PLAINVIEW VILLAGE AND TOWNSHIP
Pages 56 ~ 68
From the book
"HISTORY OF WABASHA COUNTY, MINNESOTA"
Compiled by Franklyn Curtiss-Wedge and Others
Published Winona, MN by H. C. Cooper, Jr., & Co., 1920
Republished Currently by Higginson Books
Plainview, the metropolis of Greenwood Prairie, is located in the town of the same name. It
is a noted shipping center for the shipping of farm produce, a fact which makes the land in this
vicinity sell at a higher price than any other rural land in the state. The village is well laid out,
with broad streets, flourishing business houses, and comfortable homes surrounded with well-kept
lawns beautified with trees and shrubbery. The village has two banks, a good hotel, a flourishing
newspaper, two elevators, several produce concerns, a creamery, a stock shipping association, a
canning factory, a pickling station, and the usual business houses. The municipal improvements
include a city hall, a public library, a projected park, waterworks and electric light service. The
school is an excellent one, and adds much to the beauty of the village. Five churches are
represented here, the German Lutheran, congregational, Methodist Episcopal, Christian and
Catholic. The leading fraternities and ladies' organizations also flourish here.
Plainview City Hall
Webmaster's note: I remember this building well. The library was
upstairs and the librarian kept several huge Christmas cactuses there. The room smelled like oiled
wood floors and old books, a delicious combination. There is now a new city hall with the bell
from the old building mounted in the front yard. There is also a fine new library and public rooms
one street over from Main Street.
1910 ~ 1975
Plainview Village had its beginning in the spring of 1856, when J. Y. Blackwell, an Iowa
lawyer, arrived with his family, and erected a structure, half logs and half boards, near the
southeast corner of Broadway and Jefferson streets. Mr. Blackwell was a man of some means,
and he saw the possibilities of making this point a stopping place for those traveling from
Mississippi river landing places to the rich farm lands further south and east. Consequently he set
about getting out timbers for a hotel. This building, which occupied the southwest corner of
Broadway and Washington streets, the present site of the Plainview Hotel, was opened for the
accommodation of the public July 4, 1856. Ozias Wilcox arrived that summer and bought from
Hugh Wiley forty acres in section 8. On this property, directly north of the hotel, on the
northwest corner of Broadway and Washington, he built a combined residence and store. David
Von Wort put up a carpenter shop, and ____ Bray a blacksmith shop. A few others, Edwin
Chapman, Lloyd Yale, David Ackley and Dr. Federal C. Gibbs had land nearby, and Levi Ormsby
had a claim shanty a half mile to the west. These named, some of whom were single, and a few of
whom had their families with them, constituted the population of this immediate vicinity when the
terrible winter of 1856-57 set in.
In November, 1856, came a terrific snow storm followed by other storms, and the snow
lay some four feet deep on the level until the following April. In some places the snow sweeping
over the prairies, found the little shacks their only obstruction, and buried them in a mountain of
snow. Communication with the outside world was cut off. There were no news, no letters, no
visitors, and few comforts. The people near the village were therefore decidedly better off than
the scattered settlers in the more isolated cabins on the prairie, for they had the well-stocked store
of Mr. Wilcox from which to secure provisions. The winds sweeping around the corners of this
building cleaned a small court about it, leaving sheer white walls, hard and icy, wising to the
crust-covered snow of the general level. Into this icy wall, steps were cut, giving means of
entrance and exit to the court and the store until the warm weather of the next April enveloped
the landscape in slush. This severity of the winter disheartened many of the people in the
settlement. But the beautiful spring brought encouragement, many indeed lacked the means to try
their fortunes elsewhere, and consequently but few of the settlers moved away. Mr. Blackwell,
the first settler, however, shrank from the hardships of another winter, and after assisting in
platting the village, disposed of his holdings and returned to Iowa. Other settlers, however, came
in, and before another winter dawned, the little hamlet was materially increased.
The village was platted as Centerville in the summer of 1857 by J. Y. Blackwell, Ozias
Wilcox, T. A. Thompson, Lloyd Yale and Federal C. Gibbs. Another Minnesota village having
chosen that name, however, the cognomen of the new village was changed to Plainview, a name
appropriate to its position on the watershed of the Zumbrota and Whitewater rivers.
For a time the village had a rival in Greenville, afterward Greenwood, two and a half
miles east. But Greenville was within the limits of the Half-Breed Tract, land titles were
somewhat uncertain, investors were not attracted and after a while the discouraged promoters
gave up the fight, and the business was transferred to Plainview.
In the next twenty years, Plainview became a place of considerable importance, as the
shipping, banking and religious center of a rich farming community. No railroads connected the
village with the outside world. The shipping and receiving points were towns on the Mississippi.
But buyers brought grain here, a bank did a flourishing business, the stores kept a good stock of
goods, the hotel did a thriving business, and the stage coach was always well filled with
passengers to and from Plainview.
In 1877 came a tragedy which is still the subject of many exciting stories among the old
settlers. On January 22 of that year, Frank Hathaway, aged 24, the son of a Highland Township
framer, shot and killed Nettie Slayton, who had refused to marry him. He immediately made an
unsuccessful attempt to kill himself. Three days later he was taken from a room in the Plainview
Hotel, and hanged to a tree in the back yard. The hanging was done by an orderly group of
masked men, supposedly substantial citizens, and no effort was ever made to apprehend or punish
The railroad was completed to Plainview in 1878, and thus furnished a railroad outlet
for the growing business of the village.
Webmaster's note: When I was a little girl, my grandfather took me to
the train depot to see the engine up close. I remember being terrified by its enormous size and by
the steam coming from it. The train came from Elgin to Plainview. Since there was no
roundhouse, it went back to Elgin in reverse. I don't know where, if ever, the engine turned
around. Now the old train track has been turned into a beautiful hiking track, a wonderful way to
preserve the past while accommodating the present.
1914 ~ 1969
The special issue of the Plainview News of February 22, 1870, gives an excellent word
picture of Plainview as it was a few months after the arrival of the railroad. The village had
perhaps 900 people, although a hopeful estimate of 1,200 was made. It contained 176
comfortable residences, and 47 business houses. It had a railroad station, a graded school and a
good postoffice. The churches were the Methodist Episcopal, the Congregational and the
Christian. The lodges were Plainview Lodge, No. 16, I.O.O.F., organized December 26, 1866;
Illustrious Lodge, No. 63, A.F.&A.M., organized December 29, 1866; Plainview Lodge, No. 21,
Ancient Order of United Workmen, organized August 18, 1877; and Plainview Society,
Independent Order of Good Templars, organized in November, 1878. The first three met in the
hall over F. J. Cornwall's store on Broadway, and the last met in the schoolhouse.
There were four physicians, Fr. N. S. Tefft, who commenced practicing on Greenwood
Prairie from Minneiska, in 1856, and moved to Plainview in 1861; Dr. J. P. Waste, who located at
Plainview in 1865; Dr. F. H. Roberts, a homeopath, who came to Minnesota in 1868 and engaged
in practice in Plainview in 1871; and Dr. E. C. Davis, who engaged in practice in Plainview in
1876. Dr. M. E. Tabor, the only dentist, started practice in Plainview in 1874, the first of his
profession to this village. There were two lawyers, H. P. Wilson, who came to Plainview in 1856,
and J. F. Pope, who started practice here May 19, 1874. G. L. Robinson, not an admitted lawyer,
also started a law and collection business in 1879. The two veterinarians were J. H. French and
O. D. Curtis.
The Plainview Hotel, established in 1856, had been burned in 1877. It was immediately
rebuilt by John Bigham, who had been its proprietor since 1868. The Plainview Bank was in the
hands of Amerland & La Rue. It had been established in 1865.
Four general store catered to the mercantile business. G. J. Cornwall started business
with John Taylor in the spring of 1866 and became the sole owner in July, 1876. William Koenig
started business in May, 1867. W. F. Robinson succeeded J. R. McLaughlin in April, 1866.
Whiting & Co. started in October, 1878, about the time of the building of the railroad. The
hardware business was handled by C. C. Cornwall & Son, dating back to 1865 and Douglas &
Co., dating back to 1876.
There were two drug stores, the Pioneer Drug Co., in the hands of Landon & Burchard
since August, 1874, employed C. C. Clement, George Landon and A. French. The Little Drug
Store, owned by P. A. Goddard and Co., the firm consisting of P. A. Goddard and Drs. Tefft and
Waste, and employing George Pegley, was established by T. G. Bolton in April 1877. J. R.
Watkins was manufacturing Dr. Ward's proprietary articles, as well as extracts and essences.
Julius Frickey, even at that time one of the oldest business houses in town, had been
established as early as 1860. He did general harness making and dealt in leather goods. J. W.
Reifkogel, engaged in the same line, established his business in 1871. John Thom, shoemaker and
dealer, established himself in February, 1875, and Henry Hinz at about the same time. A. R.
Nelson established his tailor shop in 1876, and J. Welshans not far from the same time.
Kellom & Company, established in January, 1868, and M. Lambie, who started in
November, 1877, carried on the millinery business. B. F. Leininger first engaged in the jewelry
business in 1870 and C. M. Allen engaged in the same line November 1, 1878. A. D. Wyant
established a photograph gallery in March, 1876. T. J. Wadleigh & Son opened a furniture store
in May, 1877.
The grocery business was handled by four concerns. Lawton Brothers, consisting of W.
and I. P. Lawton, and employing C. S. Lawton, was established in November, 1867. Henry
Potter opened his establishment in February, 1873. F. E. Dodge succeeded G. F. Gregg in
February, 1879. C. A. Orr, who had a bakery in connection, started about 1878. There were two
dealers in agricultural implements, John McArthur, established in 1873, and McLaughlin & Lynch,
established in 1878.
The Brooks Brothers started buying wheat in December, 1876, their local representative
being George McKinney. Whiting & Woodruff built their elevator in the late fall of 1878 at the
time of the arrival of the railroad. Brooks Brothers also had a lumber yard in charge of George
McKinney. T. G. Bolton, the other dealer, started about the time of the arrival of the railroad.
The Plainview Flouring Mill was established in 1869 by C. T. Allaire, but in 1879 had passed into
the hands of the Plainview Mill Co.
Ezra Feller established a livery business April 29, 1878. A. Davey started a billiard hall
May 28, 1872, and C. C. Maxwell in August, 1877. Both sold fancy groceries in connection with
their establishments. Weikel & Fedder established a meat market in 1862. Charles Welshans
commenced barbering in Plainview August, 1872. Fitch & Abbott succeeded George Smith late
Henry Horton, established in the fall of 1864; C. C. Maxwell established in August,
1866; B. R. Lee, established September 17, 1878, were conducting wagon-making shops. H. D.
Adams, established in April, 1876, and George Stratton, were doing sign and carriage painting.
Four blacksmiths were doing business, S. Purvis, J. Springer, A. Pomeroy and Hardy & Son,
three of the concerns having started in 1865, and one, J. Springer, in March, 1876. Among the
carpenters were Carroll & Clark, J. W. Marcyes, D. Z. Taylor (my
great-grandfather) and Abe Gaskill.
It is interesting to note that in 1919, the two leading mercantile concerns of that day are
still in existence. The F. J. Cornwall & Co. store is managed by T. A. Askew, and the William
Koenig has recently been succeeded by the Schad Mercantile Co. The harness business is in the
hands of the same families, the two establishments being conducted by Albert J. Frickey and
William Reifkogel. Nearly all the establishments are the direct successors of the establishments of
1879 but have changed hands.
Plainview was first incorporated as a village, in the spring of 1875. The first officers
were E. b. Eddy, president; Charles Weld, Dr. J. P. Waste and William Lawton, trustees; A. C.
Cornwall, recorder; Rodman Burchard, treasurer; and A. B. W. Norton, justice of the peace. In
1878 the incorporation was abandoned in order that the village might vote with the township on
the question of issuing bonds for the building of the railroad from Eyota to Plainview.
The village has two wells. The older well was drilled in 1895. It has an 8-inch diameter
tube down to the rock, and then a 6-inch hole in the rock to the underlying sand strata. The
average yield of water is 31 gallons a minute. The newer well was drilled in 1898. It has 60 feet
of 12-inch casing to the lime rock, 300 feet of 10-inch casing through lime rock and loose sand,
and an 8-inch drilled hole in blue sand rock. The total depth is 697 feet partly filled to a depth of
about 50 feet through dropping cylinders and drop to the water is 240 feet. The capacity is 56.5
gallons a minute. The tank is of wood construction, elevated on an 80-foot steel tower. The tank
has a mean diameter of 22 feet 9 inches, and a capacity of 60,000 gallons. The mains consist of
some 25,000 feet of 4- and 6-inch pipes.
Plainview State Bank was established in 1865, and conducted as a private bank known
as the "Eddy Bank" until 1878. From that year until 1884 it was known as the Henry Amerland
Bank. In 1884 J. H. Davis, Jr., secured control and in 1885 erected the bank building, which in
1916 was enlarged and made to include the post office building. On July 1, 1906, it was
incorporated with a capital of $30,000, by E. L. Sylvester, G. F. Sylvester and Wilhelm Uecker,
who were also the officers and directors. In 1908 A. S. Kennedy entered the bank as assistant
cashier and in 1911 G. A. Stoltz also became assistant cashier. The institution is a member of the
State Bankers' Association. A recent statement showed, in addition to its capital of $30,000,
surplus and profits of $30,000, and deposits of about $900,000.
The First National Bank of Plainview was incorporated May 14, 1902, by A. L. Ober,
Joseph Underleak, F. G. Shumway, Geo. N. Wedge and Frank L. Meachum, who were also the
first directors. A. L. Ober was president and F. G. Shumway cashier. The bank opened for
business July 1, 1902. The building was purchased from A. F. Rockwell, hotel keeper, and was
formerly used for a sample-room in connection with the hotel. A. L. Ober remained president
until January 15, 1908, being followed by M. D. Fuller, who held the office to January 15, 1908,
being followed by M. D. Fuller, who held the office to January 15, 1917, since which time J. I.
Vermilya has filled it. F. G. Shumway was cashier to November 13, 1906; M. D. Fuller,
November 13, 1906 to January 15, 1908; Amos Boie, January 15, 1908, to August 1, 1910; Matt
T. Duerre, September 7, 1910, to January 13, 1920; Geo. H. Vermilya, January 13, 1920 to date.
Vice-presidents: Andrew French, January 13, 1903, to January 9, 1906; J. J. Reiter, January 9,
1906, to January 15, 1910; James R. Wedge, January 15, 1910, to January 14, 1913; H. D.
Wedge, January 14, 1913, to January 9, 1917; Miller T. Bolton, January 9, 1917, to March 10,
1920; Mead Vermilya, March 10, 1920, to the present time. Assistant cashiers: Ralph C. Wedge,
January 13, 1903, for one year; W. W. Wedge, January 16, 1904, one year; Amos Boie, May 1,
1907, to January 15, 1908; Grover C. Tock, June 1, 1910, to March, 1914; John Fisk, July 18,
1914, to July 22, 1915; Geo. H. Vermilya, August 19, 1915, to January 13, 1920; Arthur W.
Wempner, from January 13, 1920 to date. The First National is known as "The bank that gives
personal service." It has a capital stock (incorporated) of $25,000.00, and its statement of
condition, issued February 28, 1920, showed a surplus and undivided profits of $7,767.38, with
deposits of $350,028.40.
The excellent school system of Plainview dates back to 1858, when a school was
established in David Van Wort's carpenter shop in the village. A young Vermonter named Hale
was the teacher. The next schoolhouse was a small building which had previously been occupied
as an office and drug store by Federal C. Gibbs. A school building was erected on the public
square in 1867. This was a two-story structure and cost about $15,000. The school was then
divided into five departments, High school, Grammar school, two Intermediates, and a Primary
Plainview Public School
The first newspaper ever issued in Plainview was the Plainview Enterprise, a half-patent,
six-column folio, issued several weeks in the early part of 1864 for campaign purposes by M. E.
And M. Stevens of Wabasha.
1903 ~ 1924
The Plainview News dates from Nov. 16, 1874, and was issued by T. G. Bolton. It was
a six-column folio, printed at Wabasha, and issued monthly as an advertising medium for Mr.
Bolton's drug business. F. A. Wilson became the proprietor in 1877, and issued the first weekly
number April 18, 1877. Just how he counted Mr. Bolton's previous issues is somewhat uncertain,
as the notable edition of Saturday, Feb. 22, 1879, of which a number of copies are still in
existence, is designated Vol. 3, No. 8.
In June, 1877, the Plainview News printing office was established. April 1, 1878, H. J.
Bryon purchased the paper and six months later sold a half interest to Ed. A. Paradis, who in
April, 1882, became the sole proprietor.
The Methodist Episcopal Church of Plainview was
organized about the year 1855-7, and the records of this organization that have been preserved go
back to the year 1859. The first minister in charge was the Rev. O. P. Crawford, who was
succeeded by the following in order: John Quigley, D. Kidder, and Benjamin Crist. The average
pastorate of ministers during the early history of the church seemed to be two years. Among
those who served the church as ministers in the early days, and who are still members of the
Minnesota conference, are the following: Rev. S. W. Rice, H. G. Bilbie, G. F. Wells, Peter Clare,
Frank Cowgill and Alfred Cressy. The names of those who were first baptised in the church and
recorded are Jeshua Davies and John B. Davies, baptised October 21, 1860, and on June 1, the
following year, the names are recorded of Edwin L. Sylvester, Hattie Alice Sylvester, and Herbert
Irving Yetter. Oliver P. Light was the officiating minister and the witnesses were G. W. Sylvester
and E. L. Ball. The names of a large number of the old settlers appear, most of whom have been
called to the other world. The first names to appear on the record as members of the church are
Hiram Allen and Phobe Allen, the former was a local deacon. One of the first class leaders was
George W. Sylvester. The name of S. McLaughlin also appears as one of the early class leaders.
The oldest member of the church died on May 12, 1920, Mrs. Jane Rock, who was in her
ninety-third year and had been a member of the church for more than fifty years. In the record of
marriages the names of Andrew G. Crawford and Maria A. Baston appear, the parties being
united by the Rev. Ezra Trecker, Nov. 14, 1860. It is evident that Plainview was a large circuit
during the early days of its history, as the preachers traveled over quite a territory and record
many places at which they conducted services. The church was built in the year 1860 but was
remodeled, and a large additional front added during the ministry of the Rev. W. M. Gillies.
There are six memorial windows in this commodious structure as a tribute to the memories,
respectively, of Mrs. T. G. Bolton, Arthur J. Carrol, James Lynch, Samuel McLaughlin, Rev. W.
M. Gillis, and The Van Dyke Chapter of the Epworth League. The remodeled building was
dedicated in 1894. The present parsonage was built in the year 1890 and both buildings are
located on Jefferson Street, S. W., and just one block from Main Street. The church is one of the
oldest landmarks of this old community. It has had a great history, and some of its members have
entered into Christian work in other places, and some are mistresses in Methodist parsonages in
other fields of labor. Miss Mary Bolton, and active member in the church, served as
superintendent at the Grenoble Orphanage in France in 1919-20. She will return in the fall of
1920 to take up her duties in the same home. A Service Flag with 31 stars, 3 of which were gold,
was taken down July 4. The Bolton family have been earnest workers in the church for many
years, and Mr. T. G. Bolton, who passed away in 1917, was a member of the official board for
many years. The oldest living member of the church is Mrs. Orrilla Colby, who is in her
eighty-second year, and has been an active member of the church since 1870. The Horns,
Washburns, Woods, Boltons, Hassags, the La Craft and Carlton families, the Rocks and others
well known in this community have proved loyal and faithful workers, and many are still in the
marching ranks. The present pastor of this historical church is the Rev. R. Prescott.
Webmaster's note: The Methodist churches of Elgin and
Plainview joined congregations during the 1990's and built Peace United Methodist Church
between the two villages. Since then, the Methodist church house in Plainview has become the Plainview Area History Center.
The Plainview Congregational Church ~ The first
services of this church were held in the building known as the Wilcox Hall, and were conducted
by the Rev. Mr. Cochrane of Elgin. The church was organized on Wednesday, October 7, 1863,
by a council assembled at the schoolhouse and composed of the following persons: Rev. C.
Shedd, minister of Mantorville; Rev. Yoth, delegate from St. Charles; R. C. Stillman, delegate
from Elgin; I. C. Stearns, delegate from Zumbrota; Rev. D. Burt, minister from Winona; Rev. L.
N. Woodruff, minister from Wabasha; O. Pendleton, delegate from Wabasha; also the Rev.
Cochrane, Elgin, and Rev. Mr. Morgan. Eleven males and seventeen females were included in the
organization. Baptism was administered to Emma, infant daughter of Rev. and Mrs. Williard, by
Rev. Mr. Shedd of Mantorville. The charter members were: Rev. Henry Williard, Mrs. J. W.
Williard, Jeremiah Baldwin, Alfred Brown, Maria N. Brown, N. T. Manly, Mary L. Manly,
Charles J. Manly, Ellen Manly, S. H. Gaylord, Mary E. Gaylord, Geo. W. Doeg, William Roome,
William R. Davis, Margaret E. Brown, Mary Needham, Anna Burton, Esther E. Truesdale, Mrs.
Esther A. Washburn, Emeline S. Whitney, Rebecca McCarty, James Washburn, Mrs. Kate
Washburn, Asa Y. Felton, Mrs. Lucy M. Osgood, Esther A. Burchard and Eliza Gilpin. Among
the prominent members and workers during the early years of the church's history were: Mr. and
Mrs. R. C. Stillman, Mr. and Mrs. C. O. Landon, Mr. and Mrs. A. Y. Felton, Mr. and Mrs.
Jeremiah Baldwin, Mr. and Mrs. Selden Washburn, Mr. and Mrs. C. D. Burchard, Mr. and Mrs.
Frank Washburn, and W. A. Pell. The church edifice was built in 1871 on Main Street, on the
corner intersecting with Church Street, and was dedicated September 28 the same year. Its
seating capacity is about 400. It cost $7,000, a large part of which was donated by Rev. Henry
Williard, who was the first pastor and remained for 17 years. Mr. Williard was ordained in 1858;
installed pastor of the Plainview church in 1863; resigned June 1, 1880, and died June 24, 1904.
The succeeding pastors have been as follows: Rev. George E. Freeman, 1880 to 1883; Rev.
Sidney K. Perkins, 1883 to 1885; Rev. J. B. Renshaw, December, 1885 to May, 1890; Rev. A. L.
P. Loomis, September 1 1890 to April 1, 1895; Rev. A. F. Williams, June, 1895 to April 1, 1897;
Rev. Frank J. Brown, October, 1897 to August 1, 1899; Rev. Frank H. Anderson, 1900 to 1903;
Rev. A. D. Adams, 1903 to June, 1905; Rev. W. E. Griffith, July, 1905 to November, 1908; Rev.
H. C. Todd, 1909 to 1916; Rev. J. L. Jones, 1916 to April, 1920; Rev. Mr. Osborn, July 1, 1920
to this present time. The first parsonage was built in 1885 and occupied successively by the Rev.
Renshaw, Loomis, Williams and Brown. It was then sold and one erected on the church lot in the
year 1900. The present membership of the church is 160; that of the Sunday school 125.
Webmaster's note: The Congregational church house is now
occupied by the Prebyterian church.
The Church of Christ in Plainview, Minn., was
organized by Bro. Abraham Shoemaker in the fall of 1861. The following were charter members:
Mr. and Mrs. Abraham Shoemaker, Mr. and Mrs. W. W. Freer, Mr. and Mrs. Ed Chapman, Mr.
and Mrs. Ackley, Mrs. Hiram Butts and Mrs. James Butts. Of these so far as is known only Mrs.
Shoemaker survives and resides with Mrs. James Dwiggins, R.F.D., Mankato, Minn. At first
services were held in what was known as Wilcox Hall, situated on the corner of Broadway and
Jefferson Streets. Later arrangements were made to use the schoolhouse on Sundays. This was
Plainview's first school building. In 1866 the congregation purchased the school building and
moved it a little to the south of Meachim's mill, or about where the present C. & N.W. depot
stands. In June, 1883, when the railroad was constructed, the lot was sold to the R. R. Co. and
the present church site was purchased and the Chapel, as it was known, was moved thereon. (I
am not sure about that date - some say it was in 1878.) The Chapel served as the meeting house
for the church until 1895. At that time plans were set on foot and successfully carried out
whereby the present house of worship was erected. Final payments were made on this building
January 7, 1902. The chapel was then remodeled for a parsonage and the minister, C. W. Martz,
bought it, with part of the church lot, from the church. It later was sold to other parties. In 1918,
during the pastorate of Harry J. Hill, the congregation repurchased the former Chapel. During the
same year it was made over into a thoroughly modern house for use as a parsonage. So today the
roof, walls and main floor of the parsonage of the Church of Christ enclose what was once
Plainview's first school building and the first house of worship of the congregation of the church
In 1874 the Church of Christ was given a charter of incorporation. The following is a
copy of the proceedings:
"We do hereby certify that at a meeting held at the chapel, in the town of Plainview in
the county of Wabasha and the state of Minnesota, on the 21st day of July, 1874, in accordance
with notice given 15 days previous thereto, for the purpose of Organizing and Incorporating a
'Society for Divine Worship,' to be known and designated by the name of 'Christian Church,' John
Truax was duly elected president of said meeting and Dwight Leach was elected secretary thereof.
The said president and secretary received the votes of, determined the qualifications of voters, etc.
We do further certify that the following named persons were elected at said meeting as trustees of
the 'Christian Church:' Class 1st, Daniel Clough and S. M. Stockwell to serve one year; J. R.
Watkins and Henry Horton, Class 2d, to serve two years; and W. W. Freer, Dwight Leach and E.
Clough, Class 3d, to serve three years.
"In witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands and seal this 28th day of July, A.
D. 1874, in the presence of A. B. W. Norton, Justice of Peace, and C. T. Allaire, witnesses.
"Signed ~ John Truax and Dwight Leach.
"Acknowledged before A. B. W. Norton, Justice of Peace, August 4, 1874."
The pastors of the Church of Christ have been as follows: Abraham Shoemaker,
1861,1862,1863; A. P. Frost (late of Winona); B. U. Watkins (late of Winona); James A. Denton;
John Truax, 1873-1874; Joseph Harrison, 1874-1875; E. T. C. Bennett, 1875-1879; John A.
Grice; J. Carroll Stark; Hugh Morrison; H. D. Williams, 1892-1893; Melvin Menges, 1893-1894;
C. W. Martz, 1896; Ernest Thornquist, 1896-1897; T. E. Utterback, 1898-1899; G. U. Wise,
1902-1903; G. R. Morgan, 1904; J. M. Dixon, 1905; Mr. Wilson, 1906; H. F. Barstow, 1907; B.
L. Hoffman, 1915-1917; H. J. Hill, 1917-19 .
The following is a list of evangelists for this church: T. T. Vandolah, 1863; S. Johnson,
1864; Mr. Taylor, 1865; Mr. Lotz, 1867; Morrison & Sons, 1868; H. A. Foster, 1894; H. D.
Williams, 1892; H. D. Williams and Mr. Harves, 1893; T. E. Utterback, 1898-1899; Mr. Divine,
1902; Atwood and Gardner, 1905; C. B. Osgood, 1906; J. M. Irwin and wife, 1904; J. H.
Bicknell, 1905; J. M. Elam; E. Clutter and wife, 1910; Hugh Cooper, 1915; Crayton S. Brooks,
1916-1917; H. J. Hill, 1917; C. B. Osgood, 1919; M. M. Moss, 1920.
Some of those who conducted serves on Lord's Days in the absence of pastors were:
Elders Joseph Sands, W. W. Freer, S. M. Stockwell, J. R. Watkins and D. D. Clough. Some
former organists were: Hortense Freer, Alida McGee, Nellie Lamprey and Tena Underwood. The
pulpit desk still in use was made by Elder S. M. Stockwell more than 50 years ago.
Evangelical Lutheran Immanuel's Church, of Plainview,
belonging to the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio and other states, was organized in
1875, after the first services had been held in the Church of Christ, in the previous year, by Rev.
Mr. Sipple. The first church edifice was erected and dedicated on East Broadway in 1890. In
1889 a parsonage was built. In 1915 a new church was erected on the same lot and dedicated
March 26, 1916. The new church is built of Indiana brick, and has a seating capacity of 500. It is
provided with a full basement, containing the steam heating plant, kitchen and dining-room, the
last mentioned being capable of seating from 300 to 400 at a time. There is also a ladies' rest
room off from the main auditorium. The church was erected at an expense of $25,000. The Rev.
Mr. Sipple, the first pastor, was succeeded by the Rev. Stuelpnagel, and the latter by the Rev.
Schaaf, the pastor from 1901 to 1920 being the Rev. G. Drews.
St. Joachim's Catholic Church. ~ In 1887 Rev. P. B.
Murray came to Plainview and found a few scattered Catholic families. With some assistance
from them and the citizens of the village, the good priest erected a small frame church over which
he presided as pastor until the year 1900, when he resigned owing to ill health. Rev. John
Parkinson then took charge of the parish, which had increased so rapidly that the church was
enlarged to accommodate the members. The people purchased a new parsonage for their pastor,
who gave them zealous care for nine years., when he took another parish in Winona. In 1909
Rev. D. J. Lavery was assigned to the parish, which now became so large as to need a larger
church. In 1911 a fine brick edifice was erected accommodating nearly 600 people, and in 1918
the people erected a large beautiful parish residence. The total value of the property today is
placed at $80,000, and the congregation numbers 700 souls. This makes the parish of St. Joachim
one of the finest in the diocese of Winona, and its new church one of the most beautiful. It is a
brick structure of Gothic architecture and is trimmed with white cut stone that gives it an
attractive appearance. The facade is surmounted by twin towers that lend to the edifice
massiveness and sublimity. The church will seat 600 people. The interior is striking in its
elegance and design. The ceiling is of Gothic effect, being 30 feet high in nave, transept and
sanctuary, and 20 feet high in the side aisles. The sanctuary is 28 feet wide with a depth of 26 feet
and is adorned with a handsome Gothic altar. The transept is 64 feet wide and is lighted by two
large rose windows, one of which was donated in loving memory to the late Father Murray by his
friends in the parish; the other large window was the generous gift to St. Joachim's of the
Wabasha council of K. of C's. For which the parish feels very grateful. Another large window
which was presented by the members of the Choir stands over the gallery, while six smaller art
windows, presented by members os the parish adorn the walls of the nave. The art windows are
rich in color and most beautiful in design. While they serve to lend adornment to the interior of
the church, they allow sufficient light and warmth of the sun to enter to dispel the gloom and
darkness that are so often found at mid-day in nearly all of the large churches where light, the
obvious purpose of windows, is sacrificed for art. The new Stations of the Cross which were
donated from members of the parish are of Gothic design and set in high relief and are richly
colored. They are most beautiful. On the right of the sanctuary is the vestry and on the left is a
beautiful chapel that will seat forty persons. The new church in its exterior and interior is
beautiful and attractive, its proportions being exact and striking in every detail. Situate on an
immense facing on West Broadway, it rises, strong and massive, the gilded crosses over towering
the city and wide stretching landscape. This Christian temple is the gift to Almighty God of
generous hands and loving hearts, a monument, majestic and sublime, revealing the abundant
store of Divine Faith and Love in the hearts of the good people of St. Joachim's.
Illustrious Lodge No. 63, A.F.&A.M., Plainview, Minn.
~ The first meeting of Illustrious Lodge U. D. was held January 18, 1867, in Van Wert's Hall.
Those present were F. A. Wells, W.M.; H. A. Wells, S.W.; Jas. Lynch, J.W.; Augustus Smith,
Treas.; S. N. Wright, Secy.; E. C. Gearey, S.D.; I. B Pope, J.D.; G. W. Harrington, Tyler. These
members of the 'craft' continued their work throughout the next several months, conferring the
degrees on the following: W. H. Stone, D. Van Wert, E. S. Case, F. Trace, D. R. Case, O.
Wilcox, D. D. Brown, Dr. J. P. Waste, Jas. McHench, W. W. Case, M. W. Benscholter, W. S.
Baxter, C. A. Baxter, G. W. Colby, C. W. Sargent, S. Stanley, L. M. Gregg, J. R. McLaughlin, C.
O. Landon, Milton Smith, Thos. Crossen and S. L. McCarty. The Grand Lodge of Minnesota
granted a Charter to Illustrious Lodge No. 63 on October 23, 1867, the above 30 being the
Charter members. At the first regular meeting of Illustrious Lodge, No. 63, held Dec. 20, 1867,
when their Charter was presented by the Grand Officers, B. A. Jones, D.G.M.; S. R. Merrill,
G.S.W.; and W. W. Scott, G.S.D.; the following were installed as officers for the ensuing year: R.
A. Wells, W.M.; H. A. Wells, S.W.; Jas. Lynch, J.W.; A. Smith, Treas.; C. S. Case, Secy.; E. C.
Gearey, S. D.; I. B. Pope, J.D.; D. Van Wert, Tyler. Van Wert's Hall was found too small for the
meetings and one of the second-story rooms of the new public school building was rented and
equipped, which was shared for some time with the I.O.O.F. Lodge, which was organized a year
before the Masonic Lodge. In the course of time these two orders rented and equipped a lodge
room over the F. J. Cornwell store. A few years later the Masons moved to new quarters in the
Weikel building, where they continued until 1906, when they moved to the second floor of the E.
R. Cornwell building, now owned by R. E. Murray. Here they have very comfortable and well
equipped quarters but they are being outgrown and plans are now being agitated for the building
of a Masonic Temple, the lodge having a membership of 130 and the Eastern Star a membership
of 150. Illustrious Lodge has always been a healthy and growing organization with a membership
of the leading and most progressive men in Plainview and vicinity. During the late war, the Lodge
Service Flag contained nineteen stars, showing that 19 of its members were in the Country's
service. Two of these stars were of gold in honor of Byrl Sylvester and Thaddius Davey who
gave their all in their country's service. Although the Lodge is saddened in the loss of these two
members, it nevertheless rejoices in the fact that its worthy members were among the very first to
go forth to battle for the great wrongs heaped upon Humanity by the Old World Autocracy. On
June 10, 1920, a program was carried out in honor of Chas. W. Donaldson's fiftieth anniversary
as a Mason and member of this Lodge, he having been made a Mason in Illustrious Lodge on June
10, 1870. On this pleasant occasion, Dr. W. A. Allen of Rochester was present, he having been
made a Mason in the same lodge on Sept. 30, 1870. Since Illustrious Lodge No. 63 was
organized, the following members have held the office of Master: F. A. Wells, E. C. Gearey, D.
D. Brown, Augustus Smith, E. S. Case, Jas. McHench, H. a. Wells, H. R. Gearey, J. F. Pope,
Geo. R. Hall, Dr. E. S. Cobb, H. D. Wedge, G. F. Sylvester, F. L. Gilbert, J. F. Thompson, A. C.
Cornwell, Dr. E. E. Smith, W. G. Mack, Dr. E. A. French, B. E. Rohweder, F. W. E. Petrich, Dr.
W. H. Whitcomb, Dr. T. J. Moore, C. L. Waterman. The present officers (1920) are: Dr. T. J.
Moore, W.M.; Glenn I. Mack, S.W.; H. H. Nichols, J. W.; W. G. Mack, Treas.;' A. C. Cornwell,
Secy.; Thos. A. Askew, Jr., S.D.; Fred Foreman, J.D.; Geo. W. Purvis, Tyler.
Plainview Chapter, No. 184, O.E.S. ~ Plainview Chapter,
U.D., was organized August 23, 1905, with the following officers: Mary P. Shumway,
W.M.; Dr. E. E. Smith, W.P.; Tattie E. Cornwell, A.M.; A. A. Marshall, Treas.; Lee T.
Meachum, Secy.; Mabel Ross, Cond.; Vera Burchard, A. Cond.; Millie C. Carley, Warden; John
N. Ross, Sent.; Electa A. Hall, Chaplain; Myrtle Bush, Ada; Lillian Washburn, Ruth; Margaret
Rockwell, Esther; Inez M. Meachum, Martha, Maude Cornwell, Electa; Ethel M. Austin,
Organist; M. E. Jenks, Marshall. On the evening of June 8th, 1906, the Worthy Grand matron,
Evelyn Yeuld, was present and constituted Plainview Chapter, No. 184, under the laws of the
Grand Chapter of the O. E. S. of Minnesota and presented to the organization its charter. The
following officers were then installed for the balance of the year: Mary P. Shumway, W.M.; Dr. E.
E. Smith, W.P.; Hattie E. Cornwell, A.M.; A. A. Marshall, Treas.; Lee T. Meachum, Secy.; Mabel
Ross, Cond.'; Vera Burchard, A. Cond.; Mollie C. Carley, Warden; J. N. Ross, Sent.; Electa A.
Hall, Chap.; Myrtle Bush, Ada; Lillian Washburn, Ruth; Sunnie Marshall, Esther; Inez M.
Meachum, Martha; Frances Cornwell, Electa; Ethel M. Austin, Organist; M. E. Jenks, Marshall.
Plainview Chapter has been guided by efficient officers and a loyal membership so that the growth
has been steady and large in these few years and now shows a membership of 150. This large
membership, like that of the Masonic Lodge, finds the present quarters too small for the many
social functions and degree work which it carries on. The members are alive to the plans for a
future home where these two organizations may enjoy the comforts of which they are worthy.
Those who have filled the office of Worthy matron to the present time are Mary P. Shumway,
Hattie E. Cornwell, M. Estella Manchester, Mary Smith, Myrtle Bush, Claire Phillips, Agnes
Smith, Sallie Murrison, Eva Moore, and Maud Mack. The following members have filled the
office of Worthy Patron during the same period: Dr. E. E. Smith, A. C. Cornwell, E. L. Sylvester,
M. J. Manchester, B. E. Rohweder, W. G. Mack, and C. L. Waterman. The present officers
(1920) are: Maud Mack, W.M.; E. L. Sylvester, W.P., Jennie Waterman, A.M.; G. F. Sylvester,
Treas.; M. Estella Manchester, Secy.; Maud Nunamaker, Cond.; Harriet Richmond, A. Cond.
Plainview Chapter, No. 36, R.A.M. (Royal Arch
Masons?), was organized October 10, 1882, with the following charter members: H. C.
Woodruff, Augustus Smith, C. E. Daniels, F. A. Wells, James A. McCarty, D. McCarty, Ezra
Fellar, F. L. Meachum, and Robert Wahler. The first officers were: H. C. Woodruff, M.E.H.P.;
Augustus Smith, E.K.; C. E. Daniels, C.S.; Milton Smith, treasurer; E. C. Gearey, secretary;
Henry D. Wedge, C.H.; D. McCarty, R.S.C.; F. A. Wells, P.S.; E. R. Cornwall, M. of the 1st Veil;
James McCarty, M. of the 2nd Veil; F. L. Meachum, M. of the 3rd Veil; Robert Vickery, sentinel.
The chapter surrendered its charter November 6, 1894. The officers at the time of the surrender
were: Augustus Smith, H.P.; D. D. Harrington, K.; Dr. J. P. Waste, S.; E. R. Cornwell, C.H.; F.
A. Welles, P.S.; Geo. R. Hall, R.A.C.; Milton Smith, Treas.; F. L. Meachum, Secy.; W. Lawton,
G.M. 3rd V.; Geo. C. Landon, G.M. 2nd V.; H. C. Wedge, G.M. 3rd V.; J. W. Mallory, Sentinel.
Plainview Lodge, No. 16, I.O.O.F., was organized
December 29, 1866. The charter members, David Van Wert, Wm. L. Cleaveland, W. W. Case,
and Ferdinand Trace, and the first officers were: W. A. Allen, N.G.; John Simpson, V.G.; D. Van
Wert, secretary; S. N. Wright, treasurer; W. L. Cleaveland, constable; W. W. Case, warden; E. B.
Eddy, R.S.N.G.; W. H. Stone, L.S.N.G.; F. Trace, I.G.; J. Huntoon, O.G.; John Valentine,
R.S.V.G.; A. Pomeroy, L.S.V.G; T. A. Thompson, R.S.S.; J. J. Butts, L.S.S.
Abigail Burnham Chapter, D.A.R., of Plainview was
organized in March, 1908. The charter members were: Regent, Anna Tripple (Mrs. William E.)
Griffith; secretary, Miss Agnes Colvin (Mrs. E. E. Smith); treasurer, Miss Francis Cornwell (Mrs.
Chas. DeWitt); historian, Miss Elsie I. Burnham, registrar, Mary Chamberlin (Mrs. J. A.) Carley;
Myrtle Mallory (Mrs. M. T.) Bolton, Adel Burchard (Mrs. E. R.) Cornwell, Miss Maude
Cornwell, Margaret Burnham (Mrs. J. H.) Eggers, Jr., Grace Laudon (Mrs. B. C.) Fish, Florence
Cornwell (Mrs. B. E.) Rohweder, Aula Burchard (Mrs. J. A.) Slocumb. The first board of
managers consisted of Mrs. Rohweder, Mrs. Eggers, Mrs. Slocumb, Miss Cornwell, Mrs. Bolton.
Later members have been: Ellen Wedge (Mrs. E. E.) Mallory, Eva Wedge (Mrs. Eva) Colvin,
Isabelle Chesebro (Mrs. J. R.) Wedge, Mary Etta Gaylord (Mrs. A. D.) Posz, Maude Marshall
(Mrs. W. G.) Mack, Harriet Marshall (Mrs. C. E.) Richmond, Miss Anna Gaylord, Miss Thedora
Gaylord. The present officers are: regent, Marry Etta Gaylord (Mrs. A. D.) Posz; vice-regent,
Margaret Burnham (Mrs. J. H.) Eggers, Jr.; secretary, Mary Chamberlin (Mrs. J. A.) Charley;
treasurer, Isabelle Chesebro (Mrs. J. R.) Wedge; historian, Zula Burchord (Mrs. J. A. Slocumb;
registrar, Agnes Colvin (Mrs. E. E.) Smith. The chapter is named from Abigail Collins Burnham,
wife of Major John Burnham, who served throughout the entire Revolutionary War without a
furlough or leave of absence, and was a personal friend of Washington and LaFayette. The
chapter has been active in all patriotic work. In the schools it has fostered Americanism by
introducing the flag drill and by giving prizes for work done in the U. S. History classes. The
public library has been furnished with excellent pictures of George and Martha Washington. As a
part of the state work the chapter has repaired the side porch of the old Sibley House at Mendota.
During the war, the members did their full duty as individuals and as a chapter, making generous
contributions of money, sending knitted garments to the soldiers, and furnishing Jelly to the
hospital at St. Paul.
Telephone service on Greenwood Prairie had its beginning in the middle nineties, when
Dr. Edwin S. Muir, then a practicing physician of Plainview, constructed a line from his office in
Plainview to the Pottsdam (Potsdam) Store, at Pottsdam, in Olmsted County, a distance of eight
and a half miles. Its purpose was to place the physician in touch with his patients in the vicinity of
As the outgrowth of this line, the Plainview Telephone Co. was organized by Dr. Edwin
S. Muir, George C. Landon, Helen Patton and others. This company was a branch of the Dwelle
Telephone Co. of Lake City. It had a local exchange at Plainview, with lines extending about the
village and into the surrounding rural districts. Connection was had with the Tri-State Telephone
co. at Wabasha, and thus the people of Plainview were placed in touch with the toll service of that
The Greenwood Prairie Telephone Co. was
incorporated February 8, 1902, by Andrew French, F. D. Washburn, W. T. Lee, I. A. Grove, L.
E. Ryan, Frank Appel and A. F. Hanneman, all of Plainview and vicinity. The first officers were
Andrew French, president; W. T. Lee, vice-president; F. D. Washburn, treasurer; I. A. Grove,
secretary and general manager. The company was started with an authorized capital of $25,000
and a paid-up capital of $1,5000. An exchange was established at Plainview, with lines radiating
into the surrounding country. Mr. Grove was succeeded as secretary and general manager by
Andrew French. In 1905 the authorized capital was increased to $50,000. In 1906 the Elgin
Telephone Co. was purchased. Through the purchase of this company toll line connections were
established at Rochester with the Northwestern Telephone Co. In 1907, the company purchased
the Plainview Telephone Co. This gave the company control not only of its competing local
exchange in Plainview, but also of a line to Wabasha. Two years later, in 1909, James A. Carley,
who had been a director of the company since 1903, purchased a controlling interest and has since
been secretary and general manager. In 1912 long distance connection was had with both the Tri-
State and the Northwestern Telephone Co.'s. The Plainview company was thus the first in the
southern part of the state to have toll-line connection with both the Tri-State and the
The company now has toll line connections at St. Charles, Rochester, Eyota, Wabasha
and Kellogg. It has local exchanges at Plainview, Elgin and Millville. It also has lines running
into the St. Charles exchange. More than 1,100 phones are in use, and the lines embrace more
than 1,681 miles of wire. The reports show that in 1918 the average number of toll calls monthly
was 6,300 and the average number of local calls monthly 82,660. In the winter some 12 people
are employed, with an increase of linemen in the summer months. The annual receipts of the
company are about $25,000. The valuation of the property is placed at $122,838.65. The sum of
$25,754.22 has been set aside for repairs, and there is a surplus of $31,129.52. Practically every
farm house within the area served by the company is now provided with a telephone, and has been
for the past five years. Service has been available for practically every farm house since 1912. In
addition to its lines and equipment, the company owns a sightly building at Elgin, erected in 1916.
The exchange at Plainview is located in a building owned by James A. Carley. The officers of the
company are: President, Mary C. Carley; vice-president and treasurer, E. L. Sylvester; secretary
and general manager, James A Carley.
The Greenwood Prairie Old Settlers' Association was
organized February 6, 1877. H. P. Wildos (Wildes?) was temporary chairman and Samuel B.
Evans temporary secretary. The original name was "The Old Settlers' Union of the Southeastern
Portion of Wabasha County and Vicinity," and the membership was confined to those settling
here previous to January 1, 1858, together with their wives and husbands. The annual meeting
was to be held in February. The constitution and by-laws were adopted February 28, 1877, with
Dr. N. S. Tefft in the chair and R. C. Stillman as secretary. February 16, 1900, it was decided
that any one having lived on Greenwood Prairie forty years should be eligible to membership.
The following have been the officers of the association: Presidents: 1877 and 1878, Dr. N. S.
Tefft; 1879, George Bryant; 1880, 1881, 1882 and 1883, A. P. Foster; 1884, T. A. Thompson;
1885, G. R. Hall; 1886, G. W. Harrington; 1887, 1888 and 1889, T. G. Bolton; 1890 and 1891,
R. C. Stillman; 1892 and 1893, F. L. Meachum; 1894, 1895, 1896 and 1897, Frank D. Washburn;
1898, Dr. N. S. Tefft; 1899, C. D. Burchard; 1900 to 1907, inclusive, G. F. Sylvester; 1908 and
1909, D. D. Harrington; 1910 to the present, Frank D. Washburn. Vice-presidents: 1877, George
Farrar; 1878, I. W. Rollins; 1879, Joseph Richardson; 1880, 1881 and 1882, R. C. Stillman; 1883
and 1884, Dr. N. S. Tefft; 1885, G. W. Harrington; 1886, John Gage; 1887, 1888 and 1889,
George R. Hall; 1890 and 1891, C. O. White; 1892, George R. Hall; 1893, C. D. Burchard; 1894,
George R. Hall; 1895, E. L. Sylvester; 1896 and 1897, George Gage; 1898, Mrs. P. C. Wood;
1899 to 1907, inclusive, D. D. Harrington; 1908 and 1909, George W. French; 1910, T. G.
Bolton; 1911, W. P. Baldwin; 1912, 1913 and 1914, J. I. Vermilya; 1915, A. J. McRay; 1916, M.
J. Horn; 1917 to the present, C. R. Grieve. Secretaries: 1877, T. A. Thompson; 1878, H. P.
Williams; 1879, John W. Bryant; 1880, 1882 and 1882, T. G. Bolton; 1883, 1884 and 1885, C. D.
Burchard; 1886, 1887 and 1888, R. C. Stillman; 1899, C. D. Burchard; 1890 and 1891, D. D.
Harrington; 1892 and 1893, E. L. Sylvester; 1894, C. D. Burchard; 1895 and 1896, W. H. H.
Pope; 1897, 1898 and 1899, George R. Hall; 1900 to 1907, inclusive, T. G. Bolton; 1908 to the
present, E. L. Sylvester. Treasurers: 1877 and 1878, E. B. Eddy; 1879, George Farrar; 1880, H.
P. Wilson; 1881 to 1884, inclusive, George W. Harrington; 1885, Dr. N. S. Tefft; 1886 to 1889,
inclusive, F. L. Meachum; 1890 and 1891, E. L. Sylvester; 1892 to 1895, inclusive, D. D.
Harrington; 1896, 1897 and 1898, E. L. Sylvester; 1899 to 1907, inclusive, Frank D. Washburn;
1908 to the present, Judson T. Wentworth. Much credit for information in this history is due to
talks delivered at the Greenwood Prairie Old Settlers' meetings by A. P. Foster, R. C. Stillman, G.
W. Harrington, T. G. Bolton and I. W. Rollins.
The Greenwood Prairie Old Settlers' Association
Plainview Poultry Association ~ The Plainview Poultry
Association was organized in 1913 by about 25 persons who were desirous of advancing the
poultry interests in the community by raising more and better poultry. Since their organization
was launched, they have held a poultry show every year and one only need attend these
exhibitions to realize the advancement that has been made in the breeding and raising of pure bred
Standing, l to r: Dean Harrington, Mrs. Dave Wentworth, F. D. Washburn, Mrs. Orin Wood,
C. D. Burchard.
Sitting, l to r: H. T. Washburn, Mrs. E. L. Burton, Mrs. E. R. Cornwell.
The first show held was small and the poultry exhibited was of an inferior grade which
could not be accepted in the present shows. The show was a stimulus which made each exhibitor
eager to do better the next season with the result that the poultry now shown by our local
breeders is of the highest class and many of these same birds win in the larger shows held in the
Northwest. It is truly remarkable what such an organization can do in a few years for the
advancement of the industry. This work has spread throughout the community so that many of
our farmers have as fine flocks of pure bred poultry as can be found anywhere. Those having
benefitted from this knowledge realize the advantage in raising standard bred poultry, for it is
more pleasure to work with high class fowls and the monetary return for eggs and meat is far
greater. This organization has been the means of starting a work that will be of great value to the
community for years to come.
The present officers of the association are Dr. E. E. Smith, Pres.; C. H. Ritter (my great-great uncle), Vice-
Pres.; G. F. Sylvester, Treas.; L. F. Appleby, Secy., who with a few others have given freely of
their time and money in order to continue this work for the advancement of the poultry industry.
The above members have also put on the poultry exhibit at the Wabasha county Fair each year for
the Fair association and have made it one of the most attractive exhibits at the annual Fair.
Plainview Township lies in the extreme southern part of Wabasha county, and is bounded,
generally speaking, by Highland Township, Wabasha County, on the north; Whitewater
Township, Winona County, on the east; Quincy Township, Olmstead County on the south; and
Elgin Township, Wabasha County, on the west. Its eastern line is coincident with the First guide
Meridian of the Government Survey. Its northern line is coincident with the Second Standard
Parallel of the Government Survey, and for this reason Government Township 108-11 which
constitutes Plainview Township, does not fall squarely south of Township 109-11, which
constitutes Highland Township, and consequently for about a half a mile at the northwest,
Plainview has Oakwood Township for its northern boundary.
The town for the most part is a rich, undulating prairie, approaching to the level in the
northeast. Along the southeast the town is broken by the abrupt descent to the level of the
Whitewater, and in the east by the bluffy vale of a small branch of that stream. The watershed
between the Whitewater and Zumbro Rivers extends across the north central portion of the
township, east and west from Plainview, the village being on the crest. From this watershed, "dry
runs" extend toward both valleys, these runs in the springtime being filled with the rushing
currents of the surplus surface waters. The soil is rich, productive, easy to till, and has the
excellent merit of retaining an unchanging growing quality in seasons of wet and drought alike.
The township was first settled in 1854, but the real influx came in 1855. Titles to land
claims were somewhat complicated by uncertainty as to the Government's final action in regard to
the Half Breed Track, in which the northeastern third of the county was included. The first
settlers were Oliver Nelson Olson and Andrew A. Halverson, native of Norway, who brought
their families here from Wisconsin in 1854.
In 1855 the first American settlers located in the central part of the township and
established the village of Greenville. This became the nucleus of a settlement of other Americans,
and to this day the traditions of the township are almost entirely those of New England, and the
other Atlantic states, although there has been a considerable sprinkling of Scandinavian
settlement, and in more recent years the people of Teutonic origin and birth have settled here in
Much of the early American settlement centered about the village of Greenville,
afterward called Greenwood. The vanguard of settlers was a party consisting of E. B. Eddy, A.
T. Sharp, Thomas Todd, William Boatman, and several temporary helpers, among whom was
David Campbell. Mr. Eddy and Mr. Boatman brought their wives. A few days later came David
Ackley and Edwin Chapman. Within about a week arrived another party. Of this party, two,
Benjamin Lawrence and A.P. Foster, remained and became prominent citizens.
End of Chapter
holding me on a swing in
Wedgewood Park, Plainview, 1943.
We were probably
attending a church picnic.
The three drawings of Plainview buildings are from a package of note cards printed
by "Hometown Prints" of Haywood, Wisconsin.