A glance at the map of St. Louis County will show that it is now well organized, only a small part of its territory being now outside of the jurisdiction of some organized township And while the unorganized townships are, in the main, only sparsely populated, it would be erroneous to suppose that because a township has no organized township administration it is necessarily undeveloped, or uninhabited, territory. Several of the unorganized areas adjoin townships of old establishment, and in many cases the unorganized townships exceed in population those exercising organized township privileges.
While it is not possible to go much into detailed review of the unorganized spaces of St. Louis County, it might be appropriate in this township chapter to briefly record the census statistics of those unnamed parts of the county. Beginning in the south, unorganized township 50-18 is part of the Fond du Lac Indian Reservation.
The population in 1910 was 105, and in 1920, 203. Township 50-19 is a continuation of the Indian Reservation. Only six persons were recorded as living in it in 1900; 67 in 1910, and 146 in 1920. Township 51-19 continues on between Floodwood and Culver townships.
Its population was thirteen in 1900; fifty-seven in 1910, and 120 in 1920. Township 52-19 completes that chain of unorganized territory.
It had six inhabitants in 1900; twenty-seven in 1910, and seventy-four in 1920. Township 52-21 is crossed, from southeast to northwest by the Great Northern Railway and on section 16 is a station, named “Island,” one version stating that the station was so named because “this was about the only dry spot between Floodwood and Wawima, at the time of the building of the railway.” Drainage, however, has now converted swamps into fertile fields. Township 52-21 had four inhabitants in 1900; in 1910 it had sixty-nine, and in 1920 there were 123 people living in it. Township 53-15 recorded twenty-seven inhabitants in 1910, but made no report in 1920. Township 53-16 had sixteen inhabitants in 1910, and 240 in 1920. Township 54-13 had a population of 14, in 1910 and 61, in 1920. Township 54-15 had 169 residents in 1910 and only twenty-three in 1920. Township 55-14 had no recorded population in 1910, but the 1920 census gives it a population of 300 then. Township 55-15 had fourteen in 1910, and seventy-three in 1920. Township 55-18 had thirty-one inhabitants in 1910, and 130 in 1920. Township 55-21 had sixty-nine in 1910, and seventy in 1920. Township 56-14 had two residents in 1900, none in 1910, and 264 when last census was taken. Township 56-16 had a population of 196 in 1910, and 340 in 1920. The next township west, 56-17, had three inhabitants in 1900, sixty-nine in 1910, and 157 in 1920. Township 57-14 had 27, in 1900, none in 1910, and 125 in 1920. Township 57-16 had ninety-five residents in 1910, and 126 in 1920. Township 57-19 had seventy-nine residents in 1910, and 279 in 1920. Township 58-14 is prominent chiefly because it is the railway junction between the Mesabi and Vermilion range towns. It had thirty-seven inhabitants in 1900, sixty-two in 1910, and 100 in 1920. Township 59-12 had two inhabitants in 1900, none in 1910, and no report was made in 1920. Adjoining townships, however, have recently become active, with the impending exploitation of low-grade ores. Township 59-16 has shown no population in the last three census-takings. Only the northern half of township 59-18 is unorganized, the southern half being included in Nichols Township. No population was recorded in the unorganized portion in 1920, although there were sixty-two residents in the township in 1910. Township 59-21 had fourteen inhabitants in 1910, and eighty-four in 1920. Township 60-18 recorded nine inhabitants in 1900, forty-three in 1910, but no report was made in 1920. Township 60-19 had 122 in 1910, and ninety-two in 1920. One tier of sections of this township was added to Great Scott Township and perhaps explains the decrease in population. Township 61-12 had fifty-six people in it in 1910, and thirty-eight in 1920. Township 61-13 had five inhabitants in 1910 and twenty-six in 1920. Township 61-17 recorded one inhabitant in 1900, none in 1910 and fifty-six in 1920. Township 62-16 had twenty-two residents in 1900, 198 in 1910, and 112 in 1920. Township 62-17 had thirty-seven inhabitants in 1900, twelve in 1910, and 116 in 1920. Township 62-21 had 197 in 1910 and 237 in 1920. Township 63-14 had fourteen residents in 1910, and only eight in 1920. Township 63-15 has been recorded as uninhabited during last three census-takings. Township 63-16 was credited with fifty-eight inhabitants in 1900, none in 1910, and twenty in 1920.
Township 63-17 had forty in 1900, fourteen in 1910, and eighteen in 1920. In 63-19 there were eighty-nine people in 1910, and 116 in 1920. In township 63-21 there were 270 inhabitants in 1910, and 282 in 1920. Only three townships of sixty-four north have organized administration, the unorganized divisions being those of 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 21 west; and out of a total population, in 1920, of 307 persons, 185 lives in township 64-21, part of which is allotted to the Bois Fort Indian Reservation. Townships of sixty-five north not yet organized are those of range 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 21 west. As is in the case in sixty-four north, the bulk of the population of sixty-five north is found to be in range 21, that township having in 1920, 194 of 353 inhabitants. The Indian Reservation extends into and beyond sixty-five north, range 21 west, and includes the western half of each township. It seems, however, that the census tabulation given above is of white settlers only, as the federal announcement of population, for 1920, gives no figures for the Bois Fort or Vermilion Lake Indian reservations, although the former was shown to have 210 residents in 1910, and the both reservations 881 inhabitants in 1900. Seven townships of sixty-six north are unorganized, Portage (formerly Buyck) township embracing the other three townships, range 17, 18 and 19, west. Four townships had no population in 1920, ranges 12, 13, 14 and 15. Logging operations probably are responsible for the presence of 283 persons in township 66-16 in 1920.
Then there were fifty-four in 66-20 and twenty persons in 66-21.
Fractional townships of sixty-seven north, ranges 13, 14, 15 and 16 are uninhabited; township 67-17, in 1920, had eleven inhabitants, 67-18 had 123, 67-19 had ninety-eight, 67-20 had 261, and 67-21 had twenty-three. Fractional townships sixty-eight north, ranges 14 and 15 and townships sixty-eight north, ranges 18 and 19, had no population in last census, township 68-17 had four persons, 68-20 had 235, and 68-21 had ninety. No figures were reported from townships sixty-nine north, and only from one of 70 and 71 north, fractional township 70-18, recording 145 residents in 1920.
The northern townships are mostly in virgin state and logging operations will continue in them probably for another fifteen or twenty years. Some of them have mineral possibilities.
The unorganized lands of St. Louis County figure in the tax sheet to an appreciable extent. In 1919, the assessed valuation of these areas was $2,364,023, and the taxes $163,117.59. The logging companies probably are the principal taxpayers in the northern territory, but some good farming acreages are opening. It is still possible to homestead in the county, and some of the state lands, without mineral rights, can also be bought almost as cheaply as from the federal authorities.
The total assessed valuation of St. Louis County in 1877 was $1,339,121.68. In the intervening forty-two years to 1919 the seemingly infinitesimal efforts of the individual toiler within its limits have brought an aggregate increase in the assessable wealth of the county to $357,787,544. The total taxes levied in 1877 were $29,034.41; in 1919 the taxes were $20,705,448.24.
St. Louis County is not only the largest of the state of Minnesota; it is also the wealthiest. The total value of taxable property in the State of Minnesota in 1919 was $1,777,153,420. St. Louis County’s part of that total was $357,787,544, roughly one-fifth. From its mines come more than half the yearly United States output of iron ore, and from the operation of its mines chiefly comes the about three million dollars it has of late years contributed to the maintenance of the state administration ($2,894,650 out of a total requirement of $14,373,427 in 1919). The result from a region which Proctor Knott, in his historic ridiculing speech in 1870, as referred to “cold enough, for at least nine months of the year, to freeze the smokestack off a locomotive.” Review of the history of the organized townships of St. Louis County follow, in alphabetical order.
The township of Alango was organized February 8, 1910, under section 451 of the Revised Laws of Minnesota, 1905. Its extent is one congressional township, that of township sixty-one north, range nineteen west.
Elias Matson was the man most active in prosecuting the matter of organization. He took oath, when presenting petition to county officials that the legal voters in the township at the time petition was signed did not exceed thirty-five.
Commissioners at their February 1910 session granted the petition, and to bring the new township into organization and operation, election was held at No. 3 schoolhouse, in the township on Saturday, February 26, 1910.
In 1910 the assessed valuation of Alango was $16,709. Total tax levy was $800.36. In 1919, the township valuation was $25,081, and the total tax levy $2,021.53.
The population of the township in 1910 was 335 persons, according to federal statistics; and in 1920 the census showed 511 residents.
The township is gradually becoming a well developed agricultural section.
Alango and Angora townships were served by School District No. 42.
The township officials are: E. Mattson, chairman; F. Leinonen and J. Kustor, supervisors; F. Saari, clerk; R. F. Saari, assessor; Nels Nukala, treasurer.
On August 1, 1900, S. G. Johnson and twenty-six others signed a petition, paying the county commissioners to organize congressional township 52 north, range 18 west, under chapter 10, Statutes of Minnesota, 1894, as a township to be known as Burg.
This was a shortening of the name first written into the petition, Gothenburg having been first proposed.
The commissioners, in session at Duluth on August 10, 1900, considered the petition, and granted same ordering election to be held at the schoolhouse situated in section 12 of township 52-18, on Friday, August 30, 1900.
Election was accordingly held, and the first officers elected to serve the township were: F. A. Trolander, chairman; Matt Perry and Alfred Nordling, supervisors; G. W. Mell, clerk; L. B. Ashjornson, treasurer; S. G. Johnson, assessor; John Mell and Gust Benson, justices; Otto Dahl, constable.
At the first township meeting it was decided to plan the levy for the first year: Road and Bridge Fund, $200.00. General Fund, 150.00. It was also resolved to seek to change the name of the town-ship to “Alborn,” such being the name of the post office within the township. Authority to change name was given by county commissioners on September 5, 1900.
The assessed valuation of real and personal property of Alborn Township in 1919 was $75,614. Tax levy, $6,593.54. The population of the township in 1900 was 62 persons; in 1910, 266; in 1920, 257.
The township officers in 1920 were: H. Blom, chairman; A. Hoiem and Sivert Holten, supervisors; G. A. Truman, clerk; S. Holten, assessor; F. A. Trolander, treasurer.
Alborn Township is served by School District No. 33, which embraces townships 52, 18 and 19. There are three frame schoolhouses in the district, the three valued at $10,000. The enrollment for the school year 1919-20 was 98, and staff of four female teachers, who received an average pay of $77.00 monthly. School Board: L. B. Marvin, chairman; Peter Fooness, J. M. Andrews and G. A. Truman, directors; Roy A. Wiles, clerk; B. L. Hill, treasurer.
The Township of Alden is of very recent establishment. It was organized on September 8, 1920, and consists of two congressional townships, formerly part of the Township of Duluth, town-ships 53 and 54 north, range 12 west.
The first officials were: Don D. Driscoll, chairman; A. J. Nappa and Henry Kontola, supervisors; E. A. Driscoll, clerk; F. X. Spanfelner, assessor; Mike Hakkila, treasurer; Louis Rossini, justice; Henry Lampala, constable.
With the exception of the Duluth and Iron Range Railway, which passes through the extreme northeastern corner of township 54-12, Alden has no railway facilities. Neither are the roads good.
However, proximity to Duluth should bring it good development, eventually.
The Township of Allen was erected in 1899. A petition which bears date of September 23, 1899, seeking the organization of congressional township 61 north, range 14 west, was signed by W. P.
Jockam, J. P. Brown, L. Pennington, S. J. P. Lackie, H. Eno, L. Kniers, Julius Dahl, Alec Cameron, John Hickey, M. Lawlor, R. E. Heath, James Villars, John Mirandy, K. Nilsen, Peter Mustad, J. Antuli, August Buboltz, George Donohue, and Levi S. Wilson.
Election was held at the office of the Tower Logging Company, at Bear Head Lake, on Saturday, December 23, 1899, following the granting of petition by County Commissioners E. Morcom, J. Williams, Fred W. Kugler, Charles Kauppi and Ole A. Berg. At the election, or first town meeting, William Allen was elected “moderator” by the assembled electors, and Charles Underhill clerk of the meeting. Albert Graetz and Charles Lund were appointed judges of election, and they eventually declared the balloting to have resulted in the election of the following: William Allen, chairman; D. Willenberg and Martin Lawler, supervisors; Charles Underhill, clerk; J. Cuculi, treasurer; L. A. Johnson, assessor; August Buboltz, justice; Patrick Murphy and Elijah Pennington, constables; and William Gustafson, overseer. Each man elected received twenty-seven votes.
In 1900, the population of Allen Township was 179 persons; no report was made to the Federal Census Bureau in 1910, and in the 1920 census only one person was found to be resident in it.
The land is apparently held by people who do not live in the township as the 1919 tax levy upon property in that township totalled to $2,856.46.
Allen Township, for educational purposes, is in School District No. 9, which centers at Tower.
The Township of Angora was organized in 1905, its boundaries being the congressional township 61 north, and range eighteen west, formerly unorganized and undeveloped territory.
Petition bears date September 9, 1905; first signature, Carl L. Nord; total signatures, twenty-five. Carl L. Nord took oath on September 9th that when petition was circulated there not less than forty or more than fifty voters in the township proposed.
Commissioners granted prayer of petitioners, and on September 12, 1905, ordered election to be held, at the residence of Carl L. Nord, in the southeast quarter of the southeast quarter of section 9, township 61-18, on September 30, 1905.
An interesting paper is that dated March 15, 1909, upon which W. H. Bristol, clerk of the township of Angora, certified that at the annual town meeting held on the 15th of that month the question of granting a license for the sale of intoxicating liquors within the township was put to the public vote, and, of twenty-one votes cast, nineteen were against and two in favor of the granting of the said license.
The assessed valuation of real and personal property in the township in 1905 was $63,375. Taxes levied in that year, $1,438.61.
In 1919 the total valuation was $54,819; and the taxes levied $4,511.60 in that year.
The township officers in 1920 were: L. M. Burghardt, chairman; John Metser and Henry Rombeck, supervisors; C. H. Sherman, clerk; James Sherman, assessor; Walter Olson, treasurer.
Angora Township had a population of 255 persons in 1910; in 1920 its population had become 392.
The Township of Argo was organized on December 7, 1920, and consists mainly of congressional townships 60-12, 59-13 and 60-13, the northern boundary of the organized township extending a little into township 61-12-to the southern border of Birch Lake.
The men primarily and chiefly active in the developments which led to the organization of the Township of Argo were D. C. Jackling, of San Francisco, a mining engineer and executive of international reputation, and his associates of the banking firm of Hayden, Stone & Co., of New York and Boston; and Messrs. W. G. Swart and Dwight E. Woodbridge, mining engineers of Duluth. Mr. Jackling’s force, far-sightedness, enthusiasm and high standing carried the new and questioned enterprise past the many obstacles that it naturally encountered, and the whole souled support of his eastern associates solved the financial problems upon which so many untried and costly experiments are wrecked.
The first township election was held on December 22, 1920, and the original administration is constituted as follows: W. G. Swart, chairman; Wm. Mudge and O. C. Burrell, supervisors; Mrs. Jas. R. Mitten, clerk; Clyde M. Pearce, assessor; Dr. P. D. McCarty, treasurer; T. B. Counselman and Wm. J. Baumgrass, justices; Oscar Birkness and Al Johnson, constables.
The township organization is the natural outcome of the growth of the population of that region, which, prior to the forming of Argo was unorganized territory. The important mining enterprise begun at Babbitt in the spring of 1920 made it certain that organized municipal and town administration would soon follow.
Treating the Low-Grade Ore of Eastern Mesabi
On the eastern part of the Mesabi range lies an immense deposit of magnetic iron ore, or taconite. Early explorers were well aware of it, but had to pass it by because of the low grade of the ore, which seemed to have no commercial value. Dwight E. Woodbridge, however, gave the matter of treating the ore considerable thought, study, and experimentation, carrying his research even to Europe. In 1909, he visited northern Europe where there were somewhat similar deposits, and where plants for the magnetic separation of ore had been established.
He visited Sweden, Norway, and Lapland, and spent much time at the Actieselskabet Sydvaranger plant, at Sydvaranger, Lapland. And he pursued the matter until he had succeeded in interesting the men—perhaps the only men in America—likely to carry the experiment through to success, that is Mr. Jackling and Hayden, Stone & Co.
When organized for an intensive trial of the project, W. G. Swart, an accomplished metallurgist and skillful executive was made general manager, and on the organization of the Mesabi Iron Co. and the beginning of construction of its works at Babbitt, in Argo Township,.
Mr. Swart became its vice president, Mr. Jackling being president.
The three congressional townships that constitute the Township of Argo were recorded as having no inhabitants in 1900. The 1910 census discovered a population of 102, and the 1920 federal census, showed that ninety-eight persons were then living in the three townships, 59-13, 60-13, and 60-12. The present population of Argo is probably about 500.
Residents in congressional townships 55 north, ranges 12 and 13 west, and townships 56 north and ranges 12 and 13 west, sought, in 1906, to obtain the consent of the county commissioners to the organization of that territory into a township, to be known by the name of Ault. The man most active in circulating the petition was George L. Ault. His name heads the petition, and when same was filed with the county auditor on August 31, 1906, George L. Ault swore to the accuracy of the statements made in said petition.
At the September 1906 session, the County Board of Commissioners granted the petition, and ordered election to be held at the schoolhouse situated on section 4 of township 55-12. Election was held on September 22nd, and the township organization then completed, in accordance with chapter 143, Laws of 1905.
The population of Ault Township when organized in 1906 was stated to have been not in excess of fifty. In 1900, according to Federal Census Bureau statistics the population was 76; in 1910 it was 474; and in 1920, owing to the detaching of the two northern townships, the population was found to be only 111.
Townships 56-12 and 56-13 were detached from Ault in 1918, to form the Township of Fairbanks.
Ault has only one schoolhouse, a frame building, valued at $5,000, situated at Brimson, in township 55-12. It is classified as School District No. 51, the officers of which are: Minnie Bodey, Brimson, clerk; Charles Swanson, treasurer; Mrs. B. M. Highland, chairman of directors. Enrollment in 1919-20 was 22, one male teacher conducting the school at a salary of $100 monthly.
Before the erection of the Township of Fairbanks, there were three school districts in the Township of Ault, numbers 51, 60, and 61.
School District No. 61 has been abandoned.
The township officers in 1920 were: Casper Soderlund, chairman; Albin Hassel and George Berry, supervisors; F. C. Highland, clerk; T. C. Peterson, treasurer; W. B. Bodey, assessor.
The Township of Balkan, as now constituted, includes all of township 59 north, range 20 west, and all of township 58 north, range 20 west, excepting one tier of sections on the south. Within its borders is the important mining district centering in Chisholm.
It was not until 1912 that Balkan was erected, the county commissioners on March 6, 1912, acting upon the prayer of William Cooper and other signers of a petition circulated on or about March 2, 1912, among the inhabitants of township 59-20, said petition praying for the organization of that congressional township into a township to be known as “Balkan.” At that time there were not more than seventy-five legal freeholders resident within the territory concerned.
First Town Meeting
The first election and town meeting was held in the schoolhouse situated in the northwest quarter of the northeast quarter of section 33, on Saturday, March 30, 1912.
Annexation of Chisholm and Part of Stuntz
In May of the next year, a petition was presented to the county officials, asking that the bounds of the Township of Balkan be altered and changed so as to include within said town all of sections 1 to 30, inclusive, of township 58-20, then part of the Township of Stuntz, thus bringing into the township jurisdiction all of the then Village of Chisholm, stated to be in sections 21, 22, and 28, the south one-half of northwest quarter of section 23, the southwest quarter of northwest quarter of section 27, and the eastern half of the southeast quarter of section 29, of that township. The petition asked that the township be henceforward known as “New Balkan.” The petition met with the approval of the county commissioners on August 6, 1913, and notice of their action was given to the townships of Balkan and Stuntz, and Village of Hibbing. Apparently, however, the name was not changed, and the township is still officially designated “Balkan.”
The population of township 59-20 in 1910 was found to be 48; in 1920, Balkan Township, as now constituted, had a population of 670, exclusive of the population of the Village of Chisholm, which in 1920 was 9,039.
Balkan Township in 1912, when first organized, had an assessed valuation of $83,287. The tax levy in that year was $2,207.11. The assessed valuation of real and personal property within the enlarged township in 1919, including the Village of Chisholm, totalled to $35,092,197, and the taxes levied in that year $1,786,089.76, more than one-half of which revenue came from the Village of Chisholm.
The township officials in 1920 were: W. E. Bates, chairman; W. A. Wright and John Thomas Holmes, supervisors; Victor Beck, clerk; Jacob Hakala, assessor; and John Perry, treasurer.
Balkan Township is served by two school districts, by Independent School Districts 27 and 40. Review of the history of School District No. 27 will be found in the chapter devoted to Hibbing and school history of district No. 40 is given in Chisholm chapter.
The Township of Bassett now embraces four congressional townships, 58 north, range 12 and 13, and 57 north, range 12 and 13.
The township was erected in May 1913, following petition of Victor Beck and twenty-four other residents of townships 57-12, 57-13, and 58-12, in which three townships it was then stated that not more than thirty male freeholders lived. Said petition which bore date of April 14, 1913, sought the granting of township jurisdiction over these three congressional townships.
At session of May, 1913, the county commissioners approved petition, and ordered election to be held at the residence of the Rev. A. J. Lehner, in section 28 of township 57-12, on May 24, 1913.
Annexation of St. Louis Township
A movement was started in August, 1917, to attach to the Township of Bassett, as an integral part of it, the adjoining Township of St. Louis, 58-13. Petition signed by a sufficient number of the freeholders of that territory was presented to the county commissioners on August 31, 1917, J. M. Palinsky taking oath to its accuracy and legality. Only five signatures were appended to the petition, signers being G. E. Wolfe, Berndt Peterson, R. E. Jefferson, J. M. Palinsky and Adolph G. Peterson, but a footnote certified that these five men constituted “all the legal voters and freeholders in the Township of St. Louis.” Petitioners stated, as a reason for consolidation with Bassett: “That the territory may be better developed by the construction of roads.” On December 7, 1917, the county commissioners agreed to the consolidation, and on December 20th the clerks and treasurers of both townships were requested to deliver to the new township of Bassett the records and funds of the old organizations.
Real and personal property in the Township of Bassett, when organized in 1913, was assessed at $198,348, and taxes levied in the amount of $4,530.12. The addition of St. Louis Township to its boundaries has not materially increased its value, which in 1919 was assessed at $223,150, for the four congressional townships of Bassett. Tax levy in that year was $16,556.74.
The population of Bassett Township in 1910 was 314, but in 1920 only 235. St. Louis Township, according to federal census report, had a population of 218 in 1910.
The township officers of Bassett in 1920 were: John A. Beckman, chairman; Alex Nisula and Thomas Holmes, supervisors; Victor Beck, clerk; Jacob Hakala, assessor; and John Perry, treasurer.
The township is in two school districts, Nos. 36 and 70. School District No. 36 covers townships 57 and 58 north, range 13 west. There is only one schoolhouse, a frame one, valued at $3,600, and situated at Skibo. The enrollment in the 1919-20 school year was only five. The teacher was paid $100 a month, for a school year of nine months. The school tax, in 1919, was $2,008.50, for a school to which went only five pupils. The school board officials of that district, in 1920, were: Mrs. Albert Erickson, chairman of directors; Charles Monstroth, Skibo, Minn., clerk; Mrs. Frank Gravelle, treasurer.
School District No. 70 covers townships 57 and 58, of range 12.
There is only one schoolhouse, a frame one, valued at $5,000. The enrollment in 1919-20 year was forty-eight. There were four female teachers, who received an average salary of $72.50 a month. The school levy, in 1919, was $4,448.80. School board officials: John Gustafson, chairman of directors; William Ahola, Toimi, Minn., clerk; Mrs. Catherine Martin, treasurer.
The Township of Beatty takes the name of one of the pioneer mining men of the Mesabi Range. Noble A. Beatty was the first signer of a petition, dated at Tower, February 20, 1906, praying for the organization of a township under chapter 143, of the General Laws of the State of Minnesota, 1905, said township to have jurisdiction over sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 of congressional township 62-18, and the whole of townships 63-18 and 64-18, the erected township to take the name of “Vermilion.” The petition met the approval of the commissioners, at session of April, 1906, and election was ordered to be held at the schoolhouse situated in the southwest quarter of the southeast quarter of section 34, township 63-18, on April 21st.
On May 8, 1906, at the request of the state auditor, the county commissioners changed the name of the new town to Beatty, with the sanction of the petitioners, there being another township of the name of “Vermilion” in the state.
The boundaries of Beatty Township have remained unchanged since organization. In 1906, the assessed valuation was $69,207, and the taxes levied $2,020.84. The valuation in 1919 was $68,567, and the tax levy $5,725.34 for all purposes.
The township at one time was in School District No. 41, but that district has apparently been abandoned, it perhaps being more economical to let the township be served by what is known as the unorganized school district, which comes directly under the supervision of the county superintendent. The tax levy, for school purposes in Beatty Township, for the school year 1919-20 was 47.1 mills.
Beatty had a population of twelve, in 1900; in 1910, it claimed 53 residents; and in 1920 the cersus-taking showed that 139 persons lived in the township.
The township is in process of development, much of it now being cut-over land.
Township officials, 1920: Thos. Wikely, chairman; Chas. Lappi and Albert Larson, supervisors; J. G. Larson, clerk; A. L. Whiteside, assessor; Robert Beatty, treasurer.
The Township of Breitung was the first of the central townships of St. Louis County to come into prominence. It has historic interest, in that it is the center of the mining on the Vermilion Range, the first iron range to be discovered in Northern Minnesota.
The “Proceedings of the Lake Superior Mining Institute,” for 1895, in which year its meetings were held on the Vermilion and Mesabi ranges, gives the following summary of mining conditions on the Vermilion Range:
On the Vermilion Range is quite a different set of conditions than those on the Mesabi. Instead of nearly flat deposits of ore we find them nearly vertical. Instead of a layer of ore of limited thickness all over a 40-acre tract, with no hanging wall to work under, we find steeply inclined lenses of ore confined between walls of schist and extending in a series downward to an indefinite depth. In the place of ore so fine and powdery that it is objected to by the furnace operators, we have here ore so solid and massive that it must be artificially crushed by powerful machines before it can be sold (at the Chandler mine, the ore has been crushed by nature). In the place of covered deposits, which must be sought for by drill holes and test pits, there were originally bold bare knobs of hard jasper and hematite projecting in polished peaks and domes a hundred feet above the surrounding, more easily eroded, schist. It must be admitted, however, that there is more regularity in the occurrence of the Mesabi ore beds than those of the Vermilion; and more can be told of the probable occurrence of ore in a given locality by a study of the surrounding geology and typography than can be predicted in any way on the Vermilion.
A historical review of mining on the Vermilion Range will have place in the chapter regarding Tower and Soudan, which places, chartered city and unincorporated village respectively, owe their existence to the mining operations begun on the Vermilion in the early ‘80s.
The Township of Breitung was organized in 1883, to have jurisdiction over unorganized townships 62 north, ranges 14 and 15 west.
It takes its name from that of one of the pioneers of mining on the Vermilion. Vermilion Lake covers more than half of township 62-15, and apart from the ceaseless mining operations at Soudan, there is very little activity in the township. Or at least there was until quite recently when negotiations were completed to work valuable beds of peat in the township, which in places is very marshy.
The roads of the township are moderately good, and the district is well served by the Duluth and Iron Range Railway, which passes through to Ely. Breitung Township is famed for most beautiful lake and most majestic mountain scenery. In parts the township is absolutely in the wild state.
In 1883 the Township of Breitung had an assessed valuation of $20,133; in 1919 its assessment was on $543,069. The total taxes in 1883 were $251.62; in 1919 the total was $46,944.67, exclusive of Tower, which city had a tax-levy of $18,109.78 in that year.
Breitung Township is in School District No. 9, which centers in Tower. A review of the school history will be part of the Tower chapter, and therefore school matters need not be further referred to here.
The present township officials are: Walter Wellander, chairman; Nels Bodine and Matt Karvala, supervisors; J. Nyberg, clerk; Ben P. Johnson, assessor; John Helstrom, treasurer.
The population of Breitung Township has shown a decline since the opening of this century, although the decline has not been proportionate with the decline in mining operations, which thirty years ago totalled to 500,000 tons a year, and now is not much more than one-fifth of that yearly output. The population of the township in 1900 was 2,034; in 1910 it was 1,214; and in 1920 it was 1,227. The population of the City of Tower is now only 706; in 1900 it was 1,366.
The township of Canosia was organized in 1888, and formerly was part of Rice Lake Township. Its organization was the outcome of a petition of Leonard Reamer and thirty-six other freeholders of that part of Rice Lake Township, the petitioners praying that congressional townships 51 and 52 north, ranges 15 and 16, four townships in all, be set apart from Rice Lake Township, and organized as a separate township, which it was originally proposed be named “Camasia,” that name having been first written into the petition, but eventually ruled out, and the name “Canosia” written above it on the instrument.
The petition came before the county commissioners at their board meeting of December 6, 1887, and they then took exception to the granting of it. The matter was referred by them to a committee, which, on February 3, 1888, reported favorably, and “recommended that the prayer of the petitioners be granted.” Therefore, the board of commissioners set apart the township on that day, and ordered the first town meeting to be held at the schoolhouse in School District No. 10, in the Township of Canosia, on Thursday, February 23, 1888.
The four congressional townships which constituted the township of Canosia had an assessed value of $225,274 in 1888, and the taxes levied for all purposes in that year totalled to $4,353.65.
Three other townships have since been created (see townships of Dinham, Grand Lake and Fredenburg, this chapter) out of territory originally in Canosia, and the boundaries of the last named township now embrace only the congressional township 51 north, range 15 west. The assessed valuation of that reduced area of Canosia in 1919 was $144,437; and the tax levy, $7,726.92.
Population of Canosia Township in 1900 was 221; in 1910, it was 287; and in the last census, 1920, the population was found to be 311.
Township officers in 1920 were: Peter E. Michels, chairman; Chas. A. Sundell and J. Kolodzeski, supervisors; John W. Johnson, clerk; W. C. McCummon, assessor; E. B. Emgren, treasurer.
Canosia Township is served by two school districts, Nos. 10 and 55. There are three schoolhouses in the township, one each in sections 12, 30 and 35. In School District No. 10 which covers part of township 51-15, there is one frame schoolhouse, to which went twenty-three scholars for the school year 1919-20. Its one teacher (female) received a salary of $90.00 monthly. The school board officials were: Jacob C. Clark, clerk; Joe Kolodzeski, treasurer; John W. Johnson, chairman of directors. Its school levy, in 1919, was $1,883.18. School District No. 55 embraced part of townships 51-15 (Canosia) and 51-14 (Rice Lake). Its two frame schoolhouses were valued at $2,000 in 1919, when the enrollment was 37. One school was conducted by a male teacher, and the other by a female. The average salary was $77.50 a month. School levy, in 1919, was $1,809.89, Canosia paying a school tax of 25.3 mills. Officials of School District No. 55, in 1920, were: P. E. Michele, R. F. D. 4, Box 66, Duluth, Minn., clerk; Chas. Sundell, treasurer; P. A. Paulson, chairman of directors.
A petition, signed by Mike Snyder and twenty-five others, dated October 22, 1908, was duly presented at the St. Louis County Court House. The instrument sought to secure the organization as a township, under section 451, chapter 7, Revised Laws of Minnesota, 1905, to be known by the name of “Rosemount,” all of congressional township 53 north, range 21 west.
At the February 1909 session of the Board of County Commissioners, the petition was approved, and the first town meeting ordered to be held at School House No. 2, on Saturday, February 26, 1910. After the election, the county commissioners were advised by the state auditor that there was another township in the state named “Rosemount.” They therefore resolved that the name of the newly organized territory be “Cedar Valley,” their action being eventually confirmed by the residents of that township.
In 1912, a petition was circulated among the freeholders of township 54-21, and signed by a majority of them, the petition seeking to include that unorganized township in the boundaries of Cedar Valley.
Mike Snyder, chairman of the supervisors of Cedar Valley at that time discussed the matter with the county commissioners at session of the county board on February 6, 1913; and the matter was further discussed by the commissioners at meeting of June 6, and August 6, of 1913. At the August session, the commissioners resolved to add township 54-21 to Cedar Valley. So, the Township of Cedar Valley is at present constituted.
Assessed valuation of real and personal property in Cedar Valley Township in 1910 amounted to $66,555. Tax levy, for all purposes, was $1,590.66. In 1919 the assessed valuation was $141,136 and the tax levy for all purposes, $8,919.79.
Population in 1900 was 98 persons; in 1910 it had increased to 234; and in 1920 to 323 persons.
The Cedar Valley school district is No. 23 of the county system.
There are four frame schoolhouses, valued at $8,000 in the district, which covers the whole of townships 53 and 54, range 21. Total enumeration in 1919-20 school year was 99. The school term was eight months, and the four teachers received an average salary of $82.50 a month. The school levy, in 1919, amounted to $4,730.63.
The school board officials were: Wm. Gustafson, clerk; Jalmer Perkkijo, treasurer; Erick Hill, chairman of directors.
The township officials in 1920 were Matt Maki, chairman; Peter Myllykangas, and Jonas Hietala, supervisors; Mike Siermala, Jr., clerk; J. Perkkijo, assessor; Andrew Tuola, treasurer.
The Township of Clinton, which borders onto the rich mining territory of the Mesabi Range, embraces the township 57 north, range 18 west.
Organization came in 1892, following the presenting of petition, dated October 13, 1892, to the county commissioners, said petition being signed by Frank M. Zeller and twenty-three other voters within the territory, praying for the organization of township 57-18, as the Township of Clinton, under the General Laws of the State of Minnesota, 1878.
The petition came before the county commissioners at their October, 1892, session. It was then resolved to grant the prayer, and public notices were posted calling upon the electors to assemble for the first town meeting, at the Section Car House, situated on the southeast quarter of the southeast quarter of section 15 of township 57-18, on Friday, the 28th day of October. Election was duly held, and organization of Clinton Township duly perfected. Since that time, its boundaries have remained the same, and it is somewhat surprising to note that its valuation is now less than it was in 1892. In that year, the real and personal property of Clinton was assessed on the basis of a value of $107,184, the tax levy then being $2,599.21. In 1919, the assessed valuation, exclusive of Iron Junction, was only $105,979, although the tax levy had materially increased being in that year, $7,227.77. Also, the valuation of Iron Junction, which is only $11,575, adds very little to the wealth of the township.
Clinton Township population, including Iron Junction Village, in 1900 was 221; in 1910, the census showed 316 residents; and the 1920 census tabulated 752 persons, then resident in the township. The township is developing agriculturally. It is in school district No. 25.
The township officials in 1920 were: J. S. Soine, chairman; Edward Berg and J. P. Johnson, supervisors; Jens Jenson, clerk; Eli Hautala, assessor; P. W. Thompson, treasurer.
The incorporated village of Iron Junction has had such powers since 1893, when it seemed that a much more important municipal history would be its destiny. There were 142 legal voters in 1893, and the total population would feasibly have been more than that. In 1920, the population was only 92, and the place is little more than its name indicates—a railway junction.
Petition to incorporate was circulated in May, 1893, John Campbell, Frank Ansley, Stephen Ryan, and others, seeking corporate village powers over 480 acres, describing as: “the west half of southwest quarter, section 14; the southwest quarter of northern half, and the southeast quarter and south half of southeast quarter of section 15; and the north half of the northeast quarter of section 22, township 57-18.” The petition stated that census taken of inhabitants on April 1, 1893, showed that 365 persons were then living in the area.
The petition was deemed regular by the county commissioners, who ordered election to be held on July 25, 1893, “at the store building of P. J. Clure.” One hundred and forty-two votes were then cast, and all were in favor; therefore the commissioners ordered election for officers to be held on August 10th, “in the vacant store building, rear of P. J. Clure’s store.” The value of taxable property in Iron Junction in 1895 was $21,158; in 1919 the assessed valuation was only $1,575.
The present village officials are: E. M. Moline, president; Thos. Wood, Albert Fischer, and Wm. Molander, trustees; C. F. Zacher, clerk; Chas. Peterson, treasurer.
The Township of Colvin came into being in 1910. Its boundaries are those of congressional township 56 north, range 15 west, and was organized by the county commissioners in answer to the request of inhabitants within the territory, as set forth in petition, dated April 14, 1910, of John J. Ljung and twenty-four others.
The projectors at first thought of naming the new township “Markham,” but the name of “Colvin” was decided upon before the petition was presented to the county commissioners. The document was filed in the St. Louis County Court House on April 27, 1910.
It was considered by the commissioners on May 6th, and adopted by them on that day, they ordering election to be held on Monday, May 23, 1910, at the schoolhouse situated on section 27, of the township concerned.
In 1910, the assessed valuation of Colvin Township real and personal property was $87,437, and the tax levy $4,503.01. The 1919 valuation was $72,986, and the tax levy $5,700.21.
The population of Colvin in 1910 was 252; in 1920, it was 370.
The growth is gradual, and will be stable with increase of agricultural development.
The township officials, in 1920, were: Anders Anderson, chairman; Manu Ekola and Emil Waltenen, supervisors; John Carlson, clerk; John J. Ljung, assessor; and Eekki Nieminen, treasurer.
The Township of Cotton was erected in 1903. The congressional township (54-17) it then constituted was formerly part of the township of Kelsey, and the separation came as the result of a petition circulated among the residents of that region. The petition was dated May 7, 1903, and signed by C. J. Keenan and others. Its object was to bring about the division of the then township of Kelsey into three, as follows: congressional townships 53-18 and 53-19 to form the Township of Meadowlands; township 54-17 to form the Township of Cotton; and townships 54-18 and 54-19 to remain as, and to constitute the Township of Kelsey.
The petition came before the county commissioners for consideration at the board meeting of June 8, 1903. Hearing of remonstrances were set for the next monthly meeting of commissioners, and no opposition of consequence then arising the commissioners resolved to divide the five congressional townships as asked by petitioners, and ordered notices of election to be posted.
Election was held on July 31, 1903, at the Miller Trunk Schoolhouse, Jacob Weingast being elected “moderator” of that first town meeting of Cotton. The balloting brought the following named residents into office, to constitute the original administrative officials of the new Town of Cotton: Jacob Weingast, chairman; N. Salin and N. M. Nelson, supervisors; Ole Mark, treasurer; W. T. Jenkins, clerk; P. A. Johnson, justice; Hy Moberg, constable.
On November 5th of that year the boundaries of the township were enlarged, to include the adjoining township, 54-16, which up to that time had been unorganized territory. The action of the county commissioners followed petition of residents of township 54-16, said petition being filed in the County Court House on September 17, 1903.
Cotton Township assessed valuation in 1903 was $88,734, and the tax levy, for all purposes, $971.29. In 1919, the valuation for the two congressional townships of Cotton totaled to $124,436, and the tax levy $7,702.12.
In 1910, the population of Cotton Township was 325 and there has only been a slight increase in ten years, the 1920 census recording only 376.
The township officials in 1920 were: William Soderlund, chairman; O. A. Hoag and L. J. Larson, supervisors; W. T. Jenkins, clerk; W. Wickstrom, assessor; and E. A. Nelson, treasurer.
Part of Cotton Township is, for educational purposes, in School District No. 49. That district has two schoolhouses, of frame, valued at $2,100. The enrollment in the year 1919-20 was 25 scholars. Each school is directed by one.teacher, female, and the average monthly salary is $82.00.
The school board and officials are: Chauncey White, Cotton, clerk; Olaus Lorentzsen, treasurer; M. E. Nordstrand, chairman of directors.
The Township of Culver, which borders on the Fond du Lac Indian Reservation, was established from unorganized territory in 1893, following the presenting of petition by Edward J.
Featherstone and twenty-six other freeholders of the thirty legal voters of congressional township 51 north, range 18 west.
The petition was filed with the county auditor in 1893, and was considered by the county commissioners at their September meeting of that year. They ordered notices to be posted, calling upon voters of that township to gather at the house of Isaac Reano, east half, northeast quarter of section 12, on October 3rd in order to elect township officers. That was done, and the township has since held the territory then brought under its jurisdiction.
In 1893, the assessed valuation of the Township of Culver was $19,828. Taxes, for all purposes, in that year amounted to $361.86.
In 1919, the assessed valuation was $50,753, and the tax levy $3,800.91.
Population of Culver Township, including Brookston Village, in 1900 was 185 persons; in 1910, it had increased to 331; and in 1920 the population was 371.
The township does not appear to have a separate school district, probably being directly under the county school administration, which is able to economize for sparsely inhabitated townships by handling its school affairs as part of the immense unorganized school district directed by the county superintendent. The school levy for 1919 was 37.1 mills.
Township officials, 1920, were: C. T. Larson, chairman; Chas. Carlson and H. O. Knudson, supervisors; Wm. Carlson, clerk; C. O. Eklund, assessor; C. O. Eklund, treasurer.
Brookston, Village of
The incorporated village of Brookston is the principal community centre of Culver Township. It was incorporated in 1907, following circulation of petition in March of that year.
The petition sought village powers, under section 702 of the revised state laws of 1905, and was signed by a majority of the legal voters of Brookston, the first signer being H. C. Shur. It stated that the number of residents within the area for which corporate powers were sought was then two hundred. That would represent the bulk of the population of the township. (In 1910 the total for the township of Culver was 331.) The statement, and others made in petition, were vouched for by J. F. Ryan, and H. C. Shur, who presented the petition to the commissioners of the county. The last named county board met on March 7, 1907, and approved the petition, and ordered the matter to be put; to the public vote, polling to take place on Tuesday, April 2d, “at the general store of J. F. Ryan, situated on the west half, NE quarter, section 34, t. 51, n. r. 18 w.” The vote was unanimously in favor of the incorporation, forty-one votes cast being all in favor. The subsequent election brought in the following village officers: J. F. Ryan, president; H. C. Shur, Ed Donley, and Wm. R. Miles, trustees; Rowe McCamus, recorder.
There can have been very little to the village in 1907, for the county records show the total assessed valuation then to be $873, on which basis a levy of $44.78 was made. In 1919 the valuation was $14,683, with a tax levy of 137.0 mills, this unusually high taxation being made so by a 63 mill tax on state loan to the village.
(The township levy is only 76.0 mills.) An important special election in Brookston was that held on September 22, 1918, when the question: “Shall the Village of Brookston be separated from the Township of Culver for election and assessment purposes?” brought fifteen voters to the polling booth, all voting in favor of the separation.
The village officials, in 1920 were: Arthur Hutchins, president; John Couture, Thos. Flin and Ed. Kernaski, trustees; Oliver Olson, clerk; Leo Michaud, assessor and treasurer.
The village was at one time in School District No. 67, but it is now, for school purposes, under county jurisdiction.
The 1910 census taking by federal authorities recorded Brookston as with 160 inhabitants; in 1920 the number living within the village limits was only 135.
The Township of Dinham was erected in 1896 by detaching part of the Township of Canosia. It is not now in existence, part of its territory reverting to Canosia, but the greater part going to constitute the Township of Fredenburg.
Petition was presented to the county commissioners on September 4, 1896, signed by Peter E. Michaels and other freeholders of township 52 north, range 15 west, and sections 1, 2, 11, 12, 13 and 14 of township 51 north, range 15 west, all then under jurisdiction of the township of Canosia, praying that the designated territory be set apart to form a separate township under the name of Dinham.
The commissioners made known that at the next monthly meeting of their board, hearing of any objections to the proposed separation of land from the Township of Canosia would be held. No opposition showed at the October meeting, and the commissioners consequently approved the petition, and set apart the land asked for, and designated October 26, 1896, as the day upon which voters should gather at the house of Peter Michael, in the northwest quarter of section 12 of township 51-15, for the purpose of holding the first township meeting of the township erected.
Fourteen votes were cast at that meeting, and the following named residents were elected as township officers: W. McComber, chairman; T. Maleska and E. Kehtel, supervisors; L. Ostrovitzki, treasurer; P. E. Michaels, clerk; M. Navitzki, assessor; P. Michaels and F. Kehtel, justices; T. Novitzki and M. Langan, constables.
Petition to reinstate the Township of Canosia to its original dimensions was filed on February 5, 1897, but the petition was denied at the February meeting of commissioners. The agitation was, however, persisted in, and eventually the Township of Dinham passed out of existence, the land reverting to Canosia. Eventually, however, congressional township 52-15 was taken from Canosia to form the Township of Fredenburg. (See Canosia and Fredenburg parts of this chapter.)
The Township of Duluth was one of the first to be organized. It is not necessary here to more than briefly touch upon its history, as that will be found in appropriate place in the pioneer Duluth chapters of this work.
In 1873, the Township of Duluth was one of the five included on “Tax Notice of St. Louis County” for that year, the township being divided into two districts, Nos. 3 and 4. Its taxable property was then valued at $571,016. The tax levy was 28 mills.
At that time there was only one incorporated place, the City of Duluth, and five townships, Duluth, Oneota, Fond du Lac, Rice Lake, and Herman. In 1920, St. Louis County had twenty-five incorporated places, and at least sixty-nine organized townships. The degree of development and prosperity is even more strikingly shown in tax levy. In 1877, the total tax levy was $29,034.41 for the whole of St. Louis County; in 1919 the tax levy was $20,797,144.95.
The present bounds of the Township of Duluth are those of congressional township 52-12, and fractional township 51-12. Congressional township 51-13 was taken from Duluth in January, 1902, to form the present Township of Lakewood; and congressional townships 53 and 54 north, range 12 west, were detached on September 8, 1920, to form the Township of Alden (see Lakewood and Alden articles, this chapter).
Duluth Township, even with the two congressional townships taken to form Alden, had only 841 inhabitants in 1920. In 1910 the population was 358 and in 1900 only 194. For school purposes it is in the unorganized district.
The townships recently detached to form Alden came within the boundaries of Duluth in 1897. The two congressional towns under reference, townships 53 north and 54 north, range 12 west, were formerly unorganized territory, and the few settlers therein had made two attempts to be brought within the jurisdiction of the Township of Duluth. The petition upon which action was taken was that signed in 1895 by W. H. Smallwood and fifty-three others, and sworn to on December 3, 1897, by Matt Smith and W. H. Smallwood.
Action was taken favorably by the county commissioners at their session of December, 1897.
The officers of Duluth Township in 1920 were: F. W. Shilhon, chairman; Don D. Driscoll, supervisor; F. L. Damman, clerk; D. Sammoni, assessor; E. E. Reynolds, treasurer.
The Township of Ellsburg, situated in congressional townships 55 north, and ranges 16 and 1ɠ7 west, was established, or organized, in 1914.
Archie Smith was the first signer of petition circulated in those townships among freeholders in June of that year, and A. P. Smith appears to have been the most active projector of the township petition.
He delivered it to the County Court House for filing with the county auditor, and he took oath to its accuracy of statement, and regularity of preparation.
At the next meeting of the county commissioners, held on July 7, 1914, the petition was considered and resolution of approval passed.
The commissioners therefore ordered the first town meeting to be held at the Cameron Hotel, situated in the southeast quarter of the southeast quarter of section 18, township 55 north, range 16 west, on the 25th day of that month. On that day the township organization was completed, in accordance with the state law.
The assessed valuation of the township, as constituted in 1914, was $187,083. The total tax levy was $8,087.09. In 1919, the valuation was $186,140, but the tax levy had increased to $14,704.77.
The population of the territory in 1910 was recorded as 37; in 1920, Ellsburg is credited with 145 inhabitants. There are several small lakes within its boundaries, and its development has not passed far beyond the pioneer stage.
The township clerk is John J. Hruska; and the treasurer is Louis Cameron.
The school system is divided. Part is under the county superintendent directly, being included in the unorganized school district, elsewhere described, but township 55-17 is under the jurisdiction of School District No. 31, which covers townships 55-17 and 18, and part of 56-18. In that area, and under the direction of that school district, there are four schoolhouses, all of frame construction, the four valued at $8,000, in 1919. There were in that year 104 scholars enrolled. Four teachers were engaged, at average salary of $84.00.
The school levy upon Ellsburg tax payers, in 1919, amounted to 36 mills on $39,035, for school district No. 31, and 37.1 mills on $147,105 valuation for school facilities as part of the county unorganized school district.
The school board and officials of district No. 31, in 1920, were: Mrs. Harold Teed, Zim, Minn., clerk; Ole Olson, treasurer; Mrs. S. W. Levin, chairman of directors.
The Township of Elmer was organized in 1920, and resulted from the presenting of a petition, signed by John Rohnu and twenty-seven other residents in unorganized congressional township fifty-three north, range twenty west, and that part of township 53-19 lying west of St. Louis River, at that time included in the Township of Meadowlands. The petitioners filed application with the county commissioners on March 10, 1920, and the commissioners set May 11, 1920, as the date upon which hearing of objections to the granting of the petition would be held. On that day, the petition was granted and the boundaries fixed as asked.
First election was held on May 29, 1920, at the Town Hall Building, in township 53-20. Those elected were: Max Bernsdorf (chairman), Emil Beldo, Martin Warlick, supervisers; W. H. Bailey, clerk; John Greiten, treasurer; Henry Helmet, justice; Albert Horvath, constable; Matt Finnila, road master; John Horvath, pound master.
The assessed valuation of township 53-20, in 1919, was $48,089, and the taxes levied $2,813.21, for all purposes.
Population of township 53-20 in 1900 was three; in 1910 it was forty-three; in 1920 that congressional township is shown as having sixty-seven residents. That the population of that part of township 53-19 now in Elmer Township cannot be stated, as the census figures include it in those of the Township of Meadowlands.
Elmer is a separate school district, being known as School District No. 82. The present school board officials are: Henry Helmet, Box 255, Meadowlands, clerk; Nick Guth, treasurer; Paul Kamper, chairman of directors.
Two unorganized congressional townships, sixty north and ranges fourteen and fifteen west, was set apart in 1905 by the county commissioners, to organize the Township of Embarrass, as prayed for by signers to a petition filed with the county auditor on May 5th of that year. Twenty-eight freeholders in that territory signed the petition, which was considered by the county commissioners at meeting held on May 6, 1905, when the instrument was approved in form. The commissioners did not, however, grant the petition until July 10, 1905.
The first town meeting was held in the schoolhouse situated in the northwest quarter of the northwest quarter of section 25, of township 60-15, on July 29, 1905.
In April, 1911, the inhabitants of township 60-14 petitioned the county commissioners to separate that township from Embarrass, alleging failure of the Town of Embarrass to construct roads in township 60-14. The separation asked for was bitterly opposed by the people of Embarrass, but on February 6, 1912, the county commissioners decided to detach the eastern congressional township from the Town of Embarrass and found the Township of Waasa. This was effected by election held on February 27th (for further information, see Waasa, this chapter).
The Township of Embarrass in 1905 had an assessed valuation of $115,800. The tax levy then was $2,304.42, for all purposes. With the reduction of area, its valuation is now reduced to $50,753 for assessment, but the taxes in 1919 totaled to $4,182.05.
The school levy is 37.1 mills, Embarrass Township, for school purposes, being included in the unorganized school district directed from the county superintendent’s office. Such an arrangement affects an economy to some townships of small population.
Embarrass Township had a population of forty-nine in 1900. Its population in 1910 was 648. And in 1920, the population was found to have increased to 712. It is the center of a good agricultural section of St. Louis County.
The present township officials are: Erick Lehto, chairman; Nick Lehto and Matt Hill, supervisers; John Waisanen, clerk; John Kangas, assessor; John Koski, treasurer; A. Waisanen and Charles Reinstrom, justices.
The Township of Fairbanks embraces two congressional townships, fifty-six north, and ranges 12 and 13. This area formed part of the Township of Ault until 1918.
The first attempt to separate townships 56-12 and 56-13 from Ault was made in 1912, a petition being filed with the county officials on June 11th of that year, the petitioners praying for the erection of the Township of Fairbanks, averring that for five years the officers of the Town of Ault had neglected to build roads through the part of the township in which they lived. No action was then taken, apparently, by the county commissioners.
In August, 1918, another attempt was made to detach the two northern townships from the four that then constituted the Township of Ault, the petition signed by J. O. Clapperton and others being presented on August 5th. The commissioners did not act until October 8th, when they resolved to detach townships 56-12 and 56-13 from Ault to form the Town of Fairbanks, and election was ordered to be held at the schoolhouse of District 60, Fairbanks, on October 23, 1918.
On November 2, 1918, Isaac Pust, who was one of the founders of Ault, appealed against the action of the county commissioners, representing that the petition was not signed by a majority of the resident male freeholders of townships 56-12 and 36-13; also, that the separation left only eleven freeholders in the Town of Ault. His remonstrance recommended that, in order to properly remedy matters, sections 13 to 36, inclusive, of town 56-12 be taken from Fairbanks and added to Ault. The matter remained undecided until August 6, 1919, when the county commissioners decided to deny the petition of Isaac Pust and others. Therefore, Fairbanks remains as originally organized.
The 1920 census shows the population of Fairbanks Township to be 324. The assessed valuation in 1919 was $132,749, and the total taxes levied in that year $8,089.39.
The township officers in 1920 were: J. Luvina (chairman), Conrad Johnson and Matt Autes, supervisers; Jacob Wesala, clerk, and Nick Kylen, treasurer and assessor.
Part of the township is without school facilities, there being no need for such provision, but the populous part of the township is served by school district No. 60. That district has one frame school house, valued at $1,500. For the school year 1919-20 there were twenty- seven pupils enrolled. One female teacher was engaged at a salary of $95 a month. The school officials were John Stoeger, Fairbanks, Minnesota, clerk; W. R. Depew, treasurer, and G. S. Burham, chairman of directors.
The organization of the Township of Fayal in 1896 followed the beginning of important mining operations and explorations in congressional township 57-17, which is and since its erection always has been the boundaries of the Town of Fayal.
The important mines are the Fayal Fee, the Fayal No. 1, No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4, all of which are now operated by the Oliver Iron Mining Company. From these mines have been shipped more than thirty millions of tons of ore.
Pioneer of Mining
David T. Adams was responsible for the discovery of merchantable ore in Fayal. In his Memories of the Early Discovery and Development of the Mesaba Iron Range in St.
Louis and Itasca Counties, Minnesota, he states, regarding Fayal explorations:
The next deposit of ore to be discovered by me in the vicinity was on the northwest quarter of the northwest quarter of section 5, and the north half of the northwest quarter of section 6, township 57-17, in the month of November, 1893, which is now known as the Fayal No. 1. The Fayal No. 1 was explored by the McInnis Mining Company, which was organized by me on the thirty-first day of January, 1894, in honor of the late Neil McInnis, who had been my purchasing agent of goods to supply the camps and paymaster during the latter part of my explorations in connection with Humphreys and Atkins, on the Virginia group of mines, and who also acted in the same capacity for the Adams Mining Company.
The late Marvin VanBuskirk was in charge of the men, and under him the work of development was rapid, indeed. The McInnis Mining Company finally sold their lease on the Fayal No. 1 to the Chicago Minnesota Ore Company, on September 6, 1894. About two and a half years later I discovered ore on that part of section 5, township 57-17, which was known as the South Fayal.
Mining operations were therefore well advanced when early in 1896 a petition was circulated among the residents of congressional township 57-17, praying the commissioners of the county to organize that township, under Chapter Ten of the General Statutes of Minnesota, 1878. The petition was dated February 4, 1896, and was filed with the county auditor on the sixth day of that month, but it apparently had been circulated in the spring of 1895. The petition bore the signatures of one hundred and sixty-five voters of the township, the first to sign being L. McNiel, G. A. Burns, W. H. Shea, A. J. Shea, John Shea and J. P. Welsh.
On February 6, 1896, the county commissioners approved the movement and passed resolution granting the petition, and ordering election to be held at the “Carpenter Shop by the Fayal Iron Company, located on the northeast quarter of northwest quarter of section 5, township 57-17 on February 25th, 1896.” Notices to that effect were posted “on the front of Jackson’s Store and one on a tree near Talboy’s Boarding Camp,” also one on the carpenter shop which was to be the polling place. Notices were posted by W. J. Bates, deputy sheriff.
The election was duly held, and the township organization legally brought to completion.
Since that time, the township has been peopled mainly by men employed in the Fayal mines. There has been some agricultural development, but mining is the first consideration.
The population was 1,016 in 1900; in 1910 it was 1,141; and in 1920, the census takers credited Fayal Township with 1,360 inhabitants.
The assessed valuation of real and personal property in the township in 1896 totaled to $313,087, and the taxes in that year amounted to $7,858.18. The 1919 figures give some idea of the development during the period. The assessed valuation of Fayal Township in 1919 was $4,177,738. The tax levy in that year was $190,504.85, the bulk of which fell upon the mining companies, real property being valued at $3,800,691 for assessment.
Fayal has good schools, being in Independent School District No. 39 (see Eveleth). The school tax in 1919 was 21.7 mills.
Present Township Officials
The township officers in 1920 were: A. G. Anderson (chairman), E. A. Trenholm and Arsen Corbin, supervisors; E. M. Dormer, clerk; Louis A. O. Marzer, assessor; Philip Jacobson, treasurer.
The Town of Fern was organized at the November, 1905, session of the Board of County Commissioners, Commissioner Ryan presenting resolution to grant petition of A. H. Farr and twenty other freeholders of congressional township sixty north, range twenty west and Commissioner Patterson moving adoption.
The petition, which was undated, state that there were at that time only twenty-five legal voters in the township and the signers sought to have township powers, in accordance with the General Statutes of the State of Minnesota, said organized township to be given the name of “Fern.” The commissioners ordered election to be held for township officers on November 25, 1905. Place of election was the residence of A. H. Farr, situated in the northeast quarter of section thirty of township 60-20.
In 1905 the assessed valuation of the township was $73,611.
Taxes levied were $1,545.83 for all purposes. In 1919, the assessed valuation was $58,866, and the tax levy in that year, $4,379.63.
The population in 1910 was 144 and the 1920 census records a population of only fifty-seven.
The township is not well developed, but eventually will be good agricultural land. The Sturgeon River passed through the township.
The 1920 township officials were: August Wegener (chairman), John Magnuson and August Forseland, supervisors; John R. Einsweiler, clerk; Gust. Larson, assessor and treasurer.
Educationally, the township is served by School District No. 81.
There is one frame schoolhouse, valued in 1919 at $3,000. The school board officials are: John R. Einsweiler, clerk; Gust Larsen, treasurer; August W. Wegener, chairman of directors. The school levy in 1919 was $1,383.35.
The Township of Field, the boundaries of which are those of congressional township sixty-two north, range nineteen west, was organized in 1906. It then included within its limits the present Township of Owens, which adjoins it on the east. On the northeast, the Town of Fields borders on the Township of Beatty, for the length of one section; on the north it adjoins Leiding Township; on the west, Linden Grove; and south of it is Alango Township. The Little Fork River runs through it and through sections 11 and 12 on the extreme northeast is laid the road of the Duluth and Winnipeg Railway, the nearest railway station being Cook, in Owens Township.
A petition, dated at Ashawa (now known as Cook), Minnesota, April 5, 1906, and signed by fifty-two freeholders resident in congressional townships sixty-two north, ranges eighteen and nineteen west, the first two signers being August Buboltz and James A. Field, prayed for the organization of that territory under the township laws of the State of Minnesota, and that when organized it be known by the name of “Field.” The petition testified or asserted that the total number of legal voters then resident in the territory for which township jurisdiction was sought did not exceed one hundred, and a rider to said petition left to the option of the county commissioners the question of detaching the northernmost tier of sections of township 62-18 from the Township of Beatty, which the county commissioners had erected only a short while earlier, or of reducing the territory granted to the projectors of the proposed new Township of Field by that extent.
The petition was filed on April 6, 1906, and appears to have been at the consideration of the county commissioners at their monthly session held on that day. And the record shows that the commissioners granted the petition, setting off the Township of Field as all of township 62-19 and thirty sections of township 62-18, sections one, two, three, four, five and six of that township having been included in the territory set apart as that to constitute the Township of Beatty.
The first election, in the Township of Field was held at the schoolhouse situated in the northwest quarter of section seventeen, township 62-18, on Saturday, April 21, 1906.
On August 6, 1912, the Township of Owens was organized, which proceeding reduced the acreage of the Township of Field to the one congressional township 62-19. (See Owens, this chapter.) That is its present extent.
In 1906, the Township of Field (62-19 and sections 7 to 36 of 62-18) had an assessed valuation of $51,089. The tax levy was $1,410.53. The land is now in a good state of development, agriculturally, the assessed valuation of township 62-19 (Field) being in 1919, $81,424, and of the thirty sections of township 62-18 (Owens), $102,332. The increase is represented in the settler development, Owens and Field townships having now many rich farms. The tax levy of Field, in 1919, was $5,434.98 and of Owens $7,597.11.
The township officials of Field, in 1920, were: Andrew Scott (chairman), A. B. Tonheim and Louis Swanson, supervisors; Peter Burtness, clerk; Theo. Burtness, assessor; John F. Buboltz, treasurer.
The township of Field is, for school purposes, part of the unorganized school district directly supervised by the county superintendent.
There are three schoolhouses in the township, on sections 12, 23 and 28, but whether all are in use is not known to compiler of this record. The levy for school purposes in 1919 was 37.1 mills, probably less than the cost of providing education by the county staff.
The Township of Fine Lakes originally formed part of Prairie Lake Township, which was organized in 1906 from unorganized territory.
Upon the action of Adolf Ylen and nineteen other residents of township 50-20 in 1909 depended the erection of that congressional township into a separate organized township of the name of Fine Lakes. These twenty men petitioned the county commissioners to separate township 50-20 from Prairie Lakes, alleging that the officials of the latter township refused to make improvements in that part of it, the officials having “spent practically all the moneys of the said Town of Prairie Lake in township 50-21, with the exception of approximately $240.00 towards helping build a county road near the western boundary line of township 50-20,” and that the officials “wrongfully and intentionally discriminate against the residents of township 50-20.” It seems that the petitioners originally thought to call the new township by the name of “Blackwood,” but finally the name “Fine Lakes” was written into the petition, which was filed December 15, 1909.
No action was taken by the county commissioners until the March session of 1910. They then ordered hearing of objections to the granting of petition at their board meeting at the Court House, Duluth, on Friday, May 6th. On that day, no objections to such a course having been made, they decided to grant the petition of the residents of township 50-20. Accordingly that township was detached from the Township of Prairie Lakes, which by that action was limited to township 50-21, the extreme southwesterly township of St. Louis County.
The first election in the new Township of Fine Lakes was ordered to be held on the twenty-third day of May, 1910, at the Schoolhouse No. 19, situated on section thirty of township 50-20.
There are several sheets of water in Fine Lakes Township, the largest being Prairie Lake, which has an area of approximately two square miles. The township is bounded on the east by Fond du Lac Indian Reservation, on the north by the Township of Floodwood, and on the west by Prairie Lake Township. Its southern boundary is the county line between St. Louis and Carlton counties.
The assessed valuation of Fine Lakes Township in 1910 was $67,017. Tax levy in that year, $2,781.21. It was $4,607.76 in 1919, the assessed valuation then being only $62,776.
Prairie Lake Township (the two congressional townships) had a population of forty-one in 1900, in 1910, the same territory was inhabited by 199 persons. The 1920 census gives the following figures: Fine Lakes Township, 189; Prairie Lakes Township, 136.
Originally, Fine Lakes Township was served by School District No. 74. That district, however, now covers more than the one township, extending into township 50-19. There are four schoolhouses in the district, the four frame buildings being in 1919 valued at $3,000.
Apparently only two are used, as the district only employs two teachers (female), who are paid an average of $75 a month. The total enrollment in 1919-20 year was thirty-two. The school board officials in that year were: O. R. Bolstad, Floodwood, Minnesota, clerk; N. O. Stageberg, treasurer; Adolph Ylen, chairman of directors.
The school levy in 1919 was $2,421.73.
The officials of Fine Lakes Township in 1920 were: Ole H. Gjora (chairman), E. Nordness and E. S. Smith, supervisors; N. O. Stageberg, clerk, also assessor, and Hans O. Gjora, treasurer.
The township of Floodwood is one of the comparatively old townships of St. Louis County. Its organization dates back to 1893, and when township organization was first projected, it was thought to endeavor to secure the sanction of the county commissioners to embrace within the proposed new township eight congressional townships, extending from the county line, two townships deep, to and including fifty-three north, ranges 21 and 20 west. Petition to that effect was circulated within the territory during February of 1893. And the paper was signed by Dauvet (David) Hill and twenty-five other legal voters resident in the region. However, before the petition was presented to the county commissioners it was amended to pray for the organization of congressional township 51-20 as the Township of Floodwood under the laws of the State of Minnesota, 1878, Chapter 10. The petition was filed with the county auditor on March 2nd, and sworn to on that day by George C. Blackwood, one of the signers.
On March 30, 1893, John McKay, another signer wrote to the county auditor acquainting him that the schoolhouse designated in the petition as the place where the first election in the proposed township could be held “is on Lot No. 8, Block 25, as shown by Plat of Floodwood,” further stating that: “We have two lots for the school, viz: Lots 8 and 9, block 25, but the schoolhouse is built on Lot No. 8: This place has been platted out of south half of southeast quarter and also northeast quarter of southeast quarter of section 6, township 51, range 20.” The committee appointed by the county commissioners to consider the matter brought forward by the petition resolved at an April, 1893, meeting that the petition be granted, and that election be held at the designated schoolhouse on the twentieth of that month.
The county commissioners therefore on April 4th made an order accordingly.
The boundaries of the Township of Floodwood have since remained unchanged, although organized townships have since surrounded it, Fine Lakes on the south, Halden on the west, Van Buren on the north, and the Indian Reservation on the east, The St. Louis River passes through the township, from the northwest to the southeast, and the territory is excellent farming acreage.
The prosperous farming community has developed the village of Floodwood.
In 1893, the assessed valuation of the Township of Floodwood was $18,595. The tax levy was $527.17. In 1919, the assessed valuation was $80,790. The taxes, for all purposes, in 1919 were $7,796.24.
The population of the township in 1900 was 310; in 1910 it was 745, and in 1920 the census stood at 722. These figures include those of the Village of Floodwood, which in 1900 had a population of 224; in 1910 a population of 481; but in 1920 only 277.
Present Township Officials
The township officials in 1920 were: Simon Reylik (chairman), John Stenback, Sr., and Charles Nissi, supervisors; H. A. Shumaker, clerk; John H. Stenback, Jr., assessor, and M. W. Johnson, treasurer.
The Township of Floodwood is part of the area embraced in Independent School District No. 19, which centers in the Village of Floodwood and serves the three congressional townships 52-20, 52-21 and 51-20. The School District has three frame schoolhouses and one of brick construction, the whole property being valued at $55,000. The enrollment in 1919-20 year was 310, the main school being at Floodwood. The teaching staff consists of twelve female teachers, in addition to one male, who receives $150 a month salary. The other teachers receive an average salary of $90 monthly.
The school board officials in 1920 were: Frank W. Hutchinson, clerk; A. O. Molden, treasurer; Fred Wain, James Girvan, R. W. Wilson and John Stenback, Jr., directors; A. J. Meldahl, superintendent.
A petition, dated March 18, 1899, was circulated among the residents of the village, seeking to secure the incorporation, under the laws approved March 10, 1885, as the Village of Floodwood, twelve hundred and eighty acres including and contiguous to the one hundred and twenty acres shown on Plat of Floodwood, township 51-20.
The petition was signed by thirty-four voters, the first three to sign being Jean W. News, John McKay, and A. A. Hall. These three residents took oath to the accuracy of statements made in petition.
The county commissioners approved the petition, and ordered an election to be held “at Town Hall location,” section 6, 51-20, on May 10, 1899, the commissioners appointing the same three men to act as inspectors of election.
The election was duly held and forty-one votes were cast forty being, in favor of the incorporation. Hence, the community then took corporate powers.
On November 4, 1914, an election was held “for the purpose of voting on the proposition of detaching and taking out of the incorporated Village of Floodwood” the unplatted lands, and “separating the village from the Town of Floodwood for all purposes whatsoever.” The election showed that thirty-eight of thirty-nine votes cast were in favor of the detaching, consequently the area embraced in the incorporated village was reduced, and to an extent this explains the difference in 1910 and 1920 census returns.
The assessed valuation of the incorporated Village of Floodwood in 1919 was $52,506; tax levy, $4,725.54. In 1899 the figures were: $46,075 valuation; $815.53 tax. The school tax in 1919 was 42.2 mills.
The village officials in 1920, were: Garfield Blackwood, president; J. C. Arnold, Chas. Williams, A. O. Molden, councilmen; M. R Adams, clerk; James Girvan, assessor; J. L. Lalin, treasurer.
Floodwood Township is eminently agricultural. Some of the lower lands are peaty and the high lands are sandy, with a clay subsoil.
Grasses average from two to four tons an acre, and potatoes from 200 to 500 bushels an acre.
The Village of Floodwood is a typical agricultural community; it has good general stores, each doing more than a $50,000, yearly business, a good banking institution, the Floodwood State Bank, which has a yearly deposit of about $45,000 and there is a strong agricultural co-operative society and a thriving creamery. It also has a newspaper, an excellent brick schoolhouse and a hotel. The Floodwood Farmers’ Co-operative Society has a membership of about eighty producers, who pool their agricultural products shipped to other markets, and what they need to buy from outside markets they buy collectively, at wholesale prices, through the society. The creamery was organized by the farmers in May, 1911. It has about 100 stockholders and practically all the dairy farmers of the neighborhood use the creamery.
The Township of Fredenberg was erected in 1904 out of part of the Township of Canosia, residents in that part of the last-named township (52-15), praying the county commissioners, in petition presented on July 6, 1906, to set apart as the Township of Fredenberg congressional township fifty-two north, range fifteen west, declaring that “said Township of Canosia is so divided by lakes, rivers, marshes and other natural impediments that it is inconvenient for all the citizens … to transact town business.” The county commissioners decided to hear objections to the petition on August 4th. On that day they set apart township 52-15 as the Township of Fredenberg, and ordered the first township meeting to be held at the schoolhouse on the southeast quarter of section 24 of that township on August 23, 1904.
In that year the assessed valuation of Fredenberg Township was $145,818. It has since scarcely changed, being a few hundred dollars less in 1919. Taxes in 1904 totaled to $2,945.52; in 1919 the levy was $5,784.98.
Township officials in 1920: R. T. Williams (chairman), J. A. Roy and Chas. M. Johnson, supervisors; F. W. Johnson, clerk; O. H. Stuberud, assessor; also treasurer.
Population of the township in 1910 was 115; in 1920 it stood at only eighty-seven. It is, therefore, only sparsely inhabited, yet it is a separate school district, being in School District No. 38, which covers two townships, 52-15 (Fredenberg), and 53-15 (unorganized territory). Township 53-15 had only twenty-seven inhabitants in 1910 and no population was reported to the 1920 census. There are four schoolhouses in Fredenberg Township, or there were four a few years ago, but the school report for 1919-20 school year shows that in District No. 38 there were two frame schoolhouses, valued at $5,000, but as only one teacher was employed during that year, it is presumed that only one schoolhouse was used. The enrollment was twenty-two; the teacher was paid $86.00 a month and the tax levy for that year was $4,897.64. School board officials were: R. T. Williams, clerk; F. W. Johnson, treasurer; H. P. Stuberud, chairman of directors.
On Saturday, August 26, 1905, “in that certain two-story log building known as the French House, situated on the southwest quarter of southeast quarter, section twenty-three of township sixty north, range twenty-one west” was held, by order of the county commissioners the first town meeting of the newly-erected Township of French, which the county commissioners were influenced to form by a petition signed by William French, and a majority of the freeholders of township 60-21.
The petition, which was presented by and sworn to by William French, stated that at the time it was circulated among the residents of the township, there were not in excess of forty voters resident in the territory for which township powers were sought, under Chapter 10, of the Laws of the State of Minnesota, 1894.
The petition was considered and approved by the county commissioners at their session of August 10, 1905.
French Township assessed valuation in 1905 was $192,774; in 1919, it was $64,676. Tax-levy in 1905 was $5,627.74; in 1919 it was $3,350.62. In 1910, the population was 167; in 1920 it was only thirty-one.
School District No. 54 embraces only French Township. There is a schoolhouse, valued at $2,400, and a female teacher is employed at a salary of $95.00 a month, notwithstanding that the enrollment for the year 1919-20 was two. The school levy in that year was $905.46, seemingly an expensive method of teaching two pupils. The school board officials in that year were: Hattie Fritcher, clerk; Sarah Portugue, treasurer; W. H. French, chairman of directors.
The officials of French Township in 1920 were: Veder Fritcher, chairman of supervisors; 0. H. Moon, clerk; Wm. H. French, assessor; A. W. Klofauda, treasurer.
The Township of Gnesen was organized in 1879. Its proximity to Duluth will eventually make its land valuable, although up to the present, it cannot be said that its advance has been rapid.
In 1879 its assessed valuation was $32,086, which figure by forty years of development was increased to $183,218, the valuation of the township in 1919. Taxes certainly have increased more rapidly, the twenty-two mill levy of 1879 becoming 81.7 in 1919 including a school tax of 36.2 mills.
Gnesen has advanced slowly mainly, perhaps, because of lack of railway facilities. The Northeastern Railway is the nearest, passing within a few miles of the northwestern part of Gnesen Township.
Otherwise, there is only roadway means of transportation and the roads are not very good, excepting the Vermilion Road, which passes through the eastern half of Gnesen, entering in section 35 of township 52-14, and passing out in section 2 of 53-14. There are several small lakes in Gnesen, which is bounded by Fredenberg and an unorganized township on the west, by unorganized territory on the north, by the Township of Normanna on the east and by Rice Lake Township on the south.
The present township officers are: Jos. Trudel, chairman; Peter Trader and John Krezewski, supervisors; S. C. Machnikowski, clerk; John Jakubek, assessor; Jacob Mosiniak, treasurer.
Its educational district is known as School District No. 8. Three frame schoolhouses are in use in the township, the value of the three being estimated in 1919 to be $6,900. The school in that year had an enrollment of 101 scholars. There are five female teachers; the average salary was $91.00 a month; and the school term was eight months. The school board is constituted as follows: Frank Labud, clerk; Ignace Karalus, treasurer; John Jakubek, chairman of directors.
The Township of Grand Lake was organized in 1895, out of territory formerly part of the Township of Canosia. It resulted from the circulation of a petition signed by residents in townships 51-16 and 52-16 in March, 1895, asking that the two congressional townships be separated from the Township of Canosia, and given the township name of Grand Lake. William Keir was the first signer of the petition, which was referred by the county commissioners to the county attorney on May 7th. No further action was taken until October 8th, when the instrument was found to be in regular legal form. It was then filed by County Auditor Halden, and considered by the county comissioners on the same day. Hearing of remonstrances was set for November 5th, when the commissioners organized the Township of Grand Lake, embracing the two congressional townships named in petition, with township powers as provided by Chapter 10, General Statutes, 1878.
The first election was held at the schoolhouse situated in the northeast quarter of section 22, township 51-16, November 23, 1895.
There has since been no change in the boundaries of Grand Lake Township.
The Cloquet River runs through township 52-16 and two railways pass through: the Duluth, Missabe and Northern and the Duluth and Winnipeg, and there are several good roads.
The assessed valuation of Grand Lake Township in 1896 was $150,979; in 1919 it was $322,210. The tax levy in 1896 was $4,474.69; in 1919 it was $14,241.68.
Population in 1900 was 104; in 1910 it was 283, and in 1920 it was 329.
The township is in school district No. 15, which serves the full area of Grand Lake, i. e., township 51 and 52, range 16. There are three frame schoolhouses, valued in 1919 at $15,000. The teaching staff (four female teachers) get an average pay of $80.50 a month.
The enrollment in 1919-20 school year was sixty-five. The school levy in 1919 was $3,061.00. The school board officials in that year were: S. N. Peterson, Twig, clerk; Arvid Anderson, treasurer; Ed Anderson, director.
The township officials in 1919 were: Ben Clauson (chairman), Ed Nelson and Martin Bolland, supervisors; A. W. Kroll, clerk; Carl A. Anderson, assessor; S. N. Peterson, treasurer.
The Township of Great Scott, which embraces three congressional townships, and one tier of sections of another, all of range nineteen west, has administration of rich mineral territory.
Within its bounds are some of the substantial mining properties of the Mesabi Range, properties which have developed the prosperous villages of Buhl and Kinney. The jurisdiction of the Township of Great Scott is over townships fifty-seven, fifty-eight and fifty-nine north, and the southernmost tier of township sixty north, all of range nineteen west.
Great Scott Township was so named under somewhat singular circumstances. The principal petitioners called upon the county commissioners, presenting their petition, which prayed for the organization of the territory, but left to the commissioners the task of naming the township, when organized. This the commissioners did not want to do, and requested the petitioners to decide upon a name.
Much pondering and discussion among the projectors followed, but without result. At last one of the commissioners impatiently ejaculated: “Great Scott! Still thinking of a name?” “That will do,” replied one of the promoters of the township. And under that co-nomination the township has since been recorded in county records.
The villages of Buhl and Kinney will be separately dealt with, as they need a more detailed description than does Spina, the other incorporated place of the township.
Spina (Village of)
The Village of Spina secured corporate powers only after a long struggle against opposing interests, and by dint of persistent effort. Twice the attempt to incorporate was defeated at the polls and the third attempt was successful probably because of another movement then being prosecuted to attach Spina location to the incorporated Village of Kinney.
The first petition bears date of September 14, 1909. The paper was signed by a sufficient number of the 222 people then resident in the location and asked for the incorporation of about 450 acres of land, the acreage including and adjoining the platted townsite of Spina, the whole being in sections fourteen and fifteen of township 58-19. The first signers of the petition were Alex. Renlund, Louis Cordileone and Fred Erickson, and it came before the county commissioners at their November, 1909, session. It received their approval and they ordered election to be held on December 12, 1909, “at the restaurant of Louis Cordileone, lot 8, block 5, townsite of Spina.” Before election could be held, however, the county commissioners reconsidered their resolution, ordering election to decide the matter of incorporation and withdrew their approval of the petition.
Why, is not recorded in the papers available to compiler of this.
On December 21, 1909, another petition was in circulation, this petition reducing the acreage for which incorporation was sought to 360 acres of section 14, including twenty acres platted as the townsite of Spina. The petition was filed with the county auditor on January 4, 1910, and on January 18th considered favorably by the commissioners. Election was to be held on February 9th, but the order was withdrawn by the commissioners. The petition remained without action until October 7, 1910, when the commissioners decided that election should be held on November 1st.
Of fifty-one voters at that election, thirty-three voted against the incorporation. The “Report of the Inspectors of Election” stated that they found the place selected as the place of election was “in a room adjoining a saloon.” They considered it “an improper place and, therefore, held the election in Johnson’s Boarding House, immediately west of the designated polling place.” No further attempt to secure the incorporation of Spina was made until 1913. A petition signed by Luigi Cordileone and others and filed with the county auditor on August 26, 1913, sought to bring about the incorporation of only twenty acres, that is all of the land platted as the townsite of Spina, the twenty acres being the western half of the southwest quarter of the northwest quarter of section fourteen, township 58-19, upon which townsite there were then resident 237 persons. The petition was signed by twenty-seven persons, who were all sworn to be legal voters of that place.
At about the same time the county commissioners were advised that a petition had been presented to the village council of Kinney by certain residents of Spina location, asking that Spina be annexed by the, incorporated Village of Kinney. The petition had even been adopted by the Kinney Village council, and a date fixed for election, when the county commissioners, on September 6th, granted the petition of Luigi Cordileone and ordered notices to be posted in the townsite of Spina calling upon voters to ballot, on October 10, 1913, and designating the “vacant store building, lot 17, block 3, townsite of Spina” as the place of election. The voting was in favor of incorporation.
The assessed valuation of the village of Spina in 1913, was $11,069.
In 1919, it was $15,582. Its place in the township is therefore not a very important one, when one considers that Kinney’s valuation runs near to two millions and Buhl’s to almost ten million dollars.
However, possibilities of growth in visible wealth as well as population are ever present on the Mesabi Range, and the present Spina may be the nucleus of a much greater Spina a decade or so hence.
The mines of Great Scott Township are all in township 58-19, and a full review will be found in the Buhl-Kinney chapter.
The principal mines are, or have been, the Grant, Thorne, Sharon, Shiras, Woodbridge, Itasca (Dean), Cavour, Yates, Kinney, Dean, Wade, Deacon, Wanless, Seville, Whiteside and Frantz. The ore shipped from Buhl and Kinney in 1919 season totaled to almost one and a half million tons and immense stripping operations are under way in one mine, where an electric 300-ton shovel has been introduced. The available reserve of ore in the Buhl group of mines runs into eight figures.
The schools of Great Scott Township are excellent, some of them being models of architectural excellence, and practical utility. The high school at Buhl and the Wilson School at Kinney are schools of which the township might well be proud. The school district is known as Independent School District No. 35, which centers at Buhl, and has direction of education throughout townships fifty-eight and fifty-nine north, range nineteen west. (See Buhl- Kinney Chapter.)
The assessed valuation of Great Scott Township in 1919 totaled to $586,386, exclusive of the about twelve million dollars valuation of the incorporated places. The total taxes amount to 83.8 mills, with a school tax of 41.5 mills. The school levy in 1919 for Independent School District No. 35 amounted to $484,464.08, that to provide education to 1,166 children, the majority of whom are of foreign-born parents, natives of seventeen different countries, chiefly European. Many of the children are unable to speak in, or understand, the English language when they first attend school. Americanization is soon achieved, however.
There were 108 people in the township when the 1900 census was taken. In 1910, the population was 2,322, and in 1920 there were 3,963. The bulk of the inhabitants are resident in Kinney or Buhl village. Kinney’s 1920 population was 1,200, while Buhl had 1,005 in 1910 and 2,007 in 1920.
Township Officials, 1920
John McGrath (chairman), Nestor Peltonen and M. E. Anderson, supervisors; Chas. Linihan, clerk; Geo. R. Barrett, assessor; John W. Pasich, treasurer.
The Township of Halden, the bounds of which are township 51-21 was organized in 1903.
On May 13th of that year a petition was signed by Joseph B. Todd and other freeholders of the territory for which township powers were sought, and in due course presented to the board of county commissioners, with the request that if granted, the new township be named “Savanna.” The petition was approved “in form and execution” by the county attorney on June 18, 1903, but was not passed by the Board of County Commissioners until September 3rd. The commissioners then ordered the first town meeting of the township of Savanna to be held at the schoolhouse situated on the northeast quarter of northeast quarter of section 14, township 51-20, on Wednesday, September 23, 1903.
Election was accordingly held and the first officers of the township of Savanna were: Nels Wuotila (chairman), Henry Peterson and Aug. Wuotila, supervisors; L. Randall, clerk; Aug. Anderson, treasurer; Jacob Jurvelin, assessor; Henry Peterson and Aug. Wuotila, justices; Joseph Kangas and Aug. Anderson, constables.
Shortly afterwards, the county auditor was advised by the state auditor that another name for the newly organized township must be chosen, as “Savanna” was the name of another township in the state. “Roosevelt” could not be secured, for the same reason. The county commissioners, therefore, on October 6, 1903, decided to name the township “Halden,” the patronymic of the then county auditor.
Their naming was subsequently confirmed by the voters.
Halden Township in 1903 had an assessed valuation of $55,642; in 1919 its valuation was $83,532. The tax levy, for all purposes, in 1903 was $2,025.37; in 1919, the levy amounted to $6,248.19. The population in 1900 was seventy-five; in 1910 it was 265; in 1920 it was 365.
The township officials in 1920 were: Waldemar Alho (chairman), Glenn F. Chapin and Nathan Nelson, supervisors; S. Magnuson, clerk; John Hannula, assessor and treasurer.
Halden has no separate school district. It is part of the immense unorganized school district which is directly supervised by the county school superintendent. The school levy, in 1919, was 37.1 mills. At one time, the township of Halden was in School District No. 19. Apparently, the county unorganized district is more economical for the taxpayers.
Prior to May, 1897, the Township of Hermann comprised two congressional townships, 50-15 and 50-16. In 1873, the valuation of the township was $18,757.00 for assessment. The total tax levy in that year was forty mills, and as distributed, the revenue was: Special School Fund, $150.06. General Fund, 93.78. Road Fund, 93.79. Total, $337.63 In 1897, the assessed valuation of the township was $222,484.
The total tax levy was $5,651.09. In May of that year, Congressional Township 50-16 was detached from Hermann Township, to form the Township of Solway. With the necessary settling of accounts, the statement of Otto Zebott, clerk of Hermann, showed that, on that date, the township had no outstanding bonds; that outstanding orders totaled to about $20; and that there was $77.11 in the treasury.
Hermann Township since 1897 has been limited to the one congressional township, 50-15. Its assessed valuation in 1919 was $206,638, with taxes amounting to $17,068.30 levied.
The population is not given prior to 1900, but the statistics since that year are: 1900, 625 persons; 1910, 925; and 1920, 842 persons resident in the township.
The Hermann Township officials in 1920 were: C. R. Olson (chairman), Ernest Zebott and Otto A. Witte, supervisors; James R. Grady, clerk; Wm. Janzig, assessor, and H. Halvorson, treasurer.
School District No. 6 covers the one township 50-15 only, and therefore comes directly into the levy of Hermann. There are four frame schoolhouses in the district, the four valued at $35,000. The school year is of eight months’ duration and with an enrollment of 184 scholars in 1919-20, fourteen female teachers were regularly employed, at an average salary of $81. The school levy amounted to $7,232.33. The school board officials, 1919, were: Rudolph Martin, clerk; Emil Johnson, treasurer; Chas. Avery, director.
A petition circulated in November, 1890, and signed by John Johnson Holm and other freeholders of township 51-17 appealed to the county commissioners to grant them township powers and privileges. The petition asked that the proposed town, if organized, be named “Industrial,” and designated the house owned by James Erickson, and situated on the southeast quarter of section 2, of township 51-17, as the place at which the first town meeting could conveniently be held.
The county commissioners, on February 7, 1891, granted the petition, and ordered election to be held “at the saw-mill on the southwest quarter of the southwest quarter of section 22, township 51-17,” on February 26, 1891.
The election was accordingly held, and township officers chosen.
In the next year, on October 25, 1892, a majority of the white residents of township 50-17 sought, by petition of D. F. Lemire and fourteen other voters, to prevail upon the county commissioners to annex to the township of Industrial all of fractional township 50-17 not included in the Fond du Lac Indian Reservation. The petition was disapproved by the commissioners, and nothing further was done to affect the boundaries of the Township of Industrial until April 7, 1911, when Nick Lyngstad and others presented another petition, making a like request, and on June 7th of that year “all that part of township 50 north, of range 17 west, lying south and east of the St. Louis. River in St. Louis County” was attached to and made part of the Township of Industrial.
In 1891, the assessed valuation of the Township of Industrial was $19,749; in 1919, it was $156,531. The tax totalled to $347.58 in 1891; it amounted to $11,040.60 in 1919.
The population in 1900 was 158; in 1910 it was 362; and in 1920 a material increase was shown, the census tabulation crediting the enlarged township with 789 residents.
The township officials in 1920 were: H. Pichelmann, chairman; M. Bloom, supervisor; M. Galvert, clerk; F. A. Balcom, assessor; and W. Longton, treasurer.
The school system is under the direct supervision of the county school superintendent, there being no separate school district in Industrial. Its territory is embraced in the huge unorganized school district directed from the county offices at Duluth. The school levy, in 1919, consequently amounted to 37.1 mills.
The Township of Kelsey has been in existence for more than twenty-five years. It was organized in 1895, out of unorganized territory, its limits being congressional township 54-18 originally. Later, the township was enlarged to include townships 53-19 and 18 (now Meadowlands), 54-17 (now part of Cotton), 54-18 (the present bounds of Kelsey), and 54-19 (now part of Toivola).
The organization of Kelsey Township in 1.895 was the outcome of petition of F. C. W. Zacher and other legal voters of township 54-18. The petition was dated July 9, 1895, and sought township powers for that territory, under authority of chapter 10, General Statutes of 1878, requesting that the new township, if organized, be named “Kelsey.” The petition came before the county attorney, for examination on July 9th and on that day he reported to the county commissioners that the document was correct in form and execution. On motion of Commissioner Swenson, township 54-18 was set off as the Township of Kelsey, in accordance with petitioners’ wishes.
The first election was held “at the Pump House of the Duluth, Missabe and Northern Railway Company, situated on the NE quarter of section 22, of that township, on July 29, 1895.”
At about that time, the inhabitants of adjoining and contiguous territory manifested a desire to be included in the organized Township of Kelsey. A petition was presented to the county officials on August 6, 1895, asking that four other unorganized congressional townships, 53-13, 53-19, 54-17, and 54-19, be annexed to the Township of Kelsey. The petition was signed by a majority of the legal voters of those townships, and the county commissioners acted quickly, granting the petition on August 6, 1895.
Organization of Meadowlands and Cotton
So, the area of Kelsey Township remained until 1903. On May 6, 1903, a petition was prepared, in the hope of bringing about the separation of three congressional townships from Kelsey. The document was signed by C. J. Keenan and others, and asked that townships 53-18 and 53-19 be detached from Kelsey to form a new township, to be known as “Meadowlands” and township 54-17 to form a separate township under the name of Cotton, leaving townships 54-18 and 54-19 as the territory of the Township of Kelsey. A hearing of remonstrances was held by the county commissioners, and on the 13th day of July, 1903, they reorganized Kelsey, and erected the townships of Cotton and Meadowlands, in accordance with petition (see Cotton and Meadowlands articles, this chapter). The organization came under authority of Chapter 152, General Laws of Minnesota, 1901.
Reorganization of Kelsey
A special election was held on July 31, 1903, at Kelsey School House, to regularize the new organization of the Township of Kelsey, and the following named residents then took office: John E. Grandy, (chairman); William Conners and H. A. Mickelson, supervisors; J. D. Post, clerk; J. McKay, treasurer.
At the first town meeting it was resolved that township officers be paid a remuneration of $1.50 a day and expenses, on the day of town meetings, or when upon the business of the township.
The Township of Kelsey had an assessed valuation of $34,144 in 1895. Presumably this embraced the five congressional townships. In 1919, the assessed valuation of Kelsey (54-18), was $82,071. Taxes in 1895 amounted to $1,024.32; in 1919, the tax levy was $5,203.30.
Erection of Toivola
The area of Kelsey was reduced to the one township in 1911, when the Township of Toivola was formed from townships 54-19, which was part of Kelsey, and unorganized township 54-20. The separation was affected on July 29th. (See Toivola.)
Population of Kelsey
The population of Kelsey Township was 291 in 1900, 194 in 1910, and 188 in 1920.
Two railways, the Great Northern and the Duluth Missabe and Northern, pass through the township, and the White Face River winds through Kelsey from east to southwest.
The township officials, in 1920, were: G. J. Kingsley, chairman; J. H. Schrader and J. O. Scott, supervisors; Fred E. Watson, clerk; J. W. Erickson, assessor; J. Wm. Erickson, treasurer.
Its school district is designated No. 75. There are two schoolhouses, both of frame construction, the two valued at $1,200 in 1919. The school term in that year was of eight months duration. The enrollment was 43 scholars. Four female teachers constituted the teaching staff, they receiving an average salary of $80 a month during the school year. The school levy amounted to $2,470.34. The school board officials were: E. L. Channer, Kelsey, clerk; H. Person, treasurer; H. D. Makinster, chairman of directors.
A petition signed by fourteen legal voters of unorganized township 60 north, range 19 west, the first signer being Charles Kolander, sought permission of county commissioners to organize that territory into a township to be known as “Korpi.” Petition stated that at the time of signing, there were not more than twenty-five male freeholders, “not less or more,” in the territory.
The commissioners considered the petition, but disapproved it.
A second petition was filed on July 20, 1916, but was not favorably received by the commissioners.
The southernmost tier of sections of township 60-19 now belongs to Great Scott Township. Federal census statistics show that township 60-19 had a population of 122 in 1910, and 92 in 1920.
The Township of Kugler, 61-15, was organized in 1904.
Petition was filed on August 24th of that year, signed by Martin Nelson and others of congressional township 61-15, which the petitioners sought to have organized, under chapter 10 of the Statutes of Minnesota, 1894, as a township designated “Nelson.” At session of Board of County Commissioners September 6, 1904, the Township of Nelson was organized, and the first town meeting was held at the schoolhouse situated on section 8, of township 61-15, on September 26th.
Later, it became known that another name must be selected for the new township, as there was already a Nelson Township in another part of the state. The commissioners therefore, with the consent of the freeholders of the territory, named the township “Kugler,” that being the name of one of the county commissioners.
In 1904, the assessed valuation of the Township of Kugler was $109,894; in 1919, it was $54,956. Taxes, in 1904, totalled to $2,285.80; in 1919 the levy, for all purposes, was $3,984.31. The township had a population of 82 in 1900; 136 in 1910; and 168 in 1920.
Kugler Township borders on the Vermilion Range, and possibly has mineral deposits of value, although no mining operations have been undertaken within its boundaries. The township is marshy and peaty in places, and several streams pass through it. The Duluth and Iron Range Railway passes through the township, with two communities, Athens and Rivers, served by the railroad. Rivers is the larger community, although both in reality are little more than stopping places.
The township officials in 1920 were: Albert Hoppa, (chairman); R. Johnson and Peter Pearson, supervisors; C. E. Wahlston, clerk; John Fredrickson, assessor; Gust Lee, treasurer; A. D. Fuller, justice.
Kugler, for school purposes, is in the unorganized school district directly supervised by the county school administration. The school levy’in 1919 was 37.1 mills.
The Township of Lakewood, which embraces almost all of congressional township 51-13, was formerly part of the Township of Duluth.
Petition to set apart, from that township, congressional township 51-13 was circulated in November, 1901, and signed by D. J. McDonnell and twenty-one other residents and legal voters of that territory. The petition argued that it was convenient to the citizens of township 51-13 to attend to township affairs of the Town of Duluth, which at that time embraced more than forty square miles.
A hearing was set for January 7, 1902, before the county commissioners at Duluth Court House. No material remonstrances then developing, the commissioners approved the petition, and notices were prepared, calling the first town meeting of the newly organized Town of Lakewood, January 25, 1902, at the schoolhouse situated on the northeast quarter of section 14, township 51-13. For some reason, the town meeting adjourned until February 15, 1902, to meet then at the house of Z. Perault, on the south half of northeast quarter, section 21, of that township. At that adjourned meeting, the township organization was completed by the election of the following named residents as first township officers: David Jamieson, (chairman); Z. Perault and S. Wakelin, supervisors; Wm. M. Jameson, clerk; D. J. McDonnell, treasurer; Jas. Mohan, assessor; Worth Axford, justice; Frank Erickson, constable.
The valuation of Lakewood has scarcely increased since 1902.
It then stood at $199,557 (assessed valuation); in 1919, the figures were $215,313. Taxes in 1902 totaled to $4,090.92. In 1919, they were $10,571.87. The population was 224 in 1910; in 1920 it was 294.
The present township officials are: John Hendrickson, chairman; Ed Schau and F. P. Johnson, supervisors; James Mohan, clerk; D. J. McDonnell, assessor; Chris Hendrickson, treasurer.
At one time Lakewood Township was in School District No. 20.
District No. 62 now serves part of township 51-13. There are three frame schoolhouses in use, the three valued at $5,000, in 1919. The enrollment in that year was 62, for a school year of nine months.
Four female teachers were apportioned to the district, and they averaged a salary of $85 a month. The school levy was $3,854.10.
The school board officials were: F. J. Monkhouse, clerk; Joseph Pommerville, treasurer; D. J. McDonnell, chairman of directors.
Lavell Township, which now embraces three congressional townships, was first organized to have jurisdiction over unorganized townships 55-19, in 1904.
A petition, signed by Richard Carrigan, Martin Lavell, and others who were legal voters of congressional township 55-19, was prepared during the winter of 1903-04, asking the county officials to organize that territory, and name the township so organized “Lavell.” Martin Lavell presented the petition at the county offices for filing on August 4, 1904, and then took oath that statements made in petition were correct.
The matter came before the county commissioners at their meeting on that day, and met with their approval. They ordered an election to be held at the house of Martin Lavell, sw qr. ne qr., sec. 18, twp. 55-19, on August 23, 1904. Martin Lavell, acting as deputy sheriff, posted notices to that effect.
The election completed the organization of the township, and within ten days another petition was in course of preparation, the residents of congressional townships 56-19, 56-20, and 55-20, seeking to have that territory annexed to the new Township of Lavell. The petition was signed by P. E. Meehan and others, in sufficient number, to influence the county commissioners to act upon the request. They placed these three unorganized townships into the Township of Lavell, taking that action at their monthly meeting of October, 1904, having considered the petition at their September meeting and called for the hearing of remonstrances at the October session.
The boundaries remained so until November, 1913, when congressional township 56-20 was separated from Lavell, and added to the Stuntz territory (see Township of Stuntz, this chapter).
In 1904, the assessed valuation of the township of Lavell was $267,323; in 1919, the valuation, excluding township 56-20, was $153,343. The tax levy in 1904 was $3,795.95; in 1919, the levy was $10,875.78 for the three townships.
Lavell Township is content to let its school system be part of the unorganized school district administered by the county school superintendent. Such an arrangement is probably less expensive for the township, the population being scattered. Lavell Township had a population of 548 in 1910, and 632 in 1920.
The township officials, 1920, were: John Turkula, chairman; Jacob Hellman and Fred Rekkala, supervisors; Alex Narva, clerk; Matt Korpi, assessor; and Herman Lammi, treasurer.
The Township of Leiding was organized in 1907; and now embraces four congressional townships 64 and 65, ranges 19 and 20. The Duluth, Rainy Lake and Winnipeg Railway passes through the township, which is the administrative centre of big logging interests.
Glendale, Orr, and Cusson are the railway stopping places, communities having developed at each place, Orr being a trading centre, and Cusson the largest village, being the logging headquarters village. Pelican Lake, probably more than half a congressional township in area, is situated in townships 64 and 65, range 20, a fraction of it breaking into range 21. There are several other smaller lakes; and the township is rapidly becoming cleared of timber, and promises to eventually be good agricultural land.
A petition, dated August 27, 1907, signed by Frank Korpi (or Karpi) and thirty-four other freeholders of congressional townships 64 and 65, range 19, and of township 64-20, sought to obtain the permission of the county commissioners to the organization of the territory into one township, under section 451, of the Laws of Minnesota, 1905, said organized township to take the name of Leiding, who was the main projector. It stated that the residence of Charles Leiding would be a convenient place at which the voters might assemble for the holding of the first town meeting.
The petition was sworn to by Carl Laitenen, of Pelican Lake (Gheen P. O.), on August 27, 1907, and was filed with the county auditor, at Duluth, on September 10th.
The county commissioners met, in monthly session, on that day, and the petition came before them for consideration.
They approved it, and set apart the three townships at that meeting, and designated the territory “Leiding” township. They also ordered election to be held on September 28, 1907.
In April, of 1909, Charles Oakman, Nils Johnson, William Orr and seventeen other residents of township 65-20 sought to attach that congressional unorganized township to the township of Leiding.
Petition to that effect was filed with the county officials on April 12, 1909, was approved by the county attorney May 4th, and considered by the board of county commissioners at their sessions of May, July, August, and October, 1909. They finally fixed a date, December 3rd of that year, upon which they would hear remonstrances against the projected annexation. On December 3rd they granted the petition.
Township of Pelican
An attempt was made in 1914 to detach from Leiding, the two townships of range 20, so that they might be organized as the Township of Pelican. Petition was circulated in those two townships toward the end of the year. It was signed by Nils Nilson, William Orr, and others, and sworn to on January 6, 1915, by Fred Swartz, who testified to the accuracy of the statement that the legal voters in the territory at the time of the circulation of the petition did not exceed fifty. Thirty-three signed, asking for organization under section 452, General Statutes, 1913, and indicating that election place could conveniently be the Town Hall at Orr, in the southeast quarter of the southeast quarter of section 1 of township 64-20.
The petition was considered by the commissioners at their January, 1915, session, and they set a hearing of objections for February 15th next. Nine days before that date, however, the petitioners requested the commissioners to withdraw the petition; consequently, the petition was dismissed.
Valuation of Leiding
The Township of Leiding had an assessed valuation of $613,397 in 1907; in 1919, the valuation was only $422,400, notwithstanding the increased acreage. The tax levy in 1907 was $10,024.93; in 1919 it was $28,773.94.
There were only 22 people living in Leiding Township territory in 1900; in 1910 there were 610; and in 1920, it had increased to 892. The establishment of the Village of Cusson is probably the principal reason for the increase.
Cusson (village) was platted in 1909, and so named in honor of S. J. Cusson, who at that time was the general manager of the lumber and logging company. The village has always remained a “company town,” all the real estate and buildings belonging to the Virginia and Rainy Lake Lumber Company. Cusson is the administrative headquarters of the company’s logging operations, which are of magnitude. It is a self-contained community, having good water, electric lighting plant, movie, school, and other community conveniences.
Everybody living in the village is in the employ of the logging company. There are an average of 125 skilled workmen resident in Cusson, chiefly belonging to the railroad and machine shops of the company, which owns and operates 130 miles of railway to their many logging camps. At Cusson there are boarding houses for single men, and twenty-five dwellings for married men, who are able to rent a six-room house, with electric light and steam heat for about $10 a month, with free light and water. Cusson, in reality is a pretty village, certainly not a place such as one is apt to imagine a community identified with the logging camps would be. It is well administered, F. H. Gillmor, who laid out the place in 1909, and who has been general superintendent of logging operations for the company for many years, makes his home in it, and he, together with his assistant, Mr. Erickson, looks well after the comfort and well being of the people in general and sees to it that the village is held to a sane standard of orderliness. Mr. Gillmor is one of the pioneers of the northern part of St. Louis County. He has been directly responsible for the clearing of timber from at least 200,000 acres of the northern part of St. Louis County, and has been in charge of the logging operations of the two principal lumber companies that have operated in that region, the Weyerhauser interests and the Virginia and Rainy Lake Company. He was with the former for eight years, and with the latter for twelve years, all spent in St. Louis County, north of Virginia. For nineteen years he has been superintendent of logging, and has caused to be cleared from the land of Northern St. Louis County from one and one-half to two billions of feet of timber. That in itself, in the turning of standing timber into cash was an appreciable service to the county, which of course directly benefitted in taxation; but when it is realized that the clearing of timber means that the way is clear for the permanent settler, the part Mr. Gillmor has had in the pioneer work of the county has certainly been substantial, and worthy of record. Some of the cutover land north of Virginia has proved to be as good agricultural land as there is in the county.
The Village of Orr was laid out by William Orr when the railway was built through the township. He owns a store which is stated to have done a business of more than $50,000 a year. He does much trading with the Indians of the Bois Fort Indian Reservation, bordering Pelican Lake. At Orr is a state bank, of which Wm. Orr is president.
The township officials of Leiding in 1920 were: Nils Johnson, chairman; John Gabrielson and J. A. Fisher, supervisors; George Marette, clerk; G. H. Wirkkula, assessor; Frank Wardas, treasurer.
Part of Leiding Township is served by School District No. 66, and the remainder cared for, educationally, by the county school administration. The townships of range 20 are in what is called the unorganized school district of the county, a school district in which there are 139 frame schoolhouses, to which go almost 4,000 children, and which district employs 162 teachers, and spends about $15,000 a year for transportation of pupils. The school levy, in that part of Leiding Township served by the Unorganized School District in 1919 was 37.1 mills, on a valuation of $263,035. Townships 64 and 65, north of range 19 west, are the limits of School District No. 66, in which are two frame schoolhouses valued at $5,000 in 1919. The enrollment was sixty-two, and three female teachers were employed, in the year 1919-20, at an average salary of $100.00 a month. The school levy was $4,493.11. The school board officials were: Frank Wardas, Orr, Minnesota, clerk; Peter Marion, treasurer; Nils Johnson, chairman of directors.
The township of Linden Grove was organized in 1907. A petition filed with the county auditor in December of that year, and signed by C. J. Everson and others, sought to induce the county commissioners to organize congressional townships 62 and 63-20 as one township under chapter 143 of the state laws of 1905, the town organized in accordance therewith to take the name of “Linden Grove.” The petition asked that the first town meeting be held at the residence of Norman Linsey, situated in the northwest quarter of section 9, of township 62-20.
C. J. Everson took oath to the accuracy of statements made in petition, and that in the territory at that time were resident not more than sixty legal voters.
The county commissioners met at Duluth on December 10, 1907, and on that day formed the township of Linden Grove, with boundaries as asked for in petition. And they ordered the election to be held on December 28, 1907.
Linden Grove had jurisdiction over the two congressional townships until 1916, when township 63-20 was set apart to form the township of Willow Valley (see Willow Valley, this chapter).
In 1908, the assessed valuation of Linden Grove Township was $19,264; in 1919 it was $47,682. The tax levy was $857.25 in the former year, and $3,323.44 in 1919.
Linden Grove, with two congressional townships, was found to have a population of 223 in 1910; in 1920, the census showed that 225 persons were then resident in its reduced area, township 62-20.
The township had no railway connection nearer than Cook, about seven miles from its eastern boundary, but it has some prosperous farmers. The township is watered, as well as drained, mainly by the Little Fork.
Linden Grove was at one time in School District No. 53, but that school district has been dissolved, and the territory is now part of the Unorganized School District directly supervised by the county administration.
The tax levy for school purposes in 1919 was 37.1 mills.
The township officials, in 1920, were: Ben Wilkins (chairman), L. W. Simmons, supervisor; C. J. Everson, clerk; J. B. Wien, assessor; John Frandson, treasurer.
The township of McDavitt was erected in 1894, such action by the county commissioners following the presenting of a petition by the voters of township 56 north, range 18 west. The petition was signed by Dagobert Mayer and twenty-four other residents of the township named, which they sought to have organized under the provisions of chapter 10, General Statutes of 1878, as the township of McDavitt.
The request was granted by the commissioners on March 7, 1894, the commissioners then ordering notices to be posted in conspicuous places throughout the township calling the voters to the first town meeting, to be held at the residence of Ole Thorpe, situated in the southeast quarter of northeast quarter of section 10, on March 26th.
The election was duly held, and the township has since remained as originally constituted, as to boundaries. It is now well-developed agricultural land in parts of the township, through which pass two railways, a third its northeastern corner. There are several small sheets of water, and the St. Louis River winds its way tortuously through the township from northeast to southwest.
In 1895, the year following its erection, the township of McDavitt had an assessed valuation of $37,178; in 1919 its valuation was $87,287.
The taxes in 1895 totalled to $721.25; in 1919 they were $5,805.04.
The population of the township in 1900 was 156; in 1910 it was 357; and 398 in 1920. Zim is the principal community within the township.
The township officials in 1920 were: Jest Mobreten (chairman), Charles Newberg and Emil Johnson, supervisors; H. P. Teed, clerk; Ole Olson, assessor; Chas. Stenlund, treasurer.
McDavitt township is served by two school districts, No. 31 (see Ellsburg township, this chapter), and No. 80. There is only one schoolhouse in district No. 80. It is valued at $1,000. There was an enrollment of 28 scholars in 1919-20 year. The one teacher (female) received $75.00 a month salary, for a term of eight months. The school board officials, in 1919-20, were: John Mobrotin, Forbes, Minnesota, clerk; S. M. Anderson, treasurer; Severin Johnson, chairman of directors. The school levy amounted to $1,046.30. The school levy (on $45,435) for School District No. 31 was 36.1 mills.
The township of Meadowlands was erected in 1903, out of part of the township of Kelsey. A petition was prepared by the inhabitants of congressional townships 53 north, ranges 18 and 19 west, asking that those townships be detached from the township of Kelsey and organized, said new township to take the name of Meadowlands.
The petition came before the county commissioners at their session of July 13, 1903. They approved the petition, having a month earlier called for remonstrances.
The election was accordingly held at the house of L. J. Jochem, situated on section 23, of township 53-19, on July 31st, and the following were elected: Andrew Nelson (chairman), Nels J. Matson and L. Miller, supervisors; Dan O. Anderson, clerk; Gust. Anderson, treasurer; John M. Olson and J. H. Miller, justices; Joseph Miller and Chas. E. Lowe, constables.
In that year the township had an assessed valuation of $46,058. The land has been much improved since, the valuation standing in 1919 at $253,035. Taxes in 1903 amounted to $1,381.74; in 1919 the township was called upon to pay $20,116.28, $12,000 of which was the school levy.
Meadowlands school system is designated Independent School District No. 50, which serves all of township 53-18 and part of township 53-19. The district has three schoolhouses, all frame, the three valued at $15,000, in 1919. There is an excellent and large consolidated school at Meadowlands (village). The district Vol. 11-13 employs a staff of eight teachers, one male, whose salary was $177 a month. The seven female teachers had an average salary of $139 a month for the school-year of nine months. Professor E. R. Hephner is the superintendent, and the school board officials are: A. F. Johnson, Meadowlands, clerk; Andrew Nelson, treasurer; D. O. Anderson, Charles Palmer, John Sontra and H. A. Heldt, directors. The district has a good reputation, its standard of education being excellent.
The population of Meadowlands in 1910 was 451; in 1920 it stood at 773. It is the center of fine agricultural land, and there are some excellent farming properties in the township. The Duluth and Iron Range Railway Company has a large demonstration farm at Meadowlands. The White Face River passes through the township, and to the west, dividing Elmer Township from Meadowlands, the St. Louis River runs. Its course through township 53-19 places about six sections of that township within the limits of Elmer (see Elmer Township, this chapter). Two branches of the Duluth, Missabe and Northern Railway passes through Meadowlands Township, one branch having a station at Meadowlands, and the other at Birch and Payne. The Great Northern Railway also passes through, so that in railway facilities Meadowlands is favorably situated.
The township officials in 1920 were: Chas. F. Palmer (chairman), Max Bernsdorf and Roy Speece, supervisors; Max Schleinitz, clerk; Ralph E. Armstrong, assessor; Herman A. Heldt, treasurer.
The township of Mesaba, the boundary of which is that of congressional township fifty-nine north, range 14 west, seemed at one time to be of much more importance to St. Louis County than it appears to be today. In it were undertaken some of the first explorations for iron ore of the Mesabi Range.
A Pioneer’s Story of the Mesabi
David T. Adams, now of Chicago and Duluth, but in the eighties and nineties of the nineteenth century one of the most successful and capable mining pioneer explorers of the Mesabi Iron Range, writes, under date of December 7, 1920:
The actual Mesabi range in which iron ore of commercial grade was found is that part lying horizontally in the low lands along the easterly foot of the height of land in Minnesota known as the Mesabi Heights, from a point in township 59, range 14, southwesterly through St. Louis County and into Itasca County, comprising a total distance of approximately 110 miles. It is a hematite formation, and is covered in the main by glacial drifts and erosion from the high lands to the north. A change in the formation takes place in about the center of township 59-14, and from there on, northeasterly to its terminus on the east side of Birch Lake, in the Vermilion range basin, is a magnetic formation, projecting above the surface and surrounding country, and in some places pitching sharply to the south under the gabbro, which is found in that locality. It was not known that the magnetic formation, comprising the eastern end of the Mesabi Range, changed in character and had any connection with the hematite formation to the west of a point in township 59-14, until some time during the years 1883 and 1889. Fragments of rock from the formation and clean pieces of hematite ore were strewn over the surface along its entire length, from about the center of township 59-14, St. Louis County, and extending for several miles to the south of the range, and in some places to the north, covering a large area in width, as well as in length. And until the years between 1883 and 1889 no one seemed to know anything about the western part of the range, or its trend, excepting to advance the theory that a blanket formation existed somewhere inside of the borders of the drift area, and that commercial deposits of ore could not exist in the formation on account of its nature and horizontal position which was a complete change, and unlike any other iron range in the Lake Superior region, or anywhere known at that time.
There have been many conflicting stories written by outsiders on the discovery of the Mesabi Range, some contending that the range was known to the Indians for generations, and by the earliest white inhabitants of northern Minnesota. Their contentions were true in certain respects. What is known as the eastern end of the Mesabi Range, which outcrops boldly and is magnetic in character, was known to exist years before the Mesabi Range proper was discovered.
…My attention was attracted to the possibility of the existence of commercial bodies of hematite ore in the southeastern slope, or in the low lands of the Mesabi Heights, in the year 1883. In the fall of that year, I made a trip from Agate Bay (where now is the city of Two Harbors, Lake County, Minn.), accompanied by one James Lane.
Our route was across country, following as nearly as possible the survey of the Duluth and Iron Range Railroad, which was then being constructed from Agate Bay to Tower. The purpose of the trip was to inspect the country, along the survey, for its mineral possibilities.
At a point about one mile southeasterly of what is known as the Mesabi Gap, and south of the Tamarack swamp which lies at the foot of the gap, my attention was attracted by fragments of quartz and clean pieces of hematite ore strewn over the surface, at a point which I learned after to be in section 20, township 59-14. I spent a few days in that vicinity, exploring the country as far east as the magnetic cropping, and southwest over the hematite formation in the footlands along the slope of the Mesabi Heights for some distance. In this latter direction I found numerous indications of drift ore and quartz, as far as I went. I ascended the hills to the north of the places where I found the drift in the bottom lands to be the thickest, and in each ascent I made I found that the drift ore of the character found in the low lands at the foot of the heights disappeared completely, which was conclusive evidence that the numerous pieces of clean drift ore found in the low lands to the south of the Heights did not come from its summit, nor from the Vermilion range to the north, but must have come from an iron formation under the surface of the low lands, immediately south of the Heights. The drift ore did not show any great glacial wear, indicating plainly that the fragments of the ore were pressed up from the formation by frost, or broken from the ledge and washed to the surface by floods or torrents descending from the high lands through ancient water courses. The theory I formed at that time on the possible occurrence of merchantable deposits of ore in the low lands along the southeasterly slope of the Mesabi Heights (only more in detail) was never changed, and was always followed by me during all of my explorations in after years on the Mesabi Range. I returned from this trip the same way I went in, and did not return to the range again for three years.
…Some time during the spring of 1887, I made another trip to the west end of the range, accompanied by A. J. Harding, then of Duluth.
On this trip, I traced the range to the southwest, from the ledge in Prairie River to the Mississippi River. I then travelled northerly from Prairie River for a considerable distance, examining the drift ore as I went, and tracing it to the north boundaries of its source. After five or six days to the east, I returned to Prairie River, and pitched camp on the south side, between the upper and lower rapids. That same night, Captain LeDuc, then of Duluth, but a veteran explorer and mining man of the Michigan ranges, and his son, Ernest, who had come through the country from 59-14, on the eastern end of the range, pitched their tent alongside mine, and we all spent a delightful evening around the camp fire, talking of former exploring trips, and of the possibilities of the new range.
In the course of our conversation, the captain told me of many places where he had found drift ore and quartz on the surface, also that in his opinion some of the largest bodies of hematite ore in the world would be found in the future somewhere between township 59-14 and where we were camped. I heartily agreed with him, as he was the only man I had heard, up to that time, express that view.
…In, about, the winter of 1887, and during the spring and summer of 1888, Captain John Mallman of Duluth did some exploring on the east end, in section 11, of 59-14. He was the first to start actual explorations on the east end; and in the exact place, section 20-59-14, where I found my first drift ore in the fall of 1883, Captain Frank Hibbing did some work, but none of these explorations proved a success.
In, or about, the fall of 1888, I gathered about 500 pounds of banded magnetic ore and slates from croppings in township 59-14, in the interest of Judge Ensign, Colonel Gagy, Major Hover, and a Mr. Peatre. I took the ore to New Jersey (the name of the place I have forgotten), and had a concentrating test made on a magnetic concentrator invented by one George Finney—possibly the first of its kind in existence. The separation was successful; the ore after treatment analysed well over 60 per cent in metal, but on account of the high cost of treating the ore at the time, nothing further was done by us, in trying to commercialize the magnetic ores of the eastern Mesabi. In the winter of 1888 and 1889, I did some work in section 11-59-14 on the magnetic formation, with no success.
Mesaba Village Township Organization
From the foregoing extracts from the narrative of Mr. David T. Adams, it will be realized that the thoughts of mining men of St. Louis County were, as regards the Mesabi Range, first centered on township 59-14, which now is the township of Mesaba. In the early ‘90s, lumbering operations, and mining explorations were active in that township, and a community formed in section 21, it being ascertained that 201 people were resilent there on May 25, 1891, when a census was taken for the purposes of prosecuting an endeavor to get corporate powers for the community.
A petition, bearing date May 29, 1891, was circulated in that part of congressional township 59-14, and signed by E. P. Lowe, F. C. Colvin, and thirty-eight others, praying the county commissioners to grant the inhabitants corporate powers, under chapter 145, General Laws of Minnesota, 1885, as a village called “Mesaba,” with boundaries as follows: eighty acres situated in section 21, being the southern half of the northwest quarter of that section of township 59-14, said eighty acres having already been platted, and the plat recorded at the office of the Register of Deeds, on May 13, 1891, and designated the “Mesaba Central Division.”
The petition came before the county commissioners at their June, 1891, session, and meeting with their approval, an election was ordered to be held at the schoolhouse, lot 32, block 1, of townsite of Mesaba Central Division, on July 7th. It was duly held, and resulted in seventy-seven of the eighty-two votes cast being in favor of the incorporation.
Election for officers was held at the same place on July 25, 1891, when the following named residents were elected: E. P. Lowe, president; F. S. Colvin, recorder; A. G. McKinley, treasurer; John L. Olson, James Caza and E. A. Taylor, trustees; D. B. Clark and J. H. Woodman, justices; Fred Nelson and A. H. Allen, constables.
Petition to annex land in the south part of the north-eastern quarter of north-western quarter of section 21 was presented to the county officials early in March, 1893. Election was held in the village on May 16th, and, of 31 votes cast, 28 favored the addition to the village.
Village and Township Assessment
The village of Mesaba has almost passed away. Its population, never big, has dwindled to an insignificant number. In 1910 there were 84 people living in it, and in 1920 only 54. It had had two or three spurts of activity in its history, but they have not been of long duration or much consequence.
It is rather remarkable that, in 1914, a Town Hall of brick and stone was built at a cost of $9,000, and a water and lighting system installed.
While there are several mines in the township, the assessed valuation of both village and township does not exceed $440,000. And the population of both township and village has dropped from 697 in 1910 to 115 in 1920.
The village officials in 1920 were: John Wallace, president; Geo. H. Saliday, Jack Reed, and A. D. McRae, councilmen; A. P. McRae, clerk; Chas. Wallberg, treasurer.
Not many of the old pioneers of the village and township still reside in it. Judge A. D. McRae is probably the oldest resident, and he dates back, in residence, only to 1899.
There is a fine school building at Mesaba, but the village and township school system is under the direction of the Aurora district (No. 13).
Organization of Township
The incorporation of the village of Mesaba preceded the organization of the township of that name. The township was not formed until September, 1892, fifteen months after the village took corporate power. It was then brought about in response to a petition signed by A. M. McKinley, E. P. Lowe, D. B. Clark, F. S. Colvin, and others, the commissioners granting the petition on September 6th.
First Township Officials
Election was held, “at the Mesaba Lumber Company’s store building in the village of Mesaba,” on September 24, 1892, and brought the following into office: N. B. Shank (chairman), Thos. McDonald and Frank Schue, supervisors; G. J. Hardy, clerk.; F. S. Colvin, treasurer; Jas. A. Robb, assessor; D. B. Clark and John L. Olson, justices; Fred Nelson and Fred Clark, constables.
According to custom, the clerk notified the county auditor of result of election. After listing names of officers he added: “all good Republicans but one.”
Mining in Township
Mining has not been appreciable in the township. John Mailman’s work of test-pitting and shaft-sinking did not create or hold interest after the great discoveries further west on the Mesabi range in 1890 and later. John Mallman had leased land from Lazarus Silverman, of Chicago, and in association with Trimble had gone well forward with his work when the rush westward occurred.
The Mailman property passed through many hands during the next decade or so. In, about, 1905, it came into the control of Capt. M. L. Fay. Later, the lease was sold to Capt. G. A. St. Clair, and the Duluth and Iron Range Railroad Company built a five-mile spur to connect the property with their system, in 1907. It became known as the Spring Mine, and in 1907, 15,000 tons of ore was shipped from it, 20,000 tons in 1909, and 30,000 tons in 1910, since which year it has not been worked.
The Mayas Mine, Northeast quarter southwest section 15, township 59-14, also belonged to the St. Clair interest. It was explored in 1905, and began shipping in 1906, in that year shipping 107, 244 tons, and slightly more in the next year. Nothing further came from it until 1918 when (as from the Vega Mine) came 4,382 tons, and in 1919 8,799 tons.
From the Knox Mine, explored by Hartley, Congdon and others in 1903, shipments began in 1909. Only about 350,000 tons has, however, been won from this mine, which is situated in southeast quarter southwest section 19-59-14. It is now owned by the Graham Iron Company, which company also operates the Graham Mine, 2-59-14.
That started shipping in 1913, and in the next four years produced more than eleven hundred thousand tons. The Vivian Mine, 20-59-14, owned by the Northern Pacific Railway Company, was operated for three years, 1913-15, and yielded about 73,000 tons. The only other mine in 59-14 is the Adriatic, west quarter northeast section 30-59-14, operated by the Adriatic Mining Company. The mine was explored by O. D. Kinney, E. B. Hawkins, and others in 1901-02, and is one of the Pickands Mather and Company properties. The first shipment from it was in 1906, and only 1,100,000 tons have been mined there altogether.
That is the extent of the mining operations in Mesaba Township, and there is not much more ore in sight. Still, even yet the township pays a substantial sum in taxes. In 1892, the tax levy in township and village of Mesaba totalled to $806.99; in 1919 the levy was $32,246.61.
Township Officials, 1920
The township officials, in 1920, were: John Wallace (chairman), Chas. Wallberg and Even Froen, supervisors; C. M. Ford, clerk; A. P. McRae, assessor; J. C. Schmid, treasurer.
The township of Midway is a continuation of the old township of Fond du Lac, which was one of the oldest townships of the county.
St. Louis County, Minnesota, was erected in 1856, and in the same year the village of Fond du Lac was surveyed by Richard Ralf, and platted into village lots. The plats were signed by James A. Markland, attorney for the proprietors.
The townships of St. Louis County in 1873 were Duluth, Oneota, Fond du Lac, Rice Lake, and Hermann. All else was classed as “outside lands.” The township of Fond du Lac in that year had a taxable value of $35,408.00. The total levy was forty-two mills.
A census of Fond du Lac was taken on January 30, 1893, and showed that there were then 190 residents in the area.
At about that time a petition was circulated, with the object of “incorporating as the village of Fond du Lac all of sections 5, 6, 7 and 8 of township 48-15,” a portion of the territory “duly platted into lots and blocks, as the town of Fond du Lac,” and duly recorded in the office of the Register of Deeds; and sections 6 and 8 “platted as East Fond du Lac”; the balance unplatted, it being asserted that no part was in any incorporated village or city.
The petition was signed by W. H. Hollenbeck, and thirty-one other freeholders, and was dated February 28, 1893.
The petition was approved and granted on March 3, 1893. Accordingly, election was held, on April 11th, W. H. Hollenbeck, B. F. Bishop, and C. A. Krause acting as inspectors of election. They certified that at the School House of District No. 2, of St. Louis County on April 11, 1893, the election was held, and that, of forty ballots cast, thirty-one votes were in favor of incorporation, and nine against.
On July 7, 1896, a petition, signed by Olaf Gulbrandson and thirty-five others, sought to change the name of the township of Fond du Lac to “Midway.” The county commissioners granted the petition on that day. The township then had an assessed valuation of $96,596; in 1919 it was only $123,277. The taxes in 1896 amounted to $2,023.31. In 1919 they totalled to $7,024.45.
Fond du Lac is in two school districts: Independent School District No. 1 (see Proctor), and district No. 7. District No. 7 embraces most of township 49-15, and has three schoolhouses, all of frame construction, the three valued at $2,500. The enrollment at these rural schools in 1919 totalled to 112 scholars. They were instructed by three female teachers, who received an average salary of $80 a month, for the school year of eight months. The school levy was $1,906.10.
The school board officials in 1919-20 were: H. Norman, clerk; Mrs. Anna B. Forsell, treasurer; P. F. Nordin, chairman of directors.
School District No. 1 made a school levy of 62 mills, Midway’s share being on an assessed valuation of $16,588.
The township officials in 1920 were: Aaron Stark (chairman), Eric Johnson and John A. Anderson, supervisors; Henry Norman, clerk; Emil L. Nolin, assessor; John F. Anderson, treasurer.
The foregoing is only a brief, but necessary, review of Midway Township for this chapter. Many other references will be found elsewhere in this volume to Fond du Lac, one of the most historic places of St. Louis County; in fact, of Minnesota.
The Township of Missabe Mountain, which is one of the wealthiest of the county, was organized in 1892. In 1892, its assessed valuation was $315,400, but mining discoveries and developments, and the rapid growth of the cities and villages within its borders—Virginia, Eveleth, Franklin and Gilbert—has increased its valuation to more than $64,000,000, and taxes amounting to almost $4,500,000 were levied on property of Missabe Mountain Township and incorporated places in 1919. In 1892, the total tax levy of Missabe Township was $5,152.87. Truly, a noteworthy development within a period of not much more than a generation.
In June, 1892, a petition was circulated among the residents of congressional township 58-17. The petition, addressed to the county commissioners asked that petitioners, legal voters of the territory concerned, be granted township powers, provided by chapter 10, of the General Statutes of Minnesota, 1878, over township 58-17. J. D. Middleton swore to the accuracy of the statements made in petition, on June 3, 1892, on which day it came before the county commissioners for their consideration. They approved the petition, and set off township 58-17 as the Township of Missabe Mountain, and ordered election to be held at the Missabe Mountain Camp, situated in the western half of section 8, on June 22nd.
Election was then held, eighteen votes being cast, with the following result: Charles Davis, Emile Burnett and Thomas Short were elected supervisors, the last named being chairman; A. L. Culbertson, treasurer; Noble Beatty, assessor; Greenway and C. D. Hanson, justices; John McLeod and James Gallagher, constables; Joseph Elliott, clerk.
The mining operations within the boundaries of Missabe Mountain Township are of such extent that even the briefest review could not be made in this chapter. But in other parts of this work ample reference to that phase of the township affairs will be made. And the establishment and growth of the cities of Virginia and Eveleth, and of the village of Gilbert will be the subjects of special chapters.
The population of the township in 1890 was so small that it has not been recorded. In 1900 the population was 2,246; in 1910 it had increased to 5,410; and in 1920, to 5,502. These figures are exclusive of the two cities Virginia and Eveleth, but inclusive of the two villages of Gilbert and Franklin. Franklin’s population, in 1920, was 807. (It was not incorporated until 1915.) Gilbert, which was incorporated in 1908, had a population of 1,700 in 1910 and 3,510 in 1920. Add Virginia 1920 population, 14,022, and that of Eveleth, 7,205, to the figures for the township, and it will be seen that Missabe Mountain Township is the most populous of the Range townships.
Missabe Mountain is in three school districts, Nos. 18, 22, and 39, Gilbert, Virginia, and Eveleth, respectively. Gilbert Independent School District No. 18 has direction and responsibility for education in part of townships 57, 58, and 59-16, and part of 58-17; Virginia Independent School District No. 22 has the administration of school affairs in township 59-17 and part of 58-17; and Eveleth Independent School District No. 39 covers 57-17 and part of 58-17.
The history of these school districts will be found in the city and village chapters.
Franklin, The Incorporated Village of
A petition, signed by George L. Noyes, G. H. Lohneis, and Joseph Hendy and others resident in the mining location known as Franklin, was circulated in January, 1915, the petition seeking to obtain consent of the county officials to the incorporation, as a village to be named “Franklin,” of the “westerly 518 feet SE qr., NW qr., sec. 9, of township 58-17, platted into lots and blocks, as the Plat of Franklin” and certain adjoining territory, embracing in all about 1,320 acres. A census carefully taken, of the people living on the land for which corporate powers were sought disclosed that, between January 26th and February 2nd of that year, 1915, there were 908 residents. This and other statements made in petition were sworn to, as to accuracy, by the petitioners above named. The petition was filed with the county auditor on February 5, 1915, and considered by the county commissioners on the day next following. They adopted the petition at that meeting, and ordered election to be held on March 6, 1915, at the Franklin Mine Office.
The election was held, and of seventy votes cast, sixty-five were in favor, and five against.
It is a well administered mining village, with many of the conveniences of larger communities. On December 17, 1917, an election was held to decide whether ordinance “providing for the erection of a waterworks for public purposes, and for private use, in the Village of Franklin… to cost not to exceed sixty thousand dollars” shall be ratified. Twenty voted, all in favor.
The Franklin Mine, which belongs to the Republic Iron and Steel Company has been worked steadily for a generation, and has yielded about 2,400,000 tons of ore. Apparently, very little is now available.
Old Town Hall
It is of interest to note that the Missabe Mountain Town Hall, which was built at a cost of $10,000 in 1906, at the north end of Adams Avenue, Eveleth, was sold in 1919, or 1920, to the Masonic fraternity of Eveleth. The historic building, after considerable alteration, both to interior and exterior was opened, with appropriate ceremonies, as the Masonic Temple, in October, 1920.
The officials of Missabe Mountain Township in 1920 were: Ed Coombe, chairman; T. A. Flannigan, and J. W. Williams, supervisors; D. D. Rutherford, clerk; Roy Edmunds, assessor; Floyd F. Murray, treasurer.
The Township of Morcom, the area of which is one congressional township, that of township 61 north, range 21 west, was erected in 1903. It is far from railroads, but is good agricultural territory, being bounded by French Township on the south, by Sturgeon Township on the east, by unorganized territory on the north, and by Itasca County on the west.
F. A. Thompson and fourteen other freeholders of township 61-21 signed a petition on June 1, 1903, asking the county commissioners to organize their territory as the Township of Sturgeon. (Sturgeon Lake is within a couple of miles of the southern boundary line of Morcom Township, and Sturgeon Townships, 61-20, had not then been formed.) However, the township name was altered before the petition was presented to the county officials, the second name chosen for the township being “Roosevelt.” As the Township of Roosevelt, the commissioners erected township 61-21 into organized territory, on September 3, 1903. They caused notices to be placed in public places throughout that territory notifying the legal voters of it that an election would be held on September 23, 1903. The election was held and the township came into actual administration as an organized area. The state auditor found, however, that there was another Township of Roosevelt in the state, and consequently requested the county commissioners to cause to be selected another name for the organized township 61-21.
The commissioners appear to have then themselves selected a name, that of Morcom, probably to honor the long service to the county of Commissioner Elisha Morcom, of Soudan. The name was confirmed by the residents of the township.
In 1904, Morcom Township had an assessed valuation of $48,732; in 1919 its valuation was $66,657. Its taxes increased in the same period from $1,481.45 to $3,912.76.
The federal census showed only one person as having residence in township 61-21 in 1900; in 1910, the population was stated to be 76; and in 1920, 125. They are legitimate settlers-agricultural pioneers, who are clearing wild or cut-over lands, and bringing them gradually into good farming acreages.
The present township officers are: OIe H. Johnorud, chairman; Theo. Helm and Gullik Fosso, supervisors; Ole J. Eid, clerk; L. E. Sellberg, assessor; A. A. Olson, treasurer.
The township is the area covered by School District No. 48.
There are two schoolhouses, both of frame, valued in 1919 at $3,000.
Apparently, however, only one schoolhouse is in use, as during the school year 1919, when the enrollment of scholars in the township was 26, only one teacher was engaged, she being paid a salary of $95 a month, for the school year of nine months. The school levy in that year was $1,486.45. The school board is at present constituted as follows: Herman Thompson Cook, clerk; A. A. Olson, treasurer; Mrs. E. E. Pixley, chairman of directors.
The Township of Morse, which embraces four congressional townships, is particularly historic. Its organization dates back to 1887, and its history to the pioneer mining days of Northern Minnesota.
The City of Ely, and Village of Winton are within its borders, and some of the richest mines of the Vermilion Range. Its valuation (assessed) has increased from $41,693, in 1887, to $6,768,738 in 1919, the last figure including the City of Ely, the assessed valuation of which in 1919 was $4,767,996. The Township of Morse contributed to the taxes of St. Louis County in 1887 only $366.90. In 1919, the tax levy (including Ely and Winton) of Morse Township was $522,148.77. It will therefore be seen that Morse Township is a factor of importance to and in St. Louis County.
The township was organized by the county commissioners at their session of July 9, 1887, such action being taken in response to a petition dated June 16, 1887, said petition having the signatures of H. R. Harvey, J. H. Hopperton and others, and seeking the organization as the “Town of Morse,” of congressional townships 62 and 63 north, range 12 west, “and such portions of townships 63-11 and 62-11 as are in St. Louis County.” The election, or first town meeting, was ordered by the commissioners to be held on July 28th of that year, “at the Post Office Building in the Town of Ely.” Thus, the Township of Morse came into being. There had been an earlier attempt to organize township 63-12, as the township of “Odanau,” a petition to that effect having been prepared in May, 1887, signed by Thomas Ross, D. A. Ross, and others, and dated May 31st, but whether this petition came before the commissioners earlier than that dated June 16th, upon which they acted, is not clear, the record stating that the petition of Thomas Ross and others was referred back to the commissioners without recommendation by the committee appointed to examine and consider it. It came back to the commissioners at the session of July 9, 1887, and was “laid on the table,” the commissioners on same day granting the Harvey-Hopperton petition.
Ely, Village of
Ely became a village in 1888, and a city in 1891, as will be elsewhere reviewed in this work, and now has a population of 4,902.
Winton, Village of
The Village of Winton was incorporated in 1901, a petition, dated May 22nd, of that year, and signed by C. O. Bystrom and John L. Olson and others then resident in the territory concerned, sought to have incorporated all “that portion of the SE qr. of NE qr., and the NE qr. of SE qr. of section 24 of township 63-12,” as the village of “Fall Lake,” under authority of chapter 145 of the General Laws of Minnesota, 1885, said land having been platted, and the plat filed with the Register of Deeds, at the county offices, Duluth, on October 5, 1899, and marked: “Plat of Fall Lake.” The petition was filed in the office of the county auditor on June 1, 1901, and came before the county commissioners for their consideration and action on June 10th. They ordered a special election to be held to ascertain the will of the voters of that territory, designating the “lower room of building on lot 4, block 5, of plat of Fall Lake” as the place of assembly for voting, and setting July 23rd as the day of election.
The election having confirmed the petition, the commissioners ordered election to be held at same place on August 10, 1901, to bring the incorporation into operation by the election of village officers for that year, and in due course the village administration became: L. B. Hagen, president; N. M. Buffer, recorder; Hy Meyer, J. P. Westlund and Andrew Hansen, trustees; Henry Dastula, treasurer; Frank Carlson and Oscar Olson, justices; J. W V. Wilkins and John Meyer, constables.
The Village of Fall Lake became a separate election and assessinent district in 1906, and continued as “Fall Lake” until 1914. Ordinance No. 21, passed and approved May 12, 1914, was authority for the change of the village name from “Fall Lake” to “Winton.” Winton (as Fall Lake) had an assessed valuation of $19,126 in 1902, and the tax levy was $638.81, for all purposes. In 1919 its valuation was $36,034, and levy $2,637.43.
It is part of School District No. 12 (Ely), and the school levy in 1919 was 26.7 mills. Its population on May 22, 1901, when census was taken for the purposes of petition for incorporation, was stated it in that instrument to have been 227 persons; the federal census of 1910 showed 423 residents; and the 1920 census credited Winton Village with 499 inhabitants, so that its growth has been healthy.
The village officials in 1920 were: Andrew Hanson, president; George Hendrickson, John Maki, Gust Kuskila, trustees; Oscar Larson, clerk; John A. Hurtley, assessor; Gust Johnson, treasurer.
The important mining within Morse Township will be the subject of a special chapter of this work, and need not be further written of here. The lakes of the township will also be referred to elsewhere; they make the township one of the most beautiful in St. Louis County.
The township officials in 1920 were: Alex Whitten, chairman; H. J. Fatland, supervisors; I. J. Walker, clerk; H. C. Hurning, assessor; Matt Knutte, treasurer.
The Township of New Independence is one of the well-established farming townships of St. Louis County.
It was set off in 1890, following a petition by Peter E. Schelin and others.
They wished to have township 52-17 organized as the Town of “Independence.” The petitioners were represented by P. E. Schelin and E. S. Erickson, who filed the paper with the county authorities on February 25, 1890, and then took oath to the accuracy of the statements made in the petition, also to the regularity of its signing.
The question of organization came before the county commissioners at probably one or more meetings before that during which they granted the request, and organized the township, which they did on June 5th of that year. They named it “Independence,” and the first township meeting, which was held in the log house on the northeast quarter of section 34 of that township, on June 24th, was conducted in the name of the town of “Independence.” When it became “New Independence” has not been discovered by present compiler.
The Township of New Independence is bounded by the Township of Industrial on the south, by that of Grand Lake on the east, by Northland, on the north, and by Alborn on the west. It has two small communities, Independence being the larger. There are a couple of lakes in the township, and the Cloquet River passes through a few sections in the southeast. It has no railway connection, but three systems pass within easy reach.
The township had an assessed valuation of $24,587 in 1890; in 1919 its valuation was $65,517. It pays about $5,000 a year in taxes.
The population of the township in 1900 was 77; in 1910 it was 241; and in 1920 there were 233 residents.
The school system is mainly under the county school superintendent, as part of the Unorganized School District, which takes over the direction of education in sparsely populated townships. Part of the township comes into School District No. 33 (Alborn).
The present township officials are: S. T. Haakenson, (chairman); Charles Schelin and Walter Schwartz, supervisors; Erik J. Erikson, clerk; John Fjerem, assessor; Emil Windmiller, treasurer.
The Township of Nichols, the boundaries of which are township 58 north, range 18 west, and the southern half of township 59 north, range 8 west, might appropriately have been named the Township of Merritt, for its most important history has been that which has reference to the mining explorations and operations of the brothers Merritt, who were the first to bring Mesabi iron ore onto the market by railroad. The brothers Merritt, of Duluth, were the most active of the interests that sought in the early ‘90s to prove and market the ore that explorers were convinced was to be found on the Mesabi Range; their operations were on a larger scale than those of any other interest on the Mesabi in the first few years of the last decade of the Nineteenth Century; and although, in the main, the financial benefits of their initial operations passed to other capitalists, the brothers Merritt probably are entitled to the first place among the pioneer explorers and mine operators of the Mesabi Iron Range of Minnesota. They had many experienced mining men test-pitting for them in 1890-92, and their most spectacular operations were in township 58-18, where they developed the Mountain Iron Mine, from which the first trainload of ore shipped from the Mesabi Range left Mountain Iron in October, 1892, the enterprise of the Merritt companies also being responsible for the tapping of the district by a railway.
The U. S. Geological Survey, XLIII, records the following of the Merritts, and their operations:
“The most important of the explorers were the Merritts, and their faith in the Range was the first to be rewarded. One of their test pit crews, in charge of Capt. J. A. Nichols, of Duluth, struck ore on November 16, 1890, in NW qr., sec. 3, T. 58 N., R.18 W., just north of what is now known as the Mountain Iron Mine. Ore was next discovered by John McCaskill, an explorer, who observed ore clinging to the roots of an upturned tree on what is now the Biwabik mine. This led to the discovery of that mine, in August, 1891. Ore was quickly discovered in other places, and the rush of explorers followed.”
However, as the organized township 58-18 was not named Merritt, it is fitting that it should take the name of their mine captain, J. A. Nichols.
Discovery of Ore
Regarding the discovery of the first merchantable deposits of iron ore on the Mesabi Range, David T. Adams, in an article specially written for this historical compilation, in December, 1920, states:
In, or about, the winter of 1889 and 1890, Captain Nichols started explorations for the Merritt Brothers, of Duluth, on the Mountain Iron, in the northern part of the N. half of the NW qr. of section 3, township 58, range 18, on the northerly feather edge of the deposit. The matter encountered in his first series of test pits was a red ocherous ore. About the same time, Captain Kehoe started explorations for the Merritt Brothers on the Biwabik, in the northwest corner of the NE qr. of the NE qr. of section 3, township 58, range 16, in a spot where Jack McCaskell had previously discovered yellow ocher on the roots of an upturned tree. His first work was also on the northerly feather edge of the deposit, and the material encountered in his first few pits was a brownish and a yellow ocherous ore. About the same time, I started explorations for A. E. Humphreys, George G. Atkins, and others, on the Cincinnati, in the NW corner of the SW qr. of the NW qr. of section 2, township 58, range 16, and I encountered a blue ore in my first pit, after passing through about thirty feet of surface. That was the first commercial blue ore discovered on the Mesabi Range. Captain Kehoe then moved his works to the south and started a pit almost due west of my No. 1 pit on the Cincinnati, and after passing through about thirty-five feet of surface and brown ore, he encountered blue ore on the Biwabik. John T. Jones happened to be there at the time, and saw the first bucket of ore hoisted out of the pit, and he rushed to Duluth and secured a sub-lease on the Biwabik, in favor of the late Peter L. Kimberly, before Kehoe had a chance to report the find to the Merritt brothers. Thereafter, Captain Nichols moved his works on the Mountain Iron further to the south, where he eventually struck the main body of ore on that property.
Alfred Merritt’s Story
Alfred Merritt, in his autobiography written at the request of, and treasured by, the Old Settlers Society of the Head of Lake Superior, wrote, under date January 1, 1917:
The year 1889 the first work was done on what is now the Mountain Iron Mine. I took a crew of six men in by way of Tower, on March 17. Started from Tower with three dog trains, and we were the dogs. We went in by way of Pike River, and then by way of Rice Lake, then to Mountain Iron. We dug test pits, and finally drilled. All work was done on the S. half of S. half of section 34, township 59 north of range 18 west. We found that we were too far north for ore, and on going south found the ore on section 4, directly south of our first work, the summer of 1890.
No one who has not gone through the hardships and the discouragements of keeping a camp going, out so far from the base of supplies, can realize what one has to contend with. The raising of money alone was no small job, and worst of all the task of endeavoring to keep up the courage of one’s partners.
After the ore was found we then had to look for transportation. We went to the Northern Pacific Railroad, and also to the St. Paul and Duluth Railroad, they being separate at that time. Neither would do anything. Their officials did not realize the value of the Mesabi Range, and of the great traffic which was to originate from the many mines. We hardly knew what to do. We were almost discouraged. Finally, we got hold of the Duluth and Winnipeg Railroad, and they said that if we would build out to Stony Brook, they would make a traffic contract with us. We scratched around and built a line from Mountain Iron to Stony Brook, a distance of forty-five miles, with a branch off our line, from the station called Iron Junction, to Biwabik, a distance of sixteen miles. This line was completed in 1892. The year of 1893 we built into Duluth, because the Duluth and Winnipeg Railroad did not build any. St. Louis County offered us $250,000 worth of bonds if we would build into Duluth. We accepted this offer, and built into Duluth, and also built into Hibbing from our main line, from Wolf Station.
So came about the possibility of marketing the immense deposits of iron ore of the Mesabi Range. The shipments that began in township 58-18 in 1892 now have reached a yearly total of more than 30,000,000 tons. The historic Mountain Iron Mine has not been worked since 1908, but it yielded to the world prior to that more than 17,000,000 tons of ore, and still has available more than 28,000,000 tons, which, as needed, will presumably be worked by the Oliver Iron Mining Company, to which subsidiary of the United States Steel Corporation the property now belongs.
The Township of Nichols was erected on May 6, 1892, the county commissioners being petitioned by R. H. Fagan and thirty-eight other residents of 58-18 township. Petitioners sought township powers, under authority of chapter 10, of the General Statutes of 1878 of the State of Minnesota.
John Helmer presented the petition to the county officials, and took oath, to the accuracy of statements made in petition, on April 30, 1892. On May 6th, the document was certified to be correct, in form and execution, by the county attorney, and the same day the territory was laid off by the commissioner, they ordering first town meeting of the new township of Nichols to be held “at Grant’s office,” NW. qr. of section 3, township 58-18, on May 25th. Notices to that effect were posted “at the Saw Mill, at Grant’s office, and at Hotel Grant,” on May 12th.
The first township officers were: A. P. Wood, (chairman); William Buckley and G. O. Beede, supervisors; Fred Colby, clerk; W. Stephens, treasurer; J. E. Shear, assessor; G. R. Sutherland and Charles H. Erickson, justices; W. F. Cyr and Alex Murray, constables.
On May 17, 1893, Alfred Merritt, on oath, deposed that officers of the Town of Nichols had failed to hold the annual election in 1893. He prayed the commissioners to appoint officers, recommending the following: Robert Purcell, (chairman); Captain John Gill and Chas. F. Joyce, supervisors; L. R. Clark, treasurer; C. C. Jennis (or Jenius), clerk; D. J. Mead, assessor.
In addition to the historic Mountain Iron Mine, the mining operations in the Township of Nichols have developed other important mines. The Iroquois, the fee owners of which are the Roswell Palmer estate, is situated in section 10, and shipments from it began in 1903, continuing until 1914, the years yielding a total of 1,358,412 tons of ore. It is an underground mine. The Wacoutah Mine, which is operated by the Pitt Iron Mining Company, SE-SW and SW-SE, sec. 3, SE-SE of same section, and NW-NW, sec. 11, shipped its first ore in 1906. In 1919, the total yield from its first year was 972,251 tons. The Brunt Mine, NE-NE and NW-NE and SW-NE and NW-SE, sec. 10, owned by the Hanna Ore Mining Co., is on the shipping list, with a total shipment of almost 1,500,000 tons between the years 1906 and 1919, and with more than twice as great a quantity available yet. The Pilot Mine, NW-SE, sec. 2, is a state mine, as is the Wacoutah in part, leased to the Hanna Ore Mining Company. The first shipment, 80,815 tons, from the Pilot was in 1919. It is not a large property. Then another state property is the Leonidas, situated in the extreme southeasterly section of the township. That is an important holding, leased to the Oliver Iron Mining Co. Almost 4,000,000 tons have come from it, to end of 1919; and there is still available about 13,000,000 tons. The Hanna Mine, (state), W. half of SW, sec. 2, and W. half of SE, sec. 3, has yielded practically 1,500,000 tons, to end of 1919, first coming into the shipping list in 1919. Prindle Reserve, a state mine, leased to Oliver Company, situated in E. half, sec. 36, of township 59-18, has only yielded 47,487 tons, in the three years 1914-16, since which time it has been inactive, with 2,590,871 tons available.
Nichols Township has some good roadways, and all the land is not given over to mining. There are some good agricultural acreages being developed.
There is an electric trolley system passing through the township hourly to the other centres of the Range. The Duluth Missabe and Northern Railway Company is the ore carrier.
The assessed valuation of Nichols Township in 1892 was $310,944. The assessed valuation of the township in 1919 was $14,727,911, including the villages of Mountain Iron and Leonidas, which villages in reality represent more than $14,000,000 of that total.
The tax levy in 1892 in Nichols Township was $3,793.51. In 1919, the taxes amounted to $791,931.66, including those of the villages.
The township was practically without an inhabitant in the ‘80s. In the early ‘90s, the population had scarcely reached three figures. In 1900, the population was 930; in 1910, 1983; and in 1920, the federal census showed the township, including Mountain Iron and Leonidas villages, to have a population of 2,923. Of this number 1,546 persons were resident in Mountain Iron.
Part of Nichols Township is included in the Unorganized School District, which comes under the direct supervision of the county school administration; but the greater part of the township is in what is known as Independent School District No. 21, which centers from Mountain Iron. The history of that school district will be reviewed in the chapter regarding Mountain Iron.
The present officials of the township are: E. J. Kane, chairman; John Harwood and E. D. Rudd, supervisors; Ben Ericson, clerk; Oscar Castren, assessor; A. B. Carmen, treasurer.
Village of Costin
John Costin, Jr., one of the pioneers of Virginia, to which city he came in 1893, and where he developed a substantial real estate and insurance business during the following twelve or thirteen years, had acquired, among his other realty investments, a tract of seventy-one acres of land in township 58-18, adjacent to Mountain Iron. Upon it, he platted the townsite of Costin, and, probably was one of the prime movers in the endeavor, prosecuted in 1907, to secure corporate powers for the village. A petition was circulated in June, 1907, among the residents of about 360 acres of sections 4 and 9 of township 58-18, and signed by J. A. Beck and 26 others, praying for the incorporation of the territory under the powers of section 702 of the state Laws of 1905, as the Village of Costin.
The petition represented that there were at that time resident in the territory 261 persons, and David Tonsignant, John A. Beck and John Lamminen took oath to the accuracy of census and of the petition in general.
The paper was filed with the county auditor on June 7, 1907, and came before the county commissioners at their June meeting. They granted the petition, and ordered election to be held at the residence of David Tonsignant, on July 2nd. The election was held, but of the 261 inhabitants only eleven voted, all voting in favor of the incorporation.
An attempt was made in 1913 to bring about the dissolution of the village, but without success. A special election was held on September 2nd, and twelve of twenty-one votes cast were against the dissolution.
However, a further attempt was made in January 18, 1915, with different result, the voting being in favor of dissolution.
Village of Leonidas
The incorporated Village of Leonidas was formerly known as Leonidas location. As a location, it was established about eight or ten years ago. The Leonidas Mine belongs to the state, and shipments first began in 1914. It is leased by the Oliver Iron Mining Co., and operations are regular, and substantial.
The townsite was owned by the mining company, and it was thought that an attempt would be made to bring the location into the city limits of Eveleth. Probably that was the main reason why on September 5, 1917, a petition, signed by H. E. Mitchell, R. H. Stephens, W. J. Matters, and twenty-nine other residents of Leonidas location, was presented at the county offices for the consideration of the county commissioners, said petition seeking incorporation, as the Village of Leonidas, of the SE qr. of section 25, all of section 36, of township 58-18, and the east half of NE qr. of section 1, township 57-18, the whole embracing 880 acres, part of the acreage having been platted as “Leonidas” and part as “Gross.” The petition stated that a census taken at the time of signing of petition showed that there were then 275 persons living in the territory for which corporate powers were asked.
On motion of Commissioner Pentilla, the petition was adopted on September 7, 1917, the county commissioners ordering election to be held at the town hall of the Township of Nichols, situated in the SW qr. of SE qr. of section 36, township 58-18, on October 8, 1917.
At the election forty-six votes were cast, all in favor.
At the subsequent first election for officers, the following became the original council of Leonidas: R. Trevarthen, president; E. J. Kane, W. J. Matters, H. E. Mitchell, and W. Holder, trustees; H. E. Mitchell, clerk.
The village is growing rapidly on the south side, near the school, but in reality the community is almost as it was when a location.
There is no store in the village, and it is peopled almost wholly by employees of Leonidas Mine. The school is under the administration of the Mountain Iron School District.
The village officials in 1920 were: R. Trevarthen, president; E. J. Kane, P. A. Anstess, W. J. Matters, trustees; R. G. Trevarthen, clerk; Wm. Cox, treasurer; O. Castren, assessor.
On April 30, 1904, a petition was circulated among the inhabitants and voters of the township 52-13, then unorganized, for the purpose of securing township powers under the General Statutes, of the State of Minnesota, 1878 compilation, as amended by the General Laws of 1895. Anton Hjelm appears to have been the prime mover in the matter, and he was the first to sign. The petition bears date of April 30, 1904, and was filed with the county auditor of St. Louis County on May 2nd. It came before the county commissioners for their consideration on May 5th, and met with their approval at that meeting. Consequently a town meeting to organize soon followed.
The first township officers, who were elected at the meeting held at the schoolhouse situated in the northwest corner of the northeast quarter of section 21, township 52-13, on May 24, 1904, were: Anton Hjelm, chairman; Martin Moen and J. B. Johnson, supervisors; F. B. Schumann, clerk; J. A. Bonning and Peter Flaaden, justices; Hy Kruse, treasurer; A. Olson and C. Hagen, constables; Albert Anderson, assessor.
Within a few days after the organization of township 52-13, as the Town of Normanna, the unorganized township next north of it, 53-13, was the subject of a petition by its inhabitants, who wished to have it attached to the Township of Normanna. A petition to that effect was presented to the county officials on May 28, 1904. It was signed by William Carlin and others, in sufficient numbers to influence the commissioners at their next meeting, June 7, 1904, to act upon it, and call for a hearing of remonstrances on July 11, 1904, against the petition to attach the northern congressional township to that which constituted the Township of Normanna. The matter was completed on July 11th, by the commissioners, who then added township 53-13 to the boundaries of the organized township.
The Township of Normanna has since been bounded on the south by the Township of Lakewood, on the east by Duluth Township, on the north by unorganized territory, 54-13, and on the west by Gnesen Township, which was founded in 1879. The Cloquet River passes through the western part of township 53-13, but Normanna has no railway facilities.
In 1905, its assessed valuation was $335,742; today its valuation is one-eighth less, although it has increased more than 100 per cent in tax-levy in the fifteen years.
It has always been in School District No. 32, which school district is confined to the two townships of Normanna (52 and 53-13).
There are two frame schoolhouses in the district, valued in 1919 at $10,500. The enrollment in 1919 was nineteen; two female teachers were employed at average salary of $82.50 a month, for the eight months of school. School board officials: Mrs. Mary Solem, Lakewood, R. F. D. No. 1, clerk; Mrs. Evelyn Cooke, treasurer; A. H. Carlson, chairman of directors. School levy in 1919 was $5,006.88.
The township officials are: John Bonnah, (chairman); M. H. Woldhagen and William Gray, supervisors; Adolph Solem, clerk; Albin Kanen, assessor; George H. Cooke, treasurer.
The Township of Northland, 53-17, was organized as the Township of Tronther, in 1904. Peter (or Peder) Ericksson, and other residents in congressional township 53 north, of range 17 west, petitioned the county commissioners in November, 1904, to have that township organized as the “Town of Tronther.” The document was filed with the county auditor on January 3, 1905, and it seems that the petition was altered during, or before, consideration by the commissioners. At all events, when the petition was acted upon by the county commissioners, at their meeting of February 9, 1905, they organized the territory as the Township of Kauppi, presumably in recognition of service to the county by Commissioner Kauppi. The commissioners ordered election to be held at the schoolhouse on March 1, 1905.
It was at that first town meeting, apparently, that the voters requested the commissioners to change the name of the township from “Kauppi” to “Northland.” Such action was taken at the March session of the county board, and the township has since been known as “Northland.” Boundaries are still as when first organized. There is unorganized territory bordering Northland on the east; on the north is the Township of Cotton; on the west is Meadowlands; and on the south the Township of New Independence bordered it. Northland has no railway facilities, although three railway systems pass through bordering townships.
The assessed valuation of Northland in 1905 was $43,578; in 1919 it was $36,403. Taxes in 1905 amounted to $763.47; in 1919 they were $1,681.82, so that there does not appear to have been much advance in the township, excepting in expenditure.
Northland is still in School District No. 34, as it was in 1905 when first organized. The school district also covers Congressional Township 53-16, in which there are 240 inhabitants. There are four frame schoolhouses included in the property of that school district, but seemingly only three are used, as the school board only employed three teachers during the 1919-20 school year. They were paid an average monthly salary of $75. The enrollment was thirty-two scholars.
School tax, in 1919, was $2,675.49. School Board officials: Jesse F. Keeney, clerk, Canyon, Minnesota; John Swanson, treasurer; Frank Anderson, chairman of directors. School property valued at $4,500.
Township officials, 1920, were: Ole Berg (chairman), Alfred Peterson, supervisor; Jesse F. Keeney, clerk; E. M. Austed, assessor; Peder Ericksson, treasurer.
John Owens, a pioneer of the ranges of St. Louis County, first president of the villages of Tower and Virginia, and now resident of Duluth, was one of the pioneers of agriculture north of Virginia and the Mesabi Range. He was the first to take up residence in the township which now bears his name.
The Township of Owens, which embraces thirty sections of congressional township sixty-two north of range eighteen west, was organized in 1912, and for six years prior to that was part of the Township of Field. The setting apart of Owens on August 6, 1912, resulted from the petition of residents of sections seven to thirty- six of township 62-18, who wished that territory separated from Field. The petition was sworn to before O. J. Leding, justice, on May 30, 1912, and early in June was filed at Duluth Court House.
The matter came before the county commissioners at the session of June 6th, and possibly at the July meeting. Hearing of remonstrances against the separation from Field, and the erection of Owens Township, was announced by the commissioners, who set August 6th as the day upon which they would hear objections to the petition.
Apparently, there were no objections, for on August 6th the Township of Owens was organized, the commissioners then ordering the notices to be posted in conspicuous places throughout the township calling residents who were legal voters to gather at the Cook Schoolhouse on section 17 of township 62-18 on Saturday, August 24, 1912, to elect officers for the Township of Owens.
In 1912, the assessed valuation of the township was $68,516. In 1919 it became $102,332, the increase representing agricultural development. It is one of the richest agricultural townships north of the Mesabi Range, and in 1919 paid $7,597.11 in taxes, including a school tax of 37.1 mills.
For school purposes, the township is part of the Unorganized School District directed by the county school superintendent.
The principal community is at Cook, a growing village, and a station on the Canadian Pacific Railway, which connects Duluth and Winnipeg. Leander, on the border line of Owens and Angora townships, is also a station on that system.
Present Township Officials
The officials of the Township of Owens in 1920 were: Fred Anderson (chairman), Oscar Magnuson and John A. Pearson, supervisors; Chas. Fogelberg, clerk; D. G. Winchel, assessor; G. J. Francis, treasurer; August Buboltz and L. F. Luthey, justices.
Village of Cook
The Village of Cook, when August Buboltz, who now is its principal storekeeper, came to it in 1904 consisted of not much more than a tent, in which was a printing plant, upon which the “Northland Farmer” was printed, published and circulated almost to the Bear River, by its editor-owner, James A. Field. The paper plant was hauled into Cook on a sleigh, over the Vermilion Lake.
With the clearing of timber, the land in the Township of 62-18 was seen to be good for agricultural purposes, and with the Duluth, Rainy Lake and Winnipeg Railway possibilities, the possibilities of a farming center developing somewhere in the vicinity, attracted some who were interested in town planning. The Goodhue Investment Company of Duluth, acquired land in section 18 and a townsite was surveyed and platted for them by the Duluth Engineering Company.
The first lot was sold to John Nelson, of Taylor Falls, a lumberman, now deceased. Upon his lot now stands the Farmers and Merchants Bank.
The first building in Cook was that erected for August Buboltz by John B. Shaver, of Virginia. When completed, it was opened as the Little Fork Hotel, and conducted as such by Mr. Buboltz until 1909, when he went out of that business, and later took up merchandizing and other enterprises in Cook and the vicinity. He built many houses in the place.
The first store building in Cook was that occupied as a general store by Lee and Hanson of Tower.
The first church was the Swedish Mission, which was built in about 1906. The first minister in Cook was the Rev. Lantz.
The first school was that erected about one and a half miles east of Cook. It was built in 1905, and the first teacher is stated to have been Miss Payne.
The first physician was Doctor Kurtz.
There are two state banking institutions at Cook. The First State Bank of Cook, was established in 1912, by L. F. Luthey and others.
L. F. Luthey was elected president; C. H. Alcock, cashier; L. M. Burghardt, vice-president; J. L. Owens and J. Whiteman, directors.
The capital was $10,000 and is still the same. The institution opened for business in the building it still occupies. Present directors are: L. F. Luthey, president; L. M. Burghardt, vice; A. H. Erickson, cashier; R. C. Pickering and J. Whiteman, directors. The other bank, the Farmers and Merchants State Bank, of Cook, was established September 20, 1917. The capital was $10,000. There is now a surplus of $2,000. W. H. Benton, of Minneapolis, was the first president and Peter Burtness and August Buboltz were prominently identified with the organization of the bank. Present officials are: Peter Burtness, president; August Buboltz, vice-president; G. J. Francis, cashier; Fred Anderson and Austin Lind, directors.
Cook has two newspapers, the Cook Newsboy and the Cook Journal. The Newsboy was established in 1915, by C. A. Knapp, who still owns and edits it. The Journal is a continuation of the Bear River Journal, which was established in 1906, by J. P. Hayden.
It was purchased in 1911 by G. F. Peterson, of Hibbing, who moved the plant and paper to Cook in 1918. Thereafter the publication became’ the Cook Journal.
There are four churches, the Swedish Baptist, Swedish Mission, Catholic and Congregational. The members are drawn from among the people of Cook, and residents of Owens Township.
Cook was originally known as “Ashawa.” It was platted as such and the village first became known as “Cook.” At least two attempts have been made to secure corporate powers for the village. A petition dated February 26, 1915, and signed by E. W. Carey and twenty-five other residents on land “originally platted as ‘Ashawa,’ and later known as ‘Cook,’” sought the approval of the county authorities to their wish for incorporation of the village.
Included in the boundaries of the incorporated village, the projectors sought to get blocks one to sixteen, inclusive, and outlots one to five, inclusive, as platted in the southeast quarter of northwest quarter and northeast quarter of southwest quarter of section 18, township 62-18, as well as what was known as Balliet’s addition to Cook, and certain other adjoining tracts. Petition asserted that census taken on February 26, 1915, showed that on that day there were resident in the district for which corporate powers were sought 220 persons.
Later, it developed that a clause calling for the inclusion of about one thousand acres, additional, had been inserted in the petition after it had been signed. At all events, such was the allegation made by certain of the freeholders, who filed remonstrance with the county commissioners, that paper also stating the fears of objectors “that incorporation would re-introduce saloons, which had been eliminated some years earlier.” The remonstrance was signed by twenty-two of the signers of the original petition, and was dated March 17, 1915.
It delayed action by the county commissioners.
However, on March 29th of that year another petition, favoring incorporation, was prepared by L. T. Luthey, and signed by many residents, eventually reaching the office of the county auditor.
On April 28, 1915, Chas. E. Adams, special counsel for the County of St. Louis, advised the county commissioners that this petition was “legally sufficient in all respects.” On May 3rd, however, it came to the knowledge of the commissioners that twelve of the signers of the second petition wished to withdraw their signatures. The withdrawal of these signatures made the petition “insufficient to require any action” by the commissioners. Hence, the village is still without corporate powers.
A petition dated January 2, 1904, and signed by the majority of the inhabitants and legal voters of unorganized township sixty north of range sixteen west, asked the county commissioners to consider their wish that the township be organized under the state laws and named “Pike.” The document was filed with the county auditor on January 5, 1904, and considered by the county commissioners on the next following day. Charles Kangas took oath on January 5, 1904, to the accuracy of statements made in petition and on the sixth the commissioners decided to order election to be held in the township on January 23rd, at the schoolhouse situated on section 29. On that day township organization was perfected.
Pike has no railway facilities, but is within comparatively easy distance of two railways. There is only one community center, the small village, or hamlet, of Pike, but the increase in population shows that the township is being developed satisfactorily. Federal census statistics do not record any figures for township 60-16 in 1900; in 1910 the population was 340, while in 1920 the population of Pike Township was shown to have increased to 564. Nevertheless, the township may be stated to be yet in its initial stage of agricultural development.
In 1904, when Pike Township was formed, the assessed valuation of the territory (real and personal property) totaled to $37,490; in 1919, the figure was $48,045. Tax levy increased in the fifteen years from $1,154.69 in 1904 to $3,483.26 in 1919.
At one time Pike was in School District No. 37, but that school district appears to have been merged in the Unorganized School District conducted direct from the county school superintendent’s office.
The school levy is 37.1 mills.
Township officials in 1920 were: Leander Lundstrom (chairman), John Bukkila and Jacob Anttila, supervisors; Gust Kivela, clerk; W. Matts, assessor; Arvid Jokinen, treasurer.
The Township of Portage was until recently known as “Buyck,” the name being changed in 1919, as noted hereunder.
Organization of Buyck Township
The few inhabitants of congressional townships 65 and 66, range 17 west, and townships 65 and 66, range 18 west, and township 66-19, sought in 1906, in which year the territory was practically wild land, to secure township powers and benefits for that territory. The petition dated September 5, 1906, was signed by Charles Buyck and fifteen other settlers, the instrument declaring that not more than fifty people lived in the five congressional townships at that time.
Petitioners asked that the proposed township be named Moose, or Deer, and the county commissioners at their September session granted the petition, on September 7, 1906, deciding that it be named “Moose,” and ordering first meeting of voters to be held at the schoolhouse in township 65-17 on Saturday, September 22, 1906. It was, however, found that another township of that name pre-empted the designation, therefore, before the first meeting it was decided that the township about to be organized be called “Buyck.”
The boundaries have since 1906 remained unchanged and the territory is still in great part undeveloped. In 1919, twenty-five residents of the Township of Buyck, and representing fifty-five per cent of the votes cast at the 1918 general election, prayed the county commissioners to adopt the name of Portage in place of Buyck. The commissioners thereupon posted notices in public places throughout the territory stating that they would hear objectors to the proposed change at the Court House, Duluth, on October 6, 1919. No opposition developed and on that day the commissioners ordered the change of name.
In 1906, when Township of Buyck first organized, the assessed valuation was $267,315. Total taxes levied, $4,651.28. In 1919, the total valuation for the Town of Portage was $286,895, and the total taxes levied for all purposes in that year $22,747.37.
The population was stated to have been fifteen in 1900. It was 287 in 1910, and the 1920 census shows 307 residents in Buyck, which is now Portage Township.
Part of the township has no school, but townships 65-18, 66-17 and one-half of 65-17 are embraced in school district 47. In that district there are four frame schoolhouses, valued at $10,000. There was an enrollment of sixty-six scholars in 1919-20, and the teaching staff consisted of one male and two female teachers, the average salary being $96 a month.
The officers of school district forty-seven are: John G. Handberg, Buyck, clerk; Ed Mankus, treasurer; Wm. Lippanen, director.
Present Township Officials
The township officers in 1919-20 were: William Lipponen (chairman), Perry Fransk, Valentine Sinsta, supervisors; Carl M. Harrison, clerk; Louis Gruska, assessor; John H. Laine, treasurer.
A petition, dated at Floodwood, Minnesota, April 13, 1906, and signed by Andrew Korhanen and others, all legal voters of townships fifty north of ranges twenty and twenty-one west, sought the approval of the county commissioners of their wish to have those congressional townships organized and named “Prairie Lake,” under the provisions of section 451, and others, of the Laws of Minnesota, 1905.
The document was filed with the county auditor on April 16th, and came before the board of commissioners on May 8, 1906, on which day they granted the petition, ordering first town meeting to be held at the schoolhouse on section 30, of township 50-20, on Saturday, May 26, 1906, when officers were elected and the township organization became effective.
Three years later, on November 27, 1909, a petition by residents in the eastern congressional township (50-20) of Prairie Lake, prosecuted an inclination on the part of voters therein to separate from Prairie Lake Township, and organize another, to be known as “Fine Lakes.” The division eventually was effected. (See Fine Lakes, this chapter.) In 1906, the assessed valuation of Prairie Lake Township was $66,542, for the two congressional townships; in 1919, the assessed valuation of the one township (50-21) was $68,160, Fine Lakes Township being almost as valuable.
Prairie Lake at one time was in School District No. 19, but now belongs to no district, or, to be more correct, is part of the immense Unorganized School District directed by the county school administration, that being apparently more economical.
In 1900, townships 50-21 and 50-20 had a population of forty-one; in 1910, the two townships had 199 inhabitants; and in 1920 the census-taking showed 136 in Prairie Lake, and Fine Lakes Township was credited with 189 residents.
The officials of Prairie Lake Township, in 1920, were: C. H. Johnson (chairman), Frank Lahti and John Rostvelt, supervisors; Carl T. Johnson, clerk; R. B. Jones, assessor; Anton’ Heikkila, treasurer.
The Township of Rice Lake was one of the first to be established. The name appears on the county tax sheet for 1873, when the townships of St. Louis County were Duluth, Oneota, Fond du Lac, Rice Lake and Hermann. All are shown as townships, the City of Duluth and “outside lands” being the only two other divisions shown on the tax sheet of that year.
Rice Lake Township borders the limits of the City of Duluth on the south; on the east, it adjoins Lakewood Township; on the north is Gnesen, and on the west Canosia Township. The limits of Rice Lake are those of congressional township 51-14, the two most southeasterly sections, Nos. 35 and 36 being within the city limits.
The Vermilion road passes through the township, but there are no railway facilities.
In 1873, the assessed valuation of the township was $62,254, and the tax-levy thirty-one mills. In 1919, the assessed valuation of real and personal property in the township was $331,597. The development has, therefore, not been substantial, although during the last two decades the population has been steadily increasing. In 1900 showed 231 persons to be resident in the township; in 1910 the population was 580; and in 1920 the census-taking recorded 916 inhabitants.
The present officials of Rice Lake Township are: Thos. Wright, chairman; Emil G. Beyer and Michael Dulinski, supervisors; T. A. Rogers, clerk; Wm. B. Doig, assessor; Ed Ball, treasurer.
For educational purposes, Rice Lake Township has been divided, part of it being in School District No. 30, part in School District 55.
Part of the township pays a school levy to School District No. 5, and part to School District No. 71. All these school districts are referred to elsewhere, excepting No. 30. School District No. 30 has administration over the bulk of the township, however, and for its purpose has a good brick schoolhouse, valued in 1919 at $20,000. Seven female teachers constitute the school staff, the average salary being $80.00 a month, for a school year of nine months. The enrollment in 1919 was ninety-six. School Board: B. W. K. Lindau, clerk; L. N. Young, treasurer; T. J. Bowyer, chairman of directors.
The Township of St. Louis (now part of the Township of Bassett) was organized in 1900, that action being taken by the county commissioners after petition of Henry Conners and other residents, of township fifty-eight north of range thirteen west, had been presented to them, praying for the organization of that congressional township, under the name of “St. Louis.” The township was formed on December 4, 1900, and the first town meeting held, “in the office of Nolan Brothers and Laird,” on December 22, 1900.
The first officers of the township were: Peter Norman (chairman), Frank Alger and Hugh Ermetinger, supervisors; Chris. O. Gavic, clerk; Mike Smith, treasurer; William Gavin, assessor; B. Airhoit and Amos Ramsey, justices; Geo. Bennison, constable. Resolution was passed at the first town meeting: “That no saloon license be granted in this town.” A resolution was adopted by the county commissioners, on December 7, 1917, legalizing the consolidation of the townships of Bassett and St. Louis, under the name of the former (see Bassett, this chapter).
The Township of Sandy, 60-17, was set off as such on September 8, 1916, the county commissioners then approving a petition, signed by twenty-nine of the freeholders of unorganized township sixty north of range seventeen west. The petition was sworn to on July 12th of that year, and asserted that census taken at time of circulation of petition showed that there were then forty-seven freeholders living in the township. The petitioners wished to have township organization and privileges, under the name of “Sandy,” but suggested alternative names of “Britt” and “Perho.” The first town meeting was held “at the Christian Association Hall,” situated in the northeast quarter of southwest quarter of section twenty-two, on September 23, 1916, as ordered by the county commissioners.
Big Rice Lake is in Sandy Township, and Lake Junction is a stopping place for trains of the Canadian Pacific Railway, which passes through the western end of the township. Unorganized territory is to the north and west, and Sandy is bounded by Pike Township on the east, and Wuori on the south. It is becoming good farming territory, although its assessed valuation is now about one-fourth less than in 1916. The township is in what is termed the Unorganized School District, an adequate system of rural schools directly supervised by the county school administration.
The present township officials are: Alex. Pursi (chairman), Nestor Wolun and Wm. Jacobson, supervisors; Otmar Jarvinen, clerk; Lars Koski, assessor; Ed Janhola, treasurer.
Congressional township 60-17, which now is Sandy, is shown in federal statistics to have had a population of sixteen in 1900, one hundred and ninety-nine in 1910, and one hundred and thirty-six in 1920.
The Township of Solway, which is one of those of the Southernmost tier of St. Louis County, was organized in 1897, prior to which it was part of the Township of Hermann.
A petition, sworn to by George J. Guerson, on April 6, 1897, and signed by twenty-eight freeholders of congressional township fifty north of range sixteen west, was presented to the county commissioners on that day. Petitioners sought separation of their township from the Township of Hermann, stating, as a justifiable reason, “the lack of roads and other facilities for traveling,” which condition made it almost impossible for residents in township 50-16 to attend town meetings.
The petition was considered by the commissioners on April 6, 1897, and they set a date upon which they would hear objections to the proposed separation. The date set was May 4th, but the hearing was postponed until May 7th, and on that day the commissioners granted the petition, and organized the Township of Solway, calling upon voters in that district to assemble for the first town meeting on Wednesday, May 26th of that year, designating the schoolhouse which stood upon the northeast quarter of northwest quarter of section 22, of township 50-16, as the polling place.
There has been no change in the territorial limits of the Township of Solway since its organization in 1897. Carlton County lies to the south of it, Hermann Township to the east, Grand Lake Township to the north and Industrial to the west. Solway has excellent railway facilities, with stations at Munger, Simar, and Carrol and it is comparatively well advanced, agriculturally. The population, which was 115 in 1900 and 332 in 1910, was shown by the 1920 census to be 522, a gratifying increase. Its assessed valuation has increased from $76,603 in 1897 to $161,297 in 1919; and of course taxes have materially increased-from $1,838.47 in 1897 to $10,468.17 in 1919.
The present township officials are: John Johnson (chairman), C. Carlson and C. Gustafson, supervisors; J. F. Gans, clerk; W. W. Watson, assessor; Albert C. C. Miller, treasurer.
It is served by School District No. 43, a comparatively strong school district. There are four schoolhouses in use in the township, all of frame construction and valued at $15,429 in 1919, when for the school year of eight months five female teachers constituted the teaching staff. The enrollment in that year was one hundred and four scholars. Teachers were paid an average salary of $85.00 a month. School Board: A. J. Lundquist, Munger, Minnesota, clerk; Knute Gustafson, treasurer; A. Bang, chairman of directors.
The Township of Stuntz, which is the richest township of St. Louis County and contributes more than one-third of the taxes collected in the county, perpetuates the name of one of the pioneers of the county.
George R. Stuntz
George R. Stuntz, a surveyor for the United States Government, came to the head of Lake Superior in July, 1852, “to run the land lines and subdivide certain townships.” He surveyed the state road from Duluth to Vermilion Lake in 1869, and afterwards built the road. He was one of the first surveyors on either of the ranges, and knew of the presence of mineral wealth in one or both of them long before any of the pioneer explorers for iron began seriously to prospect. He was in the country at the time of the “gold rush” to Vermilion in the ‘60s; accompanied Chester in the ‘70s, and was then on both ranges with that surveyor, who was sent to investigate mineral possibilities. George R. Stuntz undoubtedly was the best-informed of Duluth pioneers as to what was then termed “outside lands” of St. Louis County, and it is but right that his name should have important place in its history.
David T. Adams explored and mapped the Mesabi Range in the ‘80s; Captain LeDuc was in the neighborhood of what later was Stuntz in 1887; but probably the first of the early explorers of the Mesabi Range to take up successful work in the district known as the Township of Stuntz was E. J. Longyear, of Minneapolis.
Soon afterwards came R. M. Bennett, Frank Hibbing and John Mallman. Longyear in 1891 cut a road through from Mountain Iron West, as far as Nashwauk, in range 23.
The lumber interests were the first to undertake active logging operations in the township, Wright, Davis and Company owning many thousands of acres of heavily timbered lands.
Explorers discovered ore on the Wright, Davis and Company lands, and on April 19, 1893, the last-named company granted leases to the Mahoning Ore Company, supplements of October 4, 1893, March 1, 1894, March 15, 1895, March 28, 1895, and April 1, 1895, bringing up the total acreage of the lumber company’s lands leased to the Mahoning Ore Company, in township 57-21, more than a thousand acres, on a royalty basis, the greater part at 27.5 cents a ton. The leases were for a term of ninety-seven years.
It is not the intention here, in this chapter, to extensively review the lumbering, mining, or agricultural developments of the Town of Stuntz; all will have extensive review in other chapters. Suffice it here to state that Wright, Davis and Company, the principals of which were Ammi A. Wright, of Alma, Michigan; Charles H. Davis and W. T. Knowlton, of Saginaw, Michigan, sold to the Pine Tree Lumber Company for $1,300,000 on July 14, 1892, four billion feet on Swan River, that sale clearing all of their holdings in that district.
But they still possessed the land and more timber further north, and were gradually drifting into a state of affluent importance to the men interested in the exploitation of the vast mineral wealth of the Township of Stuntz.
Mining Development in 1895
The “Proceedings of the Lake Superior Mining Institute,” for 1895, in March of which year the members of that association met on the Mesabi Range, reviews the mining situation on the two ranges at that time. First, regarding the railway facilities in the new mining field, the review states:
Railroads were not constructed to these mines (Mesabi) until the fall of 1892. There are not three roads running to the iron mines on the Mesabi. Only two of them, the Duluth and Iron Range and Duluth, Missabe and Northern, have hauled any ore. The Duluth, Mississippi and Northern in conjunction with the Duluth and Winnipeg, will haul its first ore the coming season.
The D. & I. R. R. extended from its main line to the Mesabi mines in 1892 and 1893. The D., M. & N. Ry. was constructed from Stony Brook Junction, on the D. & W. R. R. to the mines of the Mesabi in 1892 and 1893. Built through the efforts of the Merritt Brothers, Chase Brothers and Donald Grant, it passed in 1893 into the hands of the Lake Superior Consolidated Iron Mines, in which company the chief stockholder is John D. Rockefeller. This corporation also owns a number of mines on the Mesabi, and its own docks at Duluth. Its output in 1894 was nearly 600,000 tons of ore, from its own mines. In this season, the D., M. & N. Ry. carried more than 1,300,000 tons of ore to Lake Superior.
The ore rate to the lake from all Mesabi mines is eighty cents per gross ton.
The D., M., & N. was primarily intended to be a logging road, built by Michigan lumbermen; but the discovery of iron ore on lands belonging to these same parties (Wright, Davis and Company) and on adjacent tracts induced them to construct it standard gauge and of heavy rails, suitable for ore transportation. It is tributary to the D. & W. R. R., which has ore docks at Superior. The Mahoning mine at Hibbing will ship over this road, as will other mines further west when more fully developed.
Beginning at the westernmost developed properties, we shall describe the mines of the Mesabi in order of occurrence eastward.
Describing the “Hibbing Group of Mines,” the review continues:
Hibbing is located in the northwest quarter section 6, township 57, range 20 west. Surrounded by a large amount of pine timber, and adjacent to large deposits of iron ore, it is a town of great promise.
Lake Superior Mine, situated on the southwest quarter of southwest quarter, section 31, township 58, range 20 west was discovered in 1892 by Capt. T. W. Nelson, working under the direction of Mr. Frank Hibbing, of Duluth. No ore has been produced from this mine as yet. It is being developed for underground mining, under the direction of Mr. W. J. Olcott, for the Lake Superior Consolidated Company, who are operating it at present. The superintendent is Mr. P. Mitchell. It will probably be on the list of shippers for 1895. It is operated on a thirty-cent lease, and the profits are divided between the Consolidated and the Lake Superior companies.
Mahoning Mine: After the discovery of ore in the northeast quarter, section 3, 57-21, the Mahoning Company, last year, developed one of the largest ore bodies on the range, in the north half of sections 1 and 2, 57-21. This ore is now being uncovered, or ‘stripped’ to prepare for shipments in 1895. The work is under the direction of Mr. W. C. Agnew. The fee to this land belongs to Saginaw lumbermen, the Mahoning Company holding a lease.
Sellers Mine: This mine is situated just north and northeast of Hibbing. Shafts are being sunk and development work done as rapidly as possible. It is understood that this mine, like others in the Hibbing group, has an unpleasant amount of water to contend with. Mr. Chas. Munger is in charge of operations here.
The operation of the Sellers mine was on leases January 17 and April 5, 1893, from M. B. Hull to John M. Sellers, also of Chicago, calling for royalty of thirty-five cents, with a minimum of $7,000.
On October 20, 1893, John M. Sellers sold his lease of January 17, 1893, to the Sellers Ore Company.
Organization of Township
Although Hibbing was incorporated as a village in 1893, it was not until 1894 that the movement which ended in the erection of the Township of Stuntz began.
On January 3, 1894, a petition praying for the organization, under the General Statutes of Minnesota Compilation, 1878, of Congressional Township fifty-seven north of range twenty west, “as the Town of Stuntz,” was filed with the Board of Commissioners of St. Louis County. The paper was signed by Burton Hurd, Eugene Brown, George L. Robinson, T. W. Nelson, J. F. Twitchell and other residents of that township, and was before the county commissioners for their consideration in February.
They then set off township 57-20 as the Township of Stuntz and ordered first election to be held at the office of Hibbing and Trimble, south half of northwest quarter of section six on February 27th.
The township remained with jurisdiction only over township 57-20 until 1896, when three other congressional townships were added to it, the result of a petition, to “annex to the Township of Stuntz townships fifty-seven and fifty-eight north of range twenty-one west, and fifty-eight north of range twenty,” which was filed on April 7th. The paper was signed by J. D. Campbell, John Munter, W. H. Day, Jas. Geary and others, and after consideration by the commissioners at the April session of that board a hearing was ordered for May 5, 1896.
Protest by Mahoning Ore Co.
It became known eventually that W. C. Agnew, general manager of the Mahoning Ore Company, wrote to the county commissioners, under date of April 6, 1896, protesting against the granting of petition to annex the three additional townships and in particular regarding township 57-21, asserting that the petition “was not presented in our vicinity,” and that “township 57-21 is very rich, if not the richest in mineral and timber lands in the country.” He further stated that township 57-21 “has already been included in a school district with the other townships mentioned,” and expressed a belief that “an injustice had been done us (presumably the Mahoning Ore Company) thereby,” seeing that “a large amount of money has been collected for school purposes,” which apparently was a regrettable circumstance. Regarding the school fund, Mr. Agnew stated: “The manner in which it was expended and the fight over it is a matter of record and does not reflect credit upon those having the matter in charge.” He explained that “the Town of Hibbing is entirely in 57-20, and that the children in and around our location must walk from one to two miles to reach the schoolhouse.” Therefore, he asked the commissioners “to ignore the request of the petition” and “allow us to make a separate township organization and receive and expend any money that we are entitled to within our own limits.” However, the protest was withdrawn by the attorney for the ore company, at the hearing before the commissioners on May 5th, and on that day the commissioners ordered the annexation of townships fifty-eight north of twenty and twenty-one range, and fifty-seven north of range twenty-one west, to the Township of Stuntz. Whether such action by the commissioners was taken because of the reinforcement of the original petition by another, filed May 5, 1896, cannot be determined, although the circulation and filing of the supporting petition may explain the withdrawal of the protest by the Mahoning Ore Company. The second of the petitions of 1896 referred only to township 57-21, and prayed that it be annexed to the Township of Stuntz. Anton Eriksson was the first signer of that petition.
Enlargement of Stuntz
In 1913 there were some important changes. Petition of Oscar Mahnquist and others then (March, 1913) resident in the unorganized township fifty-six north of range twenty-one west requested annexation of that township to Stuntz; and petition of June 30, 1913, signed by Peter McHardy and others of township 56-20, which was at that time part of the Township of Lavell, appealed to the commissioners to detach that congressional township from Lavell and add to Stuntz. Action was not taken until November 6th of that year; the commissioners then increased the limits of Stuntz by those two townships (see Lavell, this chapter).
Erection of Balkan
In 1913 came the first and only reduction of territory placed within the jurisdiction of the Town of Stuntz.
In June section one to thirty, inclusive, of township 58-20 was added to the Township of Balkan, as described under that classification in this chapter. Today, the Township of Stuntz consists of townships fifty-six, fifty-seven and fifty-eight north of range twenty-one west, fifty-six and fifty-seven north of range twenty and one tier of sections (one to six, inclusive) of township fifty-eight north of range twenty west.
In 1894, the assessed valuation of the Township of Stuntz was only $129,625. Add the valuation of Hibbing, the only incorporated place in the township in 1893, $31,318, and the total is only $160,943. In 1919, the total assessed valuation of Stuntz, including that of Hibbing, was $117,029,409, on the realty alone. Thus, one may get an idea of the extraordinary development that has come to the township in less than thirty years. An even stronger indication of the place and importance of Stuntz in and to the County of St. Louis is conveyed in the tax figures. In 1894, the tax levy in the Township of Stuntz was $2,644.35, that covering the budget for all purposes. Add the 1893 figures for the Village of Hibbing, $963.03 and the total would be only $3,607.38. In 1919, the Township of Stuntz, including the Village of Hibbing, was called upon to contribute to the tax-levy in St. Louis County the enormous sum of $6,240,634.06, out of a total tax levy, for the whole county, of $20,705, 448.24. The Township of Stuntz contributes almost twice as much to the revenue of St. Louis County as does the City of Duluth, and in wealth it dwarfs every other township of the county, probably of the state. The total taxes paid by Stuntz are even greater than the figures quoted above, although the addition of Kitzville levy is insignificant by comparison.
The whole territory was practically uninhabited until the late ‘80s or early ‘90s of last century; in 1900 the population was 3,564; in 1910 it had increased to 14,409, and in the last census, 1920, the federal tabulation showed that 19,010 people then lived in the Township of Stuntz, including 15,089 in the Village of Hibbing (which now takes second place among the incorporated places of the county), and 480 in the Village of Kitzville.
Hibbing will be the subject of a special chapter. as befits its place in the history of the county. Kitzville is referred to later herein.
For school purposes, the Township of Stuntz is included in the excellently-directed school administration known as Independent School District No. 27. Its history will be reviewed as part of that of Hibbing, in which village it centers. So there is no need to make further reference to school matters here.
The township officials in 1920 were: J. B. Messner (chairman), W. G. Brown and John C. Eastman, supervisors; Ben McDonald, clerk; Joseph Moran, assessor; Jerry Sullivan, treasurer. Joseph Moran, a veteran of the Civil War, has been assessor for very many years. He was a cruiser for Wright, Davis and Company, and came to what became Hibbing in 1891, in 1893 taking a homestead at Moran (Kelly) Lake, section 7-58-21.
For the next hundred years, probably, the Township of Stuntz will be prominent, as the center of important iron mining.
The ore not yet mined but known to be available totaling to an immense figure, the Mahoning Mines alone having more than seventy-five million tons available, notwithstanding that thirty million tons have been won from it since first opened. And there are many other mines in the township with an immense reserve of ore and probably much yet to be proved.
The prominent mines still in operation in the township, and to which references will be made elsewhere herein, are the Mahoning, Hull-Rust, Sellers, Buffalo-Susquehanna, Scranton, Laura, Leetonia, Agnew, Morris, Kerr, Stevenson, Nassau, Philbin, Longyear and Albany.
The incorporated Village of Kitzville came into existence in 1912 after two previous attempts to incorporate the village had been made. The first attempt was made in January, 1911, when a petition which bears the date of January 26, 1911, sought to incorporate as a village the northeast quarter of section 5, township 57-20, represented as wholly platted into lots. The papers were deemed to be irregular by the county attorney. The second attempt was in May of that year. A petition was filed with the county auditor on May 4th, and two days later the county commissioners acted upon it, ordering election to be held at the store of John Dimatteo, lot 4, block 3, townsite of Kitzville, on May 29, 1911. The election resulted in twenty-six voting for incorporation and twenty-nine against.
A petition, dated May 29, 1912, came before the commissioners on July 9th. Election was ordered to be held August 12, 1912, at same place. Thirty-one voted, all in favor of incorporation. Therefore, the corporate existence of Kitzville then began, with village bounds as follows: Northeast quarter, northwest quarter section 4, 57-20; northeast quarter, northeast quarter, section 5, 57-20; southwest quarter, southwest quarter, section 33, 58-20; southeast quarter, southeast quarter, section 32, 58-20.
The village is in School District No. 27. Present village officials are: Matt Kochevar, president; John Meadows, Louis Marolt, James Chiodi, councilmen; Alfred Dimatteo, clerk; Marko. Marolt, treasurer.
Assessed valuation of village is $57,376. Population, 480.
Mahoning (Village of)
A petition was prepared in December, 1915, and dated December 31st, seeking to bring about the incorporation, as the Village of Mahoning, of 998.51 acres of land situated in section two and three of township 57-21, and sections 35 and 34 of township 58-21. Part of the territory had already been platted and the plat filed as the “Plat of Mahoning.” The petition was signed by W. F. Pellenz, Jr., W. C. Northey, R. N. Marble, Jr., J. C. Agnew and thirty-six other residents of the 493 stated to have been the total number of inhabitants on December 28, 1915, and it was adopted by the commissioners at their January, 1916, session, on motion of Commissioner Swanstrom. Election was ordered to take place “at the G. N. R. Depot, section 2, township 57-21,” on Saturday, January 29, 1916.
No report of election was filed with the county auditor and the village has, therefore, no place among the incorporated places of the county. It is not known to present compiler whether election was duly held and the motion defeated, or whether the attempt to incorporate was abandoned.
A petition, dated February 2, 1907, of Charles West and others, freeholders of township sixty-one north of range twenty west, was responsible for the organization soon afterwards of that congressional township, as the Township of Sturgeon.
The petition was filed with the county officials on February 9th, was adopted by the county commissioners on March 7th, and soon after in that year, 1907, the first town meeting was held, the voting place being the schoolhouse designated “No. 2” of School District No. 45.
The township has remained unchanged, as to boundaries, ever since. On the north, it borders on Linden Grove Township, on the east Alango, on the south Fern, and on the west Morcom Township.
It is an agricultural township, with no railway facilities nearer than Angora, about ten miles to the east. The Sturgeon River passes through the township.
In 1907, its assessed valuation was $21,574. In 1919, its valuation was $39,772. In its first year as an organized township its total tax levy was $524.25; in 1919, it was $2,835.74. Originally, it was part of School District No. 45, but now it is served by the Unorganized School District directed by the county school superintendent.
The township pays a school tax of 37.1 mills.
Sturgeon Township had a population of two in 1900; in 1910 there were 135 inhabitants; and in the last census-taking the tabulation was 184. Its development is gradual and permanent.
The township officers in 1920 were: Frank Johnson (chairman), Nestor Vianio and John Ketola, supervisors; Fred Goodell, clerk; Andrew Roine, assessor; Ed. Neimi, treasurer.
The prosperous Township of Toivola was formed in 1911. It was formerly part of the Township of Kelsey, or rather the eastern half was.
A petition was filed with the county auditor on May 4, 1911, by freeholders of the congressional township fifty-four north of range nineteen west, at that time part of the Town of Kelsey, the petition praying that, with township 54-20, it be organized, “as the Township of Toivola,” under the state laws of 1905. A reason stated for the separation of township 54-19 from Kelsey was that the roads were bad, mainly because of an unjust distribution of public funds by the officials of the Town of Kelsey, which at that time had jurisdiction over townships 54-19 and 18.
After some investigation, the commissioners formed the Township of Toivola as asked by petitioners, placing township 54-20 under its administration on July 10, 1911, subject to confirmation at first election, which was ordered to be held on July 29, 1911, at the schoolhouse No. 3, situated on the northeast quarter of section 11, of township 54-20.
They also favorably considered the request for the separation of township 54-19 from the Township of Kelsey, and after hearing remonstrances, detached it from Kelsey and attached the Township to Toivola.
It appears that the first township meeting in the Town of Toivola was held on July 17, 1911, at the residence of Tom Arkkola, township 54-19; but that meeting was declared to be illegal.
The settlers in Toivola Township are mostly of Finnish origin.
They are people of thrifty life, industrious and frugal. They are, therefore, laying the agricultural prosperity of the township upon a firm and permanent basis. Many of the homesteaders of ten years ago are now comparatively independent, having well-developed and very productive farms, the log houses giving way to modern residences of up-to-date standard and large, well-built farm buildings.
There were apparently no inhabitants in the township in 1900; in 1910 there were only eighty-five; but in 1920 the population of the two congressional townships which constitute the limits of Toivola was found to be 427.
Toivola is part of the Unorganized School District, directed by the county school superintendent. The school tax, therefore, is 37.1 mills, probably much less than if Toivola had a separate school district.
The township is well watered; the St. Louis River passes through, as well as tributaries that help to drain the land. The Duluth, Missabe and Northern Railway passes through, with a station at Toivola, in township 54-20, and other railways pass through adjoining townships of Meadowlands, Kelsey and Lavell, which are situated south, east, and north, respectively. Cedar Township borders Toivola on the west.
The township officials in 1920 were: Erick Pistala (chairman), Jacob Rajawouri and Alfred Taipale, supervisors; Jacob Kero, clerk; Henry Saari, assessor; Victor Lahti, treasurer.
Unorganized township fifty-two north of range twenty west, was organized on March 5, 1909, as the Township of Van Buren, by the county commissioners.
The petition, which was signed by J. D. Moore and twenty-three others, was filed with the county auditor on the previous day and the territory having been laid off as “Van Buren,” the first election of township officers was set for March 20th, the place of poling being “the schoolhouse situated on section 29, of township 52-20.” The valuation of the township has increased about one-fourth during the last decade, having now an assessed rating of $86,176.
The increase in taxes levied has, however, been very much greater, being in 1919 $7,204.31, whereas in 1910 the total levy amounted to $2,732.28. The increasing cost of providing public education perhaps is the main reason for increase in taxation, but, of course, that is a necessary and well-returned expenditure. Van Buren is included in the Floodwood school district, which is known as Independent District No. 19 (see Floodwood Township, this chapter). Van Buren pays a school tax of 42.2 mills.
The township had a population of seventy-three in 1900; in 1910 there were 196 inhabitants and in 1920 the population was recorded as 305. It is a steady increase, and represents permanent agricultural development of the territory, which in that respect is comparatively good land. The White Face River passes through the township and several small streams or creeks help to drain the land. The Great Northern Railway almost touches the southwestern corner of Van Buren and the D., M. & N. system is in the next township to the northeast (Meadowlands), so that its products will be able to find ready access to good markets.
The township officials in 1920 were: Fred Wain (chairman), Matt Luoma and John Simi, supervisors; F. W. Hutchinson, clerk; J. Kivisto, assessor; John Mustonen, treasurer.
The Township of Vermilion Lake was formed of township sixty-one north of range sixteen west, in 1913, following the filing (on November 4, 1912) of a petition signed by forty-two voters of that township.
The petition asked that the congressional township in which they lived be organized and known as the Town of “Salmi,” and the paper was given the consideration of the county commissioners at their November 1912 session. Action was, however, deferred until the January session of the board of commissioners. Then the township was set off as an organized area, to be known as “Vermilion,” the commissioners ordering that notices be posted in prominent places throughout the township calling freeholders to the first town meeting of the “Town of Vermilion,” the meeting to take place “at the Town Hall, section 26,” on Tuesday, January 28, 1913. Before election, however, the commissioners advised the townspeople that the town could not be called “Vermilion,” there being (in Dakota County) another township of the same name in the state. It was thereupon decided to call the newly organized township “Vermilion Lake,” although only two sections border that beautiful water. The change of name was made by the commissioners at their February, 1913, session and confirmed by the freeholders.
The township is in its initial stage of settlement, although parts of it have been well-developed during the last few years. However, its valuation has decreased one-fifth since it was organized in 1913. In natural beauty the region is particularly attractive, and the roads are comparatively good. The Duluth and Iron Range Railway passes within a mile or two of its eastern boundary and some of the settlers are making good farming homes.
The township may have mineral wealth, but it is just outside the area in which mining on the Vermilion Range has been undertaken.
There were fourteen people living in the township in 1900; in 1910 the number was 207; in 1920 it had increased to 299. It is too sparsely inhabitated to profitably, or economically, maintain a separate school district; therefore it is included in what is called the Unorganized School District, directed by the county school administration.
The township officials in 1920 were: Henry Simonson (chairman), Sam Holappa and Matt Laitinen, supervisors; Peter Peyla, clerk; Ernest Simonson, assessor; John Johnson, treasurer.
Alleging failure of the Township of Embarrass to construct roads in township 60, north of range 14 west, a majority of the freeholders of that congressional township petitioned the county commissioners, in 1911, to detach that township (60-14) from the Township of Embarrass, and organize it separately as the township of “River.” The petition was sworn to by August Aukrein on April 15, 1911, and filed with the county auditor on the twentieth of that month.
The petition eventually came before the board of commissioners, and was the subject of protracted discussion. Ultimately, the commissioners announced that hearing of remonstrances would be set for November 7, 1911, when they hoped to dispose of the matter.
Either earlier, or on that date, bitter opposition by the residents of township 60-15, the western half of the Township of Embarrass, developed, they being much averse to the movement to detach township 60-14.
The commissioners were unable to decide until February 6, 1912.
Then they decided in favor of the petitioners, and passed a resolution that township 60-14 be detached from the Town of Embarrass, to form another organized township, to be known as “River”; and they ordered election to be held, on February 27, 1912, “at the schoolhouse, No. 5, Dist. 11, sec. 20,” of township 60-14.
On February 8, 1912, the county auditor was advised by the state auditor the name “River” was that of a township in Red Lake County, and that therefore another name must be chosen. The freeholders of the newly organized town asked the commissioners to select one of three names suitable to them: Joki, Waasa, or Oulu; therefore, on March 6th the county board selected the name of “Waasa.” As that the township has since been recorded.
An attempt was made in December, 1916, to annex unorganized township 60-13 to the Township of Waasa, a petition to that effect being prepared by Jack Kero and others. The motion to annex was lost at the meeting of the board of commissioners on June 7, 1917, and it was unorganized territory until 1920.
Waasa is settled principally by agriculturists of Finnish origin, who perhaps are the pioneers best fitted to develop such territory.
The population, according to the 1920 census, is 318, and the assessed valuation of the township is $34,870. It is in what is known as the Unorganized School District, that directed by the county administration, a system economical yet adequate for sparsely populated regions. There are two schoolhouses in the township, one on section 20, and the other on section 11.
The township officials are: Sam Heikkila (chairman), Emanuel Isaacson and Nikolai Kari, supervisors; August Anderson, clerk; J. Rautia, assessor; Thom Koskela, treasurer.
The Township of White embraces three congressional townships, 57, 58, and 59 north, of range 15 west, and it comes into history as one of the important mining townships of the county.
Aurora, its chief incorporated place will be given a separate chapter, and its mining history will be reviewed elsewhere, this chapter dealing mainly with township organization records.
The Township of White was organized in 1906, a petition dated September 20, 1906, and signed by Charles R. Hill and others living in townships 57, 58, and 59 north, range 15 west, appealing to the county commissioners to set off that, then unorganized, territory as the organized Township of White.
The matter came before the county commissioners at their October, 1906, session, and met with their approval. They ordered the first town meeting to be held “at the Village Hall, Aurora,” on October 27th, the election date being later changed to November 7, 1906, then the organization of the township was completed.
The township then had an assessed valuation of $1,120,457. In 1919, the assessed valuation had increased to $9,797,502. And the taxes increased from $21,784.66 in 1906 to $557,908.88, in 1919. These figures are exclusive of those of the incorporated village of Aurora, the assessed valuation of which in 1919 was almost $3,000,000, upon which the tax levy was $234,845.04 in 1919. It will therefore be seen that White is one of the important townships of the county.
The federal census showed that in 1900 only seven people were resident in the township; in 1910 there were 1,036 inhabitants; and in 1920 slightly less, the census showing only 862. However, these figures are exclusive of those for the Village of Aurora, which maintains an increase in population for the township. Aurora’s population in 1910 was 1,919; in 1920 it had increased to 2,809, with prospects of steady continuance in growth.
Aurora was incorporated in 1903, and is the only incorporated place in the township. However, an attempt was made, in 1913, to secure corporate powers for another place in the township. A petition was circulated among the residents of Pineville, section 6, of township 58-15, in February of that year, and was signed by many people. The document ultimately reached the county offices, but was declared to be irregular by the county attorney, who found that the unplatted part of the land petitioners sought to include in the limits of the incorporated village did not adjoin the platted portion. The county commissioners considered the petition at their March session, but took no action, and before they next met, certain signers of the petition notified the commissioners of their wish to withdraw their signatures. The commissioners therefore rejected the petition at the next meeting.
Among the important mining properties of the township are the St. James, Miller, Mohawk, Meadow, Fowler, Bangor, Stephens, and Perkins mines. More is written elsewhere regarding them, and mining is, of course, the chief industry of the township and will be for many years.
The officials of the Township of White in 1920 were: Erick Erickson, (chairman); Anton Skubic and E. T. Sandberg, supervisors; O. F. Halstrom, clerk; Victor Rebrovich, assessor; Aug. Mattson, treasurer.
Township 63 north, range 20 west, was detached from the Township of Linden Grove, in February, 1916, to form the Township of Willow Valley, which had been erected by the county commissioners on February 4th of that year, in response to petition of John Ostlund, A. P. Olson, M. Peterson, and others of that township.
The petition was filed at the county auditor’s office on December 30, 1915, and was discussed by the commissioners at their January meeting. They favored the detaching of township 63-20 from Linden Grove, and called for a stating of any objections by interested persons to such action by them, fixing February 4th for a hearing of such. On that day they granted the petition, and ordered the first town meeting of the township of Willow Valley to be held on February 19, 1916, “at Schoolhouse No. 20, situated in section 15, of township 63-20.” Election was apparently held on that date, and organization has since been maintained, with the same boundaries and powers. During the last few years there has been a slight increase in the valuation of the township, and in all probability it will steadily go forward to full agricultural development. No population was reported in 1910, and in 1920 there were 180 people living in the township, the families being those of legitimate homesteaders.
Its school affairs are directed by the county school staff, the township paying a school tax of 37.1 mills, and a total levy of 71.2 mills for all purposes.
Township officials, 1920: Aug. Grund (chairman), Esa Teppo and Wm. Carlson, supervisors; Oscar Hanson, clerk; A. P. Olson, assessor; Magnus Peterson, treasurer.
The Township of Wuori, the limits of which are those of congressional township 59-17, was organized in 1908, and seems to have just missed being one of the important mining townships.
The township is, apparently, just on the fringe of the rich mining area of the Mesabi Range, and had a couple of good mining properties in the extreme southern tier of sections, but its southern border adjoins what is known as the “Sliver,” which name well describes the strip of unorganized territory that lies between the townships of Wuori and Missabe Mountain. One writer thus refers to the Sliver:
Some of the early surveys were formal enough. There was the Virginia Sliver, for example, so called because whoever surveyed 58-17 neglected to hook up his lines with the boundaries of 59-17, which had been previously run on the north. It left a gap of no-man’s land, five miles long east and west, and nearly a quarter of a mile wide at the western end, tapering to nothing on the east. And as that happened to contain some millions of tons of iron ore, it gave rise to one of the prettiest bits of litigation this country has seen.
The addition of the “Sliver” to Wuori would have materially increased its importance, from a mining point of view. Still, the Ordean Mine has yielded a million tons of ore, and possibly other good mines will develop when there is need of the ore.
The township was formed in 1908, following the presenting of a petition, which bears date of April 29, 1908, to the county commissioners, who considered the document at their session of May of that year. They approved the petition at that meeting, and passed resolution to organize township 59-17 as the Township of “Hill,” that being the wish of the petitioners. The first town meeting was ordered to be held “at the Homestead School House on section 10, township 59-17,” on May 25th, and presumably was held.
Later, it became necessary to find another name for the new township, there being another “Hill” township in the state (in Kittson County); and when this became known to the commissioners they fell back upon the name first written into the petition, and named the township “Wuori,” although they had earlier been of the opinion that such a name would be too unusual to be advisable.
When the township was organized in 1908, Wuori had an assessed valuation of $242,244, and in that year the taxes totalled to $3,052.27. In 1919, the valuation had become reduced to $90,362.
The Ordean Mine shows practically no more ore available, and the Allan Mine has not been worked since 1914.
Nevertheless, in some respects, Wuori Township is advancing.
It is gradually being settled, and there are some good farms in the township, which in 1920 was shown to have a population of 296, an increase of 74 over the 1910 census.
The Virginia school district, known as Independent School District No. 22, has jurisdiction throughout Wuori Township, which is debited a school tax of only 16.4 mills. Some rural school districts pay as high as 37 mills. The history of the Virginia school district will be reviewed with the general history of that city.
The officials of Wuori Township in 1920 were: Ed. Arvola (chairman), Emil Wittanen and Wm. Rekonen, supervisors; Antti Heikkila, clerk; Alex Niemi, assessor; Sam Lampi, treasurer.