History of Hampton, MN
From: The History of Dakota County and the City of Hastings.
By J. Fletcher Williams.
North Star Publishing Company.
Minneapolis. 1881.


The surface of the township is rolling, the soil dark loam, with clay sub soil, heavy, fertile, and produces large crops of grain. The soil of the southern portion being of a sandy loam, produces the larger amount of corn raised in the town. Groves dotting the surface here and there furnish sufficient fuel to supply the township, for many years to come. No streams cut the surface, but by digging a considerable depth,frequently one hundred and twenty five feet, excellent water is obtained. In many instances this is raised for stock by means of wind mills.


The first claim in the township was made by John M. Bell, September 2d, 1854, on sections 4 and 5. Here he erected what was known as the "Sod Tavern." This was built by placing crotches at the corners. On these crotches were laid timbers for plates, then split timbers were placed, one end on the ground the other on the plates, and covered with sod. The roof was composed of brush, sod and wild hay. In January, 1855. Mr. Bell procured from Hudson, Wisconsin, sufficient lumber to lay a floor. In the spring of 1855 the sod house was replaced by a log cabin 19x25 feet. After residing on his claim twelve years, Mr. Bell removed to Hastings where he now resides.

During the winter of 1854-5, Joseph, a son of John M. Bell, began improvement on one hundred and sixty acres in section 23. He had made about one thousand, five hundred rails and hewed a lot of logs preparatory to building a log cabin. As he would not be of age until April 20th, 1855, he was unable to make any record of his claim. In March, 1855, a number of Germans began settling in the neighborhood. One of them named Denn, seeing young Bell's improvements, concluded to benefit by them, and accordingly took the claim using the logs which Bell had cut. About the first of April, Bell discovered that his claim had been jumped, and proceeded to investigate. Getting his father and six neighbors to accompany him, they proceeded in a body to the place. A part of the company were provided with fire arms. Upon their arrival at their destination, they found about fifteen Germans armed with shot-guns, clubs and revolvers, and one old woman with a scythe. Finding the Americans could not be frightened by their appearance, the garrison accommodatingly withdrew to a safe distance and allowed the attacking party to tear down the house and pick out the logs cut by young Bell, pile them with the rails and set fire to them. The old woman, more pugnacious than the rest, approached several times to use her scythe upon the legs of the assailants. At one time the blade was in proximity, too close for comfort, to the legs of a person by the name of Dorson, who leveled his rifle upon her, saying: "If you don't behave yourself, I'll shoot you to the ground." Thinking he would carry his threat into execution, the woman withdrew, the "destroying angels" completed their work and retired in good order, neither party firing a shot.

In 1854, Stephen D. Bell, brother of J. M Bell, was making a tour through this region in search of a place for a home, and pleased with the appearance of the land, early the following spring brought his family from Ottawa, fllinois, and taking a claim of one hundred and sixty acres, on section 8, has since resided there.

In March, 1855, three brothers, Conrad, Peter and Nicholas Doffing, John J. Fox and Joseph Stumpf, Germans, came together and made claims in the township, Nicholas Kranz coming soon after. These men, who have resided here since, acquired considerable reputation as the "champion nullifiers," of the first dog law passed by the state legislature. This law, imposing a tax of one dollar upon each dog owned in the state, met with emphatic disapproval by these pioneers, only a few of whom paid the tax. At a town meeting subsequent to the approval of the act, a resolution was passed, to the effect that all who paid the dog tar should have one, dollar deducted from from their poll tax. The overseers of the highways were instructed and made these allowances, thus effectually setting the, to them, obnoxious tax aside.

Charles Kranz, son of Nicholas Kranz, opened a blacksmith shop in 1857, and run it for about four years. About the same time John P. Trier opened, and for two years operated a shop near the Catholic church, then closed out and went to Hastings.

Jeremiah Filbrich took a claim on section 4, and in October, 1854, had five acres broken. After living on his claim for a time, Mr. Filbrich went south and died there. Phillip Bassett, from Cottage Grove, Washington county, took a claim on section 3. He now lives in California. Wil11am Knowlton arrived from Michigan in March, 1855. Gilbert McKay, one of the organizers of the township, visited this place in 1854, and in the spring of 1855, brought his family from Prescott, Wisconsin. He has ever since resided on his farm in section 4. In 1855, James Archer came from Hudson. Wisconsin, located on section 4, and in 1856, built the first hotel in the town. This was a large two-story house, at that time second to none in the county, and in the second story there was a large hall.

Stephen Hicks came to the territory in June, 1854, and first settled in Goodhue county, threefourths of a mile from the site of Cannon Falls. There he built a house by setting up four crotches, covering them with sticks and brush, and building a stack of hay on three sides. In this structure he lived until his log hotel, 12x18 feet in size, was completed the following fall. Travel soon increased so much that it was necessary to enlarge, and the capacity of the building was doubled. In July, 1855, he made a claim of one hundred and sixty acres in Hampton, and Melissa Simons took the north half of the north-east quarter of section 3, township 112, range 18, and eighty acres in Hampton township. On the eighty acres in township 112, Mr. Ricks erected what was known as the "Cave," a small log house covered with sod. Mr. Hicks and Miss Simons were maried in this "Cave" and lived in it until 1857, when he built a larger and better house, residing in it until 1860, then removing to Hastings where he still resides.


This township was created at a regular session of the board of county commissioners held April 6th, 1858. As originally created it contained all of township 113, range 18, and all of township 112, range 18, but at a subsequent meeting of the board, held September 18th following, township 112 was set apart, organized under the name of Richmond, and is now known as Randolph.

The name Holden was first considered, but after some discussion was rejected. After considerable dispute over the names Holden and Bellville. Bell being the name of the first settler of the township, and by some preferred, the town was styled Hampton, after a place of that name in Connecticut. This appellation was suggested by Nathaniel Martin in honor of his birthplace.

At the annual election held May 11th, 1858, the officers elected were Gilbert McKay, chairman, John M. Bell, M. Lies, supervisors; Jonathan S. Haselton, clerk; Isaac N. Holden, A. Camfield, justices of the peace. Since then the chairmen of the board and town clerks elected have been as follows: chairmen - Porter Martin; Phineas Hayward, 1862; Martin Poor, 1863-'64; J. H. Whitford, 1865-'66; Joseph Stampf, 1867; James Brownell, 1868; J. H. Whitford, 1869; Eugene Thein, 1870-'71; William Smith, 1872-'73; Phillip Doffong, 1874; M. H. Day, 1875; J. H. Whitford, 1876; Gilbert McKay, 1877; M. Molitor, 1878; D. W. Bartlett, 1879; John Kanfmann, 1880; Jacob Horn, 1881. Clerks: Gilbert McKay, 1862; N. F. W. Kranz, 1863-'64-'55-'66---'67; Francis Gores, 1868-'69-'70-'71-'72-'73: G. H. Brooks, 1874; John Manger, 1875; J. H. Brooks, 1876-'77-'78-'79-'80; Nicholas Becker, 1881.

In 1860, only six years after the first settlement in the township the population of Hampton was four hundred and eighty; the total assessed valuation of property was $54,254. The census of 1870, showed the population to be 1,095, and the total valuation of property $226,404. In 1880, the valuation of property was $322,748, while the population, owing to the immense westward emigration, was less than in 1870, being but eight hundred and five.

At a special town meeting, held December 31st, 1863, at the school house in district No. 60, it was nnanimously voted to levy a tax of $1,700, to pay a bounty of $140 to each person who would enlist and was accepted to till the quota of the town. At a subsequent meeting, held at the house of the chairman of the board of supervisors, M. Poor, it was voted to issue bonds, payable April 1st, 1865, and bearing ten per cent. interest, to raise an amount sufficient to pay to each of eighteen volunteers, required to fill the quota of the town, the sum of $150 bounty. The total amount of bonds issued by the town for bounties to keep the quota filled was $17,000. This was entirely paid off before the expiration of three years, and the town has since that time been free from debt.


This village is situated in the north east part of the township, and has a population of about one hundred and twenty. Father Keller gave it the name in honor of a small city in Germany. The first building put up in the town was the log church in 1856. The next building was a board shanty built in 1863 by Mathias Hubli. In 1865, Peter Mies built the first hotel, called the New Trier house. This was sold in 1867, to John Simmer, who still owns it. In this was kept the first grocery in the place.

The village now contains two hotels. New Trier house. and Farmers' Home; two general merchants, Francis Gores and T. J. Wallerin; hardware, Joseph Breher; meat market, Herman Goering harness shop, John Nather two blacksmiths, P. Mamer and Peter Thien; two shoemakers, Peter Kuhn and Caspar Michaels; merchant tailor, Theodore Deutsch; wagon maker, John Delfelt; physician, Dr. Mahowsky; saloons, John Simmer, William Schweitzer, Peter Redlinger, Peter Kuhn, T. J. Wallerin. The village was incorporated March 3d, 1874, and the first officers were Francis Gores, president; Joseph Deiring clerk; Andrew Weisen, Peter Bedlinger, Charles Hostert, trustees. The present officers are Francis Gores, president; John Delfelt, clerk; John Simmer, Andrew Weisen, Peter Redlinger, trustees.

The village occupying about seventy five acres of land, originally owned by John, Anna, Bernard Jacob Goergan, Margaret and Charles Lorenz, Catherine and Marcus Lies, Nicholas and Susan Lies and Jacob Dener, was surveyed and platted by C. B. Lowell in February, 1874, and the plat recorded March 16th.

An addition, called Gores' addition, consisting of four blocks, ranging east and west, was surveyed and platted the same year. The two western blocks were vacated before the plat was filed, but the two eastern ones were recorded June 10th.

In June, 1856, C. B. Lowell surveyed and platted a village to be called Hampton, on land owned by James Archer and Abram Camfield. This plat was recorded June 22d. Two hotels and a saloon were opened, but owing to a want of patronage were abandoned and the plat vacated soon afterwards.


The north western portion of the township, being more thickly settled than the rest, the citizens raised $100 by subscription, and erected the first school house in Hampton, in 1856, in the fall. The following winter, Miss Mary Landers taught school, her salary being paid by subscription. District No.75 was soon afterward organized, and the house purchased by paying the amount subscribed. In 1864, the district sold this building to William Smith, and built a new one, which, in January. 1867, was destroyed by fire. The district was then divided, a portion being set off, and formed a part of district No. 81. The same year, district No. 57 built a new house on the present site, the north west quarter of section 4. The boundaries of the district extend into the town of Vermillion.

The second school taught in the town was conducted in the winter of 1856-'7 by N. F. W. Kranz,in an open log shanty, without floor, chair or bench, the teacher and pupils either standing up or sitting on the bare ground at their convenience. The district now comprises the school of the village. Early in 1881, the board of county commissioners added the south west quarter of section 18, township 113, range 17, to this district, making it joint with the town of Douglass.

In the summer of 1857, the inhabitants of district No. 60, built a house, 16x20 feet, on the south-west quarter of section 15, and the winter foliowing, N. F. W. Kranz taught a three months' term of schooL Until 1870, the terms were of but three months' duration each year. During the summer of '70, a German school of twenty five scholars was taught by Michael Linden. This summer school has been since continued, the parents of scholars paying the expenses. The attendance frequently reaches as high as sixty scholars. During the summer of 1871, while the school was in session, a bolt of lightning struck the building, tearing away an entire side, and passing between two girls set fire to the clothing of each. The fire was quenched, without injury to the children, by the prompt use of a pail of water. A little girl who sat directly in the course of the bolt, was called upon the floor by the teacher just before the stroke. In the summer of 1872, the district built a larger house, costing, with furniture, $690. It is located on the north east quarter of section 21. They now have from four to five months' session each winter, besides the private German school each summer.

The first school taught in district number 59, was conducted in a house known as the Worden place, by Miss Sarah Hawkins. In the spring of 1862, at a cost of $100, several citizens built a small house on section 19, and during the summer, Miss Jennie Culbertson taught for a term of five months, her salary being paid by subscription. In 1865,the district was created, the building purchased and removed to the north west quarter of section 29. Here it did duty until replaced in 1876, by the present structure. The boundaries of this district extend into Castle Rock township.


The first reilgious services held in the town were at the house of Eugene Thein on section 12, in the fall of 1855. Father George Keller, a Catholic priest, who had conducted this initial worship, the following summer, organized a parish and built the first church in Hampton township. This was a small log affair, which was afterward used as a parsonage, until destroyed by fire. In 1856, a Jesuit missionary visited the people and labored among them for a time. He erected the missionary cross, which still stands near the church, on the 8th of November, 1856. The church, known as St. Mary's was under charge of Father Keller until August, 1861, when Father Kaeder took charge. August, 1862, Father Pius Bayer came as assistant in this capacity, serving until 1863. when he took the entire charge of the parish. In the spring of 1872, he was attacked by small pox and died May 13th. During the administration of Father Bayer, the fine stone church was erected, the corner stone being laid by him, May 5th, 1864. It was dedicated February 28th, 1866. After the decease of the pastor, the church was visited once a month by Father Thomas Scherer, of St. Paul, until October, 1872, when he was succeeded by Father Magnus Mayer, who, during his pastorship, founded the school and convent of St. Mary's church, March 11th, 1878, the present pastor Father Gregory Koering took charge.

The German Evangelical church is situated about one mile south of the village, on section 23. The first sermon of this order was delivered in the fall of 1857, in a small log residence, on section 23. The society was organized in 1859, with Rev. August Huelster, as pastor, and in 1860, built a small church. In 1875 their present structure was erected, and dedicated July 4th, Rev. E. H. Bobanman delivering the sermon. The members numbered sixty eight, with Rev. Frederick Emde, pastor.

The German Baptist church, situated in the south-western part of the town, on section 31, although not organized until 1876, occasional preaching has occurred since 1860. The Rev. Grusuch preaching there that year, in the house of August Otte, Sr., and continuing at irregular times for five years. In 1876, the society organized and built a church, which was dedicated June 21st. The first regular pastor was Rev. Henry J: Muller. They now number twentynine members, presided over by Rev. J. Albert of Hastings.

The first English sermon preached in the town, was delivered by Rev. Charles S. LeDuc, then pastor of the Presbyterian church of Hastings, in the summer of 1856, in the first little schoolhouse built in the town. Prom time to time religious services were held as a minister could be secured. In 1859, Anthony Armstrong, a Methodist clergyman, visited the town, and on the 3d of July, a Methodist class was formed, and assigned to what was then called the Lakeville circuit, afterwards changed to Castle Rock circuit. Meetings were held in the school house of district number 57, until it was destroyed by fire in 1867. James Archer then offered the use of his hail, which was accepted and occupied until the next year, when they began holding meetings in the school house of district number 81. They now have Sunday school and church in this building every two weeks, Rev. Bishop being their present pastor.


St. Mary's Catholic cemetery is situated near the church to which it belongs. The first person buried here was Nicholas Riplinger Jr., who died February 17th, 1857. The cemetery contains about four hundred graves.

The Evangelical Association cemetery is situated by the church whose name it bears. The first person buried here was Mrs. Mary Ista, some time in 1860.

Hampton cemetery was first situated on section 9, the first grave being that of Stephen D. and Amelia Bell. In 1876 the yard was removed to section 4, and contains about seventy-five graves. The German Baptist cemetery is located on section 20, on land owned by the Otte brothers. August Otte, who died in 1857, was the first person buried here.


Early in 1855 a stage route was established from Hastings to Faribault, passing through Hampton in a south western direction. Mails were carried over this route daily. Early in 1856 a post-office named Hampton was established at the house of James Archer. who was appointed postmaster, and he held the position about eight years, receiving a daily mail from Hastings until the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul railway was operated, since when mail has been received only twice a week. The office is now held by Frank Breher, who received his appointment in 1879.

In July 1867, a post office was established at New Trier, with Nicholas Schwartz as postmaster. Weekly mails were received from Hasti ngs and semi-weekly from Northfield. John Moos has been postmaster since 1873.


November 30th, 1878, Joseph Geipher, a farmer living on the south-west quarter of section 20, was crushed to death while sinking a large stone. As he was excavating under the rock, the ground caved, and the stone falling upon him, killed him instantly. AlaborernamedM. Duffing was injured the same way in 1880, and died a few days afterward from the effects of his wounds.

Early in August, 1855, Philetus Dawson, while taking a gun from a wagon, accidently discharged. it, the charge entering his leg just above the knee. A few days afterward mortification set in and after intense suffering he died, August 23d, his being the first death in the town, On the same day an un-named infant of Stephen D. and Amelia Bell, died.


The first marriage in the township was that of John Kranz and Miss Abbie Stumpf, celebrated in the Catholic church at New Trier, in November, 1857, by Father George Keller. The first birth was that of L. Holden, born August 11th, 1855.

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