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 northwest corner of the county, and comprises upwards of two congressional townships, or 55,680 acres, 2,728 of which are under cultivation.

It is well watered by the Little Rock river and its tributaries, and the Platte river also flows through the northwest corner. A large portion of the township is an undulating prairie, although in the eastern part, the surface is diversified by a considerable acreage of brush land and a small amount of timber. The soil is also diversified, ranging from a light sandy soil in the western part, to a clay loam in the east.

The first settlers began to arrive in 1853, and during that and the following year, quite a settlement was made. Prominent among those pioneers were, Alexander Paul, Robert Russell, George and Lewis Stone, George Donnelly, and John Higgins. In 1856, the population was increased by the arrival of Schuyler Flint and a number of others. The population now numbers, according to the last census, 312 persons.

This portion of the county was formerly known as Sand Prairie, but in 1858, Langola was organized, and the first election held at the school house on the second Monday in July. The first officers elected were: Supervisors, Henry B. Smart, Chairman, Lewis Stone, and Schuyler Flint; Clerk, A. B. Adams; Assessor, Jonathan Crosby; Collector, Albert A. Morrell; Overseer of the Poor, Reuben Crosby; Constables, Albert A. Morrell and Oliver P. Dahly; and Justices of the Peace, A. B. Adams and H. B. Smart.

The Northern Pacific Railroad passes through this town in a northwesterly direction, and at Rice's Station, in the southern part, there was a village surveyed and platted in 1879. The proprietors were, G. H. O. Morrison and David Bngbee. The business of the place is represented by three stores, one hotel, one elevator, and one blacksmith shop. There is also a good school house there.

Viewed from an agricultural standpoint, Langola is one of the best towns in Benton county, the yield of wheat in the year 1880, being upwards of seventeen bushels to the acre. Subjoined is an extract from the agricultural report of the latter year: wheat, 33,345 bushels; oats, 12,616 bushels; corn, 2,585 bushels; barley, 299 bushels; rye, 490 bushels; potatoes, 1,630 bushels; beans, 35 bushels; cultivated hay, 4 tons; wild hay, 745 tons; wool, 684 pounds; butter, 15,400 pounds, and honey, 805 pounds.


H. S. Boughton was born on the 15th of July, 1839. When he was an infant, the family moved to New York, where they lived but a few years, and came to Ashtabula county, Ohio; then to Kenosha county, Wisconsin, and in 1846, to Illinois, living in different parts of the State. In 1859, Mr. Boughton came to Minnesota, and took charge of the Morrison Hotel,in Clearwater, Wright county. He enlisted in Company E, of the Eighth Minnesota Infantry, and served three years. After being discharged, he came to Sank Rapids, and was engaged in mercantile pursuits until 1877, when he came to the farm on which he now lives. Mr. Boughton has purchased a farm in Langola township, on which he is making improvements. In October, 1859, Miss Ann Eliza Geer became his \ wife. They have three children.

J. F. Braddock was born in Aroostook county, Maine, on the 9th of October, 1851. He was raised in his native county, engaged in lumbering most of the time until coming to Langola, in 1875. Here he also followed lumbering until 1879, when he opened a blacksmith shop at Rice's Station, which he still continues, and is also engaged in the manufacture of sleds.

F. W. Earle is a native of Newton Falls, Ohio, born on the llth of December, 1855. At an early age, he removed with his parents 'to Dover, which was his home until 1863, when the family removed to Michigan, and resided until 1866, thence to Illinois, and remained until coming to Elk River, Sherburne .county, Minnesota, in the spring of 1871. There he was employed in the lumber business one year, then learned telegraph operating, and was afterwards employed as station agent at different points, and was also clerk in the general offices of the St. Paul & Duluth Railroad Company, at St. Paul. From the latter position, he came to Langola, in February, 1878, and has since been engaged in mercantile business at this point. He and his father have also built, and manage a hotel, at Rice's Station, which is capable of accommodating one hundred guests, and has adjoining, stable accommodation for eighty horses. Mr. Earle fills the position of Town Clerk of Langola. He was married in 1877, to Eva Parsons, of New York State. They have one child, named Homer G.

Schuyler Flint, one of the early settlers of Benton county, was born in Windham county, Vermont, on the 16th of June, 1814. He was raised on his father's farm, and previous to removing from his native State, was in the employ of a railroad company for ten years. He came to Minnesota in 1856, locating in Langola, where he has opened up one of the finest farms in this section, consisting of three hundred and ten acres, one hundred and forty of which is in a high state of cultivation. Mr. Flint takes a deep interest in the welfare of his town; was one of the first Supervisors of Langola, serving several years, and was Postmaster, five years; served as Assessor, Town Clerk, and school district Treasurer, at different times for upwards of twenty years, and was also County Commissioner, six years. He was united in marriage with Ann B. Mosher, of Windsor county, Vermont, in 1843. Of two children born to them, but one is living; Francis S.

John Higgins, also a pioneer of Langola, is a native of St. Lawrence county, New York, and was born on the 1st of March, 1836. At an early age he went to Lewis county, New York, where he was raised among strangers, and was in the lumber woods six years. During the Mexican war, he served two years as Captain's boy, after which he returned to his native State and was engaged in lumbering until 1854, when he came to Minnesota and pre-empted a farm in Langola township, to which he has since added, until he now owns four hundred and seventy-five acres, seventy-five of which are under cultivation. Owing to the vicious and thieving propensities of the Sioux in his neighborhood, he let his farm remain without cultivation for several years, and engaged in teaming from St. Paul to the Indian agency near Crow Wing, for Major Harriman. In 1858, he assisted Anson Northrup in the transfer of the steamboat " North Star " from the Upper Mississippi to the Bed River. Returning to Langola he was again engaged in teaming, until 1865, when he settled on the farm which he had located eleven years before. During the Indian outbreak in 1862, he was on duty at Fort Ripley, and also went with Sibley's expedition across the plains. Mr. Higgins has held the office of Supervisor, two terms, and School Director, six years. He was married in July, 1854, to Mary A. Crawford, of Scotland. They have two children; John C., and Jennie.

J. W. Joslin, one of the most energetic and prosperous farmers of Benton county, was born in Washtenaw county, Michigan, on the 2d of July, 1832. When nine years of age, he removed with his parents to Dane county, Wisconsin, and thence, after a six years' stay, to Richland county, in the same State, where the subject of this sketch was engaged in the lumber business for many years. In the fall of 1871, he came to Langola township and settled on his present farm, which contains five hundred and sixty acres, two hundred and fifty of which are under cultivation, and largely devoted to stock-raising. Besides attending to the multifarious duties of his farm, he takes an active interest in township government, having held the office of Supervisor for six years. Mr. Joslin was married in 1851, to Emeline Thompson, of New York State. Of ten children, the result of this union, nine are living; Annette, Winfield C., Jane L., George M., Fred W., Albert H., Walter J., Guy, and Clara.

F. C. Miller, one of the first settlers of Oak Grove, Morrison county, is a native of New York, and dates his birth on the 26th of February, 1846 He was reared to agricultural pursuits, and in 1861, enlisted in Company G, of the Forty-ninth New York Volunteer Infantry, serving three years and seven months. On his return from the army, he lived in Pennsylvania and Michigan till 1867, then came to Olmsted county, Minnesota, remaining about nine years. In 1876, Mr. Miller came to the town now known as Oak Grove, located a farm, and made it his home until coming to Rice's Station, in 1881. Since his residence here, he has been engaged in the hotel business.

George T. Rice dates his birth in Hampshire county, Massachusetts, on the 26th of January, 1832. His native county claimed him as a resident until 1850, when he went to Boston and remained six years, most of the time being spent in an architect's office, and keeping a restaurant. He then came to Minnesota, and carried on a farm in Washington county one year, when he sold it and removed to St. Paul, but after a short stay, went to Little Falls, Morrison county, where he was in the meat and cattle trade until 1862, three years of which he had a contract with the Government, to furnish meat for the garrison at Fort Ripley. He then located in Sherburne county, where he was engaged in wool-growing until 1864, when he removed to Langola and settled on his present farm. Mr. Rice owns three hundred and twenty acres of laud, one hundred and seven of which is under cultivation. The first few years on this farm were devoted to wool-growing and stock-raising, but latterly he raises stock and produce only. He also owns and operates a saw mill near his residence. Mr. Rice has held the office of County Commissioner two terms, Justice of the Peace fifteen years, and Town Clerk one year. He was married in 1855, to Zeruah F. Bryant, of Massachusetts. The result of this union has been five children, four of whom are living; Mary L., George L., Willis A., and Frank W.

T. J. Sharkey was born in Floyd county, Iowa, on the 19th of December, 1860. He was reared in his native county and received his early education, learning the business of telegraph operator. In January, 1880, he accepted the position of operator at Valley City Station on the Northern Pacific railroad, but was transferred in December of the same year, to Muskoda, Minnesota, where he remained until taking charge of Rice's Station in Langola, in April, 1881. He is also agent for the Northern Pacific Express Company.

Stephan Schwartz is a native of Prussia, born on the 17th of February, 1848. He grew to manhood in his native country, and after serving the customary three years in the Prussian Army, came to America in 1869, and located at St. Cloud, Stearns county, where he was engaged in the meat business for nearly three years. He then went to Melrose and was in the meat and cattle trade until coming to Langola in August, 1880. Mr. Schwartz then formed a partnership with Mr. Lampert, under the firm name of Schwartz & Lampert, and opened a general store at Rice's Station, where they are now doing an extensive business. He was married in 1879, to Eliza Haskemp, of Minnesota. They have two children; Barbara T. and Agnes.

M. B. Trace was born in Crawford county, Pennsylvania, on the 24th of March, 1848. In 1857, he removed with his parents to Plainview, Wabaslia county, Minnesota, where he received his early education, and taught school from 1865 to 1869. He then went to Meadville, Pennsylvania, where he took a course at the Commercial College and also attended Alleghany College at the same place. On leaving the latter institution, he returned to Wabasha county and taught school until 1872, then was teaching in Todd county about one year, after which he went to Melrose, Stearns county, and was Principal of the school at that place until 1875, and also held the office of Justice of the Peace. He was then Principal of the school at Sank Rapids for a number of years, resigning the position in the spring of 1880. In the fall of the same year he accepted the position of book-keeper in the general store of Wood & Gazette, at Rice's Station, where he is at present occupied. Mr. Trace was married in 1870, to Miss Nellie Stewart, of Crawford county. Pennsylvania. Of four children born to them, three are living; Verna M., Gertrude M., and Lois I.

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

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