Goodhue County, Minnesota


 ~ Cherry Grove Township ~

Cherry Grove is one of the southern tier of townships in the county. It is bounded on the north by Wanamingo, on the west by Kenyon, on the south by Dodge County, and on the east by Roscoe. One complete government township, No. 109, range 17, constitutes its area, which has remained unchanged since the township act of 1858. Its surface is that of a high prairie, with low, broad, undulations of surface. The drainage is toward the north and south, from the elevated central portion. A branch of the Zumbro winds through the southern portion of the township, and along its valley are some wooded portions, although for the most part the township is under cultivation. The soil is excellent for agricultural purposes, and a specialty is made of dairy farming in that vicinity, the residents being a progressive set of people, who have adopted all the latest methods in agricultural operations.

The territory comprised in the township remained practically an unbroken wilderness until 1854, when, in the spring of that year. Madison Brown located a claim on section 31. In the fall of the following year, however, he sold his claim to Silas Merriman and went to Iowa. Of his subsequent career nothing is to be learned, although it is supposed that he was killed in the Civil War. In the fall of 1851. Reading and Benjamin Woodward selected claims adjoining that of Brown. Benjamin soon after went to Iowa, where he died, while Reading remained as a permanent settler. In the following year came Silas Merriman, already mentioned, Samuel and William Shields, Joseph Seymour, Wilson Kelsey, Thomas Haggard, and John and Charles Lent. In the spring following came E. O. Comstock, Israel T. and Taft Comstock. Samuel Winston, John Nichols, J. A. Ray and others. It will be noted that the majority of the settlers were eastern people, and a number of their descendants still maintain the New England and New York traditions of their ancestors. These settlers, in the earliest days, were made the subject of considerable annoyance. Marauding bands of ruffians created acute apprehension, and the choicest claims were constantly being jumped. In the winter of 1855-56 a claim meeting was called and an organization effected for the protection of the settlers.

T. B. Haggard was appointed captain. This force was soon after called together to protect the settlers, which they did so effectively that thereafter the residents were allowed to pursue their various callings in peace. The settlement in the northern part of the township was started in 1856, when Darius Johnson made a claim on section 6. He was followed by Payington Root, and soon after by many others, mostly pioneers from Norway.

In 1857 a village was platted in the southern part of the town and called Fairpoint. The proprietors were Thomas Haggard and a man named Beekwith. In 1863 several buildings were erected in this village. A post office was established there in 1858. Silas Merriam was the postmaster. Owing to the small amount of mail received, this office was discontinued in 1861. Some years later it was re-established and Herman Eastman named as postmaster. In 1867 Herman Eastman and E. B. Jewitt opened a store in the village, and a year later David Haggard was appointed postmaster.

A log cabin schoolhouse was built in 1857, at the edge of a cherry grove in the central part of the township, and the first school session was taught by E. G. Comstock that winter. In 1861 a stone schoolhouse was erected on the site of this old log structure. The first church organization was effected in 1856, when the Christian Disciples met at the home of James Haggard and listened to a sermon by David Haggard. The first service by a regularly ordained clergyman was by the Rev. J. M. Gates at his own residence in the spring of 1857. The first marriage in the township was between Elizabeth, daughter of T. B. Haggard, and John Hart, in August, 1857. The first death was that of Eliza Jane, daughter of T. B. Haggard, December 16, 1857.

The first town meeting was held May 11, 1858, at which time officers were elected as follows: Supervisors, Benjamin Woodward (chairman), Cyrus H. Burt and David Simpson; town clerk, E. G. Comstock; assessor, Francis A. Crebb; constables, James Haggard and Peter Stagle; justices of the peace, John Haggard and F. A. Crebb; road overseers, Israel T. Comstock and Reading Woodward. James Haggard was appointed collector in May, 1858. There being a tie vote, no supervisor of the poor was elected.

The official list of the men who enlisted from this township during the Civil War is as follows:

F. H. Bullock
William Catlin Jr.
Ryal Catlin
Alva K. Eastman
Edward Hudson
Jesse T. Hamlin
Rufus Hart
Mc. D. Willoughby
Orville Ames
Danforth W. Cook
Theodorick Drum
William Forsyth
Thomas E. Gillett
Thomas B. Haggard
George Hanlden
Simeon Steemer
Uriah Hopkins
Francis E. Presley
Jonathan Dibble
Alvin Davis
Abram Doner
Hans Jordt
Ferris Johnson
Charles C. Lent
Henry Nesson
Henry O'Kane
Hiram E. Perkins
William Perkins
Herman A. Perkins
Leander Root
Captain A. N. See
Daniel C. Smith
Clymen Sherwood
Terence Thompson
Terence Thompson 2nd
Lyman T. Ward
William F. Ward
John Woodbury
B. C. Wait
James Haggard
James Holloran
Hiram Leach
Washington Roster
Frederick Robohm
G. H. Mayheigh
Benton Merse
James Scurry
Isaac Wilmer
Martin Whalton
Henry Kuhns
Christ Phillips
Peter L. Slagle
Charles D. Ward
Herbert Drake
John Lloyd
Charles Lloyd
Davis Johnson
Alexander McKinley
Lyman Sackett
Stephen Van Gilder
William Williamson
Card Burfrind
A. C. Bennett
Nelson Gaylord
Charles Hickman
George Johnson
Gottlieb Persig
Orville Rogers
James E. Smith
A. D. Thayer
Thomas Thompson
Frederick Walters
Frank Yager

Cherry Grove has four large and commodious churches, one Catholic, one German Lutheran and one Norwegian Lutheran. There have been post offices at Ayr, Fairpoint and Spring Creek.

Goodhue County | Minnesota AHGP 

Source: History of Goodhue County Minnesota, Franklyn Curtiss-Wedge, H. C. Cooper Jr, & Company, Chicago, 1909.


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