History of Whitewater 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


Whitewater township embraces township 108, range 10, and is in the extreme northwestern part of Winona county. It borders on the fertile Greenwood prairie in Wabasha county. Whitewater is bounded on the north and west by Wabasha county, on the east by Mt. Vernon township, and on the south by Elba township. There are two principal valleys - Whitewater valley and Beaver creek valley. Whitewater valley is six miles long, and extends north and south through the township. It is traversed by Whitewater river, which enters the township on section 35 and leaves it on section 1. This river attains an average width of forty feet and a depth of three feet. Beaver valley extends almost east and west; it is four miles long and traversed by Beaver creek. This creek rises in section 19, flows east, and empties into Whitewater river at the village of Beaver on section 15.

Organization. Whitewater was organized May 11, 1858. The officers elected at that time were: Supervisors, Sheldon Brooks (chairman), Cyrenus Metcalf and S. Putnam; clerk, S. W. Johnson; assessor, G. W. Melendy; collector, John Cook; overseer of the poor, George Stonning; justices of the peace, James McHench and S. A. Putnam; constables, Obed Metcalf and A. P. Putnam. The citizens voted to change the name from Whitewater to Beaver, but their act was not ratified by the commissioners.

Early Settlers. In July, 1852, John Cook made a claim in Whitewater valley about a mile above Whitewater Falls. He lived there during the winter. His brother, David Cook made a claim in the same vicinity and occupied it the following year. In 1854, several took up claims. They are said to have been Stephen Covey, F. C. Putnam, Wm. J. Dooley, Wm. Woods and Albert Scrivens.

Land Office Records. The first claims to land in Whitewater 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 ection is here noted.

Two, Eleanor Gage, November 2; 5, C. M. Irish, October 27; 6, A, P. Foster, November 19; 7, Zachariah Williams, October 5; J. C. Stratton, December 3; Russell W. Miner, November 19; W. Elvira and May Bradford, December 17; 8, Admiral A. Weston, October 27; Irwin W. Rollins, December 17; 14, James W. Hayes, October 24; 15, Henry B. Knowles, November 14; Stephen Covey, October 18; Albert Hopson, October 19; 17, Luther Locke, December 17; 18, Jacob Powell, November 13; 19, Ezra B. Eddy, November 13; William J. Dulley, November 2; James F. Nickolson, October 26; Chas. R. Griffing, October 10; 20, Jno. S. Terry, October 26; 22, John S. Minninger, July 25; George Stoning, October 15; 23, Edwin Stoning, November 13; 26, Miles Pease, October 17; Cyrenus Metcalf, October 13; 27, Nathaniel Warner, October 15; Orville E. Wright, October 16; 29, Isaac Bancroft, September 25; 3D, Daniel McCarthy, November 14; John F. Ingalls, November 2; C. C. Sylvester, November 2; 31, David Jacobs, November 13; 32, William H. Ingalls, November 20; Wesley Hill, November 2; 34, M. W. Burwell, October 17; 35, David Cook, October 17; William McHench, November 2; John Cook, August 28. Others who are said to have taken claims at this time, but who did not file that year are: A. J. McRay, Pliney Putnam, Lyman Young, S. A. Houck, Oliver Porter, Nathan Fisher, Wm. Vilander, Louis Skidmore, Leonard Robinson, C. W. Buswell and David Finley.

Beaver village is located on section 15, at the junction of Beaver creek with Whitewater river. Beavers were numerous in these streams at an early day. A large dam was built by these animals in the creek near the village; from this came the names Beaver creek and Beaver village. The village was laid out in 1856. The proprietors were Albert S. Hopson, Sheldon Brooks and William Duley. The first house in this locality was put up by Stephen Covey in 1854. The first store was built in 1856 by Wm. Dooley; it was a log structure, 14 by 20 feet, and devoted to general merchandise. Among the early residents were John Knowles, H. B. Knowles, Dr. Sheldon Brooks and J. W. Hayes. The first blacksmith shop was built by Carl Pope in 1856. The first death was that of Stephen Covey, who died in 1857, and was buried on his farm, on the southeast quarter of section 15. The first birth was that of Cora Knowles, born February 16, 1856. The first marriage was that of Laura Covey to John Cheney in 1856. A private school was kept in the house of Carl Pope in 1857. It was taught by Sarah Pope, and had an attendance of perhaps twenty five pupils. A sawmill was built on Beaver creek, on section 16, in 1856, by Carleton and Gardner Malindy. It was a very crude affair at first. A hollow log was pressed into service and used as a flume In 1857 it was converted into a gristmill with one run of burrs. A hotel was built in Beaver in 1865 by David Jecobis.

Beaver is located six miles southwest of Minneiska. It has a school, a town hall, a public square, a mill, a store and three churches.

Whitewater Falls was platted in 1857. the proprietors being Learned Robinson, Miles Pearce, Cyrenus Metcalf and Daniel Perry. It is situated in sections 26 and 27, on Whitewater river.

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