History of Rollingstone 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


Rollingstone township embraces the northern half of township 107, range 8, and a fractional part of township 108, range 7. It is bounded on the west by Mt. Vernon and Norton, on the south by Hillsdale, and on the east by Winona. The Mississippi river flowing along the northern boundary in a southeasterly direction makes the town irregular in form. The Rollingstone river flows through the town from north to south, and there is also a small creek in the northwest part. The surface consists of about seven sections of bottom lands contiguous to the Mississippi and subject to overflow, but producing wild grass and timber, about 1,500 acres of terrace or table lands lying between the bluffs and the bottom lands, and bluff, ridge and valley land.

The Name. There is some doubt as to the origin of the name. The Sioux name was E-yan-o-min-man. The idea conveyed is that of a stone in motion. L H Bunnell declared that Francois La Bathe told him that the word meant "a stone that had been rolling," having reference to a peculiar round stone found at its mouth, and used by the Wabasha Indians as a sacrificial or altar stone. The French rendered the name Roche qui de Boule, meaning, liberally translated, a good place to roll stones down the bluff.

Organization. Rollingstone was organized May 11, 1858. At that time the people voted to change the name of the township to Rollingstone, the county commissioners having given it the name of Springfield. The officers elected were: Supervisors, W. R. Stewart (chairman), Robert Thorp, O. M. Lord; clerk, James Wright; collector, John Nieklin, assessor, E. B. Drew; overseer of the poor, Robert Pike; justices of the peace, H. B. Waterman, C. Chapman; constables, John Nicklin, Bates.

Early Settlement. The story of the early settlement of Rollingstone township has already been told. A few of the Minnesota City colony remained in the township, and some of their descendants are still there. In more receut years the township has been peopled with a sturdy race of people from Luxemburg.

Members of Minnesota City Colony. The records of the Western Farm and Village Association show of following members of that association: H. Wood, H. A. Corbin, J. J. Brooks, Jas. Gardner, H. Shipley, L. Hitchcock, J. Lindsey, D. Robinson, J. L. Robertson, G. C. Haddock, Bridget Innis, Mrs. ____ Allen, W. Fitzgibbons, S. A. Henderson, M. Frazer, H. Jones, it A Allen, John Innis, E. E. Lassell, J. M. Shan, D. Q. Burley, William Sweet, H. H. Hull, Hancock Win, H. Coryell, M. Smith, J. M. Narican, Charles Batman, R. Taylor, J. Barr, W. T. Luark, P. K Pike, G. it Beetram, R. K. Robertson, W. W. Jennings, J. L. Coe, John Brooker, T. K. Allen, J. Barclay, C. Foster, E. McRose, Addison Woodcock, John Shaw, J. Howard, H. Clary, James Prosser, G. J. Brown, E. B. Drew, E. W. Cressy, V. G. Wedon, 3. Hatton, James Orton, C. A. Orton, J. Nieklin, James Wright, C. H. Hildreth, W. Tidball, William Stevens, W. J. Alexander, John' Burns, C. H. Wolcott, D. Densmore, W. H. Viney, Isachar Hughes, J. Robertson, A. Holyer, W. J. Foster, G. W. Lassell, J. H. Wheeler, O. M. Lord, T. J. Robertson, John White, John Prow, F. Jackson, James Orr, H. Ranney, B. B. Fairbanks, George Dove, D. H. Duryee, J. James Kinnard, Adrian Graff, S. R. Shrader, R. M. Booth, J. Fitzsimmons, A. A. Gilbert, W. P. Breer, H. W. Diver, M. Amidon, R. Thorpe, L. Dillworth, William Harris, James Love, S. E. Cotton, L. T. Pascoe, William Campbell, William Haddock, E. H. Ranney, J. G. Smith, J. H. Hanney, James Wilson, John Barclay, William Skinner, W. C. Pike, C. R. Coryell, James Mitchell. To these, K B. Drew declares that the following should be added: H. Campbell, three Watermans, father and two sons; two Houck brothers, S. D. Putnam, L. D. Follette, J. S. Denman, Dr. Geo. F. Childs, two John Smiths, father and son; Horace Peters, M. G. and A. E. Jackson, H. Stradling, Egbert Chapman and E. B. Thomas.

Celebration. The first Fourth of July celebration in this county was at Minnesota in 1853. The orator of the day was Egbert Chapman. The first toast of the occasion was by Robert Pike: "The ladies, may they ever be as pure as our own bright fountains, beautiful as our wild flowers, as even of temper as our own delightful climate (except the thunder storms), and as fruitful as the soil to which they have been transplanted."

Land Office Records. The first claims to land in Rollingstone 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.

Town 107, range 8. (North half) 2, Geo. Foster, October 24; Samuel Nicklin, August 28; D. Q. Burley, October 22; 3, David Olmsted, January 8; Harrison B. Waterman, July 21; Egbert Chapman, October 25; 4, Albion Drew, September 8; John Nicklin, October 24; W. R. Stewart, September 8; Jonathan B. Kriffen, October 11; 5, Robert Thorp, October 24; John Valentine, July 16: Fred L. Sargent, October 24; Lawrence O'Brien, October 22; 6, Nathan B. Lewis, September 15; James Thompson, October 24; 7, Daniel H. Peirson, October 25; J. R. Warner, November 14; Thomas Davitt, August 4; 8, John Vorhaben, November 30; 9, Robert B. Watson, October 23; James Harris, October 22; Francis A. Conwell, November 25; 10, Augustus A. Gilbert, October 13; Margaret Allen, October 24; 11, Hezekiah Jones, July 13; 12, Jacob S. Denman, July 21; Andrew Hotchkiss, October 23; Samuel E. Cotton, July 27; 13, Peter J. Barry, July 14; Wm. T. Luark, July 30; David IL Duryee, October 23; 14, John P. Bannon, November 13; Samuel Bates, October 20; 15, Henry W. Diver, August 13; Chas. E. Robinson, October 20.

Town 108, range 8. 7, J. H. Woods, August 27; James H. McRay, November 1; Albert E, B. Hall, November 1; 17, Ambrose Ogden, November 1; 29, John E. Deming, November 19.

Floods. Minnesota City is subject to severe floods. The Rollingstone drains a large extent of surface, and at the village has a narrow exit. One of the most notable floods came in February, 1876. The ground was frozen hard and a heavy rain had filled the water holes and covered the country with a sheet of ice. The snow then covered this to a depth of a foot when a warm heavy rain fell for twenty four hours, and as the ground could not absorb any water it raised higher than had ever before been known. The mill pond above the village was filled with ice four feet in thickness, and when the ice broke up and began to flow, within a few minutes it destroyed three dwellings, a store and a meat market and was deposited in huge pieces upon the railroad bridges and track and in different places over the fields.

Minnesota City has a population of 215 people. It is located on the C. M. & St. P. and C. & N. W. Rys. and the Mississippi river six miles west of Winona. It has two hotels, two stores, a school, a church and a brewery.

Rollingstone village has a population of 215 people. It is located on the C. G. W. Ry. ten miles northwest of Winona. Has a church, a bank, two hotels, two grain elevators, a flour mill, a creamery, electric light and water works. This village is one of the flourishing settlements of the county, and is the center of a prosperous community of Luxemburgers.

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