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Olmsted County Minnesota 
Genealogy and History

Olmsted County Places - Rochester


Source: MINNESOTA GEOGRAPHIC NAMES Their Origin and Historic Significance

ROCHESTER, the county seat, often called "the Queen City," was platted in October, 1855, and was incorporated as a city August 5, 1858. It was named for Rochester, N. Y., by George Head, a pioneer settler, who had lived there and afterward in Wisconsin before coming to this place in July, 1855. The rapids of the Zumbro river here reminded him of the Genesee river in New York and its great water power at Rochester, having a vertical fall of 95 feet (Leonard, History of this county, p. 185.)

The first settlement within the present limits of the city of Rochester was made by Thomas C. Cummings and Robert McReady in the spring of 1854. They made their claims and built their shanties on the west side of Cascade creek, near the spot where later stood the residence of the late M. W. Leland. In the month of July following, George and Jonathan Head with their father made claims where the business part of the city is now situated.

Source: History of Winona and Olmsted Counties, 1883

In the files of the "Rochester Post" we find the following from the pen of Elder Ely, of Winona, concerning the location of the site of Rochester: The town site mania commenced with the land company that laid out the town of Chatfleld. Parties from Winona were out prospecting for town sites. Dr. Balcombe, early in 1854, led a party west. He missed the place where Rochester now stands, and made a claim in the timber at High Forest. About the middle of March the same year, E. S. Smith, Charles Eaton and Wheeler Sargeant went out from Winona in search of a town site. Smith had just come from Minneapolis, where I may say, by the way, he had just completed the first sawmill built on the west side of the Mississippi in Minnesota, if we except the old government mill at that place. They started next from St. Charles and came to the Zumbro river, about three miles west of where Rochester now stands. They first made a claim where they struck the river, and intended to lay out a town, but Smith, in traveling down the river, heard the roar of the falls, and continued his journey until he came in sight of the present site of the stone mill. They abandoned the place they had fixed upon up the river and made a claim, fixing a site for a log shanty at the head of Main street. They immediately returned to Winona and hired George Wiltsee to go out and build the shanty. In a few days a small log building was completed and the claim was staked.

This was early in the spring, before the government survey was completed. The township lines had been run but the subdivisions had not been made.

Smith & Co. held the claim without anybody to disturb them, until about the 12th of July following, when George and Jonathan Head and their father came from Wisconsin and made their claim. They disregarded the claim and improvements of Smith & Co., indeed they begun to tear down the log shanty built by the first claimants. Smith, however, was on hand before the destruction was completed, and with a revolver in hand drove away the intruders. Subsequently the matter was settled by the payment of money, Smith and Eaton each received $1,S00, but Springer and Sargeant got nothing. Smith and Eaton showed fight.

T. C. Cummings and Robert McReady made claims and built their claims near Cascade creek, in the spring of 1854. On the 25th of July, that year, the town was staked out. It had already become a stopping-place for stages, as on the 10th of July, M. O. Walker, the pioneer stage proprietor of the west, had established a line of stages from Dubuque to St. Paul, over the wilderness prairies and through the prospective town of Rochester, Winona and Elliota, which were at that time the nearest post-towns. During the first winter the neighbors were few, the families of F. Prodger, McReady and George Woolford being the only ones within seven miles of the new city. In the following spring there was quite an extensive emigration and business prospects became apparent. Mr. J. D. Jenkins built a store of logs and sold it to Hugh Mair, who soon filled it with goods for the accommodation of the rapidly increasing population. Wet and dry groceries seemed to be the most important articles in stock. A cask of gin, ot this stock, was the first intoxicating liquor brought to this town.

George Head erected a log house in the summer of 1854. We are unable to ascertain whether or not the builder designed the same tor a hotel, but it was used as such, the tide of emigration being so great that it was generally filled to overflowing with travelers. Provisions at that time were imported from Iowa, and consequently. commanded a high price. Head continued business in the log cabin until the spring of 1856, when he disposed of the house and its equipments, Asa Lasuer being the purchaser. It was afterward torn down and the "York State House " erected a little farther up Broadway.

The first birth in Rochester was in the family of James Smith, in 1855.   "A Mr. Brown was looking for a claim on the north side ot the Zumbro on the school section in the fall of 1854, and soon thereafter was taken sick and died. This was the first death of a white person in Olmsted county. Very soon after his death his widow took another man, but was not married to him, as there was no one in the vicinity to perform the ceremony; yet they did the best they could, and procured witnesses to their agreement to get married as soon as there was an opportunity. This was the first matrimonial speculation publicly entered into in the vicinity."

In 1856 a log schoolhouse was erected east of the Zumbro, being the first one in the city. It was used as a church and town hall also. Miss Mary Walker taught school in the building the following summer. The first religious service held within the limits of Rochester was presided over by a minister from St. Paul, in December, 1S54, at the residence of Mr. McReady. On the following evening services were held by the same minister at George Head's.

The dwellings erected in those days were very simple in architecture. We will describe one as pictured to us by one of its occupants. "We soon set about building our first residence, the material being at hand, which consisted of poles and bleached prairie grass. We remained in this rude home for a short time, but felt very highly favored when we were permitted to take up our abode in a new LOG house. It was 12x24 in size, the window-sashes were whittled out with a penknife, oiled paper served in the place of window-glass, and a blanket hung over an opening in the side of the house served as a door."

Indians were quite numerous, but peaceable. They would frequently visit the dwellings of the whites for the purpose of barter. Wolves abounded, and their weird howls were nightly heard. Being communistic in their propensities, they often appropriated the property of the settlers to their own use. In one instance they entered . the dwelling of George Head and carried off a sheep that had been killed to furnish breakfast for a company of travelers.

The first lawyer made his appearance in the summer of 1855, Jay Parker by name, who remained but a short time. By this time immigration was increasing to such an extent as to render the outlook for the prospective city very flattering. W. D. Lowry bought the claim of George Woolford, about half a mile south of the city plat, now within the city limits. In the fall of this year Mr. Lowry was elected to a seat in the territorial council, which position he occupied until the admission of Minnesota as a state in 1858. This election excited great interest, not only because it was the first in this election district, but because issues of great importance to Rochester and her neighboring towns were to come before that body, and to be by them decided. Oronoco and Chatfield were both anxious to have the county lines so located as to place each of those villages in the geographical center of a county, which arrangement would be equivalent to making each a county seat. To these measures and the results that would attend them the people of Rochester were decidedly opposed. Mr. Lowry was the candidate of the people of Rochester, and Reuben Ottoman, of Oronoco, the opposing candidate. A full vote of the county was called out and Lowry was elected, two to one.

The first lawsuit in the city was tried before James Bucklin, Esq., in the summer of 1855. The season being very busy, the justice was hoeing corn when the hour arrived for the suit to begin. .The parties assembled in the cornfield and the suit was called. The parties were T. C. Cummings, plaintiff, and Alfred Moler, defendant; James A. Bucklin, attorney for plaintiff, and G. W. Chilson for defendant. The case was decided in favor of plaintiff.

The first sawmill in the town was of somewhat curious construction, and consisted of a scaffolding, six or eight feet in height, a "whip saw" with a strong handle at each end was used. The frame-work of the scaffolding was so arranged that the log could be gauged to produce lumber of any desired thickness. The motive power was a man at each end of the saw, one of whom always stood beneath, or, as it was called, "in the pit"; hence it derived its name as the pit saw. These mills are quite common in old countries, and in this instance was of great benefit in a new country. Mr. Alexander, the proprietor, assured us that two men would frequently manufacture five hundred feet of lumber in a day. Messrs. Alexander and Goldsworthy built the first frame shop in the spring of 1856, on Zumbro street, where it did duty as a shop until 1861, when it was removed to Broadway and fitted up for a store. In the year following these gentlemen built a fine steam mill and sash factory on the Zumbro in east Rochester, to which they soon added machinery for planing and general cabinetmaking. This mill was continued in successful operation till the summer of 1863, when it was burned to the ground.

In the fall of 1855 Messrs. L. W. Bucklin and James Lovington built the first bridge across the Zumbro at a point opposite where Cook's livery stable now stands. It was built of logs and remained in use until 1857.

In 1856 F. A. Olds purchased of Messrs. Moe and Cross the property on the corner of Broadway and College streets, known as the mill reservation, and commenced the erection of a stone flouring-mill, which he completed the following year at a cost of $40,000. This was the first substantial public improvement that was undertaken. Judge Olds built several blocks of buildings and was very active in all public enterprises.

In the summer of 1854 Fred Prodger and Henry Woodard made claim to the northern part of the city, and pre-empted the same in 1855. In the same year they sold it to C. H. Lindsley, who sold a three-fourths interest to Messrs G. S. Harris, W. W. Cowles, Daniel Williams and Richard B. Smith, of Boston. They assumed the name of the "Boston Company" and commenced building upon and improving their property. Mr. Lindsley, resident proprietor, was chosen manager. This year they commenced the erection of the Zumbro falls mills, a large hotel, a courthouse, and several other buildings, making preparations for extensive improvements the ensuing year, but the financial revolution of 1857 included in the list of its victims the original Boston Company, and after spending about $53,000 they were obliged to suspend operations, and the property was transferred to the hands of their creditors, Messrs. Alvin Smith, J. H. AYard, David Loring and John M, Cole, all of Boston. In the final division of the property among the proprietors, the courthouse came into the hands of Mr. Lindsley, and the flouring-mills fell to John M. Cole, who in 1860 removed to Rochester and put the mills in the best of order, making them valuable to himself and the city.

The first brick business house in Rochester was erected by Dr. L. H. Kelly, formerly of Painesville, O. He built a brick store 22 X 70 feet on the corner of Broadway and College streets.

THE POSTOFFICE.
In a little log cabin situated on the west side of Cascade creek, near the residence formerly owned by M. W.. Leland, the first post-office was established in 1855. Robert McReady, the proprietor of the unpretentious dwelling, was the first postmaster. The mail was then carried by stage from Dubuque to St. Paul. During the first year the weekly receipts of letters did not exceed a dozen in number, and it is said that the postmaster used the upper story of his hat as a depository for mail-matter. Lock-boxes were not then in vogue.

In the fall of 1856 Mr. P. H. Durfee, then occupying a log store built by Mr. Proudfoot on the present site of Union block, was appointed postmaster, and the office was removed to his store. A few months later the office was removed to John R. Cook's block, on the corner of Main and Third streets.

In the spring of 1858 Mrs. Nancy Baker was appointed postmistress, after which the office was removed to H. C. Green's store. Mr. J. V. Daniels was afterward appointed, and the office was removed to his office. In 1860 John W. Everstine succeeded him. The next change was in 1861, when M. J. A. Leonard was appointed.

On completion of Blakely's block, in the winter of 1863-4, the office was again removed to Broadway, being located in the rear end of F. W. Anderson's store. In the summer of 1864 Mr. C. C. Jones succeeded Mr. Leonard, and soon after removed the office to Peters' block, near the stone mill. This gentleman held the office one year, when Mr. Samuel Geisinger was appointed. A few months after his appointment this gentleman removed the office to Head's new building on Third street, west of Broadway.

In October, 1866, Mr. M. W. Fay was made postmaster, and removed the office to Heany's block. In April, 1867, Judge Fay died, and W. W. Ireland, who had been for some time a clerk in the office, acted in the capacity of postmaster until the following July, when Mrs. Fay, widow of the judge, was appointed to succeed her husband. At the end of one year from this time C. C. Cole was appointed. In March, 1871, George W. Baker was appointed, and the office was soon after removed to a building on Third street, west of Broadway.

In August of the same year Capt. Abram Harkins was appointed, and after the completion of the Odd-Fellows' block removed the office to that building, where it still remains, under the captain's supervision.

INCORPORATION.
The city of Rochester was incorporated and received its charter in 1858. Following are the names of the first city officers elected from that time to 1882 inclusive:

1858-9.
Mayor, Moses W. Fay; city justice, S. G. Whiting; treasurer, E. Damon; recorder, Thomas Brooks; city marshal, Thomas Ireland; official paper,"Free Press."

First Ward: Aldermen, R. C. Gates, J. W. Everstine; justice, L. L. Eaton; supervisor, H. C. Greene; constable, I. M. Terrill; assessor, J. B. Allyn; street commissioner, J. V. Daniels.

Second Ward: Aldermen, S. Geisinger, J. M. Williams; justice, J. P. Emerick; supervisor, C. C. Cole; constable, H. Loomis; assessor, E. Damon; street commissioner, Moses Hurd.

Third Ward: Aldermen, C. H. Lindsey, L. Wynkoop; justice, Wm. Hunter; supervisor, H. E. Mellen; constable, Wm. Unger; assessor, H. Hyatt; street commissioner, H. E. Mellen.

1859-60.
Mayor, F. A. Olds; city justice, S. G. Whiting; treasurer, J. M.Williams; surveyor, P. P. Condit; recorder, F. A. Poole; marshal, H. Loomis; official paper," Free Press."

First Ward: Aldermen, George C. Cook, H. A. Brown; justice, L. L. Eaton; supervisor, John W. Everstine; constable, I. M. Terrill; assessor, J. V. Daniels.

Second Ward: Aldermen, Moses Hurd, S. Geisinger; justice, J. P. Emerick; supervisor, S. Risker; constable, A. J. Drumheller; assessor, Moses Hurd.

Third Ward: Aldermen, James S. Niles, Horace Cook; justice, Wm. Hunter; supervisor, C. H. Lindsey; constable, H. E. Mellen; assessor, Richard Reader.

1860-1.
Mayor, W. D. Hurlbut; city justice, H. Hyatt; treasurer, J. V. Daniels; surveyor, J. V. Daniels; recorder, E. W. Crocker; marshal, J. W. Murray; city attorney, S. P. Jones; official paper, "City Post."

First Ward: Aldermen, J. V. Daniels, H. A. Brown; justice, L. L. Eaton; street commissioner, David Chase; constable, J. W. Murray ; assessor, J. V-Daniels.

Second Ward: Aldermen, S. Geisinger, G. Smith; justice, J. A. Leonard; street commissioner, Gilbert Smith; constable, H. S. Sage; assessor, M. Hurd.

Third Ward: Aldermen, B. H. Ellison, R. McBride; justice, H. Hyatt ; street commissioner, B. H. Ellison; constable, A. J. Farr; assessor, R. Reader.

1861-2.
Mayor, John Clark; city justice, H. Hyatt; treasurer, J. V. Daniels; surveyor, J. V. Daniels; poundmaster, L. L. Goodwin ; recorder, E. W. Crocker; marshal, H. Loomis; city attorney, S. P. Jones; official paper, "City Post."

First Ward: Aldermen, J. E. Ellis, J. S. Woodard; justice, L. L. Eaton; street commissioner, Thos. Ireland; constable, H. Clark; assessor, J. V. Daniels.

Second Ward: Aldermen, E. Damon, E. Carpenter; justice, E. Carpenter; constable, H. S. Sage ; assessor, S. Geisinger.

Third Ward: Aldermen, John M. Cole, H. E. Mellen ; justice, H. Hyatt; constable, Orrin Jones; assessor, R. Reader.

1862-3.
Mayor, L. B. Bliss; city justice, R. Reynolds; treasurer, J. V. Daniels; assessor, J. V. Daniels; poundmaster, J. B. Wagoner; city attorney, 0. P. Stearns; recorder, N. C. Younglove; marshal, C. Y. Ayers; official paper, " Rochester Post."

First Ward: Aldermen, George Head, J. S. Woodard; justice, L. L. Eaton; street commissioner, G. C. Cook; constable, Matt Markham.

Second Ward: Aldermen: W. W. Gibbs, H. C. Packard; justice, S. Geisinger; street commissioner, C. C. Cole; constable, Jacob Ault.

Third Ward: Aldermen, A. Smith, D. Kidd; Justice, R. Reynolds; street commissioner, Lemuel Cook; constable. B. H. Ellison.

1863-4.
Mayor, L. B. Bliss; city justice, R. Reynolds; treasurer, J. V. Daniels; assessor, J. V. Daniels: policeman, J. D. Ault; poundmaster, J. D. Ault; city attorney, L. Barber; recorder, N. C. Younglove; marshal, L. O. Benjamin; official paper, " Rochester City Post."

First Ward: Aldermen, C. H. Chadbourn, Geo. Head; justice, L. L. Eaton; street commissioner, C. H. Chadbourn; constable, L. O. Benjamin.

Second Ward: Aldermen, W. W. Gibbs, H. C.Packard; justice, P. C. Compton; street commissioner, Geo. Healy; constable, N. Wilkins.

Third Ward: Aldermen. A. Smith, R. Reader; justice, R. Reynolds; street commissioner, Asahel Smith; constable, R. Hotchkiss.

1864-5.
Mayor, Abram Ozmun; city justice, W. S. Booth; treasurer, David Lesuer; assessor, C. C. Jones; surveyor, Geo. Healy; poundmaster, J. D. Ault; city attorney, C. M. Start: recorder, S. W. Eaton; marshal, Jacob D. Ault; chief of police, J. D. Ault; official paper, " City Post."

First Ward: Aldermen, C. H. Chadbourn, H. Ireland; justice, W. S. Booth; street commissioner, G. C. Cook; constable, Thomas Ireland.

Second Ward: Aldermen, H. J. Grant, W. D. Hurlbut; justice, J. P. Emerick; street commissioner, A. J. Lockie; constable, L. O. Benjamin.

Third Ward: Aldermen, R. McBride, R. Reader; justice, R. Reynolds; street commissioner, H. G. Damon; constable, Wm. Knight.

Board of Education: School Commissioners-at-Large, D. N. Mason, O. O. Baldwin ; First Ward, H. L. R. Jones; Second Ward, Chas. Woodward; Third Ward, O. A. Hadley.

1865-6.
Mayor, J. V. Daniels; city justice, W. S. Booth; treasurer, David Lesuer; assessor, W. D. Hurlbut; surveyor, Geo. Healy; city attorney, C. M. Start; recorder, S. W. Eaton ; marshal, Jacob D. Ault; chief of police, J. D. Ault; official paper," City Post."

First Ward: Aldermen, Louis Walker, H. Ireland; justice, W. S. Booth; constable, Thomas Ireland.

Second Ward: Aldermen, H. T. Horton, M. Hurd; justice, S. Geisinger; street commissioner, Moses Hurd; constable, L. O. Benjamin.

Third Ward: Aldermen, John M. Cole, R. McBride ; justice, R. Reynolds; street commissioner, Asahel Smith; constable, Wm. Knight.

Board of Education: David Lesuer, J. B. Clark, 0. A. Hadley, H. Gallowav, O. O. Baldwin.

1866-7.
Mayor, O. P. Stearns; city justice, A. Blanchard; treasurer, David Lesuer; assessor, W. D. Hurlbut; surveyor, Geo. Healy; street commissioner, David Lesuer; city attorney, C. M. Start; recorder, S. W. Eaton; marshal, I. W. Simons; poundmaster, I. W. Simons; official paper, " City Post."

First Ward: Aldermen, C. H. Chadbourn, L. AValker; justice, W. S. Booth; constable, Thomas Ireland.

Second Ward: Aldermen, Jacob Rickert, H. T. Horton ; justice, A. Blanchard ; constable, L. O. Benjamin.

Third Ward: Aldermen, A. Smith, John M. Cole; justice, B. H. Ellison; constable, A. M. Enoch.

Board of Education: 0. P. Whitcomb, D. Lesuer, J. B. Clark, Horace Cook, H. Galloway.

1867-8.
Mayor, O. P. Stearns; city justice, A. Blanchard ; treasurer, T. H. Titus ; assessor, J. E. Ells; surveyor, Horace E. Horton; street commissioner, David Chase; city attorney, C. M. Start; recorder, J. A. Austin; marshal, W. H. McLard; poundmaster, W. H. McLard; official paper, "Rochester Post."

First Ward: Aldermen, J. B. Clark, C. H. Chadbourn; justice, L. L. Eaton; constable, Thomas Ireland.

Second Ward: Aldermen: C. C. Cole, Jacob Rickert; justice, A. Blanchard ; constable, L. O. Benjamin.

Third Ward: Aldermen, Samuel Whitten, A. Smith; justice, N. N. Hammond; constable, B. H. Ellison.

Board of Education: C. H. Chadbourn, W. W. Mayo, O. P. Whitcomb, Horace Cook, D. Lesuer.

1868-9.
Mayor, L. B. Bliss; city justice, A. Blanchard; treasurer, T. H. Titus; assessor, J. V. Daniels; surveyor, H. E. Horton; city attorney, C. M. Start; recorder, J. A. Austin; marshal, L. O. Benjamin ; street commissioner, R. B. Graham; official paper, "Rochester Post."

First Ward: Aldermen, John B. Clark, G. C. Cook; justice, George Stocking ; constable, Thomas Ireland.

Second Ward: Aldermen, A. Gooding, C. C. Cole; justice, A. Blanchard; constable, L. O. Benjamin.

Third Ward: Aldermen, A. Harkins, Samuel Whitten; justice, Wm. L. Taylor; constable, Gordon Smith.

Board of Education: O. P. Whitcomb, John B. Clark, C. H. Chadbourn, W. W. Mavo, Horace Cook.

1869-70.
Mayor, Daniel Heaney; city justice, A. Blanchard; treasurer, T. H. Titus; assessor, R. H. Gove; street commissioner, R. B. Graham; surveyor, H. E. Horton; city attorney, John B. Allen; recorder, Amos Hyatt; marshal, L. O. Benjamin; assistant marshal, Geo. Tilbury; official paper, "Rochester Post."

First Ward: Aldermen, Geo. C. Cook; J. P. Moulton; justice, Geo. Stocking ; constable, Thomas Ireland.

Second Ward: Aldermen, C. C. Cole, A. Gooding; justice, A. Blanchard; constable, L. O. Benjamin.

Third Ward: Aldermen, A. Harkins, S. W. Eaton; justice, J. H. Wright; constable, W. H. McLard.

Board of Education: S. J. Barlow, Horace Cook, O. P. Whitcomb, W. W. Mayo, John B. Clark.

1870-1.
Mayor, F. T. Olds; city justice, R. H. Gove; treasurer, T. H. Titus; assessor, James N. Coe; surveyor, H. E. Horton; city attorney, O. P. Stearns; recorder, Amos Hyatt; marshal, A. J. Wright; street commissioner, R. B. Graham; official paper, "Rochester Post."

First Ward: Aldermen, C. H. Kellogg, J. P. Moulton; justice, L. L. Eaton; constable, E. D. Cooper.

Second Ward: Aldermen, G. W. Van Dusen, C. C. Cole; justice, R. H. Gove; constable, A. J. Wright.

Third Ward: Aldermen, H. J. Buttles, S. W. Eaton; justice, Wm. L. Taylor ; constable, W. H. McLard.

Board of education: E. W. Cross, John Edgar, John B. Clark, S. J. Barlow, Horace Cook.

1871-2.
Mayor, O. P. Whitcomb; city justice, R. H. Gove; treasurer, T. H. Titus; assessor, James N. Coe; surveyor, H. E. Horton; street commissioner, G. W. Pugh; city attorney, E. W. Denton; recorder, Chas. Shandrew; marshal, A. J. Wright; assistant marshal, L. S. Howe; official paper, "Rochester Post."

First Ward: Aldermen, T. L. Fishback, C. H.Kellogg; justice,L. L. Eaton; constable, E. D. Cooper.

Second Ward: Aldermen, George Baihly, G. W. Van Dusen; justice, R. H. Gove; constable, J. H. Wagoner.

Third Ward: Aldermen, Samuel Whitten, H. J. Buttles; justice, Wm. L. Taylor; constable, W. H. McLard.

Board of education, J. P. Moulton, C. S. Younglove, John Edgar, E. W. Cross, Horace Cook.

Mayor, George W. Van Dusen; city justice, R. H. Grove; treasurer, M. J. Daniels; assessor, James N. Coe; surveyor, George Healy; street commissioner, G. W. Pugh; city attorney, Chas. M. Start; recorder, Chas. Shandrew; marshal, A. J. Wright; assistant marshal, W. H. Lesuer; official paper, "Rochester Post."

First Ward : Aldermen, C. A. Emerson, T. L. Fishback; justice, L. L. Eaton; constable, E. D. Cooper.

Second Ward: Aldermen, W. H. Dodge, Geo. Baihly; justice, R. H. Gove; constable, M. G. Denton.

Third Ward: Aldermen, H. A. Merrill, Samuel Whitten; justice, B. H. Whitney; constable. W. H. McLard.

Board of education, E. W. Cross, John M. Cole, J. P. Moulton, John Edgar, C. S. Younglove.

1873-4.
Mayor, D. H. Williams; city justice, R. H. Gove; treasurer, C. H. Kellogg; assessor, James N. Coe; street commissioner, G. W. Pugh; surveyor, H. E. Horton; city attorney, C. T. Benedict; recorder, A. Hyatt; marshal, A. J. Wright; assistant marshal, R. Porter; official paper, "Minnesota Record."

First Ward: Aldermen, F. T. Olds, C. A. Emerson; justice, L. L. Eaton; constable, G. C. Sherman.

Second Ward: Aldermen, J. D. Blake, W. H. Dodge; justice, R. H. Gove; constable, Thomas McCabe.

Third Ward: Aldermen, W. M. Allyn, H. A. Merrill; justice, B. H. Whitney; constable, W. H. McLard.

Board of education, C. S. Younglove, W. C. Rice, E. W. Cross, John M. Cole, J. P. Moulton.

1874-5.
Mayor, D. H. Williams; city justice, James George; treasurer, C. H. Kellogg; assessor, Geo. C. Cook; surveyor, H. E. Horton; street commissioner, E. McDowell; city attorney, C. T. Benedict; recorder, Amos Hyatt; marshal, A. J. Wright; assistant marshals, John Chute, W. H. Lesuer, John Miller; official paper, "Rochester Post."

First Ward: Aldermen, A. Nelson, F. T. Olds; justice, L. L. Eaton; constable, E. D. Cooper.

Second Ward: Aldermen, O. O. Baldwin, J. D. Blake; justice, John W. Campbell; constable, T. O. McCabe.

Third Ward: Aldermen, Samuel Whitten, O. Eddy; justice, G. W. Pugh; constable, W. H. McLard.

Board of education, E. W. Cross, S. B. Clark, C. S. Younglove, W. C. Rice, John M. Cole.

1875-6.
Mayor, D. A. Morrison; city justice, James George; treasurer, C. H. Kellogg; assessor, Geo. C. Cook; surveyor, H. E. Horton; street commissioner, E. McDowell; city attorney, H. A. Eckholdt; recorder, Amos Hyatt; marshal, A. D. Robinson; assistant marshals, John Chute, W. H. Lesuer, John Miller; official paper," Rochester Post."

First Ward: Aldermen, S. H. Daniels, A. Nelson; justice, L. L. Eaton; constable, E. D. Cooper.

Second Ward: Aldermen, R. Cornforth, O. O. Baldwin; justice, John W. Campbell; constable, none qualified.

Third Ward: Aldermen, N. B. Wilkins, Samuel Whitten; justice, G. W. Pugh; constable, W. H. McLard.

Board of education, W. A. Allen, F. H. Allen, S. B. Clark, E. W. Cross, W. C. Rice.

1876-7.
Mayor, D. A. Morrison ; city justice, James George; treasurer, J. Bonham; assessor. Geo. C. Cook; surveyor, George Healy; street commissioner, D. Patterson ; city attorney, H. A. Eckholdt; recorder, T. H. Bliss; marshal, A. D. Robinson; assistant marshals, W. H. Lesuer, George Tilbury, John Miller; official paper, " Rochester Post."

First Ward: Aldermen, Amos Hyatt, S.H.Daniels; justice, L. L. Eaton; constable, E. D. Cooper.

Second Ward: Aldermen, Wm. Wood, R. Cornforth; justice, James George; constable, George C. Sherman.

Third Ward: Aldermen, Samuel Whitten, N. B. Wilkins; justice, S. W. Eaton.; constable, W. H. McLard.

Board of education, W. A. Allen, W. C. Rice, S. B. Clark, A. Harkins, F. H. Allen.

Board of health, N. B. Wilkins, Dr. E. W. Cross, Dr. G. W. Nichols.

1877-8.
Mayor, D. A. Morrison; city justice, James George; treasurer, J. Bonham; assessor, Geo. C. Cook; surveyor, Thomas Hunter; street commissioner, D. Patterson; city attorney, R. H. Gove; recorder, A. B. Olds; marshal, Henry Kalb; assistant marshals, W. H. Lesuer, George Tilbury, John Miller; official paper, "Rochester Post."

First Ward: Aldermen, Amos Hyatt, A. D. Vedder; justice, L. L. Eaton; constable, George C. Sherman.

Second Ward: Aldermen, C. H. Morrill, A. M. Ellithorp; justice, James George; constable, Ray Fankhauser.

Third Ward: Aldermen, Sain'l Whitten, Jerry Harrington; justice, S. W Eaton; constable, W. H. McLard.

Board of education, W. A. Allen, W. C. Rice, S. B. Clark, A. Harkins, F. H. Allen.

1878-9.
Mayor, D. H. Williams; city justice, L. L. Eaton; treasurer, H. I. A. Holmen; assessor, George C. Cook; surveyor, George Healy; street commissioner, A. J. Wright; city attorney, F. B. Kellogg; recorder, A. B. Olds; marshal, Henry Kalb; assistant marshals, R. J. Fitzgerald, George Tilbury, John Miller, R. B. Clark; official paper, " Rochester Post."

First Ward: Aldermen, A. D. Vedder, Thomas Brooks; justice, L. L. Eaton; constable, Geo. C. Sherman.

Second Ward: Aldermen, A. M. Ellithorp, Moses Hurd; justice, James George; constable, Ray Fankhauser.

Third Ward: Aldermen, Samuel Whitten, G.W. Pugh; justice, S. W. Eaton; Constable, W. H. McLard.

Board of education, P. L. Dansingburg, W. C. Rice, S. B. Clark, A. Harkins, Horace Cook.

1879-80.
Mayor, L. E. Cowdery; city justice, L. L. Eaton; treasurer, H. I. A. Holmen; assessor, Geo. C. Cook; surveyor, George Healy; street commissioner, A. J.Wright; city attorney, F. B. Kellogg; recorder, Thos. W. Neville; marshal, Henry Kalb; assistant marshals, Christ. Olson, Geo. Tilbury, W. H. Lesuer, John Miller; official paper, "Rochester Post."

First Ward: Aldermen, Thomas Brooks, A. Nelson; justice, L. L. Eaton; constable, Geo. C. Sherman.

Second Ward: Aldermen, Moses Hurd, 0. S. Porter; justice, James George; constable, Ray Fankhauser.
Third Ward: Aldermen, Samuel Whitten, N. J. Shannon; justice, S. W. Eaton; constable, W. H. McLard.

Board of education, C. M. Start, P. L. Dansingburg, G. L. M. Gjertsen, S. B. Clark, Horace Cook.

1880-1.
Mayor, Samuel Whitten; city justice, S. W. Eaton; treasurer, H. I. A. Holmen; assessor, Geo. C. Cook; surveyor, Thomas Hunter; street commissioner, A. J. Wright; city attorney, F. B. Kellogg; recorder, R. J. Montague, marshal, Henry Kalb; assistant marshals, W. H. Lesuer, John Sullivan, H. Loomis, George Tilbury; official paper, "Rochester Post."

First Ward: Aldermen, F. T. Olds, A. Nelson; justice, Robt. Maffett; constable, Wm. Elliott.

Second Ward: Aldermen, C. Van Campen, O. S. Porter; justice, L. O. Benjamin; constable, J. H. Wagoner.

Third Ward: Aldermen, L. Price, N. J. Shannon; justice, S. W. Eaton; constable, N. Cole.

Board of Education: P. L. Dansingburg, C. C. Willson, G. L. M. Gjertsen, M. J. Daniels, Horace Cook.

1881-2.
Mayor, Samuel Whitten; city justice, S. W. Eaton; treasurer, H. I. A. Holmen; assessor, Geo. C. Cook; surveyor, Thomas Hunter; street commissioner, J. H. Wagoner; city attorney, W. Logan Brackenridge; recorder, Burt W. Eaton; marshal, Henry Kalb; assistant marshals, Horace Loomis, John Posz, W. H. Lesuer, John Miller, John Sullivan, A. T. Robinson; official paper, "Rochester Post."

First Ward: Aldermen, F. T. Olds, Amos Hyatt; justice, Robt. Maffett; constable, Geo. C. Sherman.

Second Ward: Aldermen, C. Van Campen, A. T. Stebbins; justice, L. 0. Benjamin; constable, none qualified.

Third Ward: Aldermen, L. Price, N. Shannon; justice, S. W. Eaton; constable, \V. H. McLard.

Board of Education: T. L. Fishback, P. L. Dansingburg, M. J. Daniels, G. L. M. Gjertsen, F. H. Allen.

1882-3.
Mayor, W. W. Mayo; city justice, L.O. Benjamin; treasurer, J. Bonham; assessor, Geo. C. Cook; surveyor, Thomas Hunter; street commissioner, Chas. Streeter; city attorney, W. Logan Brackenridge; city recorder, Burt W. Eaton; marshal, Henry Kalb; assistant marshals, W. H. Lesuer, John Posz, John Miller, John Sullivan, A. T. Robinson; official paper, "Record and Union."

First Ward: Aldermen, Amos Hyatt, Henry Schuster; justice, L. L. Eaton; constable, Geo. C. Sherman.

Second Ward: Aldermen, A. T. Stebbins, O. Olsen; justice, L. 0. Benjamin.

Third Ward: Aldermen, John Shannon, E. Chapman; justice, S. W. Eaton; constable, D. Wetherby.

Board of Education: T. L. Fishback, W. H. Dodge, M. J. Daniels, F. H. Allen, S. B. Howe.


In The City of Rochester
Source: History of Winona, Olmsted & Dodge Counties; H. H. Hill & Co. Publishers (1884) transcribed by Sandi King.

The territory of district No. 8, on which the city of Rochester now stands, was set off by the board of county commissioners, of which the late Col. Jas. George was chairman and Dr. J. N. McLane, clerk, on January 10, 1856. A meeting of the citizens was held not long afterward, and the organization of the district was effected by the election of three trustees and a clerk, in conformity with the law of that day. No records of this board have been preserved, and the writer has not been able to learn the names of all its members. Samuel G. Whiting, J. P. Gurr, now of Claremont, and Robert Welch, who passed over the silent river a few years since, completes the list so far as remembered by the oldest inhabitants. Mr. Gurr thinks the first school meeting was held in the log school house, to be spoken of hereafter.

The first school report on file in the auditor’s office reads as follows:
I hereby certify that the number of persons over the age of four and under the age of twenty-one years, in school-district No. 8, is 151.
Rochester, January 8, 1857. S. G. Whiting.

On the 4th of January, 1858, A. Smith, clerk, certifies that “six months school have been taught according to law, and there were 274 persons between four and twenty-one years residing in the district on the 31st of December, 1857.”

Section 11 of the old city charter placed the schools under the control of the common council. The first meeting of this body was held on the 20th of August, 1858. Up to this date Rochester was nothing more than an ordinary district. The city fathers were not long in finding out the fact that school taxes were delinquent and the district badly in debt. A committee which was appointed to confer with the old school-board reported that it would be necessary to levy a tax of a thousand dollars in addition to all possible collections of taxes then due, in order to liquidate the indebtedness of the district, then but three years old. The schools continued in charge of the council until the spring of 1864. An act to organize a board of education was approved March 4th of that year. It placed the educational affairs of the city in keeping of a board, to consist of one member from each ward and two from the city at large. The following list comprises the names of all persons elected from the date above.

School Commissioners:

1864

  D. N. Mason

1873

  C. S. Younglove

1864

  Chas.  Woodward

1873

  Wm. C. Rice

1864

  O. O. Baldwin

1874

  E. W. Cross

1864

  H. L. R. Jones

1874

  S. B. Clark

1864

  O. A.  Hadley

1875

  W. A. Allen

1865

  J. B. Clark

1875

  Frank H. Allen

1865

  David Lesuer

1876

  Wm. C. Rice

1865

  Hector Galloway

1876

  Abram Harkins

1866

  O. P.  Whitcomb

1877

  W. A. Allen

1866

  Horace Clark

1877

  S. B. Clark

1867

  C. H. Chadbourn

1878

  P. L. Dansingburg

1867

  W. W. Mayo

1878

  Horace Cook

1868

  O. P.  Whitcomb

1879

  C. M.  Start

1868

  J. B. Clark

1879

  G. L. M. Gjertson

1869

  Samuel J. Barlow

1880

  P. L. Dansingburg

1869

  Horace Clark

1880

  M. J. Daniels

1870

  E. W. Cross

1881

  T. L. Fishback

1870

  John Edgar

1881

  Frank H. Allen

1871

  C. S. Younglove

1882

  W. H. Dodge

1871

  J. P. Moulton

1882

  S. B. Howe

1872

  E. W. Cross

1883

  M. J. Daniels

1872

  John M. Cole

1883

  T. L. Fishback


Early Schools and Teachers
1856. To Samuel G. Whiting, a well known citizen of the county, who has always taken a deep interest in popular education, and to J. P. Gurr, an early merchant of Rochester, belong the honor of employing the first teacher, Mary E. Walker, whom they brought from Fillmore county as they were returning from Dubuque with a load of merchandise in the spring of 1856. Miss Walker taught twelve weeks in a log schoolhouse which stood just north of Line street, between Washington and Eagle, near the present residence of Mr. J. Bonham, in East Rochester, and hers was the only school for that year. She gave excellent satisfaction, and her name is often mentioned in the recital of our early school history by old settlers.

1857. Miss Walker was employed for three months during the winter of 1856-7. This second school was kept in the same place as the first. It may be proper to state, right here, that Miss Walker became the wife of L. B. Joslyn, of Cascade, and died some years since.

Miss Phebe Hoag and Miss Stedman taught the district schools during the following summer. Mrs. Melissa Brown opened the first private school in her own house on Prospect street, north of Fifth, in the winter named above. It was patronized by some of the leading citizens. Miss Evelyn Ireland, now Mrs. Crosby, instructed a few pupils at her residence during the summer of 1857, and Mr. J. Burnham had a select school in the log schoolhouse in the autumn.

1858. Reuben Reynolds, the first male teacher in the public school, assisted by Martha P. Cowles, taught in what is now known as the old court-house, in the winter of 1857-8, and Jennie Dumars and Theresa Kimball, during the summer thereafter. In the autumn Mr. C. F. Anderson opened the “Rochester Literary and
 


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