Appleton Township History
Source: History of the Minnesota Valley: Including the Explorers and Pioneers of Minnesota, by Rev. Edward D. Neill. Minneapolis, North Star Publishing Company, 1882. Transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman.
The first settler in the township was Addison Phelps, who came from Owatonna in the fall of 1868, and made a. claim at the mouth of the Pomme de Terre river. The next to settle were two men, S. A. Poley and A. Becker, who made claims on the banks of the Minnesota river, on section 20.
These two latter left after an occupancy of four or five years, Poley's claim passing into the possession of William Saunders, that of Becker becoming the property of A. W. Lathrop. The next settler was O. E. Foster, who came late in the fall of 1869. The township was organized in 1870, and at that time formed part of what was known as Fairfield township. This was subsequently divided, and Clarksville became the name of the portion in which Appleton is situated. Previous to the name of Appleton, as its designation, it was known as Phelps, which was changed at the request of Addison Phelps, himself, who was then one of the county commissioners. This change was effected September 4, 1872. The original town of Fairfield embraced what is now nine townships in the western part of the county.
The Pomme de Terre river is the largest tributary of the Minnesota river. It is fed by a large number of lakes, so that its flow is constant and abundant. As the stream nears the town it becomes rapid, thus creating a number of very valuable water powers. Two of these are already improved. The upper power, in section 14, has a fall of about thirteen feet; the lower one, in section 16, has a fall of about twenty feet. On section 17, on what is-railroad property, there is also an excellent fall, at present unimproved.
The first township officers, of which any record exists, were for the town of Phelps, for the year 1872. They were: C. F. Ireland, W. S. Herbert, Persons Clark, supervisors; Richard Mills, clerk; Addison Phelps, justice of the peace; Gideon G. Phelps, assessor; James Buchanan, constable.
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