Benton County Historical Society and Museum
Sauk Rapids Minnesota
Preserving the Past and the Present for the Future....

County History




This town lies in the extreme southeast corner

of the county, and has an area of 23,040 acres, of which 505 are under cultivation.

The surface is gently undulating, and mostly covered with timber and brush, except a small prairie tract in the southwest part. The St. Francis river flows in a southerly direction through the western portion of the town, and along its valley, the soil is a rich, dark loam, and produces excellent crops. The balance of the township has a clay soil, except on the prairie above mentioned, where it is lighter.

The first settler in this town was Merritt Wiseman, who came in the spring of 1859, and made a claim on section thirty-two, where he still resides.

About the same time, John Jones settled near Mr. Wiseman, but he has since left the town. In 1866, A. L. Hart settled in the northern part, and was joined, two years later, by Ed. Allen. In 1867, Rev. E. H. Whitney became a resident; he now lives on section six. In 1868, the population was increased by the arrival of E. S. Southerly, George Clifford, Thorn Hanson, and others, and since then, the growth has been steady, though not very rapid, the population, in 1880, numbering 211 persons.

Glendorado was set off from Maywood, and organized on the 20th of September, 1868. The officers elected the first year were: Supervisors, Hiram Gilman, Chairman, and P. Holland; Clerk, James Smallen; and Treasurer, John Jones.

The first child born was Georgia Wiseman, in June, 1869.

The first death was Thomas Smallen, also in 1869.

The first marriage was in 1870, the parties being Thorn Hanson and Miss Mary Jansen.

The first school was taught by Miss Laura Mitchell, in the winter of 1866-67, in an old frame house belonging to Merritt Wiseman.

A lumber mill was built by Ed. Allen, on section five, in 1876. The machinery is propelled by a forty horse-power engine, and has a daily capacity of five thousand feet. A full line of wagon and sleigh timber is also produced at this mill. Seven men are employed when running at its full capacity.

The products of Glendorado, for the year 1880, were: wheat, 3,614 bushels; oats, 3,852 bushels; corn, 786 bushels: rye, 253 bushels; potatoes, 789 bushels; beans, 2 bushels; wool hay, 697 tons; wool, 196 pounds; batter, 3,625 pounds; cheese, 4,100 pounds; and honey, 220 pounds.


Edwabd Allen was born in Wayne county. Indiana, on the 14th of June, 1835, at which place he lived until 1856. Then coming to Minnesota, he settled twelve miles north of Minneapolis, where he resided until 1866, and came to Elk River, remaining two years. In the fall of 1868, he took a homestead on section eight, in this town, where he lived for five years. Living a few years in Maywood, he returned, in 1876, to his present home in section five, and built the lumber mills, as previously mentioned. Mr. Allen was one of the organizers of Glendorado township, and has since been Supervisor every year but four. Miss Caroline E. Thomas, of Ohio, became his wife, hi March, 1856. They have nine children; Charles S., James R., Lydia C., Almeda, Lucinda B., Belle, Emily, Edward, and Esther.

Philemon Holland, one of the earliest pioneers of this region, was born on the 22d of September, 1833, in Portsmouth, Massachusetts. In his early childhood the family returned to Vermont, where Philemon remained until 1855. He then spent one year in Elk River, after which, with other early settlers, he took a claim in the present town of Santiago. In 1866, he located on section thirtyfour, in this town, where he has one of the finest stock farms in the valley, containing about sixty acres of choice meadow, and fair improvements in upland. Mr. Holland was instrumental in the organization of Glendorado, one of its first Supervisors, and has held offices every year since, until the present, when he positively refused to accept a nomination. On the 25th of August, 1860, he was married to Miss Lucy Hunt, of Michigan. They have four children; Mary, William F., Caroline, and Hattie.

John Henry, a native of Belgium, was born on the 25th of September, 1850. In the spring of 1869, he came, with his parents, two brothers, and one sister, to America. They came as far as Sauk Rapids by rail, then, with their goods, drove here, where they all live except the father, who died in July, 1879. In 1872, Mr. Henry married Miss Mary Perrott, and settled in section eight, where he still lives. They have four children; Matilda, Eliza, Joseph, and Anna.

Samuel Uran was born in Rutland county, Vermont, on the 6th of April, 1817. At the age of eleven years, he removed to New York, and in 1854, to Illinois. Coming to Minnesota in 1867, he located at Maine Prairie, Stearns county, where he remained for six years. In 1875, Mr. Uran came to his present home in section thirty-four, where he has since resided. On the 4th of March, 1846, he was married, in New York, to Miss Margaret L. Murray. She died on the 29th of April, 1867, leaving three children; Jonathan, now in Texas, George H., at White Earth Agency, this State, and Mary E., who married Mr. A. P. Winslow, and lives hi Dakota Territory. Mr. Uran is this year Chairman of the town board, and has, before, filled official positions.

Abraham Vogal, a native of Amsterdam, was born on the 27th of March, 1824. When young, he learned the carpenter's trade, in his native city, working at it until coming to America, in 1870. Coming directly to Gilmanton, Benton county, he remained for six years on a farm, and the following four, in St. Cloud. In 1880, he came to his present farm, section thirty-two, where he has since resided. Mr. Vogal was married to Miss Jaoounna Martens on the 30th of July, 1850. They have had seven children, two of whom are deceased.

Mebbitt Wiseman, the first settler, and first Treasurer of Glendorado, was born in Rutland county, Vermont, on the 5th of November, 1853. At the age of twenty three years, he came to Sauk Rapids, Minnesota; spending but two months he returned for two and a half years, to Vermont. The spring of 1858, finds him again in Minnesota, between St. Paul and St. Anthony in the summer, and at Sauk Rapids in the winter. The following year he came to Glendorado, Benton county, settling on section thirty-two, where he at present resides. At the time of the Indian outbreak, in 1862, he went to Illinois, returning to Sauk Rapids, four years later, and the following spring, (1867,) to his farm. Mr. Wiseman was elected County Commissioner, of Benton county, ha 1872, which office he resigned, two years later, and removed to Dakota. There he pre-empted one hundred and sixty acres of land, in what is now known as Jamestown. After a residence of three years, being Postmaster a part of the time, he returned to his farm in this county, where he has since lived. The two years preceding his removal to Dakota, he was lumber agent and land examiner for the Northern Pacific Railroad Company, and since his return, has been Treasurer of the township. In June, 1854, he was married to Miss Mary E. Gilman, of Glens Falls, New York. They have three children; Georgia May, Obed W., and Phillip P.

Dennis A. White, one of the early pioneers of this region, was born in the city of Cork, Ireland, on the 4th of July, 1849. He received his education at the Christian Brother's Monastery, and in 1865, took an active part in the revolutionary movement, for which he was exiled, and in 1866, sought a home in America. He first came to Missouri, where he remained a year. Then coming to Minnesota, he took a homestead in the present town of Santiago, remaining there about five years. Mr. White then removed to the town of Palmer, remained until 1879, and held several town offices. In the latter year, he removed to this township, where he has since devoted his time to the cultivation of his farm.

Freeman O. Willey, a native of Strafford county, New Hampshire, was born on the 6th of April, 1813. Living there, until nineteen years of age, he went to Massachusetts, where he remained until 1863. Coming west, Mr. Willey reached Dakota county, Minnesota, on his fiftieth birthday. Four years later, we find him in section thirty-two, of Glendorado township. Mr. Willey was a prominent man in organizing the town, and has held several terms of office. He married Miss Eliza V. Page, of Alexandria, New Hampshire, in 1841. They have had seven children, and six are living; Fannie M., Susan H., Hattie A., Freemannah O., Clara M., and Freeman O. Lizzie H., the eldest, married James P. Reed in 1865. In 1879, she died, leaving five children.

Benton County Historical Society and Museum
218 1st Street North
P.O. Box 426
Sauk Rapids, MN 56379

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