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Meeker County MN 
Genealogy and History


Biographies

Norris Y. Taylor
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

NORRIS Y. TAYLOR, an enterprising, prosperous and reliable farmer of Ellsworth township, has his home upon section 17. He settled on this place on coming to the county in 1874, and has now a fine farm of 246 acres of excellent arable land for the most part, 110 of which is under a high state of tillage. He carries on general farming, but gives considerable attention to dairy interests, keeping about thirty head of cattle, mostly of Holstein strains.

Our subject is a native of Illinois, born in Vermilion county, October 8, 1850. He commenced life young, for when but sixteen years of age he hired out to work for ten dollars per month. His next move was to work for his board and go to school, with the set purpose of making up for the lack of earlier opportunity. In this way he acquired the elements of an excellent education, taking a course or more in the higher branches, in the schools at Perrysville, Ind. He now commenced farming in the neighborhood of Bismarck. In the spring of 1870, having had an attack of some lung disease, he came to Minnesota and was engaged in lumber yards at Stillwater, but a few months later he moved to St. Paul and was engaged as chainman by a party of Government surveyors. This kind of business recuperating his health and being agreeable to him, he continued to follow it seven years in one capacity or another until he rose to be superintendent in charge of the party. The north shores of Lake Superior, the White Earth reservation, the Red River valley, and the Leach Lake reservation were all the scenes of his labors. In 1877 he gave up his wandering and came to Meeker county, where he had settled, or rather bought a farm and worked it between his surveying expeditions. Here he remained until 1880, when he accepted the superintendency of the “Nobles county farm,” of George I. Seney, of New York, but the next year transferred his services to the executors of the Horace Thompson estate in the same capacity. For three years he managed one of their farms, and then came back here and has remained ever since.

Mr. Taylor was married May 3, 1881, to Miss Fina Shuart, a native of Geauga county, Ohio, and daughter of William and Mary Ann Shuart, and by this union there have been three children – George S., Wilford B., and Marion.

In his views Mr. Taylor is entirely free politically, and independent of party lines. He was elected to the office of town clerk in the spring of 1888, and still holds that office.


John Teberg
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

JOHN TEBERG. Among the Swedish element which makes up so large a share of the population of Meeker county, and whose habits of industry and thrift, brought from their native land, that so soon raise them to competency, is the gentleman whose name heads this sketch. He is living on section 32, in the town of Darwin, where he has a fine and extensive farm of 400 acres, 250 of which are under excellent cultivation, and upon which he has some forty-two head of horses and cattle.

Mr. Teberg was born in Sweden November 5, 1839, and is the son of Carl and Celia Teberg, natives of the same kingdom. He remained in the land of his birth until 1870, when, with a view to better his condition beyond what is possible in the mother country, he emigrated to the United States. On his arrival in this country he came at once to Meeker county, and with his family settled in what is now Litchfield township. After remaining there for about five years he removed to Darwin, and took up his residence where he now lives, on section 32. He has passed most of his life in farm pursuits, his parents being farmers in Sweden, where they both died.

On the 1st of July, 1866, in Sweden, Mr. Teberg was united in marriage with Miss Ellen Peterson, the daughter of Peter Larson and Elsie Larson Peterson. Her parents came to America in 1865, and settled in Litchfield township. By this marriage Mr. Teberg is the parent of two children, namely John, born September 11, 1866; and Martin, born October 15, 1869.

In his political views Mr. Teberg is with the republican party, although not a politician by any means.


James H. Thoms
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

JAMES H. THOMS, a resident of Union Grove township, is one of the successful farmers and stock-raisers in the northern part of the county.

The subject of our sketch is the son of James and Lucy (Brown) Thoms, and was born in the town of Sebec, Me. While he was quite young his parents removed to Kilmornac, Me., where his father engaged in farming and lumbering, but finding it a hard place to make a living in, he moved to Bangor, Me. When James H. was fourteen years of age he learned the carpenter’s trade, and remained at home until he was twenty; then, with some acquaintances, he left for the West, stopping in Wisconsin a short time. He came to Minnesota in the fall of 1849. It was then a territory, St. Paul and St. Anthony being small villages at that time, and Minneapolis was not even started. Hauling supplies to the Indians was the main business done outside the villages.

Mr. Thoms engaged for four years in hauling supplies from St. Paul to Fort Ripley, and any other points where the Indians were to be paid their annuities.

Some of the log hotels, or stopping places, had squaw landladies, and others were kept by bachelors. Mr. Thoms left the road and worked at his trade for two years, and finally took up a claim in Eden Prairie township, sixteen miles south of Minneapolis, in Hennepin county.

On August 12, 1855, he married Miss Annette F. Hamblet, of Eden Prairie, a young lady, nineteen years of age. He remained on his farm a few years, then moved to Chanhassen, Carver county, where he stayed but a short time, then moved to Castle Rock, Dakota county, where he stayed a few years, engaged in farming. Then, hearing of the many virtues of Meeker county, he removed to Union Grove township in the fall of 1867, and took up a homestead on section 20. Five years later, he sold that place and bought a farm of 160 acres, on section 25 and 36, where he has since lived.

The farm is one of the most valuable in the township, and the building improvements are a credit to the neighborhood in which they are located.

Mr. and Mrs. Thoms have been blessed with nine children, seven of whom are now living, two girls and five boys – Frank, the eldest, is married, and lives at Newark, D.T., where he is, in company with a partner, running a grain elevator. E.L. and D.C. Thoms, the two next oldest, own a roller flour mill at Ashby, Grant county, Minn. The fourth son, Ben H., is a graduate from Curtiss’ Business College, Minneapolis, and is in Minnesota at the present time. One daughter is a stenographer, and the other is a seamstress; both reside in Minneapolis at present. Earl W., the youngest, remains at home with his parents. In politics, Mr. Thoms is a strong democrat. He came to the county comparatively a poor man, but is now well fixed as to this world’s goods, and is rated as one of the most solid and substantial citizens of the county. He is truly a pioneer in the State, and also of the county.


Bersvend S. Thorp
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

BERSVEND S. THORP is one of the many thrifty and substantial farmers of Acton township. He was born in Norway on the 18th of January, 1841, and is the son of Severt and Brynnil Thorp. He came to the United States in 1866, and settled first in Goodhue county, Minn., where he remained for a short time at work for different parties; then went to Minneapolis and drifted around from one business to another, and from place to place, until 1868, when he came to Meeker county and took a homestead of eighty acres on section 8, in Acton township, where he has since lived. He has added to his homestead, and now has a farm of 270 acres, well stocked and improved, and has fine farm buildings. Mr. Thorp was a poor man when he came to America, but the industry and economy, so characteristic of his countrymen, have been successful in his case, and he is now well-off.

Mr. Thorp was married in July, 1869, at Acton, to Miss Bereth Malvig. They have had the following children – Ole, born August 23, 1870, died same day; Regine, born December 9, 1871, died March 11, 1877; Severt, born August 17, 1873, died in October, 1877; Severt, born August 5, 1874; Pauline, born December 18, 1876, died same day; Bertha, born April 12, 1879, died in September, 1879; and Olena, born January 31, 1884. In political matters, Mr. Thorp is a republican, and in religious affairs the family are members of the Norwegian Lutheran Church. Mr. Thorp devotes his attention to diversified farming and stock-raising. He has met with some reverses, but nothing of a very serious character, except during the grasshopper raids, when he lost about half his crops.


Oren W. Topping
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

OREN W. TOPPING, who is engaged in the hay and straw baling business in the village of Litchfield, was born in Greenleaf, Meeker county, November 11, 1860, and is the son of Charles G. and Louisa M. (Briggs) Topping.

The father of the subject of this memoir, one of the pioneers of this county, was born in Tompkins county, N.Y., April 11, 1834, and made his home there, with his parents, until 1855. In the spring of that year he removed to Wisconsin, where he lived until the fall of 1857, when he came to this vicinity, settling at Hutchinson, McLeod county. The following spring he took up a claim on section 10, Cedar Mills township, which he commenced improving as a farm. In January, 1860, he returned to his native State, and was there united in marriage to Miss Louisa M. Briggs, and with her returned the following spring to his farm.

In 1861, he enlisted in Company B, Fourth Minnesota Infantry, and served until September, 1864, when he was honorably discharged from the service for disability, owing to disease contracted in the army. His family, at the time of the Indian outbreak, having fled back to New York State, he, on receiving his discharge, went there and brought them back to Minnesota, and made his home upon his farm until 1872, when he sold out and came to the village of Litchfield, where he now lives. His wife, the mother of our subject, and three brothers and one sister, died February 14, 1888. She was a most estimable woman, an affectionate wife and indulgent mother, and who possessed the esteem of all with whom she came in contact.

Oren W. remained with his parents while they lived upon the farm, but some time after coming to Litchfield, commenced to learn the barber’s trade, which he followed for some time, after which he established his present business.


John W. Torrey
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

JOHN W. TORREY. One of the most successful and enterprising farmers of Union Grove township, is the gentleman whose name heads this article. He is a resident of section 25, and his enterprise is manifested in the substantial buildings which he has erected, and his farm, as a whole, is a credit to the township in which he resides.

Mr. Torrey is a son of John A. and Ann E. (Diamond) Torrey, and was born forty miles west of Detroit, in Jackson county, Michigan, on the 29th of December, 1838. His mother died when he was still a boy of eight, and he remained with his father until he was sixteen years old, when he started out to earn his way in the world. In 1855 he came to Minnesota with his father, and remained here two years working on a farm, after which he returned to Michigan. Three years later he came back to Minnesota, and in October, 1861, he enlisted in the First Minnesota Battery, and went south for service with his company. He saw very active service, and participated in the following battles – Shiloh, Corinth, second Corinth, Vicksburg, Champion Hill, Iuka, Atlanta, Columbia and Goldsborough.

He remained in active service for three years and seven months, and was finally mustered out at St. Paul, on the 2nd of July, 1865. He then came to Meeker county and looked over the country, but did not located until March, 1866, when he took eighty acres on section 26, in Union Grove township. He remained there for two years and then sold his right, and purchased forty acres of railroad land. He has since added additional pieces, until he now owns 210 acres of land, his buildings being located on section 25.

Mr. Torrey was first married, December 5, 1868, to Miss Laura Vincent, who died March 22, 1878. She left four children, as follows – Agnes, born October 26, 1870; Hulda, born January 26, 1872; Jolliette E., born May 29, 1874; and Bernice, born May 29, 1877; died March 7, 1878.

Mr. Torrey’s second marriage was with Miss Emily F. Snell, daughter of James and Mary Snell. She is a native of Madison county, Ind.

In the winter of 1865-6, the husband of Mr. Torrey’s sister was frozen to death, and the care of his sister and her three children, devolved upon him. She was with him three years, when she removed to Litchfield, and has since married.

Mr. Torrey has met with considerable bad luck. He had some $1,400 in money when he came to the county, but lost it all in three years, from various causes beyond his control. In 1877 the grasshoppers took his grain, and one year he paid $2.50 per bushel for seed wheat, and sold his meager crop in October for 50 cents per bushel. Thus luck ran against him until, when he bought the first forty of his present farm, he did not have a dollar. His enterprise and industry, however, have not been unrewarded, as he is now one of the most comfortably “fixed” farmers in the township. He is a republican in political matters, and has taken considerable interest in township matters, and held various local offices, including that of supervisor for four years.


Nelson Turner
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

NELSON TURNER. The great Empire State has furnished her full quota toward the upbuilding of the extensive Northwest, and no more enterprising come from anywhere than from that noble, Commonwealth. Among this class may be found the subject of this sketch, who was born in Livingston county, N.Y., March 5, 1831, and is the son of Clement and Elmira (Bosley) Turner, natives of Connecticut and New York respectively. The mother died in the latter State while a young woman, and the father of our subject emigrated to the State of Wisconsin in 1846, and to Fayette county, Iowa, in 1870, and died in the latter place in 1875. The old gentleman was a farmer, a democrat, and the father of two boys, George and Nelson.

The latter passed the halcyon days of childhood in attending school in his native State, and at the age of sixteen years commenced life for his own benefit, hiring out his services to various farmers. While a resident of the Empire State, he was united in marriage December 18, 1856, with Miss Mary Rumsey, a native of the same Commonwealth, born June 1, 1840, and daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Luther Rumsey, now residents of Kingston. By this marriage there have been born some five children – Eva, Emma, Ella, Etta, and Guy Ernest. Eva married Michael Caylor; Emma is the wife of Fran McConville, a merchant of Forest City; Ella is Mrs. Abbott Tonnpers, of Kingston.

Mr. Turner came to Meeker county in 1868, and located, where he now lives, on section 34, Kingston township. He is a man who takes deep interest in the educational work in the county, and has served for three years as director of school district No. 41. One of the most highly respected citizens of the county, he may well be classed among its representative citizens.


Frank J. Twombly
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

FRANK J. TWOMBLY, one of the progressive farmers of Cosmos township, living on section 23, is the son of James and Ellice Twombly, and is a native of McKeene county, Penn., born in 1857. He was reared among the hills, and amid the picturesque surroundings of his native county, until he was about six or seven years of age, when his parents removed to St. Anthony, this State, where they made their home until 1878, when they came to Meeker county and located on the place, now owned and occupied by Frank. The latter accompanied his parents here, and remained with them until 1884, when he purchased the homestead of his father, upon which he now carries on agricultural pursuits. His father, after disposing of his property, emigrated to far-off Oregon, settled there and is still a resident of that State. Frank Twombly has held several minor local offices as a preparatory school to the more important ones which, no doubt, the future holds in store for him. He is a careful business man, and holds the respect of all who know him.


Samuel C. Vincent
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

SAMUEL C. VINCENT, of Kingston township, came to Meeker county in 1869, and settled where he now lives, on section 4, where he is engaged in general farming. He was born in Cortland county, N.Y., May 12, 1816, and is the son of Isaac and Mary (McMullen) Vincent, native, also, of the Empire State, both of whom died there.

The subject of our sketch was one of a family of thirteen children, born to his parents. His brothers and sisters were – Abram, John, Sherwood, Charles, Cornelius, Charlotte, Mercy, Hannah, Sallie, Pollie, Betsey, and Mary. Our subject was reared in the Empire State, and there received his schooling, and made it his home until 1869, when he came here, and has since that time been identified with the growth and progress of this county. His early days were spent in the school room and in assisting his father in the labors upon their farm in the town of Truxton, but upon attaining his majority he commenced lumbering and farming, which he followed for some seven years. He was united in marriage June 22, 1845, with Miss Emily Stewart, a native of Connecticut, born November 29, 1820, and daughter of John and Susannah (Stone) Stewart, both of whom emigrated from “the land of steady habits” to New York, in an early day, when Mrs. Vincent was but four years of age. She was one of a family of eleven children, the others being – Curtis P., Frederick A., Charles G., John W., Noble J., David P., Mathew J., Fannie, Cornelia and Mary A. This marriage took place in the county of Chemung, where he occupied official position at the time. By this union there were born to them four children – Sarah Jane, wife of Tobias Patton, of Kingston; Orlo J., who married Miss Matilda Martin; Charles S., whose wife was Miss Flora Tolls, both of whom live in the same town; and Jennie, who is the wife of Charles Murch, living in Todd county. Mr. Vincent is a zealous member of the Methodist Church, a class leader, and quite prominent in Sunday-school work, and an excellent, exemplary Christian gentleman.


N. A. Viren
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

THE PRESENT register of deeds of Meeker county, N. A. VIREN, came to this section of the State in 1858, and in April of that year passed through to the extreme frontier of those days, and located in Kandiyohi county. He remained there until the 21st of August, 1862, when the dreadful massacre of the defenseless settlers by the red wards of our government struck terror into the hearts of all upon the borders, for their loved ones were in imminent danger. Mr. Viren joined the tide of fugitives for safety, and finally, after considerable travel, reached Forest City with his family. He took the latter on to Clearwater, where he left them, and returned to assist those who were less fortunate and to help make a stand against the diabolical red fiends, who, reeking with the blood of the innocents, thirsted for more lives to take. He did not join the home guards, but was active in many of the volunteer expeditions that went out to look up stock, etc., and was in Kandiyohi at the time of the attack on Forest City. After performing his part in the operations of that fall Mr. Viren removed to St. Paul, where he made his home until 1869, when he again turned westward, and located in Litchfield, where he opened a wagon shop, which business he continued until assuming the duties of register of deeds, in January, 1871, to which he had been elected the previous fall. He remained in this office, being reelected his own successor, until January, 1879. He during the next few years filled the positions of justice of the peace and town clerk, but at the regular election of November 4, 1884, the people of the county manifested a wish for him to assume the office of register of deeds, and he accordingly entered upon its well-known duties in January, 1885, where he has remained ever since.

Mr. Viren is a member of the Masonic fraternity, a charter member of Golden Fleece lodge, No. 89, and also connected with the A.O.U.W.


John Vogel
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

JOHN VOGEL, one of the prosperous and intelligent farmers of Dassel township, is a native of Germany, born in 1843. He was reared amid the scenes of his youth until he was about twenty-one years of age, when, starting out to seek his fortune, he turned his steps toward the west, to the land of the free, on this side of the ocean, whither he soon arrived. For about two years he was engaged in the coal mines of Pennsylvania, but that work not being congenial to his taste, he came to Minnesota and for a time remained in the city of St. Paul. He then went to Howard Lake, and was in the employ of the railroad until 1877, when he gave that up, and with his family settled on the farm on section 20, Dassel township, where he now lives. The first year they lived here there was no floor to their house, and they suffered considerable privation in every respect. Much of his time was taken up in working for others in order to provide for his family, so that the development of his own farm was somewhat retarded, but the native thrift and economy of his race, and steady perseverance and undeviating diligence, in time met with a signal reward, and he has now one of the best farms in the town. It contains 120 acres, and is highly cultivated and cared for.

Mr. Vogel was married in St. Paul, October 23, 1865, to Miss Emily Zeigler, a native of Germany, who came to this country the August proceeding. They are the parents of eleven children, as follows – Edwin, born December 7, 1867; Martin, born March 19, 1869; Adelia, born February 22, 1877; Louisa, born July 23, 1873; Albert, born March 3, 1875; Julia, born December 22, 1876; Emily, born November 26, 1878; Mary, born March 31, 1881; Hattie, born March 8, 1883; John, born April 1, 1885; and Mabel, born June 6, 1887.


Albert Vitzthum Von Eckstaedt
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

ALBERT VITZTHUM VON ECKSTAEDT, of Litchfield, was born in Prussia, Germany, in 1845, and is the son of Frederic and Louisa (Manns) von Eckstaedt. His father was a captain in the army of Prussia, and served in the wars of Napoleon. Later in his life he was the occupant of an important position in the custom house of that State, and died in his native land in 1854. He was of the aristocratic class, as the “von” before his name plainly shows.

Albert, at the age of thirteen, was sent to the military school at Berlin, where he remained some three years, and at the age of sixteen received a commission as lieutenant in the Second Pomeranian Lancers, and served in the army for four years. In 1865 he left the fatherland and came to America, where he traveled for a couple of years, most of the time on the Pacific slope. In 1878 he came to Litchfield, and for two years was in the employ of John Rodange, and at the expiration of that time entered into partnership with the same gentleman in the saloon business. In 1882 the subject of this memoir opened his present place of business on Sibley avenue.

Albert V. von Eckstaedt has always taken great interest in military affairs, especially in the militia, and was largely instrumental in the organization of Company H, First Regiment M.N.G., of this place, and also helped organize the bucket brigade of the fire department. He is a valued citizen and much respected member of the community.

Our subject was married November 11, 1881, to Miss Lizzie Mittwer, a native of Prussia, Germany, and daughter of Martin and Busche (Radise) Mittwer. By this union there have been born two children – Adelia and Theresa.


Orin B. Vose
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

ORIN B. VOSE, the present township clerk of Union Grove township, is an enterprising and respected farmer residing on section 22. Mr. Vose was born in Waldo county, Maine, on January 28, 1840, and is a son of Edwin and Nancy J. (Custis) Vose. His mother died when he was eight years old, and for two years he lived with Daniel Heriman, near Frankfort, Maine. He then went to Montville and lived with Samuel Dodge for four years, after which for eighteen months he worked for Ames Sprawl. He then went to Boston, Mass., where he was apprenticed to George Robinson, to learn the carpenter’s trade, remaining with him three years. He then worked at his trade two years, when he had a serious fall while working on an ice house at Linfield, Mass., which laid him up for six months. When he had recovered sufficiently from his injuries he found employment driving the horse cars between Chelsea and Boston, which he followed for a year and a half. He then enlisted in Company H, Fiftieth Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, for nine months’ service, and was mustered in on the 29th of September, 1862. After the expiration of his term of service he was mustered out on the 24th of August, 1863. He then went back to the horse cars, and served as conductor on the line between Roxbury and Boston for two years and a half. At the end of that time he came to Minnesota, and for one summer stopped at St. Joseph, Stearns county. In the fall of 1866 he came to Meeker county, and took a homestead on section 22, Union Grove township, and soon afterward spent two and a half months in the pineries. He then settled on his homestead, building a log cabin, but two months later took his family to St. Joseph, Stearns county, and remained there four months. He then settled again upon his homestead and has since lived here, with the exception of one year spent in California.

Mr. Vose was married on the 11th of September, 1864, to Miss Sarah F. Merrill, a daughter of John and Mary (Wilson) Merrill, who was born April 2, 1848. Their marriage has been blessed with one child – Bessie Lynn Vose, who was born September 17, 1881. Mrs. Vose lost one brother, Charles F., in the first battle of Bull Run. She has three sisters living in Minnesota, and one in Maine, besides one brother in Maine and one in Ohio. Mr. Vose lost one brother, Edwin, in the battle at Petersburg.

Mr. Vose has taken an active interest in public affairs, and has been closely identified with official business of the township. He has held various offices, including the following: supervisor, one year; constable, eight years; school clerk ten years; and town clerk since 1884.


Joseph Vossen
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

JOSEPH VOSSEN, the merchant of Watkins, came to that village in 1882, and opened a stock of general merchandise, in company with A.D. Spaulding, in a building 22x40, which they erected for the purpose. After carrying on the business for about six months, the partnership was dissolved, Mr. Vossen purchasing Mr. Spaulding’s interest. Since that time he continued to operate the business alone.

Mr. Vossen was born in the Rhine Provinces of the German Empire, on the 17th of April, 1849, and is the son of Christian and Nella (Koenigs) Vossen. He passed his early years and received his education ‘neath the genial skies and amid the vine-clad hills of his native land, but on attaining his thirteenth year commenced work for himself. In 1864 he came to the United States with his parents, landing at New York after a voyage of fifty-four days. They settled in Carver county, where they remained about four years, and then came to Meeker county and settled in Forest Prairie township, among the first to locate there, where the parents still make their home.

Mr. Vossen, of whom we write, was united in marriage with Miss Anna Weinman January 29, 1877, at Burton, Carver county. She is the daughter of John W. Weinman, a farmer of that county. By this union there have been born a family of three children – Joseph, Nellie and John.

Mr. Vossen is entirely independent of party lines in discharge of his elective franchise. He has, however, held the post of town supervisor for eight or nine years. He is a member of the Roman Catholic Church.


Joseph Lawrence Wakefield
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

JOSEPH LAWRENCE WAKEFIELD, dealer in dry goods and general furnishing goods, is one of Litchfield’s most prominent merchants. He is a native of Providence, R.I., and was born in 1854. His parents, William and Harriet S. (Belcher) Wakefield, were both born and raised in the same State, and his grandfather, Joseph Belcher, belonged to the famous “Horse Marine Guards” in early times in New England. He was later a hardware merchant, which business is still carried on by his sons, and was the first person to introduce throughout the United States horse shoe nails made by machinery, contracting for and handling the entire production. Joseph Lawrence’s father, William Wakefield, was connected with the banking business in Providence, but in 1856, with his family he went to St. Paul, Minn., for the purpose of settling up the estate of a deceased brother, and, becoming settled there, he has since made that his home.

J.L. Wakefield remained with his parents until nineteen years of age, when he went to Red Wing and attended school, and afterward entered Ripon College, at Ripon, Wis. In the fall of 1877 he went to Chicago and was employed as salesman in the dry goods establishment of A.T. Stewart & Co., until the spring of 1880. He was then employed by Auerbanch, Finch, Culbertson & Co., at St. Paul, until November, 1883, when he came to Litchfield and opened the store which he still conducts. He carries an extensive and a complete stock of everything pertaining to his line and does a large business. He has taken an active interest in all public matters and is the present city recorder. Mr. Wakefield was married in October, 1882, to Miss Carrie A. McConnell, of LeRoy, Minn. They have one child – Henry Lawrence


Leander L. Wakefield
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

LEANDER L. WAKEFIELD. One of the first pioneers of Meeker county, and one who has always been identified with its interests, is the gentleman named above, who first made his appearance here in November, 1856, and settled upon section 18, Forest City township. He is now a resident of the village of Forest City, the old county seat, whose glory has departed since the inception of Litchfield.

Mr. Wakefield is a native of the town of Gardiner, Kennebec county, Me., born October 22, 1833.

He received his education, and was reared in the “Old Pine Tree State,” and as he grew to manhood engaged in lumbering in that locality, and followed that business until some twenty-three years of age, when he came to Minnesota, and Meeker county.

He adopted farming on coming here, which has been his chief occupation ever since. He has filled several of the town offices, the chief ones being those of supervisor and constable. He is always interested in educational matters, being for several years a member of the school board.

Our subject has been twice married, the first time to Miss Lois Sturtevant, also a native of Maine, who died August 26, 1876, leaving seven children – William Edwin, who married Miss Addie Peters, and is living in Forest City; Theron A., who married Miss Flora Taylor, and lives in Litchfield; Sarah R., Mrs. Seth Burdick, living in Forest City; Mary E., John R., Luella L., and Leander L. April 15, 1878, Mr. Wakefield contracted a second matrimonial alliance, with Mrs. Ruth E. Smith, a native of the State of Maine.

During the Indian outbreak Mr. Wakefield had quite an experience. He and William Marble had engaged to take a quantity of flour from Forest City to the Yellow Medicine Agency, and when within half a mile of the Minnesota river and eight miles below the agency, camped for the night, sleeping under their wagons.

About two o’clock in the morning they were awakened by two Frenchmen who had fortunately escaped the murderous Sioux at the agency and on account of the dense fog had lost their way. From the Frenchman’s limited knowledge of the English language they were unable to learn the particulars, and determined to investigate the matter. They yoked the oxen, intending to proceed to the ferry, then in charge of a Mr. Brown. When on the way to the ferry their attention was attracted by two horsemen, riding at a rapid rate. On noticing the teams the horsemen turned out of their course, accosted Mr. Wakefield and Mr. Marble, saying, “Turn back, if you want to save your scalps; the Indians are killing the whites at sight, at the agency.” After giving this information they continued their flight to the lower agency. Within an hour they were captured by the Indians.

Providentially, one of the men, Mr. Blair, escaped through the mercy of some friendly Indians. The fate of the other was unknown. Obeying the order given, Mr. Wakefield and Mr. Marble turned back, down to a ravine, unloaded their flour and started toward Forest City, traveling the distance of seventy miles in twenty-four hours. Finding his house deserted, the family having gone away for safety, he proceeded to the village. After caring for his family, he rolled himself in his blanket and slept for nearly forty-eight hours. He then was employed by Judson A. Stanton to take the merchandise out of his store to Minneapolis, and then joined his family.


Ambrose Wall
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

AMBROSE WALL, the present auditor of Meeker county, is a native of Cayuga county, N.Y., born December 7, 1852, and is the son of Michael and Alice (Dee) Wall. He was reared in the county of his birth, and received his primary education in the common schools of that district, which was supplemented by two terms passed at Port Byron Academy. His occupation during all this time was farming, he assisting his father, for a time, and afterward working for other parties as opportunity served.

In the fall of 1879, Mr. Wall came to Minnesota and located in Stearns county, where he taught school that winter, but the following spring came to Meeker county and purchased a farm on section 26, Manannah township. Here he commenced the avocation of western farmer, for which his training in the Empire State had so well fitted him. He made that place his home, carrying on the tilling of the soil in the summer, and “teaching the young idea how to shoot” in the various district schools of the county during the winter months. On the initiation of the Farmers’ Alliance movement in 1885, he adopted their views and principles, believing them to be for the best interests of the working classes, and a step in the direction of personal liberty and enfranchisement.

In the fall of 1886, Mr. Wall was nominated for the office of auditor on the alliance and democratic tickets, and carried off the honor of the campaign with a handsome majority. He is the present secretary of the Meeker County Farmers’ Alliance, is independent of party lines, in political faith being of decidedly anti-monopolistic tendency, and is a bright and intelligent leader in the new movement, looking to the elevation of the agriculturists and laboring classes.


George B. Waller Jr.
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

GEORGE B. WALLER, JR., the engineer of the roller flouring mill, at Litchfield, is a native of Franklin, Morgan county, Ill., born August 29, 1854, and is the son of George B. and Mary S. (Chestnut) Waller.

Honorable George B. Waller, Sr., the father of our subject, was born in King and Queen county, Va., in 1804, and remained in that State until 1815, when he removed with his parents to Lexington, Ky., where he grew to manhood. He acquired a great proficiency in the machinist’s trade, which he had adopted in his youth, and was an able engineer. In 1833 he removed to Alton, Ill., and, during that year made a trip, as engineer of the boat Utility, to Fort Snelling. In 1836 he removed to Morgan county, Ill., where he followed his trade as machinist, and, while there, was united in marriage with Miss Mary S. Chestnut. He occupied a prominent position in that part of our country, representing his district in the lower house of the Illinois Legislature, for one term. In 1867 he removed with his family to Minneapolis, where he resided for two years, and came to where Litchfield now stands in June, 1869. He had previously purchased the northeast quarter of section 11, in Litchfield township, knowing that a town would be located in this vicinity, and, upon the railroad coming here, deeded an undivided one-half interest in 150 acres of his land to the railroad company to plat a town upon, and upon which a part of the original township was laid out in July, 1869. He shipped a house, which had been gotten out in Minneapolis, to this point as soon as the trains were running, and put up one of the first houses in the village, and moved his family here in November. Here he made his home until his death, which occurred July 18, 1878. He was a member of the Methodist Church, and a devout Christian, and said, while on his dying bed, that he had never uttered an oath in his life. He left, to mourn his loss, his widow and three sons and one daughter. The latter are as follows – John, now grain inspector, at Minneapolis; Lizzie, Mrs. H.M. Miller, of Waverly, Ill.; Henry, of Litchfield, and George B., Jr., the subject of this sketch. The mother of the family, after residing here until 1884, returned to Morgan county, Ill., where she now lives.

George B., Jr., made his home with his parents until after his father’s death, and the removal of his mother from this place. At the age of eighteen years he commenced his apprenticeship to the calling of engineer, which he now follows; and on the 1st of January, 1888, took charge of the engine of Shaw & Ehler’s Roller Flouring Mill. He is a member of Golden Fleece Lodge, No. 89, A.F. & A.M.

The marriage of George B. Waller, Jr., and Miss Etta Dowman, of Dassel, took place November 15, 1886.


D. M. Wanvig
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

D. M. WANVIG, a resident of section 36, Acton township, is one of the most prominent citizens of Meeker county. He is a native of Norway, born June 20, 1831, and a son of Olaavis and Johanna Wanvig. His father followed the business of a general merchant in Norway until the time of his death. In 1861 D. M. Wanvig came to the New World, and settled in Quebec, Canada, where he engaged in farming and was also an interpreter for the Grand Trunk Company in their emigration business. In 1868 he settled in St. Paul, having in the meantime begun railroading, which he followed for a number of years. In the spring of 1870 he removed to Litchfield, being then engaged in railroad contracting, and in superintending the laying of tracks. In March, 1873, he purchased a farm on section 36, Acton township, and moved his family upon it. This has since been his home, with the exception of the years from 1881 to 1885, inclusive, when he was a resident of Litchfield, and where he still owns a magnificent residence. When Mr. Wanvig purchased his farm there was but fifty-two acres broke. He has added to the place until he now has 320 acres in all, 160 of which is under cultivation, and it is one of the most valuable farms in the county. Mr. Wanvig devotes his attention to general farming and stock-raising, the latter particularly. Mr. Wanvig was married in Norway, in 1852, to Marie Louisa Enebo, and they were blessed with four children, as follows – Augusta, born March 31, 1853; John Olof, born December 1, 1854; George Martin, born February 16, 1856, and Marcus, born February 8, 1858. His first wife died in Norway, on the 16th of February, 1858. After coming to Canada, Mr. Wanvig was married again, this time to Elizabeth Dudy. Three children have blessed this union – Daniel, Matilda and Adolph.

Mr. Wanvig has been prominently identified with railroad building in the Northwest. When he began his railroad work the present Manitoba line was known as the St. Paul & Pacific, and he had a $16,000 contract on that line. He built the Winona Road from Marshall west to Chachaska, now Watertown; also built the track on the line from Morris west to Breckenridge; and the track from Barnesville to twenty-eight miles north of Crookston. When he settled at Litchfield the terminus of the line was at Benson. In political matters Mr. Vanwig is a republican, and is one of the leading members of that party in the county. From 1874 until 1883, he was, under the republican administration, railway postal clerk from St. Paul to St. Vincent, his home during this time, however, being in Meeker county. It is worthy of mention that the Indian battle which is mentioned at length in the historical department of this work was fought on section 35, of Acton township, on land now owned by Mr. Vanwig. One of the victims was buried there, but the remains were afterward taken up and re-interred at Hutchinson.


Nels Waylander
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

NELS WAYLANDER, one of the pioneers of Acton township, is a native of Sweden, and came to this country in 1852, with his wife and child, he having married Miss Elsa Swan. The first winter after coming here he spent in Knoxville, Ill., and the following summer in Moline, but late that year he emigrated to St. Paul, Minn., and after numerous difficulties got his little family to Chisago county, this State, where he took up a claim. This he sold shortly after, and owned and occupied various pieces of real estate there, until the spring of 1837, when he came to Meeker county and settled on section 4, Acton township. He afterward took up a homestead on the same section, and later, purchased adjoining land until he had accumulated a fine property. For many years he was busily engaged in operating this farm, but has now retired from the active cares of life. He has given each of his sons a farm, and his daughter a tract of timber land. In 1862, with the other settlers here, he passed through the terrible vicissitudes of the Indian troubles. On the night of the Acton murder, he was with the party who set out from Swede Grove, as detailed elsewhere. He took a prominent part in the movements of that autumn, and relates many hair-breadth escapes and thrilling stories of those eventful days. On Sunday afternoon, August 17, 1862, six Indians stopped at his cabin and talked with him, and it is the supposition that they were the red fiends who had murdered Jones, Baker, etc., in that town, but a few hours previous.

Mr. and Mrs. Waylander are the parents of five children, as follows: Nels, born September 12, 1851, married and living in Acton; Betsy, born in May, 1854, is dead; Ellen, wife of George Oakeson, born April 20, 1856, living in Grove City; Lewis, born September 12, 1860, died September 18, 1878; and Albert, born February 20, 1863, married and living in Paynesville, Minn. Mr. Waylander is one of the representative citizens of the county, and merits and receives the respect and esteem of the entire community, for his industry, thrift, and social uprightness and sterling integrity.


E. B. Weeks
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

DR. E. B. WEEKS, dentist, residing in the village of Litchfield, is a native of Hartland, Waukesha county, Wis., born September 30, 1857, and is the son of Thomas and Mary E. (Bissell) Weeks. His father was engaged in agricultural pursuits, and the subject of this sketch was reared upon a farm until he was about twenty years of age. His early educational advantages were somewhat limited, but he attended the district school when the opportunity occurred, and being of a studious nature studied by himself whenever he had any leisure from the duties of the farm, thus, by energy and perseverance, laying a good foundation of knowledge. Shortly before attaining his majority our subject went to Dakota, where he spent one year, and, returning, entered a dental office in Whitewater, Wis., where he remained until he had become proficient in the theory and practice of the profession. In 1883 he came to Litchfield and opened his present office, over Revell Bros.’ drug store, and is now enjoying the fruits of an extensive practice, having gained the reputation in this community of being a man of sterling worth and excellent ability.

The Doctor is a member of the Presbyterian Church and a Christian gentleman. He takes great interest in the good of the village and enjoys the esteem of all who know him.


Richard Welch
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

RICHARD WELCH, deputy auditor of Meeker county, is a native of Cayuga county, N.Y., born June 5, 1859, and is the son of Richard and Bridget (McDonald) Welch. His parents were married in Syracuse, N.Y., in 1853, and shortly after removed to Cayuga county, where they still make their home.

The subject of this memoir remained at home upon a farm until he had attained his majority, but in his twenty-first year came to Minnesota and located in Meeker county. For a period of five years after coming here, he was engaged in teaching school, but in the spring of 1885 he went to Buffalo county, Dak., and there took up a homestead of 160 acres of land. That territory had been thrown open to settlers by a proclamation of President Arthur, but the present administration seeing fit to annul and make void this action of its predecessor, Mr. Welch, in company with many others was forced to abandon his claim. He then returned to Litchfield where he has made his home ever since. He was appointed to the office of deputy auditor of Meeker county in 1886, and in is still engaged in the duties of that position. He is a young man in years, but has already won for himself an enviable reputation for steadiness and upright principles, and will, no doubt, occupy more important and responsible positions in the future, as he well deserves.


John Whalen
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

JOHN WHALEN, one of the first pioneers that broke the way for progress and civilization into the wilds of Meeker county, came here with a party of his countrymen, and made a settlement upon section 24, of Forest City township, where he now lives.

He is a native of Ireland, born in County Waterford, in the year 1824. He made his home in the “Emerald Isle” until 1846, when he crossed the ocean in search of a home in America. He landed at Montreal, Canada, reaching that place by way of the St. Lawrence River, and from there by way of Montpelier, Vt., he drifted to Boston and Lowell, Mass. After some time spent in those places, he turned his steps toward New York and New Jersey, and finally to Philadelphia, seeking employment wherever it offered, for he was of an industrious disposition, and had his living to provide for. Making up his mind that in the great West there was a greater chance to him, he accordingly came to Indiana, where he passed some six years and a half in farming, having adopted that calling. In the spring of 1856, a party consisting of the Whalens, the Flynns, the Fitzgeralds and others left Crown Point, Ind., for California, but reaching Dubuque, Iowa, heard of this country, and determined to investigate it. John Whalen and John Flynn pushed on ahead of the others, and on reaching Meeker county, and being pleased with it, returned for the train containing their families and friends, meeting them at Rochester, this State. They at once headed for this country, and crossed the line on the 9th of July, that year, and made their settlement. Mr. Whalen located upon the place where he now lives, the others elsewhere, as related in their memoirs. Mr. Whalen has added to this place from time to time, until he is now the owner of 714 acres, and is classed among the wealthiest farmers in the county. In 1856 he was married to Miss Mary Flynn, and they are the parents of five children – Thomas, James, Ellen, Mary and John.

Politically, Mr. Whalen is a democrat of the Andrew Jackson type, and religiously is a devout member of the Roman Catholic Church.


Frank E. Wheeler
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

 FRANK E. WHEELER. The subject of this sketch, a resident of section 9, is one of the leading citizens of Cedar Mills township, and is a son of Isaac Wheeler, who is mentioned above. He is a native of Garland, Maine, and was born on the 1st of January, 1851. His early life was spent in his native State, and in 1861 he came West with his father’s family, and they settled in Wright county, Minnesota, as has been stated. In 1863 they settled in Meeker county, and Frank remained at home until the death of his mother in 1876, when the family was broken up and scattered. After this Frank taught school in this county and also in Wabash county, Indiana, following this profession for three years. In April, 1881, he settled upon the old homestead, and this has since been his home. He has a valuable farm of 180 acres, eighty of which are already under cultivation, and all of it is in tillable condition. He has made substantial improvements on the place and it is conveniently arranged. He devotes his time and energies to general farming and stock raising, and is rated as one of the most successful and enterprising agriculturists in the township. He has taken an active and prominent part in township and educational affairs of late years, and has held various local offices, including those of supervisor, school clerk and others. He has been a member of the Presbyterian Church for fifteen years.

Mr. Wheeler was married at Ellsworth, March 19, 1879, to Miss Lucy Porter, of Ellsworth township, and they are the parents of four children, as follows: Mellen E., Ethel E., Ruth C. and Allen K. Mrs. Wheeler was born at Greenfield, Wis., July 9, 1856.


Isaac Wheeler
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

ISAAC WHEELER, who was one of the most prominent early settlers in Cedar Mills township, is a native of Maine, and was born on June 19, 1817. He remained in his native State until 1861, when he came to Minnesota and located on a farm in Wright county. In April, 1863, he came to Meeker county, and selected 160 acres of land on section 9, Cedar Mills, and the following year moved on to it with his family. They were the first settlers west of Cedar Mills after the Indian outbreak, and were there one season entirely without neighbors. At the time they came here the soldiers were stationed at Pipe Lake, and they helped Mr. Wheeler cut the logs with which he erected his cabin. Mr. Wheeler remained on the farm until after his wife’s death in 1876, when he sold his place to his sons, Frank and Newton Wheeler, and since that time has lived with his children, going back and forth between them.

After a long and useful career of toil and industry, he is now spending the evening of his life in a quiet and peaceful way, having to the fullest degree the confidence and respect of all who know him.


Reuben A. Wheeler
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

A PROMINENT farmer and stock-raiser residing on section 11, Cedar Mills township, is R. A. WHEELER, a veteran of the late civil war, and one of the leading citizens in the southern part of the county.

Mr. Wheeler is a native of Bangor, Me., born on the 25th of May, 1844, and is a son of Isaac and Martha (Norcross) Wheeler. His parents were old settlers in Cedar Mills township, and their history will be found in another department of this work. Reuben A. Wheeler, the subject of this sketch, remained with his parents (coming with them meanwhile to Wright county, Minn.) until October, 1861, when he enlisted in Company D, Fourth Minnesota Volunteer Infantry. He remained in the service until July, 1865, and probably saw more actual active war service than any other ex-soldier who to-day resides in Meeker county. He participated in the first and second battles at Corinth, Iuka, Siege of Vicksburg, where he was wounded in the head by a piece of shell, Altoona Pass, Savannah, Ga., and was with Sherman in his famous March to the Sea. He then, with Sherman’s army, went to Washington and participated in the grand review. After receiving an honorable discharge from the service he came to Meeker county, Minn., arriving in July, 1865. He at once located on a soldier’s homestead, which his father, Isaac Wheeler, had selected for him in 1863, which was located on section 11, Cedar Mills township, where he now lives. He at once began improving his place, and erected a log-cabin, covering it with a hay roof. Mr. Wheeler remained on his place most of the time until 1867, when he went to Green Lake, Kandiyohi county. Three years later he went to Montana, but a short time later he returned to his homestead in Cedar Mills township, where he has since lived. He devotes his attention to general farming and stock-raising, and is one of the most prominent and best-known citizens of the township in which he lives. He is a prominent member of the Frank Daggett Post, No. 35, Grand Army of the Republic, of Litchfield.

Mr. Wheeler was married on the 11th of November, 1866, to Miss Malvina Nichols, who was born in Racine county, Wis. Their marriage has been blessed with six children, as follows – Martha M., George R., Frank E., Harlan M., Ray M., and Mary P. The family are members of the Presbyterian church.


Orrin Whitney
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

ORRIN WHITNEY. Among the old settlers of Meeker county, who are still spared to this world, there is none more worthy of mention in a work of this character than the gentleman whose name heads this sketch. He came to this county in March, 1857, with his brother, A.P. Whitney, S.B. Hutchins and others, and settled at Kingston, where he still lives. He helped build the mill put up by Whitney, Averill & Hutchins, in 1857 and 1858, which was the first grist-mill in the county, and from the day of his first location here has always been identified with the onward progress and development of this region.

The subject of this biography was born in Somerset, Me., August 18, 1815, and is the son of William and Olive (Parlin) Whitney, who were natives of Connecticut and Massachusetts, respectively. He was reared in Penobscot county, in the “Pine Tree State,” and there received the elements of his education. On attaining his majority, he commenced farming in his native State. He came to Minnesota in 1857, and as he had a knowledge of mill-wrighting, having worked at that business a few years, he helped put up the Hennepin Island Mill, the first grist-mill at Minneapolis. In 1857 he came to this county as above mentioned, and has been a resident nearly ever since. On his arrival in Meeker county, Mr. Whitney preempted 160 acres of land on section 21, where he now lives. In 1861 he went to California, where he remained until December, 1864, when he returned to this place, which he has brought to a high state of cultivation and finely improved until it is as desirable a piece of property as any in the county.

Mr. Whitney and Miss Rebecca Carvill were united in the bonds of marriage, March 10, 1879. His life companion and helpmeet, who is a lady of rare accomplishments and intelligence, is a native of Lewiston, Androscoggin county, Me., born December 23, 1827, and is the daughter of Sewell and Tama (Higgins) Carvill, she being the sixth child in their family of thirteen. Of them there are seven, besides her, still surviving – Submit, Mary, Milton, Jefferson, Wesley, Alonzo and Alphonso. The latter was a physician, who came to Kingston in 1867, and made his home here for several years; Jefferson resides in Dassel township, this county; most of the rest still live in New England. Mrs. Whitney having received considerable schooling, learned the trade of coat-making, at which she worked some thirty years. In the spring of 1848 she went to Boston, and in that city followed her trade twenty-nine years, boarding at one place fourteen years. She has in the course of a busy life, with characteristic thrift, accumulated a nice property, owning as she does the East Kingston Mill, which cost her $7,000.

Mr. Whitney is a greenbacker in his politics and a supporter of the Grange movement. Both he and his estimable wife are held in high esteem wherever known, and their many years of residence has made them respected and well-known throughout nearly the whole county.

In another department of this ALBUM will be found portraits of both Mr. and Mrs. Whitney.


W. J. Whittington
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

THE SUBJECT of this sketch, W.J. WHITTINGTON, the proprietor of the Litchfield greenhouse and market garden, is a native of Sussex, England, born December 28, 1863. From the time that he was old enough he spent his time in a greenhouse and garden in his old home, on the south coast of his native land, until he was about fourteen years of age, when he came to this country and located in Union Grove township, in this county. He passed some three years in that vicinity, and then removed to Litchfield. The first six months he was here he spent in attendance at the high school, after which, for about four years, he was employed at farm labor. In the fall of 1885 he leased two town lots on the corner of Third and Holcomb streets, with the intention of establishing a floral and plant conservatory for local and shipping trade. He broke the first ground for this enterprise September 12, 1885, and by his energy and perseverance soon built up an active trade and an enviable reputation. These grounds proving too small for his rapidly increasing business, in the fall of 1887 Mr. Whittington purchased some five acres of ground in Greenleaf’s addition to the town, a portion of which he is laying out as a private park, for the purpose of floral displays, which is to bear the name of Garfield Park. In this our subject proposes to show the growth and culture of the various flowers and plants susceptible of outdoor exposure in this climate, and exhibit some features of landscape gardening. It is the intention to hold annual horticultural shows and festivals here, given by the generosity of the proprietor to his friends and patrons throughout this section of the State. In connection with this Mr. Whittington carries on market gardening, and being connected with the business part of the city by telephone, can make deliveries at short notice. He also handles all the various tools used in gardening, pots, and instructions as to the cultivation of plants and flowers, and is prepared to furnish bouquets and floral decorations for weddings or other festive occasions.


William H. Wilcox
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

WILLIAM H. WILCOX, ex-county commissioner, a resident of Swede Grove township, is one of the most prominent citizens in the northern part of the county. He is a native of Ohio, born on the 22nd of May, 1835, and was the son of Horace and Polly Wilcox. His father was extensively engaged in the dairy business.

William H. remained with his parents until he was twenty-one years of age and then began life for himself, working first in a cheese factory for a year, and then starting for the West. He worked about St. Paul and Minneapolis until 1857, when he bought a squatter’s claim to 160 acres of land in Manannah township in Meeker county, paying fifty dollars for it. He secured government title with a soldier’s land warrant, which cost him $130. He then sold the land to a Mr. Deck for $750 in gold, and bought 160 acres on sections 2 and 3, Swede Grove township, where he has since lived with the exception of the summer of 1858, when he worked at St. Paul. He returned to his place in the fall, accompanied by Mr. Ryckman, who had a claim adjoining, and they “bached it” together during the following winter. When the Indian outbreak occurred he had a family on the place keeping house and his brother was living with them. On the same day as the killing of Jones and Baker, eleven Indians camped near his claim, and upon learning of the killing Mr. Wilcox accused the eleven of doing it, but they denied this, claiming they were “good Indians,” and left without doing any mischief. Mr. Wilcox supposed the matter amounted to nothing more than a drunken row, but soon learned that it was to be a general outbreak. He therefore loaded sixteen women and children together with a few trunks onto a wagon and sent the outfit to Forest City in charge of his brother. He remained at home until nearly night and then took his gun and went out on the prairie to see if there were any Indians about. At a neighbor’s he learned that the Indians were murdering and burning everything as they went, and were scouring the country for whites, and he was prevailed upon to go with them to Forest City. The following morning he started back for his farm against the advice of his friends, but feeling that he could not stay there and let his hogs and cattle, which were shut up, starve. Upon approaching the house he saw that the kitchen was open and expected every moment to see the head of an Indian poked out and feel the lead from a rifle. He was relieved, however, by finding the house empty, but the stove was still warm, as the Indians had been cooking there and had demolished things generally, and stolen whatever they could carry off, cutting open a feather bed to get a sack to hold their booty. After this, he remained alone most of the time caring for his grain and stock, until the joined the “Home Guards,” a company organized at Forest City, for protection against the Indians.

Mr. Wilcox was married on the 9th of November, 1867, to Miss Ellen Peterson. She was a native of Sweden, born December 29, 1850, and is a daughter of Hans and Betsy (Ostrad) Peterson. She was six years old when she came to America. Mr. and Mrs. Wilcox have been blessed with the following children – Lillie, born November 12, 1868; Sarah, born November 22, 1870; Horace, born July 22, 1873, and Nellie, born February 21, 1877. Mr. Wilcox has taken a very prominent part in all matters of a public nature. He was the principal factor in the organization of the Swede Grove township in 1869; was county commissioner for three years; township clerk in Manannah three years; town clerk in Swede Grove three years; chairman of the supervisors for two years, and has held many other offices of responsibility. Mr. Wilcox owned the first cheese factory in operation in Meeker county, having established it in 1864, and one year sold $1,600 worth of cheese. His house was one of the first frame buildings erected in the northwestern part of the county, having been built in 1865. It is a story and a half building, 20x28 feet in size with an addition 16x24 feet. He also has substantial farm buildings, including two spacious barns, a granary and other buildings. His many years of residence here have made him well known among all the old settlers, and he is held in high regard wherever he is known.

A portrait of Mr. Wilcox is presented in another department of this album.


Henry R. Williams
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

HENRY R. WILLIAMS, a prominent and intelligent farmer residing on section 26, Forest Prairie township, was the third settler to locate east of Clearwater Lake, within the limits of Forest Prairie township, having settled there in the fall of 1867. Mr. Williams was born in Saratoga county, N.Y., on the 24th of July, 1826, and is a son of Lewis and Martha Williams. Their parents were among the earliest settlers at what is now Albany, N.Y. Lewis Williams, the father, followed lumbering in his early days, but the most of his life was devoted to farming. He and his wife were exemplary citizens and were members of the Methodist Church. They had a family of six children, three boys and three girls, all of whom remained in New York State except Henry R. The names of the children were Thomas, Henry R., Morgan, Betsie, Rebecca, and Catherine.

Our subject, Henry R. Williams, grew to manhood in his native county, receiving a common school education and aiding his father on the farm, and remained in his native State until 1867, when he came to Meeker county, and settled in Forest Prairie township, where he has since lived, as above stated. He owns a farm of eighty acres and in connection with general farming he carries on a limited stock raising business. Since his residence here he has taken an active interest in public matters, and has been prominently identified with the official history of his township, having held various local offices. In political matters he affiliates with the republican party.

Mr. Williams was married on the 27th of September, 1847, to Miss Rachel Caroline Rouse, a daughter of Grattan and Caroline Rouse, and a native of New York State. Her parents were natives of the Empire State, and were the parents of five children, one boy and four girls, as follows – Lida, Elizabeth, Sarah, Richard and Rachel. Mr. and Mrs. Williams have been the parents of nine children, one of whom, Sarah Jane, is dead. Those living are Henry C., Richard R., Solomon, Franklin, Elizabeth, Josephine, Martha and Anna E. Mr. and Mrs. Williams are zealous members and active supporters of the Methodist Church.


John Wise
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

JOHN WISE, who is successfully engaged in farming and stock-raising, upon section 29, Kingston township, is a native of Miami county, Ohio, born April 8, 1835, and is the son of Samuel and Barbara (Shope) Wise, who were natives of Lancaster county, Penn. His father emigrated from the “Buckeye State,” in his later days, to Indiana, where he died at the age of seventy-nine years nine months and thirteen days. The mother died in 1869. Both were members of the German Baptist Church, and were the parents of fourteen children, who all grew to manhood and womanhood. Their names were – Jacob, John, Samuel, Andreas, Levi, Isaac, Abram, Henry, Daniel, Elizabeth, Sallie, Teena, Barbara and Mary.

John Wise was reared in Miami county, Ohio, upon the paternal farm, where he lived until attaining his majority, receiving in the halcyon days of youth the elements of a good education. He commenced farming in his native State, and from there moved over into Indiana, where he lived until 1879, when he came to Minnesota, locating in Meeker county, on the place where he now lives.
The subject of this historical notice was united in marriage, January 2, 1855, with Miss Sarah Christian, a native of Pennsylvania, and daughter of Solomon and Pollie Christian, natives of the “Keystone State,” also. By this union there have been six children born, namely – Samuel, living in Wisconsin; and Anna, Fannie, Elizabeth, Barbara, and Sara Jane, all of whom are married, but the son. In his politics Mr. Wise is a steady adherent to the principles of the republican party, and is a representative man of the township.


Loxley R. Wood
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

LOXLEY R. WOOD, a prominent citizen of Darwin township, has his residence on section 7, where he carries on farming and stock-raising. He is a native of the city of Philadelphia, Pa., born March 23, 1828, where he was reared. Remaining there until 1856, our subject then removed to Luzerne county, in the same State, and made his home there, among the picturesque scenery of the Blue Ridge, for about three years. About 1859 he came to Minnesota, and settled at Minneapolis, where he made his home for some two years, and then removed to Wright county, and there lived for about eight years. At the end of that time he again made a new settlement, this time in the vicinity of Montevideo, Chippewa county, this State, but a few years later returned to Minneapolis, and in that city remained some thirteen years. While a resident of Wright county, Mr. Wood was a participant in many of the exciting scenes of the Indian massacre of 1862. He was living on Moore’s Prairie at the time, but did not feel alarmed until he heard of the murder of the Dustin family, and then went to Minneapolis, and on his way there came across the corpses of the victims of the savages, and assisted in their burial. He came back to his place a few days later, and gathered up his stock, which he drove to a place of safety.

The war for the defense of the Union had been progressing some time, and men had become quite scarce in the Northern States, and in response to the call from the President for more troops, in 1864, our subject enlisted in Company I, Sixth New York Heavy Artillery, and served with that regiment under General Sheridan. He was assigned to the quartermaster’s department, and there served until the close of the war, and was mustered out and discharged in 1865, and returned to Wright county, Minn.

Mr. Wood was united in marriage August 18, 1850, with Miss Elizabeth J. Fisk. By this union there have been seven children, four boys and three girls, all of whom are dead except one – Isaac L., born June 1, 1860.

In 1884 Mr. Wood came to Meeker county, and took up his residence in Darwin township.


Miller C. Wood
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

MILLER C. WOOD, a respected citizen and a respected farmer and stock-raiser residing on section 20, Manannah township, was born in Logan county, Ky., on the 4th of August, 1818, and is a son of Miller and Melinda (Campbell) Wood. He left his native State with his parents in 1832 and settled in Illinois, being among the earliest settlers of that region. He remained there for many years, but in 1864 came to Nicollet county, Minn., and settled, remaining one year. At the expiration of that time he came to Meeker county, and located on a farm in Union Grove township. In 1879 he removed to Manannah township and settled on section 20, where he has since continued to reside. He has eighty acre of land, and, in connection with a light general farming business, he devotes considerable attention to stock raising.

Mr. Wood was married in 1842, to Minerva Deatherage. She bore him seven children, and died in 1853.

In the year 1855 he was again married, Miss Lucinda S. Rogers becoming his wife. Thirteen children were born to them, ten of whom are still living. In political matters Mr. Wood affiliates with the democratic party.


Jasper Wright
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

JASPER WRIGHT, an enterprising farmer of Collinwood township, living on section 4, was born in Yancey county, N.C., January 4, 1837, and is the son of Jonathan and Mary (Bailey) Wright, both of whom were natives of the “same State.” When he was a boy of six or seven years old, his parents removed to Russell county, Va., where he was reared to manhood. He remained at home until his marriage, after which he started for himself on one of his father’s farms, where he remained until July 19, 1861, when he enlisted in Company H, Fiftieth Virginia Infantry, and served until he was wounded and captured. On being paroled he returned to his home, where he remained until 1865, when he removed to Lawrence county, Ohio, but the following October, came to Collinwood township, this county. He took up a claim of 81 acres, on section 4, where he now lives. His entire wealth, when he got here, was $33, his gun, a spider, and a dinner kettle, and his wife, and two children. He invested three dollars in provisions, and the balance of his money in a cow, and settled down to frontier life. His brother, Waitsdel, and his family were with him, and, as the brother was sick, he was the only support of both families, and kept them going in venison brought down by his gun. For three years their only meat was of this variety. He is now well fixed, however, and enjoys life in a more comfortable fashion.

Mr. Wright was married January 6, 1858, to Miss Elizabeth Taylor, who was born in Russell county, Va., August 26, 1840, and is the daughter of William and Dycia Taylor. They have had a family of five children.


Jonathan Wesley Wright
Source: Progressive men of Minnesota. Published by The Minneapolis Journal (1897) submitted by Diana Heser Morse

The subject of this sketch was born July 14, 1851, in what was then Russell County, Virginia. His father, Solomon H. Wright, was a farmer and blacksmith of moderate means. His mother, Elizabeth Colley (Wright), was the daughter of a wealthy slave owner in "the Old Dominion." His ancestry his father's side was Irish, and on the mother's Welsh and German. They were all sturdy pioneers among the early setters of North Carolina and Virginia, and participated in the strifes with the Indians in Colonial times and in the Revolutionary War. Jonathan Wesley attended the only school available in those times to the middle classes--the old-fashioned subscription school, which he attended four terms. The outbreak of the war when he only ten years of age put a stop to his further schooling for the time being. Solomon H. Wright, his father, was a loyal Union man, and had his property destroyed by the rebel guerilla bands which infested that part of the South. He was drafted in the Confederate army, but deserted and had a price set on his head for capture. This, in 1863, forced him with his family to leave "between two days" and seek protection in the North. He lived in Ohio till the war was over, when he moved to Minnesota, settling in what in now Collinwood township, Meeker County, October 20, 1865. Here was led the ordinary frontier life, Jonathan Wesley attending the nearest district school. He commenced teaching when twenty years old with the purpose of earning sufficient money to obtain a better education. He afterwards attended the State Normal school at St. Cloud for two years, resumed teaching reading law as time permitted, until the fall of 1879, when he received the Republican nomination for county superintendent of schools and was elected. This office he held until January 1, 1887. He has held various political positions since, such assistant enrolling clerk of the house in the Minnesota legislature of 1887; assistant register of deeds and assistant postmaster at Litchfield, under Aug. T. Koerner, now state treasurer. January 1, 1893, he was appointed postmaster at Litchfield by President Harrison, and still holds that office. Mr. Wright has always been a stalwart Republican and an ardent supporter of Republican principles, and has always been identified with all efforts for the promotion of education in the community in which he lives, having served as a member of the Board of Education of Litchfield for the past fifteen years in the capacity of secretary. He has also taken an interest in National Guard matters, and for seven years was a member of Company H., National Guard of Minnesota, and when mustered out was orderly sergeant. He is a member of and secretary of Golden Fleece Lodge, No. 89, A. F. & A. M., and also a member of Camp N. 2990, Modern Woodmen of American. Mr. Wright is a member of the Trinity Episcopal church, of Litchfield. He was married November 24, 1877, to Alice E., daughter of Hon. Charles E. Cutts, of Meeker County. They have seven children, Charles Cutts, Lulu C., George B., Cushman K. D., Alice B., Clara H. and Newell.


John Youngstrom
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

JOHN YOUNGSTROM, a farmer, residing on section 28, Litchfield township, is one of the most intelligent and best-posted citizens in his portion of the county. He is a native of Sweden, born on the 1st of February, 1845, and is a son of Andrew and Christine Youngstrom. John grew to manhood at the home of his parents, and at an early age embarked in the mercantile business, continuing it until 1868, when he came to the United States. Shortly after his arrival he decided to locate in Meeker county, Minn., and accordingly purchased parts of sections 21, 28 and 29, in Litchfield township. His farm at that time was one of the largest by one man west of the “Big Woods,” but after about ten years’ trial, he became convinced that it was not quantity of land which was essential to success in farming, but sagacity and business tact in management. Accordingly, he unloaded a good portion of his huge farm, and has since been operating on the safe side. Although the grasshoppers, hailstorms and drouth have caused him serious backsets, entailing the loss of three crops in four years, he has managed to come out of it all in pretty good financial shape.

Mr. Youngstrom was married in 1871 to Mary C. Kjellander, a daughter of John Kjellander, and a native of Sweden, born in 1844. Four children have been born to them, viz.: John Oscar, Hilder Mary, Olga and Axel H. Although Mr. Youngstrom has never been caught in the maelstrom of political office seeking, he has ever been a close student of political economy, and has lent a considerable amount of time and all his influence to the remedying of existing evils in governmental affairs, and is an unyielding foe to monopoly and all manner of oppression and harmful influences.


John E. Zackrison
Source: Album of history and biography of Meeker County, Minnesota (1888) transcribed by Kim Mohler

JOHN E. ZACKRISON, a respected farmer, residing on section 17, Cedar Mills township, has been a resident of Meeker county since 1875. He is a native of Sweden, and was born January 4, 1847. His early life was spent in the land of his birth, where he remained until he was twenty-one years of age, when he came to the United States and settled in Marquette county, Mich. While there he was employed in iron mining, contract drilling and various other lines of work. After he had been there five years he rented a farm and engaged in the milk and dairy business. Two years later, in the spring of 1875, he sold out his interests there and came to Meeker county, Minn. Upon his arrival he purchased a farm of 316 acres in the town of Greenleaf, and remained on that for three years. He met with a number of serious reverses. The first year he had a very fair crop; the second year he did not raise over five bushels to the acre; and the third year he lost all of his grain on account of the grasshopper depredations. These misfortunes proved a severe setback to him and resulted in the loss of his farm, upon which he had paid $1,500 in cash. During the summer of 1878 he remained in Greenleaf township, working for various parties, and in the fall of the same year he purchased the farm on section 17, Cedar Mills township, upon which he still resides. He now owns 160 acres of land, a good share of which is under cultivation, and devotes his time and energies to raising stock and doing general farming. His enterprise, industry and economy have again placed him in comfortable circumstances, notwithstanding the severe reverses and misfortunes through which he has passed, and he now ranks as one of the substantial and leading farmers of his township.

Mr. Zackrison was married on June 19, 1869, at Negannee, Mich., to Miss Caroline Swanson, who is also a native of Sweden. She was born on September 18, 1837. Their marriage has been blessed with four children, as follows – Hulda J., born June 12, 1874; Annie S., born September 3, 1876; Ella M., born November 18, 1878, and Oscar E., born May 13, 1881.



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