Goodhue County, Minnesota

 

 ~ Welch Township ~

 Welch includes the east half of government township 114 north of range 16 west, and the whole of township 113 north of range 16 west, except that part which lies south of the Cannon river. It is bounded on the north by the Mississippi River, on the east by Burnside, on the south by Vasa and on the west by Dakota County. The surface is much broken, but rarely rocky except along the immediate bluffs. The valleys are generally rich alluvial, but in the northern part of the town the valley which is tributary to the Mississippi at Etter is gravelly and sandy, with terraces scantily clothed with crooked oaks and bushes. A magnificent view is afforded from the high land near the church on the northwest corner of section 15. The mounds south of Hastings can be seen distinctly, also the smoke from Bastings and the high land above Hastings on each side of the St. Croix valley. The middle of the township is rolling prairie, the northern portion consists of a large part of Prairie Island, bordering the Mississippi and the Vermillion rivers.

Those interested in the story of Welch should read the early history of Burnside, the record of the early days being identical, owing to the fact that they were under one government. The Indian settlement on Prairie Island is also treated of under the head of Burnside in this history.

Settlers came into Welch, both from Dakota and Goodhue counties, in 1855-56, but these settlers left for what to them seemed more desirable locations in more southerly and prairie like townships. These settlers left no record of their occupancy, and have now passed from memory. The permanent settlers did not come until 1857-58, Welch being the last township to be taken up by the homesteaders. Among these permanent settlers, were E. W. Carver, William Boothroyd, Michael Henry, John Bloom, Gohcham Esta, D. O. Swanson, Benjamin Beavers and N. C. Crandall.

March 23, 1864, on petition, the board of commissioners divided Burnside by setting off the east fractional half of township 114, range 16, and all of township 113, range 16, lying north of the Cannon River and called it Grant. Another township in the state already bore that name, and the state auditor, under date of December 31, 1871, directed a change of name. January 3, 1872, the commissioners took up the matter and changed the name to Welch, in honor of the late Major Abram Edwards Welch, of Red Wing.

The first board of officers, while the town still bore the name of Grant, were: Supervisors, A. Coons (chairman), Joseph Eggleston, Benjamin Bevers; town clerk, J. B. Waugh; treasurer, M. O'Rourke; assessor, E. W. Carver; justice, J. B. Waugh; constables, P. C. Brown and D. Black.

On September 6, 1864, a special town meeting was called, for the purpose of voting a tax to raise money to pay volunteers to fill the quota required from the town, at which meeting it was voted to raise $600 as a bounty to volunteers for the Civil War. Another war meeting was held February 11, 1865, for the purpose of raising more bounty money. At this meeting it was voted to raise $700 to pay volunteers, if they could be obtained, and if not, to pay men who stood the draft. E. W. Carver was selected to look after the matter of obtaining men to fill the town's quota. Those who went to the war from this town were; Philo Brown, J. S. Nelson and S. S. Twitchell.

After the name of the town was changed to Welch the first board consisted of: Supervisors, M. Henry (chairman), Thomas Brenner and Michael Hart; clerk, J. S. Nelson.

A Swedish Lutheran Church was erected in 1878, at a cost of $4,600. In 1886 a store was built at Welch Mills at a cost of $500. In 1900 an elevator was erected at a cost of $1,500. The residents of Welch are a happy, prosperous people, who have achieved much success in their farming operations. Welch Village, formerly called Welch Mills, now has a small flour mill with elevator, two stores, a boarding house, two blacksmith shops, a station on the branch line of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul and a station across the river on the Chicago Great Western.

  Goodhue County |Minnesota AHGP 

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

 

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