This township was organized in March, 1872, and the first township election was held on the 12th day of that month at the log cabin of J. B. Simmons on Section 10 of that township.
The first set of township officers were:
Chairman of board of supervisors, J. W. Brown; supervisors, W. J. Martin, Eugene Holyoke; township clerk, Stephen Woodworth; treasurer, Joseph H. Abbey; assessor; C. H. Sturtevant;
The first settlers were:
Edward McDonough, on southwest quarter Section 18, in June 1st, 1870; William McDonough, on northwest quarter Section 18, in Sept. 5th, 1870; Lars Eckland, on northwest quarter Section 30, in Sept., 1870; David Mix, on southwest quarter Section 6, in October 1870.
O. V. Mix, on Section 6, in Oct., 1870; S. B. Dexter, on northwest quarter Section 6, in May 30th, 1871; Sylvester Moore, on Section 6, in June 14th, 1871; Steven Woodworth, on northwest quarter Section 18, in July 1st, 1871; Charles H. Sturtevant, on southwest quarter Section 4, in August 5th, 1871; Marshall J. Lewis, on southwest quarter Section 10, in August 29th, 1871; J. B. Simmons, on northwest quarter, Section 10, in September 10th, 1871; James W. Brown, on northeast quarter, Section 4, in 1871; John Rutterman, on northeast quarter, Section 14, in 1871; George Martin, in 1871; John Whalen, on Section 14, in 1871. Anthony Miller, on southeast quarter, Section 12, in 1871; Martin H. Gerry, on northwest quarter, Section 4, in 1871; John McGilvery, on Section 22, in 1871; Harvey Judd, on northeast quarter, Section 8, in 1871; Charles Harvey, in 1871; Thomas Corbett, on southeast quarter, Section 20, in September, 1871; Eugene Holyoke, in 1871; Daniel Webster, on northeast quarter, Section 12, in 1871; James Dupue, Section 22, in 1871; Nels Munson, on southeast quarter, Section 6, in 1871; Thomas Glenn, on Section 22, in 1871; W. H. Martin, on Section 22, in 1871.
The township was first named Lakeville at the suggestion of Mrs. C. H. Sturtevant, but there being another township by that name in the state, Mrs. Sturtevant suggested Lakeview and that name was chosen, as there were so many lakes in the township and so many pretty views of them.
The first white woman to settle in the Lakeview Township was Mrs. David Mix, who came into the township the 15th of May, 1871.
The first white child born in Lakeview Township was Nellie Mix, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. David Mix, who was born on the 24th day of August, 1871.
The first Lakeview people to get married were James Hanson and Miss Annis Mix, who was married by Rev. J. E. Wood on the 22nd of October, 1871. This was also the first marriage of white people in Becker County.
The first people two died in the township were Mr. and Mrs. John Rutterman, an account of which is here given in an extract from the Detroit Record of June 29th, 1872:
BY CAPT. JOSEPH ABBEY.
I came to Becker County July 1st, 1871, and took a pre-emption on the southwest quarter of Section 14, of Lakeview Township, built a good log house and cleared about twenty acres, the land being mostly covered with oak timber. In March, 1872, I went back to Michigan and got married, and brought my wife home to Becker County. We arrived in Detroit on the 11th of April, a town then mostly of tents. When we got off the cars they were in a snow cut from eight to ten feet high on either side, with side cuts to get through into the city. My wife gave a sigh and asked if we had not about come to the jumping off place. We went straight home to Lakeview, where we resided until November, 1873, being one of the pioneer families.
We had pleasant times, being surrounded soon afterwards by other families, among which were those of Eugene Holyoke, M. J. Lewis, J. B. Simmons and Thomas Glenn, the steam shovel man, also a man by the name of George Martin and another by the name of James Depue on the northwest quarter of Section 15.
The woods abounded with deer and other game such as bear, lynx, a few elk, and wolves were very numerous. I have seen dozens of them in packs on Detroit Lake, when I have been crossing on the ice to Detroit village. Prairie chickens, partridges and grouse were plentiful, and wild ducks too numerous to mention. I have seen them by the thousands on the lake called by my name, adjoining my old place, and when they would rise to fly they would make a noise like a train of cars. I sold my place to a man by the name of Dor, and he soon afterwards sold it to Arthur Beach. I was out of the state until the fall of 1882 when I came back to Becker County.
Captain Abbey was a member of the 4th Michigan Cavalry, commanded by Col. Pritchard, the regiment that captured Jeff. Davis.
The First School.
The first school in Lakeview Township was taught by Miss Nellie Childs of Detroit. She says:
Thomas Corbett was born in Nova Scotia, September 22nd, 1821. His parents were George and Susan Corbett. He as married in Milford, Mass., December 25th, 1850, by the Rev. Mr. Pond, pastor of the Congregational church to Miss Rachael Fisher, who was born in Emsdale, Nova Scotia, February 18th, 1831. Mr. Corbett came to Becker County in September, 1871, and located in Lakeview the same year in the fall. The following July his family came and they commenced to clear up the farm on the banks of Lake Melissa. Corbett and the boys cut out the first road down through Lakeview, from the bridge crossing of the Pelican River to near Buck's mill.
By hard work he managed with strict economy to live through the first ten year of hard times and grasshoppers. In 1881, the county began to be settled up and the general business of the county picked up, but the first ten year will always be remembered by old settlers as the hardest of their experience in the county. Mr. Corbett died April 17th, 1888.
David Mix was born in the state of New York on the 18th of October, 1828. He afterwards went to Laporte County, Indiana, where he resided for many years. He and Mrs. Mix were married in Laporte County on the 27th day of February, 1850, and made their home in Lakeview, Becker County, in the spring of 1871. Eleven children were born to them and grew to maturity. They were Annis, Orison, Charles, Frank, Capitola, Lilly, Louisa, Josephine, Frederick, Nellie and Grace.
Mr. Mix spent the last few years of his life in the village of Detroit where he died on the 16th of June, 1893.
John B. Simmons.
John B. Simmons was born in Foster, Rhode Island, June 26th, 1820. He was married to Miss Amy Young, January 6th, 1842. They were the parents of five children, on of which afterwards became Mrs. Marshall J. Lewis, who came to Lakeview with her parents in September, 1871.
Mr. Simmons died in Massachusetts in January, 1907, aged 87 years.
Silas S. Joy.
In all the world there cannot be found a more beautiful chain of lakes than that of which Detroit Lake is the northern link and which stretches away southwest to Pelican Rapids in Otter Tail County, a distance of nearly forty miles. The lakes in the chain differ widely in size and form. All have beautiful timbered shores, fine sandy beaches and are liberally bestrewn with beauty spots -- ideal places for summer homes. The journey through them is one of constant variety and never ending interest; stretches of lake, all too short to admit of monotony, alternate with little stretches of river winding through the timbered hills, meadows and fields of the beautiful Pelican valley. It is no wonder that in the very earliest day of pioneerdom there were schemes of opening these lakes to navigation by putting in locks and enlarging the channels connecting them so that boats might pass from lake to lake.
A company was organized in 1876, at Detroit, with John A. Bowman, president; F. W. Dunton, of New York, vice president; C. P. Wilcox, secretary; and A. H. Wilcox, treasurer and chief engineer, but nothing seems to have ever been done by this company.
Articles of incorporation of the "Detroit Lake and Pelican River Slack Water Navigation Company" were published in the Detroit Record during the summer of 1882. Under these articles it was proposed to construct and operate a water route with all necessary appurtenances from some point on Detroit Lake in the County of Becker to Breckenridge in the County of Wilkin, via the Pelican and Otter Tail rivers. Lake Lida was also included in the scheme. Detroit was name as the principal place for the transaction of business. The capital stock was placed at two hundred and fifty thousand dollars and the list of incorporators were as follows: John A. Bowman, Detroit Minn.; Home E. Sargent and Nathan Corwith, Chicago, Ill.; Randolph L. Frazee, Frazee, Minn.; William A. Kindred, Fargo, D. T.; E. G. Holmes and A. H. Wilcox, Detroit, Minnesota. Nothing was done by this corporation in the way of improving the channels connecting the chain of lakes in question, nor were any further steps taken to construct such water-way for a number of years. During the summer of 1888, a new corporation was organized with George D. Hamilton, Jeff. H. Irish, and John K. West as incorporators. The work of building the water-way commenced under this company on the 1st day of Sept., 1888, with Thomas Richmond as foreman. A small dam was built at the outlet of Detroit Lake, which stopped the flow of the stream and permitted the lowering of the channel to Muskrat Lake. At this time there was difference in level of four feet, eleven inches between Muskrat and Detroit Lakes and of twelve inches between Muskrat and Lake Sallie, making the total fall from Detroit Lake to Lake Sallie, five feet eleven inches. The Pelican River was a shallow, crooked, brook-like stream through which it was very difficult to move a small row boat. A dam was placed across this stream below the outlet of Muskrat Lake and a cut made through the bank into Lake Sallie in which a lock was built. Work was continued until stopped by cold weather. In the following spring the dam at outlet of Detroit Lake was removed and a channel dredged out into the lake, the channel between Lake Sallie and Melissa deepened and made navigable. This was accomplished by means of temporary dams which held the water in the lakes and permitted the pumping out of the channels so that the dredging could be done with scrapers, shovel and wheelbarrows. Permission was obtained from the town of Lakeview to raise the bridges so a to permit the passing of boats and the channel was continued to Buck's dam, south of Lake Melissa.
Late in the summer of 1889, the twin screw steamer, "Lady of the Lakes," was put in service and towed a quantity of wood from the banks of Muskrat Lake to the railroad siding on the shore of Detroit Lake two miles east of Detroit, and now known as the "Ice Track." This wood was loaded on scows and the steamer "Lady of the Lakes" made regular daily trips from Detroit to Lake Melissa, and the cottage settlement in the vicinity received a considerable start. After the cottage season was over the steamer was used to tow cordwood from Buck's dam to the railroad until winter stopped the work. For a number of years this same thing continued. Each season the towing of wood and logs was carried on until the price of timber at Buck's dam became so high as to leave no profit in the undertaking. No towing has been done since 1899, but the boats have run regularly throughout the summer season carrying passengers to and from the cottage settlements on the lower lakes, making three trips daily and carrying a large number of passengers. It has been an is now the intention of the Navigation Company to extend the improvements of the channels connecting the other lakes in the chain until all are made navigable. This will be done as fast as business will warrant.
by John K. West.