Goodhue County, Minnesota

 

Hay Creek Township

Hay Creek receives its name from the stream which touches the west central portion of the township and along whose banks in the early days the settlers found large quantities of wild hay. The surface of the township is somewhat uneven, but is rich in agricultural possibilities. A deep valley crosses the township from east to west in the northern part, and another, with various branches, crosses the township in the center, east and west. These make a hilly and rolling surface for the whole town, the hills being from two to four hundred feet above the valleys. Yet, owing to the abundant overspread of fine clay and loam, practically all of the surface is tillable. Many of the hillsides are covered with growing timber, and the valleys were originally heavily wooded. In the southeastern part is Wells' creek. Bullard creek drains the northern part. Hay Creek comprises township 112, range 14 and is bounded on the north by Red Wing and Wacoota, on the east by Florence, on the south by Belvidere and on the west by Featherstone. It was organized with its present boundaries in 1858.

The first settlement was made in the spring of 1854 by a Mr. Egar, in the northeast part of the town. Among the early settlers were George Steele, Ernest Schubert, Henry Inzancee, William Hayman, Garry Post, David Bartrom, Simon Peterson, Benville Mosier, Rudolph Kruger, Charles Darling, Jacob Turner, M. Eggleston, G. F. and William Meyer, John Hack and James B. Wakefield. George Frederick, an early settler of Belle Creek, also lived here a short time in the early days. The early settlers were subjected to constant annoyance, the whole township, with the exception of a small portion in the northwest, being within the limits of the half-breed tract. Meetings were held and the settlers organized for mutual protection. Charles Alders, who in 1856 built a hotel near where Burkhard's hotel was later located, was one of the many who suffered the annoyance of a previous claimant. He had his first log cabin nearly completed when another man appeared to dispute his claim to the land. This man's claim was based on the fact that he had been there and inscribed his name on a tree previous to Mr. Abler 's advent.

The former claimant was backed by a mob of men armed with clubs, axes and other weapons. So there was no alternative but for Mr. Aiders to pay the amount of money demanded for a relinquishment of the claim, which he did, and later opened his house to the public. There are always two sides to every question, and while Mr. Aiders was given a great deal of sympathy, it would look in modern times as though he had intended to take another man's claim. He was but one of many who suffered much inconvenience and trouble until the half-breed matter had been settled in Washington, after which the actual settlers were left in peace.

The first town meeting was held in 1858, with only six citizens present. They were William Hayman, Henry Lorentzen. S. A. Wise, J. B. Wakefield, Rudolph Kruger and David Bartrom. This meeting was held in a log cabin schoolhouse, near Wells' creek. The explanation given for the poor attendance is one that looks strange in these days. It seems that a camp meeting was in progress in a grove nearby and the people were so interested in matters pertaining to the future life that they had no time to devote to such temporal affairs as a town election. Whether the six who attended loved religion the less or politics the more than the others tradition does not relate.

A log schoolhouse was built near the spot where the Wells' creek mills were afterward erected, in 1857, and a school was taught there by a young man named Graves. The first marriage was that of Ernest Schubert and a Miss Reinehart, the ceremony being performed by William Hayman, justice of the peace. In the earliest days the German Lutherans and the Methodists held meetings and both later erected comfortable places for church worship. Near the center of the township there is a substantial town hall. In 1863 R. H. Matthews built a mill on Wells' creek, and in 1865 John Hack and G. F. Meyer built one on Hay creek. Later a third mill was built on Hay creek, but was afterward abandoned.

The chairmen of supervisors of the town from 1858 to 1869 were: Samuel A. Wise, William Hayman, John Benson, Dunning Dewey (six terms), Rudolph Kruger (two terms), George Hackman. The town clerks during the same period were: Henry Lorentzen (two terms), John Hack (six terms), Peter J. Erbar (five terms).

Hay Creek's contribution to the Civil War consisted of:

Joseph W. Britton
Fred Baumbeck
Henry Burgtorf
Reynolds Barton
August Buchholz
Henry W. Cady
W. F. Dewey
C. J. Henning
August B. Hilleg
James D. Hill
John Hennings
Andrew Johnson
Rudolph Kruger
Elias F. Kimball
Michael Stahler
J. G. Scholl
Jonathan Thorns
William Thorns
Charles Truman
Josiah Wakefield
Alonzo C. Wakefield
Peter Wallower
Nicholas Gross
Nicholas Oleson
Clinton G. Stees
Manville LeWeir
Anthony Stevens
Robert Millie
Leundre Isenhour
Alfred Dudley
James R. Goodhue
Thomas Gready
John Hankins
Edward Lent
Peter McMartin
William F. Schmidt
William Smith
Lawrence Twohy
Andrew Johnson
Henry Webert
Henry Straitman
David Fresmith
Lars Oleson
Jacob Turner
Fred Westendoff
John J. Dewey
Fritz Klauser
William Piute
Christian Sempiel

Hay Creek village is a discontinued post office six and a half miles south of Red Wing. Mail is received by Red Wing R. F. D. Nos. 2 and 4. It is a busy little settlement, with a hotel, store, church, schoolhouse and several residences.

  Goodhue County |Minnesota AHGP 

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

 

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