History of Carimona Township, Fillmore County, Minnesota
From: History of Fillmore County, Minnesota
Compiled by Franklin Curtiss-Wedge
H. C. Cooper, Jr. & Co.
Chicago 1912


Carimona Township is bounded on the north by Fountain, on the east by Preston, on the south by Bristol, and on the west by Forestville. Its form and size is identical with the original United States survey. The surface is rolling, and the soil on the higher portions is a clay loam from six to ten inches deep, with a yellow clay subsoil, and on the low lands the soil is a black loam from eighteen to twenty four inches deep, with a blue clay subsoil. The south branch of Root river flows across the town from section 18 in quite a direct channel to section 1, where it leaves for Preston. Willow creek conies from Bristol and flows through the eastern tier of sections to join the south branch in section 1. There are also numerous springs to assist in watering the town. The northern and eastern parts are particularly adapted to stock raising, while the central, south and southwestern sections are well adapted to tillage.

Early Settlement. The summer or fall of 1852 is supposed to be the time of the first entry of the vanguard of civilization which so rapidly encompassed this whole region. Edwin, Joseph and W. C. Pickett, with their father, David, natives of New York, came here from Indiana. Martin Kingsbury and brothers, also from New York, came direct from there, and the same year Sylvester Benson, another New Yorker, and William Carpenter, with J. Howel, who located in this town. Some of them came with teams drawn by oxen, in which they encamped until a log cabin could be put up, which was 14x16 feet.

The earliest settlement in town, outside of the village, was that of Martin Kingsbury and brothers, William Carpenter and Sylvester Benson, who came in the spring of 1853, and camped on Willow creek, in section 25. William Wilbur bought one of their claims afterwards. John B. Palmer arrived in the fall of 1853, and secured a claim.

In 1854, George and A. P. Day, natives of New York, Christopher Fritzsommers, a native of Ireland, Samuel R. Ayer, of Canada, Peter Young and Martin Young, of New York, and others came in. W. H. Strong, who arrived in the spring of 1854, at once became a prominent citizen and built a hotel the next year, which did an immense business. William Chalfant came at the same time. The Picketts had two younger brothers, Philo and Alonzo, and their father, as already mentioned, who afterwards died. William Sitler was here a short time and then returned to Pennsylvania. William Holton came as a lad about the same period. Aikin Miner came in the fall of 1853 and settled on section 24. In the fall of 1854 he moved to Jorden, in this county.

In 1855, J. WT. Brockett came here and engaged in trade, but did not remain long. W. H. Roberts was a settler this year in the village. Jacob Diley was another, who came about this time Robert Broadwater and family also arrived this year. George Babcock and Ebenezer Newcomb, from New England, are also remembered as corners this year. This village was on the great stage route, and when navigation on the river closed there were regular lines of stages, the most prominent of which was M. O. Walker's.

Abraham Rexford came from Loraine county, Ohio, in 1856, and settled on section 23. His wife, Susan, who came with him, is now in her eighty third year and lives with her son, Samuel, on the original homestead.

Land Office Records. The first titles to land in Carimona township were issued by the government in 1854. Those who obtained land that year were as follows, the date of the issuance of the warrant being given first, then the name of the owner and then the section in which the land was largely located. August 17, Martin Kingsbury, 23; August 17, Robert S. Warren, 23; August 17, William Reynolds, 13; August 24, Daniel Hurlbut, 24; September 5, Joseph Pickett, 5; September 5, William C. Pickett, 4; September 8, Martin Henderson, 10; September 8, Edwin Pickett, 4; September 9, John Ingbrightsen, 18; November 1, Sylvester Benson, 25.

Those who secured land in 1855 were as follows: March 24, Philo F. Pickett, 3; March 31, George H. Fremire, 25; March 31, William Hurlbut, 26; March 31, Esekiel Thomas, 24; April 12, George Drury, 26; April 12, John Jubb, 26; April 17, Joseph W. Brockett, 9; April 18, James M. Munday, 1; May 22, George W. Horton, 35; June 4, George P. Babcock, 10; June 4, Joseph R. Colburn, 25; June 4, Everett E. Newcomb, 2-11; June 14, Everett E. Newcomb, 3; June 27, John W. Jones, 8-9; July 7, David Pickett, 4; July 27, Alexander Wight, 3; August 8, Patrick Agan, 3; August 10, Joseph Bisby, 7; August 11, Joseph Bisby, 7; August 20, Benjamin Philbrick, 5; August 23, John M. West, 25; August 24, Alexander Holton, 10; August 24, David Holton, 9; August 25, Joseph W. Crees, 11; August 25, George L. Day, 2-11; September 5, Whitman S. Ford, 22-27; September 25, Henry A. Lewis, 13; October 12, William Meighen, 18; October 17, Lorenso Luce, 25; October 17, Joseph Stevens, 24-25; November 24, Martin Regenold, 15, November 24, Alfred Ward, 14-15; December 29, Martin Mulroy, 2-3.

Early Events. In 1856 Wm. Rendals took a claim in section 31 and engaged in business in section 24, in Buffalo Grove. In 1858 Mr. and Mrs. Rendals both died of typhoid fever, and a supposed partner in the business in which they were engaged, which was the manufacture of coin, came up from Iowa and secured the machinery, molds and a certain amount of fifty and twenty five cent pieces. For the convenience of the mill an ostensible blacksmith shop was erected, and in this place the counterfeiting was carried on, but how extensively will never be known, as, if any of the spurious coin was passed, it was taken into a neighboring state and never issued near home. It is said that a case was being tried before a justice in town at one time, and the magistrate was found to be fast asleep when J. R. Jones, one of the attorneys, adjourned the case until the court should awake. Orissa C. Kingsbury, a daughter of Martin and Caroline Kingsbury, was born June 19, 1854. In the spring of 1856 John Warner and Lizzie Rendals were united in marriage by Rev. John L. Dyer, at the residence of the bride's parents. In the spring of 1855, John Woolsley died of overheat while at work. At the time of the Indian panic, about September 1, 1862, E. McGowan suddenly started off with the rest of the people for Preston, leaving his pocket book, containing $800 in cash, and on his return he found that some one had taken care of it so effectually that he never saw it again.

Township Organization. The first town meeting was held May 11, 1858. The officers of the election were: Chairman H. R. Wells; clerk, J. T. Nickerson; judges, Samuel Hull, Abraham Anderson and W. T. Little. The officers elected were: Supervisors, William H. Strong (chairman), J. H. Kegan and Daniel Garrison; justices of the peace, E. Pickett, J. W. Brackett and W. H. Wilbur; clerk, Abram Kalder; assessor, S. R. Ellis; constable, B. B. Strong; collector, B. B. Strong; overseers of the poor, W. C. Pickett and Joseph Bisbey. The first meeting of the board of supervisors was on May 28, when the road business received attention, the districts having been at that meeting designated and the overseers appointed.

In the War of the Rebellion. It is said that almost every able bodied man in town enlisted to serve their country in its hour of peril, and that the Union sentiment was well nigh universal.

The Indian Scare. On that terrible occasion the panic in town was almost universal. The fighting material being away at the front, those that were at home felt that they were at the mercy of the bloodthirsty savages, and every soul left, as is reported, for Preston, to escape impending destruction.

Carimona Village. The location of this historic spot is on the south branch of the Root river, on the southern line of section 4. It was first indicated as a village in 1853, but was not platted until the following spring. Edwin and William C. Pickett were the proprietors. Carimona being one of the four center towns of the county, it was judged that if a village could be created there, that it would be an object for the county to establish it as a county seat, and the idea was reinforced by the subsequent action of the voters.

In the summer of 1854 William H. Strong built a two story frame building, the lower part he used as a dry goods and grocery store and the upper part for a residence. In 1855 he built a two and one half story hotel, and occupied it as such for a year or so, until he built the brick building, the second story of which was intended for county purposes. This building is still standing.

In 1854 or 1855 William Fairbanks opened a blacksmith shop which had been built by E. & J. Pickett.

In 1856 Gilbert & Pickett started a hardware and tinsmith shop. A shoe shop was opened in 1857 by William Taft. D. Holton built a wheelwright shop in 1858, and it was occupied by Mr. Chamberlain.

Some time in 1857 William Holton opened a sample room in Mr. Taft's building, and different parties engaged in the business up to the year 1864, when it was closed out.

Postoffice. In 1854 a postoffice was established in the village with William C. Pickett as postmaster, and he was succeeded by the following gentlemen: William H. Strong, E. T. Nelson, J. M. Howe, A. King, and William K. Read. The last postmaster was O. L. King. Mail is now received by rural route from Preston.

Waukokee Village. This is a locality on section 25 in the Willow creek valley, and the land was at first pre empted by Daniel Hulburt and others. The name was derived from an Indian chief, who used to have a fishing and hunting camp at this place. Milton West built the first house, in 1853, and opened a small grocery store, and in 1857 there were seven houses in the village, and a postoffice was established, with Mr. West as postmaster, but he was soon succeeded by Mr. Wilbur. In 1868 the office was discontinued and about that time B. Larkins opened a dry goods store, which was soon transferred to Joseph Colburn, but the business did not continue for a great length of time. As early as 1855, Martin Kingsbury organized a Sunday school in the house of Sylvester Benson. On October 7, 1855, Rev. John L. Dyer preached the first sermon, as is supposed, in the Willow creek valley. His well remembered text was, "I Am hath sent me unto you." On January 27, 1856, Mr. Dyer organized a Methodist Episcopal society with six members. Services were held from time to time in the schoolhouse. The village now exists only as a recollection. Oren West built a hotel in Waukokee in an early day. He and his wife died on their first location in section 25.

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