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Chapter 24
Pages 787-792

From the book about Wabasha Co. Minnesota
Compiled by Dr. L. H. Bunnell
Published Chicago by H. H. Hill, Publishers, 1884
Republished Currently by Higginson Books

In the early part of May, 1855, Paris Devitt and Samuel Parker settled in the district of country now known as Hyde Park. The next day after their arrival came John Ritter, Charles Holzman, William McCloud; and it was but a very short time until George and Seymore Fanning and the Baker families arrived and took up homesteads. It was the rolling farm-land, dotted with poplar groves, which attracted these men, some of whom came from northern Pennsylvania, while others from Maryland. The close of the summer of 1855 found almost every quarter-section "claimed," and a log cabin erected to shield the pioneer from Minnesota's wintry blasts. The winter of 1855-6 is a notable one in the history of the country as the "cold winter," and the early settlers suffered greatly since they were so far from mill and market, besides their means were very scanty. Many tales of hardship are related of that "cold winter." When the snow became so deep and the weather so cold that it was impossible to get the grain to mill, the old coffee mill was used, and the words, "Flannigan's Mill" bring back to many old settlers recollections of pioneer life in the winter of 1855-6.

At the time of the government survey the tract of land now included in the townships of Zumbro and Hyde Park was called Concord. This name, however, for some reason, did not suit the people, and at a meeting held in May, 1858, the name Troy was chosen. The legislature would not accept this, however, as another town in the state held the same name, so it was named Zumbro, after the river which divided it. The larger part of the population lived on the south side of the river, and all township elections and meetings were held on that side. This was a source of trouble to the north side people, for at the spring and fall elections the rive was swollen so much with the rains that they could not cross but with a risk of their lives, so a general feeling of dissatisfaction arose, which culminated in the spring of 1862, in dividing the township by the river, the south part retaining the name Zumbro. At the first meeting held north of the river the name Hyde Park was suggested by an Englishman, so that the township is named after one of the most famous places in London. This is only a fractional township containing about ten thousand acres, four thousand and eighty-nine acres being under cultivation.

The land is varied. Along the Zumbro river, and extending two miles northward from its banks, the land is very rough and hilly. Dense forests of heavy oak cover the ground, and even at the present day the fox, wolf and deer are found, with an abundance of smaller game. In the north part of the township may be found fine rolling farms suitable for grain and corn. The present population is largely Irish. They are kind and hospitable, and their appreciation for learning is shown by the character of the schools. They are hardy and industrious, caring more for an abundance of the necessaries of life than for superfluities.

The first settlers of this township coming from centers of Christian influence, were not unmindful of spiritual things in their new homes, and with the foundations of their log cabins they erected altars of prayer and praise. As early as 1856 religious services were held in the cabins of the farmers, and people old and young came to the meetings. The first preaching services in the township were held at the home of John Ritter, and the minister was the renowned pioneer Jas. McArdell. These meetings were continued for several years, but no Protestant church has ever been established, and at the present time there are but few Protestant families in the township. There is a Roman Catholic church at Hammond. It was erected in 1881, and is a frame structure 26 x 36 feet, with a wing 12 x 16 feet and twenty-two feet high. The membership consists of about eighty families, and services are held every two weeks, at which a priest from Lake City officiates. At a very early day Sunday schools were established, and through the earnest efforts of some good ladies the work still goes on.

Agriculture is the chief occupation of the people. Minnesota has always been called the great wheat state, and as good crops have been raised in this township as in any part of the state. The past four years have been rather unfavorable to wheat-growing ,a dn the farmers are now turning their attention more to corn and barley growing and to the rearing and feeding of stock. The following is a summary of the products of the year 1882: wheat, 16,271 bushels; oats, 23,223 bushels; barley, 20,525 bushels; corn, 19,773 bushels; potatoes, 2, 950 bushels; apples, 203 bushels; hay, 427 tons; butter, 9,550 pounds; wool, 152 pounds.

Hyde Park has an I.O.O.F. of which she is justly proud. The first movement toward organization was begun in the summer of 1877, and public interest in the lodge became so intense that before the summer was half over it was organized and started with a large and effective membership. It is generally conceded that Scot Foster was the prime mover in the organization of the lodge, largely aided by the venerable John Ritter, who held the first office of Noble Grand. The name of the lodge is the Hyde Park I.O.O.F., although many of its members are residents of Gillford and West Albany townships. The place of meeting is in Gillford township, at a place called "Grange Corners," where they have a pleasant room 18 x 22 feet, and comfortably furnished. The lodge holds weekly meetings and is in a very promising condition. The following is a list of its charter members: Scot Foster, Fred Foster, Albert Foster, Clarence Foster, Geo. A. Roberts, Joe Roberst, Wilson Roberts, Albert Roberson, Louis O'Harra, L. A. Doty, Robert Disney, John Disney, David Williams, J. Clark, E. D. Southard, Russel Warren, Frank Warren, Samuel La Mont, Ed. Clifford, John Ritter.


This township has two small towns which furnish a market for not only the people of Hyde Park but also for the townships adjoining it.

Jarretts is a thriving little village, situated in the southeastern part of the township, on the C. M. & St. P. narrow-gauge railroad, just thirty miles from Wabasha. Before there was an inhabitant near the present site of the town, there was a ford in the Zumbro where the old settlers in an early day crossed, and since the nearest dweller was Mr. Jarrett, the place came to be called "Jarrett's Ford," and when a postoffice was established it received the name of Jarretts. The village consists of one general merchandise store with postoffice, one flouring-mill, one grain elevator, a sugar manufactory and about one dozen dwelling-houses. The town really had its birth in 1878, when the narrow-gauge railroad was built. The flouring-mill, run by water-power, was built in 1878 by Kimball & Kitzman, and is the only mill in the township. The elevator is a frame structure with a capacity of five thousand bushels, and is used as a feeder to the large flouring-mill at Mazeppa.

Hammond View of East Street
Contributed by Sue Buck

Hammond Business Street
Contributed by Sue Buck

Hammond Marching Band
Contributed by Sue Buck

Hammond is a village of about two hundred population, situated three miles west of Jarretts, on the C. M. & St. P. narrow-gauge railroad. The place derives its name from a Mr. Hammond who owned the land where the village now stands. The town is divided into two parts by the river Zumbro, and the two parts are connected by a large bridge of wood and iron work, mounted on stone basements. The first building was erected in 1877, and from the increase in the past the prospect is encouraging for its becoming a town of more than county reputation. The elevator owned by the Mazeppa Mill Co. is a large wooden structure, erected in 1879, with the dimensions 40 x 80 feet, eighty-five feet high. It has a capacity of seventy-five thousand bushels. This is the largest elevator in the county, and its erection and operation has greatly benefitted the citizens of Hyde Park and the surrounding country.

There are three schoolhouses in the township all of which have a large attendance and which are well conducted. It has always been the desire of the people to have good schools, and the trustees, realizing this desire, have aimed to secure able teachers. The results of good training are attested by the fact that now men and women educated in these schools are teaching in all parts of the county, some even holding the responsible positions as principals of the high schools of Elgin and Plainview.

The first schoolhouse in the township was built in the summer of 1856, on the northeast corner of section 3, on the land now owned by Robert Fish. This schoolhouse was in the district now numbered 45. The first teacher was Miss Mary Shaw, who received twelve dollars per month for her services. There were three families in the district: Shaws, Parkers and Yorks.

The first school held in what is now known as district 46, was taught by Unus Potter in 1857 at a private house. The next year it was held in a barn owned by Mr. Peter Kelley, and the next year a log schoolhouse was built by the settlers. The first school in district 84 was taught by Miss Lucy Roberts, the date being uncertain, probably about 1859.


In 1866 the county bought of John F. Ross one hundred and sixty acres of land in this township to be used as a county poor-farm, but for convenience it was exchanged for a farm near the county seat.

In 1856 Wm. Parker opened and stocked the first store in the township, which he operated until 1856. He was the first postmaster in the township. John Reller (sic - has been corrected in pencil to read "Ritter") was the first blacksmith, and he opened the first shop in 1858. Francis Shaw had the first shoeshop, which he opened in 1857.

The first birth was that of Effie Woodward, born February 14, 1856. The first marriage was that of Jacob York and Mrs. Jane Shaw, June 22, 1856.

At the time of the construction of the narrow-gauge railroad through the township, the question whether the township should bond itself was voted upon. At the first election the "bonding" was defeated, but after a few days the decision was reversed and the people agreed to pay six thousand dollars, giving seven per cent payable semi-annually. This was a large amount for so small a township to pay but they have gained great benefit from the road, since now they have a good market close at home, whereas, prior to the construction of the road, the grain and marketing had to be taken by wagon twenty to twenty-five miles.

The year 1883 is the first year (a) liquor license has ever been granted in this township.

Politically the township is strongly democratic. The township has a population of about four hundred and eighty-five, of whom ninety-one are voters.

End of Chapter