Rock County, Minnesota

Genealogy Trails History Group

Genealogy Trails History Group

Genealogy Trails History Group

Genealogy and History
Volunteers Dedicated to Free Genealogy

Towns and Townships

Ash Creek

Beaver Creek







History of Ash Creek

Transcribed from "The History of Rock County," By A. P. Rose, 1911.

The little village of Ash Creek, the first south of Luverne on the Doon extension of the Omaha railway, is one of the two Rock county hamlets in Clinton Township . The platted town is on section 23 of that precinct. Though it has never assumed proportions that would warrant its being set off as an independent municipality. Ash Creek has for many years justified its existence as a trading point and grain market for a rich farming community.

The building of the Doon branch and the subsequent location of a station on section 23, Clinton township were conditions undreamed of when Ash Creek was first plotted on the map as a country post office, the second post office established in the county. The southern part of Rock county, especially Clinton and Martin townships, were an early field for settlement. By the summer of 1871 the population of these two precincts exceeded that of all of the rest of the county, and a demand was made for better post office facilities. The only office in the county at that time was located at Luverne, and a trip to that point was much of an undertaking for a majority of the settlers living in southern Rock county in the day when ox teams were practically the only mode of conveyance.

The agitation for a second post office bore immediate fruit. Out of several applications for the office of postmaster, Mrs. L.B. Kniss was chosen and the office was established on the George W. Kniss homestead one half mile distant from the future Ash Creek station. The office was named for the creek flowing nearby. To members of the pioneer Estey family was given the naming of this stream. The incident of the christening, which occurred on Christmas day 1867, has been told in Colin Estey’s own words:

“In the forenoon Byron and I went to tend our traps. He had one set for a fox near where Saints Rest now stands and on that day he caught a coyote. Byron was about 8 years old then. As we went out to look at the traps we crossed (the) Rock River at a point about where M.C. Smiths ford was eventually located and followed up what is now known as Ash Creek. Byron, boy-fashion, asked the name of the creek and I told him it had no name and that he might name it. He looked the surroundings over carefully and said “Well, there is a lot of small Ash growing at the mouth , so I guess we will have to call it Ash Creek.” Next summer when the government surveyors were sectioninzing Rock county we gave the name into them and the stream has been so called ever since.”

The Ash Creek post office was located on the mail route connecting Luverne with Doon and LeMars Iowa which was first operated by Sam Bellesfield. Mrs. Kniss continued in charge of the office until 1873 when she removed from the locality and was succeeded as postmistress by Mrs. Susan M Brown who held the office for seven years.

So, Ash Creek, which nominally came into being in the early seventies, advanced no further than the country post office stage until about a dozen years later. Then it was thought the agency of the railroad that it was able to assume a more pretentious air.

The branch road from Luverne to Doon was built in 1879 , the first trains being operated in November. The rudiment of a station was established on what then was the Kniss and Brown farm on section 23, Clinton which was to develop gradually, but whith a certainty into the village of Ash Creek. The initial improvement in the town to be and the only one recorded for the year 1879, was a small grain warehouse erected by Truax and Co. This firm had extensive farming interests in the immediate vicinity and the warehouse was erected solely for the purpose of taking care of the products of its own farms. In the fall of 1880 a side track was constructed and a correspondent predicted

“ Mrs. Kniss has given some interesting statistics related to this early day post office: “Our local paper was then the Jackson Republic , as those who wished to prove up on their claims had to go to Jackson , the nearest land office, and so their names and their witnesses were published in the paper. A paper was also printed at Rock Rapids. There were six subscribers to the paper and nine to the Jackson Republic . The total number of regular subscription papers was twenty three and one magazine was taken by a patron of the office, although a great many were sent by friends in the east.”

That Ash Creek was about to shape itself into a metropolis. The extent of the subsequent building operations however was the erection of a second grain warehouse, 16 X 30 feet in size, put by E.A. Brown who at that time commence his successful career as a Rock county grain merchant. A box car was placed at the new station to answer the purposes of a depot building.

An event of the year 1882 promised great things for the embryo town. This was the sale of the Kniss and Brown farm upon which the station was located to Col. Alfred Grey, an English capitalist and a large owner of real estate in this section of the state and in Iowa .

Col Grey proposed to build a flourishing town at Ash Creek, to be the headquarters for his various interests, much after the English baronial system. A year elapsed before the promoter commenced the execution of his plan. A survey of a townsite was completed in August of 1883 by James P. Gilman and the dedication of the site was made September 6, 1883 by James B Close, Col. Grey’s agent. The plat included eight blocks. The owner was fully honored in the names bestowed upon the streets running east and west, which were Col Grey and Alfred. The intersecting streets were designated as First, Second, and Third.

Coincident with the platting, three dwellings, each a two story structure covering a ground space of 24 X 36 feet and three barns were built by col. Grey for the accommodation of the employees on his nearby farms. There was persistent talk of a store on the site but it remained for other than Grey interests to supply the want. J.T. Woodrow, whose store was completed in October 1884, was the first merchant and for a number of years the only one in Ash Creek. The Ash Creek post office was moved to the new store and Mr. Woodrow commissioned postmaster.

There was some progress during the half dozen years following the opening of the pioneer store. In 1885 the railroad company established stock yards at Ash Creek, and one year later erected a serviceable depot. Early in 1886 the believers in Ash Creeks future greatness became convinced that the dawn of a new era was at hand because of the proposed building of the Burlington Railroad from to Sioux Falls from Ellsworth. At an enthusiastic meeting held February 20, plans to induce the new railroad to change its route so as to pass through Ash Creek were considered. It was proposed to offer $15,000 as a bonus to secure this change of route, but the attempt to make of Ash Creek, a railroad center came to naught.

The Congregational Church Society, organized in the spring of 1889, erected a neat church edifice in the village the same year. The church, built at a cost of $1100 was dedicated Sunday February 9, 1890. Rev. William Fitch was the pastor at the time.

L.S. Walker succeeded to the business of J.T. Woodrow in the summer of 1888, a grist mill was established by C.A. Delamater in January 1890, but it continued in operation only a few months. The Ash Creek farm of 891 acres was sold by Col. Grey in 1891 to Ezra Rice and James H. Grey and this transfer was the commencement of better days for the humble village. The new owners were men intensely interested in the advancement of Rock county. Progress commenced at once. In September 1891, J.T. Fort, a blacksmith located in the town and E.A. Brown erected a second elevator. The year following, E.C. Palmer came from Sioux City and established a new store and lumber yard.

Ash Creek in more recent years has been added to gradually and at no particular period has experienced a boom or unnatural condition to force the extension of its limits. A creditable school building was erected in 1903. A public hall is maintained, and in the village are to be found residences that would do credit to a more pretentious community.
transcribed by G. Boomgaarden 2009

History of Beaver Creek

Transcribed from "The History of Rock County," By A. P. Rose, 1911.

0n the bank of the "roaring" Beaver creek, eight and one half miles southwest of the capital city of Rock county, is the little village of Beaver Creek, a, village which has played an important part in tho history of Rock county. Excepting Luverne, Beaver Creek is the oldest municipality in the county. Founded during the c1osng days of the great grasshopper devastation, it rapidly grew to a place of importance. And before it had reached years of discretion was contesting with Luverne for county seat honors. For a dozen years after its founding Beaver Creek continued til prosper, then came a bad fire, followed by the lean years of thc early nineties, and the town took a backward step, At one time its very existence was threatened by the establishment of a rival town a few miles away. Better times came, and during the last. decade Beaver Creek has advanced until it again takes rank among the progressive places of a prosperous county,.

Situated in the midst of a fine farming country that is thickly settled with an intelligent class of people. Beaver Creek has an exceptionally good, though limited trade territory. It is served by the Worthington-Mitchell branch of the Omaha railroad, of which road it was at one time the terminus. The village has substantial business houses and fine residences. as well as the public enterprises and institutions that make a community a desirable one in which to live.

The site on which Beaver Creek is located was recognized from the very earliest days as a desirable one on which to locate a town, and so as early as 1873 a plat for a town only a stone’s throw from the present village was surveyed, with the intention of founding a city. R. D. Buchanan, the promoter of a colony of New Yorkers who located in the vicinity, conceived the idea (and started to put into execution his plan) of founding a town at a point just southwest of the present village. During the month of May he had the site surveyed and promised the early founding of the founding of the town. Mr. Buchanan came out to Rock county with another colony in August, with the announced intention of giving his attention to the new enterprise, but that is the last mention in the local press we have of the city. Like many another city conceived in the western country in an early day, it “died abornin”.

Beaver Creek had its birth in the fall of 1877, and came into existence as a result of the extension of the Worthington and Sioux Falls (now the Omaha ) road to that point. The year before this road had been built from Worthington to Luverne and the survey extended westward to Sioux Falls . In August 1877, ex- governor Stephen Miller, then in the employ of the railroad company, began purchasing right of way for the road west of Luverne, work of constructing the line commenced in October, track laying was then was completed to the site of Beaver Creek early in December, and in the first part of January train service was established to the new station.

Before the line was completed to the site, however, the town of Beaver Creek had made its debut. Charles Williams, who owned a farm on section 28, Beaver Creek township, donated eighty acres of land to the railway company for town site purposes (reserving on block of the plat for himself), the selection of the site being announced about the middle of September. From the eighth to the eleventh day of October, inclusive. O. D. Brown, a surveyor was engaged in plating the town site for the Worthington and Sioux Falls railway company; the dedication was made October 27 by Horace Thompson and George A. Hamilton, secretary of the railway company, and the plat was filed in the office of the register of deeds October 30. The original plat consisted of 19 blocks. The name first proposed for the prospective town was Bishop, in honor of General J.W. Bishop, manager in chief of the Sioux City and St Paul railway lines, but before the plat was put on record the new town was named Beaver Creek, after the creek and township of that name.

History of Bruce

Transcribed from "The History of Rock County," By A. P. Rose, 1911.

On section 30, Martin township, two miles west of Hills, is located the Illinois Central station of Bruce. In addition to the depot, the business houses of the unpretentious hamlet are confined to a general store and two elevators. Bruce has known better days. At the time of its founding it gave promise of eventually taking high rank among the communities of Rock county. Its season of glory was short lived, however, and it was forced to bow to the stern decree of fate while yet an infant.

The first intimation of a Rock county town on the Martin township prairies was received in November 1887, when the Illinois Central authorities, whose railroad had just made entry into the county, located a station on J. H. Helgeson's farm, on section 30. Before December was over the company had built a side track on the site of the town to be, which it proposed to name Martin. The station bore that appellation only a few months, and then was christened Bruce, in honor of one of the chiefs officials of the Illinois Central.

Unlike some of Rock county's towns, there was no long lapse of time before it responded to the hopes of its sponsors. Activity began with a rush in Bruce during the first year of its existence, which was also the one of its fullest development. The survey of the town site was made in May, 1888, by J. F. Whalen. The plat, indicative of the expectation of the promoters, was made to include sixteen blocks. The dedication by John Butler and Charles E. Moore took place May 22 and the day following record was made in the office of the register of deeds.

The boom commenced at once. Hickey & Co. were the first on the ground and built a grain warehouse. The depot was erected about the same time, in the month of June, and G.B. Hartley was installed as the first agent. John Butler, one of the owners of the townsite, was especially active in the promotion of building operations. During the summer he erected a hotel, which was first conducted by M. McCarthy and later in the same year by Andrew Nelson: a store building, in which the first merchants, Fransen & Miller, were located; and a second warehouse, with a capacity of 30,000 bushels of grains. A second general store was established by Jacobson & Sexe before the year was over, as was also a blacksmith shop by Ole Lund. During the summer an attempt was made by George Bollinger to conduct a saloon in Bruce. He was refused the necessary license by the county commissioners, but proceeded, nevertheless, in violation of the law. This action led to his arrest and conviction in December.

The post office was established in the store of Jacobson & Sexe in 1888. J. N. Jacobson conducted the office as deputy until September, 1889, when he was regularly commissioned postmaster. Bruce progressed to a noticeable degree during the second year of life.

Early in the spring of 1890 the existence of Bruce was threatened, because of the founding of the town of Hills, two miles away at the intersection of the Illinois Central with the new Sioux City & Northern railroad. It became evident to the business men of Bruce that their interests were certain to suffer in competition with the rival favored by a more strategic location. In February the hotel closed its doors and March witnessed the removal across the fields of Bruce's leading business establishment, the Jacobson & Sexe store, as well as the blacksmith shop. What few buildings remained in the once promising community of Bruce were deserted.

But Bruce refused to entirely forfeit its lease of life. There were a few signs of activity during 1890, but none of a nature that assured a regeneration. J. N. Jacobson, upon moving to Hills, resigned as postmaster of Bruce, and was succeeded in May by F.T. Miller. Mr. Miller laid plans for the opening of a general store but did not put them into execution. A store was established however, by Hans N. Kjergaard. Postmaster Miller served only a few months in that capacity and withdrew in favor of Mr. Kjergaard, who has ever since held the office. For six months during 1890 Bruce came into prominence as a wholesale center. Two liquor firms, Hickey & Mecknemar and the North Star Drug Company, which were forced from South Dakota by prohibition laws, located for business at Bruce, the first town over the state line, but their career was run within a s short period.

All later efforts to "boost" Bruce have ended in failure. During the spring of 1893, N.T. Burroughs, of Cherokee, Iowa, who was interested in the townsite, proposed to once more establish the place on a firm footing. But the hopes thus awakened never saw fulfillment. A year prior to this the two grain warehouses at Bruce became the property of Edmonds & Londergan, and were converted into elevators. Disaster visited Bruce on the morning of October 16, 1900, when fire destroyed the Illinois Central depot, which was later rebuilt on a smaller scale.

The town of Bruce is today virtually controlled by one man, Hans J. Kjergaard, who is postmaster, only merchant, propietor of the two elevators, stock buyer and station agent. He was one of the few who refused to leave Bruce in the day of its crisis, and largely through his determination to stay, Bruce has maintained its place on the map.

Bruce, the new station in Rock county, Minnesota, midway between Sioux Falls and Rock Rapids, has been platted and no doubt will be a town of two hundred souls before the leaves begin to fall.--Rock Rapids Reporter, May, 1888

The little town of Bruce on the Sioux Falls branch of the Illinois Central, in Martin township, Rock county, is about depopulated on account of its people moving, bag and baggage, over to Hills, the new town on the Northern named after the general manager of the road. Hills is about a mile and a half east of Bruce, and the only blacksmith shop, grain buying establishment and general store in Bruce have been moved to Hills. The post office will probably follow in short order.--Sioux City Journal, March, 1900

History of Hardwick

Transcribed from "The History of Rock County," By A. P. Rose, 1911.

According to the last census figures (1910), Hardwick ranks third in size among Rock county villages. It is a compactly built, neat appearing, prosperous little municipality located nine miles north of the county seat, at the junction of tow lines of the Rock Island railroad. Otherwise described, it is in the southeast corner of Denver township, the platted portion of the village being on sections 26 and 35. Like Hills, it is a comparatively new town but has outstripped some of the older places in the county.

As a town, Hardwick's history dates back only to the year 1892, but the actual history of the place began several years before that time. Prior to the fall of 1884 the site of the present village was unoccupied by human habitation, and the honor of erecting the first building on the site belongs to a young Norwegian emigrant, Knute Taamasgaard by name. At that time Mr. Taamasgaard, who was employed on the farm of Otter Otterson, make "squatters" settlement on the land in question and constructed a diminutive dug out and sod shanty, in which he and his wife resided about two years.

On the eleventh day of September, 1884 the tracklayers of the Burlington railroad, building from the south, reached the site of the present town. Rumors at once became rife regarding the establishment of stations on the new road between Luverne and Pipestone. During the month of September it was announced that one station would be located near Poplar creek in Pipestone county, to be named Trosky and another on Otter Otterson's farm, the northwest quarter of section 26, Denver township, to be called Denver. During the next month the town lot company connected with the Burlington road started the town of Trosky, but no steps were taken towards the building of the village in Denver township, the name of which, it was announced in October was to be changed to Jasper. Although land for the depot grounds was deeded to the company, by Mr. Otterson, the officials took no action in regard to founding the new station during 1884.

The people of northern Rock county, being long distances from the market, were anxious for the opening of a station at some point along the line. The railway officials taking no action during the summer of 1885, the residents of Denver, Rose Dell, and Mound townships circulated a petition in August, asking that the Burlington officials establish a station on Otter Otterson's farm, the location previously selected. The petition was signed by sixty nine settlers. Within a few days after it was presented, on August 19, 1885, E.S. Ellsworth, the Burlington townsite agent, came to the site and under his direction a section house was built on Mr. Otterson's farm. Mr. Otterson was employed by the railway company to look after the shipment of grain from that point, and that was the extent of the preparations for founding a town at that time. The matter of platting a townsite was under consideration by the authorities for a few weeks, but no action was taken.

Rumors of the establishment of the station were revived in the spring of 1886, but no action was taken until the fall of that year. In October the station was definitely located on the line between sections 35 and 26 and a side track was constructed. In November a depot platform, 16 X 20 feet was built, but the station was not named or put on the time card of the company until late. The grain buying firm of Cudahay & Butler bought grain at the new station that season. In the spring of 1887 the station was named Hardwick, in honor of J.L. Hardwick, the master builder of the Burlington road, and the next fall it was placed on the railroad time table. Otter Otterson bought grain and stock for E.A. Brown, who had succeeded to the business at the new station during the season of 1887, and did a thriving business.

There was practically no change at the station during the next few years. Otter Otterson continued buying grain for E.A. Brown and later John Otterson bought for the Iowa, Minnesota and Dakota Grain company, which succeeded Cudahay & Butler. In 1889 Engebret Olson opened a small blacksmith shop on what is now the northeast corner of block four of the original plat, and he continued in business until after the founding of the town.

Several items of importance occurred during 1891. That year John Otterson erected the first building of permanent character in Hardwick. It is the building on the lower end of Main street now occupied as a restaurant, and was occupied by Mr. Otterson as a residence; when the post office was established it was opened in this building. During the summer the depot was put up and it was opened September 1 with William Littel in charge. Early in the year the farmers in the vincinity petittioned for the establishment of a post office at Hardwick, and in December the office was put in operation with John Otterson as postmaster.

By this time Hardwick had developed into an exceptionally good grain market, and toward the close of the year came the announcement that the following year would see the founding of the town, with stores, shops, and other enterprises that make a town.

Almost with the beginning of the year 1892 came the first business men to start the new enterprises. In February Herman Lenz, a farmer residing in the neighborhood, completed a small store building and put in a stock of general merchandise. The next mont A.A. Walvatne erected a building adjoining Mr. Lenz, in which Thomas Trenhaile opened the second general store. Before the spring was over Engebret Olson moved his blacksmith shop closer to the new village and William Olson came from Larchwood Iowa and opened a shop in opposition; T. Staven came from Trosky and built a wagon shop: John Scharnberg erected a hotel and a little later opened a saloon in connection. During the summer Henry Melarchy opened a meat market: John H. Dressen erected a building and started the town's third general store: John Niemer started the first livery barn. During the fall J.C. Johnston & Co. erected sheds and office building and started a lumber yard, under the management of Dunk Wills: a new grain buying firm appeared; John Otterson added flour and feed to his stock of fuel; a school house was erected; and several of the new comers built residences. The first child born in the village was a son born to Mr. and Mrs. John Otterson on June 20.

At the close of the year 1892 we find that there were in the new town three general stores, one hotel, one lumber yard, one fuel yard, two grain houses, two blacksmith shops, one saloon, and one livery stable. Within the year Hardwick had developed into a hustling little village. The list of building improvements for 1892 as reported by the local press was as follows;

John Scharnberg, hotel.........$3000
School building.................1000
J.H. Dressen, store building...1000
Herman Lenz, store building...1000
Thomas Trenhail, residence.....800
H.T. Holverson, livery barn.....800
W.E. Littel, residence..............650
J.C. Johnston & Co. lumber sheds and office... 600
A.A. Walvatne, store building... 500
William Olson, blacksmith shop ... 500
Charles Anderson, residence....400
J.B. Reed, residence.................300
E. Olson, blacksmith shop........300
Henry Melarchy, butcher shop, 200

The survey of the townsite was made September 1 and 2, 1892, by W.N. Davidson. The dedication was made September 12 by A.A. Walvatne and A.W. Sleeper, and the instrument was filed for record September 24. The original plat consisted of only four blocks. The streets east and west were named First, Main, and Third; north and south the site was divided by Summit street.

The founding of new enterprises, continued during the early part of 1893. A building was erected and a bank founded, under the management of D.J. Hawley, who in May was succeeded by George O. Ross; D.J. Stoakes opened a hardware store; the first grain elevator was erected by Otter Otterson; Hauger & Sackett put up a building and opened a feed mill. Thereafter for several years there was a little advancement in Hardwick. The town maintained an excellent grain market, and hundreds of carloads were shipped each year; the few business houses were well supported and the village continued to hold its own with the neigboring hamlets during the lean years of the middle nineties. A directory published in the fall of 1898 showed the following business enterprises; J.B. Iverson, Hulett Brothers & Co. and Heckt brothers, general merchandise; Q. Stark, hardware; Stephen Brothers, meat market; J.C. Johnston & Co., lumber yard, L.M. Larson, manager; T.O. Tollefson, livery, grain, and livestock; August Stroebeen, Hardwick Hotel, Hardwick Elevator company, grain; Holverson & Jargo, grain; E.A. Brown, grain and live stock; Davenport Milling company, grain, J. Case, manager; A.T. Martinak, restaurant; T.F. Lange, barber shop; Engebret Olson, blacksmith shop; John Overland, blacksmith shop; August Stroebeen, saloon; P. E. Matthieson, saloon.

Hardwick became a municipal corporation in 1898. So early in its history as 1893, however, the first attempt to bring about this desired condition was made. On July 20, 1893, a petition was presented to the board of county commissioners, asking it to take the necessary steps to bring about the incorporation of ten sqaure miles of territory as the village of Hardwick, it being necessary to take in that much territory to secure the number of inhabitants required by law. The commissioners refferred the matter to the county attorney, who held that the facts set forth in the petition did not satisfy the requirements of the law, and the county board refused to grant the petition. the residents of Hardwick employed A.J. Daley as their attorney and secured an alternate writ of mandamus from the district court, demanding that the commissioners either grant the petition or show cause in court why it should not be granted. At the hearing, which was set for August 4, Judge Brown quashed the writ, upholding the action of the county board, and Hardwick continued under the local government of Denver township.

The matter of incorporating was again taken up in the fall of 1898 and on October 7 the county commissioners called a special election to be held October 10, to decide the matter. Out of a total of thirty seven votes, twenty six were in favor of and eleven against incorporating the four southeast corner sections of Denver township into the village of Hardwick. The first village officers were chosen at another election on October 25 and soon thereafter Hardwick began its municipal career. Following is a list of those elected to office during its history.

1898-President, J.B. Iverson; Trustees, H.T. Holverson, James P. Kennedy, John Overland; recorder, George O. Ross; treasurer, L.M. Larson; Justices, William Ross, F.W. Case; constables, C. J. Moe, Thomas Kennedy.

1899-President, J.B. Iverson; trustees, H.T. Holverson, James P. Kennedy, John Overland; recorder, L.M. Larson; treasurer, George O. Ross; justices, J.F. LaDou, William Ross; constables, Thomas Kennedy, D.J. Stoakes.

1900-President, J.B. Iverson; trustees, H.T. Holverson, James P. Kennedy, F.W. Case; recorder, J.D. Thompson; treasurer, L.M. Larson; justice, Thomas Trenhaile; constable, Thomas Kennedy.

1901-President, J.B. Iverson; trustees, H.T. Holverson, James P. Kennedy, Q. Stark; recorder, J.D. Thompson; treasurer, L.M. Larson; justices, Thomas Trenhaile, F.W. Case; constables, Thomas Kennedy, H. Schroder.

1902-President, W.T. Berry; trustees, R.A. Heckt, F.W. Case, John Overland; recorder, J.D. Thompson; treasurer, L. M. Larson; justice, William Ross; constable, E.I. Harding.

1903-President, Q. Stark; trustees, R.A. Heckt, D.J. Stoakes, James P. Kennedy; recorder, H.T. Holverson; treasurer, L. M. Larson; justice, A.H. Higley; constables, Thomas Kennedy, C.J. Moe.

1904-President, Q. Stark; trustees, James P. Kennedy, D. J. Stoakes, L. M. Larson; recorder, H.T. Holverson; treasurer, R.A. Heckt; justice, William Ross; constable, Thomas Kennedy.

1905-President, E.C. Heckt; trustees, John Overland, Otto Barenquest, F.W. Case; recorder, A.J. Hemmings; treasurer, R.A. Heckt; justice, O.E. Fellows; constable, William Ryan.

1906-President, H.T. Holverson; trustees, John Overland, Adolph Carl, F.W. Case; recorder, T.S. Hartley; treasurer, R.A. Heckt; justices, M.L. Wahlert, ET. Thorson; constables, W.T. Murray, O. Bakka.

1907-President, H. T. Holverson; trustees, John Overland, R.A. Heckt, James P. Kennedy; recorder, D. J. Ross; treasurer, E.C. Heckt; justices, T. O. Tollefson, T.S. Hartley; constables, Emil Paustian, Will Mannigel.

1908-President, James P. Kennedy; trustees, Thomas Trenhaile, D.J. Stoakes, R.A. Heckt; recorder, H.T. Holverson; treasurer, E.C. Heckt; justice, E.T. Thorson; constable, Albert Sodeman.

1909-President, James P. Kennedy; trustees, Thomas Trenhaile, D.J. Stoakes, R.A. Heckt; recorder, H.T. Holverson; treasurer, E.C. Heckt; justices, P.T. Petersen, W.F. Ihde; constables, W.T. Murray, Emil Paustian.

1910-President, James P. Kennedy; trustees, D.J. Stoakes, F.G. Hartley, O.H. Gravatt; recorder, H.T. Holverson; treasurer, E.C. Heckt; justice, P.T. Petersen; constable, W.T. Murrary.

1911-President, James P. Kennedy; trustees, T.S. Hartley, O.H. Gravatt, J.H. Johnson; recorder, J. B. Iverson; treasurer, E.C. Heckt; assessor, M.L. Wahlert; justices, P.T. Peterson, H.T. Holverson; constables, W.T. Murray, Henry Hoffman.

With the prosperous times in the country a decade ago Hardwick kept pace and made rapid strides forward. The town's second railroad, the branch from Worthington, was completed in 1900. The federal census of that year gave the village a population of 259. A system of water works was installed by the village in that year at a cost of $1590. The year 1901 was an exceptionally active one in building operations. The village authorities purchased shade trees, with which they lined the streets and otherwise made arrangements for making a "city beautiful". Each year witnesed an increase in the business blocks and residences erected. Several brick blocks were put up in 1905, and later most of the board walks of the town were replaced with cement. A city hall was erected in 1908.

The Hardwick of today (1911) differs vastly from the site a quarter of a century ago, when the few people residing in northern Rock county were vainly endeavoring to have the railroad company do something in regard to locating a town on section 26. The growth of this town vividly illustrates the changes that have occurred in northern Rock county during the last twenty five years. The population of Hardwick in 1910 was 292, a substantial gain over former enumerations.

History of Kanaranzi

History of Kanaranzi
Transcribed from "The History of Rock County," By A. P. Rose, 1911.

Numbered among the half dozen smaller villages of Rock county is Kanaranzi, named after the township within which it is located. Stated specifically, it is situated on the southeast quarter of section 3, seven miles from the county seat on the Watertown-Ellsworth branch of the Rock Island railroad. The business town consists of a store, elevators and shops that derive their support from the agricultural country adjoining.

The building of the Burlington railroad into Rock county in 1884 brought with it the possibility of new towns, and among the places to materialize was the station in Kanaranzi township. The grading of the proposed line was hardly commenced before there were negotiations between the railroad authorities and representatives of the farmers and landowners of Kanaranzi township in regard to locating a town, which it was expected would satisfy a long felt want for a more convenient market.

But a whole year was allowed to pass before the agitators hopes were realized. In August, 1885, the townsite company connected with the railroad took action. A survey was made during that month by LeRoy Grant, from which a town plat of nine blocks was made. The dedication occurred September 28, 1885, and on October 14 the instrument was placed on record. The land on which the town was located was originally the property of Charles Thompson.

No sooner was the town to be laid out than activity in its promotion became evident. The first to build on the site was A. E. Patterson, who completed a grain warehouse about the first of September, 1885. Ezra Rice put up the second grain house later in the same month, which was opened for business with Thomas Ganfield in charge. The depot was also erected during the fall of 1885, but it was not until October 18, 1886, that the station was formally opened. G. T. Bandy, formerly of Cazenovia, was installed as agent. A number of residences covered the improvements of the latter year. Mr. Bandy became Kanaranzi's first postmaster, assuming charge at the opening of the office on January 28, 1887. As a result of the heavy wind storm on August 2, 1887, Kanaranzi was for a time with only one grain warehouse, the establishment of E.A. Brown who had succeeded A.E. Patterson, suffering complete destruction. It was immediately rebuilt. In October, 1887, a correspondent boasted for the town two grain buyers, a newly established stock yard and a photographer.

Kanaranzi was without a mercantile establishment for the first three years of its existence. The first store opened by C. Northrup and E. Milne in a building they erected early in October, 1888. Several months later this firm sold to G. T. Bandy, the station agent, who during the season of 1889 also engaged in the lumber business. Mr. Bandy disposed of his interests in 1891 to Elias Blakeslee, who in June succeeded him as postmaster.

With the addition of a lumber yard, blacksmith shop and saloon late in the year 1892, Kanaranzi reached the high point in its development. The last two decades have changed but little the appearance of the village, but it has experienced all the healthful tendencies of improvement which a community of its size can exhibit. A substantial school building was erected in the village in 1899.

A history of the K.D.U.V. Hall at Kanaranzi

Also known as "The Dutch Hall"
Transcribed from the Ellsworth Centennial Book

A unique institution in this part of the country was the KDUV Hall at Kanaranzi. KDUV are the initials of Kanaranzi German Unbeholfen Association. The German word, unbeholfen translates awkwardly but its usage with the word Verein indicates mutual helpfulness. The association was organized in 1902 by German farmers in the neighborhood of Kanaranzi soon after they moved here from Davenport, in Scott county Iowa. The purpose of the organization was to promote wholesome good fellowship on holidays, anniversaries and similar festive occasions. It was an exclusive society in one respect, “Only people within a nine mile radius could be members”, according to Joe Kraetsch, whose uncle was a charter member. For the first 16 years KDUV remained a restricted society. The members were of German extraction. The by laws were printed in German. The society members, in true German fashion, quaffed beer by the barrel in the basement. But in 1918, because of prevailing anti-German sentiment the name was changed and the by laws printed in English. Gradually, it became more of a public hall and people came from all over to the parties and dances at the KDUV. The decade after World War I and the Depression years of the 1930’s were the years of the big public dances. Crowds, longing to forget the anxieties of the war and hard times, thronged to “The Dutch Hall” to dance to the music of Tiny Little, Al Menke, Mandy’s Jazz Kings, and a host of other well known bands. Not least among these was the radio broadcast band of Lawrence Welk and his accordian band.

In 1952 KDUV observed its 50th anniversary with a community celebration to honor the ten living charter members.

“That was about the last thing we ever did there”, Joe Kraetsch recalled. “Then the state cracked down and said we had to have inside plumbing and running water and screens on every window and a policeman at dances. It finally got to be too much. Out here in the country you cant keep up a place like that. Everyone finally quit.”

The long nosed “Feinschmeckers” from St. Paul, oblivious to the lights in their own bailiwick, but so assiduous in acting on the shortcomings of the KDUV had won the day. The KDUV closed its doors.

So cracked the heart of a noble institution. The Dutch Hall, battered, decayed, and dismantled, but still symbolic of so much that is good and fine in man’s relationship to his fellow man, is no more. Farm crops grow over the site where for half a century came the sounds of laughter, music and children at play.

The Kanaranzi German Social Club commenced the erection of a fine new hall and club house the first of this week just a mile south of that village. The building will be 40 by 50 feet with a wing 48 by 20. The main part will be used for a dance hall and the wing will be a dining hall and kitchen. Three thousand dollars will be expended for the building. The club consists of between forty and forty five members, mostly farmers in that vicinity.

Dances and social gatherings will take place about twice a month and our German friends out that way expect to enjoy life in their new club house. Peter Lundblom is doing the mason work this week.
July 1902
Ellsworth News

The opening dance at the German Hall near Kanaranzi was a great success. The Condon Orchestra furnished music for the occasion.
November 1902
Worthington Globe

History of Kenneth

Transcribed from "The History of Rock County," By A. P. Rose, 1911.

Located on the line between sections 1 and 2, Vienna township, on the Worthington-Hardwick branch of the Rock Island railroad, seven miles southeast from Hardwick, is Kenneth, the youngest of Rock county's towns. Although it was the last to come into existence, it has outdistanced some of the other villages, and today is the largest of the county's unincorporated towns. Since its founding, Kenneth has been distinguished as a leading grain market and derives it support from a rich farming section. It is well supplied with the various business enterprises that go to make a prosperous country community.

Kenneth came into being as a direct result of the building of the Burlington road extension from Worthington to Hardwick, during the year 1899-1900, and was one of the four towns, three of which were located in Nobles county, that were created by this agency a decade ago. Plans for the new town of Kenneth were in the making for several months before the rails were laid to the proposed location. The track layers reached Lismore, the nearest station on the east, June 9, 1900, and from that point continued their way westward into Rock county, passing through the Kenneth town site during the month of July and reaching the terminus at Hardwick on the 4th day of August.

Before the spring of 1900 opened, negotiations were under way by T. H. Brown & Co., the town site company connected with the Burlington road, for the purpose of a desirable site for the new town it had been decided to establish in Vienna township. The deal as finally closed in April for the promoters by their agent, J. A. Kennicott, resulted in the transfer of twenty acres on sections 1 and 2. It was decided at that time to name the town Kenneth for the eldest son of Mr. Kennicott, in recognition of that gentleman's efforts in the company's behalf.

The town site was surveyed by county surveyor W. N. Davidson, the dedication was made by Thomas H. Brown July 20, 1900, and the papers filed for record ten days later, on July 30. The plat created from this survey formed the town into four blocks. The streets running east and west were named First, Second, and Third, and intersected by First Avenue west, Main avenue, and First Avenue east. A second plat of Kenneth was surveyed by W. N. Davidson for Andrew Messner on April 2, 1902. This survey was filed for record in May, 1902. No additions to the original town site have been platted.

Simultaneous with the arrival of the connecting iron band to the undeveloped town site of Kenneth, during the latter part of July, 1900, building operations were commenced and the town assured of a reality. Before the month of August had passed three elevators had been completed and were prepared to handle the season's business. The three grain firms initially represented were Bemis & Howard, Ryan & Berg and E. A. Brown.

Although the greater part of the year 1900 was over before activity in the promotion of the new town was commenced, it saw the establishment of a number of enterprises. Early in October James A. Palmer opened his saloon. The pioneer merchant and first postmaster was J. L. Hogan. He was not long to have an unopposed field in the general merchandise business, for during the winter A.D. Parker became a resident of Kenneth and established a second general store. Mr. Parker at once erected a building, 60 X 22 feet in size, to house his business. About the same time the firm of Trotter & Trotter, hardware dealers, commenced business. The St. Croix Lumber company, during the same season, established a branch yard in Kenneth and installed Frank Linderwood (?) as agent. The depot was also erected in 1900, and James Costello became the first station agent.

The year of 1901 was one of substantial improvement. The town's first blacksmith, E.M. Newell, came from Edgerton in February, erected a shop and was ready to serve his patrons by the twentieth of the month. Thomte & Johnson were on the ground in March and commenced the erection of a livery barn. In the course of the next month the same firm saw a hotel building, a two story structure, 24 X 50 feet in size, well under way. The hostelry was opened the second week in May. The first sidewalk in the town was constructed in eary April. Another business enterprise was added to the village during the same month by Walter Bemis, one of the grain buyers, who engaged in the farm implement business in connection with his other interests. The first dwelling house in the village was brought to completion early in May and was occupied by Section Forman Solen. This was only the beginning of other improvements of the same nature that were consummated during the course of the year.

A visitor to Kenneth, writing in the Rock County Herald of May 3, 1901, pictures the condition of the flourishing hamlet at that date:

"Unostentatiously, but none the less surely, a new town, small but enterprising, has grown up in Rock county and gives promise of many good things in the future, greater growth, population, business and importance. One year ago Kenneth, Minnesota had no existence, today it is a bustling burg with every equipment for transformation into a city. Peopled by enterprising, thrifty and progressive citizens, its business enterprises in the hands of public spirited and far sighted men, and surrounded by a rich and productive agricultural country, Kenneth enters the list of Rock county towns with every promise of growth and prosperity. Where one year ago was but a fertile field are now two well stocked general merchandise stores, a hardware store, a commodious hotel, a lumber yard, a blacksmith shop, three elevators, livery stable, restaurant, two dray lines, a farm machinery and implement business, all housed in handsome and substantial buildings."

There was a marked and steady growth throughout the whole of 1901. The population of the village had reached a point where the erection of a commodious two story school building became advisable and the building was completed late in the year. The business interests of the young town continued to prosper, and a number of enterprises were added. Among these was a bank, and institution much desired. The bank opened for business July 1 in the A.D. Parker building, with Mr. Parker in charge. In September the town was supplied with a physician, Dr. Van Krevelen, formerly of Holland, moved to Kenneth and opened a drug store which he conducted in connection with his practice. A number of new business buildings were brought to completion during the season of 1901.

The question of the incorporation of Kenneth became an issue in 1902. The substantial and increasing growth of the town, together with the splendid material advancement that it had been privileged to enjoy during the short time of its existence, seemed in the eyes of the town's businessmen to justify the desire to assume the privileges and obligations of local self government. Several obstacles confronted the promoters of the plan for incorporating. It was found necessary to extend the bounds of the proposed corporation for a number of miles in each direction of the village in order to secure the population required by law before any village is entitled to form itself into an independent municipality. There was considerable opposition to the scheme, especially by farmers whose lands it was proposed to include within the corporation. A petition was signed by A.D. Parker and thirty seven others, asking for the incorporation of Kenneth, was presented to the board of county commissioners and was considered by that body at its regular meeting on December 19, 1902. A petition of remonstrance signed by B. Halverson and seventeen others was submitted to the commissioners on the same occasion, and the matter was brought to a focus. Both sides to the controversy were represented by authorized representatives and arguments for and against incorporation were made. The board ordered that the petition be referred to the county attorney for his opinion as to its legality, especially in regard to the quantity of territory which had been included.

The matter was brought to a conclusion at the meeting of the commissioners on January 8, 1903, when a request signed by twelve of those interested in the proposed incorporation, asking for a withdrawal of their original petition, was presented. Although no later attempt has been made to bring about the incorporation of Kenneth, there is every reason to believe that in the near future the town of Vienna township will be in a condition to successfully inaugurate such a movement.

Kenneth's growth has been slow but substantial. It experienced a setback during the years 1903 and 1904 because of the destruction, by hail and rains, to the crops in that section which finds its market in Kenneth. Since that time, however, the town has maintained its own and is still unsurpassed as a grain market and trading point.

Kenneth's school history began almost with the founding of the town. In April, 1901, a petition asking for the creation of a new school district to include the town of Kenneth was favorably acted upon by the board of county commissioners.

Following this action, on May 2, a meeting of the citizens of Kenneth was held and the organization of the district perfected.

B. Halverson was elected director, J.L.Hogan clerk and George Watson, treasurer. At a meeting held later in the same month it was voted to raise $2500 for the erection of a school building. The edifice, two stories in height, 28 X 40 feet, was erected by Hackett & Robinson, of Luverne, and was completed in time for the opening of the winter term on December 6, 1901. School opened on that date with Nellie Morse as teacher and with an enrollment of thirty two pupils.

Two church organizations are maintained in Kenneth, the Catholic and Evangelical Lutheran, and both possess church edifices. The Catholic church building, which formerly occupied a site in Lismore township, Nobles county, was moved to Kenneth early in 1903. The Evangelical Lutheran church was erected during the season of 1907.

The Kenneth State Bank is an outgrowth of a private institution which began business July 1, 1901, as the bank of Kenneth, with R.B. Hinkly, president, and A.D. Parker, cashier. The bank erected a building of its own during the summer of 1903. The Kenneth State Bank, following the reorganization, commenced business July 10, 1907, with capital stock of $12,000. The incorporators were Andrew Messner, A.D. Parker, John Engebretson, John Wonderle, L.W. Johnson, Chris. Haiback, B. Halverson, Kittil Olson and L. Kreun. The first officers and board of directors consisted of Andrew Messner, president; B. Halverson, vice president; A.D. Parker, cashier; John Engebretson, assistant cashier; Chris Haiback.

History of Manley

Transcribed from "The History of Rock County," By A. P. Rose, 1911.

Manley, a village without a resident is the least of all the points entitled to a place on the map of Rock county. Located on the southeast quarter of section 35, in the fraction of Beaver Creek township, at the intersection of the Omaha with the Great Northern railway, it is has been town. At present it is not even distinguished as a railroad station, despite its favorable location. Its sole enterprise is a grain elevator, conducted during a certain portion of the years. Time was when Manley occupied a more prominent position in affairs. The Sioux City & Northern railroad (later to become a part of the Great Northern system) building throughout the county in 1889, simultaneously located tow towns in Rock county, Hills and Manley (Originally known as Hornick). Both were placed at intersections of the new line with roads already in operation. Of the two towns the greater hopes for future prominence were centered in Manley. The turn of events proved the contrary. At the time the railroad was laying its course through the county substantial inducements were offered by the residents of both Beaver Creek and Valley Springs (SD) to include their respective towns on the route. But instead of accepting such offers, the town site promoters connected with the new road entertained visions of a small city at the junction of the Sioux City & Northern with the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha, a city that would reach out and absorb both Beaver Creek and Valley Springs. A quarter section of land, for which was paid $4000, was bought of E. M. Percival in September, to be laid out into the town site of Hornick. The survey was made under the direction of L. K. Bowman. Ten blocks were included in the original plat, which was dedicated October 25, 1889, by E.W. Skinner, and recorded on November 7. The Sioux City & Northern erected a depot building early in November and laid out stock yards, and before the station was given a place on the company's time table, the name was changed from Hornick to Manley, in honor of W.P. Manley, who was cashier of the Security National Bank, of Sioux City, and one of the leading stockholders of the Sioux City & Northern company. At this early stage of Manley's development an invitation was extended to both Beaver Creek and Valley Springs to join forces with the new town, before circumstances should force such a procedure. The boom that was expected to eventuate in 1890 did not materialize so fully as anticipated. In April an elevator was erected by C. N. Bell, of St. Paul, and F.C. Bell was placed in charge. After much bargaining, L. K. Lee was induced to build a roller mill at Manley. The enterprise was launched early in August. Late in July a post office was established and Miss Mary E. McCallen appointed post mistress. The office was housed in a small building erected for the purpose. To encourage the development of the town the town site owners extensively advertised and held an auction sale of town lots that resulted successfully so far as their pockets were concerned. The sale was held on July 30, 1890. For the occasion a free excursion train was run from Sioux City, which carried prospective investors, the majority of whom were laboring men. It was reported that 588 persons were entertained by the company on the day of the sale and that seventy five lots were sold. The many promises of building projects that were made before the wholesale disposal of lots were not fulfilled. The activities of the year 1890 from the first of August may be summarized: A small bottling works was put in operation; several small residences, one by E. M. Percival and another by Mr. Sturtevant, were erected; the first and only store in the town was established by H.H. Loeffler in December; the firm of Rood Bros. engaged in the fuel business and stock buying; an ice house with a storage capacity of 160 tons was completed by Albert Johnson in December. There were a few additions to Manley in 1891. John Butler erected a 24 X 50 feet grain warehouse in time for the fall season, and in December a blacksmith and wagon maker located in the town. The Manley mill was closed in March, 1892, and from that time the decline of the junction city was rapid, while Beaver Creek and Valley Springs continued to prosper. In the course of the next few years every industry in the town, with the exception of the grain elevators, were withdrawn. The store building and the few residences remained unoccupied for a period and were eventually moved away. A fire on the morning of October 8, 1901, destroyed one of the two elevators, entailing a loss of $2500. In 1901 the station was closed but was later reopened for a period. No agent is maintained at Manley at the present time.

History of Steen

Transcribed from "The History of Rock County," By A. P. Rose, 1911.

In the list of Rock county's unincorporated villages Steen ranks among the foremost, both in size and importance. It is located on the northwest quarter of section 32, Clinton township, near the southern boundary of the county, and is a station on the line of the Illinois Central railroad connecting Sioux Falls with Chicago. Steen makes no pretense of metropolitan greatness but is content with being a prosperous and substantially built hamlet, surrounded by a rich farming country. Several lines of business are represented, including a bank, general store, hardware store, drug store, furniture store, hotel, blacksmith shop, harness shop, pool hall, lumber yard, two elevators, livery barn, fuel dealer and stock buyers. The town also has a town hall, two churches and a first grade public school, employing two teachers.

The land on which the town of Steen is located was taken as a homestead in 1871 by John P. Steen. A brother, Ole P. Steen, filed a homestead claim to the quarter section adjoining the year before, and it was in honor of these two pioneers that the village was given its permanent name.

The last few years of the eighties witnessed the founding of three towns in southern Rock county as a direct result of the construction of the two new lines of railroad, the Illinois Central and the Sioux City & Northern. Included in this number was Steen, or Virginia, as it was originally known, on the Illinois Central, which commenced laying rails on the extension from Rock Rapids to Sioux Falls in September, 1887. The station of Bruce, seven miles to the west in Martin township, was the first of these to be located, the site being selected in December.

Early in the year 1888 the Illinois Central authorities announced their intention to plat and develop a town on the line between Bruce and Rock Rapids, in Clinton township. A number of the residents of that precinct at once became interested in the project and lent their assistance in its furtherance. It was the offer of John P. Steen to donate twenty acres of his homestead for town site purposes that influenced the railroad company so as to permit the operation of the first passenger train on June 2, 1888. In the course of the same month the town site of Virginia was surveyed by J. F. Whalen. The plat, made to comprise thirteen blocks, was dedicated on June 13 by N. T. Burroughs, president and W. A. Sanford, secretary, of the Cherokee & Western Town Lot & Land company, and it was placed on record September 3.

The farm house of John P. Steen was the only building on the Virginia town site prior to the activities of the railroad company at that point. No sooner had the survey been completed than work was commenced on a depot building and a flat grain warehouse, and before the summer of 1888 was over there were signs of a promising village. Two grain warehouses, one erected by John Butler, and the other by E. M. Dickey, had been established, and the pioneer merchant, C. C. Clemetson was actively engaged in business. A petition signed by residents in the vicinty of the new town asking for the establishment of a post office was granted, and before the year had closed an office was being operated in the store with Mr. Clemetson as postmaster.

For several years following its founding Virginia was at a standstill so far as any material growth was concerned. It proved its advantage as a grain market from the start, but it was not until the early nineties that development along broader lines commenced. Among the early business enterprises was a lumber yard established by J. H. Zenker in March, 1890. The town experienced the most pronounced era of progress in building operations and expansion during the period which included the years 1891 to 1894. Early in 1891 the pioneer store was taken over by the firm of Miller & Roan, formerly of Rock Rapids. A second general store was established later in the same year by Hensing & Thorstad. C. C. Berge was the first hardware merchant. The E. M. Dickey Co., which established the first grain warehouse in the year of founding, was the first to erect an elevator, which was done during the summer of 1892. The year 1893 was an especially active one and witnessed a number of substantial building and business improvements.

In 1895 a town hall was built by a stock company organized by the citizens of Steen. A business directory compiled in July of that year contained the names of the following men: George J. Roan, general store; W. E. Bauer, general store; C. Clemetson, billiard and pool hall; T. L. Peyer, harness shop; George Heath, blacksmith; O. A. Helgeson, livery and feed barn; C. Brant, manager Edmonds Co, elevator; Dickey & Co., elevator; J. H. Zenker, lumber and fuel; C. C. Berge, hardware; G. N. Graves, agent, Illinois Central railroad; C. H. Peterson, postmaster.

On February 24, 1900, Steen was visited by a fire which consumed the two elevators of the town and destroyed 20,000 bushels of grain contained in therein. For a time the depot building was threatened with destruction, but the energetic work of the citizens prevented further spread of the conflagration. Both of the elevators were rebuilt.

In late years Steen has enjoyed with others of her sister villages the prosperous times that have been incident to Rock county's marvelous agricultural development. One of the finest little school houses in the county is found at Steen. It was erected in 1905 and was occupied for the first time at the beginning of the September term. This building replaced a former one, erected in the days of the town's infancy.

There are two church organizations that maintain houses of worship in Steen, the German Evangelical and German Lutheran. The Lutheran church was organized in the summer of 1890 with sixteen charter members by Rev. Theodore Maesse, of Fulda. The present church edifice, the first in the village, was erected in 1895 at a cost of $1800 and was dedicated on October 20 of that year. Rev. H. W. Baumann, of Luverne, is the present pastor.

Rock County Home Page

Genealogy Trails

Copyright © Genealogy Trails