Goodhue County, Minnesota


 ~ Minneola Township ~

Minneola, originally a part of Zumbrota township, but organized separately in June, 1860, comprises township 110, range 16, and is bounded on the north by Belle Creek, on the east by Zumbrota, on the south by Roscoe and on the west by Wanamingo. It is crossed, east to west, by the north branch of the Zumbro, which is augmented along its winding course by springs and rivulets which supply the township with plenty of water, making the farms well adapted for agriculture and stock raising. The surface has great changes of level. The highest land is in the northwestern part of the town and the lowest is in the valley near the village of Zumbrota in the southeastern part. The changes, however, except in the immediate descents into the Zumbro valley, are gradual, making in general an undulating surface. The soil is rich, deep and fertile. In several portions are a few natural groves of forest trees, and shade trees surround many of the houses, adding beauty and sheltering houses and barns from storms.

The first claim in the township was made by Christian Peterson on section 26 in May, 1855. Mr. Peterson erected a rude hut of brush, banked with sod, which did service during the summer while he was breaking the land and planting the first crop. In the fall he improved this habitation with the addition of some boards. In June of the same year John Mabee and A. C. Erstad arrived, and shared with Mr. Peterson the rigors of that first winter in what was practically an unbroken wilderness. Mabee located his claim on section 35, where he lived until the spring of 1856, when he returned to Norway. Erstad made his claim on section 26, and in 1856 occupied the deserted claim of Mabee, which he continued to make his home and where he later erected a beautiful residence, In 1856 there came a number of other settlers, among whom were Daniel Eames, the Swenson brothers and Julius Peck, and probably, according to an ancient authority, Andrew Christopherson as well. Mr. Peck had the distinction of having brought into the township the first pair of horses. Previous to this time oxen had been the only beasts of burden in the township, being used for plowing, for draught purposes, and even for conveying the pioneers from place to place. Daniel Eames died in 1859, his being the first death in the township. The first birth in the township was that of Eddie Crowell in 1857. Another early birth was that of a child to Albra Twombley also in 1857. Church service was held by the Rev. Charles Shedd early in 1856, soon after his arrival. The first marriage was that of George Rees and Harriet Wightman, June, 1858. The first school was taught by Charles Locke in the home of Julius Peck. This school was supported by private subscription, there being at that time no regularly organized school district. A public school was taught by Mrs. Daniel Eames in her own house.

A tragedy of the early days occurred in July, 1862. A violent thunder storm arose, during which time a bolt of lightning fell upon the house of A. J. Grover, striking the roof and parting, a portion of the electricity passing down the roof and the other portion to the person of Mrs. Grover, who was in a chamber, killing her instantly. The other persons in the house were not so seriously injured, though severely shocked. The house was also set on fire, but prompt assistance saved it from destruction. In 1856 a flouring mill was built by the Messrs. Nichols and Ford in the southeastern part of the town, on the Zumbro.

Another mill was erected, probably by the Messrs. Nelson and Olson, about six miles above the first mill, located on the line between Minneola and Wanamingo.

In 1867 the Norwegian Lutherans erected the first frame church, in the southeast corner of the township, at a cost of $3,500, with a seating capacity of about 500 people. The first minister was the Rev. B. A. Muns. The same denomination later built another large church in the northern part of the town.

The Methodists organized a society in 1868. Later German Lutheran and German Methodist churches were organized. Rev. Mr. Walton preached an early sermon in the home of Daniel Eames. Mary Dickey was an early school teacher. In 1871 a schoolhouse was erected on section 23, and was first taught in by John Aldrich. A company composed of Ezra Wilder, H. H. Palmer, T. P. Kellett and others built, in the early days, a large cheese factory on section 26, within the limits of this township.

The township was first united with Zumbrota under one organization. The first supervisors were I. C. Stearns, T. D. Rowell and George Sanderson. In December, 1859, a notice was posted in several places, requesting the voters living in township 110, range 16, to meet on the fifteenth of that month at the residence of Daniel Eames to take into consideration the expediency of a separate organization, choose a name for the town, and if deemed best, to elect the necessary officers for doing town business.

At the meeting held in accord with the order, N. Mulliken was called to the chair and J. B. Locke chosen secretary. The names of Paris and Minneola were presented for consideration. The latter was finally agreed upon as the name for the new organization. Minneola is an Indian term, signifying "much water." There were thirty-two voters present, and it was decided to elect town officers. This election resulted in the following officers: Supervisors, I. B. Locke (chairman), Brant Thompson. J. Clark: clerk, R. Person; assessor. Henry E. Shedd; justices. A. J. Grover and N. Mulliken; constables, W. B. Williams and E. L. Kingsbury, A. J. Grover and J. B. Locke were appointed a committee to present this action to the county board. They did so, but the matter was deferred by that board until both townships could act on the matter. The township of Zumbrota at its annual meeting in the spring of 1860, approved of the separation. The organization was perfected by a meeting held at the home of J. B. Locke June 18, 1860.

The following men enlisted from Minneola during the Civil War:

Charles Adams
Morgan Abel
Arthur Brown
Cyrus B. Chase
Steven G. Cady
John H. Docker
Christ Eastman
Grinnell Pales
Hans Halvorson
Bottel Larson
Halvor Ockelbey
Claus Oleson
William N. Peck
Elizur Peck
Peter Peterson
Morris Rees
Ole E. Strand
Torkel Swenson
Ole E. Strand
Lieutenant William B. Williams
David Rightman
Thomas Corcoran
Baptiste Cardingle
Joseph Delaney
Pierce Garvais
Baptiste Garvais
Francis A. Hamlin
Levi Label Jr.
Horace W. Moore
John McWilliams
William H. Nourse
Bonde Oleson
Erastus Pierce
Xavier Paul
Timothy Shearer
Charles Carter
Carl Schlenty
William Payne
Frank Stroback
Jacob Mosbrugger
Atlas Marshall
Edward Trowbridge
Walter B. Boyd
Amos Eastman
Patrick Killen
Charles S. Spendley
Alfred B. Tyler
Peter Akers
August Beckard
William Plumb
Christopher L. Johnson
Lars Johnson
Martin Johnson
Barnt Thompson
William M. Farnham
Philip Sudheimer
Charles Strong

  Goodhue County |Minnesota AHGP 

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


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