History of Pleasant Hill Township, Winona County, Minnesota
From: The History of Winonia County, Minnesota
Compiled by Franklyn Curtiss-Wedge, Editor
H. C. Cooper Jr. & Co., Publisher
Chicago 1913


Pleasant Hill township embraces all of township 105, range 6. It is situated on the ridge between the Mississippi and Root rivers. The old territorial road between La Crosse, Wis, and Mankato, Minn., runs upon this ridge, entering the township at the southeast corner of section 36; thence pursuing a winding diagonal course it leaves the township about eighty rods south of the north line of section 7. The northeastern part of the township is drained by Trout creek, the northwestern part by branches of Cedar creek; both of these streams flow into the Mississippi river. The western part is drained by three branches of Money creek. The principal one is called Corey Valley creek, in honor of H. A. Corey, who settled just over the line in the edge of Wiscoy township. The southwestern and southern portions are drained by branches of Silver creek. The principal one of these streams is called Loony Valley Run. These streams flow into Root river. The eastern part is drained by the branches of Pine creek, known as north branch and south branch. They unite about one hundred rods east of Pleasant Hill township, at New Hartford postoffice, and flow into the Mississippi river.

Early Settlers. The first man to build a house inside of the present limits of Pleasant Hill township, was John Hooper, who was frequently spoken of as "High-low" Hooper, from the fact that he could not converse in an even tone of voice, but would start a sentence in a low, gruff tone and change to a high key and back to a low one without apparently noticing it himself. Mr. Hooper came to Pleasant Hill township by way of the north branch of Pine creek, in the summer of 1854, and selected a site near a fine spring of water. Here he built a log house and erected a blacksmith shop. He made a lot of ox shoes during the autumn, and in December he started down Pine creek valley with his tools and ropes for shoeing oxen, getting customers wherever he could. He soon sold out his claim and followed blacksmithing in various places in Winona and Houston counties.

The first man to make a permanent home in the township was Joseph Cooper, who came to the "ridge" at the head of the south branch of Pine creek in December, 1854. Here he exclaimed, "What a pleasant lull!" and immediately made a claim of 160 acres of land lying on the ridge and embracing the heads of South branch and Money creek valleys. He at once commenced to chop and hew logs for a house, and on March 20, 1855, he had completed and moved into a log house 22 by 24 feet and one and one half stories high. Some time in the spring of 1856 Mr. Cooper made application to the postoffice department at Washington for a postoffice, to be called Pleasant Hill, and from this the township took its name.

Schools. The people showed an early determination to supply their children with an opportunity to obtain an education; and as early as the spring of 1856 an application was made to form a school district in Pleasant Hill township, to be located near the center of the township, and a plot for the same was drawn by Joseph Cooper. The plot included the majority of the inhabitants on the ridge at that time. The logs for the schoolhouse were cut early in the summer of 1856, but owing to some misunderstanding the house was not built till the spring of 1857. The house was built of hewn logs, covered with oak shingles. The only pine about the building was a blackboard and teachers' desk. To accommodate the pupils a row of holes was bored around the inside of the room, and hardwood pins were driven into these and oak boards laid on the pins. Wm. D. Murray taught the first school.

Early Events. The first road ever laid out by the township was from the center of the east side of section 8 due east through sections 9 and 10, thence north about 80 rods, thence east and northeast in a winding course to the line of New Hartford township. The topography of the country is such that it is almost impossible to build the roads in any direct line; but such is the energy and determination of the people that they spare neither labor nor expense, but excavate roads in the steep hillsides at a cost of from $500 to $800 per mile. The first and only store ever kept in this township was in a frame building 18 by 24 feet; moved in sections from Richmond, Minn., to the northwest corner of the southwest quarter of section 9, where it was filled with dry goods and groceries by Martin & Banks in the summer of 1859, and was profitably conducted until the early spring of 1864, when the store and contents were consumed by fire.

Land Office Records. The first claims to land in Pleasant Hill 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 filing last. In case the settler had land in more than one section, only one section is given.

One, John Montgomery, October 24; Daniel McNaughton, October 24; Enoch C. Young, October 24; Lydia Stedman, November 5; 2, Sarah P. Grant, November 5; Samuel Grant, November 5; Geo. B. Nicholson, October 24; 3, Simon Waller, November 7; Amasa Gleason, September 26; 4, Niles Higinbotham, October 24; 5, Marion Hubbell, November 5; Daniel B. Clark, November 5; 6, John Farmer, November 24; John S. Lute, October 24; Calvin Ransom, November 7; Jonathan Boynton, November 7; 7, Jasper C. Browning, August 25; George E. Doland, October 30; 8, Michael Burns, August 25; 9, Chas. L. Graves, October 24; Uri, C. Gallett, October 16; Joseph S. Preston, October 24; Albert Preston, October 24; Jno. F. Martin, August 20; 10, Andrew Finch, August 21; William Gillett, November 5; 12, Frederick Potter, November 7; 13, John Hooper, November 7; John W. Allen, October 24; James Love, Jr., April 23; William G. Bliss, October 24; 14, William B. Dickenson, October 24; Samuel Breese, October 24; William D. Gibbs, November 5; Oscar W. Streeter, November 5; Earl Carter, October 15; 17, Jeremiah Massingham, November 7; 19, Sylvester Corey, November 7; Jas. La Betetly, August 7; Wm. H. English, October 8; 20, Hamden A. Corey, November 7; 21, Joseph Cooper, October 17; Chas H. Ilrath, April 18; Giles R. Montague. August 20; Jonathan S. E. Stevens, November 5; Chas. Devins, December 19; 22, Noah Riker, October 17; Sardis Northrop, August 15; Edwin Eddy, August 15; William Lemon, October 24; Harvey Gellet, November 5; Chas. Lemon, October 24; 24, Marvin H. Reynolds, August 23; 25, Michael Cockran, October 24; Solomon Hyatt, November 6; 32, Jno. Lilley, October 20; Spafford Williams, October 5; 35, Alex. W. Reynolds, November 9; Knude Sorum, November 6. Calvin Grant and Alexander Stedman were also early settlers.

Ridgeway is located thirteen miles south of Winona. It has two stores, two churches, a creamery, a school and a blacksmith shop.

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