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


Spring Valley, on the western border of Fillmore county, is near the headwaters of several branches of the Root river and lacks a section and a half of occupying a full government township. Sumner is on the north, Fillmore on the east, Bloomfield on the south and Mower county on the west.

Bear creek winds in and out of the northern tier of sections. Deer creek meanders across the town from west to east, north of the center. Spring Valley creek cuts diagonally through the southeastern part of the town, there being also several smaller creeks.

When the settlers reached this town they found a fine open rolling prairie in the southern tier of sections, land somewhat more uneven and covered with light timber or brush in the middle tiers, and heavily timbered land in the northern tier. Even to the present day there are numerous timber claims of from two to twenty acres each in the northern part of the township.

The scenery in several parts of the township is most attractive. A spot of especial beauty is located on Deer creek in section eleven. Here the stream winds around from the west, and striking a perpendicular limestone ledge one hundred feet high, is reflected toward the north, after which it turns to the south, thus forming a loop, coming back to the east side of the ledge less than seventy feet from where its deflection occurs. The loop around the limestone ridge is a mile and a half in extent, and during this detour the river drops thirty feet. The ledge itself has sheer sides and is covered at the top with trees, thus adding greatly to the picturesqueness of the scenery.

Early Settlement. Evidence as to the earliest settlement of Spring Valley township is unsatisfactory and conflicting. It is apparent that several of the early settlers came on foot, selected their claims and then went after their families, sometimes not returning until a year or so later, thus causing several different dates to be given as the time of their settlement here. Then, too, a number of the earliest settlers stayed but a short time and moved away before proving up on their claims, leaving so slight an impression that not even their first names have been preserved. A few settlers evidently came to Spring Valley in 1852.

1852 - Simeon Phillips first staked off his claim where the Crawford Kellogg place is now located. He also located another claim the following year. Finally he sold out and went to Bloomfield His shanty is supposed to have been the first in the town. A Mr. Johnson claimed the north half of section twenty six, but the following year disposed of it to the Lowe brothers. Little of him is known except that he was an American, that he came here from Iowa, and returned from whence he came. Mr. Delling that year took the northeast quarter of section thirty four, but soon sold to Mr. Cartlich and transferred himself to the section line of twenty four and twenty seven. His family, it is not unlikely, was the first in Spring Valley. After a time he removed to Frankford, in Mower county. In May of that year a Mr. Brown took the northeast quarter of section twenty three and without having made any improvements sold to Norman W. Kingsley the following year. Of his previous or subsequent history nothing is known here. Henry W. Perkins visited this place in May, 1852, and selected a place and drove his claim stakes in the southeast quarter of section twenty three, and then returned to some rented land in Iowa. In September he came with a team, bringing his wife, put up a shanty, and cut some hay, but returned to Iowa in the fall. He came back the next spring and began to break up his land.

1853 - This year there was quite an increment to the primitive infant colony, and some of the settlers are here mentioned without much regard to the order of their arrival. Norman W. Kingsley, of New York state, came from Wisconsin in June, and the available place that filled his desire was in the west part of section twenty two. Here he made a farm and a home, where he remained until called to his eternal home in 1875. There were three sons: Solomon, Charles, and N. W. Henry Kibler came this spring from Virginia and settled in sections twenty four and twenty five, on which he afterwards built a sawmill. He was a. noted man in his time, a representative in the legislature, and with metropolitan aspirations laid out a city and called it "Liberty." He moved to Fillmore township, where he died.

Dr. J. Early, the father in law of Kibler, came with him and drove his stakes east of the Kibler claim. The doctor had quite a reputation as a medical man, but did not make many improvements and after a while removed to Iowa, where lie afterward died.

Calvin E. Huntley, Sr., commonly called "Cal." Huntley, settled in the fall of 1853 and gathered a crop of hay, which he utilized by forming a shelter for the coming winter.

A man by the name of Deering came some time in 1853 and staked a claim in section thirty three, but did not remain many months.

Zara A. Warner passed through this town in 1852, and deeming it a goodly land, resolved to make it his future home while he remained in this world, and so in 1853 he came back with his wife and five sons and daughters and pre-empted 160 acres in sections twenty seven and twenty eight. Some of the children afterwards secured land in their own right. Part of Mr. Warner's claim is now within the city limits. His original cabin was destroyed by the wind and he erected his second cabin near where the barn of Frank Rafferty, Jr., is now located. Thomas C. Watson had a claim east of Warner's, which two years afterwards he sold to the Kelloggs. He had a store in Spring Valley at one time. His brother Josiah was at the Big Spring in 1853, but soon sold out there. T. F. Huntley, a native of New York, came from Allamakee county, Iowa, arrived in June, 1853, and took his claim where the village now is the same month. He brought his family in July and fixed up a hay shanty at first.

David Broxhelm and William Baker, two Englishmen, drove through from Dodge county, Wisconsin, in 1853, and Baker surrounded some land in section thirty four, but in a few months sold to F. Kummer, who also arrived that year. Broxholm's territory was in section twenty five.

Others whose names have not been preserved may have arrived at about the same time.

1854 - In 1854 there began the real influx of population and the land was taken rapidly.

T. M. Chapman, from Burlington, Ill., came in November, 1854, and got a place in section thirty.

T. B. Johnson came here December 15, 1854, from Ohio via. Iowa, and on July 9, 1855, he brought his family, consisting of a wife and five children, and his land was on section thirty five. He put up a hewn log house, which was an unusual luxury in those days. He bought two hogs which weighed between two and three hundred pounds for $75, so that as long ago as that there were corners on pork. Mr. Johnson was the first mail carrier, bringing it up from Carimona. Winona was the most convenient market then.

Early Events. Flora, (laughter of Frederick and Caroline Kummer, was born January 5, 1854. Mary Belle, daughter of J. B. Thayer, was born November 11, 1855. Orin A. Huntley was also born at a very early day in the cabin of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Calvin E. Huntley.

Hattie H. Kingsley, daughter of Norman W. Kingsley, Sr., died in the fall of 1856, and was buried on her father's farm, two miles east of the village.

The first marriage in the township was that of John M. Smith and Julietta Kingsley.

The first cemetery in the town was a lot vacated by the village company between blocks twenty eight and twenty nine, but the remains at first deposited there were in the sixties removed to a new cemetery which had been established.

Land Office Records. The first titles to land in Spring Valley township were issued by the government in 1855. 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: February 19, Edward Buck, 1; May 5, Samuel Jolly, 2; May 8, Joseph Carter, 1; May 13, John L. Green, 3; May 30, John L. Green, 4; May 30, Russell A. Steere, 3-4; May 13, Russell A. Steere, 3; May 25, John Cozad, 12; May 28, Charles F. Hardy, 3; May 30, William Tuttle, 2-3; May 30, Joseph S. Brownell, 4-5; June 1, Augustus M. Dyson, 27; June 1, Nathaniel Hall, 1; June 2, Cephas Smith, 4; June 6, David Steere, 4; June 8, George J. Cravath, 2-3; June 11, Samuel M. Early, 24; June 13, Isaac Stewart, Jr., 5; June 16, Joseph B. Thayer, 33-34; June 16, Ed. Willard, 30; June 22, Elbridge A. True, 30; June 26, Gerry Burdick, 3; June 26, Isaac N. Cummings, 11; June 26, Henry C. Hart, 1; June 26, Sargeant Kingsbury, 3-10; June 26, John M. Smith, 13; July 4, Henry Low, 26; July 4, Josiah K. Watson, 26-27; August 3, Daniel Scoville, Jr., 2; August 30, William Collins, 2; September 11, John S. Crane, 31; September 11, Peter G. Tilton, 30; September 15, Harrison A. Billings, 12; September 15, Joseph Cartlich, 24; September 21, Soloman W. Kingsley, 23; September 21, Thomas C. Watson, 27; October 2, John Jolly, 10; October 9, Henry Kibber, 24-25; October 10, Legrand Lloyd, 11-12; October 11 Esra Scoville, 21-28; October 12, Elon Crane, 11-12; October 12, James Ives, 12; October 12, John Kleckler, 26; October 15, William S. Hill, 17; October 17, Wallace T. Belden, 10; October 17, Isaac H. Eaton, 29; October 17, Niels Johnson, 28; October 17, Eleaser Root, 21; October 17, Orlin Root, 29; October 17, Merit Warner, 28-33; October 17, Nelson Warner, 28; October 17, Cordello Wilkins, 33; October 18, John Cropoot, 10; October 19, Jesse Cartlich, 34-26-27; October 19, Charles H. Chamberlin, 7; October 20, James G. Chase, 33; October 20, Simeon Philips, 22-27; October 20, Dryden Smith, 34; October 26, Augustus A. Burdick, 29; October 29, Sylvester Treat, 21; November 9, David Broxholm, 25-26-35; November 9, Allen B. Hosmer, 4; November 16, John Hill, 24; November 16, Frederick Kummer,:35; November 16, Horace J. Vesey, 15; December 10, Jesse C. French, 9; December 11, William Gilbert, 35; December 21, Gilbert S. Benham, 33; December 21, Lyman Lamb, 33; December 21, Milton J. Viall, 32; December 21, William T. Wilkins, 32.

Political. The town government was organized May 11, 1858, at which time the following officers were elected: Supervisors, W. T. Wilkins (chairman), T. M. Chapman and T. B. Johnson; town clerk, E. McMurtrie; assessor, S. Phillips; collector, A. B. Allen; overseer of the poor, W. A. Potter; constables, A. P. Allen and S. P. Dean; justices of the peace, W. Allen and E. Wilkins; overseer of highways, C. A. Cady.

During the war the town levied several taxes to pay bounties for soldiers to fill the quota. The amounts paid were from $300 to $400 to each.


Limetown or Lime City is the name of a locality in the center of section four, which is so called on account of the lime burned here. A sawmill was put in, probably as early as 1854, and was on the northeast quarter of the section, on Bear Creek, from which it procured its power. It was commenced by Frank Tebot, who constructed a dam across the river and secured a head of twelve feet. He soon sold to Mr. Frazer, and in 1855 the dam went out. It was bought by Mr. Young, who replaced the structure, but that also was carried down stream. In 1857 Mr. Scoville put up a steam sawmill on the west side of the creek, with a circular saw that could rip out 3,000 feet of lumber in a day. It was sold to Mr. Morrison and finally moved to the Minnesota valley. In 1860, or thereabouts, T. J. Murphy put up a steam sawmill across the creek, with a circular saw and a forty five horsepower engine that could saw 6,000 feet of lumber a day. This was purchased in 1869 by L. G. Odell, who run it for several years and sold the property to Charles Gordon. The boiler was sold and transferred to the stone mill in Sumner. Olds' sawmill was built in 1868 by N. Olds & Son. It has a story and a half with a basement, is 20x41 feet, and a wing 12x41 feet. Its location was on Deer creek and it was operated by water, had a circular saw, and could deliver 2,500 feet of lumber in a day. A three foot dam secured a fall of twelve feet. In the upper story was machinery for manufacturing wagons and sleds and for repairing. In 1881 the water wheel became permanently disabled and a portable steam engine was brought into requisition. This was about a half mile below the site of "Beldena." During the war T. J. Murray commenced burning lime here and did a good business, employing in this work and in the mill quite a force of men, and in 1868 he sold out to L. G. Odell, who built a "draw kiln" and went into the business quite extensively.

Liberty. A city of this name sprung up in the mind of Henry Kibler, who had a farm in section twenty four, and it was so far materialized as to be platted and recorded. The enthusiastic proprietor had a few goods for sale in his house, and this was the nearest approach to its becoming a city that it ever made.

Beldena. One of the early enterprises of the town of Spring Valley was the inception of a village with the above appellation. Its location was most admirable, on the southeastern part of section nine, on Deer Creek. The proprietor and projector was Dr. W. P. Belden, a young man of means and energy, who commenced with business like methods to make improvements. A dam was thrown across the river to secure a water power, and the village was regularly surveyed and platted, but never recorded. Quite a number of, families were attracted to the spot, a blacksmith shop, a shoe shop and a. store were started, and everything seemed to conduce toward the success of the undertaking. But various untoward circumstances and the rivalry of neighboring villages that were candidates for public favor and patronage were too powerful to be overcome and so this project was abandoned. The dam was washed out in 1858. It is said that Dr. Belden lost $3,000 in this venture.

Deer Creek Postoffice was ushered into existence in 1856, with W. S. Hill as postmaster, and the mail was opened at his house on section seventeen. The name 'Arcade" was at first sent in by Mr. Hill to the postoffice authorities, but that was rejected and Deer Creek substituted. In about four years it was discontinued.

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