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.
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.
RICHLAND'S "FIRST" ITEMS.
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.