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 southern part of the county, and has an area of 23,040 acres, of which 2,217 are under cultivation.

In the southern part of the township, there is considerable prairie, which has a light sandy soil. The northwestern part is principally brush land and poplar groves, with a stronger and darker soil, and in the northeastern part, heavy timber prevails, and the soil is also good.

There are a few small lakes, the largest being Dunnewold's Lake, a beautiful sheet of water on section twenty-two. Stony creek flows in a southerly direction, and leaves the town near the southeast corner.

The first settlement was made on the prairie in the southwest portion of the town, and was called the New York settlement, because the greater portion of the settlers were from that State.

A Mr. Russell was. undoubtedly, the first man to locate here with his family, he having made a claim on section twenty-nine in 1855, but only remained two years. During the same year, Alonzo Smith, now of Minden, made some improvements on section thirty, George Sheldon settled on section twenty-nine, and George Dickey made a claim on section twenty-eight. These were unmarried, and did not remain long. In the fall of 1856, James H. Cullen selected a claim on section thirty, to which he removed his family the following spring. They still reside on this farm, which was the home of Mr. Cullen until his death in 1871. In the spring of 1857, John Fothergill settled on section twenty-nine, and still lives there. In the southeastern part of the town, there is a prosperous German settlement. The first settler there was Peter Abfalter, a native of Germany, who settled on section twenty-four in 1862, and lives there still. He was followed by Godfrey Attermaun and Vincent Schindler, who settled on section twenty-six. The former lives on the old homestead, but the latter is a resident of Minden township.

St. George was organized in 1858, and embraced all the territory now contained in the towns of Minden, St. George, and Glendorado. with nearly all the settlers in the first named township. Glendorado was detached in 1867, and Minden, in 1868, since when, the boundary lines have remained unchanged. The first election was held in April, 1859, and the following officers elected: Supervisors, G. V. Mayhew, Chairman, John L. Lock, and William Smith; Clerk, W. T. Hicks; Assessor, W. H. H. Stevens; Collector, William Dickinson; and Justices of the Peace. W. T. Hicks and P. Brannelly. The first officers elected, after the reduction of the town to its present limits, were: Supervisors, Anthony Carey, Chairman; J. Deirkes, and Frank Shero; Clerk, John Fathergill; Treasurer, Prosper Latterell; Assessor, Peter Abfalter ; Constables, William Hezeke and Louis Latterell; and Justices of the Peace, John Dunn and Harvey S. Norton.

Religious services were held at the residence of Vincent Schindler, as early as 1863, by Father Pierz. This continued to be the place designated for devotional meetings for a number of years, until the erection of the present church in section thirty-four. Father Buh visited the congregation occasionally, but the priest now in charge is Father Wilkins. The present name of the church is " St. Lawrence Church."

The first school taught in the town, was by Mrs. Eleanor P. Shero, about 1866. There are now three school districts in which school is kept during the regular terms.

A general store was opened by C. A. Hunck. on section thirty-four, on the 1st of January. 1877, in which a prosperous business has been conducted. The firm of Reichert & Blattner, has also recently established a general store, not far from that of Mr. Hunck.

Through the efforts of Henry Voerding, Duelm Post-office was established at his residence, in 1870, with Mr. Voerding as Postmaster. In 1877, C. A. Hunck received the appointment, and the office was removed to his store, where it still remains. The name was given by Mr. Voerding, and is derived from the city of Ihielmen, in Prussia.

The agricultural products of St. George, according to the report of 1880, were: wheat, 20,597 bushels; oats, 11,161 bushels; com, 6,756 bushels; barley, 65 bushels; rye, 923 bushels; potatoes, 2,004 bushels; beans. 12 bushels; wild hay, 1,312 tons; wool, 158 pounds; butter, 14,750 pounds; and honey, 150 pounds.


Peter Abfalter, a pioneer of Benton county, is a native of Prussia, born on the 4th of May, 1829. In 1844, he came to America, and settled in Clinton county, Michigan, where he resided sixteen years, and then came to Minnesota, locating on a farm near Cold Spring City, Stearns county. In 1867, he removed to the farm, in Benton county, where he now lives. It was then in a wild state, but is now under good cultivation. •He was married on the 1st of January, 1854, to Miss Mary King. They have ten children, six boys and four girls.

Robert Brennan was born in Carlton county, Canada "West, on the 20th of March, 1845. When young, he learned the cooper's trade of his father, working at it until the year 1872, when he came to Minnesota. For a year he lived on a farm in Minden township, Benton county. Then moved to the farm on which he lives, and has devoted his whole time to its cultivation. On the 27th of April, 1869, he was married to Miss Johanna Madigan. They have five children.

Peter Blattner, a native of Canada, was born on the 9th of May, 1852. In 1870, he came to Minnesota, locating with his parents in St. George township. In a few years he took a farm for himself, living on it till the spring of 1880, when he formed a partnership with Mr. Reichert. They started a general merchandise store, Mr. Blattner devoting his whole time to the business. He was married on the 4th of November, 1880, to Miss Mary Reichert.

Joseph Balder was born in Peterwetz, Prussia, on the 17th of November, 1841. In 1870, his parents came to America, and the year following, to this town, where Mr. Balder took the farm on which he now lives. He married Mips Johanna Barron on the 27th of January, 1875. They have had four children, three of whom are now living.

John Brennan was born on the 20th of June, 1811, in Kilkenny county, Ireland. When a boy, he learned the cooper's trade of his father, and worked at it till the year 1826, when he came to Canada, where he lived for two years. He then went to Rochester, New York, staying but a few months, from there to Ohio, where he worked on a canal for four years. Returning to New York, he lived on a farm a few years, and then moved to Fond du Lac county, Wisconsin, where he remained until the year 1864. He then came to his present home, where he has since lived. In April, 1844, he was married to Miss Seeneth Hoilister. They have had seventeen children, all but two are living.

Patriak S. Caret was born on the ship " Rover," on the Atlantic Ocean, while his parents were coming from Ireland, to the United States, on the 16th of March, 1847. His parents went from New York to Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, and then to Iowa, where they remained till 1866, and came to Minnesota. In 1867, Mr. Carey took a homestead in this town, but soon removed to Minneapolis, where he was engaged in teaming summers, and lumbering winters. In 1878, he purchased the farm where he now lives. He married Margaret Noland on the 18th of July, 1874. They have had three children, two are living, and one is dead.

J. H. Cullen, (deceased) the first permanent settler in St. George township, was born in Ulster county, New York, in 1830. He made his home with his parents, but was employed driving team in New York until the year 1856, when he came to Minnesota. The following year he purchased the farm where he lived until his death, April 23, 1871. Mr. Cullen was a man greatly respected by all who knew him. Since his death, his brother-in-law, Thomas Bennahan, also an old settler, was assisted in carrying on the farm. On the 6th of October, 1852, Mr. Cullen was married to Miss Bridget Bennahan. They had nine children, seven are still living.

John Dunnewold was born in the village (if Winterswyk, Holland, on the 13th of November, 1826. He received a good education, and learned the tanner's trade. After working at his trade for four years, he started a tannery of his own, which he operated until 1869, when he moved with his family to America. Coming directly to St. George township, he purchased a farm on the shore of the lake which now bears his name. Since 1874, he has held the office of Treasurer. He married Miss Johanna C. Willems on the 8th of February, 1861. They have five children.

Martin Herbst, a native of Baden, Germany, was born on the 1st of November, 1844. At the age of nine years, he came with his uncle to America. Was engaged in farming in the state of Indiana, until the year 1865, when he came to St. Cloud. Here he was employed by the Freight Company, in drawing supplies for the frontier forts, until 1871, when he came to Glendorado township, Benton county, and took a claim. The year following, he purchased the farm on which he now lives. Since 1875, he has been Town Clerk. Was married on the 28th of December, 1871, to Miss Caroline Balder. They have four children; Joseph C., Charles J., Albert F., and Adolphus R.

C. A. Hunck was born in Germany, on the 30th of September, 1846. In 1874, he came to America, locatin g in Washington county, Wisconsin, where he was engaged in various pursuits. In the spring of 1876, he came to St. Cloud, and hi the fall, started a general merchandise store in St. George township, since which time he has been doing a good business. Since 1877, he has been Postmaster. Mr. Hunck was married to Miss Dinah Schnlte, of Washington county, Wisconsin, in 1877. They have two children.

P. J. Jacquemart, a native of Belgium, was born on the 25th of August, 1835. He resided with his parents until twenty-six years of age; then taking a farm of his own, where he remained until 1869. Coming to America, he located on a timber farm in this township. In 1878, he purchased the farm on which he now lives, having made valuable improvements each year. Mr. Jacquemart married Miss C. Herman on the 12th of March, 1861. They have had seven children, four of whom are living.

Joseph Kampa was born in Prussia, on the 18th of March, 1850. Residing there until the year 1870, the family came to America, and Mr. Kampa purchased the farm where he now lives. He was married on the 15th of November, 1870, to Miss T. Balder. They have six children.

James A. Lewis, one of the few Americans residing in this town, was born in Wyoming county, New York, on the 16th of March, 1843. When about fourteen years of age, the family came to Jefferson county, Wisconsin, where James resided until 1862. He then enlisted in Company D, of the Twentieth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, and served for three and a half years. Returning to his former home on the farm, he remained until 1878, when he came to his present farm. On the 26th of March, 1877, Mr. Lewis married Miss Elizabeth Rundle, of England. They have been blessed with three daughters; Edith M.. Cora Ann, (deceased) and Jessie Mable.

Nathan A. Lease was born in Cayuga county. New York, in 1818. At the age of ten years, he removed to Ohio, and six years later, to Michigan. In 1834, he went to Indiana, where he married Miss Mary Christian, of Tennessee. They had five children; Melvina, John N., William F.. Nathan A., Jr. and Margaret A. In July, 1854. his wife died, and the following November the family came to Hastings, Minnesota, where they spent the winter. In 1856, Mr. Lease married Miss Rachel Lightner, who bore him five children: Oliver, Eugene, and Ulyeses are living, and two are dead. In March, 1865, Mr. Lease enlisted in the First United States Engineers, and served as artificer, till the following October. In 1866, he was married to Mrs. Sarah A. Huxton. They have had three children, and two are living. Mr. Lease came to St. George township, in 1880. where he has been engaged at the carpenter trade.

Lewis Latterell, a native of Canada, was born on the 17th of August, 1832. When he was seven years of age, the family removed to Port Douglas, New York. In the year 1852, he went to Wisconsin, but soon returned to New York, where he was engaged in farming and lumbering, until 1856, when he came to Benton county, Minnesota, and took the farm on which he now lives. When Mr. Latterell came, the farm was new and wild, but by good management, there has been a great improvement. Miss P. Nolett became his wife on the 23d of September, 1860. They have ten children living, and one is deceased.

John Marshall was born in Belgium, on the 1st of November, 1835. When about nineteen years of age, he came to America. For three years he lived in Macoupiu county, Illinois, working in a saw mill. In 1862, he came to St. Paul, and lived for seven years, being on the police force for one year. Then coming to St. Cloud, he acted as policeman for a short time, afterwards, was in the ice business, and later, opened a grocery store, which he carried on until the year 1874, when he purchased the farm on which he has since lived. Mr. Marshall was married to Miss Josephine Treufler, in 1854. They have had nine children, eight of whom are living.

Harvey S. Norton was born in Onondaga county, New York, on the 15tb of July, 1828. When young, he came with his parents to Geauga county, Ohio. In 1848, visited New York, where he remained but two years, and again went to Ohio, and remained until 1852, when he came to Minnesota. Until 1859, he was employed on a farm in Hennepin county, then going to Illinois in 1861, he enlisted in Company K, of the Second Illinois Cavalry, serving, however, but a short time. He then returned to Minnesota, and again enlisted, serving till the close of the war. In 1865, Mr. Norton came to St. George township, took a claim, and in 1872, located on his present farm. On the 15th of June, 1858, he married Miss Sallie A. Finical. They have had five children; Edwin I., Laura M., Bertha F., Martha A., (deceased) and William E.

Joseph Parent, Jb., a native of Belgium, was born on the 25th of August, 1846. He assisted his father in a store and on the farm, until twentythree years of age. The family then came to America, and after living for one year in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota, they came to this township. Mr. Parent resided with his parents until 1875, when he purchased the farm on which he has since lived. On the 15th of July, 1871, Mr. Parent married Miss Fanny Henry. They have had four children, all of whom are living.

E. H. Renabd was born in France, on the 17th of May, 1835. When young, he learned the hosiery trade, at which he worked until 1854, when he came to America. Mr. Renard resided on a farm in La Salle county, Illinois, for twelve years before coming to this county. He then purchased the farm where he still lives. On the llth of November, 1863, he was married to Miss Josephine Simoneau. They have two children.

Fbank E. Shero was born in Canada East, on the 23d of July, 1833. When he was an infant, the family moved to Essex county, New York, where Frank assisted his father on the farm. In 1865, he came to Minnesota, and the following year, purchased the farm where he has since made hia home. Mr. Shero married Miss Eleanor P. Tatro, on the 8th of February, 1855. They have had five children, four of them still living.

C. F. Vanmaanen was born in Amsterdam, in 1841. He came to America in 1868, coming directly to St. Cloud, Minnesota; but soon after purchased a farm in St. George township, where he remained for four years. Then, returning to St. Cloud, he was employed as clerk in the Drug business. In 1874, he engaged in the same business on his own account. The year following, Mr. VanMaanen returned to his farm in this town, having since made it his home. In the year 1868, he was married to Miss Harriet A. Martin.

Henry Voerding, a native of Prussia, was born on the 7th of November, 1818. He enlisted in the Prussian army in 1840, serving for three years. Then resided on a farm until 1852, when be came to America. After living in several counties of Wisconsin, Mr. Voerding came to what is now known as St. Augusta, Stearns county, where he was one of the pioneers of the town. In 1869, he came to his present farm, and the year following, was appointed Post-master, at Duelm, and held the position until 1877. Mr. Voerding was married to Miss Mary Ann Janning, on the 13th of May, 1843. They have had nine children, only four of whom are now living.

John Wilson was born in Canada West, on the 2d of February, 1846. His father died when John was fourteen years of age, after which he and his brother took charge of the farm until 1865, when they came to Wisconsin. Here Mr. Wilson was employed in the lumber business, on the river, and later, hi a chair factory. In 1870, he came to Minnesota, and purchased the farm where he has since lived. Was married on the 31st of August, 1870, to Miss Mary E. Lewis. They have four children.

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

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