Clear lake, near the old village of Lexington.
This originally a heavily timbered section of the state, and the city of LeSueur Center was cut out of a dense forest growth in 1876-77. With passing years the timber has largely been cut off and consumed for various purposes. There are numerous, though quite insignificant, creeks within the borders of Lexington township.
The pioneer settlers included these: In 1855 came in during the spring months, Arthur O'Malwy, he being the first white man to invade these parts; he was followed in the spring of 1856 by H. Earl, Joseph Kirtland, S. Shivel and William Budd, who each claimed a quarter section of land in the northern portion of the township and in the vicinity of Clear lake; the claim of Mr. Earl subsequently being laid out as the village of "Lexington."
Lexington township was organized in the spring of 1858 with officers as follow : Town board, B. Abbott, chairman, G. J. Earl, George Jackson, members; H. Childs, clerk; A. Blen, assessor; S. Shivel, justice of the peace. A postoffice was established in 1856 with H. Earl as postmaster. The next postoffice was established as Union Center, on a farm belonging to J. U. Chapman, on the northeast quarter of section 32, Mr. Chapman being appointed postmaster, holding the office until 1877, when the office was moved to the newly-laid-out county seat, LeSueur Center. At the new location Thomas Sullivan, who was appointed postmaster, failed to qualify, and Mr. Chapman continued in office at the new place.
VILLAGE OF LEXINGTON.
Lexington was platted in 1857, in sections 3, 9 and 10, on about two hundred acres. A general store was soon opened by Bateman & Smith, who continued in business about two years. It was during the same year that O. F. Huntley came on from the East and built a saw-mill and bought a five-acre tract of land. The mill was burned in 1860, and rebuilt on the opposite side of Clear lake the same season, being much larger than the first mill and to it was coupled a grist-mill, having a twenty-five-barrel daily capacity. The mill was still in operation in the eighties.
A school was taught in the winter of 1857-58 with twenty pupils, the instructors being S. J. Baldwin, the same being held at a private house.
Fred Venison and Sarah E., daughter of H. Earl and wife, were the first persons to be united in marriage in this township. The date was 1858. Lexie Earl, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. G. J. Earl, was the first child born. She was named for the township in which she first saw the light of day.
In 1882 the business interests in this pioneer village were summed up as follow : The postoffice, general store by H. T. Baxter, postmaster; Huntington's flour-and grist-mill, and the only steam amber cane refinery of sorghum in the county. This establishment had a capacity of five thousand gallons of syrup per season. It was prepared under an entirely new process. This mill was established by C. S. Huntley in 1877.
In 1858 Charles Rheinhardt murdered a land-hunter in this locality and was captured and hung by a mob.
During the winter of 1857-58 many of the settlers suffered much from hunger and were compelled to live on corn ground in family coffee mills.
After the founding of LeSueur Center, all hopes of making much of a village at Lexington vanished from the minds of the sanguine proprietors.
VILLAGE OF LESUEUR CENTER.
LeSueur Center, the youngest place in the county, was platted in December, 1876, in sections 28 and 29, township 111, range 24, by a townsite company of which George M. Tousley was the president. This company erected a good-sized two-story brick building for court-house purposes, which they proposed and did lease to the county for a term of years, but finally the county took advantage of an option they held on the same, and purchased the building.
The first building on the plat was erected for a boarding house for the workmen employed by the contractor, William McCullough. The second house there was that erected by P. Kelly in the early spring of 1877, and it was, for a brief period, occupied as a saloon by Frank Morgan. The same season John Van Buren erected a hotel and store, in which he remained in business a number of years.
It was also in 1877 that L. R. Kegley built a thirty-horse-power saw-mill, and in 1879 a one-story frame school building was erected.
By 1882 this village was the largest of any in the central part of the county and boasted of having the county seat, court house and jail, four general stores, three hotels, three saloons, two blacksmith shops, a saw-mill, wagon shop, barber shop and the postoffice; also a brass band of seven instruments, E. Agnew, leader.
COMMERCIAL INTERESTS IN 1915.
It will be interesting in after eyars to note in whose hands the professions and business interests of the county seat town of LeSueur county were when this book was compiled. It is as follows: Banks, National and First State; newspapers, the Leader-Democrat; TELEPHONE LINES, Cannon Valley line connects with the Northwestern; hotels, the Minnesota House and Center House; general merchandise, F. A. C. Iltis, T. J. Lynch, D. Vollick; hardware, C. H. Collins, M. P. Prochosky; bakery, combined with grocery, F. Zavadil; clothing, Harmer Brothers; garages, Zika & Augst, P. A. Pomije; harness shop, J. Spry; blacksmith shops, T. A. Pomije, Louis Prechal, Bieck & Zika; furniture, Frank Moudry; jewelry, C. H. Hankins; millinery, Mrs. Erkel, Miss Moudry; meats, Louis Boehm, W. Krova; lumber, Lampert Lumber Company, H. E. Westerman Company; cigar factory, Fred Eyrich; physicians, Dr. H. B. Aitkens, Dr. L. F. Woodworth; dentist, E. J. Gish; stock dealer, John Shea; produce, LeSueur Center Produce Company; creamery, D. Vollick; flour and feed mills, Tepley Brothers; fanning mill, factory and saw-mill, Perry Nuttrowr; ice dealer, B. H. Van Buren; drugs, F. E. Ryando, W. J. Rademacher; dray lines, C. W. Syck, Samuel Kegley; veterinary surgeon, Dr. B. J. Thomas; livery, James Maloy; variety store, J. P. Growcer; barbers, J. H. Radigan, W. A. Tiede; stone contractors, Ben Zachor, Siehundel Brothers; pool and lunch, W. L. Bacon; opera houses, the Grand and Harmer's hall; tailors, Joseph Tatosky, Frank Malecha.
The federal census in 1890 gave the population of LeSueur Center as 169; in 1900 as 478, and in 1910 as 741.
The postoffice at LeSueur Center was established on February 28, 1877, with Thomas H. Smullen postmaster; John U. Chapman from 1877 to 1885; J. F. Quinlan, 1885 to 1889; John Van Buren, 1889 to 1893; Frederick Hanningan, 1893 to 1895; Daniel Vollick, 1895 to 1897; Jacob Krenik, 1897 to 1899; Jacob Gish, 1899 to 1900; James H. Smullen, 1900 to 1915; John Butler, 1915 to present time.
LeSueur Center became an incorporated village in the spring of 1890. In 1895 a system of waterworks was put in by bonding the village for five thousand dollars. At first water was pumped from the deep well by means of a gasoline engine, later steam was experimented with but was not satisfactory and since 1913 water has been pumped by the private electric light company. In July, 1912, five thousand dollars was raised by bonding the village for an extension of the water plant, which has proved a great accommodation to the patrons.
An old school house serves as a village hall, but a new one is badly needed, and is talked of now. The fire department has hose, hook and ladder appliances, and a volunteer fire company of twenty-four members under the leadership of John Spry makes all feel comparatively safe from the ravages of fires.
The W. T. McCaskey Company, a Michigan concern, installed an electric lighting plant here in 1913, and gives both day and night service.
The following is a list of the village officials since organization:
1890-President, Jacob Krenik; trustees, N. Wetzel, J. U. Chapman, O. F. Clifford; recorder, Jacob Gish.
1891-President, Jacob Krenik; trustees, S. R. Kendall, C. H. Purrington, N. Wetzel; recorder, Jacob Gish.
1892-President, N. Wetzel; trustees, John Van Buren, C. H. Purrington, S. R. Kendall; recorder, Jacob Gish.
1893-President, C. W. McMindes; trustees, C. H. Purrington, E. F. Moench, M. Keogh; recorder, Jacob Gish.
1894-President, Jacob Krenik; trustees, S. R. Kendall, N. Wetzel, Charles Kretchner; recorder, D. W. Van Buren.
1895-President, C. C. Kolars; trustees, Patrick Kelly, James Chapman, F. L. Holmes; recorder, Jacob Gish.
1896-President, C. C. Kolars; trustees, Peter Dewire, F. L. Holmes, F. H. Hinze; recorder, Jacob Gish.
1897-President, C. C. Kolars; trustees, F. L. Holmes, F. Hinze, J. C. Krenik; recorder, Jacob Gish.
1898-President, C. C. Kolars; trustees, F. L. Holmes, F. K. Hinze, P. Haley; recorder, Peter Dewire.
1899-President, F. L. Holmes; trustees, F. K. Hinze, Patrick Haley, W. Kreva; recorder, Peter Dewire.
1900-President, F. L. Holmes; trustees, W. Krava, Patrick Haley, F. Hinze; recorder, Peter Dewire.
1901-President, L. Holmes; trustees, P. Haley, W. Krava, N. Burgess; recorder, Frank Moudry.
1902-President, F. L. Holmes; trustees, N. H. Burgess, W. Krava, P. Haley; recorder, I. H. Bossuit.
1903-President, Jacob Krenik; trustees, J. H. Smullen, Norman Beardsley, John Spry; recorder, G. A. Solberg.
1904-President, John Van Buren; trustees, N. Weber, A. G. Burgess, D. Vollick, recorder, C. H. Davis.
1905-President, John Van Buren; trustees, D. Vollick, A. G. Burgess, John Schuldt; recorder, E. E. Burnett.
1906-President, F. Monech; trustees, S. R. Kendall, W. J. Rademacher, A. G. Burgess; recorder, Fred A. Groh.
1907-President, F. Monech; trustees, S. R. Kendall, W. J. Rademacher, T. A. Pomeji; recorder, F. A. Groh.
1908-President, F. Monech; trustees, W. J. Rademacher, S. R. Kendall, T. A. Pomeji; recorder, T. P. Keogh.
1909-President, C. H. Collins; trustees, W. J. Rademacher, William Pope, Frank Tepley; recorder, J. W. Morrison.
1910-President, W. J. Rademacher; trustees, William Pope, W. Krava, W. H. Jaeger; recorder, Thomas Murphy.
1911-President, L. W. Prendergast; trustees, D. Vollick, H. Piesinger, W. Krava; recorder, Thomas Murphy.
1912-President, L. W. Prendergast; trustees, W. Krava, H. Piesinger, D. Vollick; recorder, Thomas Murphy.
1913-President, L. W. Prendergast; trustees, W. Krava, H. Piesinger, James Malloy; recorder, Thomas Murphy.
1914-President, L. W. Prendergast; trustees, J. P. Malloy, H. Piesinger, W. K. Zika; recorder, A. A. Tamborino.
1915-President, J. W. Hruska; trustees, D. Vollick, C. J. Brown, T. J. Lynch; recorder, A. A. Tamborino.
Montgomery was at first one-half of Lanesburg township, but since 1859 has been a separate civil township. Here, as in so many portions of LeSueur county, the pioneer band had the forests to clear away and the brush and stumps to contend with in fitting the rich soil for the production of big crops which, with passing years have enriched the landowners. In 1890 this township had a population of 993; in 1900 it had 1,054, and in 1910 the federal census gave it as having but 854. This is exclusive of the city of Montgomery. The pioneer postoffice was Lanesburg, two miles west of the present city. When the Minneapolis & St. Louis railroad was constructed through the township in 1877 the postoffice was transferred to what is now Montgomery. Perhaps the earliest birth was that of a daughter of G. Augst and wife. She died of small-pox in 1870.
In the extreme southern portion of the township is Mulford station or Doyle postoffice, in section 34. The office was established in 1880. Here the postmasters have been William T. Kennedy, 1880; James Furlong, 1880-92; Thomas C. Furlong, 1892-95; James H. Miller, 1895-96; James Delehanty, 1896-1913; James Delehanty, Jr., 1913, to present date.
This township had for its first settlers August Richter, G. Augst and a few more, who braved the hardships incident to opening up farms in a forest land and wilderness, far from markets and transportation facilities-they came in 1856 and they came to conquer and succeeded. They each clamed a quarter section of land and at once began operations. Their first work was to raise a log house for each family, felling timber and breaking out a small patch of land on which to plant crops in the rich, virgin soil which has now come to be very valuable. Mr. Richter also opened a general store for the accommodation of the neighborhood. This was opened in 1859, not far from the present site of the city of Montgomery, which was not started until 1877, when he erected a larger store and engaged in business.
Among the later settlers may be recalled: Joseph Chadderdon, who started the Montgomery Standard and represented Scott county in the Legislature, located here in 1877; Frank Guslander, born in Illinois in 1849, was of Swiss parentage; mastered the cooper's trade and established himself in business in Montgomery in 1874; Dr. T. W. Hammond, born in Plymouth county, Massachusetts, was a college graduate in New England and first arrived here in 1866, later he graduated at Ann Arbor and also from Jefferson College, Pennsylvania, later he studied law and engaged in the practice of that profession, having been admitted to the bar in 1881.
Frank Havlicek, a native of Germany, born in 1851, came to America in 1861, settled in New Prague, Scott county, Minnesota, removing to Montgomery in 1877, engaging in the furniture business.
Thomas G. Hovorka, a native of Bohemia, born in 1850, came to America in 1869, locating in Scott county, Minnesota. He took a thorough course at Jefferson College and in 1882 was principal of the schools at Montgomery village, as then known; he was also a justice of the peace.
L. Schrauth, born in 1848 in Ohio, spent his youth on a farm; received a common-school education, and left Ohio in 1860 for Minnesota, locating at Montgomery in 1877, embarking in the hardware trade at the then village of Montgomery, under the firm name of Schrauth Brothers.
T. W. Sheehy, born in Limerick, Ireland, in 1829, immigrated to Connecticut in 1850; spent some years in the Carolinas and Kentucky. In 1875 he engaged in business with a brother in St. Paul, then went to Faribault and became a member of the firm of Murphy & Sheehy, continuing until 1880; then settled at Montgomery, having his son as his partner in mercantile trade.
J. J. Thomas, born in Winnebago county, Wisconsin, in 1857, learned the cooper's trade and located in Montgomery in 1881.
W. H. Woods, M. D., born in Ohio in 1823, was educated for a physician at Cleveland and Ann Arbor, Michigan. He first located at Owatonna, Minnesota, in 1856, remained there until 1866, removed to LeSueur and resided two years, then in 1868 moved to Madelia, but after 1879 was a resident of Montgomery, where he had a lucrative medical practice. Dr. Woods was the attending physician upon the notorious outlaws, the Younger brothers, who robbed the bank at Northfield. He had in his possession six teeth of James Younger, and the clothing of Charles Pitts who was killed in the final capture by the sheriff.
The above, with scores of others, were attracted hither by the excellent timber and the numerous lakes, including those now well-known as Green Leaf, Rice, Mud and Borer lakes. With the building of the Minneapolis & St. Louis railroad in 1877-8 this county took on a new life and development sent forward rapidly.
CITY OF MONTGOMERY.
In 1877, when the Minneapolis & St. Louis railroad was first built through the county, the site of Montgomery was in the midst of a dense forest of very heavy timber. The village of Montgomery was platted by Jane B. Martin, in section 10, township 111, range 23, September 5, 1877. It now has two railroads-the Minneapolis & St. Louis and the Milwaukee. Its population is 1,267 according to the census of 1910. In 1900 it had only 979.
To A. Richter belongs the honor of being the pioneer who first opened a general store in the village. T. W. Sheehy & Company immediately followed with a general stock, and in the same year a furniture stock was put in by Frank Havlicek. L. Schrauth & Brother commenced selling hardware that same season. The Montgomery Standard was established by Joseph Chadderdon, who also practiced law. The postoffice was established in 1877 with Frank Becker as postmaster.
By 1882 the business of the village consisted of five general stocks, one drug store, two hardwares, two furniture stores, one grocery, three boot and shoe stores, one harness shop, four blacksmiths, one wagon shop, two tailors, one barber shop, nine saloons, one flour and one saw-mill, a large stave factory, two elevators, three hotels, a weekly newspaper, three farm implement depots, three physicians, three attorneys and two insurance agencies.
In 1880 a fire company was organized and secured a hook and ladder outfit, including hose and hand engine. P. D. Smith was the first chief.
What was known as Lanesburg postoffice was established in July, 1857, with C. S. Lane as postmaster. He served until 1865 when he was succeeded by George Smith, who in turn was followed by Lewis Sparr from 1866 to 1868. The name of the office was changed on February 27, 1866, to Montgomery. The postmasters since then have been Frank Pickler from 1868 to 1877; Frank Becker, 1877 to 1885; John Sheehy, 1885 to 1889; Frank Becker, 1889 to 1893; John Sheehy, 1893 to 1911; A. J. Factor, 1911 to 1915; John M. Franta, April 30, 1915, to present date.
BUSINESS INTERESTS IN 1915.
At the close of 1915 the principal interests in way of traders and professional men in Montgomery were as follow : Attorneys, John Reblens, C. D. McCarthy; auto garages, Wash & Kruchek, J. & J. Dvorak; banks, State and Citizens; barbers, H. Driscoll, Frank Bentley, M. J. Brown; blacksmith shops, Novotng Brothers, James Prochausak, Frank Karbel; bakery, E. H. Frank; brewery, Handschuh & Richter, owners of Montgomery Brewing Company; clothing and shoes, J. T. Franta; cement work, J. J. Ziraba, Joseph Fonta; cigar factory, Charles Maertz; drugs, W. P. Becker, John Kiersatt; dray lines, Loula & Janda, F. P. Novack, Arthur Kumett; dentists, M. V. Havel, E. F. Franta; elevators, John Sheehy; furniture, Koehen Furniture Company, W. J. Ctvrtnik; feed mill, John Shima; general dealers, "The Globe," John F. Lepeska, Kotk & Soule, Polack & Tuma, John Franta, Kasand & Pexa, F. J. Washa, Joseph Bazail; hardware and implements, Vaneseck & Petricke, Oldenberg Brothers; harness, T. J. Turck, M. J. Kahout; hotels, "Alba," by Havel Brothers, "Park," by Theodore Dolge; heading factory, August Richter, also saw-mill, employs twenty men; jewelry, M. A. David; livery, Loula & Janda; lumber, Westerman Lumber Company, Pexa & Juntke; mills, Commander Flour Mills; newspaper, Messenger, by Montgomery Publishing Company; millinery, Mrs. R. B. Whipple; opera halls, "The Hilltop," "Down Town" and "Idle Hour"; photographs, George Minars; physicians, Drs. McKeon & Son, F. C. Westerman; picure shows, "Standard," Leslie Dane, manager; produce dealers, J. J. Kotek; restaurant, E. J. Leschzen; stock dealers, J. N. Schatz, Conrad Bauer; salons, Malone & Murphy, J. J. Nestaval, John Staska, John Ruhlard, Kukacka & Meskal, Kriha & Petricka, Fred Elftmann, Koval & Janda; tailor, Frank Bradash; veterinary surgeon, Dr. O. G. Vollmar.
Montgomery was incorporated early in the eighties as a village and has had a good growth and been well managed ever since. It now owns its own water plant and is served by a private company in way of electric lights. A vast amount of money has been expended on the highways and streets in recent years. Many years ago it provided itself with an excellent sewerage system which, together with the excellent water supply, gives health and convenience to the people of the city. It was incorporated as a city under the state laws in 1902, since which time it has put on "city airs" and kept pace with the sister cities in the county.
THE GREAT FLOUR MILLS.
The three-thousand-barrel daily capacity of the Commander Mill Company of Montgomery is equal to any flouring-mill plant in the state. It is indeed the pride of the people of southern Minnesota counties. While milling in small towns has of late years largely been abandoned, on account of the advantages found in the larger cities in way of transportation, etc., yet this mill is doing a larger business than ever before and will beyond doubt stand for long years. With plenty of wheat in nearby districts, good railway lines, an abundance of capital behind the enterprise, and the popular brands of flour made and sold at living rates will cause these wonderful mills to continue and prosper. These mills are constructed of concrete and steel, are fire-proof and sanitary. One who makes a tour of this plant will be convinced that all is wonderfully planned and that no better process for flour making can be found in the state-and this state leads the world. Its daily capacity of three thousand barrels makes a total of nine hundred thousand barrels of flour each year-almost a million barrels. Each twenty-four hours there are ground into flour fifteen thousand bushels of wheat, representing four million five hundred thousand bushels a year. Twenty-five carloads of flour and feed are shipped from this mill daily.
In addition to the mill the company owns and operates an elevator with a capacity of six hundred thousand bushels. This consists of four large steel storage tanks, eighty feet high and fifty feet in diameter. Each tank has a capacity of one hundred and twenty-five thousand bushels of wheat. Besides there is an "iron-clad" elevator with a capacity of one hundred thousand bushels. The company maintains a chemical laboratory in which three expert flour testers are kept employed constantly. Day after day these men test wheat, bake bread and note the result of all that goes forth from the miller's products. Engines totaling twelve hundred horse power propel the intricate machinery of this mill. This plant grew from small beginnings. Over thirty years ago, about 1884-5, a few men established a small mill here after the old-fashioned custom grist mill. Later it was transferred to the James Quirk Milling Company. It was a good mill, but small and used but little wheat as compared to the plant of today. A few years after that the stock of the company was materially increased, the well-known capitalist, H. C. Ackley, and his son-in-law, J. P. Quirk, getting a controlling interest. Under them it was operated until 1911 when the entire concern was taken over by the Commander Milling company, of Minneapolis, the same being incorporated for three hundred thousand dollars. The local manager and one of the stockholders is P. H. Schweitzer. This flourishing industry gives to Montgomery a market for wheat that but few cities in the state can boast of.
Ottawa is the central township on the western line along the Minnesota river. It originally contained more open prairie land than any other township in the county. It is a long, narrow tract of territory, containing about thirteen sections of land. It is situated south of LeSueur township, west of Sharon and north of Kasota township, with Nicollet county on the west. It had a population of 451 in 1890; 461 in 1900, and 420 in 1910.
The history of this township dates back to the arrival of Antoine Young, a Frenchman, who took his claim in the southwestern part of the township in 1853. He constructed a saw- and grist-mill on Cherry creek which rivaled the Babcock mill at Kasota was being the pioneer mill in the county. He operated this combined mill until his departure for Yellow Medicine in 1860, where he was the first man to be shot in the Indian outbreak of 1862.
Rim Fuller took a claim in this township after the arrival of Mr. Young, and he was immediately followed by Robert and William Winegar and Samuel Sanborn, the original proprietors of the town site platted in 1853 and known as Minnewashta, the Indian word for "good water." In 1856 this place was re-surveyed and changed to Ottawa.
A. Roberts arrived 1853, claimed land and built a ferry across the river to the upper town line. The balance of the settlement is closely interwoven with the history of the village of Ottawa.
VILLAGE OF OTTAWA.
The village originally known as Minnewashta was platted as Ottawa in 1856. The place has never been incorporated. A postoffice was established on September 22, 1856, with Frank Y. Hoffstott, postmaster, who served from 1856 to 1857; followed by Allen Lewis, 1857 to 1860; William Bacon, 1860 to 1861; J. L. Hazzard, 1861 from April to end of year; David Patton, 1861 to 1864; Allen Lewis, 1864 to 1865; David Patton, 1865 from February to September; J. N. Williams 1865 to 1868; David Patton, 1869 to 1871; Samuel Gibson, 1871 to 1873; Charles Needham, 1873 to 1887; D. Y. Davis, 1887 to 1890; E. D. Lloyd, 1890 to 1900; Conrad Gray, 1900 to 1908; David R. Morgan, March 25, 1908, to present date-1916.
The first justice of the peace to qualify in the township was A. J. Brown in 1855. The first marriage was that of J. R. Gardner to Emily Sanborn in 1856. The first white child born was a son of Mr. and Mrs. T. M. Raney. A man named Philips died in 1853 and his remains were buried in Mr. McKey's private burying ground. A cemetery was laid out in Ottawa in 1857. Abigail Winegar was the first to be laid to rest there.
In 1854, says an early historical account: "Colonel Pratt, of St. Paul, purchased twelve lots for other parties, who desired to go into business. When it came to the making out of the deeds a stipulation was inserted, providing that no one should be allowed to see liquor of any kind. To this the purchasers objected and the sale fell through. Soon after this a man named Miles purchased one of the best corner lots for which he was to pay five hundred dollars. Upon discovering the liquor stipulation in the deed he also backed out and from that date the price of town lots has constantly decreased, until in 1882 a lot for which Miles was to pay five hundred dollars could be purchased for ten dollars. The great rush to Ottawa during the first few years greatly elated the landowners and one or more additions were surveyed, several large hotels built and the town gave promise of becoming a leading place."
Business never developed to any great extent here, though much money changed hands in an early day. In the autumn of 1856 McIntyre, Donnelly & Hoffstott opened a general store in a board shanty, which was of short life as a business venture. They were succeeded by J. R. Gardner, who also quit merchandising soon after opening up. For a few years J. L. Hazzard carried on a prosperous business in the merchandising line, and was succeeded by Charles Needham, who opened his store in 1860, and was in trade most of the time until late in the eighties, possibly longer. A steam saw-mill was successfully operated for a number of years.
At one time not many years ago, Ottawa village had a very extensive brick yard, the kilns of which still stand along the railway track, as one enters the village, as so many monuments of a large industry in a superior made building brick. For various reasons, chiefly freight rates and fuel, these works were abandoned, and with it the real business of the village was destroyed. Many workmen were here employed for a number of years and the pay-roll was large and nearly all expended at home.
In 1883 the business at Ottawa consisted of the following: One general store by Charles Needham, who was also postmaster; one hardware and tin shop; one wagon shop doing repair work, two smith's shops, a flouring-mill and grain elevator. The "Omaha" line of railway maintains a depot at this point. The following were factors in and near this village in the early eighties: David Bean who came in 1877 from Ohio; George Drew, a Vermonter, settled in section 34, in 1876; S. Gibbs, farmer, in section 22, came in 1872; Homer E. Gibbon, teacher, born in Virginia in 1847, after serving as a soldier in Civil War days, finally located in this township in 1873; L. N. Gray, blacksmith and wagon maker, came from Indiana in 1856, and later made the celebrated "Gary" wagon. Other settlers included James Hayes, section foreman, who lived with his parents in Tyrone township until 1877 then moved to Ottawa; William R. Jones, born in Iowa county, Wisconsin, located here in 1859; Andrew Miller, in section 14, came from Germany in 1840 and to this township in 1869; T. M. Raney, of Tennessee, born in 1825, came to Minnesota in 1855, locating on a farm in section 26 and served from Minnesota in the Civil War.
This is the second township from the north line of LeSueur county, as well as second from the west line. It is bounded on the north by Tyrone township, on the east by Lexington, on the south by Cleveland and on the west by Ottawa and LeSueur township. It comprises congressional township 111, range 25, hence is six miles square. This township is without railroads or villages, but is one of the most prosperous sections in the county so far as agriculture is concerned. Indeed, away back in 1880, it was said of this township that it was one of the wealthiest and most populous subdivisions of LeSueur county. It embraces within its borders a portion of the fertile prairie which follows the valley, nearly every acre of which was in a high state of cultivation a third of a century ago. Fully two-thirds of its surface was originally covered with heavy timber, half of which had given away to the plow and reaper by 1882.
Being located within easy access of the navigation of the Minnesota river, it early attracted the attention of pioneer settlers in the county. This township was organized with the original civil townships of this county, in 1858, and was first styled "Young Town." Its name was changed by the urgent request of its citizens.
In the early eighties there were three postoffices in Sharon-Dresselville in section 11; St. Henry in section 25, and Sharon in section 17.
Rice lake, in the eastern portion of the territory, is the chief lake known to early settlers. There was situated a saw-mill in section 10 and in section 7 a saw- and grist-mill was operated. An early blacksmith shop was located in the southwest quarter of section 10.
The population of the township for several decades was as follows: In 1890 it had 1,142; in 1900, 1,073, and in 1910-last federal enumeration-it had 861.
The principal stream is LeSueur river which has numerous small feeders. The soil, generally speaking, is of a most excellent and fertile quality, producing all grains and grasses, as well as fruits common to this northern latitude.
FIRST TO SETTLE.
Among the first to brave the dangers and great hardships incident to the pioneer settlement of Sharon township was Christian Schward, who with his family took a quarter section in section 23, township111, range 25 west, in 1854. He there erected one of the first houses made by white man's hands in the township. He was followed the next spring by William H. King, who settled in section 5 and became a permanent citizen. Joseph Regenscheit settled in section 25 and was still occupying the old homestead in the eighties.
Philip Dressel, who was appointed postmaster at Dresselville, was a German, born in 1826, and after his schooling mastered the printer's trade. In 1847 he immigrated to America and soon found his way to Montgomery county, Pennsylvania. In 1854 he took up his abode in Minnesota, first stopping at St. Paul, where he worked as a printer on the Staats Zeitung, the first German newspaper established in Minnesota. During the early spring months of 1856 he moved to Sharon township, this county. He was indeed a pioneer of pioneers and as would be said of him today-he "made good from the start."
Henry J. Fisher, of section 27, was born in 1857, in Ottawa township, this county, son of Benjamin F. Fisher, a native of Massachusetts. The latter came to Minnesota in 2855, settling in Ottawa. The son, Henry, became a well-to-do and influential citizen of Sharon.
John Heiken, of German nativity, born in 1849, came to America in 1865, lived in Illinois a few years, then settled in this township, in section 33.
Joseph Huondor, a native of Switzerland, born in 1831, came to America in 1854, and settled first in Ohio but in 1855 came to this state, first living in Stillwater, but in 1867 located in Sharon township, this county, in section 35.
Peter Imhoff, a German, born in 1818, came to this country in 1832, first stopping in Ohio, then removed to Missouri, remained twelve years, and in 1856 came to Sharon township, this county. In 1875 he purchased land in section 6.
S. H. Kast, of section 4, was born in New York state in 1814, moved to Ohio in 1827 and to Minnesota in 1863, finally settling in section 4.
William H. King was born in 1832, in England. He came to the New World in 1845, settling in New York city; later he lived in Cleveland, Ohio, where he was engaged in the meat trade. In 1854 he came to St. Paul, and the following year settled in LeSueur county. Subsequently he owned land in section 5, of Sharon.
John Lehnert, a native of Germany, was born in 1831. In 1855 he came to the United States, lived a year in Chicago, and later came to Minnesota, locating in 1856 in Sharon township, section 7. He served in the Tenth Regiment, Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, during the Civil War for three years.
William Ludwig, born in Wisconsin in 1857, came to Minnesota when two years of age. In 1880 he was counted a prominent citizen of Sharon township, residing at the time in section 33.
Others who helped to swell the list of early comers to Sharon may be recalled as Jacob M. Muckley, of Switzerland, in the sixties; Charles Regenscheit; Christian Schwartz, a German who located in the fifties; Robert Ulrich, a German who in 1869 located in section 6; Henry Wasman, of Wisconsin, who served as a soldier in the Civil War and after peace had been declared he came to Sharon township, locating in section 5.
The northwestern civil township of LeSueur county is called Tyrone. It is bounded on the north by Scott county, on the west by Sibley county and LeSueur township, on the south by Sharon township, and on the east by Derrynane township. Its territory is all confined to congressional township 112, range 25, except section 1 and parts of two other sections, the Minnesota river being the line between this and Nicollet county makes the western border somewhat irregular in shape and admits of fractional sections along the river. It contains about thirty-seven sections of land. It was originally known as "Hillsdale" township and was among the first group of civil townships organized, the name being soon changed to Tyrone. Its population at different decades has been as follows: In 1890, it had 1,008; in 1900, 1,030, and in 1910, 877.
The only village within the township is a part of the village of Henderson, known on the plat books as "East Henderson."
The railroad which passes through the western sections is the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha, with a station at East Henderson.
Tyrone is a well-settled part of the county and has many scores of valuable, well-cared-for farms. Immigrants from foreign shores largely comprise the population, and have from the start of settlement.
Prairie Creek is the principal stream and there are few if any lakes within this township.
SOME EARLY SETTLERS.
Among the first few settlers was William Smith, who operated a ferry-boat over the Minnesota river, near the present site of Henderson. He came in 1856 and ran this ferry till 1861. The first business conducted in the township was the general merchandise store of Taylor Brothers, who commenced operations in 1858. They had a store at Henderson and also conducted a branch over at East Henderson, this township. The first schools were kept at private houses, but in 1882 there were six districts.
A man named Epperson died here in 1855 and his was doubtless the first death in the township.
Atwood Crosby, a native of Nova Scotia, born in 1837, came to Minnesota in 1856 and soon thereafter settled in Tyrone township, in section 4, where he remained a farmer for many years. In 1862 he enlisted in Company K. Tenth Regiment, Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, during the Civil War.
John Downs, by birth a German, when eight years of age located with relatives in Wisconsin, remained till 1873, then came to this township. He was enterprising and well posted, and was a member of the township board of supervisors a number of terms.
Francis J. Logan, born in Ireland in 1825, came to this country, located first in New Hampshire, but later lived in Schuyler county, Illinois. He made a trip to California in 1850, during the gold excitement, returned to Illinois in 1855 and then came to this township, settling in section 21.
Walker Weisel, a native of Pennsylvania, born in 1853, moved to New Jersey and was made a station agent when only sixteen years of age. Later he held a responsible position in the railway superintendent's offices, and was assistant train dispatcher for three years. During that period he also edited an amateur newspaper. He subsequently moved to Henderson and from there finally located as agent and operator in East Henderson, this township, in 1880.
Hon. William Weyl, born in Prussia in 1830, came to the United States in 1851, locating at Sandusky City, Ohio, but in 1855 migrated to Minnesota; he came to Henderson in 1856 and settled soon in Tyrone township on a farm. In 1864, he enlisted in Company A, Eleventh Regiment, Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, and was discharged at the close of the Civil War in 1865. In 1879 he was the choice of his political party and elected state representative; was also township treasurer and supervisor for five years.
Washington, one of the smaller civil organizations in the county, is situated in the southwestern part of LeSueur county, with Kasota township on its west, Cleveland at its north, Elysian at the east and Blue Earth county at the south. It is one of the most irregular shaped townships in the county. Its northeastern portion jutting up against the shores of Lake Jefferson, and its southwestern portion against the waters of lake Washington. It has twelve full and a few fractional sections of land within its borders. Its only village is Marysburg, on the south line. The population in 1890 was 347, in 1900 it was 295, and in 1910 it was placed at 284.
The portion of the county was set off as "Washington" among the original townships in April, 1858. It is all within the north half of congressional township 109, range 25 west.
BEGINNING OF SETTLEMENT.
In 1858 Patrick W. Smith took a claim in this township, being the second to locate in the township-Probate Judge John L. Meagher being the first actual settler during the same year, but a little earlier. The judge took his claim at what is now Marysburg and was appointed postmaster in 1858 and held the position many years thereafter. Of Patrick W. Smith let it be recorded that he was a native of Ireland, born I n1835. He came to America in 1852, first settling in Kentucky. He came to Minnesota in 1858, locating in section 13, of Washington township. In the autumn of 1862 he enlisted in the First Minnesota Rangers and served one year; re-enlisted in the fall of 1864 in the Eleventh Regiment, Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, in which he served until the end of the Civil War.
Anselm Biehn, a native of Germany, born in 1828, came to the United States in 1856, lived in Illinois one year, coming to this state in 1857. He owned land in sections 4 and 9.
Henry Biehn, a German, born in 1826, came to America in 1854, settling in this township, in section 4. He married in Chicago in 1856.
Mark L. Wildes, born in Maine in 1828, remained in that state until 1849, then spent two years in travel, coming to Minnesota in 1857, locating in section 7, Washington township. In 1862 he enlisted in the one-year service of his country. He held various township and county offices, including that of county commissioner and county superintendent.
Although a small township, Washington has furnished a number of prominent citizens and county officers. John L. Meagher, already mentioned as being the original settler here, was probate judge from 1875 for many years. He was born in County Cork, Ireland, in 1826; emigrated to Boston, Massachusetts, in 1848, and later moved to Maine. In 1858 he came to Minnesota, settling in section 15, Washington township. He was postmaster at Marysburg from 1858 to in the eighties. He served as a representative from this county in 1863-64; was the first justice of the peace and held almost every office in his township.
VILLAGE OF MARYSBURG.
Marysburg has less than a hundred population. It is on the south line of both township and county. It was platted in section 15, January 24, 1859, by Patrick and Ellen Maher. It has never grown to be much of a place, but affords a small country trading point, a postoffice having been established there in the late fifties, and a store and few shops made it, and still make it, a convenient point at which farmers may trade.
Waterville township is the extreme southeastern sub-division of LeSueur county, and is perhaps one of the most prosperous and thickly settled townships of the county, and was so rated a third of a century ago and more. It contains two of the most attractive and popular lakes in all southern Minnesota-Lake Tetonka, four miles in length, and Sakata, about three miles long. Both have clean, sandy shores, the water is of crystal purity and abounds in all kinds of fish. The industry of catching and shipping fish to the larger cities in the East has grown to be extensive. The state protects its lakes and fish through the work of reliable game wardens. This township was a half century ago one dense forest, with here and there beautiful openings. At its north is Kilkenny township, at the west is Elysian township and cornering on the northwest is Cordova. It comprises township 109, range 23.
The population of Waterville township for the last three United States census periods has been as follows: In 1890 it had 1,004; in 1900 it had 872, and in 1910 it was given as only 737, exclusive of the city of Waterville, which then had a population of 1,273.
The passer-by who chanced to look out of the car windows in the seventies would have observed but little in the way of farm improvements on either side the Minneapolis & St. Louis railroad, which traverses the county from south to north en route from Ft. Dodge, Iowa, to St. Paul. But today the scene is one grand panoramic view of beautiful farm houses with excellent improvements. The land is well tilled and hundreds of valuable farmsteads are seen on every hand, while the people are of a prosperous and contented class, knowing, as they do, that their lines have been cast in pleasant places.
The earliest immigrants came in from the South and East. Among the earliest and most enterprising of this pioneer band were Jacob Dawald, Samuel Drake, Michael Ferch, Amos Robinson and Charles Christman, all of whom arrived about 1855.
Jacob Dewald was a native of Prussia, born in 1823. He came to this country in 1843, locating in Lake county, Indiana, where for twelve years he worked at farming, coming here in 1855, when the township had only fifteen inhabitants within its borders.
Early in the spring of 1857 A. Tidball and L. Z. Rogers visited this country, the former at once locating, and the following summer Mr. Rogers came in as a permanent settler. Both opened general stores. Mr. Tidball built the first frame building on the present townsite of Waterville and occupied it for his store many years. Upon his arrival Mr. Rogers opened up a large stock of general merchandise and also remained in trade many years, and was well known far and near and was an honorable man. He opened his store in 1857.
Herman Christman was born in Pennsylvania in 1807, learned the saddler's trade, moved to Ohio, and then lived in Illinois; but on account of the ague and chills, of that state, came to LeSueur county, Minnesota, in 1856, settling in this township, and served as a justice of the peace a number of terms.
Nathaniel Damp, a York state man, came in at an early day and secured in this township one hundred and twenty acres. He had lived in Rice county before coming here.
H. Giles, a native of Ohio, born in 1834, visited this county in 1864, but did not become a permanent resient until 1867, when he located in this township. He farmed and taught music.
Henry L. Gish, of Clark county, Ohio, born in 1838, removed with his parents when only three years of age to Cass county. He came to Waterville township in August, 1857, and bought land in section 9. He was a soldier during the Civil War in the Fourth Regiment Minnesota Volunteer Infantry. He was later a member of the Minnesota Legislature from LeSueur county; was chairman of the board of supervisors for twelve years and justice of the peace for ten years.
Wenzel Groh, born in Austria in 1837, came to America in 1864, settling in Steele county, Minnesota, but soon removed to LeSueur county and began farming, having only five dollars to start with. In 1882 he owned two hundred and eighty acres of valuable farm land two miles from Waterville village.
J. C. Hanes, born in Illinois in 1841, went to Wisconsin when six years of age with the family. In 1861 he enlisted in the Union army as a member of the Fourth Regiment Volunteer Infantry. At the battle of Vicksburg he was shot through the body. After the war he farmed and also conducted a hotel at Faribault. Later he opened a hotel at Waterville, but it burned, and he rebuilt and conducted a well-known hotel there.
J. S. Higgins, a native of Connecticut, was born in 1819. When young his parents moved to York state, where he was educated. He was a builder and in 1855 came to Minnesota, living in Rice county for twenty years. He came to Waterville in 1875 and was interested in the cutting of hardwood lumber. He was a noted Sunday school worker. In 1868 there came to this township a Civil War soldier named R. W. Jacklin, born in England in 1842, who immigrated to Detroit, Michigan, in 1844, where his youth was spent. He took active part in the Civil War, enlisting in Captain Dygert's company of Light Infantry Zouaves and served till Lee surrendered in 1865. In all he was engaged in fifty-one battles and had his sword shot from his hand, and was the only officer mustered out from the veteran regiment without a wound. After spending three years in St. Paul he came to Waterville in 1870, where he engaged in the hardware trade.
Vincent Kletschke, an Austrian by birth, came to America in 1854, located on a farm in Michigan, but in 1856 removed to Minnesota, locating on land in LaSueur county near Waterville village. He owned a fine farm and was connected with the hardware trade of that place. He participated in the defense against the Indian raid in 1862, and in 1873 was elected as a member of the Minnesota Legislature.
A. Labott, a native of New York state, born in 1826, went to Wisconsin and engaged in the livery business and also purchases horses for the government; afterwards he spent five years with the once famous showman "Yankee Robinson." He became a resident of Waterville in 1881, purchasing a livery stock there.
W. G. Mathes, a native of New Hampshire, born in 1810, went to California in 1850 and spent two years. In October, 1956, he located in Waterville, this county, and in 1882 owned more than one-half section of land, and became a prominent factor in the development of the township.
F. A. Pischel, a native of Prussia, born in 1842, came to this country and located on a farm where he lived and labored. He received a good education in English and moved to this township. He was elected county commissioner, was chairman of the board, and in 1880 was a candidate for state representative, and only defeated by a few votes. He held numerous township offices.
Hon. L. Z. Rogers, of whom brief mention has been made, was a native of Maine, born in 1837. He clerked in New England and obtained a good education. In August, 1857, he located in Waterville and at once embarked in general merchandising. He made much money, and at one time in the eighties owned over fifteen hundred acres of land. He was deputy grand commander of the Knights Templar of Minnesota; was president of the village council in Waterville three years, and was president of the school board and a member of the Legislature in 1865.
H. G. Schulz, a native of Germany, was born in 1853, and emigrated to America in 1868, locating in Wisconsin. In 1872 he moved to Rochester, Minnesota, where he dealt in lumber five years. He became a resident of Waterville in 1877, building the Minnesota House, of which he was proprietor many years.
A. Sheridan, an Irishman, came to this country in his infancy, the family settling in New York. He mastered the trade of a blacksmith with the aid of Walter A. Wood, inventor of the "wire-twine" grain harvester. In 1858 he located in Waterville, this county, where he followed his trade.
E. H. Stangler, born in Austria in 1845, came to Waterville in 1862. He arrived in America in 1860; lived at Owatonna, Minnesota, was a miller there six years and then with his father began farming on a quarter section of land near Waterville.
Other pioneers were Frank Tousley, Asa A. Wait and F. H. Zander.
THE CITY OF WATERVILLE.
Waterville is on the south shore of two beautiful lakes-Tetonka and Sakata-in Waterville township, and was platted in sections 26 and 27, township 109, range 23, December 5, 1856, by David B. Parsons, N. Paquine, D. J. Hitchcock, Eliza Farquire, James S. Shonts and Mitty J. Shonts.
The population of Waterville for the last three enumeration periods has been as follow : In 1890 it was 937; in 1900, 1,200, and in 1910 it was 1,273. It is situated on the Minneapolis & St. Louis railroad and is one of the busiest cities in the county. Large amounts of fish are shipped from these lakes annually. Lands surrounding this city are worth from eighty to one hundred and twenty-five dollars per acre.
Of the many topwns in this vicinity during the great Indian outbreak of 1862, Waterville was the only one which felt safe, and no guards were put out. The town, however, claims the honor of having taken the last Indian scalp, for which a liberal reward had been offered.
The religious element has always been exceptionally strong in Waterville, and as early as 1880 there were seven different denominations, each having church buildings. A three-story flouring-mill was started in 1881, by E. J. Callender; it had three runs of stones and ground large quantities of family flour. In 1876 a saw-mill was started, the same having a capacity of cutting eight thousand feet of lumber per day. In 1881 a large harness-hame factory was established by Carr & McCarty. It had a capacity of one hundred dozen set of hames per day and gave employment to fifty men.
During the summer season there are many tourists and especially those fond of fishing, who come hither and make long stays and greatly enjoy the sport of fishing from the crystal lakes hard by the main streets.
WATERVILLE IN 1916.
The subjoined is a list of the various professional and business men and firms operating at Waterville in the winter of 1915-16: Attorneys, Hon. M. R. Everett; auto garages, Service Garage, Martin & Lucas, proprietors; agricultural implements, George T. Murry, Hancuh & Duesbabek, Quiram & Company; banks, First National, Security State; bakery, Kunits Bakery, Star Bakery, Vienna Bakery; blacksmith shops, Hansen's, Quiram & Company, Hancuh & Duesbabek; barber shops, Charles Rehl, Ed Kenny, Bert Beach, C. H. Munsea; clothing, George E. Greene, Lutheold Clothing Company; cement blocks, Allen Murray, E. Bugsby, D. Maynard, R. Resenau; creamery, Waterville Creamery, Cannonville Creamery Company; drugs, J. E. Seidls; dray lines, Atherston & Sons, Swift & Broughton; dentists, Dr. C. L. Amundson, Dr. E. S. Johnson; elevators, Commandery Elevator Company, James Traver, local manager; furniture, J. J. Werlein Furniture Company, Waterville Furniture Company, Cannon Valley furniture factory; general dealers, C. H. Bliss, H. H. Stowe, L. A. Ruedy, R. R. Riley, D. Cochran, Julius Kapaun; insurance, loans and collections, George J. Dressel, W. J. Benner; grocers, Charles Darche; harness, A. E. Hasler; hardware, C. H. Bliss, Hultgren & Schwickert, Hancuh & Duesbabek, George T. Murry; jeweler, Scherrat & Son; livery, S. W. VanGuilder, P. H. Mulcahy, F. Luker; lumber, Central Lumber Company, Fahning & Lambert Lumber Company; mills, Zollner's feed and flour-mills, Kritzer's saw-mill; meat markets, Louis Huebl, J. J. Dawald; millinery, Miss J. E. Ham, Mrs. Finke, Mrs. Dehn; marble works, J. J. Worlein; newspapers, the Advance, the Sentinel; opera halls, E. S. Giles, W. S. Buck (picture shows), Mrs. C. A. Gray; produce house, Beckman's Produce Store; photographs, C. W. Christman, Bert Ryan; physicians, Drs. H. B. Wineburgh, William Cory, W. Clay, Monek; restaurants, Star restaurant, Vienna restaurant, Polson's cafe; stock dealers, Hoben & Dawald, Hoben & Ullom; tailors, J. Stirrup, J. Polson, J. Batlic; veterinary, D. Barnett; variety store, L. Ruedy, L. L. Reynolds; saloons, Ole Kin, Joseph Breuer, John Kloyda, Frank Guyer; plumbing, Collins & Zellmer, Joe Schlecta; music store, Sherrat & Son, J. J. Werlein; ice dealers, Carl Stavanau; summer resorts, Albert McPeek, Louis Duesbabek; orchestra, E. S. Giles, director; brass band, E. S. Giles, leader.
The churches of Waterville at present are the Methodist Episcopal, United Brethren, Baptist, Congregational, Catholic, German Methodist, Episcopal. The lodges include the Masonic, Ancient Order of United Workmen, Modern Woodmen of America, and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
Waterville was incorporated in 1878 as a village and as a city in 1898. The presidents under the village government were: L. A. Rogers, R. W. Jacklin, M. R. Everett, P. O. Leary, James Quirk, C. P. Dolan and J. J. Worlein. The mayors under the city government from first to last have been; M. R. Everett, E. P. Case, D. B. Parsons, F. C. Gibbs, C. H. Birch, C. H. Robinson, L. T. Franklin, W. Clay, S. H. Farrington, James Lawless, H. E. Chapman, Charles Duesbabek and A. E. Hasler.
A city hall was erected in 1896 at a cost of about $6,000. The place is adorned by a city park owned by the municipality. A system of waterworks was installed in 1897 with a wooden tank, pumping station, well and water mains at a cost of $12,500. In 1914 the city added fifteen blocks of mains and replaced the old wooden tank with a seventy-thousand-gallon steel tank on a one-hundred-and-ten-foot steel tower, at a cost of about $6,000.
The electric lighting of the city is furnished through the distributing station of the Consumers Power Company. The volunteer fire company includes about thirty members who are very active and efficient in protecting the city in case of fire.
The present city officials are: Mayor, A. E. Hasler; recorder, A. W. Knaak; treasurer, William Callies; municipal judge, George J. Dressel, special judge, W. J. Berner; chief of police, C. H. Robinson; policemen, Ed Stavanau; aldermen, Fred Zollner, G. W. Powell, E. S. Giles, R. T. Kieper.
The postoffice at Waterville was established March 25, 1856, with first postmaster S. D. Drake, L. Z. Rogers, 1857 to 1858; D. B. Parsons, 1858 to 1861; C. A. Cottrell, 1861 to 1862; L. Z. Rogers, 1862 to 1877; George E. Green, 1877 to 1883; William H. Campbell, 1883 to 1885; Patrick O'Leary, 1885 to 1889; J. E. Williams, 1889 to 1894; Patrick O'Leary, 1894 to 1899; S. H. Farrington, 1899 to 1903; John W. Gish from November 24, 1903, to present date-1916.
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