History of New Richland Township, Waseca County, Minnesota
From: Child's History of Waseca County, Minnesota
BY: James E. Child
The Press of The Owatonna Chronicle, Publisher.
Copyright 1905


This is the southeast corner township of the county, at the headwaters of the Le Sueur river. The township was originally all prairie except a narrow skirt of trees along the river. The soil is very rich and productive. The first settlement in the township was made in 1856 by a colony, as detailed by Hon. A. Sampson. Among the early settlers the following are noted - Knute Christensen, Nels Christensen, K. O. Rotegard, H. O. Sunde, Anthony Sampson, H. H. Sunde, Ole K. Hagan, W. Anderson, Christian Knudson, and E. O. Strenge were the first to settle in the township, and they located about June 10, 1856. Of the settlers of 1858, the following are remembered: Ole Hogaas, who died in 1885; John Benson, born in Norway in 1833, a prominent and well to do farmer; Nels Tyrholm, now of the village; Torkel Lund and Ole H. Sunde; H. J. Hanson, now county commissioner: David Skinner, Hon. John Thompson, who recently died at Albert Lea; Eric Christianson, A. N. Berg, A. J. Stensvad, and Ole Johnson. Andrew Berg is one of the wealthy farmers of the town. He is father of fourteen children. J. H. Wightman, now a resident of New Richland, was born in the state of New York Feb. 3, 1822; he settled in Byron in July 1857; went to Wilton and engaged in the hardware business with Hon. P. C. Bailey in 1864. After two years he sold to G. W. Watkins, and opened a general store at Wilton. At the building of New Richland, he moved his stock to that place and continued in trade till 1885-6, when he sold to A. J. Newgard and retired to his farm on section 16, where he still resides. Mr. E. E. Verplank, elsewhere noticed in this work, settled in this town in the "sixties." He married Miss Sophia Hanson Oct. 22, 1864. Knute O. Hagan, Torkel Lund, E. C. Sybilrud, and Rev. O. A. Mellby settled early in this township.


Mrs. Even Tostensen, daughter of O. K. Hagan, was the first child born in the township. Samuel S. Sampson was the first person to die. He departed this life Aug. 22, 1861. The first school meeting was held at the house of Nels Tyrholm. The officers elected were Anthony Sampson, director; John Larson, clerk; and T. Tidmanson, treasurer. The first church organization was in 1861. The first school house was built of logs in 1862, on land donated by Mr. A. Sampson; the first teacher was a Miss Northrup. The Norwegian Lutheran church on section 11 was built in 1875-6 and cost about $5,000. The first place of worship was built of logs in 1862, and Rev. B. Muse, of Goodhue county, was the first minister. The Lutheran society was first organized in 1858, by Rev. Laurs Larson, a home missionary, at the residence of Ole Arneson. The first town meeting was held at the residence of John Larson. Hon. John Thompson was chairman. J. S. Rice was chosen moderator and S. W. Franklin clerk. The first township officers elected were as follows: Supervisors, John Thompson (chairman), J. S. Rice, and David Skinner; assessor, A. Sampson; treasurer, Nels Christianson; justices of the peace, J. S. Rice and John. Larson; constables, George W. Legg and Andrew Johnson; overseer of the poor, Ole Johnson. Mr. John Larson was not only one of the first justices of the peace, but was also the first postmaster. The thriving village of New Richland, situated upon section 17, was surveyed and platted in August, 1877, by Henry T. Wells. There have been four additions to the plat since, one by Charles Zieger, one by Mr. Wells, one by Frank McClane, and one by Jane McClane. The village grew by leaps and bounds the first two years of its existence. Buildings were erected by a Mr. Buncho, by Thomas Lynch, J. H. Wightman, A. J. Stensvad, Henry Jaehning, Hugh Wilson, Halvor K. Stearns, Murphy & Johnson, C. H. Brossard, Clark & Swann, Nels Tyrholm & Son, Hon. Fenton Keenan, Joseph Smith & Co., E. E. Ellifson, Hunt Bros., Fred Bettner, Torgerson & Johnson, Newgard & Zieger, O. P. Olson, T. Thompson, P. A. Holt, O. S. Bokke, N. J. Robbins, who built the Washburn hotel, Ole Johnson Moe, who built the Commercial house, and Charles Brunnell, who built the American house. The Model Roller Mill, now owned by Everett, Augenbaugh & Co., was built in the fall of 1879 by Messrs. Dunwoody & Corson at a cost of about $40,000. The plant was bought by the Messrs. Everett, Augenbaugh & Co. some years since and has been thoroughly repaired and remodeled so that it is an up to date plant and is run in connection with the "Eaco" Mills at Waseca. The mill does most excellent work, and furnishes a live market for all the good wheat raised in the surrounding country.

The Congregationalists erected the first church building in the fall of 1882 at a cost of about $1,500. Rev. Wilbur Fisk was the clergyman who then served the people and rustled for the church.

The Norwegian Lutheran church was constructed in the summer of 1883 at a cost of about $2,500.

A school building was erected in the north part of town in 1878 at a cost of $1,200. Since that time a new site has been selected south of the business portion of the town, and New Richland now has one of the finest school buildings and school house sites in the state.

Strangers Refuge Lodge No. 74 of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows was organized Jan. 4, 1880, with the following officers: C. G. Cheesebro, N. G.; E. Steinhaus, V. G.; F. G. Schneider, S.; Henry Jaehning, treasurer; C. Hooper, R. S. N. G.; Charles Brossard, L. S. N. G.; W. Smith, Jr., W.; Charles Brune11, C.; and W. Luff, I. G.

Lincoln Post No. 26, G. A. R., was organized in 1882. Its first officers were Chris Wagner, P. C.; B. F. Weed, S. V. C.: O. H. Sutlief, J. V. C.; Fenton Keenan, O. D.; E. E. Verplank, A.; H. J. Hanson, Q. M.; and P. A. Holt, O. G.

New Richland has a good town hall, a beautiful public park, a telephone system owned by Mr. Milo Hodgkins, and well graded streets. It is surrounded by an industrious, frugal, well to do class of farmers.

Return to [ Minnesota History ] [ History at Rays Place ] [ Rays Place ] [ Minnesota Biographies ]

Minnesota Counties at this web site - Dakota - Fillmore - Houston - Waseca - Winona

Also see the local histories for [ CA ] [ CT ] [ IA ] [ IL ] [ IN ] [ KS ] [ ME ] [ MO ] [ MI ] [ MN ] [ NE ] [ NJ ] [ NY ] [ OH ] [ PA ] [ WI ]

All pages copyright 2003-2013. All items on this site are copyrighted by their author(s). These pages may be linked to but not used on another web site. Anyone may copy and use the information provided here freely for personal use only. Privacy Policy