OF MOWER COUNTY

Part 7 of 13

  Many names mentioned here.

Hon. B. F. Langworthy of Brownsdale,
One of the Earliest Settlers of the County,
Will Give a Series of Interesting Articles

April 9, 1902

SARGEANT TOWNSHIP, 104,16, was settled later than many other parts of Mower county. John Butler came in 1860 and William Langdon settled on section 13 in 1863 but it was not until 1864 that H.N. Sargeant, from whom the town was named, came from Wisconsin and bought the south half of section 11. He brought his family out the following spring, coming as far as LaCrosse by rail and crossing the Mississippi on the ice. Samuel King came in 1869. N.A. Summer came into the town in 1871 and from that time the settlers increased more rapidly. When the Minnesota and Northwestern road built from Dubuque to St. Paul, their line crossed the township and a flourishing station was established on sections 18 and 19, which took the same name as the township and is a thriving center of trade.

DEXTER TOWNSHIP, 103, 16, lies south of Sargeant. The first settlement was made in 1857, by Mahlon Parritt and his son, Dexter, from whom the town was named, who settled upon the southeast quarter of section 33. Here was the home of the father until the time of his death. G.W. Bowls came in 1859, Henry L. Slaven settled on section 34 in 1866, John Peet on section 7 in 1867, Hammond Stowell and C. J. Short came in 1868 and bought land in section 5, 6, 7, 8, and 17. Amount 16,000 acres.

In 1868 Hermon Thompson settled on section 27. In 1869 Henry Dudfield, Daniel Pearce and Nelson A. Huntington settled on section 21, Pearce on section 22. Daniel Williams and A. G. Tanner settled in the town in 1874, L.E. Peters on section 2 in the same year. In the years 1876-77-78, there came into the township D.W. Adams, B. Cornforth, Conrad Christgau and sons, John and Fred, Conrad, Proeschel, W. Arndt, G. Seebach, O.P. Johnson, P.F. Lynch, J.M. Peterson, Luther Rice, A. and R. Starks. G. Seebach and Christgau settled on section 32.

When the southern Minnesota railroad was built through, an effort was made to get a station on section 16, but it was not successful and finally the village of Dexter was located on Section 13, near the east line of the township. If the first location had been adopted it would have been at the present junction of the Southern Minnesota and the Great Western. Dexter township was organized in June 1870, at Henry Dudfield's house. The village was platted in 1874 and the same year J.C. Easton built a warehouse and D.G. Pearce and G.W. Buck opened stores. When the Great Western road was built through the township, two stations, Renova and Sutton, were established.

MARSHALL TOWNSHIP, 102, 16, named from Governor Marshall, was first settled in the spring of 1856 by Helga Erickson, who settled on section 36. John Osmundson settled on the same section. Ole Tollefson and Gilbert Anderson came in 1860. The first settlement in the north part of the town was made in 1857 by Mahlon Parrott and son Dexter. The latter preempted 160 acres on section 3. In the fall of that year they removed to section 33, Dexter. The second settler was Michael Luney, who came in 1861. A.N. Converse settled on the northeast quarter of section 2.

This was one of the township of land that was thrown on the market at an early day and was bought up by speculators who held the land at high figures and thus retarded the settlement. Governor Marshall purchased four large tracts in the township and sold the same to W. H. Dean. One of the most extensive farmers in the town was Willis M. Corbitt, now of Austin. He purchased 400 acres and improved the same. He is one of the largest sheep raisersin the county. The township was organized in 1870. The Great Western railroad runs across the northeast corner and a flourishing station, Elkton, is established on section one.

ADAMS TOWNSHIP, 101, 16, adjoins Mitchell county, Iowa, on the south, and is well watered and drained by the Little Cedar and its tributaries. The town was well supplied with timber found along the streams. The first settlers in the township were Thomas Knudson, who came in 1855 and settled on section 2, and Rognold Olson, who settled on section 12 in the same year. R. Oleson, John D. Oleson, J.H. Johnson, Stephen Oleson, Ole Johnson and Stephen Christenson settled in the town the same year. Among the settlers of 1856 were John Seisenfelt, Peter Seisenfelt, Michael Rowland and John W. Oleson.

The following came later: John Heimer, Mathias Cary, John Webber, P.M. Rooney. William Madden, M. Krebsbach, C. Krebsbach and Michael Smith. William Madden had the honor of naming the town after a Mr. Adams, an old friend in the state of New York. Henry Heimer came in 1856, settling on section 32. Gulick Olson came in July 1857, to section 2, where his father built a log shanty, 10x10 with hay and sod roof and dirt floor. Lawrence Rooney settled on section 16 in 185_. Thomas Rooney came the same year and Patrick Rooney settled in section 33 in 1859. The town of Adams was organized in May 1857. The first town meeting was held on the open prairie on section 16. Stephen Oleson and Stephen Christenson, early settlers, who came in 1855, were frozen to death on December 8, 1855. They started with an ox team for Six Mile Grove in the town of Nevada to procure provisions. They got the provisions and started home.

Then a severe storm set in and they lost their way and were frozen to death. The bodies were found three days after in Lodi township. Alice Rooney, daughter of Mathew Rooney, was frozen to death in the winter of 1872. It seems Alice and her brother Frank had gone to the village of Adams to do some trading. They left for home about dark. It was storming very hard. They had to face the west wind. As the team had to face the storm it was impossible to guide them. They wandered around all night. They were found the next morning just over the line in Iowa. Alice was dead and Frank lost both of his feet. They were badly frozen. The village of Adams, on the C.M. and St. Paul railroad, clusters around the entire stake of section 11. The first building was erected by W. E. Davis and brother in the fall of 1867. They sold out to M. Krebsbach. The village has developed into one of the most enterprising business centers of the county with bank, creamery, waterworks, newspaper, churches and substantial business houses.

NEVADA TOWNSHIP, 101, 17, lies next west of Adams on the state line. The noted Six Mile Grove is in the southwest part of the town and was in an early day heavily timbered, but much of it is now cleared off, although large tracts are covered with a flourishing second growth. The first settlers of the township as a rule were prosperous and there are probably more of the first settlers occupying their original claims in this township than most any other in the county. The first permanent settlers of the town were Scandinavians. This was one of the first settled towns in the county, that was in 1854.

The first man to make a claim in the town was William Allen, settling on the southwest quarter of section 29 which was valuable on account of the timber and water. He built a small log house covered with bark. He made no other improvement but waited patiently for someone to come along and buy his claim. In October of that year he sold his claim to Gunder Holverson and then left the county, and went to Oregon. The first permanent settlement in the town was made by Thore Oleson early in the spring of 1854. Halvor Thorson is a son of Thore Oleson. The next settlement made in the town was in 1854, by Andrew Anderson, Martin Hanson and Peter Martin.

Anderson was a blacksmith by trade, setting up his forge under the shade of a tree where he did the first blacksmithing in the county. His son Hans C. Anderson for many years occupied the old homestead. In the summer of 1854 the following named settlers arrived: Ole Anderson, and brother, Knud Andrew Quale, Aslack Oleson, T. Richardson, Ole Sampson, Sween Gerganson and Hans Swenson. The first settlement in the north part of the town was made in 1857, when the following named persons came: John W. Gregg, Daniel Austin and D. B. Nye. The town was organized at a meeting held in May 1858 at the house of P.A. Bailey. John W. Gregg and Gunder Halverson were members of the first board of supervisors. P.A. Bailey was the first town clerk. For the early settlement of the town the nearest mill was at Decorah, Iowa, 65 miles away.

Some of the settlers had no teams and the distance was too great for one to pack a large grist on his back. Ole Sampson thought he would mend the matter a little and dug out the top of an oak stump so that it resembled a druggist's mortar. In that he would put the corn and mash it by means of a solid block of wood attached to a pole which was balanced on a post. In this means he kept his own as well as other families supplied with meal for nearly two years. And to use the words of Holverson, it was a God-send in those trying days of 1855-56.

B.F. Langworthy
(To be continued)

[Mower Co. Transcript, Wed., April 9, 1902,
Pg 1. -- 7th article]





Submitted to Mower Genealogy by Mark Ashley, 3/2011
Webization by K. Kittleson