History of Otisco 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 one of the wealthiest and most densely populated townships in the county. An account of the first settlement of this township, and its first settlers, is given in the fore part of this book. The name Otisco, at first, embraced all of Vivian, Byron, New Richland, the south one third of Wilton and the south one third of what is now Otisco. This continued for a year, when, on April 5, 1858, the county commissioners organized the townships of the county in accordance with the government survey. The government township 106, of range 22, was designated as Otisco. Several villages have been born and put to rest on the soil of Otisco, and only one remains. Two pioneer speculators, Watters & Chamberlain, came in 1856, bought the claims of George and William Robbins, on the east side of the Le Sueur river, opposite the Wilton village site, and there laid out a village which they called Waterlynn. They erected a store and a hotel. They did quite a business at their store, but the hotel did not flourish. The latter building, which was part logs and part frame, went up in smoke one night in 1858. It was occupied at the time by Dr. William Murphy and family - J. F. Murphy, now of the Waseca Herald, being the eldest son of the family. That was about the last of that village and the site now makes a very good farm.

The "ancient village of Otisco" was laid out by Warren Bundy and S. S. Goodrich in July, 1857. It soon had a store, a postoffice, a blacksmith shop, and a sawmill. Dan and Gould Grover built the dam and the sawmill, and for a time the mill did good work. The Grovers soon sold to Griggs & Obert. After a time Gould Grover again became owner, or manager, and was soon after killed in the mill by accident. It then passed into the hands of Eno & Beatty, who turned out to be professional and practical horsethieves, and were caught stealing the horses of Orrin Pease. Soon after the arrest of Eno and Beatty, the mill dam went out and the village boom soon collapsed. Goodrich owned the store and Mr. Owen Salisbury was the first postmaster.

Since the building of the M. & St. L. railway the present Otisco station has been laid out, and is quite a lively little burg with its store, postoffice, blacksmith shop, grain elevator, creamery, etc. Its present business will no doubt remain permanently

It is not the intention of the writer to cumber the record with the names of transient persons or those who have come in later years unless they may have been connected in some way with public affairs, for the reason that space and expense forbid. There are many such in Otisco. Mention is made, however, of all the early settlers.

Silas Grover, an aged veteran of the War of 1812, settled in this town in 1856, and resided in the county till his death, April 12, 1870. II. G. Mosher settled here Oct. 10, 1856. Mr. Mosher, wife and two children, and J. S. Abell, wife and two children lived the first winter in one cabin, 16x20 feet. Mr. Mosher and family removed to Kansas in the eighties. Uriah Northrup, Sr., and his sons, Benjamin, Uriah, George and Thomas H., settled here at a very early day. The elder Mr. Northrup died here, and the sons removed to Rice county. Owen Salisbury, the first postmaster at the old village of Otisco, finally moved to Wabasha county, where he died. J. D. Andrews was one of those restless, energetic pioneers who are always on the move. He moved to Otisco, July 3, 1858. He was a carpenter by trade. He afterwards entered the drug business at Wilton; went to Duluth and opened a drug store; returned to this county and went into business at Janesville; afterwards removed to Madison, S. D., where he died June 11, 1887.

Moses Plummer, born at Sanborton, N. H., Dec. 23, 1817, married Miss Matilda S. Cate, who was born at Meredith, N. H., Nov. 11, 1824. They came to Minnesota in 1859, first residing in Clinton Falls, Steele county. They then came to Otisco in 1860, and purchased a farm of one hundred and eighty acres. Mr. Plummer was with a crowd of three hundred people in Meredith hall, in 1850, when the floor gave way, killing several and injuring many. Mr. Plummer then received injuries from which he never fully recovered. For five years previous to his death, he was paralyzed and helpless. He died Sept. 20, 1883. He left surviving his widow and one daughter, Mrs. B. L. Case. They now reside in Owatonna.

Roger B. Wood, born June 1, 1842, in Ontario, Canada, worked westward until he reached Waseca in 1867, where he opened a wagon and blacksmith shop. He remained in Waseca until 1871, when he moved to his present farm in Otisco, which contains three hundred and fifty four acres. He married Miss Parmelia Smith, a bright Western girl, Dec. 15, 1869. She was born at Oak Grove, Dodge county, Wis., Feb. 1, 1852, and came with her parents to Byron, in this county, in 1866. They have been the parents of six 'Children, five of whom are living.

Asa Robbins was an early settler in Otisco. He was a native of New York State, born in 1811. February 5, 1838, he married Miss Hulda A. Chapman, who was born Jan. 9, 1815, and died Dec. 10, 1885.

Gustaf Johnson was born in Sweden, Nov. 25, 1831. On reaching the United States, he came directly to Otisco His wife's name was Johanna Johnson, and she was born in 1831, in the same country. They have a pleasant farm home and six children.

James Irwin, born in Ireland in May, 1828, came to America in 1849. He was a Union soldier in the War of the Rebellion. He lived in Wisconsin after the close of the war, until 1870, when he came to Otisco and purchased a farm of one hundred and sixty acres. He has five sons living.

The first judges of election at the organization of the town are said to have been Owen Salisbury, H. G. Mosher and S. S. Griggs.

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