History of Wiscoy 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


Wiscoy township embraces township 105, range 7. Its boundaries are: On the north, Wilson township, on the east Pleasant Hill township, on the south Houston county, and on the west Hart township. The surface, like that of the neighboring country, is very much broken. Money creek valley, a deep valley running almost north and south, is traversed by a stream which bears its name. There are two branches of this creek, the east branch and west branch. The main stream enters the township on section 35. The east branch flows north through sections 27, 26 and 24, while the west branch traverses sections 28, 29, 20 and 16. This subdivides and flows north through sections 8, 9, 7 and 5.

Money creek is said to derive its name from the prediction of an early settler that there was money to be made there. The Indians called the stream Witoka-Watpah. Wat-pah is the Indian name for river. Witoka was the name of the daughter a Mock-ah-pe-ah-ket-ah-pah, the war chief of Wabasha's baud. Witoka was captured by the Sacs (Sacks) near the present site of Witoka, and was rescued by her father's daring dash.

Organization. The township was organized and the first meeting held May 11, 1858. Rufus Thomas was appointed town clerk. The members of the first board were: Geo. R. Parker, Lemuel Abell, Joseph Brooks, supervisors; II. A. Corey, assessor; Franklin Vidits, collector; James Greenfield, overseer of the poor; Calmer Harris, Edward Taylor, justices of the peace; Esben Skinkle, A. B. Watson, constables.

Early Events. The first settler in Wiscoy is said to have been Ira A. Boynton who came to the township in 1855. Many others arrived the same year. The first schoolhouse was built on section 12, in 1857. The first teacher was Rufus Thomas. A cemetery was laid out in 1866 on section 16. A Methodist church was erected on section 12. A flourmill was erected in 1856 on section 29. Another mill was built on section 16, in 1865. The first postoffice was kept on section 36 as early as 1857 by Benton Aldrich.

Land Office Records. The first claims to land in Wiscoy 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, Calvin Ranson, October 11; Rufus Thomas, Jr., November 7; Esbon S. Kinkle, September 12; Rufus Thomas, Sr., September 12; 2, Franklin Clement, October 8; Lauren Thomas, April 25; Henry W. Thurston, October 8; 3, Reuel D. Fellows, October 25; Daniel D. Martin, November 5; Samuel Abell, October 25; Alfred Wilcox, September 22; 4, Robert Radice, November 5; 5, Frank S. Wilson, November 8; 6, Harriet Jane Coggswell, November 22; Jno. E. Balch, November 29; 8, Leonard Johnson, November 8; 9, Delos Higbie, November 7; 10, David Barker, October 25; Chas. Thomas, October 25; 12, Hiram Boynton, October 25; Mason Leet, November 7; William Montgomery, October 17; Jonathan B. Brown, October 17; 14, George R. Green, November 21; William D. Gibbs, November 5; 17, Jno. A. Mathews, November 20; 18, Joel Parker, November 19; 20, William A. Jones, November 9; 24, Hamden A. Corey, October 18; 25, Thos. L. Reyman, July 14; 26, Samuel W. Leigh, November 6: 27, Otis J. Morrison, November 13; Oscar W. Streeter, October 25; Joseph Brooks, November 13; 28, Eugene M. Wilson, October 25; 32, Liborius Kauphusman, October 25; 34, Jefferson Clark, October 18; 35, William N. Slocum, November 5. Ira A. Boyington and A. F. Hill are said to have settled in the township in 1855.

Witoka village was platted by George W. Morse, Lauren Thomas and David Parker. The plat was recorded in 1857. The plat was called the plat of Witoka from the first, but the locality was long known as Centerville. L. Thomas came May 16, 1855, and built the first house in the village. He also put up a store for the sale of general merchandise. The same year Calvin Ford came and started a store also. A blacksmith shop was built at this time by Wm. Jones, who was followed by Harvey Bourne. The first postoffice was established in 1856; L. Thomas was the postmaster. During the first year lie carried the mail at his own expense, but at the end of that time a mail route was established. The first marriage was that of Becky Smith to Wm. More in 1857. In 1856 was built a small dwelling house which was turned into a schoolhouse. This school was taught by Rufus Thomas. A district school was erected in 1857; the first teacher was Charlotte French. There was a doctor in the village at this time, Dr. Samuel Miller. Divine service was held as early as 1855, in the house of L. Thomas, presided over by Rev. Coggswell. The next year, 1856, a series of sermons were delivered every four weeks by Elder L. Babcock, in the same place. After this meetings were held in the schoolhouse, by both Methodist and Baptist ministers. The first hotel in Witoka, a large frame building, was owned by L. Thomas, and was burned in 1877. At present there are two towns, known respectively as West or Old Witoka and East or New Witoka All the residence part of the village is in West Witoka, while the business part, lies in East Witoka. East Witoka lies directly on the line between Wilson and Wiscoy townships When the Pleasant Valley road was laid out in 1878 the business center was moved to East Witoka. Witoka is located ten miles south of Winona. It has one store, one church, a creamery and a blacksmith shop.

Wiscoy is located fourteen miles southwest of Winona. It has a mill and a school.

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