NEW HARTFORD TOWNSHIP
By O. W. Tibbetts
New Hartford embraces all of township 105, range 5, except a small corner cut off by the Mississippi river.
Its boundaries are, on the east, Dresbach township and the Mississippi river, on the west Pleasant Hill township,
on the south Houston county, and on the north Richmond township. The soil on the ridge land is a reddish clay,
and in the valleys a black loam or muck The surface is very much broken, high bluffs or hills and deep valleys
and ravines follow each other in rapid succession. The products are wheat on the ridge land and corn, barley and
oats in the valleys. Pine creek enters the township in section 18, flows southeast through New Hartford village,
sections 19, 30, 29, and leaves the township in section 32. Pine creek branch enters the township in section 31,
flows east and joins the main stream in section 32. New Hartford offers a rich field for research in archaeology
and geology. Crossing section 13, extending into Moore's valley, and thence to the village of Dakota may be seen
the traces of the road or trail which the Indians used in traveling between the Big Woods in Bremer county, Iowa,
and Dakota, Minn. Asael Pierce and Volney Warren, mineral hunters, in the early days found many evidences of prehistoric
habitations and gathered numerous relics. The hills and ravines have been traversed and punctured for minerals,
but with little success. In 1873 coal was found in section 13, New Hartford, on the line between New Hartford and
Dresbach. A thin layer, 300 feet deep, was examined, but there was not enough to justify any expenditure in its
First Settlers. Nathan Brown settled in Winona permanently in 1849. There have been conflicting stories of Brown's
activities in this locality, colored somewhat by partial historians. The following story is the one for which he
himself vouched, and the one that is fully substantiated by contemporary testimony and records:
Nathan Brown came west about 1847 and became interested in the present sites of Lake City, Reed's Landing, Trempealeau
and Richmond. He journeyed up and down the river from St. Paul to La Crosse on various ventures, and in 1848 operated
a ferryboat between Reed's Landing and Wabasha. In 1849 he became acquainted with Davenport and Rogers, who had
interested themselves in the townsite of Dakota. They persuaded him to locate at Dakota, and he in turn gave them
rights in the other village sites mentioned valued at about $50,000, receiving therefor lands and rights at Dakota
As a matter of fact, all these ventures were mere speculations, as the title to all the sites, except that of Trempealeau,
still rested with the Indians. (Editor's note - Mr. Brown made a private deal with the Indians, but this was not
recognized by any constituted governmental authority.) Winona later became the gateway to the Chippewa river. Dakota
was at the gateway to the Black river, and was not far south from the site of Winona. It gave promise of becoming
the important lumber point on the Mississippi river. But in 1850 the La Crosse men cut a canal from the Black river
to La Crosse, thus ruining the prospects of Dakota. The land for which he had paid $50,000 in property decreased
in value until it was hardly worth $2,000. Mr. Brown was thus financially ruined, and was compelled to take up
the occupations of farmer and wood dealer. When the railroad came through, he gave it a right of way and the site
for a station. The present village of Dakota is the result. Mr. Brown never lost his faith, and died in the hope
that his beautiful location might sometime become an important locality.
H. W. Carroll came to the township in 1854 and settled on Pine creek. George Johnson came the same year and settled
in Rose valley. James Lane also came in 1854. H. W. (Hirk) Carroll and Samuel Colter Dick married two sisters by
the name of Young, from Ohio. They settled in Lyons, Iowa, in 1850. Later they moved to Richmond, Minn Hirk Carroll
entered 160 acres of land in Richmond valley adjoining Amos Shay. He was also active further up the river. S. C.
Dick, after his failure at Richmond, moved his dwelling house four miles south of Richmond to New Hartford, at
a place called Dick's Corners and Dick's schoolhouse at the present time S. C. Dick died in the village of Dakota
in 1878. Hirk Carroll is still living in Illinois. George Johnson married John Flanigan's widow. They are both
dead. James Johnson, the son by this marriage, is still living on the old homestead of his father in Lane's valley.
The old homestead of James Lane in Lane's valley is owned at the present time by Herman Eden. A few grandchildren
are all that are left of the Lane family, the Kerigans of Lane's valley being grandchildren of James Lane.
Land Office Records. The first claims to land in New Hartford township were filed in 1855. Those who filed that
year were as follows, the section being given first, the name of the claimant next, and the date of the filing
last. In case the settler had land in more than one section, only one is given.
One - John Kramer, October 15; James Fletcher, August 20; Nathan Brown, September 28; Jerod Brown, August 10.
2 - Michael Reams, September 26; James G. Wilson, August 28; Martin L. Tibbetts, October 10. 3 - Henry Tibbetts,
November 7; Mary Tibbetts, October 10; William Lauther, November 13. 4 - Benjamin Moore, October 23; Ebenezer T.
Grant, November 5; Rueben H. Webster, November 6. 5 - Isaac S. Boardman, November 17; Townsend N. Horton, November
7; Benjamin B. Richards, November 7. 6 - Nathaniel D. Gilbert, November 8; Phineas C. Wilcox, October 23. 7 - Peter
Lee, November 14. 8 - John Flanigan, November 20. 9 - Simon Waller, March 11; Henry K. Sheldon, November 10; Timothy
Rathburn, November 7. 10 - William Lauther, November 13; Christian Rochester, October 9. 11 - Michael Nagle, September
26; Benjamin J. Moore, November 8. 12 - John Farrell, August 28; Alex Carpenter, October 23; Dewitt C. Osborn,
October 17; Russell L. Frisbie, October 17. 13 - James Smith, August 15. 14 - Adrian H. Davenport, November 8.
15 - Janies S. Moore, November 7; Robert H. Rogers, November 8. 17 - John J. Johnston, October 23; Silas Sawyer,
October 23; Samuel D. Hastings, December 20. 18 - Edwin R. Hazelton, August 23; Isaac Anable, August 23. 19 - John
A. Dickson, October 2; Walter W. Webb, October 23; Marvin W. Reynolds, October 23. 20 - John F Caslow, July 1;
William J. Barney, April 19. 21 - James Cole, May 9. 22 - Asahel Hays, October 12. 23 - Edmund Clow, October 16.
24 - Daniel Cockernor, November 8; Cornelius F. Yessen, November 8. 25 - Joseph Ploure, November 8; Benjamin Fellry,
November 8; Zebina M. Caswell, October 16. 26 - Daniel Hays, September 3. 27 - George Johnson, September 22; Elmore
Stotts, October 5. 28 - Julius Edwards, August 30, 1856; Thomas Simpson, September 29; Joseph Babcock, September
27; John M. Levy, November 7. 30 - Walter W. Webb, October 23. 31 - John F. Messenger, November 10; John H. M.
Kenney, November 14. 32 - Joseph Kendrick, August 15; Enoch C. Young, October 23. 33 - Delos Higbie, October 23;
Helkiah Lilly, August 14; Sebastian Shenk, September 4; Catherine Miller, September 4. 34 - Agnes Jennings, September
15; Joseph Goodyear, September 3. 35 - Michael Farrell, November 20; Patrick Finn, November 14; Allen Oberban,
November 8. 36 - James Lane, October 16, 1860.
New Hartford village was platted in August, 1857, in section 19. The proprietors were A. D. Reynolds, Alex Reynolds,
H. F. Cushman, and Daniel Clay, the last named being represented by his agent, J. F. Hamblin. The surveyor was
Giles R. Montague. At the Brownsville sale, Henry Tibbetts bought a large amount of land on part of which the village
of New Hartford stands. He built the first house in New Hartford where the house of William Beach now stands and
placed his brother-in-law, A. Duane Reynolds, in the house to look after his interest in the vicinity. Later he
sold out to H. F. Cushman, John Kramer and Hilkiah Lilly. Cushman built a flour and saw mill which he sold to H.
Lilly. H. Lilly in turn sold to Blumentrite. The mill is now owned by F. Blumentrite. H. H. Husman owns the store.
F. Hier runs the blacksmith shop. The first store and postoffice were opened about 1870 by Benjamin Young.
Schools. New Hartford has four schools: New Hartford village; Whitlock's district No. 1; Dick's district No. 72;
and Hiler 's district No., 73. Soon after the village was laid out John Brodwell built a small shoeshop, but converted
it into a schoolhouse, teaching in it himself. A log house was soon afterward erected as a school on section 30.
The first school in it was taught by Mrs. Thomas Phelps. Another school was erected about 1870, and Lydia Basworth
was the first teacher in it.
The Dick school in section 5 was once the leading country school in the county. Methodist Episcopal services were
held here, S. C. Dick being a leading member of the La Crescent circuit. The Baptists and the Campbellites have
long used the schoolhouse in section 6 known as the Whitlock district, or district 1. The Hiler school in section
16 is an excellent school.
Churches. There is but one church edifice in New Hartford township, the Lutheran church located at Nodine. There
are, however, many denominations in the town, and of late years this diversity of religion has been somewhat prominent
in the public affairs of the township. The first services in the village were held by the Rev. M. L. Tibbetts and
Rev Edmond Clow. The Roman Catholics predominate throughout the townships. The Baptists constitute a faithful and
liberal minded band which meets at the Whitlock schoolhouse, the Bosworths and the Stedmans being leaders in this
denomination. The Campbellites meet at the same place, the Whitelocks and the Grants being leaders in this sect.
The sect called the "Born Agains" meet at the townhall, and make their presence here felt by the Bible
texts which they inscribe in various conspicuous places.