Brown County, Minnesota


  Home Township

Home is the largest township in Brown County, including in its limits fifty-three square miles. It is the central northern township and is bounded on the north by the county line and Minnesota River, on the east by Nicollet county and Milford township, on the south by Stark town ship, and on the west by Prairieville and Eden townships. The Chicago & Northwestern railway runs through the southern part of its territory, with Sleepy Eye as its only station point. Rose Lake, George and Sleepy Eye Lake are all found in this township, the former in section 14, George Lake in section 4 and Sleepy Eye Lake in sections 19, 20, 29 and 30. The population of Home Township in 1910 was eight hundred and sixty-nine.

The first claims were taken in 1857 by Hyacinth St. Couturier, Matthew and William Tubbs. The two latter located on the south Side of the Big Cottonwood, in the southeastern part of the township. Mr. Ryan and Mary Schmitz went to Mankato and were married in February, 1858. Their daughter, Catherine, born on April 20, 1861, was the first to be born in this township. Mr. Tubbs was killed by the Indians in 1859. On April 28, 1859, J. P. Schmitz was murdered while digging a cellar; an Indian was arrested on suspicion, but escaped before his time for trial. The first settlers after the Indian War of 1862 were Edward Taylor, Philander Lee, John Pickle, John Roberts, Daniel Middleton and the Current brothers who came in 1864.

The earliest marriage was that uniting W. H. Hawk and Mary Middleton, August 27, 1866. The first religious services in the township were held in December, 1864, at the house of Current brothers, by Rev. O. L. Howard, a United Brethren preacher. It is related for a truth that at one time, the minister failing to arrive on time, the assembled audience not wishing any time to go to waste, organized a dance. A violinist was secured and they were in the midst of a "good time" when, about nine o'clock, the minister appeared; the dance ceased and in a few minutes they were all earnestly engaged in worship. The first school was taught in 1866, by Miss Hattie Wright in a log building in section 13.

Home post office was established in October, 1868, with Joseph Libert as postmaster, with the "Office" at his house. He was succeeded in 1869 by J. P. Current. Golden Gate post office was established about the same date, with Ebenezer Fuller in charge. The village of Golden Gate took its name from the post office. The village was situated in section 30, township 111. A store was started there by R. B. Sommons; Horatio Werring had the first store at that place. In the eighties, John Pickle had a blacksmith shop there, or not over a quarter of a mile from the store. What was styled the Golden Gate mills were situated north from the village and were owned by John Heimerdinger & Sons. The father built the first mill in 1869 making all the machinery himself; in 1872 a better mill was erected and was run by both steam and water power, and contained two run of mill-stones. At the time of the New Ulm massacre there were no people residing in the township, but there was a block house located south of Sleepy Eye Lake.

Of the organization of Home township all that can now be learned is that the first town meeting was held on June 30, 1866, at the house of Current brothers. W. H. Hawk was chairman; D. Bertrand and John Nicklin were the first board of township supervisors.

City of Sleepy Eye

This place was first known as "Sleepy Eye" and was platted by Thomas Allison and Walter Breckenridge, September 18, 1872, in sections 29 and 30, of township 110, range 32 west, and was incorporated as a city in 1903. It is at the junction of the Redwood Falls branch and the main line of the old Winona & St. Peter railroad, now controlled by the Chicago & Northwestern system. The growth of the place was slow until 1877 when the Redwood branch of railway was constructed, and the company located their round-house and machine shops here in 1878. Since which time the town has grown rapidly. In 1880 it had reached a population of thirteen hundred, and is now supposed to contain about twenty-four hundred.

The place was destined to become a great flour-making center, and the excellent brands of flour that were put up and shipped to all parts of the country, really put the town commercially on the maps of the state.

A post office was established in 1873, with A. W. Williamson as postmaster. The Indian word for Sleepy Eye is "Ish-Tak-Ha-Ba," and a chief friendly to the whites, here, died in 1860.

Municipal History

In February, 1878, the village was incorporated as "Sleepy Eye," named from the Old Indian chief of early day fame. The name was subsequently changed to "Loreno," and later changed to "Sleepy Eye Lake," but when it was incorporated as a city was again changed to "Sleepy Eye." As incorporated in 1878 the town comprised about two and one-half square miles of territory. The first election was held on March 19, 1878. The Officers then elected were: Francis Ibberson, president of the council; Louis Hanson, T. F. Talbot and T. J. Murfin, trustees; R. H. Bingham, recorder; Peter Runitz, treasurer, and M. C. Burnside, justice of the peace. L. Pease was appointed constable, on account of a tie vote for such Office.

Sleepy Eye was incorporated as a city in 1903, the first city Officials were: I. M. Olsen, mayor; J. L. Keifer, recorder; C. Overson, treasurer. The officers today (1916) are: Dr. J. B. Wellcome, mayor; A. D. Bertrand, recorder; H. C. Domeir, treasurer.

The persons serving as mayor since the place was incorporated have been I. W. Olsen, C. P. Cutting, William C. Steinke, C. P. Block, Albert Hansen, J. W. B. Wellcome. The city has its own electric lighting plant and water works, combined in one, and under the same roof is the city hall. The cost to the city was about thirty thousand dollars. The waterworks department consists of two electric pumps; deep wells are used and excellent water is obtained. The water is forced to an elevated tank. The electric lighting department consists of an A-C lighting system, eleven hundred volts, seventy-five and one hundred and twenty generators; two Corliss engines run by steam power, one is a seventy-five horse power and the other one hundred and fifty horse power.

There is a very well trained volunteer fire company in Sleepy Eye, with a membership of twenty-six.

Business Interests

The first store in the village of Sleepy Eye was built during the autumn of 1872, by William Robinson. The first hotel was that built by Chris Emery, the Lake House. Hyacinth St. Couturier, a Canadian Frenchman, came here in the fall of 1857, locating on the east side of the lake from which the village derives its name. It was formerly called by the Indians "Big Wood Lake." He was the first settler in what is now the city of Sleepy Eye. He kept his claim during the 1862 Indian uprising, and remained away three years; returned, located on his old claim and remained a permanent citizen. His daughter, Mary, born on December 6, 1857, was the first birth in the present city.

By 1882 the place supported the following lines of business and professions: One bank, five hotels, eight general stores, two drug stores, two hardwares, two furniture stores, one boot and shoe store, one merchant tailor, four millinery establishments, two harness Shops, two shoe Shops, Six farm implement dealers, two wagon Shops, Six blacksmiths Shops, one bakery, three restaurants, two meat markets, two liveries, one feed store, one cigar store, one news stand, one grain elevator (capacity of one hundred thousand bushels), two warehouses, three lumber yards, two barber Shops, two photograph galleries, one brewery and twelve saloons. There were also two good weekly newspapers, two law firms and four physicians; also a circulating library and reading room. All this Showing had been made in the first decade of the town's history.

Sleepy Eye Business Directory, May, 1916

S. A. Woold
Rick, P. Fischer
Knause & Larrabee
Grimes & Wiedman

Albert Hauser
L. G. Davis
A. M. Berg

First National
State Bank
Farmers & Merchants

Barber Shops
J. L. Keifer
A. H. McMaster
Ed. Weigel

Richard Moll
Joseph Haas
H. P. Peterson

John Ebenhol
E. C. Remmele
George Schloegee

Brick and Tile
Sleepy Eye Paving Works

Sleepy Eye Creamery Company
Sleep Eye Farmers Creamery

Glotzbach & Claused,
Nelson & Reide Clothing Company
Gehrke & Evans

James & Rounds
J. R. Hollister

A. F. Kuske
H. H. Meyer

Dray Lines
C. C. Hanson
W. A. Davey

Farmers Elevator Company
Feed Mill and Store
A. J. Pietrus

L. E. Wheeler
A. G. Jenson

General Dealer's
Fred Seifert
C. A. Fierke
Zell Brothers
Berkner Brothers
Standard Company,
August Schroeder
Jenson Mercantile Company

F. E. Palmer
R. H. Bingham
Robert Hose
J. B. McNeill
A. Z. Jenson
W. A. Murphy & Company

Harness Shops
H. C. Hanson
J. P. Bertrand & Son
A. J. Spellbrink

Hotel Berg (Berg Brothers)
Leona hotel (Fred Laudskon)
Sleepy Eye Hotel

A. R. Kehn
John M. Schropfer

Crumlett Brothers

Lumber Dealers
Lampert Lumber Company
Steinke-Seidl Lumber Company

Marble Works
Sleepy Eye Marble and Granite Company

Meat Markets
F. W. Meyer
J. A. Glassman

Merchant Tailor
H. L. Daniels

Mrs. M. E. Beckenhauer
Mrs. Hans Stockstead
Mrs. H. Schmeltz

Herald Dispatch

H. H. Hinker
Frank Scobie

Drs. A. M. Keifer
George Schmidt
F. A. Strickler

Sleepy Eye Produce Company

Real Estate Dealers
Edward F. Berkner
Hugh McPhee

Depot Lunch Room
H. P. Peterson
Roy Stockstead

Stock Dealers
Farmers Co-operative Company,
Stock Buyers Association
Foster & Hose
F. W. Meyer

Dr. A. W. Anderson

Sleepy Eye Telephone Company
Northwestern Telephone Company

The city has two good public parks.

The present postal business of Sleepy Eye includes seven rural free delivery routes and business for the last fiscal year amounting to nine thousand eight hundred and ninety-one dollars. The amount of deposits in the postal savings department is one thousand dollars.

Dyckman Free Library

The city has a splendid free library, the gift of the late Frank H. Dyckman, who established the first bank in Sleepy Eye. It was founded on the same plan as the Andrew Carnegie libraries, the donor gave the building, provided the people would annually tax themselves for the books and maintenance of the property. The building was dedicated in May, 1901. It cost, with the five lots, ten thousand dollars. It now contains three thousand volumes and is well patronized. Miss Lydia Sasse is the present librarian.

The flour milling company of the city erected a fine monument in honor to chief Sleepy Eye, whose bones are buried beneath the monument. He was a friend of the white race. The brand of "Sleepy Eye Flour" is known from coast to coast.

Woman's Clubs

Sleepy Eye has numerous woman's clubs, including the following: The Woman's Club and the Qui Vive Club. The former is the Older Of the two and was organized in 1888, with seventeen members. Mrs. W. W. Smith was the first president and is now the only charter member liv ing who belongs to the club. The membership is limited to twenty. During its history there have been more than seventy-five ladies enter and depart from its circle. The club holds membership in the district, state and general federation. Meetings are held at the public library every other Friday. The present officers are: Mrs. E. P. James, president; Mrs. W. W. Smith, vice-president; Mrs. W. R. Hodges, secretary; Mrs. Julius Hansen, treasurer.

The Qui Vive Club was organized in 1905 and has sixteen members, the number not being limited. Their motto is "Forward till you see the highest." The club is of a literary order. They also meet at the library building. The officers in the spring of 1916 were: Mrs. F. Riedl, president; Mrs. Morris Christensen, vice-president; Mrs. Frank Meyer, corresponding secretary; Mrs. J. A. Fialka, financial secretary; Mrs. George Cutting, treasurer.

The Milling Industry

Until recently the flouring-mills of Sleepy Eye have been rated about second or third in the way of flour production of any in the great flour state of Minnesota. By all odds the flour industry has done more for the city than any other and possibly all other industries combined. These mills have paid out millions of dollars annually for wheat and have shipped far and near their choice brands of family flour. There are two of these gigantic milling plants at Sleepy Eye, one having a capacity of a thousand barrels daily, while the larger concern can easily turn out into the freight cars at the mill's doorways five thousand barrels every twenty-four hours. These mills were established about 1882 and have: run successfully ever since until recently, through some unfortunate circumstances they have been closed down. But ere long it is believed that their doors will again open for business, under a new organization and management of affairs.

  Brown County |Minnesota AHGP 

Source: History of Brown County, Minnesota, L. A. Fritsche, M.D., Editor, Volume I, 1916.


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