Lincoln County, Minnesota

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O. W. Eckel
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Cecelia Salcido

O. W. ECKEL was one of the early pioneers who settled in this county, coming to Lake Benton in September, 1879 and immediately identifying himself with the interests of the town. In October of the same year he, in company with the firm of Laird, Norton & Company of Winona, opened a lumber yard at Lake Benton. He continued in the business until June, 1883 when he retired.

During that time be built a substantial store building, 20X60 ft., two stories high. In the summer of 1886 he built a 24-foot addition on to the east end of the building, and later he erected another two-story store building which at that time was one of the finest in this section of the state.

During his stay here Mr. Eckel was always in favor of public improvements and put his beliefs into practice. In the late 80’s, soon after the death of his wife, Mr. Eckel moved from Lake Benson to Chicago where he spent the remainder of his life.


Charles Edwards
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Cecelia Salcido

CHARLES EDWARDS was a thrifty farmer of Hansonville township where he located in section 24 in the year 1879. He was industrious and by close application to his farming duties became prosperous. He occupied the position of constable and town supervisor respectively. He associated himself intimately in matters of an educational, political and religious nature, and played an important part in the development of the community.


William Raymond Elliot
Source: Early History of Lincoln County, Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Bobby Dobbins Title

William Raymond Elliott was born at Byron, Michigan, May 27, 1847. In 1870 he came to Sleepy Eye, Minnesota and worked for Casey & Nelson, liverymen, for one year and then came to Lyon county in 1871. In 1872 he came to Lincoln county and settled first at Marshfield village. He filed on a homestead in section 12, Lake Benton township; three miles east of the village of Lake Benton. After proving up on his claim he came to Lake Benton village to live and started a livery barn.

He was married to Miss Nellie Celia Myron of Elkton, South Dakota January 4th, 1883. Two children were born to the union, Clint W. and daughter, the latter dying in infancy. Mr. Elliott died December 24th, 1915. His wife and son still reside in Lake Benton.


John Ellsworth, Sr.
Source: Early History of Lincoln County, Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Bobby Dobbins Title

John Ellsworth, Sr., was born in Ohio in 1825. He came to Lincoln county in 1879, locating on a homestead, the northwest quarter of section 34, Shaokatan township. He was married to Louise Johnston of New York state. Five children were born of the union: Mrs. Jennie Bailey, who died in 1932; Lyman, deceased; Mrs. Susie Butterfield, deceased; Minerva, deceased; John E., who also homesteaded near his father's claim, who died at Chippewa Falls, Wis. November 10, 1928.


John E. Ellsworth
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Cecelia Salcido

JOHN E. ELLSWORTH drove across the prairies from Rock Rapids, Iowa to Lincoln county with a horse team, wagon and breaking plow to begin operations upon a homestead which he had previously located in section 34, Shaukatan township. He proceeded to break up some prairie sod and put up some hay for winter feed. He was about a month accomplishing the work he had laid out.

Grasshoppers had destroyed his crop in Iowa the year previous and thus he had but little with which to establish a home on the western prairie and start farming operations. After erecting his buildings and making other preparations he returned to rock Rapids, Iowa and early in October, 1878 (the same year), he loaded his few belongings into his wagon with his wife and infant daughter, started for the new home in Lincoln county. During the summer he had visited the homestead and erected a frame house, 14 by 16, so that when he arrived with his family they had a house in which to live. Mr. Ellsworth sodded up the house before winter set in.

The family possessions consisted of a small team of horses, two cows, a pig, some chickens, a cat and a dog, together with a few household effects. It took the family two days to drive from Rock Rapids to their prairie home in Lincoln county. They arrived after dark and thus began their career as empire builders. They resided upon the homestead twenty-five years during which time Mrs. Ellsworth died, the date being September 26, 1898. Mr. and Mrs. Ellsworth were the parents of six children, three sons and three daughters, all of whom are still living.

After leaving Lincoln county, Mr. Ellsworth resided for nine years at Monticello, Minnesota, then moving to Chippewa Falls, in Wisconsin, where he died November 10th, 1928.


Henry Enke
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Cecelia Salcido

HENRY ENKE came to Verdi township, Lincoln county, in 1878 and located a tree claim. In 1879 he pre-empted a claim in the same township. Mr. Enke was born in Rochester, Minnesota in 1857. He was the son of John C. and Anna M. (Schmelzer) Enke, both natives of Germany who had emigrated to America in 1853. After having spent some time in Pennsylvania and Iowa, they came to Rochester in 1855. Up to that time the father had been engaged as a mason by trade. In August, 1865 he moved to Omaha, Nebraska and worked at his trade some two years, removing then to Missouri Valley Junction, in Iowa. He made that his home until 1871 when he returned to Rochester, remaining there until 1878. He then came to Lincoln county and located the claim in Verdi township, soon thereafter returning to Rochester where he remained until the next July, when he returned to Verdi township and established a home upon his claim.

The elder Enkes were the parents of six children: Henry, Albert, Charles, Mrs. John Kroeger, Mrs. Neil McQueen, and Mrs. O. F. Rathert.

Henry remained with his parents, following them in their various migrations, until 1880. He then came to Lake Benton and engaged at the mason’s trade which he had learned from his father. He remained in Lake Benton for two years and then returned to his claim where he spent three years. After another period spent in Lake Benton he again returned to his homestead to remain for a longer period. He eventually returned to Lake Benton and engaged in various occupations and still made that city his home at the time of his death January 25, 1935.

Mr. Enke was married June 5, 1881 to Miss Dora C. Eddy. This union was blessed with eight children: Charles H., Morris and Forrest Enke, and Mrs. John Briffett of Lake Benton; H. Claire Enke of Mankato; Hattie Adams of Minneapolis; Lutie Andrews of Wenatchee, Wash., and Hazel Redding of Long Beach, California. Mrs. Enke died on July 11, 1930.


Allen B. Evans
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Cecelia Salcido

ALLEN B. EVANS was born at St. Clair, Pennsylvania in March, 1826. In his early youth he moved to Wisconsin, and in 1858, at Beaver Dam, Wisconsin he was married to Miss Charlotte McLaughlin. They moved westward to Tyler in 1886, where they lived for six years, after which they moved to Lake Benton. Two children, a son and daughter, were born to the union, and after his wife’s death in 1902, Mr. Evans lived for a time with his daughter, Mrs. Westman, in Lake Benton.

A veteran of the Civil war, Mr. Evans later went to the Old Soldiers’ Home in Minneapolis, where his death October 28, 1903 ended a long and useful life. While a resident of Lake Benton he was an active member of Old Abe Post, G. A. R. of that City.


William Henry Evans
Source: Early History of Lincoln County, Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Bobby Dobbins Title

William Henry Evans was born at St. Clair, Pennsylvania in 1841. He moved to Beaver Dam, Wis. when a young man and in 1861 enlisted in Company C, 16th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. He served three years when he was mustered out, re-enlisting immediately and serving until the close of the war. Shortly before the close of the war he was taken prisoner and sent to a southern prison, where he met his brother, Samuel Evans, who had also been taken prisoner. At the close of the war he was mustered out, having served during the entire four years.

He was married to Miss Lucy McLaughlin at Beaver Dam, Wis. in 1865. Five children were born to the union: Samuel, Harry H., Jesse, Tommy and Fred, the two latter dying in infancy. The family came to Lincoln county in 1877 and located on a homestead in Diamond Lake township, section 20, five miles north of Lake Benton, diagonally across the road from the Danish Lutheran parsonage. Here the family lived for three years when they moved to the Ramsey homestead, in section 26, Diamond Lake township. After remaining there for about four years the family moved to the village of Marshfield.

Mrs. Evans died in 1879. Mr. Evans was again married in 1887 to Emma Reetz of Shaokatan township. Five children were born to the second marriage: Agnes, Luella, Johnny, Lafe and Robert. In 1891 the family moved to the Mille Lacs community where Mr. Evans died in 1913.

Mr. Evans experienced all the pioneer hardships. Just a day previous to the October blizzard in 1880 he had walked to his brother, Allen B. Evans' homestead, in section 29, Ash Lake township, about four miles directly north from his own homestead, to remain during the latter's absence. The blizzard came on and Mr. Evans spent three days and nights in his brother's cabin, with the snow drifting in at every crack and crevice. The only way he could keep from being covered up with the snow was by continuously walking back and forth from one end of the cabin to the other, by which means he kept a bath beaten down. Thus he spent three days alone. When the storm at last abated he set out for home and finally reached the William Jacklin (better known as the Meinzer, now Zimmer) homestead, having had nothing to eat excepting one sandwich which he took with him, and not a drop of water to drink during the entire three days.


Jesse Kersey Evans
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Cecelia Salcido

JESSE KERSEY EVANS was born in Schuylkill county, Pennsylvania, December 28, 1832, and died December 9, 1905 at his home in Lincoln county. He was married to Sarah Ocum of Schuylkill county, Pa., October 19, 1861. Twelve children were born to the union: Will, Clay, Oscar, Hebe, Jesse, Robert, Mmes. Albert Selleck, Harry Somers and Phoebe Petersen. In 1876 he moved to Rochester, Minn., where he lived for about eighteen months, after which he moved to Lincoln county. Mr. Evans came to Lincoln county in 1878 and took a homestead in Diamond Lake township, about four miles north of Lake Benton, which place he developed into one of the finest farms in the county.

Mr. Evans was one of the strong types of our pioneers—strong in physique, strong in his convictions, fearless and straight-forward in his dealings with friends and neighbors, and strong in that sterling sympathy that lends substantial aid to the deserving in distress.


Lars J. Fjeseth
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Cecelia Salcido

LARS J. FJESETH was born in Norway in 1844. He remained with his parents on a farm, having received a common school education, until his marriage in 1867. Shortly after he came to America and located in Iowa, where he engaged in farming for a time and then in general merchandising for about two years. He then sold out and came to Lincoln county and settled on a homestead and tree claim in Hendricks township.

In November, 1888 he was elected county treasurer, rented his farm and moved to Lake Benton, then the county seat. While living in Hendricks township he occupied the offices of supervisor, township chairman, clerk and justice of the peace, and school clerk. Before Hendricks township was organized Mr. Fjeseth was assessor for the territory then comprising nine townships in the northern part of the county. He was a man of sterling qualities and of high standing in the county.


Alexander C. Fletcher
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Cecelia Salcido

ALEXANDER C. FLETCHER located on a claim in section 32, Lake Benton township, Lincoln county, in 1879, purchasing the homestead right from another party. He was one of the first settlers in Lake Benton township and became one of its leading farmers. He was a native of Pennsylvania and was united in marriage to Miss Rhoda Gilbert on June 1st, 1858. Seven children were born to the union: Fanny L., who became Mrs. Wm. Bradley of Lake Benton; William G.; George; Helen, who became Mrs. John Bassett Hughes of Marshfield township and later of Lake Benton; Hattie, who became Mrs. A. Ware; Lulu and Abbie, who remained single. Mrs. Fletcher died in August 1888.

Mr. Fletcher took an interested part in public matters and served on the board of county commissioners, and also as justice of the peace. Mr. Fletcher died some years ago at the home of his daughter, Mrs. J. B. Hughes in Lake Benton.


Matthew Fowlds
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Cecelia Salcido

MATTHEW FOWLDS was born June 10, 1847 at Fenwick, Ayrshire, Scotland. On November 14, 1879, he married Miss Marian McPhail at Campbelltown, Scotland. They had five children: Matthew Fowlds of Brookings, S. D.; Agnes Fowlds, Tyler; Janet Christensen, Duluth; Mary Olson, Brookings, S. D., and Daniel Fowlds, Pasadena, California.

In March 8, 1882 he emigrated with his family to the United States and settled at Sheldon, Iowa. He moved to Minnesota in 1883 and located at Island Lake, Lyon county. He came to Lincoln county in 1884 and homestead in 1886 on section 30, Lake Stay township. Here he lived until his death.

Mr. Fowlds was an active worker in the various cooperative enterprises of Arco, as well as the church. For several years previous to his death he was treasurer of the Lincoln County Old Settlers’ Association, which position he held until he passed away. The farm has remained in the hands of the family until the present time.


Andrew Friis
Source: Early History of Lincoln County, Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Bobby Dobbins Title

Andrew Friis was born at Starup Sogn-Hadersleso Arnt, Sleswig, Denmark, October 10, 1849. He came to the United States in April, 1882 and located at Sabula, Iowa. Here he remained for about ten years and then came to Lake Benton, Minnesota, March 25th, 1892. He purchased land in section 21, Lake Benton township. He was married February 10, 1873 to Miss Inger M. Willassen-Storvorde, Alborg Arnt, Denmark. Six children were born to the union, three of whom are living: Mrs. Jas. S. Worden, Brookings, S. D.; Hans Friis, Miami, Florida and Mrs. Iver Holdt of Lake Benton, Minn.

Mr. Friis has served as a member of the commissioners, Lincoln county for eight years; clerk, school district No. 10, fourteen years; clerk of Lake Benton township, sixteen years. He also occupied the position of agent for the Hope Twp. Mutual Insurance Company, forty-one years; also agent for the Farmers Home Mutual Insurance Co., Madelia, Minn., for the same number of years. Mrs. Friis died in 1930.

Mr. Friis is the only person that has the distinction of having been a continuous reader of the Lake Benton News as a subscriber, for forty consecutive years. He has disposed of his residence in Lake Benton and makes his home with his daughter, Mrs. Iver Holdt, and family on a farm near Lake Benton. He disposed of his farm near the village some years past and moved to town to reside until recently.


Carl Garmatz
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Cecelia Salcido

CARL GARMATZ WAS BORN IN Labes, Pomerania, Germany, September 6, 1842 and married Carolina Otto, to which union ten children were born, viz., Mrs. August Shark, Oswego, Illinois; Julius Garmatz, Verdi, Minn., John Garmatz, Oklahoma; Fred Garmatz, Verdi; Minnie Van Alstine, Aurora, Illinois; Mmes. Kate Schmidt, Emilie Koehne, and Bertha Hammer, Lake Benton; and two having died previous to the time of Mr. Garmatz’s death. He served in the German army and was in the German-Austrian war. He and his family came to America in 1869 and settled in Illinois, where they lived for fifteen years. In 1884 they came to Minnesota and located on the farm where they remained until the time of his death, May 20th, 1908.

He was one of the pioneers of Lincoln county and his work on the farm was crowned with success. He was a member of the German Lutheran church and helped to organize the congregation at Verdi, Minnesota, of which organization he was an active member. In the year previous to his death he was leader of the Sunday school there.


Thomas George
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Cecelia Salcido

THOMAS GEORGE was born in England about the year 1826. He came to Lake Benton at an early day and resided here until 1895 or 1896 when he moved to Pipestone. A veteran of the Civil war, he was an active member of Old Abe Post, Grand Army of the Republic, while a resident here, and was also active in local Odd Fellow circles. He was married and the father of seven children. He died at his home in Pipestone, October 6th, 1897.


L. J. Gibbs
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Cecelia Salcido

L. J. GIBBS was born in Medina county, Ohio on May 10, 1857. In 1868 the family moved westward to Rochester, Minnesota and in 1878 he moved to Lincoln county. He remained here until about 1918 when he moved to Grantsburg, Wisconsin where he resided until his death April 14th, 1931, at the age of nearly seventy years.

Mr. Gibbs owned a farm of several hundred acres of land in the western part of Shaokatan township which he operated during his residence in this county. He was an unmarried man, his only near relative being Mrs. Fred Briffert of Lake Benton.


William Gile
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Cecelia Salcido

WILLIAM GILE was born in Wyoming county, New York, January 14, 1847, and came with his parents to Sharon, Wisconsin in 1855. For a number of years he occupied the position of conductor for the Chicago and North Western railroad in that state. He was married to Miss Alida Welch at Sharon, Wisconsin, December 6, 1875. To this union two children were born, Abner D. Gile of Minneapolis, and Mrs. (Dr.) J. B. Holst of Little Falls, Minnesota.

In the fall of 1879 Mr. Gile moved with his family to Lake Benton, in Lincoln county, and engaged in the hardware and farm implement business, and followed the hardware branch of the business until September, 1900. When the Citizens State Bank of Lake Benton, was organized he was elected its president, which position he occupied until his death, some years later. He was rated one of Lake Benton’s wealthiest and most substantial business men. Mr. Gile died Nov. 27, 1913.


James Gilronan
Source: Early History of Lincoln County: Complied by A.E. Tasker; Lake Benton news Print (1936) transcribed by Sheri Spencer

JAMES GILRONAN came to Lincoln county April 20, 1869 and settled on a homestead in section 18, Lake Benton township. The land not being surveyed at the time, he took “squatter’s right” to the claim. This claim was located on the brow of the hill about two miles southwest of the village of Lake Benton, overlooking the beautiful valley known to the Indians as the “hole in the mountain”. The claim encompassed a body of beautiful timber that fringed the brow of the hill and extended down its sides through a delightful ravine which was blessed with springs of living water. The major portion of the claim comprised a tract of rich, rolling prairie. Mr. Gilronan chose as a building site, the brow of the hill, overlooking the valley and lake below, and surrounded by natural timber, a most delightful location for a home.

At the time Mr. Gilronan located in the township there were but three other settlers within several miles. One was William Taylor, who had settled in section 7, another was Charles Shindle, both of whom were frozen to death, and the other was John Snyder. Mr. Shindle perished in a blizzard while going to Flandreau for supplies in the winter of 1870-1871, and Mr. Taylor perished in a blizzard while going from Lake Benton to his home.

When Mr. Gilronan made his location in the township he found a couple of log huts on the lake shore, apparently built by white men. One of these was partly burned down and Mr. Gilronan used some of the logs of which it was built to erect a stable. He experienced many hardships in those pioneer days, being menaced by Indians and beset with grasshopprs that destroyed his crops. However, of fuel he had a plenty at his very door. In 1869 he saw a herd of seven buffalo, and witnessed one killed by a Flandreau Indian. There were a number of Indians in the locality at the time and they enjoyed a feast at the home of Tom Robinson, a half breed who lived in the timber known as Indian Grove, about five miles east of Lake Benton. Mr. Gilronan was invited to the feast but declined to accept. Hunting was good in those early days and he oftimes subsisted on wild game and fish.

In 1874 there was news brought to the settlement that the Indians were attacking the settlers to the west along the Sioux river, setting fire to their homes and threatening to massacre the inhabitants. This caused great consternation among the settlers in the southern part of Lincoln county and many of them left their homes and fled to the east, some of them remaining away all summer, but the majority returning after it was disclosed that the scare was baseless. Mr. Peter Kelley, a nephew of Mr. Gilronan, who, though a small boy at the time, still remembers the above incident, informs us the Indian “scare” was faked up by white residents in the neighborhood of Medary and Flandreau, South Dakota, for the purpose of frightening away a certain socalled undesirable white settler. Mr. Kelley relates that an Indian bribed by means of a bottle of “fire water” to spread false alarm. Be this as it may, the undesired individual left that part of the country, never to return.

These brief recollections on the experiences of early settlement will give the reader an idea of the character of the hardships through which Mr. Gilronan, as well as all other early pioneers, passed during the early days of Lincoln county. Coming to the county at a very early day, Mr. Gilronan had an opportunity had an opportunity to see it develop from a well nigh treeless and bleak prairie into a rich and prosperous farming country, dotted with innumerable farm homes and fine groves. During his time the railroad was built through the valley, passing but a short distance from his home. The city of Pipestone is located to the south almost within his home, Lake Benton village, once the county seat, within two miles or less of his residence.

Mr. Gilronan, being about the third settler in the township, immediately broke ten acres of prairie and commenced other improvements, thus laying the foundation for a comfortable home and prosperous future. He assisted in organizing Lincoln county and also Lake Benton township. The first town meeting was held at the home of John Snyder in Section 7. Mr. Snyder’s claim embraced the major portion of the timber in the west part of what is now Lake Benton village, and the home was located in the east edge of the timber, overlooking the lake but a short distance to the east. Mr. Snyder came to the township in 1871 and died in 1887. His family resided upon the old homestead for some years after and eventually sold out and moved from the community.

Mr. Gilronan associated himself with public and social affairs of the county and community from the date of his settlement until his death. He variously served as township supervisor, clerk, and for several terms as county commissioner. He was a native of Ireland, being born in the County Cavan, in 1847. In 1865 he came to America and for a time resided in Connecticut. In 1867 he moved to Minnesota and, as already mentioned, came to Lincoln county in 1869. He was married May 11th, 1870 to Miss Isabel Taylor, the daughter of William Taylor, Sr. Mrs. Gilronan died in August, 1879, leaving four children, three daughters and one son. The son, James Gilronan, Jr., still reside in Lake Benton township, on a farm adjacent to the old Gilronan homestead, and is respected and prosperous farmer, and occupied the position of township supervisor at the time of writing. Mr. Gilronan remarried in March, 1882 by which marriage he had four daughters.

After many years of hard labor upon his original homestead, Mr. Gilronan sold the place and purchased a home in Lake Benton where he resided until his death.


Jacob Gorecki
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Sheri Spencer

JACOB GORECKI was born in Germany and came to the United States with his parents in 1869. After being employed at various occupations, such as farm hand, quarryman, and farming for himself, he eventually came to Lincoln county in an early day and purchased land in section 19, Limestone township.

Through industry and thrift Mr. Gorecki has become comfortably situated and acquired a pleasant home. He was married and the parent of six children. He has occupied various township officers, including those of supervisor and treasurer.


George Graff
Source: Early History of Lincoln County, Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Bobby Dobbins Title

George Graff was born at New Ulm in 1870. His father was a native of Germany and his mother was born in the Independent Duchy of Luxembourg. His two grandfathers and their families were of the Chicago-German Land association that settled New Ulm, Minnesota, and a number of his relatives lost their lives in the Indian massacre in 1862. His father and other relatives went through the terrible days of fighting. As a lad, Mr. Graff went to Sleepy Eye, Minn. where he clerked in a store. Later he graduated from a thorough business course in the Spencerian Business College at St. Paul. For a time he served as bookkeeper in a Springfield (Minn.) Mill Co. office, and for ten years was a partner with his brother-in-law in a New Ulm general store, keeping the books and aiding in the business behind the counter. For three years he was secretary of the Roman Catholic Aid Association of Minnesota.

Mr. Graff was married to Miss Amelia Baer of New Ulm in 1895. Their family numbers three daughters and one son. He was elected as district court clerk of Lincoln county in 1906. Eminently fitted for the position by education, experience and honest purpose, he had the full confidence of the people, and was re-elected to the same office three times.


Hans T. Gran
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Sheri Spencer

HANS T. GRAN located on section 4, Lake Benton township, on the shore of the lake from which the township derived its name, in 1869. During the first two years of his residence he did but little work on his own farm, but engaged himself to other farmers in order to support his family. He was one of the first settlers of the township, and assisted in the organization of the township and materially aided in every enterprise which tended to develop the community. The first year he built a small shanty, 14 by 10, he himself cutting the logs out of which it was built. He lived in this house for a number of years and then built a more commodious residence. His first stable was built of sods and accommodated six or eight head of cattle.

In the years of 1875 and ’76 his crops were eaten up by grasshoppers, and his family was well nigh destitute. In order to support them he was forced to leave home and work on the railroad. In a fire which destroyed nearly all his worldly belongings, his wife also nearly lost her life, her feet being so badly burned that she was laid up for about two years. He later became more prosperous and improved his farm to a considerable extent.


Thorvald Gran
Source: Early History of Lincoln County, Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Bobby Dobbins Title

Thorvald Gran was born in Norway, January 15, 1861. He came to America alone, in 1876, coming to Lake Benton where he made his home with his uncle, Hans Gran. He later located on a claim in section 17, Drammen township. Mr. Gran operated his homestead until 1900 when he moved to Lake Benton village where he has since made his home. Mr. Gran never married and, of course, found a bachelor's life on a farm none too easy. However, he seems to have taken the right view of life and is enjoying his latter days among his old friends in Lake Benton and vicinity in ample affluence.


Joseph D. Green
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Sheri Spencer

JOSEPH D. GREEN was born near Kenton, Delaware, April 25th, 1828. At the age of fourteen he helped support his mother by working in a grocery store in Smyrna, Delaware. At sixteen he secured a position in Philadelphia in the largest wholesale dry goods store in the city, where he rose from an under clerk to a buyer of imported goods. This position he held for seven years. From 1859 to 1867 he was at the head of the dead letter office at Washington, D.C., and for the next two years he engaged in the dry goods business in Philadelphia.

In 1869 he removed to Faribault, Minnesota and engaged in the milling business, and in 1887 he moved to Lake Benton where he engaged in the milling business. He was twice married, three children being born by his first marriage. His first wife dying, he was later married again. Three children were born to his second marriage. He died July 21, 1898 in Lake Benton. He was staunch Episcopalian and the pillar of Saint John’s Episcopal Church-on-the-Hill during his residence in Lake Benton.


Patrick Griffen
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Sheri Spencer

PATRICK GRIFFEN was born in Ireland in 1858. In 1866 he came to America with his parents and located in Kilbourne, Wisconsin where he resided for about twenty years. He then moved to Eau Claire, Wisconsin and worked in the lumber camps for a number of years.

In May, 1881 he came to Lincoln county and located on a tree claim in section 32, Lake Benton township, where he still lives. His brothers, John and Mike Griffen, had come to this locality two years previous, Mike having located a claim adjoining his in Lake Benton township and John having located in Fountain Prairie township, in Pipestone county, not far distant.

Mr. Griffen never married. He is quiet, unassuming man and is regarded with respect by all who know him.


William F. Hagedorn
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Sheri Spencer

WILLIAM F. HAGEDORN was a native of Germany and came to the United States in 1869. Mr. Hagedorn was about nineteen years of age when he came over and he stopped first at Rochester, Minnesota where he worked at the mason’s trade, which he had learned in the old country. He remained in Rochester four years and then moved to Potsdam, Olmsted county and remained there seven years, working at his trade.

In the year 1879 he came to Lincoln county and purchased a farm in section 33, Marshfield township, from the railroad company. He later purchased more land and developed a fine farmstead and became a man of influence in the community.

Mr. Hagedorn was married at Rochester, Minnesota in 1872 to Miss Catherine Chlausen, who died in 1879, leaving two children, Charles and Mary. Mr. Hagedorn’s second marriage was to Wilhemina Fink.


Daniel Hammer
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Sheri Spencer

DANIEL HAMMER came to this country in 1880 and to Lincoln county in 1884, locating on a farm in Lake Benton township. Upon his death August 9, 1901, he left his wife, two daughters, Mrs. Ernest Osbeck of Lake Benton (since deceased), and Mrs. Fosberg of Preston, Washington; and four sons: August, Charlie, John, and Andrew.


H. J. Hanson
Source: Early History of Lincoln County, Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Sandra Stutzman

H. J. Hanson, brother of John Hanson, came from Fillmore county and established his home on section 32, township of Hansonville, in 1884. Here he lived until the spring of 1902, when he sold his farm and moved to Dalton, Minnesota where he engaged in the hotel business. While he resided in Hansonville he held the offices of assessor, supervisor, road overseer and school director.


John Hanson
Source: Early History of Lincoln County, Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Sandra Stutzman

John Hanson, the first settler in the township of Hansonville, Lincoln county, was born September 6, 1848 in the town of Nannestad, about 25 English miles north of Christiania, Norway. He obtained a good common school education and left his home before he was fourteen years of age. His first occupation after leaving his home, was clerking in a store at Rahl railway station, near Eidswold. This position he held for three and one-half years. On the 13th day of May, 1866, he and his brother, Hans J. Hanson, sailed from Christiania in a 200-ton sailing vessel and landed at Quebec, Canada, July 2nd the same year. From there the journey was continued until they reached Fillmore county, Minnesota. In this vicinity Mr. Hanson found employment for two years and then went to Illinois where he worked on the railroad, afterwards engaging as subcontractor on several frontier railroads in Iowa, Dakota and Minnesota

On July 4th, 1873, he established his home on a pre-emption claim in the township of Hansonville, Lincoln county, where he resided until his death.

Mr. Hanson took a keen interest in public matters and occupied the following official positions during his residence in the township: County commissioner from 1875 to 1881; United States census enumerator in 1880; member of the lower house of the state legislature in 1887; justice of the peace several terms; school clerk and road overseer.


John H. Hanson
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Sheri Spencer

JOHN H. HANSON was born at Thelemarken, Norway, July 13, 1859. He came to the United States with his parents in the spring of 1870, when but eleven years of age. He located at Kasson, Dodge county, Minnesota where he resided until he was twenty-two years of age. In 1881 he came to Lincoln county, arriving at Lake Benton on May 11th. Here he entered the employment of Skartum & Mork, principally in the jewelry department of the drug store, having learned the jewelry trade at Kasson. He continued in the employment of the firm during the several years of the partnership, and for several years after its termination he remained in the employ of Mr. Skartum. Later he opened a jewelry store of his own and has continued to operate same from that time until the present, with the exception of the eight years he was postmaster from 1893 to 1901.

Mr. Hanson has taken an active part in civic affairs, being a member of the board of education for fifteen years; village trustee for six years, four years of which he served as president of the board, and was village treasurer for eight years.

Mr. Hanson was united in marriage May 17, 1888 to Miss Ragnhild Ranisate of Valders, Norway, at Lake Benton. Eight children were born to the union, one, Inez Oline, died in youth. The seven remaining are Roy, Billings, Montana; Elmer, Valentine, Montana; Ivan, Lake Benton; Peter, Oyster Bay, N.Y.; Mrs. Hilda Edwards, Chicago, Ill.; Mrs. Ruth Sisson, Balaton, Minn., and Mrs. Clara Larson, Minneapolis.


Charles Culloden Hatchard
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Sheri Spencer

CHARLES CULLODEN HATCHARD (Reminiscences of early Lincoln county life as written himself). As an early settler of Lincoln county, Minnesota, by no means claiming to be one of the earliest, I have been requested by the compiler of history, to furnish a biographical sketch of my life, particularly as applicatory to my long residence in Lincoln county.

My introduction to the county was in April, 1878, two years previous to the building of the main line of the Chicago and North Western railroad west from Tracy in Lyon county. In the party in search of location in this, at that time, wild, undeveloped country, were the brothers William, George, and Frank Mennie, William and Charles Parrot, Jr. and myself, the brothers Parrot being my cousins, their father and my mother being brother and sister.

We arrived at Canby after a stop over night at New Ulm, there being a mixed train only every other day from that station. The next morning we started to walk to our objective point in this county. We finally arrived, after crossing the Yellow Medicine river, at the top of the hill on this side thereof, and there we hired a settler with team and wagon to take us to Shaokatan, where he left us to return to his home. We there and then sat down to rest on a pile of lumber on the rise of ground east of the lake (Shaokatan), said lumber intended, I believe, for the erection of a building for Charles Morses as a store, and was so used.

Then the question arose, how about our accommodations for the coming night? We settled that by a call at the log cabin of Mr. John H. Curtis on the east side of Shaokatan lake, and were warmly welcomed to such privileges as he was able to dispense and there, under the ladder to the loft above, on some sacks of oats, the writer had his first night’s sleep in Lincoln county. The other members of the party climbed the ladder to the upper story.

Scouting about for a day or two, we did not get as far down as Lake Benton, only as far as what is known now as Krestinger place. Retracing our steps and getting back to Canby and from there on to Burnes station (now Springfield) for an overnight stay. The next morning we started to walk to Redwood Falls, then an inland town, to make our filings at the U. S. land office, which we did as soon as the office opened the next morning. We then engaged a man with team and wagon to take us down the Minnesota river to New Ulm, where, after another night’s stay, if I remember correctly, we took the train for our respective homes in Wisconsin, mine at that time being on a forty-acre tract acquired by my maternal grandparents from the government, near Kingston, Wis., and where I first saw the light of day October 30th, 1852, my parents at that time being legal residents of the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and in the heart of the city at that, and where the days of my childhood and youth were passed until the close of the school year of 1868-69, which for me was my only year of high school. This was Milwaukee’s first high school and was held in the upper room of the seventh ward school building, where I finished the grades, then in my sixteenth year.

Having developed, through reading such papers as the American Agriculturist, Country Gentleman, Hearth and Home, etc., and fortified by vacation visits to the country at the place of my birth, a desire for country life, which finally resulted in my being sent, at my own request, to the aforesaid birthplace, which was then occupied by the before mentioned uncle, Charles Parrot and family. I might add, however, that during the Civil war when my father was with his regiment, the 22nd Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, as its surgeon, the family was also quartered at the place of my birth, Kingston, Green Lake county, Wisconsin.

I was the oldest of five children in the family, two of whom have passed on, leaving besides myself a sister at Centralia, Washington, a brother at Ann Arbor, Michigan, and not forgetting a half sister, Margaret Louise, nearly thirteen years older than myself, born in England and having the same father, who when she passed away November16th, 1928, lacked just one month of the age of 89 years. When she passed away I lost my best correspondent, and bearing as I do for a middle name that of her mother’s maiden name, Culloden, (Scotch, of course, as exemplified in the poem, “Sochiel’s Warning”: “Sochiel, Sochiel, beware of the day When the lowland shall meet the in battle array, For a field of the dead rushes red on my sight And the clans of Culloden are scattered in fight.”

I was married to Margaret Flora Masson at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, February 19th, 1879 taking a train at midnight for St. Charles, Minnesota, arriving there about noon on the 20th, following. After spending about a month at St. Charles with my maternal grandparents we proceeded on to Marshall, Minnesota. We resided on farms near Marshall until the spring of 1881 when we established residence on section 1, in Shaokatan township, Lincoln county, and where we continued to reside until January, 1892. Being nominated by the Farmers Alliance for the office of the Clerk of District Court for Lincoln county, I was duly elected to that office at the November election in 1890 and served a four-year term at the time, all other county offices carrying a two-year term.

While having been absent from it for two short periods in the intervening time since first acquiring residence in the village of Lake Benton, I look upon it as having been my continuous home town from the fact that some one or more of my family have been in residence therein during such absence thereform, and the further fact that post office box No. 23 (skidoo box, if you please), has been set aside for the writer’s use approximating forty-four years. *** C.C. Hatchard.

At the time of this writing Mr. Hatchard is still living. He has lived a most upright life and enjoyed some of the fruits of an honorable career, at least to the extent of having won the respect and esteem of all with whom he has become acquainted. He early allied himself with the Episcopalian church and still remains true to that faith. Mrs. Hatchard passed away some years ago and he has steadfastly deeply mourned the loss of her most congenial companionship and filial love.


Fred Hatchard
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Sheri Spencer

FRED HATCHARD was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1858. His father was Dr. Thomas Hatchard, Fred being one of a family of five children. In 1879 he came to Lincoln county and took up claim in Shaokatan township. In the following year, November 25, 1880, he went to St. Charles, Minnesota and was married to Miss Clara Gove. Eight children were born to the union.

Mr. Hatchard was a hard-working man, and belonged to “that earnest, firm, manly home-loving class of toilers who cultivated the wilderness and builded homes for their loved ones”. Mr. Hatchard and son, Leo, were drowned in 1898 while in bathing, the father losing his life in an attempt to save the life of his son, who was unable to swim. Mr. Hatchard has a brother, Charles C. Hatchard, who still resides in Lake Benton.


Nelson A. Herrick
Source: Early History of Lincoln County, Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Sandra Stutzman

N. A. Herrick was born at East Farnam, Canada, September 16, 1850. While he was yet a. child his parents moved to Marquette county, Wisconsin where they lived until the spring of 1860, when they moved to Columbia county, the same state. In the spring of 1865 they moved to Black Hawk county, Iowa. Here he resided until September, 1879 when he, with his wife and children, came to Hansonville township, in Lincoln county, and established a permanent home on a pre-emption claim in section 4. Mr. Herrick was a most affable man and took an interest in public matters, having held the position as first clerk of the township of Hansonville, being appointed in 1884 and holding the office for a number of years. He was also a school officer and road overseer within the township.

Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Sheri Spencer

NELSON A. HERRICK came to Lincoln county in 1881 and purchased a homestead right in section 4, Hansonville township of Mr. C. Eggen, the latter having located on the land in 1879 and made some improvements. Mr. Herrrick located in the fall and soon after his family joined him. He labored hard and by careful and judicious management developed his farm into one of the finest in Hansonville township.

Mr. Herrick was born in Lower Canada. When he was quite young his parents moved to Wisconsin where they lived for several years when they moved to Iowa. He remained at home with his parents until twenty-eight years of age. He was married in 1873 to Miss Elizabeth Hoyt of Wisconsin. Five children were born to this union. Mr. Herrick held the office of clerk upon the organization of Hasonville township and for several years afterward. He was also school treasurer from the organization of the district for several years.


William W. Herrick
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Sheri Spencer

WILLIAM W. HERRICK was one of the early settlers of Lincoln county for many years resided in the Hendricks community. Later he entered the Old Soldiers Home in Minneapolis. While an inmate of that institution he wrote an article criticizing the management which resulted in his discharge from the home. He then built a “crews” home on the banks of the Mississippi river not far from the soldier’s home, where he lived a solitary life and acquired the title of “the Hermit of Minnehaha”. While an inmate of the Home and also while living at his lonely hut, he acted as columnist for the Lake Benton News. He later on removed to the Soldier’s Home at Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

His articles written to the News provided much interest to the readers of that publication.


George Herschberger
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Sheri Spencer

GEORGE HERSCHBERGER was born on October 20, 1863 at Omaha, Nebraska. The second son of Fredrick and Mary Herschberger, he lived with his parents in Nebraska until 1865 when the family moved to Oregon, Mo. From there they moved to Diamond Lake, Illinois where they resided until 1883 when they moved to Lincoln county, Minnesota. He was baptized in the Methodist faith when a child.

On January 27, 1889 he was united in marriage to Anna Louise Larson. To this union were born ten children, Walter, Alvin, and Mrs. Richard Johnson of Ivanhoe; George of Astoria, S.D.; Mrs. Adolph Kock, Ethel, Ernest and Pearl of Lake Benton. Two children died previous to Mr. Herschberger’s death April 27, 1935. Mrs. Herschberger died on January 14th, 1937.

Mr. Herschberger was industrious, quiet and unassuming and was held in high esteem by all with whom he became acquainted. He took an interest in community affairs and for seventeen years served as clerk of the school board in his district.


J. H. Hexum
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Sheri Spencer

J. H. HEXUM was born in Onandahl, Iowa, February 5, 1873. He came with his parents to Hendricks township, Lincoln county in 1877, his father having homesteaded on a claim in section 8. Coming to the county in that early day he underwent all the hardships of pioneer life.

Mr. Hexum was married to Miss Anna Singsaas. Seven children were born to the union: Ole, who served in the World war, Hans, Sugebright, Carl, Arthur, John, and Alpha. He acquired a fine 160-acre farm which by dint of careful planning and hard work he brought to a fine state of fertility. He also erected a fine set of farm buildings, including a comfortable residence.

Mr. Hexum served on the school board in district No. 5 for twenty-nine years and on the township board for twenty-four years. In 1920 he was elected county commissioner where he served with much credit and to the advancement of Lincoln county. He was also a member of the county child welfare board.


Edwin Hodgman
Source: Early History of Lincoln County, Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Bobby Dobbins Title

Edwin Hodgman was born in Canada, April 4, 1838 and died at Lake Benton, Minnesota, September 30, 1913. He lived to be past 75 years of age. He was married to Miss Artimica McAlpine at Bristol, Vermont. The union was blessed with six children: Edwin E.; Cora, Mrs. Ed. Bigham; Flora, Mrs. J. A. Bigham; Mrs. E. Crane and Mrs. John Walker. Charles died when nine years old.

The same year they were married Mr. and Mrs. Hodgman moved to the state of Illinois where they lived for one year. From Illinois they moved to Minnesota and after residing in different places in the state came to Marshfield, Lincoln county. They built and operated a hotel at the village of Marshfield, then the county seat of Lincoln county, until the abandonment of the village after the removal of the county seat to Lake Benton. They then moved their building to Tyler where they again conducted a hotel for several years.

From Tyler Mr. Hodgman moved with his family to Lake Benton and engaged in the livery business in partnership with his son, Edwin E. Here he resided until his death, a period of eighteen years.


John Hoffman
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Sheri Spencer

JOHN HOFFMAN was a native of Prussia where he was born in 1852. When seventeen years of age he learned the tailor’s trade. When eighteen years of age he came to the United States and located in Chicago where he worked at his trade for twelve years. In the spring of 1883 he came to Lincoln county and purchased 280 acres of railroad land in Royal township.

He succeeded in farming and became esteemed and respected by his acquaintances. Mr. Hoffman was married in 1878 in Chicago to Celia Pekorski. Six children were born to the union.


James Francis Hosford
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Sheri Spencer

JAMES FRANCIS HOSFORD came to Lincoln county in 1881 from Dakota county and settled on a claim in section 8, Lake Stay township, which had previously been proved up by his father, Caleb Hosford. For a time he remained upon the homestead part of the time and worked in the pineries and at other occupations the remainder of the time. Mr. Hosford was married and the parent of two children. He took an active interest in public matters and served as township treasurer, supervisor assessor, and school clerk.


William Lyman Hughes
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Sheri Spencer

WILLIAM LYMAN HUGHES was born at Mendon, Monroe county, New York in 1828. As a young man his first position was as superintendent of construction on the Erie Canal and his second position consisted of bookkeeper for the Hughes Stoneware Co. of Cleveland, Ohio. With his father he came to Kenosha, Wisconsin in an early day and entered the grain and shipping business upon the Great Lakes. He then went to Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1858 and again entered the grain business which he followed until 1868. In 1869 he purchased a hardware business in Milwaukee, Wisconsin which he operated about one year. Again in 1870 he purchased a flour mill in Monroe county, Wisconsin and operated same until the winter wheat in that section ceased to be a profitable crop.

Observing a notice from Charles Marsh of Marshfield, Minnesota, in Lincoln county, and also another one from a party oat Lake Kampeska, Dakota Territory, in the “Miller’s Guide”, stating that there was good water power at each place, in the spring of 1876 he investigated same. He was informed by Mr. Marsh that Benton lake was fed by a living stream (at that time Norwegian Creek was running full banks). He returned home and again came to Marshfield in 1877 and brought a surveyor with him. After surveying about for sometime he located two good sites for a water power mill, one through Diamond Lake to the outlet with a 27-foot fall, also one by the way of a canal to be constructed through to the outlet on section 19 with a 47-foot fall. He then returned home and dismantled his mill and in August, 1878 returned to Marshfield, but he discovered that in the meantime the lake had lowered three feet. He then investigated about the headwaters of the inlet and decided not to ship his mill until he became convinced that the lake water was permanent. He had purchased two farms that controlled both water sites, and upon the lake continuing to become lower as time went on, he began farming and continued at that occupation in Marshfield township until his death in 1893.

Mr. Hughes was married to Miss Annot Bowker of Kenosha, Wisconsin, November 4th, 1856. Three sons were born to this union, John Basset, Frank W. and Fred, all of whom are yet living. John B. resides at Lake Benton, Frank at Proctor, Minn., and Fred at San Francisco, Calif.

Mr. Hughes was mayor of Kenosha, Wisconsin and his father before him was also mayor of that city. He was also mayor of Kalamazoo, Michigan, and chief of the fire department of that city. He was a member of the board of supervisors of Marshfield township and also served as school director of district No. 3 for several terms.


E. S. Hutchinson
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Sheri Spencer

E. S. HUTCHINSON came to Lincoln county in March, 1878 and homesteaded on section 32, Royal township. Here he resided with his family until 1883 when the family moved to Missouri. Mr. Hutchinson was married to Anna Gilltrap on January 31, 1854. Six children were born to the union, five daughters and one son: Susan, Mary, Rachel, Sarah, Bertha and Lincoln.


Gudjon Isfeld
Source: Early History of Lincoln County, Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Bobby Dobbins Title

Gudjon Isfeld was born in Iceland, February 22, 1854. He came to the United States in 1879 and purchased a quarter section of land in Alta Vista township, Lincoln county, Minnesota, and built his first home for his family. Here he still resided, with two of his sons, at the time this biography was written. The sons have since purchased more land and erected a fine set of farm buildings.

Mr. Isfeld was married in June, 1878 to Adalbjorg Johnson. Five children were born to them: John and Arne, Taunton, Minn.; Rose, who died October 16, 1933; Mrs. C. W. Arnason, Minneota, Minnesota, and Strenin Isfeld, Ivanhoe, Minn. He was always active in church and community affairs and is highly respected by his many friends and acquaintances.


Peter Jacobs
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Sheri Spencer

PETER JACOBS was born in Germany in 1848 and came with his parents to America when eight years of age. The family located in Chicago and Peter remained at home until thirteen years of age when he started out to make his mark in the world. For three years he engaged in packing staves in a factory in Michigan. He then returned to Chicago and remained with his parents for a time and learned the coppersmith trade.

In 1864 he enlisted in the Union army, becoming a teamster in Gen. Saunder’s division. He continued in the service until March 22nd, 1865 and being honorably discharged, returned to Chicago and engaged in the work of his trade for two years. He continued at various occupations for about three or four years when he engaged in the grocery business for a time, later selling out and going to Minneapolis, Minn., engaging again at his coppersmith trade. From there he returned to Chicago, thence to Sterling, Illinois, Winona and Wabasha, Minnesota, making the latter place his home until his marriage in 1878. He then removed to Lincoln county and located on section 4, Marshfield township. He was the parent of four children: Mary, Lena, Clara and Frank.

Mr. Jacobs improved his farm into one of the most prosperous appearing farmsteads in Marshfield township. He was industrious and became a man of prominence in the community. He took an active interest in public affairs and served as township treasurer and school treasurer.


John Jacobsen
Source: Early History of Lincoln County, Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Bobby Dobbins Title

John Jacobsen was born near Praesto, Denmark, in 1838. When but six years of age he became an orphan and was placed among strangers and during the following 25 years was subjected to hard work, common to the children of the poor. In 1869 he emigrated to America, the trip across the Atlantic requiring three weeks' time. He spent a short time in Chicago and from there went to Duluth, Minn. He then became a railroad worker for a short time, then coming to Lincoln county and homesteading on a quarter of land at Dead Coon lake, settling down alone, miles away from his nearest neighbors, who resided at Lynd. At the time he established his home upon his claim he possessed but seventy five cents in money. He made a dugout in the side of a hill where he managed to live. His nearest railway station, New Ulm, was one hundred miles away, where he went twice a year by means of ox team, to trade.

During these early times Mr. Jacobsen was often visited by passing Indians who would stop at his home for the purpose of bartering for food, offering fur skins in trade. It is said the Indians never offered to molest him.

At the end of three years Mr. Jacobsen journeyed back to Denmark, where he was married to Maren Nielsen. On his returning to Lincoln county accompanied by his wife, they at once set to work to build a home. They first dug a cellar and the first night built a bed in the excavation, spreading down a feather bed and other bedding brought from Denmark, upon the dirt floor. During the night it rained and the couple were thoroughly drenched and their bedding practically ruined. By dint of hard work the house was finally built out of lumber manufactured from willow trees.

The next four years were exceedingly discouraging, the grasshoppers destroying their crops and they eked out a bare living. Mr. Jacobsen managed to secure some work several miles from home, at from 75 cents to $1.00 per day, walking to and from his work. Some of the time they subsisted upon wild game and fish.

In 1879 the railroad reached Lincoln county and it was unnecessary to make the long trips to New Ulm. During the summer of 1880 the Jacobsens visited neighbors to the west and at mealtime partook of fresh cucumbers. Mrs. Johnson, it is related, ate heartily of the delicacy of which she has long been denied, and shortly after became very ill. Her husband secured medicine for her relief which failed of its purpose, and in spite of the fact that a physician was finally brought to her aid, she eventually passed away. Her remains were laid to rest on the Jacobsen farmstead at Dead Coon lake.

After a year or thereabout, Mr. Jacobsen sent to Denmark for his deceased wife's sister and she became his second wife. After his second marriage our subject continued to reside upon his prairie homestead, both he and his wife laboring hard to gain a sustenance. His grain was harvested with a scythe and threshed by means of its being trod upon by cattle and afterwards beaten with a flail. Having driven an ox team for many years, Mr. Jacobsen finally traded the oxen for a horse, which proved to be of little value. He attempted to recover his oxen, but to no avail, and finally secured a second horse that was of less value than the first.

After a long residence upon the farm the couple moved to Tyler where they resided for two years, then moving back to the farm, Mr. Jacobsen being past sixty-one. However, they soon after sold their farm and again moved to Tyler, purchasing a residence near the Danebod church, where they lived to a good old age.


Rev. Henry Jajeski
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Sheri Spencer

REV. HENRY JAJESKI was born in Pomerania, Poland in 1859. About the year 1867 he came with his parents to the United States and with them located at Winona, Minnesota. In 1878 he was graduated from St. John’s University, Stearns county. He went to Grand Seminary, Montreal, Canada and graduated from that institution being ordained to the priesthood of the Catholic church in 1883. He was the given the pastorate of the Catholic churches at Minnesota Lake, Wells, and Mapleton, Minnesota where he remained one year. He then came to Wilno, in Lincoln county, where he assumed the pastorate of the Catholic church there, as well as the churches at Lake Benton and Tyler. During his pastorate at these three points he gained esteem of all of his followers.


Albert Johnson
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Sheri Spencer

ALBERT JOHNSON, a native of Iceland, came to Lincoln county in 1879 and settled on a homestead in section 6, Limestone township. By hard work and close attention to business matters be surrounded himself and family with the benefits of a comfortable farm home. He was married in 1877 and became a parent of five children. He took an interest in public matters and held the office of school clerk. He was held in high respect in his community.


Charles J. Johnson
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Sheri Spencer

CHARLES J. JOHNSON was born in the west central part of Sweden, Province of Varmland, Nya Koppenberget, on December 4, 1851. He was married to Mary C. Gustafson on November 5th, 1876 at Nya Kppenberget. He came with his family to America in 1880 and lived in Chicago for five years where Mr. Johnson was employed in the Crane Bros. machine shops. In 1885 the family moved to Lake Benton and settled on a farm three miles south of town. In 1915 he retired from farming and moved with his wife to Lake Benton where they made their home until Mrs. Johnson’s death six years later. Mr. Johnson died Feb. 12, 1934.

The children were: Mrs. Selma Nelson, Stacy, Minn.; Mrs. Ida Cain, St. Paul; Emil W. Johnson of Chisago City, Minn.; William of Alturas, California; Richard of St. Paul, and Eugene C. of Lake Benton. Three sons died in infancy and one son, Oscar, died at the age on nineteen.


Edgar Orlando Jennings
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Sheri Spencer

EDGAR ORLANDO JENNINGS was the son of Eumenus and Lydia (Haskins) Jennings and was born in Fort Brewerton, New York, June 8th, 1849. In 1858 the family moved to Lake county, Illinois, where the father purchased a farm and where Edgar acquired his education. In 1861 he removed with his parents to Freeborn county, in Minnesota, locating about five miles west of Albert Lea. Mr. Jennings was for a time a resident of Alden, where he opened a butcher shop and continued in that line of business for a year when he sold out and in 1878 removed to Lake Stay township, this county.

He became an influential figure in the community and township, took an active part in social and public affairs and was respectively county commissioner, township assessor for five years, and school clerk for three years. He was married to Miss Mary G. Wadsworth at Albert Lea, on March 12th, 1877, and was the parent of three children. Mr. Jennings was an active member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen of the Tyler chapter.


John Johnson
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Larry Lakey

John Johnson was born in Norway, February 27, 1841. There he grew to manhood and in 1867 was united in marriage to Mary Christianson. In 1871 they set sail for America, locating first in Clayton county, Iowa. In 1878 they migrated to Minnesota, settling on a homestead in Royal township, Lincoln county. Thus Mr. Johnson was one of the oldest pioneers of this county and he and his wife endured all the hardships of the early settlers.

Their home was blessed with ten children, three children having died in infancy, and Charles C. having preceded his father in death by almost three years. The remaining children are Mrs. A. J. Danielson, Mrs. H. B. Danielson, George and Paul, all of Hendricks, Minnesota; Mrs. W. W. Davey of Lake Benton, and William of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Mrs. Johnson, the wife and mother, died in 1918. Mr. Johnson passed away January 12th, 1935.


Ole B. Johnson
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Larry Lakey

Ole B. Johnson was born in Gongsburg, Norway, August 2, 1846. On March 21st, 1872 he was married to Katrina Lee after which they set sail for America in a sailing vessel and after six weeks landed in Milwaukee. They lived at Flintville, Wisconsin for four years, then moved to Fillmore county, Minnesota. In 1878 they moved to Lincoln county in a covered wagon and took up a homestead in Drammen township, where he lived for a period of fifty-five years. His wife died on December 20th, 1917.

The union was blessed with nine children: John, Otto, Hilda and Julia Johnson of Lake Benton; Mrs. Simon Christianson, Hendricks; Mrs. Joe Richardson, Canby, and Clara Johnson, of Minneapolis.

Mr. Johnson was of a quiet, unassuming disposition and was held in the highest esteem by his many acquaintances. He passed from this life on January 14th, 1934.


William Jolitz
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Sheri Spencer

WILLIAM JOLITZ was born in Saxony, Germany, October 25th, 1850. He came to America in 1866 and located at Baraboo, Wisconsin where he resided three years. He afterwards located at Rochester, Minnesota where he married Miss Mary Gregson in 1878 and to this union two sons and a daughter were born. After living at Rochester two years, he moved to Lake Benton where he resided until his death July 29, 1895 following the occupation of blacksmith. He died at the age of 44.


David Jones
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Larry Lakey

David Jones was born in Wales, Great Britian of English parentage. In early life he learned the trades of cabinet maker, wheel wright and was also engaged as an iron worker and at various other occupations until 1848 in which year he came to America. He was variously engaged in his trades at different localities in Wisconsin until 1868 then moving to Minnesota where he engaged in farming in Goodhue county until 1878. During that year he removed to Lincoln county and purchased a farm in Shaokatan township.

During his residence in Lincoln county he took an active part in public affairs and was one of the first supervisors of Shaokatan township. He was married and the parent of nine children.


Samuel G. Jones
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Larry Lakey

Samuel G. Jones (an autobiography) was born in Herefordshire, England, October 15, 1830. He came with his parents the next year to America, landing at New York City in March. His parents resided in Columbia and Duchess counties, New York, respectively, his father and older brother working in factories until the fall of 1838. They then moved to Pennsylvania and settled in Warren county. The trip was made by way of the Erie canal from Albany to Buffalo, and from there to Dunkirk by steamboat. The balance of the trip to Sugar Grove, Pennsylvania, a distance of forty miles, was made by team. The family then settled on land in the timber where they were compelled to transport their household goods by means of a team and sled, the road being too rough for a wagon. Here the following ten years were spent.

These ten years were spent at clearing land during the summer and manufacturing shingles by hand during the winter. My schooling consisted of from two to four months during the summer. When eighteen years of age, I left home and worked in a grist mill for the next five years for from eight to twelve dollars a month, my father collecting my wages until I was twenty-one years of age. In 1854 I came west to Minnesota and settled on new land in Winona county. On July 4th, 1856 I was married to Miss Harriet Beals. We worked hard but did not seem to prosper and in 1871 sold out and moved to Lake Benton, in Lincoln county, where we purchased a claim which we improved. (This claim was what is now known as the Frank Peterson farm, two miles from Lake Benton on top of the hill to the southwest.)

At that time Lincoln county was a part of Lyon county. * * * In 1874 and '75 I had about seventy acres in crop but the grasshoppers came and destroyed it all. The next year I did not raise anything for want of seed for planting. After that I raised some crops until the year 1881 when on the 12th of July a hailstorm destroyed everything. This same year I had four cases of diphtheria in my family and a large doctor bill to pay. On the 8th of November following, my house burned, together with most of our household goods. This discouraged our family and not long after we succeeded in trading our farm and in 1887 we moved to Centralia, Washington. Here I prospered for awhile, but hard times came on and again caught us within its grip. However, in some way we managed to subsist. Mrs. Jones died at Centralia in 1896 and I was again married in 1898. I have seven children, six of whom reside in Washington and one in Oregon.

Note: This autobiography was written in 1905, since which time the writer has passed away. It is related by old timers that the Jones home was a favorite social center in the early days, Mr. and Mrs. Jones being very genial hosts, and a large family of delightful young people adding attraction to their home.


H. R. Keeler
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Larry Lakey

H. R. Keeler was born on a farm near Union, Broome county, New York, in 1848, his father, Henry Keeler, having been born on the same farm. His grandfather, George Keeler, settled in New York at an early date, coming from Norwalk, Connecticut, where the family had lived since 1652. The first man of the name in this country was Ralph Keeler, who emigrated from England in 1635, settling first in Massachusetts, but soon, about 1639, settling in Hartford, Connecticut, and moving from there to become one of the first settlers of Norwalk, Connecticut. After the Revolutionary war many people from that locality moved west, among them Lewis Keeler, brother of George Keeler, who built one of the first houses in Binghamton, New York, between 1790 and 1800.

Henry Keeler, with his family, settled in Wisconsin near Oshkosh, where our subject grew to manhood on a farm. He attended the public schools and Ripon college. He married in January, 1871 to Luella M. Barott, moving to Faribault county, Minnesota in the spring of the same year, and settled on a farm. He went through the grasshopper plague and had several hard storms to contend with, which almost totally destroyed his crops for several years. He taught school winters in Faribault county to eke out a living, which the farm could not produce.

Two children were born, Jessie, now Mrs. Sofus Lund of Lincoln county, in January, 1872, and Elmer of Pipestone, Minnesota in November, 1873. His first wife died August 10, 1877 and is buried at Blue Earth, Minnesota. In 1879 he married Miss Nettie Shuttleworth of Faribault county and they moved to Lincoln county in the spring of 1884, purchasing a farm in Diamond Lake township, four miles northeast of Lake Benton. Six children were born to this union, George of Long Beach, California, in 1885; Harry of Minneapolis, Minn., in 1888; Ethel (now Mrs. James Toudt) of Chicago, Ill., in 1890; William (deceased) in 1892; Theodore of Albert Lea, Minn., in 1894, and Benjamin of Santa Ana, California, in 1896.

In 1904 Mr. Keeler and his family, with the exception of Jessie and Elmer who were married and had homes of their own, moved to Aitkin, Minnesota, in the timber and iron country, where they lived for several years. Mr. Keeler taught school for many years in Faribault and Lincoln counties, teaching the first winter term in Dist. No. 4, Diamond Lake township, his home district. He served as school district clerk both in Faribault and Lincoln counties, and was town clerk of Diamond Lake township for several years. He was elected county auditor of Lincoln county on what was known as the Farmers Alliance ticket and served two terms, from 1891 to 1894, inclusive.

Mr. Keeler always believed in the principles of co-operation and early in 1897 he, with other prominent farmers, organized the Farmers Co-Operative Creamery at Lake Benton, which is still strictly a co-operative concern, owned and operated by the dairymen of the Lake Benton community. He acted as secretary of the organization until he moved to Aitkin, most of the time without pay.

Mr. Keeler died in 1915 and is buried in the Lake Benton cemetery.


John Kelley, Sr.
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Larry Lakey

John Kelley, Sr. was born in County Cavin, Ireland, June 24, 1834. There he spent his boyhood and on February 14, 1861 he was married to Miss Mary Gilronan. Coming to America, they located in New York City. In 1865 they moved to Wabasha county, Minnesota where they lived until 1872, when they came to Lake Benton. They were the parents of nine children: Thomas M., Peter, John F., Janie, Patrick H., Mrs. J. C. Crook of Pipestone, J. W. Kelley of Elkton, Mrs. John DeVaney of Kankakee, Ill. and Mrs. J. K. Sullivan of Pomona, California.

Mrs. Kelley died in the year 1915, and Mr. Kelly died march 18th, 1923, following an operation at the Tyler hospital.

For forty-one long years John Kelly resided in Lincoln county, mostly upon a homestead two miles west of the village of Lake Benton. In 1872 he came with his family from Wabasha county with a prairie schooner drawn by oxen, consuming two weeks time to make the trip. He settled on a government homestead in Verdi township, one of the choicest farms today that exists anywhere. At his death he still owned the old home place. He also took an eighty-acre tree claim.

Some of the early experiences of Mr. Kelly and his family are almost beyond belief to the younger generation. The first mass ever celebrated in Lincoln county was held at Mr. Kelly's home and at this time he proffered the priest in charge the last money he had in the world and insisted upon its being accepted. He was generous almost to a fault and was known to early pioneers as “Honest John”.

In the fall of 1875 he took a grist of wheat to Dell Rapids, S. Dak. With an ox team. On arriving at his destination he found the mill was shut down for repairs and was compelled to go on to Sioux Falls to get his wheat ground. The trip took three days. On his return he was forced to camp out upon the prairie and on arising in the morning he discovered a storm was brewing and on hastening home he arrived just as the storm struck, which proved to be a blizzard and for three days he was unable to leave the house to feed his stock. During the grasshopper scourge he carried one hundred pounds of flour from the village of Marshfield at the foot of the lake to his home, on his back, a distance of eleven miles.

At one time during the Indian scare, he went out in the morning to look for his cattle and upon returning he found that his family had fled with an ox team and wagon, toward the east, having been warned that the Indians were on the warpath. Mr. Kelley followed the family afoot and overtook them at the foot of the lake. Later the wagon broke down and they were compelled to abandon the outfit, wagon, oxen, and other effects, and continue their flight afoot. On arriving at Lynd, in Lyon county, they learned that the report of an outbreak was erroneous and thereupon returned to their home.

Mr. Kelley was a stone mason by trade. He built the foundation for a bridge over the Zumbro river in Wabasha county, which stands to this day. He also built the foundation under the present First National bank and C. T. Mork buildings in this city, which are still in service. At one time he walked on foot to Sioux Falls, S. Dak. to procure work at his trade, and also did mason work at Dell Rapids.

The above enumerated experiences are but a few of the hardships that Mr. Kelley and his family suffered in the early pioneer days, and only reflect the life of all early pioneers.


The John Kelley, Sr. Clan
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Larry Lakey

The John Kelley, Sr. Clan: Probably no one individual early day family has had a more intimate part in the development of Lincoln county than the John Kelley, Sr. clan. As stated in the individual biography of the head of this estimable family, John Kelley, Sr., he and his good wife, Mary Gilronan-Kelley, emigrated to the United States from County Cavin, Ireland, about the year 1860, first locating in Brooklyn, New York.

Mr. and Mrs. John Kelley, Sr. were the parents of nine children, five sons and three daughters. Following are the names of the sons and the daughters in the order of their ages: Thomas M.; Mary, Mrs. John Devaney, Kankakee, Ill.; Peter, Verdi, Minn.; Lizzie, Mrs. J. C. Crook, Pipestone, Minn.; Patrick H., Lake Benton; John F., Lake Benton; Janie, of Pomona, California; James W., Elkton, S. D.; and Katherine, Mrs. J. K. Sullivan, Pomona, California.

Thomas M. the eldest of the family, was born in Brooklyn, N. Y., June 15, 1862. He came to Kellogg, Wabasha county, Minn., with his parents in 1865. In 1872 the family moved to Lincoln county and settled on a farm in Verdi township. Later Thomas homesteaded a claim in Altons, Pipestone county. Sometime after proving up on his claim he sold it and purchased land in Verdi township adjacent to his father's homestead. This farm he developed into a valuable farmstead with a fine set of buildings, which he still owns. He was united in marriage to Miss Mary Daily of Kankakee, Ill., January 29, 1896. He and his wife lived on the farm until 1916 when they moved to Lake Benton where they have resided the past 21 years. Mr. and Mrs. Kelley have no children.

A detailed biography of Peter, the second eldest son, will be found elsewhere in this history.

Patrick, the third oldest son, was born in Wabasha county, Minn. He likewise came to Lincoln county with his parents in 1872. He was later married to Miss Mary Cranney of Reinbeck, Iowa. This union is also childless. Mr. Kelley also purchased land in Verdi township in close proximity to the old homestead, which he has developed into an ideal farmstead, upon which he still resides, although ill health prevents him from operating same.

John F., the fourth son, was also born in Wabasha county, Minnesota and emigrated to Lincoln county with his parents. He too purchased land adjacent to his father's homestead which he developed into one of the choice farms in Lincoln county. He was married June 19, 1901, to Miss Margaret Sullivan of Rock Valley, Iowa. Six children were born to this union, four sons and two daughters: James, Minneapolis; Everett of Lake Benton; Thomas, Irene, Leo and Mary, who reside at the parental home.

James, the youngest son, was born on the old homestead. He was united in marriage to Miss Catherine Conley of Elkton, South Dakota June 26, 1901, and the union was blessed with three children. He also purchased land adjoining the parental homestead which he developed into a fine farm which he still owns, although he does not operate same.

A singular instance in the affair of the Clan Kelley is that the farms owned by the various members of the family are contiguous to each other in the form of a cross. This fact is probably due to the good judgment of the elder Kelley who, realizing that these lands were among the choice farms of Lincoln county, cleverly manipulated the purchase of same so that each of his sons might become the owner of a fine farm in close proximity to the parental home.


Peter Kelley
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Larry Lakey

Peter Kelley, a son of John and Mary Kelley elsewhere mentioned in these biographies, was born September 16, 1865, in Greenfield township, Wabasha county, Minnesota. He came to Lincoln county with his parents, together with four brothers and four sisters, July 12th, 1872. The parents homestead land in Verdi township where our subject grew to manhood, after which he purchased land in section 12, Verdi township, where he built up a splendid home and devoped his farm to a high state of fertility. At the time of his retirement from active farm life, a few years past, Mr. Kelley had established a fine set of farm buildings on his place and specialized in the breeding of purebred Guernsey dairy cattle. Since his retirement the farm has been taken over by his son, Cecil and family.

Mr. Kelley was married to Miss Mary J. Murphy of Kankakee, Illinois November 17, 1897. Five children were born to the union: John, Joseph and Cecelia of California; Mrs. Hugo Bendt of Lead, South Dakota, and Cecil, who operates the home farm.

Mr. Kelley was justice of the peace of Verdi township for twenty-two years and was also president of the board of directors of the Farmers Co-Operative Creamery Association, Lake Benton for several years, as well as a member of the board of directors of the Farmers Co-Operative Association (elevator) of Lake Benton for a number of years. He was industrious, progressive and thrifty, and one of Lincoln county's most successful farmers. Mr. and Mrs. Kelley have spent much time with their children in California since their retirement from active farm life.


Philo Kendall
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Larry Lakey

Philo Kendall located up a homestead in Lake Benton township in July, 1874. He was among the very first settlers in the township and assisted in the early foundation of the civil government. He served as supervisor of his township and as a director of school district No. 43.

Mr. Kendall and family suffered untold hardships in the pioneer life that they spent in Dakota and Minnesota. For six successive years after moving to this community his crops were practically destroyed, first by grasshoppers, then by drought, hot winds and lastly by winds and snow. These misfortunes compelled him to work out for other farmers and to hunt throughout the winter in all kinds of weather. The family consisted of eleven children, five of whom died in childhood.


Richard Kennen
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Larry Lakey

Richard Kennen located a homestead in section 28, Ash Lake township, Lincoln county, September 16, 1879. He was one among the early settlers of and took an active part in the organization of the township. The first year of his occupancy was spent in building a small house and sod barn, putting up hay and in planting a small amount of corn. His method of planting corn was by cutting a hole in the prairie with an ax and dropping the seed into same. This method prevented the gophers from digging up his seed, but we are unable to state as to the success of his method.

He encountered his first hardship in the fall of this season, his hay, about ten tons, being burned up by a prairie fire. Undaunted, he proceeded to improve his homestead and planted 4 acres of wheat the next year, raising therefrom 100 bushels. He also raised quite a goodly supply of potatoes that year. In 1880 he planted a grove of trees about his home.

Mr. Kennen was a Canadian by birth and with his mother dying when he was eight years of age, he went to live with an uncle who had a family of twelve children. After living with the uncle two years he became convinced he was in the way, and although only only ten years of age, he ran away from home and engaged to work for a farmer. He followed this vocation for a number of years and also working in the pine woods during the winter, after which he eventually came to Lincoln county and settled upon a claim as above stated.

Mr. Kennen was married in 1879 to Mary A. Marcellus, the daughter of G. L. Marcellus, a pioneer of Diamond Lake township. The ceremony was performed by Rev. Wm. Wilson, a pioneer minister who resided at Marshfield. Mr. and Mrs. Kennen resided on their homestead for a number of years, finally moving to Lake Benton village to reside. Mr. Kennen died November 27, 1914 at St. Mary's hospital in Minneapolis at the age of 62 years. They had one adopted son, Albert W. J. Kennen.


Ernest Marshall Kimball
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Larry Lakey

Ernest Marshall Kimball was born at Mukwonago, Waukesha county, Wisconsin, June 23, 1862, and died at St. Peter, Minnesota July 25, 1932, at the age of 70 years. He came to Spring Valley, Minn. In 1874 when but twelve years of age and was employed as clerk in a store. In 1878, when sixteen years of age, he came with his parents to Lake Benton and resided here until his death, a period of fifty-four years.

Shortly after his arrival in Lake Benton he was employed for sometime as clerk in the Melcher store. After being engaged in various other occupations he was later employed as a clerk in the Roberts & Mork store here. For the thirty-eight years prior to his death he was engaged in various enterprises for himself, for a time in the general mercantile line and later in the hotel business.

He was a member of the local Modern Woodman lodge and was for several years its clerk. He was village recorder for a number of years also, was a charter member of the Lake Benton Fire company and an active member for more than twenty years, and was still a member of the local Firemen's Relief association at the time of his death.

On May 14th, 1892 he was united in marriage to Etta Nansen of this city. Six children were born to this union: Mrs. C. W. Eddy of this city; Mrs. Jack Demick of Minneapolis; Mrs. Chas. Berdan of Tracy; Mrs. Lucille Cole of Moorhead; Jay and Patricia Jane, at home.


Peter Krall
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Larry Lakey

Peter Krall was one of the prominent farmers of Marshfield township, Lincoln county, having located a homestead in section 22, in 1876. He was born in Germany where he received a very good education. He came to the United States in 1853 and located for a time in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He then located upon his father's farm near Watertown, Wis., for four years, when he purchased a farm near LaCrosse, Wis., which he operated for four years.

He then sold out and purchased a farm in Goodhue county, Minnesota which he operated for seven years, and then selling out and coming to Lincoln county in 1877. His nearest neighbors were three miles distant there being only seven other families in the township when he located. He proved up on both a homestead and tree claim, both of which he owned for many years.

Mr. Krall was married in LaCrosse, Wisconsin in 1862 to Miss Christina Rothers, who died in 1869, leaving four children: Anthony, Kate, Peter and Sophia. Mr. Krall was married the second time in 1873, by which marriage he had eight children.

He took a keen interest in public matters and was justice of the peace twenty years, also township supervisor, assessor and school treasurer. He was somewhat of an orator and spoke at numerous public gatherings.


Hans Lavesson
Source: EARLY HISTORY OF LINCOLN COUNTY, Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) Transcribed by Patricia Roma Stout

HANS LAVESSON was a native of Sweden where he received his early education, coming to the United States when but a young man. He first located in Wabasha county, Minnesota where he engaged as a farm hand for a little more than a year when he removed to Mankato and engaged as a clerk in a dry goods store, which position he held for some time. Close confinement disagreed with his health and he was forced to relinquish his position. He then went to St. Paul and engaged as driver for a liveryman, outdoor work being beneficial to his health. This position he held for four years when he returned to Wabasha County and engaged in farming in partnership with his brother, until the spring of 1878.

At that time he came to Lincoln county and took a homestead and tree claim in Ash Lake township. There were only two houses in the township at the time. In 1884 he sold his farm and in the fall was elected register of deeds of Lincoln County, which position he held for three successive terms. He was engaged in the real estate business for a time and later became a stockholder and president of the First National Bank of Lake Benton. He later sold his interest in the bank after which he retired from active business life. For some years previous to his retirement he was financially interested in the Lake Benton flour mill and also in a grain elevator. He became an extensive land owner within the county.

Mr. Lavesson was a man of high standing within the county and was held in high esteem among his acquaintances. He was married to Miss Carrie Pearson, July 25th, 1876, at Stockholm, Wisconsin. His death occurred at his home in Lake Benton in 1926, being preceded in death by his son, Charles E. Lavesson. His widow and daughter, Alice M. Lavesson survive him.


John Lavesson
Source: EARLY HISTORY OF LINCOLN COUNTY, Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) Transcribed by Patricia Roma Stout

JOHN LAVESSON homesteaded a quarter section of land in section 14, Ash Lake township in 1880, which he developed from raw prairie into a well improved farm with a .good set of buildings. He took an active part in local public matters and was treasurer of school district No. 30 for a time. He eventually moved to Lake Benton where he subsequently died. He was a man of upright character and was held in high esteem in the community.


James M. Leach
Source: EARLY HISTORY OF LINCOLN COUNTY, Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) Transcribed by Patricia Roma Stout

JAMES M. LEACH was born near Wheeling, West Virginia January 31st, 1846. He was married at Paris, Illinois in 1875, and three years later they moved to Lincoln county and settled on a claim in Hope township, where they resided until 1901, when they moved to Brookings county, in South Dakota. He was the parent of five children: Elizabeth Albert, Arthur, Andrew and Rose.

Mr. Leach underwent all the hardships and privations of pioneer life, and did his part in opening up this virgin prairie to the needs of civilization. He died at his home near Midland, S. D., May 11th, 1923.


J. P. Lechler
Source: EARLY HISTORY OF LINCOLN COUNTY, Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) Transcribed by Patricia Roma Stout

J. P. LECHLER was an early day merchant of Tyler, having moved there when the town was first started and engaging in the mercantile business; thus being one of the first residents of the village. He served Lincoln county as treasurer to the fullest satisfaction of its citizens and to his own credit. He was highly respected by all with whom he became acquainted. A veteran of the Civil war, he served his country with credit during the insurrection. At his death in 1887, his remains were taken to his native state, Pennsylvania, for burial.


Thomas Lemon
Source: EARLY HISTORY OF LINCOLN COUNTY, Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) Transcribed by Patricia Roma Stout

THOMAS LEMON homesteaded on land in sections 34 and 35, Lake Benton township, Lincoln county, in 1872. He commenced operations the first year he came by breaking twenty acres of prairie and building a log house 16 by 20 feet in dimension. This house stood upon the place for many years. Mr. Lemon also set out a fine grove of trees. His place was beautifully located upon the south bank of Lake Benton lake. Mr. Lemon was a man of thrift and labored hard to establish a home for himself and family upon the western prairie. He experienced many hardships; his early crops being damaged by grasshoppers in 1874-75 and 1876, and his livestock was somewhat diminished by disease. However, in spite of all difficulties, he and his good wife struggled on to success.

Mr. Lemon was married in June, l864 to Miss Ellen Jane Miller. Both were natives of Ireland, coming to America in their early manhood and womanhood. The union was blessed with seven children: William, James, Eliza, John, Stella, Rufus and Blanche.

Mr. Lemon was one of the earliest settlers, there being but three or four other families in the township when he located. He assisted in the organization of the township and became a member of the board of supervisors. He assisted greatly in the development of his township in other ways as well. Mr. and Mrs. Lemon moved to Oregon some years ago where they have both passed away since.


Peter Lenertz
Source: EARLY HISTORY OF LINCOLN COUNTY, Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) Transcribed by Patricia Roma Stout

PETER LENERTZ was born September 26, 1850 in Luxemburg, Germany, and upon immigrating to the United States came to Tyler in 1877 and settled on a homestead north of that village where he lived until his death September 7, 1908 at the age of fifty-eight years.

At the age of 33 he was married to Katherine Mahowald from which union eight children were born. Mr. Lenertz was one of the county's earliest settlers and had experienced many hardships in the pioneer days but was saved to see and enjoy the fruit of his labors. He was industrious and a man that made friends with everyone.


Peter Lewis
Source: EARLY HISTORY OF LINCOLN COUNTY, Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) Transcribed by Patricia Roma Stout

PETER LEWIS was born in Balking, Sweden, January 14th, 1815 and immigrated to the United States in 1856. In spite of his advanced age, when the country was in its gloom of despondency, Mr. Lewis enlisted in 1860 as a volunteer in the Illinois first regiment of cavalry. Serving in this regiment for eight months, he was sent to the hospital as the result of being thrown from a horse, while in the line of battle. Having sufficiently recovered, the old gentleman re-enlisted in the Illinois fourteenth cavalry where he served until the final struggle was ended.

After the war he moved to Lake Benton and while here was an active and, incidentally, the oldest member of Old Abe Post, G. A. R., of Lake Benton. He was an ardent reader, mainly of the Bible and Luther's writings, and a short time before his death, he presented Mrs. Charles Whitman with an English edition of Luther's complete work.


Asa Wallace Little
Source: EARLY HISTORY OF LINCOLN COUNTY, Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) Transcribed by Patricia Roma Stout

ASA WALLACE LITTLE was born in Illinois January 1st, 1849. He came with his parents to Salem, Olmsted County, Minnesota when he was two years old. Here he remained for twenty years and then went to Kansas and bought a pre-emption. He farmed for two years and then sold his claim, returning to Olmsted county where he remained for the next four years. He was married in Olmsted county July 21st, 1876 to Miss Margaret Hastings. This union was blessed with two sons, Wallace A. (deceased) and William M., and six daughters, Tessa, Tal, who died when six months old, Cathryn, Carry, Marion and Francis. Mrs. Little died July 13th, 1913.

Mr. Little came to Lincoln county in 1877 and filed on a homestead in section 22, Lake Benton township, also a tree claim and moved onto same the following year. He built a small house and a barn which was constructed from poles which were covered with hay. He broke up twenty-five acres the first year and the following year put it into crop which yielded fairly well. He rented thirty acres of land from John Cooley, a pioneer neighbor, the first year, which he put into crop consisting of oats, barley and one acre of potatoes.

Mr. Little and wife endured all the hardships and privations which the early pioneers were heir to. They burned hay for fuel and endured many other trying experiences common in pioneer days.

Mr. Little took a deep interest in public matters and assisted in the organization of school district No. 10. He assisted in building the first school house by hauling the rock for the foundation. He served as township supervisor, assessor and was chairman of the school board for several years. He was one of the promoters of the Farmers’ Co-Operative Creamery, of Lake Benton. He states that in spite of the many hardships they endured they were happy and enjoyed life.


W. J. Loy
Source: EARLY HISTORY OF LINCOLN COUNTY, Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936) Transcribed by Patricia Roma Stout

W. J. LOY was born in Newport, Perry County, Pennsylvania, on September 11, 1832. He lived there with his parents until 1857 when the family moved to Illinois. On December 24, 1859 he married Sophronia F. Hatfield at Newport, Pennsylvania. After the marriage the couple moved to Lombard, Illinois where they made their home until 1883. To the union four children were born.

In 1883 he moved with his family to Lake Benton, Minnesota where he lived until his death January 23, 1902. He was a faithful member of the Odd Fellow and Masonic lodges, having joined the latter group at Wheaton, Illinois, in 1871.

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