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Le Sueur County Minnesota
Genealogy and History

Township History

Le Sueur County Township Histories
Source: History of Nicollet and LeSueur Counties Minnesota, Volume I, Illustrated; Hon. William G. Gresham editor (1916) Transcribed by Jan Grant



Kasota township is in the extreme southwestern part of LeSueur county. It is situated on the east side of the Minnesota river, with Ottawa township at its north, Washington and Cleveland on the east, and Blue Earth county on the south. Exclusive of the village of Kasota, its population for three federal census periods was: In 1890 it was 1,038; in 1900 it was 1,020, and in 1910 placed at 863. Many of the townships of the county fell off during that decade. Kasota comprises irregular portions of congressional townships 109 and 110, ranges 26 and 27.


Kasota township was organized and its first election held on May 11, 1858, when there was sixty-eight votes polled. The township board consisted of J. P. Buell, chairman; A. Pettis and S. W. Davis; clerk, C. A. Shaeffer; assessor, T. G. Carter; collector, H. Morrill; justice of the peace, Daniel Birdsall. Since that date great have been the improvements effected by the citizens of the township. These include one of the best systems of wagon roads and bridges in the county. In the village of Kasota the first term of school was taught in the summer of 1858 by Elizabeth Hunt, who became the wife of Daniel B. Barstow. This school was held at a private residence and was attended by fifteen pupils. In 1882 the township had nine district schools.


The first death was evidently that of a stranger whose name is now unknown, who lost his life by the falling of an embankment while helping to excavate for the Babcock mill in the autumn of 1852. Soon after this the wife of A. Pettis died and was buried at Lake Emily.

The first marriage in the township was that of uniting Isaac Davis and Catherine Pettis in 1854.

The first white child born in the township was Clara Babcock, daughter of J. W. and M. E. Babcock, in 1854. She died in 1861.

The township of Kasota paid in 1861 into the county treasury six hundred dollars in one day as taxes, one-fifth of which was paid in by one man—S. G. Butman.


The following item in the St. Peter Tribune, in September, 1868, gives an account of the Kasota milling interests: “The Kasota mill is now fully completed and is certainly one of the most complete water mills in this state. It is conveniently arranged and all its working machinery is of the best character. It is provided with two runs of French buhrs and the best German bolting cloth. The motive power is furnished by a water wheel measuring twenty-four feet from the top to bottom, and a sufficient volume of water is obtained to drive all the machinery with perfect ease. Messrs. Cook and Millard are determined to make their flour equal to any made in Minnesota.”

“The mill built at Lake Emily during the sixties is now in successful operation and grinding from one to two hundred bushels of grain per day. These mills are just to the east of St. Peter, on the high bluff. The proprietor, William Shimmel, and others of this place, deserve credit for the energy exhibited in the prosecution of this valuable work.”—St. Peter Tribune of 1870.

The first regular cemetery in the township was laid out in section 33, on the bluff overlooking the village of Kasota in 1854. The Caroline and East St. Peter burying grounds were platted at a much later date.

A postoffice was established at Caroline in 1877, and Conrad Smith was appointed the postmaster. He also conducted a general store at that place a number of years. A limekiln was also one of the first paying industries of that locality. It was from this limekiln business that the village was first known as “Lime.”


In an old history of the Minnesota valley, there is an account of a wonderful crop of Irish potatoes. The item reads: “One of the most remarkable crops of potatoes ever raised in Kasota was in the season of 1853, when R. Butters harvested nine hundred bushels of potatoes from five acres of land, realizing for the entire lot two dollars a bushel. The next season everyone put in many potatoes, and they became a drug in the market—were quoted at ten cents per bushel.”


It is now unknown just who was the first person to actually settle within what is now the limits of Kasota township, but the claim that Reuben Butters was first is disputed by some, contending that he did not locate here for a number of years after other settlers had made claim to lands and had homes well established. It is known that the pioneer band who here sought and secured homes among the very earliest were: J. W. Babcock, George Thompson, James Lindsey, Reuben Butters, C. Schaefer, William Nason, C. Smith, James Warrant, John P. Koenen, S. B. Carpenter, Jacob Klaseus, S. F. Holbrook, E. R. Vernon, John Weger, and possibly a number of others, including some of the township officers whose names have already been mentioned as organizing the township in 1858. E. E. Boutwell located here in 1858—he was a cousin of former Secretary of State Boutwell.

J. W. Babcock was here in 1851, and commenced the first mill in the county the next season. His son, Charles Babcock, is the well-known Kasota marble quarry owner and one of the present operators of great stone industry. The stone business had been really commenced by his father, who was first to develop the famous building stone known as the “Kasota Stone.” This handsome pink limestone is to be seen in hundreds of public and private structures throughout the West. Between 1851, when Mr. Babcock arrived in the township, up to 1858-59, there must have been a good many settlers in Kasota township, for at the first election, which was held in the spring of 1858, it has been shown that there were sixty-one votes cast in what was then known as Kasota township. The Traverse des Sioux treaty was made with the Indians in the summer of 1851, and that season it is known that pioneer J. W. Babcock arrived and soon commenced his water power saw-mill operations.


Within this township are the villages and hamlets of East St. Peter, Caroline, Pettis and Kasota, the last named being the only one of any great commercial importance.

Kasota, one of the earliest settled locations in the county, is situated in the west half of section 33. It derives its name from the Indian dialect. It was originally platted by J. W. Babcock and Ovid Pinney, March 23, 1855. It was surveyed by Evan Goodrich. Later additions were made by others. The same year of the original platting a general store was opened by C. Schaefer. Another quite early dealer was R. Butters, who traded here during the Civil War.

Another dealer, a Mr. Butman, who came in from some one of the eastern cities, carried a splendid and large stock of fine dry goods, including silk and the finest grade of woolen fabrics, of as good a quality as could be had in Minnesota at that date—indeed the best that money could then purchase in the great markets of the world. The first settlers in and near Kasota brought money with them, but the financial panic of 1857-8 ruined many. During the flush times the ladies had the best there was going in wearing apparel. One who was here at the time states that this village had a ball0room in which frequent dances were given, at which the people went dressed as well as at any time in the county’s history. These first settlers had nearly all come in from some of the older settled states (with an occasional foreigner) and had been reared in cultured communities and homes—some as far east as New England—and they brought their refinement with them and their sons and daughters kept pace, in many ways, with their forbears.

The first merchandise was sold from the general store of C. Schaefer in 1854. It was also that year that J. W. Babcock operated a ferry boat across the Minnesota river and continued so to do until the wagon bridge was constructed at St. Peter. Mail was brought from St. Paul and Sioux City and a postoffice established at Kasota in 1854.

The first hotel in Kasota was the one that stood near the present residence of C. N. Warrant. It was known as the “Old Nick” house—short for Nicholas. Its original parts were of logs, but to this was added a frame structure about the same size and it was in this old log hotel that the present extensive stone and marble operator, Mr. Babcock, was born. It is said that in pioneer times there were many an interesting gathering under the roof of this hotel—it was noted up and down the Minnesota valley.

The first bank was established by C. W. Babcock, O. P. Buell and T. S. Wilcox, January, 1902.

In 1882 Kasota had two stone quarries in operation, two grist-mills, one hotel, one general store, a blacksmith shop, a wagon shop and a saw-mill. One hundred houses constituted about the number of residences in the village at that time. The chief business at that time, as now, was the extensive stone-quarry interests.


From 1884 to 1906 M. A. Ostrander operated a general store, which business was burned and never resumed.

R. R. Turrittin ran a general store from 1870 for a number of years; was postmaster and railroad agent for the old St. Paul & Sioux City road. He now resided in Estherville, Iowa.

John Weger, who drew a thirty-thousand-dollar Louisiana lottery prize, built three residences and operated a general store a number of years, finally ran through all of his property and died poor at Kasota. He commenced business about 1880.

John Ofenlach started a blacksmith shop in 1871, and now owns the hardware store and John Ofenlach started a blacksmith shop in 1871, and now owns the hardware store and implement house of Kasota; these lines he embarked in about 1890.


Agricultural implements, John Ofenlach; bank, First State Bank of Kasota; blacksmith shop, Nels Olson; cement work, Festus L. Warrant; drugs, J. E. Davies; dray line, Peter Hanson; elevators, Hubbard & Palmer Company; furniture, John Ofenlach; general dealers, Peterson & Kottke, Swenson & Youngren; hardware, John Ofenlach; hotels, H. Stockton, Oscar Wistrom; lumber, Standard Lumber Company; meats, L. C. Nason; opera hall, village hall; physician, Dr. W. H. Powell; restaurant, Charles Johnson; shoe store, Andrew Swenson.


Kasota was incorporated as a village in April, 1890. The following have served as mayors (or presidents): O. P. Buell, 1890; E. E. Salls, 1891-92; O. P. Buell, 1893; M. A. Ostrander, 1894-95; T. S. Wilcox, 1896-97; C. P. Heiberg, 1898099; W. H. Powell, 1900; A. H. Gripp, 1901-02; Jacob Paff, 1903; S. B. Youatt, 1904; O. P. Buell, 1905; T. S. Wilcox, 1906; A. H. Gripp, 1907-12; C. R. Swenson, 1912-16. The village officials in 1916 are: C. E. Swenson, mayor; Charles R. Swenson, recorder; O. P. Buell, treasurer; council, Peter Harmon, L. C. Nason, A. H. Gripp.

Electric lights were installed in Kasota in 1909. A village hall—two-story brick building—was erected in 1899 at a cost of five thousand dollars, when material and work were low, and is now valued at fifteen thousand dollars. It also serves as lodge room quarters for all the lodges in Kasota.


A postoffice was established in Kasota in 1854, with J. W. Babcock as postmaster; he was succeeded on May 20, 1856, by Isaac Allen; P. G. Benson from March to September, 1857; D. R. Hugenin, 1857 to 1859; S. G. Butman, 1859 to 1863; E. A. Dean, 1863 to 1870; Robert R. Turrittin, 1870 to 1878; John Weger, 1878 to 1879; Reuben Butters, 1879 to 1880; John Weger, 1880 to 1891; R. R. Turrittin, 1891 to 1893; F. K. Hugenin, 1893 to 1895; C. H. Davis, 1895 to 1899; R. C. Thompson, 1899 to 1905; Dolly B. Thompson, 1905-1914; S. M. Granger, 1914 and still serving in 1916.


Beyond question the most extensive industry in Kasota and LeSueur county is the stone industry. The milling and brewing business is large, but not as permanent as the stone and marble business, for obvious reasons. What is known the country over as the “Kasota building stone” and in more recent years, as the “Kasota pink and yellow marble,” is of a very superior quality and susceptible of a high polish and attractive finish. The pink limestone, as the building stone is sometimes termed, is the older of the two quarrying interests at Kasota, and was really what placed the little village of Kasota on the maps of the country in a prominent way. This excellent stone was first quarried here soon after the county was settled. It was pioneer J. W. Babcock who first turned his attention to quarrying this stone, and to develop what has come to be the great present-day stone industry of the Minnesota valley. Charles W. Babcock, a son of the pioneer referred to, early in the eighties commenced to further explore and develop these interests, and employed modern methods and appliances with which to quarry and ship this most valuable product. Nothing of any considerable consequence was done with this stone, commercially, until the close of the civil War, when Reuben Butters and J. W. Babcock each commenced to operate separate quarries at Kasota, and worked them as best they could with the means then at their command. Court houses, school houses, window and door caps and many other items for both public and private structures were made from the stone here quarried.

At present there are two different companies working the Kasota stone industry—Babcock & Wilcox and the Breen Stone Company, the latter being largely Mankato capital, with a few local stockholders, while the former is purely a Kasota concern. These firms employ about one hundred and fifty workmen in all departments.


The first of the development of this beautiful marble, which is found in at least two exquisite colors—yellow and pink—making a desirable and very attractive material for interior finish of buildings, was when the Minnesota state house was commenced in 1905, the builders selecting this material for many parts of the interior finish. This soon placed it before the builders of the better class of structures throughout the Union, and today the books of the stone companies show that they have furnished marble for scores of magnificent buildings, including the following: Minnesota state capitol, costing five million dollars; Wisconsin state capital, costing about six million dollars; Hotel Taft, New Haven, Connecticut, cost one million, four hundred thousand dollars; Kansas City railroad terminal, costing ten million dollars; Spalding building, Portland, Oregon, costing six hundred thousand dollars; Woodward building, Washington, D. C., costing one million dollars; Hotel St. Paul, of St. Paul, Minnesota, costing one million dollars; Union National Bank, Houston, Texas, costing seven hundred thousand dollars; Alumni Memorial hall, Ann Arbor; Administration building, south park commissioners, Chicago; Municipal building, Des Moines, costing five hundred thousand dollars; Federal building, San Diego, California; Post Office building, Chelsea, Massachusetts; Shubert theatre, St. Paul, Minnesota; Masonic temple, St. Paul, Minnesota; Essex building, Minneapolis, and scores of lesser jobs have all been furnished with marble for their interior finish from these quarries. It has found its way for the artistic adornment of cathedrals, public buildings, modern office structures and leading hotels. It is now employed in buildings in more than twenty states of the Union. For corridor and rotunda work it is especially beautiful in effect, as well as imperishable.

The stratum of this marble is about ten feet in thickness and twenty feet down from the surface and is cheaply quarried as compared to many of the world’s quarries. The tract of land on which it is located will furnish marble to the public for many long years to come. Columns, wains-coating, window and door casings, etc., are all sawed and handsomely polished after having first been run through a planning machine, giving any desired shape and design pleasing to the architect. These extensive quarries are close to the side-tracks of the Northwestern, Omaha and Milwaukee railway systems, making it easy of shipment. Practically speaking, aside from the rich iron ore deposits of this state, these quarries are the most valuable mineral deposits in the commonwealth. To really appreciate the appearance of these two tints of marble, when in use, one must needs see it in the buildings where it has found its way in so many instances. It was not known until a few years ago that this Kasota stone was susceptible of a high polish, but such was discovered and since then has constituted the intrinsic value of the stone so long used simply as common building stone.


It’s so funny, the way that the heart remembers. I was a little girl of about four years the first time I recall traveling to my Gra’ma’s house in Kasota, Minnesota. Daddy would turn right at the corner by Jim Klein’s Garage (at the bottom of the hill entering Kasota) and my heart would skip a beat. There, up ahead, I could see the black-oil covered railroad track crossing that led to Gra’ma’s, and my little sister and I would giggle and scream with excitement and delight.  

As we drove from the make-shift blacktop road onto the gravel road immediately preceding the old railroad crossing, the scent of wildflowers filled our nostrils and I was certain we’d all just died and gone to heaven!  Up and over the railroad tracks with a very sharp turn to the left we’d go, then down Gra’ma’s long gravel driveway.

Before very long, Mama, my sister and I were living on Gra’ma’s house where we were surrounded by lilacs, sumac bushes, Vogt’s enormous horse pasture and the bull pasture, too. My little sister and I would spend endless hours, days and then months playing in that horse and bull pasture. The Vogt girls would sometimes give us  rides on “King” one of their horses, and we’d build imaginary forts in an old abandoned quarry that was located a little ways away in the bull pasture.

I sometimes crossed the railroad tracks to visit a dear little elderly man who seemed to enjoy cooking food for me. Mr. Rollings was a kind and warm person, who, just before leaving their little house across the tracks, gave me a card in which he’d written, “To the little girl who never forgot”. I miss him to this very day. My little sister and I loved to pick wildflowers and take them to the Old Rest Home that sat kitty-corner from the Rybus home. (Sadly, the old rest home is no longer standing.) All of the elderly folks who lived there would always smile happily when they’d see us come in.

I began walking to the old Kasota School (no longer standing) that stood across the street from the post office.  
Upon entering the first grade at John Ireland School in St. Peter, MN, it became necessary for me to ride the school bus. I would wait for the bus in front of the Old Kasota School most mornings, except when the winter weather grew very blustery and cold. On those frigid mornings, Mr. and Mrs. Barklow (who ran the post office) always let my little sister and I wait inside by one of the post office windows for our bus. There were many kind people living in our little town.

    The Old Kasota School      DSC_0830                         Old Kasota School  (since torn down)    The Old Kasota Town Hall

I frequently return to Kasota just to visit and to reminisce. So much of my heart remains there. It was the ideal place for children to experience their childhood and to develop wonderful imaginations. Although I very much love my life today in Lakeville, Minnesota, I know that the very special little town of Kasota will always draw me back into it’s heartwarming, nostalgic embrace – even if only for a few minutes at a time.
Although the winters there were very cold, and the school was massive in size,  each time  I entered the kindergarten room. my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Kruse, made it’s interior a very warm, and happy place.  
(Copyright 8/29/16 by Jeanie Cooke-Fredlund, Author/LADC/Animal Behaviorist)



Cleveland township is situated in the southwestern part of LeSueur county, and comprises congressional township 110, range 25, and parts of three sections in township 109. It is situated south of Sharon, east of Kasota, west of Cordova and north of Washington township. The Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad runs through it from southwest to northeast, with the city of Cleveland as a station point about centrally located in the territory of the township.

The lakes of this township are Scotch lake, Lake Henry, Lake Emily (the lesser), Savidge lake,, Mud lake and Silver lake. This township, when first discovered by white men, was largely a timbered section of the county, but has been almost all cleared off and the land is utilized for farming purposes. The soil is rich and valuable and farm lands range in price from one hundred to one hundred and twenty-five dollars per acre.

The population in 1890, was 991; in 1900, it was 1,027 and in 1910, 640, exclusive of the city of Cleveland which at that date had a population of 212.


Cleveland was one of the first of the interior townships in the county to be settled. Among the prominent of the pioneer band may be named: R. H. Everett, Mrs. L. Meeker, George Forsyth and J. W. Chambers, who came in during 1855. The next season these were followed by Andrew Wilfert, Adam Wright, Dennis Hill and Freeman Talbot. The first goods sold in the township were from the general store of Forsyth & Agnew, opened in 1856. The village of Cleveland was started in 1857. The first death recorded in the township was that of Mrs. L. Jones in 1857. In 1856 a son of Mr. and Mrs. David Lloyd was born and named Job. The same year a daughter was born to William Forsyth and wife.

J. W. Chambers, born in 1843, in Ohio, came to Minnesota at the age of twelve years, settling in Cleveland. He served as a soldier in one of the Minnesota regiments in time of the Civil War, after which he engaged in farming in this township.

Florian Drenttel, a German, came to the United States in 1872 and lived at St. Peter four years, then moved to Cleveland and became a permanent settler.

D. Dugaw, born in Lake county, Ohio, in 1848, after living in Wisconsin and other states until 1868, came to this county and engaged in farming.

R. H. Everett, a native of Champaign county, Illinois, in 1855 moved to Minnesota, settling in Cherry Creek run, now known as Cleveland. He served in Company E, Eleventh Regiment, Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, being honorably discharged in 1865. In 1883 he owned one thousand acres of fine land in this township, with almost four hundred acres under a high state of cultivation.

W. A. Flowers, born in 1832, in Ohio, lived on a farm until 1842, then removed to Indiana, remained until 1856, coming from there to LeSueur county, Minnesota, settling in this township. He enlisted in Company G, First Regiment, Minnesota Volunteer Infantry. His children included Mary E., William W., Henry H., John C., Dora E. and Mabel Flowers.

Nelson Goldsmith, born in Kentucky in 1803, came to Minnesota in 1864, settling in section 26, Cleveland township.

Benjamin W. Harriman, born in West Virginia, in 1830, moved to Dakota county, Minnesota, in 1854, remained nine years, and in 1863 moved to this township, locating in section 14. He served in the first Regiment, Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, in Civil War days and was a county commissioner for LeSueur county.

Dennison Hill, born in Ashtabula county, Ohio, in 1838, moved with his parents to Wisconsin in 1843. Ten years later he moved to Iowa and in 1856 to Minnesota, locating in Cleveland, where he operated a steam sawmill. During the Indian outbreak in 1862 he served as a scout and was deputy United States marshal; was also an Indian agent at Winnebago agency two years.

H. A. Johnson, born in New York state, passed his youth on a farm coming to Winona county, this state, in 1855, and to this township in 1857. He was a blacksmith and wagon maker and followed this trade in Cleveland.

Carl Leth, a German, came to America in 1856 and the next year to this state, locating in Cleveland township, in section 29.

J. J. Oehler, a native of Switzerland, born in 1810, came to America in 1856, locating in this township soon afterward. His eighty-acre farm was located in sections 29 and 32.

Lorenzo D. Randon, a native of Kentucky, was born in 1843. In 1861 he enlisted in the Kentucky Infantry (Union) and served in the famous engagements at Kenesaw Mountain, Peach Tree, Atlanta, Jonesborough and others. After the end of the war he came to Minnesota and finally settled in this township. He engaged in the hardwood lumber sawing business and was very successful in the enterprise.

In 1860, George Rinkel, a German, born in 1833, came to the township, locating in section 30. He married the widow Fetman in 1860.

Hon. Freeman Talbot, an Irishman, born in 1811, went to Canada in 1818, with the family, but removed to Minnesota in 1856, settling in this township. During the Indian outbreak in 1862 he was commissioned captain of a relief company to go to New Ulm. He was elected state senator, serving in 1872-73.

Other settlers here were Daniel Van Vleet, from Ohio, who came here in 1876. Christian Vollmer, a German, was early in this township, locating in section 29. He came to the state in 1865. Andrew Wilfert, a German, came here in 1856; served in the Union army during the Civil War and saw hard fighting service. Moses E. Wilson, of Ohio, came to Minnesota in 1873, making Cleveland his place of residence. Adam Wright, a native of Indiana, came to Minnesota in 1856, locating in Cleveland township, this county, in section 28.


The little town of Cleveland, once the county seat, was started in 1857, and gradually grew until it was a rival of LeSueur, then the seat of justice. It was during 1858, and for a number of years thereafter, that there arose a great rivalry between the two towns. Several times Cleveland secured a majority of the votes in the county for the county seat, but each time, through some flaw in the proceedings, was beaten. Finally, the county seat was secured in 1875, but the town held its coveted prize for one year only, when it was removed to LeSueur Center.


The first death in the township was that of Mrs. Jones, a newcomer who died suddenly in 1857.

The first birth in the township was a son named Job, born to Mr. and Mrs. David Lloyd in 1856, and the same year a daughter was born to William Forsyth and wife. In the village plat, the first child born was L. Lampman, son of N. B. and M. E. Lampman, in 1858.

As long ago as the record runs this has been radically a temperance village. A third of a century ago the business of the place consisted of two general stores, two blacksmith shops, three wagon shops, one hotel, one gun store and the postoffice, with L. Lampman as postmaster.

The first to carry on general merchandising here was the firm of Boerer & Weise, which firm was followed by William Adams, and he by George Virtue, who sold to L. Lampman and he to Hill & Wolford. Then came George Chegle, W. H. Jeager and H. H. Flowers, who continued many years and finally lost his stock by fire; then Jesse Gutzman and W. O. Shooey. The last mentioned sold to Lloyd Brothers, who in the spring of 1915 sold to Allen & Denker.

The first hotel in the village was conducted by Mr. Virtue. The first grain dealer was S. Y. Hyde and the second was W. Babcock. The first church built was the Methodist Episcopal.

J. Manning had a shingle factory here in 1865 which cut 10,000 shingles a day.


The 1910 census reports gave Cleveland village as having two hundred and ten population. It is situated on the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad. The village was incorporated in 1904. The first mayor was A. Rolphin, who was succeeded by the present mayor, W. H. Barnes. The 1915 municipal officers were: W. H. Barnes, mayor; O. L. Ransome, clerk; John Davis, John Brenshe and Thomas Lloyd, councilmen.

Up to this date no attempt has been made here to provide a water or light system, but the question is now beginning to be agitated.

The business factors at this date are chiefly these: The First State Bank; general dealers, Allen Decker, Lysle Hankins, J. H. Grow, William Robison; meat market, A. Rolphin; hotels, “Milwaukee” by L. Hendrickson, “Commercial,” by H. Grow; livery, John Wolford; lumber, Lambert Lumber Company; elevators, Farmers Co-operative and the Commander; live stock, Roscoe Davis; hardware and implements, Lloyd Brothers & Davis; blacksmiths, B. F. Henton, L. C. Herald; harness, D. C. Fryberge; feed, by both elevators; physician, Dr. A. Thompson; garages, William L. Lloyd, H. Grow, O. Ransom; creamery, Daniel Vollic; barber shop and pool room, A. Myers. The Cleveland postoffice now has three rural free delivery routes extending out into the surrounding country.

At this date, 1916, there are three churches, Methodist Episcopal, Christian and Catholic. Lodges include the Masonic, Woodmen of America and Equitable Fraternal Union. The schools consist of the large consolidated township school with eight districts represented. Eight teachers are employed.


A postoffice was established in this locality as randville, in September, 1856, with postmaster B. Y. Couch. The name was changed to Cleveland on September 24, 1857, with John Forsyth, postmaster. Since then the postmasters have been: Thomas M. Perry, 1857 to 1859; William H. Adams, 1861 to 1865; George J. Virtue, 1865 to 1870; F. S. Wilson, 1870 to 1876; S. L. Nichols, 1876 to 1877; William H. Adams, 1877 to 1882; L. D. Lampman, 1882 to 1883; C. P. Lampman, 1883 to 1885; William F. Johnson, 1885 to 1889; George L. Cheadle, 1889 to 1893; William F. Johnson, 1893 to 1897; H. H. Flowers, 1897 to 1915; DeEtta N. Hunter, appointed on February 12, 1915.


Congressional township 110, range 24 west, constitutes Cordova civil township in LeSueur county. It is six miles square, an inland township, rich in the bestowment of Nature’s best gifts. It is situated south of Lexington, west of Kilkenny, north of Elysian and east of Cleveland townships. Its population in 1890 was 1,046; in 1900 it was 1,151, and in 1910 the government census gave it as having 869. This township was among the original townships organized by the county authorities in 1858. Its surface is favored with numerous beautiful lakes, including Gorman, Good, Bussuot, part of Mud lake, part of Lake Volney, Sleepy Eye lake and several smaller lakelets, as well as a portion of the large lake known as German in Elysian township. There are no railroads or villages within this township, except the hamlet of Cordova. It is purely an agricultural and stock raising section.


This township was first settled in 1856, A. Hess, H. nelson, Henry Richardson and S. Wheeler taking claims of one hundred and sixty acres each. In the spring of 1857 they were followed by large numbers of families. Mr. Richardson had brought with him a large load of general merchandise with which he commenced business after building a log store early in 1857, continuing for three years. A second store was started the same season by C. Clark, but this was of short duration.

Shortly after his arrival S. Wheeler started his saw-mill, as the settlers were obliged to go to St. Paul and pay as high as eighty dollars per thousand feet for lumber. From lumber cut in this mill the first hotel in the township was built. The first death in the little settlement was Harvey Nelson, who died of consumption. Early in the summer of 1857 William McConkey and Mary Hess were united in marriage, and the following year a son was born to them—the first birth in the township.

A school was taught in the autumn of 1858, in a log house erected by Mr. Richardson for store purposes, the term being taught by Kate Hess and the number of scholars only seven.

A postoffice was established in 1857, with Duran Densmore was postmaster. This being a temperance township, the Sons of Temperance Society was formed in 1877 with twenty-five members.

Among other early settlers in the township was Orange K. Hogle, born in Ohio, who removed to Illinois and later in Indiana, and from that state in 1856 moved to Rice county, Minnesota, where he resided eight years, and then moved to Cordova, this county. He was postmaster for seventeen years; also kept a hotel. He owned village property as well as a good farm in section 14, of this township.

O. A. Jackson, a native of Indiana, born in 1825, lived in his native state till 1860, then settled in Minnesota, at St. Peter. During the Indian outbreak, in 1862, he joined the volunteer company called the “St. Peter Guards,” and was stationed with them at New Ulm. From St. Peter he moved to Cleveland township and three years later bought a farm of forty-seven acres in Cordova township, where he resided afterward.

Adam Lucas, born in Ohio in 1823, went at the age of eight years to Indiana, and there received his education and learned the millwright’s trade. In 1850 he made a trip to California where for two years he was engaged in mining. In 1864 he moved to Cordova township, where he owned and operated a saw- and shingle-mill, also a grist-mill. He was justice of the peace and township supervisor for a number of years.

Patrick McCoy, who was one of this county’s first settlers, located here in 1856 with a small fortune which he had gained in California. He died here in 1865.

Jonathan H. Robbins, born in 1835 in Indiana, enlisted in the Civil War service in the Union cause in 1862, served bravely and was discharged for disability caused by wounds. He was shot at Chickamauga, being struck six times, but escaped death. He came to Minnesota in 1869, locating in section 14, of Cordova township.


Cordova village was platted in section 14, township 110, range 24, September 28, 1867, by Adam Lucas and O. K. Hogle. It was incorporated in 1878, but never acted separately from the township government. From an old directory of the place it is learned that in 1882 the business of Cordova was at that date: three general stores, one hardware, two blacksmith shops, one wagon shop, two hotels, two saw-mills, a school, and two churches and the postoffice completed the interests of the hamlet. The village was platted on the south shore of Lake Gorman. It is a small but convenient trading place.


Derrynane is the center township of the county on the north line and comprises congressional township 112, range 24 west. It is one of the county’s original sub-divisions and is now well settled by an industrious class of farmers. Aside from a little hamlet known as St. Thomas there are no villages within the township. It has no railroad. It is situated east from Tyrone township, north from Lexington, west from Lanesburg and south of the Scott county line. It has several fairly good-sized lakes within its territory—these include School lake, Shea lake, a portion of Graham lake, and another in section 14.

The population of the township for three enumeration periods is: In 1890 it had 970; in 1900 it had 1,102, and in 1910 was placed at 846.

The township was originally know as “Ruggles,” but soon after its organization was changed to its present name. There has been two postoffices established in the limits of its territory—St. Thomas, in section 19, with T. C. Kennedy as pioneer postmaster, and St. Hubert’s in the eastern portion of the township. In the early eighties there were six school districts.

In the northwestern portion at an early time a German Lutheran church was formed in section 13; St. John’s church was located in the northeastern part of the township, and in the western part is St. Thomas’s Catholic church. At this locality there was built many years ago a large steam saw-mill. In 1881 the assessed valuation of the township was $173,000, with a personal tax of $22,000.

This is especially a farming section and has a mixed class of nationalities, each and all striving to do their best at being money-makers and at the same time being good, law-abiding citizens of the county. Forests have been cut down, swamps drained out and good roads made. Being somewhat at a distance from towns and city markets, many of the landowners here are quite extensive stock raisers and feeders. This policy keeps rich the land that might otherwise become poor in crop-producing qualities.


Elysian township, which was organized in 1858, is one of the central and most southern townships in the county. It is made up of a varied surface, hilly in places and again fine level surfaces, well adapted to general farm purposes. The soil is more sandy than in a majority of the townships in LeSueur county. There are two large lakes within its borders, German and Lake Francis, besides many lesser lakes, all of which afford fine fishing. These lakes also afford a fine summer camping and resort spot which is annually alive with camping parties and fishermen from various parts of the country.

Elysian township is bounded on the east by Waterville, on the south by the county line, on the west by Washington township and Blue Earth county. Its population in 1890 was 1,004; in 1900 it had a population of 903, and in 1910 it had only 846.

In 1857 the village of Elysian was platted and the next year a postoffice was established. The following is a record of the postmasters who have had charge of this office: February1, 1859, with Francis G. Conway as first postmaster; Israel Bruckmon, January, 1865, to October, 1865; A. H. E. Lange, 1865 to 1880; C. A. Ricker, 1880 to 1883; William M. Sterling, 1883 to 1885; J. T. McNeil, 1885 to 1889; C. G. Chadwick, 1893 to 1897; O. T. Whitten, 1897 to 1903; Mary D. Whitten, 1903 to 1904; William K. Wilcox, October, 1904, to March, 1915; Loyal H. Terrell, appointed on March 5, 1915.

The first death was that of a Mr. McCormick in the summer of 1857; he was buried in private grounds, there being no regular cemetery until 1870. The first marriage was in 1858, uniting Charles Folesmann and Augusta Speber.


Among the pioneer settlers in this township are now recalled M. Logan, George Johnson, Edward Morshing and Mr. Godfrey, all of whom took the most available claims of lands, each a quarter section, in the spring of 1855, and immediately opened up farm homes for themselves. That summer and autumn came in large numbers to locate. Among the more enterprising men of the township in the early eighties were: John Chadwick, a soldier in a Minnesota regiment in the Civil War, settled here in 1857; A. D. Chase, born in Maine, settled in section 32; William Clark, a native of England, born in 1839, located in section 34, in 1857; Ephraim Davis, born in 1809, in New York, was a cooper by trade but in 1858 settled in this township, served in the South during the Rebellion and also fought the Indians in Minnesota; August H. E. Lange, born in Prussia in 1828, came to America and in the spring of 1857 located in Elysian township; Frank M. Long, born in Ohio, 1839, served in the Civil War from Ohio and came to this township in 1871, having been here as early as 1856; Ira Myrick, born in York state in 1820, came west and erected the first building in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and in the fifties came to Elysian township; A. E. Prosser, born in Indiana in 1836, started for Minnesota via the railroad and at Dubuque took the steamer “Lady Franklin” and landed at the wharf in St. Peter on May 10, 1855, pre-empted a farm and for some time worked in the Courier office at St. Peter, but in 1858 went to his farm in Elysian township, the same being in section 33. In 1864 he enlisted in Company H, Second Regiment, Minnesota Volunteer Infantry. He held many public offices.

Other settlers were George H. Sterling, born in York state in 1829, came to Minnesota in 1853, went on a raft from St. Paul to St. Louis. He operated the first buzz saw ever worked in the city of St. Paul. He came to Elysian township in 1856 and found only one family in the township, first located in section 26, but later bought in section 27. Asa B. Swaine, born in Pennsylvania in 1822, served as captain in the Civil War and came to this township later. William Warner, a native of England, born in 1839, came to America in 1853 and ten years later moved to Elysian township, this county, settling in section 23.


In September, 1856, the inhabitants were thrown into a state of great excitement by the announcement that a sweeping prairie fire was approaching their section of the country from the southwest. The ground was deeply covered with dry leaves and great damage was feared, but the sturdy pioneers at once devised a plan which proved successful in saving their houses and stock. There is a chain of lakes reaching nearly across the township, and the settlers at once proceeded to rake leaves, plow ditches and burn the strips of land between the lakes, completing their labors just in time to effectually stop the ravages of the fire. A few, however, living on the southern shores were not so fortunate, having to take refuge in the center of their fall-plowed fields and even then being nearly smothered by heat and smoke; some lost their all, while others saved their houses and portions of their stock. Nearly all the hay that was put up in the sloughs was destroyed, causing much suffering to the remaining stock.


What is now the sprightly village of Elysian in 1882 had only the following business factors: The postoffice, kept by G. Raeker; two general stores, three hotels, two blacksmith shops, two repair wagon shops, a steam saw-mill, two shoe shops and a carpet weaver. The village had been platted in 1857. August Lange was postmaster from 1865 to 1880.


Elysian village was incorporated on January, 1884, with officers elected as follow: A. H. E. Lange, president; Dr. William Root, Stephen Goodall and John C. Chase, trustees; E. H. Shave, recorder; Charles Richter, treasurer; Ira Myrick and W. M. Sterling, justices of the peace; Erastus Fish, constable and marshal. The present indebtedness on outstanding orders is seven hundred dollars—no bonded indebtedness.

An elevated tank holding sixteen hundred barrels of water furnishes ample water supply and a pumping and light station supplying light and power is furnished by the Consumers Power Company, under a ten-year contract, at fifty-five dollars and seventy cents per month. The waterworks was put in by the village in 1896 at a cost of five thousand dollars. There are about twenty-five hundred feet of water mains and seven hundred feet of good hose, with an organized volunteer fire company. An old school house was purchased for village hall purposes. It was erected in 1877 and is twenty-four by forty feet, costing one thousand dollars.

The officers of the village in the winter of 1915-16 were: B. R. Flint, president; Joseph Beran, Henry Herdlicke and Charles W. Schneider, trustees; William Waburton, recorder; A. H. Long, treasurer; G. S. Waburton, justice of the peace; J. A. Lamont, marshal. Since the village was organized the presidents have been: A. E. H. Lang, 1884; Ira Myrick, 1885; Patrick Galagan, 1886-87; G. N. Jaqua, 1888-90; Alva B. Swain, 1891; G. N. Jaqua, 1892; C. F. Johnson, 1893-97; F. A. Lange, 1897; C. O. Galagan, 1898-99; John C. Chase, 1900-01; Frank M. Long, 1902; C. O. Galagan, 1903-06; J. F. Galagan; 1906-07; John O’Toole, 1908; B. F. Swain, 1909; J. T. McNeil, 1910; A. E. Jaqua, 1911; E. D. Chase, 1912, F. A. Allen, 1913; E. D. Chase, 1914; B. F. Flint, 1915-16.


These were the chief business factors in the village of Elysian in the month of January, 1916: Bank, Elysian State Bank; blacksmith shops, Rohlfing & Jewison, J. E. Broulick; barber shop, C. F. Warner; drugs, J. W. Root; clothing, handled by general dealers; cement blocks, Allen Murray, R. Barrington; creamery, Elysian Co-operative, C. N. Smith, secretary; elevator, Commander Elevator Company; furniture, Chase & Collins; general merchandise, Swain, Wetzel & Company, C. O. Galagan, F. A. Lange, E. S. Johnson, S. T. Austin; hotel, Manawa hotel, National Hotel, James Cowna and summer resort houses; hardwares, Chase & Collins, F. W. Fischer; implements, Fischer Hardware Company; harness shop, Frank Meierbachtol; livery, C. A. Crook; lumber, Westerman Lumber Company; millinery, Mrs. L. Hanson; milling, Commander Elevator Company, Backman Produce Company; meat market, W. H. Tuft; real estate, Elysian Land Company; jeweler, A. E. Jaqua; photographs, J. D. Morgan; shoe store, A. Chalupnicek; newspaper, Elysian Enterprise, W. K. Wilcox, proprietor.

For more interesting Kasota History visit my Facebook site titled,
“Kasota, Then and Now”  ~Jeanie Cooke-Fredlund

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