History of St. Mary and Alton Townships, Minnesota
From: Child's History of Waseca County, Minnesota
BY: James E. Child
The Press of The Owatonna Chronicle, Publisher.
Copyright 1905


After being partly in the precinct of Empire and partly in the precinct of Wilton for a year or more, what now comprises the township of St. Mary was duly organized in a township by order of the county commissioners on April 5, 1858. The township, 107, range 23, was duly designated as the "town of St. Mary," and the tavern of J. W. Clark was named as the place for holding the first town meeting. B. M. Morrill, Warren Smith, and H. W. Chamberlain were appointed to serve as the first judges of election. The first town meeting was held May 11, 1858.

The Catholics of St. Mary, under the leadership of Father Keller, of Faribault, organized in 1856. Religious services were held at the house of Andrew Lynch, near St. Mary, at one time. The Catholics built their first church in 1858. They established a cemetery in 1857, and some say that a Mr. Crossman was the first person buried in it; but Mr. William Byron asserts that the first person buried there was a Mr. Morris, and that the next was Michael O'Brien, who was killed by lightning in September, 1858.


Township 107, range 24, remained a portion of Freedom until the 27th day of April, 1866, when the commissioners of Waseca county passed an order to organize the town of Alton, the first town meeting to be held at the house of M. L. Devereaux, in said township, May 15, 1866. Township officers were elected at that time, and the town started out free from all entangling alliances.

Lucius Keyes has the honor of being the first settler in Alton. He was born in Medina county, Ohio, in 1837. He now resides near Knoxville, Tenn. He moved to Alton, on section 32, in September, 1863. William Wager and Elijah Hills, with their families, came here a few days after the arrival of Keyes. The families of Wager and Hills spent the first winter in one cabin built of poles and bark taken from the old Indian wigwams, and a few basswood boards. The cabin was only 14x16 feet in size. Morris Lamb was another of the early comers. At the breaking out of the great Rebellion he was a resident of Cumberland county, Tenn., and was compelled to leave there on account of his Union sentiments. He first lived near Minneapolis, but in 1864 came to Alton. He died Dec. 31, 1869.

His son, Hon. Morris H. Lamb, born in Ohio, Jan. 2, 1837, also came here in 1864. Aug. 15, 1864, Morris enlisted in Company F, Eleventh Minnesota infantry, and served until July 11, 1865, when he returned to his home in Alton. Oct. 20, 1870, he married Miss Harriet Oldfield, and they at one time, about 188085, carried on the largest dairy business in the county. Mr. Lamb was a member of the house in the legislature of 1875. He and his family have been residents of California for a number of years.

C. M. Campion, with his sons, Patrick and John, came here at an early day, and settled on section 13, where he continued to reside until his death. Patrick and Edward Hayden also settled on section 13 in 1864. For further information regarding the settlers of this township, see "Biographical Sketches."

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