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Lincoln County, Minnesota


County Records

Roster of County Officials
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A.E. Tasker, Lake Benton News Print (1936) transcribed by Patricia Roma Stout

Following is a roster of the various county officials since the organization of the county to the year 1936:

County Commissioners

Year 1874: (the first named is chairman), Noah F. Berry, A. E. Burdick and Harvey Bagley. Burdick resigned December 21, 1874. 1875, Ira S. Field, John Snyder and Isaac N. Russell; Russell resigned and on December 30 John Hanson of Hansonville was appointed to fill the vacancy, qualified and entered upon his duties January 18, 1876; 1876, John Snyder, John Hanson and Ira S, Field; 1877, John Snyder, John Hanson and Ira S. Field. Snyder resigned as chairman and Ira S. Field was chosen in his stead; 1878, Ira S. Field, John Hanson and C. H. Briffett; 1879, Ira S. Field, John Hanson and C. H. Briffett. Mr. Briffett was the chairman during 1879; 1880, C. H. Briffett, Andrew M. Olmem and John Hanson; 1881 (not given); 1882, A. M. Olmem, G. B. Olson and C. H. Briffett; 1883, A. M. Olmem, A. C. Fletcher, G. H. Bradley, M. C. McCollum and G. B. Olson; 1884 (not given); 1885, A. C. Fletcher, G..H. Bradley; A. M. Olmem, M. C. McCollum, Ole Thomsen, Peter Mennie and G. B. Olson; 1886, Ole Thomsen, A. C. Fletcher, Peter Mennie, M. C. McCollum and G. B. Olson; 1887, A. J. Crain, James Gilronan, P. H, McCaffrey, John Tainter; John A. Stegner and E. C. Jennings.

1890, James Gilronan, P. H. McCaffrey, John Tainter, John Stegner and E. C. Jennings; 1891, John Stegner, Julius Reck, James Gilronan, Marcus Lauritsen and P. O. Vine; 1892, (same); 1893-94, Marcus Lauritsen, Julius Reck, Henry Potter, H. B. Danielson and P.O. Vine; 1895, Henry Potter, John Kroeger, Marcus Lauritsen, H. B. Danielson and J.L. Steele.

1898, John Kroeger, Karl A. Hansen, C. L. Peterson, James Gilronan, and J. L. Steele; 1899, Chas. Pedersen, Karl A. Hansen, Henry Haak, James Gilronan and Thos. Stringer; 1900 (same); 1901, Henry Haak, H. C. Hanson, Chas. Rein, James Gilronan, Thomas Stringer; 1902, Henry Haak, C. L. Pedersen, Chas. Rein, James Gilronan and Thomas Stringer 1903-4, John A. Stegner, Karl A. Hansen, James Gilronan, Eiler Thomsen and Thomas Stringer. Stegner resigned as chairman and Hansen was chosen in his stead; 1905-6 (same); 1907, John A. Stegner, Karl A. Hansen, John Trautman, Martin Nelson and Henry Smith; 1908, John A. Stegner, Henry Smith, John Trautman, N. N. Sandager and Martin Nelson; 1909-10, John Trautman, N. N. Sandager, Henry Smith, J. H. Christensen, and Martin Nelson.

1911-12, Henry Smith, J. H. Christensen, F. J. Mashek, A. F. J. Lindemann, and N. N. Sandager; 1913-14, N. N. Sandager, F. J. Mashek, H. C. Hansen, A. F. J. Lindemann, and Andrew Friis; 1915-16, N. N. Sandager, F. J. Mashek, John Kroll, Andrew Friis, H. C. Hansen; 1917, F. J. Mashek, A. J. Knutson, George Hauswedell, John Kroll, and Andrew Friis; 1918, F. J. Mashek, A. J. Knutson, George Hauswedell, Andrew Friis, and C.O. Nelsen; 1919-20 (same); 1921-22, George Hauswedell, George Maurer, C. O. Nelsen, J. H. Hexum and F. J. Mashek; 1923-24-25-26, Geo. Maurer, C. O. Nelsen, J. H. Hexum, Martin Nelson and George Hausewedell.

1927-28, George Maurer, C. O. Nelsen, J. H. Hexum, F. J. Mashek, and George Hauswedell; 1929-1934, C. O. Nelsen, F. J. Mashek, Henry Haak, Lawrence F. Hempel, and L. G. Hasel; 1935, F. J. Mashek, Henry Haak, L. G. Hasel, Lawrence F. Hempel, and Peter M. Thomsen; 1936 to date, Peter M. Thomsen, Lawrence F. Hempel, Henry Haak, F. J. Mashek, and K. O. Amundson.

County Auditors

1874, Charles Marsh. Marsh resigned July 26, 1875, Charles Goodsell being appointed. Goodsell resigned March 20, 1877, and J. G. Bryan was appointed; 1878-1884, G. I. Larson; 1884-1891, S. D. Pumpelly; 1891-1895, H. R. Keeler; 1895-1899, G. H. Hoyt; 1899-1903, Henry Potter; 1903-1911, R. H. Sisson; 1911-1919, Karl A. Hansen; 1919-1936, A. L. Swenson; 1936 to date, Elmo E. Swenson.

County Treasurers

1874, S. C. Jones. Jones resigned September 21st, 1874 and A. E. Burdick was appointed, who served until 1877; 1877-1879, S. G. Jones; 1879, A. J. Crain who resigned September 17, 1879, R. A. Bigham being appointed. Bigham resigned May 31, 1881, and J. P. Lechler appointed. During Lechler's term the office was held in Tyler. His term expired in March, 1883; 1883-1889, Fred Meinzer; 1889-1895, Lars I. Fjeseth; 1895-1899, Christian Christianson; 1889-1903, P. C. Petersen; 1903-1911, Chas. Rein; 1911-1919, Chr. Larsen; 1919-1931, Jens Olmem; 1931 to date, John C. Neale.

Register of Deeds

1874-1879, M. L. Wood; 1879 to July 19, 1880, E. F. Manchester. On the latter date Manchester resigned. During his term the office was kept at his home in the township of Ash Lake; July 19, 1880 to 1885, Ruel A. Dore; 1885-1891, Alfred Soderlind; 1895-1901, Jens B. Johansen; 1901- 1903, F. J. Grochowski; 1903-1907, J. P. Hagen; 1907 to Sept. 14, 1914, J.P. Jensen; Sept 14, 1914-1915, John Hinsverk; 1915-1931, L. P. Sisson; 1931 to date, Martin J. Grodzicki.

County Sheriffs

1874-1875, William Ross; 1875-1877, George. H. Bradley 1877-1881, W. W. Ramsey. Ramsey resigned November 22, 1881, when D. H. Ackerson was appointed to fill the vacancy and held office until June 21, 1882, when he too resigned and A. E. Woodford was appointed. Woodford resigned November 3, 1882 and Chris Mork was appointed, holding the office until January 2, 1883; 1883-1885, Peter T. Reynolds. J.H. Palmer was elected sheriff at the general election in 1884 and qualified January 6th, 1885. He resigned February 3, 1885 and P. T. Reynolds was appointed, serving until January, 1887. It was quite generally believed that Palmer had been forced to resign by the "Big Four" as they were called, by threats of violence and criminal proceedings. If the writer's memory is correct, the "Big Four" consisted of P. T. Reynolds, Chas. Morse, A. E. Woodford and C. W. Andrews. It is also reported there were grave complications in the case. 1887-1897, Charles Whitman; 1897-1907, L. M. Townsend; 1907-1923, Chas. H. Curtis; 1923-1931, Carl O. Hanson, and 1931 to date, John A. Berg.

Judges of Probate

1874-1875, John Snyder; 1875-1877, John W. Lawton; 1877-1879, J. B. Wood; 1879-1881, Samuel McPhail; 1881-1883, W. E. Dean; 1883-1885, S.O. Nordvold. Nordvold held office by election and C. W. Andrews by appointment; 1885-1891, Daniel McArthur; 1891-1897, J. G. D. Whipple; 1897-1899, J. B. Davidson; 1899-1907, G. B. Olson; 1907-1925, R. F. Schulz; 1925-1937, Jacob Gerber; 1937 to date, Francis Fennessey.

Clerk of Court

1874-1876, M. S. Phillips. Phillips resigned March 21st, 1876. The office remained vacant until February 13, 1877, when the writer (G. I. Larson) qualified for the office, having been elected in 1876. Larson served until 1881; 1881-1882, Charles Marsh. Marsh resigned and A. E. Woodford qualified November 4, 1882, serving until 1885. Woodford resigned November 27, 1885 and Charles Morse was appointed, serving out the term. 1887-1891, A. C. Matthews; 1891-1895, C. C. Hatchard; 1895-1899, John Johnson. Ernest Sigvaldson, successor to John Johnson died January 10, 1901 and G. I. Larson was appointed by Judge Webber to fill the vacancy, serving until 1907; 1907-1923, George Graff; 1923 to date, Chris Simonsen.

County Attorneys

G. I. Larson was appointed county attorney by the county board on May 20; 1875 and held the office until January, 1876; 1876-1878, Lyman Turner. The office allowed $6.60 during the term. During one year, 1878, the office appears to have remained vacant; 1879-1883, Samuel McPhail; 1883-1885, John L. Cass; 1885-1891, Samuel McPhail; 1891-1897; J. A. Bigham; 1897-1899, Joseph Forbes. Forbes resigned July 10, 1899 and John McKenzie was appointed by the county board to fill the vacancy, holding office until 1901; 1901-1903, A. H. Mohler; 1903-1905, John P. Power; 1905 to October 18, 1906, A. H. Mohler. Mohler resigned and R. F. Schulz was appointed to fill out the unexpired term; 1907-1911, Warren Miller; 1911-1919, L. P. Johnson; 1919-1923, A. K. Stauning; 1923 to June 28, 1925, C. W. Stites. A. K. Stauning was appointed to fill out the term of Mr. Stites, deceased; 1927-1931, R. F. Schulz; 1931 to date, B. M. Heinzen.

County Superintendents of Schools

1874 to June 5, 1875, M. L. Wood. Wood resigned on the latter date and G.L. Larson was appointed, holding office until 1878. 1878-1880, M, L. Wood; 1880-1883, A. H. Barnard; 1883-1891, C. W. Stites; 1891-1895, W.J. Wickershiem; 1895-1899, Mrs. M. I. Robertson; 1899-1907, A. M. Spencer; 1907 to December, 1909, Geo. C. Miller; Dec. 1909 to 1923, J. T. Clawson; 1923-1931, Eva E. Lane; 1931 to date, Jennie L. Reiss.

Court Commissioners

James Briffett was appointed January 26, 1874 and apparently held the office until February 13, 1877, when G. I. Larson qualified for the office, serving until 1880; 1880-1885, S. D. Pumpelly; 1885 to January 12, 1886, John H. Hanson; David Hoseley was appointed by Judge Webber in 1886 and held to 1887; 1887-1891, Ruel A. Dore; 1891-1895, William H. Bradley; 1895-1899, Thomas George; 1899, Alfred Soderlind.

County Surveyors
1874 to May 20, 1875, William Taylor; 1875-1881, J. G. Bryan; 1881-1885, LeRoy Royal; 1885-1891, J. H. Manchester; 1891-1893, C. V. Metcalfe; 1893-1901, Mathew Lane; 1901-1906, John B. Chase; 1906, Elmer Keeler.

County Coroners

John Cooley was appointed by the county commissioners January 26, 1874, but it is doubtful whether he ever qualified. Apparently the office remained vacant until 1880, when T. W. Sheardown was appointed. Sheardown resigned November 22, 1880, and H. D. Jenckes was appointed and qualified January 5, 1881, serving until 1884; 1884-1886, C. T. Mork, who resigned January 5, 1886, and on July 26, 1886, the county commissioners appointed Charles Lane, who qualified on July 29 ,1886; 1887-1899, John R. Taylor; 1899-1903, J. B. Holst; 1903, P. J. Wayrens.

It is said that in 1875, in the spirit of fun, a little Irishman living north of Lake Benton, named Jimmy Collins, was elected coroner. Upon being notified of his election he came to inquire of the chairman of the board as to his duties. Uncle Ira Fields, the chairman, and also somewhat of a practical joker, informed him that in case the dead body of a man was found anywhere in the county, it would be his official duty to go immediately and "set on it". It did not take Jimmy long to decide that he did not desire the office.

Legislative Aspirants

At the time Lincoln county was organized its territory was embraced in the thirty-seventh legislative district, comprising Redwood, Brown and Lyon counties. The first candidate for legislative honors from Lincoln county was J. G. Bryan, who ran for representative on the Republican ticket in 1877, but was defeated by J. W. Williams of Marshall who ran rather as an Independent or Democrat.

The first citizen of Lincoln county elected to either branch of the legislature was C. M. Morse, who at the time, lived at Lake Benton. He was elected to the House in 1882. Subsequent members of the House from this county were as follows: 1882-1886, C. M. Morse; 1886-1888, John Hanson; 1888-1890, A. J. Crain; 1894-1896, Frank W. Nash; 1896-1898, J. H. Manchester; 1898-1902, C. W. Stifes; 1904-1906, Marcus Lauritsen; 1910-1914, K.G. Skartum; 1914-1916, Henry Smith; 1916-1918, Hiram B. Danielson; 1918-1922, C. M. Gislason; 1922-1926, Anton Anderson; 1926-1934, John I. Jordan: 1934-1936, H. C. Andersen; and 1936 to date, H. J. P. Nielsen.

All the members of the House from Lincoln county up to the early nineteen hundreds, were elected on the Republican ticket. The only resident of the county minus the toga was Orrin Mott, state senator from 1890 to 1894, by the grace of the Populist party.


The first court order on record is the order of Hon. E. St. Julian Cox dated August 14, 1880. This order provides for a special term of the District Court to be held at Lake Benton, Minn. on September 22, 1880 at 10 a. m. This order was made in answer to a petition from the County Commissioners of Lincoln county, asking for a term of Court. The order set for the reason for not holding the term at the county seat to be that there were not proper or sufficient accommodations at the county seat at Marshfield. The term convened at Lake Benton, Minnesota on September 22nd, 1880.

The following court officers were present: Hon. E. St. Julian Cox, Judge, presiding; S. McPhail, county attorney; G. I. Larson, clerk, and W. W. Ramsey, sheriff. The first case to be tried was that of John L. Cass, plaintiff vs. Fred Stricker, defendant. W. E. Dean appeared as attorney for the plaintiff and Chas. Butts as attorney for the defendant.

The jury impanelled and sworn were the following: J. T. Brooks, Charles Morse, Charles H. Briffett, George Luddington, H. Enke, R. A. Dore, A. J. Montgomery, D. Warn, G. D. Cole, D. McArthur, R. Hodson and Andrew Strong. The jury returned a verdict in favor of plaintiff.

At this same term of court we have the record of the first naturalization proceedings; second or final papers were issued to Herman Sass on Sept. 22, 1880. His witnesses were A. W. Morse and J. W. Bush.

The first record of the granting of declaration of intention or first paper was that of John J. Eggen, filed and issued on December 18, 1878, when G. I. Larson was clerk.

The early judges to preside over the District Court of Lincoln county were E. St. Julian Cox, 1880-1882; H. D. Baldwin, 1882; and B. F. Webber, 1883-1905. The first clerks were M. S. Phillips, 1875-1879; G. I. Larson, 1879-1881; Charles Marsh, 1881-1883; A. E. Woodford, 1883 to 1885; Charles M. Morse, 1885-1887.

The first marriage record on file is that of William Trulock and Mary Jane Worden. Application was dated July 20, 1875 and issued the same date by M. S. Philips, clerk. The marriage was performed at Marshfield by John B. Wood, a justice of the peace on July 21st, 1875. Witnesses were Clarence Wood and Candan Burdick. The marriage return was recorded on June 15th, 1879.

The first record of birth was that of Agnes Mathilda Vick, born Dec. 28, 1879, daughter of Jonas and Sophie Vick of Drammen township.

The first death record on file is that of Hans Evenson of Hendricks township, who died January 1, 1880; son of Ole and Mary Evenson.

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