Olmsted County, Minnesota


Quincy Township

 (Township 107 North, Range 11 West)

In the spring of 1854 Mason and Irving Wetmore and D. D. Woodward built a saw mill on the Whitewater River in the northeast part of this township, and furnished the surrounding country with building material for several years. Truman T. Olds was the next settler, locating in the valley of the Whitewater. Jairus Richards and Norman Libby came in 1855 and Gideon Lewis, Samuel Tenney, Nicholas W. Murphy. T. L. Fay, George Hinton and John M. Weagant in 1856.

At an old settlers' reunion, held in Quincy in 1874, the following list was made of the earliest male settlers of the township, with the dates of their settlement: In 1855, Mason Hatfield, Harvey F. Bush, O. S. Ford, George P. Logan, Thomas Stevenson, N. M. Murphy, W. H. Hatfield, George W. Smith, Robert L. Stevenson, Alfred Olds; in 1856, Michael Kepner, Samuel B. Evans, George W. Kepner, John Bush, M. M. Kingsley, James Richards, Joseph Olds; in 1862, Thomas Wilson, Burr Deuel; in 1865, Thomas B. Vivyan.

The first birth in the township was of a son of D. D. Woodward, in 1855.

The township was organized May 11, 1858. The first town officers elected were: Supervisors, T. T. Olds, J. L. Williams, H. Hat field; clerk, Jotham Holland; assessor, Samuel Loy; collector, J. S. Olds; overseer of poor, Robert Smith; justices, G. Lewis, D. B. Alvord ; constables, J. S. Olds, Harvey Wood.

A good grist mill was built on the middle branch of the White water in 1857 by Charles and Frederick Johnson, from Jackson, Michigan, and a store was established by a man named Spalding, in 1859, and a blacksmith shop by Joseph Mixture. The settlement was known as the Quincy Mills. The mill was sold in 1862 to a Mr. Barns and his son, Byram. In 1863 they sold to V. Simpson, of Winona, and Burr Deuel, and the mill was improved. The store changed hands several times and was sold to Mr. Jackson, who moved it to Eyota in 1864. There was at one time a village of eight families, with the mill, store, post office, blacksmith and repair shop and school, and a good business was done there till 1876, when a cloudburst took out the dam, wrecked the mill and washed away the blacksmith shop, which was at that time owned by Mr. Westfall. The dam and mill were rebuilt on an improved plan and in 1880 Mr. Deuel's interest was bought by Edward J. Dowling. In January, 1809, the mill was burned down, and in 1901 Nicholas Feltes bought the property and has taken down the buildings, and there is now nothing there but the school, and what promised to be a thriving village is but a farm.

Quincy is a strictly agricultural township, there not being, now, any village within its limits. Post offices were established in neighborhoods known as Six Oaks and Little Valley.

The state census of 1905 gives the population of the township as 590.

In October, 1865, Warren Youmans, from New York state, and Patrick Callaghan, a native of Ireland, were neighboring farmers in Quincy. There had been trouble between them about Callaghan's cattle trespassing on Youmans' fields. Both Youmans and Callaghan disappeared, but nothing was thought of it at first, but after a few days search was made for Youmans, and his dead body was found on Callaghan's farm, near where the latter had been mowing when last seen, and a bloody scythe was found. It was evident that Youmans' death had been caused by a cut across the thighs, which had severed the femoral artery in both legs. An inquest was held by Coroner S. B. Clark. There was no doubt that Youmans had been killed by Callaghan, and search was made for the latter, and the governor offered a reward of $500 for his apprehension. But he successfully evaded all pursuit. He was believed to have been secreted in the neighborhood for a few days, and afterward worked as a laborer in various cities, being at one time as far away as California. He at last, after five years of wandering, located in Chicago, living with a brother, who kept a saloon and working as a laborer. He was a very reticent man, but became intimate in Chicago with a fellow laborer, to whom he confided the fact that he was a fugitive from justice. As the result of a quarrel between them, the ex-friend denounced Callaghan to the police, and in May. 1872, nearly seven years after the homicide, Callaghan was arrested while at work on a building, and brought to Rochester. He was tried, arraigned before Judge Waterman, and prosecuted by County Attorney Start, and defended by Thomas Wilson, of Winona, and John Van Arman, a distinguished lawyer of Chicago. In view of the deficiency of proof after so long a lapse of time, Callaghan was allowed to plead guilty to manslaughter in the second degree. In a statement to the court he claimed that on the fatal morning he was mowing and expecting to keep watch of his cattle, but a couple of them got on Youmans' land. He started to bring them back, when Youmans came toward him driving them. A quarrel arose between the two, in which both were very abusive. Callaghan claimed that Youmans approached him threateningly and struck him on the mouth, making it bleed, and Callaghan struck him across the legs with the scythe and went home. Callaghan was sentenced to four years' imprisonment in the state penitentiary.

It is stated in Volume I of the Final Report of State Geologist H. Winchell that "In the museum of the University is a magnetic boulder of silicious iron ore, known as lodestone, presented in 1875 by James Hinton, said to have been found in the neighborhood of Quincy, Olmsted County."

  Olmsted County |Minnesota AHGP 

Source: History of Olmsted County Minnesota, by Hon. Joseph A. Leonard, Chicago, Goodspeed Historical Association, 1910.


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