At the February meeting, 1861, of the Board of Supervisors. Town 38, Range 1, was formed into a township by
the name of Stockton, having theretofore been a part of Brooklyn Township. This name was selected in recognition
of the large amount of stock then being raised in the town. The name was changed to Viola, some time during the
following spring or early summer, because of the fact that there was already at least one town by the name of Stockton
in the State.
The first officers of the town were chosen at the April town meeting, 1861. Fifty two ballots were cast, resulting
in the election of Samuel L. Butler for Supervisor; Simeon Cole, Assessor; Samuel Vosburg, Town Clerk; John Melugin.
Constable: Ford and Moses B. Van Campen. Highway Commissioners. The meeting and election were held at Van Campen's
Little Melugin Grove, in the southeast part of the town, was the focus of early settlement. William Guthrie, the
first settler in the township. settled here in 1834 or 1836 and gave his name to the grove. It was also sometimes
known as Lawton's Grove, from William Lawton, one of the early comers. Guthrie's buildings were placed at the extreme
south end of the timber. Melugin Grove, lying southwest of Little Melugin, spreads itself into the two towns of
Viola and Brooklyn. It took its name from Zachariah Melugin. who located in the grove but on the Brooklyn side
of the timber. in 1834. Later came Evins Adrian. but prior to 1840. Walter Little came to the township about the
It is claimed that the first marriage in the township was that of Evins Adrian to Manila Goodale, October, 1840:
that Walter Little was the first adult to die in the township, and that the first birth was that of a child of
'William Lawton, who died in infancy.
The first school in the township was kept at the house of M. Van Campen for three terms. and the first school house
was built at Little Melugin Grove.
The town being purely agricultural without a village center, little is to be gleaned of historical character regarding
it. Its history is to be traced in the development and increasing value of its farm lands, which is difficult of
reduction to details. Its land owners have been large participants in the drainage of Inlet Swamp, elsewhere noticed,
and have received great benefits therefrom.
The population of the township was 598 in 1890. and 694 in 1900, as shown by the Government census.