Goodhue County, Minnesota


 ~ Vasa Township ~

Vasa k the center of the Swedish settlement in Goodhue County. The township comprises all of township 112, range 16, and all of that part of township 113, range 16, that lies south of the Cannon river. It is bounded on the north by the Cannon River, which separates it from the town of Welch, on the east by Featherstone, on the south by Belle Creek and on the west by Cannon Falls. Belle creek crosses the township from south to north and flows into the Cannon River. The surface is somewhat broken or rolling, but the soil is excellent. Sections 19, 30 and 31 constitute a high table land.

To this rich land, in 1853, came S. J. Willard, Colonel Hans Mattson, Charles Roos, Gustaf Kemp and Peter Green. They all made claims and Roos and Kemp stayed through the winter, the other returning to Red Wing to find work until the spring of 1851, when they began in earnest to build homes and to break the soil. A few accessions were made to the colony that year, and one of them, whose name is now forgotten, died soon after his arrival. This was the first death, and his mortal remains were tenderly and reverently conveyed to their last resting place in the land he had crossed the ocean to look upon but which he did not live to enjoy.

The first marriage celebrated was that of Hans Mattson and Cherstie Peterson, November 21, 1855. A school was taught here in the fall of 1856 by a Mr. Button. Another was taught in the Swedish language by James Engberg. Meetings were held on the Sabbath and Lutheran church services read by Hans Mattson until the minister arrived.

Vasa is named from Gustavus Vasa, the Christian king of Sweden, who established the Lutheran religion in his kingdom. Since the first settlement, Vasa has been famed far and near, and its reputation is nationwide as the home of Dr. E. Norelius, the venerable patriarch of the Swedish Lutheran Evangelical church. The story of the early days of Vasa is told by Dr. Norelius. Colonel Hans Mattson and S. J. Willard in another chapter of this history.

Vasa Township was organized in 1858, and its area has remained unchanged since that date. The first officers were: Supervisors, Charles Himmelman (chairman), Charles Charleson, Nils Peterson; clerk, Swante J. Willard; assessor, Nils Swanson; collector, John Sundell; overseer of the poor, Matts Mattson; constables, Nils Johnson Erick Anderson; justices of the peace, T. Granvill Person, Franklin Morrison; overseers of roads. Swan P. Peterson, Gustus Carlson and William F. Fessenden.

Among the early officers of the township were:

Chairmen of supervisors - 1858, Charles Himmelman; 1850. William F. Fessenden; 1860, 1861, 1862, T. G. Pearson; 1863, A. P. Wilson; 1864, Lars Mattson; 1865, A. G. Anderson; 1866, John Hakanson; 1867. 1868, 1869, A. G. Anderson.

Town clerks-1858, S. J. Willard: 1859, John Norelius; 1860, S. J. Willard; 1861, 1862, A. P. Lester; 1863, Charles Himmelman; 1864, 1865, John Wickey; 1866, 1867, 1868, T. G. Pearson; 1869, J. W. Peterson.

According to the official list of the adjutant general, the following men who enlisted in the Civil War gave Vasa as their home:

Olof Anderson
John A. Anderson
Nils Abrahamson
Charles M. Yates
Frank Carlson
Victor Freeman
George Washington
George W. Knight
George Bohinback
Ben Benson
Charles E. Charleson
Charles M. Beers
Halvor Ekeland
Olaf Fahlin
Peter Johnson
John Johnson
John Larson
John Monson
John P. Ofelt
John F. Olson
Paul Paulson
Nils Ringdahl
Charles Roos
Gustav Swenson
Charles J. Sundell
Jonas Swan
John Stice
Charles Gustavson
John Hokason
Ivan Salmonson
Reuben Taylor
Conrad Windhusen
Eder B. Pelles
Carl Bruhn
John Hershberger
Robert V. Langdon
H. F. Merriman
S. L. Merriman
Harvey Ward
Michael McGrath
Felix Hills
Joseph McNally
Horation Vaughn
Carl Sehroske
Ephraim Dudley
Benjamin Burgess
Charles Berlin
John Dablow
Joseph Griffin
Patrick Hefferman
Lafayette Leavitt
Matt Mattson
Thomas McDonald
Ole Oleson
Charles Oleson
Olin Wiltse
Olin K. Ryalan
George Blake
Peter Dressell
Henry G. Henderson
Henry Luhring
Frederick Ressert

Vasa village has a population of about 300. It is the only post office in the county that is not situated on a railroad, its shipping points being Red Wing, Welch and Cannon Falls. Swedish Lutheran and Methodist churches supply the religious demands of the people, and a creamery, feed mill and two stores add to its industrial importance. Here is also located the Orphan's Home.

  Goodhue County |Minnesota AHGP 

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


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