MAZEPPA VILLAGE AND TOWNSHIP
Pages 91 ~ 105
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
Mazeppa Village is the metropolis of southwestern Wabasha County. It is located in
corner of Mazeppa Township on the banks of the Zumbro River, which furnishes an excellent
service is provided by the Midland Division of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway
Company. The village
is not only an important shipping point for this part of Wabasha and Goodhue Counties, but gains
from the fact that not far away is the great dam which furnishes the city of Rochester with its
electric power. There
is an adequate number of churches, the educational system is good, and the municipal
satisfactory. The village is well laid out, the business section is progressive, and in the residence
district are a
number of fine homes. Shade trees and good walks add to the comfort and beauty of the place.
There are two
banks and a good newspaper. The principal business interests of the village, in addition to its
and general commercial establishments, are the two elevators; the mill for grist, owned by the
village; the creamery,
and the wood and iron working shop of M. J. Almeter & Son, manufacturers of hay racks, sleds
Mazeppa village was named from the poem, "Mazeppa," by
Byron, that poem being a favorite of Ira O. Seeley, who was invited to name the village. The
hamlet was founded
by Joseph Ford and his son Orville D. Ford in 1855. Previous to this, in 1854, Ira O. Seeley had
erected a crude
temporary bark cabin west of the river near the mill dam, but had abandoned it for a claim in
In the early fifties the Ford family was living in New York State, where both Joseph
and his son, Orville
D., owned farms. There were two other younger sons, and it was with a view of affording these
opportunities that the family decided to move to the Mississippi Valley. In 1854 Joseph Ford
visited Illinois but
was not pleased with the land he found available in the section he visited. The following year he
to start for Minnesota. Accordingly the two farms were sold, and the whole family started on
their pilgrimage. The
women and younger members were left with relatives in Illinois, and Joseph and Orville D. came
on to Minnesota.
They arrived at Read's Landing in April and there met George Maxwell. Their hope was to get
land not far from the
Mississippi, but owing to the uncertainty of land the three men set out for the cabin of Ira O.
Seeley. It was he who
showed titles in the Half-Breed tract, they decided to settle further away. Therefore, them the
beautiful valley of the
Zumbro River. (Webmaster says: "I know the previous two sentences don't make any sense. I
didn't write this. I'm
just transcribing it!")
The two Fords took the half section of section 6, east and north of the river, and erected
Orville D. then went back to Illinois, purchased oxen and provisions and with the
whole family started for
the new home. From Galena they reached Read's Landing, on the "war Eagle" (presumably a
riverboat). On the trail
from Read's Landing to Mazeppa but one team had been driven. The party set out with a hired
horse team and
wagon, the six women and three children riding. Orville D. and Orton Ford followed with the
oxen, cow and
supplies. At Mazeppa they found Joseph Ford and George Maxwell. The next day the cabin was
stove set up, and civilization thus inaugurated.
In June, 1855, J. E. Hyde began the erection of a log building, at the corner of Main and
for a store and residence. This was completed in September, and he returned to Galena for his
family and a stock of
goods. These arrived on October 1, and from that time supplies were kept here for the
convenience of settlers. In
the fall of 1855, Elijah Lont and his brother-in-law, Lewis Blunt, built a large house on the corner
of Chestnut and
First streets. J. W. Judd was the first iron worker. He arrived August 15, 1855, built a log shop
on the river bank
and started the iron work for the mill. The first hotel was a house built by N. B. Smith in the fall
of 1855, on the
corner now occupied by Charles Colling, corner of Cherry and First streets, lot 8, block 19,
passed here twice a week and the traffic was heavy.
In 1856 Orville D. Ford built the house now occupied by Adam Redding, lot 4, block
22, northwest corner
of Pine and First, and opened it as a hotel. Orton Ford was the first harness maker. Henry
Washburn was the first
shoemaker. The first doctor was O. S. Lont, who practiced here some two decades. Frank
Stowell was the first
resident owner of a team of horses. Lewis, son of Francis A. Stowell, was born here in the fall of
and Roxie H., daughter of Enoch Young, was born December 14 of the same year. These were
doubtless the first
children born to white parents within the township. Zarah Cornish, Jr., a child, passed away June
1, 1856, and thus
furnished occasion for the first funeral. The first cemetery was laid out on the hill east of the
village, and a few
were buried there. Then Orville D. Ford gave a plot of land embracing part of the present
cemetery and the bodies
were moved to it. The first marriage was a contract marriage between Edward Hunt and Sarah
Waskey, the papers
being drawn by Orville D. Ford.
The need of postal facilities was soon felt among so large a colony, and steps were
taken to secure a post
office. John E. Hyde was appointed postmaster, his commission bearing date January 2, 1856,
and the Dubuque
and St. Paul stages were made to pass through Mazeppa and take and supply mail. Succeeding
Mr. Hyde, the
postmasters have been Prosper Robinson, E. L. Ford, Simon Phillips, George Maxwell, L. E.
Squire, M. J. Rucker and N. J. Seivert. (Apparently the initials for Mr. Seivert should be N. P. as
listed below. Webmaster)
The survey of the village plat of Mazeppa was begun soon after the site was located by
the Fords. G.
Maxwell was employed for this labor. During the summer the subdivision of the county was
government surveyors, and Mr. Maxwell's lines were found to vary but a trifle from the variation
used by the United
States survey, and they still stand.
Mazeppa, in 1877, the year before the railroad came through, was already a flourishing
for a special Mazeppa issue of the Wabasha County Sentinel of February 28, 1877, E. F. Hopkins
you approach the town from the north, east or west, you see a valley containing about two
hundred acres, and a
handsomer one you might go far to find. We consider the view from the hill north of the town
As you round the point of the hill on the Red Wing road, a full view is offered of the main street
churches and the north and west part of the village, while only the southeastern portion is hid by
the rise of ground
upon which the land reserved for a park is located, known as 'Schoolhouse Hill.' At your right is
the mill-pond, now
almost a lake, and farther down all the buildings of the Mill Company and the suspension bridge.
"In 1855, when Joseph Ford, in company with his son Orville, saw this valley from the
brow of the hill
east of town, he said, 'We will go no farther; this valley shall be our home.' Though nothing but
oak brush could
then be seen on the east side of the stream, and heavily-wooded timber land of the west for
fifteen miles, yet he saw
the prospect of health, wealth and happiness in the useful combination of wood, water and
protection from cold and
storms which the timber would give to a home here. Since that time the bulk of the timber has
been removed in the
immediate vicinity of town; yet still enough remains to satisfy the market.
"Not until the year 1876 did the village begin to attract attention from outside the circle
of its regular
trade, and for this reason no great effort had been put forth by its citizens to attract attention and
trade or promote its
growth. The immense water-power, which all knew to be of great value to the town, had never
been used to a tenth
of its capacity. The fact was apparent that much would depend upon the improvement of the
Zumbro, and the
success of the Mazeppa Mill Company was eagerly watched and talked of by all. During the
winter of 1875-76 this
was the theme of conversation by citizen and stranger, and all looked for business to revive and
take a grand stride
"The principal business of the village is now transacted by the following
establishments: Mazeppa Mill
Company, making six hundred barrels of flour per day; four general stores, where are retailed dry
groceries and boots and shoes; three groceries, one of them also carrying footwear; two drug
stores, one complete
hardware store and tin-shop, two shoe-shops, two blacksmith-shops, one wagon-shop, one tailor,
one hotel, one law
office, one livery stable, two warehouses and grain elevators, and five saloons. A custom
flourmill is in course of
construction, and will be in operation with four sets of buhrs before this reaches the eye of the
reader. There is also
a stone-quarry and limekiln within the village limits.
"During the year 1876 the buildings and improvements of the Mill Company cost
$60,000, and those of
other persons made a total of $80,850. During the same year a business of three hundred and
seven hundred dollars was transacted in the following lines: dry-goods stores, 3; groceries, 5;
clothing, 3; boots and
shoes; drugs, 2; hardware, 2; furniture, 2; confectionery, 7; shoemakers, 2; blacksmith-shops, 2;
harness-shop, 1; wagon-whop, 1 lawyer, 1; hotelkeeper, 1; physician, 1; meat market 1; livery
stable, 1; millinery
The fire of the winter of 1890-91 wiped out several of the leading business houses of
the village, and
resulted in the moving of several of the business establishments to the north side of the principal
The first fire burned the mill, the elevator and cooper shop. In order
to guard against danger from smouldering sparks, the hand engine was left in position on the
river bank, with
watchmen to guard it. But the watch
was neglected, and when fire broke out in some grain that had been removed from the burned
mill to a meat market,
it was found that the engine was
frozen. From the Mat Poncelot Building, in which was the market of Sands & Luskell, the fire
spread to the west as
far as the Taft & Munger
Building, being stopped from further progress by the street. On the east it spread as far as the
building occupied by
Mrs. Mat Schram as a residence
and millinery store. There the heroic efforts of the bucket brigade arrested the flames, and the
rest of the village
The waterpower has been the vital feature in the life of Mazeppa. The Fords were
attracted to this point
by its possibilities in this regard,
and soon after their arrival arranged for its development by offering Isaac Nichols the
waterpower if he would build
a mill thereon. The offer was
at once accepted, and preparations were immediately made for the erection of a sawmill. This
was set in operation
during the winter, and timbers
were at the same time prepared for a gristmill. William Amsbry became associated with Nichols
in the construction
of the gristmill, and subsequently
bought out the latter. Ansbry & Barber completed it and began business in the fall of 1856.
They were succeeded
by Augustus Ambler, and the latter
by the Forest Mills and Mazeppa Mill companies, and now by the village of Maxeppa.
A sawmill was built in the fall of 1856 on the main river, half a mile above the mouth
of the north brankch
, by Alexander Somers and
Rhoderick Drinkwater, and set in operation the next spring. It was kept busy night and day
cutting lumber for
settlers' shanties. In December, 1857,
Somers' body was found in the river. The verdict of the coroner's jury was that he came to his
death otherwise than
by drowning. Fowl play was
suspected, but there was no evidence fastened to any one and the matter was dropped. From that
time the mill was
neglected, and the dam
subsequently washed away.
In the spring of 1857 a sawmill was built on Trout brook by Ralph Frasier on Sleeper's
claim, section 9.
After the settlers began to seek
for pine lumber, the dam was neglected and washed away. The mill was purchased by A. H.
Bright with the land on
which it stood and was used
for a time by Bright's sons for the manufacture of beekeepers' supplies, steam being used to drive
In 1858 a distillery was built about halfway between the present upper and lower
bridges in the village by
Loyd, Robi & Franklin, and the
manufacture of whisky was carried on there till 1862. Isaac T. Nichols then built farther up the
stream and removed
the machinery thither, and the
first distillery was town down. Nichols shortly built a mill on Trout brook. Augustus Ambler
bought the distillery
and tore out its machinery, which
he removed to his mill. He paid eight hundred dollars for the property in order to stop the
manufacture of whisky
here, and refused to sell it, lest it
be turned to the same use again. The Trout book mill change hands several times, and has long
since been swept
away by flood.
The Mazeppa Roller Mills company was organized in 1876 with a capital of $175,000,
and the flowage
rights and several buildings
acquired. The company was composed of L. F. Hubbard (president and treasurer), O. D. Ford
(secretary), W. S.
Wells (general manager), and William
P. Brown (resident manager). A dam of 26 feet depth was built on the sold bed rock, and a frame
mill built, 56 by
72 feet and four stories high. In
1878 an addition 60 by 70 feet was made for engine and boiler rooms. In 1881 the buhrstones
were removed and
forty sets of rolls installed for
making patent flour. In 1883 an elevator was built near the mill with a capacity of 100,000
bushels. For a time the
mill consumed 3,000 bushels
of wheat daily and daily turned out 600 barrels of flour. The product had a good demand
throughout the New
England states and in such British
centers as London, Liverpool and Glasgow.
In addition to the elevator at Mazeppa, ten elevators and warehouses were established
along the Zumbro
river and 100 railroad cars operated
to bring the grain from these establishments to Mazeppa.
When the Mazeppa elevator was built, John W. Kingsley was made the buyer, and he
was also given
charge of the other elevators along
the line as they were built. Later he succeeded Mr. Brown as general manager of the mill.
The concern underwent several changes in ownership and finally came into the
possession of Judge E. H.
Johnson of St. Paul. He converted
it into an oatmeal factory and it so continued until it was burned in 1891.
In the nineties the firm of Mason & Rust was operated at Forest Mills. Peter
Engelhardt bought the Rust
interests and the firm of Mason,
Olson & Engelhardt was then formed with J. R. Mason, Peter Engelhardt and N. M. Olson, who
been an employee in the Mason &
Rust plant at Forest Mills to the site of the old mill at Mazeppa. The dam, which had been out
for several years, was
rebuilt of stone and operations
started. Later the stone dam went out and was replaced by a post dam. This proving inadequate,
it was in turn
replaced by the present dam. The
plant was purchased by the village in 1915.
Prosper Robinson in 1878 built a warehouse for storing grain near the railroad track,
south of the depot.
This building was 60 by 30 feet
on the ground. In 1883 it was raised and elevating machinery put in. Mr. Robinson and the mill
purchased all the grain brought in, making
business very lively during the fall season. The elevator was later demolished and rebuilt.
A custom mill was built in 1883 at the south end of the village by Turner J. Preble and
Ground was first broken for the
dam in March, 1883, on outlot 1, of Hyde's addition to Mazeppa. The dam was seven and
one-half feet high, and
sufficient fall was secured in the
flume to give a ten-foot head of water. The mill was operated for many years and finally burned.
Mazeppa village was incorporated by the legislature of 1877. The organic act
appointed E. L. Ford and N.
J. Majerus as judges of the first
election and fixed March 17, 1877, as the date. On that day the voters assembled in Huntley's
Hall, and cast 86
votes for the various village officers.
Those elected were: President, O. D. Ford; trustees, Prosper Robinson, D. Van Fleet, and Welk
B. Smith; treasurer,
George Maxwell; recorder, Wesley
Kinney; justice, J. S. Huntley' constable, Alvin Kinney. Since then the presidents and recorders
have been as
follow: Presidents 1878, O. D. Ford;
1879, 1880 and 1881, W. W. Day; 1882, N. C. Olson; 1883, R. F. Maxwell; 1884, Dr. O. S.
Lont; 1885, W. P.
Brown; 1886, J. W. Kingsley. The
election day having been changed in 1886 from January to March, a second election was held in
March at which
Mr. Kingsley was re-elected.
Subsequent presidents were: 1887, E. L. Ford; 1888, 1889, 1890 and 1891, W. H. Mack; 1892,
1893, and 1894,
Peter Engelhardt; 1895 and 1896,
J. B. Gregoire; 1897, Peter Engelhardt; 1898, J. W. Kingsley; 1899, W. H. Mack; 1900, Herman
Phillips; 1901, J. J.
Darcey; 1902, Peter Engelhardt;
1903, H. J. Almeter; 1904 and 1905, Theo. Maas; 1906, C. W. Collins; 1907 and 1908, Theo.
Maas; 1909 and
1910, Matt Owens; 1911, 1912 and
1913, J. W. Kingsley; 1914, W. L. Duncan; 1915, 1916, W. B. Hagerty; 1917, W. B. Hagerty
having been again
elected, served until July 30, when
he resigned, and M. J. Hart was appointed to fill out the vacancy; 1918 and 1919, M. J. Hart.
The recorders have been as follows: 1878, Wesley Kinney; 1879 and 1880, J. W.
Kingsley; 1881 and
1882, D. Van Vleet; 1883, Mr. Van
Vleet having been again elected, resigned April 12, and A. J. Myers filled out the term; 1884 and
1885, O. B.
Munger; 1886, O. B. Munger was again
elected in January, and was succeeded the same year by E. F. Hopkins, who was elected in
March; 1887, H. N.
Harding; 1888, D. L. Philley; 1889,
Charles W. Underworth; 1890, J. H. Clear (appointed April 7); 1890, W. A. Munger (appointed
July 7, 1890);
1891, 1892, 1893, 1894, 1895 and
1896, W. A. Munger; 1897, 1898, 1899 and 1900, J. S. Robertson; 1901, J. S. Robertson was
again elected, but
removed before the expiration of
his term and Fred D. Mack was appointed to succeed him November 27, 1901. 1902 and 1903,
Fred D. Mack; 1904
and 1905, O. G. Nichols; 1906,
C. W. Collings; 1907 and 1908, Theo. Maas; 1909 and 1910, L. A. Phillips; 1911, 1912 and
1913, A. L. McCray;
1914, N. P. Seivert; 1915, N. P.
Seivert, who was again elected, resigned and F. J. Kingsley being appointed and declining to
serve (August 2), W.
A. Munger was appointed August
22, and by subsequent elections served in 1917, 1918 and 1919.
March 11, 1901, by a vote of 67 to 15, the voters of the village decided to entirely
separate from the
The municipal improvements of Mazeppa consist of a waterworks system, a sewer
system, an electric light
system, a village hall, a village
jail and a public park.
Shortly after the village was organized, a cistern was erected at the junction of Main
and Water streets,
and in 1886 a hand engine was
purchased. A volunteer fire department was organized under the auspices of the village with a
chief appointed by
the council. The cistern was filled
by carting water from the river, or sometimes by pumping it through a hose from the mill. This
was the only fire
protection the village had until the
great fire of the winter of 1890-91. In the meantime water for domestic purposes was obtained
from surface wells.
After the fire a waterworks system was established with a drilled well, a wooden tank
on a 90-foot tower,
the water being elevated by
windmill power. It was the original intention to have an artesian well, but after drilling to good
water, the artesian
well idea was abandoned. Mains
were established covering the principal streets.
After the mill was burned in the fire of the winter of 1891-92, the dam went out and the
pond was dry for
several years. In order to revive
the use of the important waterpower here, the village in 1898 leased the property, dam site and
flowage right to
Mason, Olson & Engelhart, who
moved a mill here from Forest Mills.
The windmill at the waterworks was then abandoned, and an arrangement made with
the mill company for
the use of a well at the mill and
for the pumping of the water to the tank in the park, the conditions of the lease being amended to
But in time the old tank began to show the results of age, leaking badly, and sometimes
freezing in winter.
Therefore in 1908 a new system
was inaugurated, a cement tank erected on Cemetery Hill and the mains extended. The mill still
continued to pump
the supply. The tank holds 3,000 barrels, and has an elevation of 83 feet above the main village
street, giving a
pressure of 40 pounds. There are 3,300 feet of 6-inch mains, 700 feet of 4-inch mains, 13 double
hydrants and two
In the early days of the village, various experiments were made with kerosene and
gasoline lamps for
street lighting. The real beginning of the present system was on April 12, 1909, when the council
appoint a committee to investigate the cost and feasibility of providing adequate street lighting.
deliberation the matter was submitted on June 15, 1909, to the voters who authorized the
issuance of bonds for the
Fairbanks, Morse & Co. were engaged to do the work, and a system was established
consisting of a 10
kwt. Dynamo and equipment, with 36 street lights, the power to be furnished by water power,
transmitted from the
mill to the power house. The street lamps were lighted in the latter part of August. Oct. 16,
1909, it was decided to
accept applications for service to business houses and residences, subject to the hours established
for the street
lighting system. The following year a larger dynamo was purchased. In 1913, the mill power
insufficient and a gas engine was purchased and installed in the village hall.
November 2, 1915, a special election was held for the purpose of bonding the village
to the amount of
$10,000 to purchase the property, lease and rights of the Mazeppa Roller Mill Co. The
proposition was passed by a
vote of 88 to 48, the majority being just three more votes than were required. The purchase was
for $8,000. In 1916 a new power house was erected west of the mill. The pump and dynamo are
west of the mill.
The nucleus of a sewer system has been started, the principal line extending from the
High school, across
the business center, to the river.
The village has a pretty well wooded park, neatly laid out and beautified with
shrubbery and flowers. It
has a bandstand and benches. The park was platted with the village and lies across the street
from the school
grounds. The village hall is the old village school, purchased, moved and remodeled in 1896.
As early as 1856, school was taught in the store of John E. Hyde by Mrs. Sidney
Munson. Eliza Goodell,
who later married Wallace Day, taught in a log cabin erected by Orville D. Ford on the present
site of the residence
of Charles Colling, and in a house erected by N. B. Smith. In 1858 a school was taught by
Huldah McManus, who
later became Mrs. G. W. Fowler. The building in which this school was kept was erected by the
settlers in the
Zumbro Valley, on the western side of the river, about a mile above the site of the Somers &
Drinkwalter mill. The
flood of 1859 swept this building away and it was never rebuilt. In the meantime J. A. Martin, in
the fall of 1857,
started getting out the lumber for a large two-story school building which was erected in the
village in 1858, the
expense of the structure being met by popular subscription. This building was enlarged and did
good duty until
1896, when it was removed and converted into a village hall. In that year a large brick school
building was erected,
and a High School department inaugurated. In 1912 an addition to the school building was
erected an new
equipment added. The first graduate of the High School was L. A. Phillips in 1898. Since then
there have been
graduations every year except 1900, 1904, 1905 and 1911. The school superintendents have
been: 1896, W. G.
Kingsford; 1898, R. A. Lyman; 1899, W. J. Mosher; 1902, H. H. Kent; 1904, W. C. Herrmann;
1908, J. S. Burrell;
1910, Augustus Hallstone; 1911, E. B. Anderson; 1916, H. B. Goff; 1918, F. S. Ladd; 1920, G.
Telephone service was inaugurated in Mazeppa by John W. Kingsley, who connected
with the Pine
Island-Oronoco-Potsdam-Plainview line at Oronoco, and maintained an exchange in his store.
Telephone Co. was organized in 1909 by John Grimm and F. C. Marvin and took over the
Kingsley interests. The
exchange was moved to a building on the west side of Main street. That same year Parkin &
Meyer of the Goodhue
Telephone Co. built a line to the village and established an exchange across the street from the
local exchange. This
line and exchange were purchased by the local company. In 1914 the present sightly structure
was erected. The
company now consists of H. L. Lathrop and John Grimm.
The Mazeppa Farmers' Elevator and Mercantile Co. was established in 1908. In 1912 it
as the Mazeppa Farmers' Elevator Co., and in 1916 sold to the Huntting Elevator Co. The
Huntting people now
lease the elevator to Carl Engelhart, while they themselves operated the old Maas elevator.
Creameries and cheese factories in this vicinity date back for several decades. In 1816
(this must be
1916), E. G. Hammer, of Zumbrota, bought out the creamery then owned by the Farmers'
Elevator co., and had been
purchased by them from A. L. McCray. In 1920 Mr. Hammer sold to the present company the
Co-operative Dairy Association, which was organized early this year with Thomas Bake as
president; Fred Busse,
Jr., as secretary; and Paul Krinke, treasurer.
The Mazeppa Brass Band was for many years an important institution, and won many
prizes at musical
meets. It underwent several reorganizations, but throughout its existence the principal musicians
the same persons. The first organization was in November, 1880, George Westphal being the
first leader and John
W. Kingsbury the first business manager.
In the early days Mazeppa and vicinity were represented in correspondence appearing
in various state and
county papers. For some time in the middle seventies the Wabasha County Sentinel had a
Mazeppa department with
Mazeppa news and advertisements, and on February 28, 1877, issued a full two-page Mazeppa
editor of the department was E. F. Hopkins.
The Mazeppa Tribune was first issued November 3, 1877. There has been considerable
confusion in the
numbering of the issues in times past, but the date of the first issue is fairly well agreed upon.
The paper was
established by Schram and Clark. In a little over four months Matthias Schram became sole
editor and proprietor.
He was succeeded in 1886 by A. J. Myers. In 1891 Benn Houghtaling became editor and
proprietor. He was
followed in 1893 by the Tribune Printing Co., so called, composed of the brothers Herman H.,
David and Joseph
Phillips. Joseph Phillips, the manager, withdrew in about two years, and the paper was continued
by the other two.
In 1898, W. G. Kingsford took the paper. He was succeeded in 1908 by L. A. Phillips, the
present editor of the
Mazeppa Journal, in which the Tribune is merged.
The Mazeppa Independent was started by F. J. Rucker and George Goetting. It was
sold and taken to
Zumbro Falls. November 3, 1904, it was brought back to Mazeppa by Michael Marx and
established as the
Mazeppa Journal. November 5, 1905, the paper was purchased by L. A. Phillips. In 1908 he
purchased the Tribune
and consolidated the two papers under the name of the Mazeppa Journal, retaining the volume
and number of both
papers. The first consolidated issue was published June 20, 1908.
Attention to religious duties has been an important factor in the lives of the people of
Mazeppa. The first
religious services were held in the store of John E. Hyde, in July, 1856, by Rev. Christopher
McManus, a Methodist
local preacher residing south of Pine Island, in Goodhue County. During the same season, Rev.
A. E. Standish
preached in the mill. The first church edifice was that of the Congregationalists, built in
A Sunday School was organized in 1856 with Francis M. Skillman as superintendent.
This was held in
the store of John E. Hyde, where school was also held, and where early church services were
SS. Peter and Paul's Church, Mazeppa,
The early history of this church from its very infancy brings us back to the time when this
section on the
outskirts of Wabasha County was scarcely settled and the first Catholic settlers in this vicinity,
who were poorly
situated with earthly means and only few in number, had to be satisfied with the services
rendered to them
occasionally by those good, noble, spirited pioneer priests, Fathers Thissot, Trobec and Knauff,
who under many
hardships and admirable self-sacrifice visited the Catholic people that lived around here and
attended to their
spiritual wants and at different intervals saying Mass and administering the sacraments in the
private house of the
first champion Catholic settler, Mr. Peter Clemens. Although the flock was small, a little frame
erected in 1867 by Mr. Peter Clemens, who was body and soul of this organization from its
inception. This humble
building with all its simplicity was to be the edifice of worships of their holy faith. And although
the beginning was
very hard, yet the hearts of those Catholic pioneers, trusting for better days to come, were
courageously filled with
the ardent desire to see in time the joyous day, when they would be able, increased in number, to
meet the difficult
task of raising a fund to build a large edifice, upon which the glorious Cross, the significant
symbol of our Faith,
would in its full brightness, in the golden rays of the sun, be seen in the church tower. And
indeed, their confidence
and hope were not in vain, their courage, firm ambition and their sacrifices were plentifully
rewarded. In the fall of
1871 a small knot of men were clustered together in this place, earnest, humble and God fearing
men. They found
that there was yet a certain want a demand to be made on their slender purses, to build a church,
thus adding to the
honor of their undying faith. They were about to erect a memorial, to which the coming
generation of the Mission
could raise forefathers. And the seed to be planted by a few should grow to a strong tree, whose
would extend its blossoms around a far district.
Consulting the old records, sustained yet today by the congregation, the few families
necessary money and gave generously to the best of their ability. In the fall of 1875, Father C.
Walters, who made
his abode at Belvidere till the next summer, visited Mazeppa occasionally and collected the first
money for the
building of the new church. And after the completion of the foundation in the year 1876, the
rapidly until the long desired day approached, when the new House of God was dedicated with
the most significant
ceremonies for divine services, by the Most Rev. Archbishop Ireland of St. Paul. Rev. Father
Stariha, of Red Wing,
had the pastoral charge of this Mission, who visited the place at intervals till the summer of 1878.
At this time the
Mission was attached to St. Mary's Church of Belvidere, Goodhue County. On October 10,
1878, SS. Peter and
Paul's congregation was incorporated, the legal document bearing the signature of the late
Archbishop Thomas L.
Grace, pastor at Belvidere, attended to this place and was succeeded by Rev. John Tori. In the
year 1880, under the
administration of their pastor, Rev. John Meier, a fine church bell was purchased and the 14
stations of the Cross
placed by Rev. Ignatz Limberg; who ministered to the people here for about 12 years. Under the
pastoral charge of
Rev. Fr. Limberg a Sanctuary and Sacristy was built and a basement under the church made.
The Right Rev. Bishop Cotter, D.D., of Winona, yielding to the frequent appeals of the
people for a
resident pastor, most joyfully granted his approval and entrusted the organization of the parish to
incumbent, Rev. Father Mueller, who as the first resident pastor, commenced his parochial duties
1901, on the Feast of All Saints, on which day he held his first service. Looking over the field of
his future labors, a
great and difficult task was to be done, that demanded earnest activity and a sacrificing spirit on
the part of the
parishioners. A house was rented for the temporary residence of the pastor, and after having
arrangements, a lot on the north side of the church was purchased from Mrs. Anna Gregoire. In
the spring of 1901
the excavating of the foundation was commenced and the erection of the fine and comfortable
rectory, with all the
modern improvements according to the plans of Architect Keith of Minneapolis, was completed
on August 1, 1901.
Mr. Jos. Reiland was the contractor of the parsonage. The next step was in the direction of
renovating the exterior
of the church, in shingling the roof and painting. Also the interior demanded attention, for most
was to be done in
the beautifying of God's holy temple. New altars were erected, statues and vestments purchased.
In August, 1901,
two new church bells, the gifts of some of the parishioners, were solemnly blessed by Rev. John
Meier of Winona,
assisted by several other priests. And as the increase of the parish members especially of the
demanded more room capacity, the congregation decided in 1902 to enlarge the church, by
building two side wings
in the form of a cross to the main church structure, each having the dimensions of 18x27 ft. In
the year 1903 the
entire church was adorned with stained leaded glass windows. In 1904 a new commodious
equipped for daily winter services was built in size 18x35 ft., costing $1,200. And in order to
surroundings of the church and rectory, six fine lots adjoining the church property were
purchased in 1906 from Mr.
Beck. Besides the many additions to the movable articles, such as a large new church organ, etc.,
a fine crucifixion
group with stone platform was erected in the cemetery in 1909, as well as a new cement walk
made from the rectory
to the church and cement steps in front of the church. In the fall of 1910 a new coal furnace of
the latest style, of
90,000 cubic feet capacity, was installed in the church and the walls of the church were most
In the spring of 1911 a large set of gothic relief stations were erected and a parish library
established, a large barn
built 20x36 ft. The cemetery consisting of more than five acres of land, has met with many
1901, the last being the erection of an iron fence and galvanized arch, 14 feet in height and 12
feet in width. Among
the main improvements made in 1916 were the installation of electric lights in the church and
chapel. In the spring
of 1919 a commodious society hall was built, fully equipped with furnishings. Worthy of
mention is the one week's
holy mission that was held in the parish church in September, 1903, conducted by Rev. Father
of the Precious Blood order.
The present church societies, which are in a flourishing condition, are: St. Mary's
organized October 24, 1880, and reorganized in 1901 membership 95. St. Peter's Benevolent
November 27, 1892. The Catholic Order of Foresters, Court No. 630, organized November 22,
1896. St. Aloysius
Sodality, organized January 1, 1906. St. Agnes Young Ladies' Society, organized June 21, 1912.
the Most Precious Blood of our Lord, canonically erected December 31, 1901.
The following are the priests who in succession attended as pastors to the spiritual
wants of the faithful
belonging to the mission up to its erection as a parish with a resident pastor: Reverends Knauff,
Tori, Schmitt, Limberg, and the present incumbent as the first pastor, Rev. Francis X. Mueller.
incorporation of this church the gentlemen who acted in the official capacity as legal directors
secretaries and treasurers are the following: Nicholas Marx, Peter Birkenforth, Peter Christnach,
Chas. W. Colling,
N. P. Seivert, Peter Nei, George Nei, and Peter J. Marx.
Rev. Francis X. Meuller
Methodist Episcopal Church
The earliest church organization in the village was a class of this denomination, under the auspices of
Presiding Elder N. Hobart, of Winona. Rev. J. W. Rogers had a circuit including this charge. A. E. Standish was
the local elder, and F. S. Skillman class leader. There were eight members in the first class, as follows: Francis S.
and Julia Skillman, James and Mary Ann Jackson, James Standish, Mary McLeach, Alvin Stoddard and Thurza
Fraser. The church flourished for some years, but deaths and removals finally diminished its numbers, and services
were discontinued. In 1911, when the Congregationalists were having difficulty in securing regular preaching in its
pulpit, and appeal was made to the Methodist Conference. A local Methodist organization was perfected, and the
Methodists have since occupied the Congregational church. The Methodist pastors since May 23, 1911, have been
the Rev. Messrs. John W. Atkins, W. E. Hawley, Herbert E. Davis, A. B. Gould and then J. W. Atkins again.
The congregational Church of Mazeppa was organized under the ministration of Rev. Henry Willard,
May 17, 1860. The first members were: Ezra and Asenath Robinson, Anna Stowell, Charles H. and Rosina L.
Goodell, Eliza J. Day, Nellie G. Ormsby, Eliza A. Hyde and Freeman Pearson. The first ordinance of baptism was
administered to Feeman Pearson and Rosina L. Goodell; all the others being admitted on the recommendations
furnished them by their respective churches from whence they came. Charles H. Goodell was elected deacon and
treasurer, and Freeman Pearson clerk. The pastors have been: The Rev. Messrs. Warren Bigelow, J. M. Hayes, J. E.
Burbank, E. P. Dada, J. B. Ladd, S. H. Barteau, Wm. M. Weld, H. K Painter, N. H. Pierce, Daniel French, John
Bradshaw, W. W. Ross, W. W. McArthur, J. C. Huntington, A. L. Struthers, W. H. Pierce, Q. C. Todd, J. E.
Ingham, W. H. Moore, Irving B. Hollman, J. L. Nott, Frank Ferguson, S. T. Beattie, C. H. Moxie, Allen Clark and
Paul Albert. O. B. Gould also occupied the pulpit at intervals. The church building was erected in 1870-71. It
stands on the southeast corner of Walnut street and Broadway, fronting the latter, and overlooking the business part
of the village. A parsonage was also erected. The Congregational organization is still retained, but its members
worship with the Methodists who now occupy the church edifice.
Free-Will Baptist Church
In March, 1880, Rev. J. N. Haskell organized a society of Free-Will Baptists here, this faith having been cherished
by a few for many years. The following persons formed the original class: Charles and Jane Troxell, Wilson, Mr.
Mary and Miss Jane Hutchins, Elmer and Phoebe Stotts, James and Angeline Oliver, W. W. and Eliza Dean, and
Misses Emma, Minnie and Lydia Dean, Rosa and Flora Oliver and Martha Harrison. Services were held in the
schoolhouse, where the first quarterly meeting was held in 1881. During this year a church edifice was begun on
the corner of Broadway and Chestnut streets, fronting the former, and was completed next season. Mr. Willard was
succeeded by Rev. E. J. Keville, who remained a year. Not long afterward services were discontinued. The first
superintendent of the Sunday school was Emma Dean.
Tyrian Lodge No. 86, A. F. & A. M. held its first communication under
dispensation February 8, 1870. The first officers were: Worshipful Master, E. W. Robie; senior warden, James
Oliver; junior warden, George Maxwell; treasurer, H. Wilson; secretary, W. M. Evans; senior deacon, O. D. Ford;
junior deacon, George B. Franklin; senior steward, W. W. Day; tyler, G. W. Judd. The first application for
membership was that of Evander Skillman. The charter was granted January 11, 1871. The first officers elected
under the charter were: Worshipful Master, E. W. Robie; senior warden, James Oliver; junior warden, W. W. Black;
treasurer, A. J. Taft; secretary, W. M. Evans; senior deacon, Evander Skillman; junior deacon, G. B. Franklin; tyler.
G. W. Judd.
The Masters of the lodge have been: E. W. Robie, James Oliver, W. W. Black, J. S. Huntley, E. S. Hyde,
George Maxwell, E. L. Ford, Geo. W. Hall, John B. Gregoire, E. L. Ford, L. L. Mathews, John McCabe, N. L.
Munger, A. L. McCray, A. P. Hawkinson, M. J. Rucker, L. A. Phillips and A. W. Crawford.
The first meetings were held in the hall in the store at the southeast corner of Main and Walnut streets. Afterward
the lodge put an extra story on the building owned by Dr. O.S. Lont and occupied as a drug store by William
Angell. In time John W. Kingsley purchased the property and it is now owned by the lodge, the lodge room being
in the upper story and the banquet hall in the lower story.
Mazeppa Chapter Order of Eastern Star, No. 188, began work under a dispensation
granted March 17, 1906, the officers being: Worthy matron, Mrs. Lottie McCabe (Mrs. J. B. McCabe); worthy
patron, E. L. Ford; associate matron, Ellen Munger (Mrs. N. L. Munger); secretary, Mrs. Agnes Kingsley (Mrs. J.
W. Kingsley). The chapter was granted its charter May 10, 1906, and the officers elected were: Worthy matron,
Harriet Nichols (Mrs. O. G. Nichols); worthy patron, E. L. Ford; associate matron, Ellen Munger (Mrs. N. L.
Munger); secretary, Agnes Kingsley (Mrs. J. W. Kingsley). The office of matron has been held successively up to
the present time by Mrs. Harriet Nichols, Mrs. Agnes Kingsley, Mrs. Nellie McClelland, Mrs. Maude Yotter (Mrs.
F. C. Yotter), Mrs. Mary Kingsley (Mrs. F. W. Kingsley), and Mrs. Phoebe Mack (Mrs. L. L. Mack).
Mazeppa Lodge, Ancient Order of United Workmen, was instituted
January 8, 1878, but the charter was soon surrendered.
Mazeppa Lodge, No. 225, Degree of Honor, was organized January 8,
1906. The first officers were: Past Chief of Honor, Clara (Mrs. John E.) Philley; chief of honor, Hattie (Mrs. Fred
D.) Mack; lady of honor, Melissa (Mrs. Lansford) Ingalls; chief of ceremonies, Mary (Mrs. W. A.) Munger;
recorder, Anna L. (Mrs. E. L.) Ford; financier, Hattie (Mrs. O. G.) Nichols; receiver, Caroline (Mrs. M. J.) Rucker;
usher, Emma Beardsley; inside watch, Kate (Mrs. Thomas) Hodson; outside watch, Margaret (Mrs. N. J.) Almeter.
Mazeppa Lodge No. 71, I. O. O. F. , was instituted Aug. 6, 1879, with the
following charter officers: S. Phillips, N.G.; F. L. Boney, V.G.; M. Schram, secretary; G. W. Judd, treasurer; E. W.
Black and James Hickox. At the second meeting other officers were installed as follows: C. C. Emery, Warden; R.
A. Johnson, C.; E. W. Black, I.G.; W. King, R.S.N.G.; Alvin Kinney, L.S.N.G.; R. Black, R.S.V.G.; J. B. Gregoire,
L.S.V.G.; William Ritschlag, R.S.S.; Daniel Macky, L.S.S.
Deville C. Ford, W.R.C., No. 96, Mazeppa, Auxiliary to the Grand Army of the
Republic , was organized January 25, 1896, with the following charter members: Orille A. (Mrs. Orvill D.)
Ford, Adelia A. (Mrs. Orton) Ford, Elizabeth (Mrs. Charles C.) Robinson, Maria D. (Mrs. Robert H.) Davis, Mary
J. (Mrs. Henry) Pengilly, Arne E. (Mrs. Lewis) Judd, Eliza (Mrs. Thomas) Carlon, Helena A. (Mrs. Peter A.)
Clemens, Emily (Mrs. Z. B.) Page, Julia R. (Mrs. Charles) Turner, Mary (Mrs. Levi E.) Scruby, Mary Pengilly,
Susanna (Mrs. George W.) Sullivan, Grace Pengilly, Georgia (Mrs. William L.) Duncan. The officers for that year
were: Mary Scruby, president; Elizabeth Robinson, secretary; Emily Page, treasurer; Julia R. Turner, chaplain; Mary
Pengilly, conductor; Eliza Carlon, guard; Susanna Sullivan, assistant conductor; Helena Clemens, assistant guard.
The work of the Woman's Relief Corps consists mainly in assisting the Grand Army of the Republic in their noble
work of caring for their afflicted comrades and their dependent ones; in cherishing and emulating the deeds of our
army nurses and of all loyal women who rendered loving service to our country in its hour of peril; and in teaching
patriotism in the communities in which we live, and perpetuating the memory of our heroic dead by the sacred
observance of Memorial Day. With the last mentioned service in view, a part of the Corps' work consists in making
a wreath of flowers for each of the graves of departed comrades, the Corps marching to the cemetery with the G. A.
R. on May 30 each year to deposit the decorations. The Corps is growing in strength every year, and has now a
patriotic instructor whose duty is to promote patriotic education in the schools by presenting flags, patriotic primers,
oleographs of the origin and history of the Stars and Stripes, and to observe national anniversaries and flag days.
The report of the patriotic instructor for 1919 (Josephine Elston) shows that she visited six schools, presented one
flag to a Sunday school and one flag to a public institution, gave 36 flag salute leaflets and eight primers to schools,
the amount expended being $16.16. Through the kindness of Comrade Gilbert Beardsley of CD. C. Ford Post No.
50, of Mazeppa, a list of the soldiers who have answered the last roll call has been obtained and is here presented,
namely: James Harrison, Ira Belden, Thomas Perry, R. A. Johnson, Lester Frederickson (World War), Nile Graham,
M. Owen, A. Marshal, W. W. Black, Elmer Black, A. J. Taft, John Smithson, N. B. Smith, C. N. Elston, Andrew
Arnold, T. Holloway, Joe Sibly, John O'Connell (U. S. Navy), Ben Crandall, John Hyde, Orton Ford, Ansil Carrier,
Henry Washburn, Turner Preble, Charles Robinson, Charles Sibley, George Hall, G. Goodman, George Carlon
(Spanish War), Thomas Carlon, Henry Putman, Henry squire, H. Helenbolt, Mr. Hartman, George Franklin,
Sylvester Summers, H. Paxley, George Suits, Wallace Hutchins, F. Crandall and L. McManus. The Post also
decorates eight graves at Bell Chester, seven at Lincoln and three at Bear Valley.
Mazeppa Lodge, I. O. G. T., had a flourishing organization for several
years. It was instituted on January 31, 1883, under the auspices of Col. J. T. Long, state organizer. There were
forty charter members, with officers as follows: W. W. Day, P.W.C.T.; S. H. Wyatt, W.C.T.; Clara Preston,
W.V.T.; W. H. Day, W.R.S.; Murray Philley, W.F.S.; D. L. Philley, W.T.; J. B. McManus, W.C.; Hazen Runnells,
W.M.; Mary Marshall, W.I.G.; L. S. Judd, W.S.; Lodge Deputy, Lucy J. Bigelow.
The Women's Christian Temperance Union at Mazeppa was first
organized on April 15, 1878. The last meeting under this organization was held in April, 1879. On September 24,
1881, a new start was made with the original number.
The People's State Bank of Mazeppa was incorporated May 25, 1909,
and received its charter August 5, 1909. The first officers and directors were: G. H. Squire (president), Nick.
Arendt (vice-president), Arthur J. Hodge, (cashier), Matthias J. Hart, R. F. Budersiek, J. J. Darcy, A. R.
Hawkenson, F. W. Kingsley, all of Mazeppa, and William Manthei, of Zumbrota. The bank opened for business in
its present sightly building, September 13, 1909. The original stock was $10,000, increased January 10, 1911, to
$20,000 and November 13, 1919, to $25,000. December 31, 1910, the deposits were $51,552.81, the loans and
documents $47,601.91; December 31, 1910, the deposits were $51,552.81, the loans and documents $47,601.91;
December 31, 1915, the deposits were $175,363.13, the loans and discounts, $150,307.57. December 31, 1919, the
capital and surplus and undivided profits were $36,932.12; the loans and discounts, $365,716.35; the deposits,
$411,832.49. Mr. Squire is still the president and Mr. Hodge the cashier. Mr. Arendt died as vice-president and
was succeeded in January, 1915, by Fred Grossbach. When the bank was opened Frank A. Hodge was assistant
cashier. He was succeeded by Art. S. Hodge, the present assistant. The bank has been especially active in
agricultural endeavor and has made a specialty of cattle loans. The present directors are G. H. Squire, J. J. Darcy,
Otto Goetsch and Bertha Arendt. Bookkeepers have been employed from time to time, the present on being
The Bank of Mazeppa had its beginning in the fall of 1886, when H. T.
Fowler, formerly of the Batavian Bank of St. Paul, started a private bank here. Business was started October 10,
1886. The bank was incorporated January 2, 1888, with a capital of $10,000. The original stockholders were:
Prosper Robinson, Theo. Maas, J. W. Kingsley, E. L. Ford, William Robinson, C. F. A. Maas, H. T. Fowler, J. B.
Gregoire, W. D. Angell, Anthony Casper, D. L. Philley, O. D. Ford, W. H. Mack, Walter Fowler, Peter Engelhart,
Philip Arendt, Francis Reding, Elmer E. Fowler. The Messrs. Maas were living in Pine Island, Messrs. Arendt and
Casper in Bell Chester, Mr. Reding in Bell Chester and Walter Fowler in St. paul. The first officers were: O. D.
Ford, president; H. T. Fowler, Cashier. The directors were H. T. Fowler, E. L. Ford, D. L. Philley, Philip Arendt,
Prosper Robinson, J. W. Kingsley, O. D. Ford, C. F. A. Maas and W. H. Mack. April 7, 1890, E. E. Fowler was
elected cashier, H. T. Fowler, having resigned. E. E. Fowler died in the fall of 1894, and on September 19 of that
year L. L. Mathews was elected to fill the vacancy. Mr. Mathews resigned December 31, 1904, and the present
cashier, A. F. Liffrig, was elected to fill the vacancy January 10, 1905. Theodore Maas, the president, succeeded O.
D. Ford, January 14, 1902. The present officers are: Theo, Maas, president; C. F. A. Maas, vice-president; A. J.
Liffrig, cashier; Georgia Erwin, bookkeeper. The directors are: Theo. Maas, C. F. A. Maas, J. W. Kingsley, Peter
Engelhart, W. G. Kingsford, Sarah Kingsford and A. F. Liffrig. The institution was chartered as a state band
December 24, 1891, and started business as such, January 2, 1892, the stockholders being John Miller, Lewis
Klingsporn, Francis Redding, E. E. Fowler, J. B. Gregoire, J. W. Kingsley, C. F. A. Maas, Anthony Casper, Orville
D. Ford, E. L. Ford, W. H. Mack, William F. F. Maas, August Klingsporn, William Robinson, Addie M. Gilman.
The directors were O. D. Ford, J. B. Gregoire, E. L. Ford, W. H. Mack, C. F. A. Maas, J. W. Kingsley and E. E.
Fowler. At this time the capital was increased to $25,000. The bank has been in the same building since it first
opened its doors. It has been an important factor in the life of the community for over three decades and has had its
share in its progress and growth. The deposits on January 2, 1892, were $50,414.93, the loans and discounts
$51,361.29. The deposits on December 31, 1900, were $81,509.47; the loans and discounts $76,519.23. The
deposits on December 31, 1910, were $233,470.00; the loans and discounts $180,416.71. On December 31, 1919,
the capital was $25,000, the surplus and undivided profits $14,202.54, the deposits $395,917.73.
Mazeppa Township occupies a part of Township 109, Range 14, that part east of the south fork of the
Zumbro River having been set off to Zumbro. It is bounded on the north by Chester, on the east by Zumbro, on the
south by Olmsted County and on the west by Goodhue County. The northern part is cut by the Zumbro River, and
its northern branch, Trout Creek.
Much of the township was originally covered with a dense forest growth. Except along the water courses
the timber is now for the most part cleared off, although nearly every farmer has a small grove, and many have
This region abounds in natural curiosities. Near the junction of Trout brook with the Zumbro river is a
cave in the side of the bluff. This is probably fifteen feet high and nearly as wide, extending thirty or forty feet into
the ground; a small passage at some distance above the floor of the cave runs back as much farther. The side, roof
and walls of the cave are solid limestone rock and are covered with Indian hieroglyphics representing the leading
birds, fish, and game animals of the region. There are numerous other characters whose significance is known only
to a few. It is said by some of the early settlers that the Indians who remained here after settlement were made
refused to enter the cave, saying "the devil lives there." It served as a shelter for some of the early prospectors after
claims, and their horses and some of the first settlers lived here for a while.
In the fall of 1883 a well was dug in the rear of W. W. Day's livery barn on Walnut street, Mazeppa, and
well preserved pieces of wood were taken from it at a depth of over forty feet. They appeared to be some kind of
willow, and the circumstances clearly show that an immense deposit of soil has been made since they grew. Roots
and pieces of timber were encountered at various depths. Several similar discoveries have been made in digging
wells in the vicinity.
The first settler in Mazeppa Township was Ira O. Seeley. He visited this locality in the fall of 1854, and
being pleased with the valley where Mazeppa village now stands, decided to squat upon a claim there, and to that
end erected a bark shanty on the west side of the river, not far from the present site of the milldam. Returning to
Wabasha for his family, he became convinced, on reflection, that the valley of Trout Brook afforded greater
advantages for general farming purposes; so when he came on with his family next spring he located on section 5.
Immediately after Mr. Seeley came Enoch Young, Joseph Fuller and G. C. Sleeper, all making claims on sections 4
and 5. In April of the same year came Joseph Ford and his son, Orville D., and George Maxwell. During the same
season Anson L. Carrier, Nelson B. Smith, Turner Preble, Francis A. Stowell, John E. Hyde, Elijah Lont, J. B.
Miller, James H. Sandford, Lewis Blunt, George Duncan, Charles Fox, Isaac Nicholls, George Bailey, and possibly
others visited the township.
When the first settlers came to Mazeppa, the Indians were plentiful. They cultivated some land on the
Zumbro River to raise corn. They often camped in the east end of what is now Mazeppa village. They were
friendly to the whites, and often engaged in tests of marksmanship with the men.
An incident in the experience of Dr. O. S. Lont will illustrate the severity of the winter of 1856-57. One
day he set out with a team to visit a patient seven miles away across the prairie. A furious snowstorm came on and
he succeeded in going only four miles and was housed up four days. At the end of this time, with assistance, he was
able to make his way through the drifts back to Mazeppa. In the meantime he had not seen the patient, and the
feelings of his wife, who was at home alone and knew nothing of his whereabouts, cannot be easily imagined.
G. W. Fowler was among the earliest settlers. On one occasion he killed a fine deer and proceeded to
carry the carcass home. On the way he was pursued by wolves, and was compelled to abandon the venison to them
in order to save himself. The first coffin made in the town was put together for an Indian by Mr. Fowler.
Mazeppa Township is crossed by the main road between Lake City and Rochester. During the summer of
1855 Messrs. Ford and Maxwell staked out a road to Red Wing. The stakes were made of saplings and peeled, so
that one could be seen in daytime from the location of its nearest neighbor. Thus it was comparatively easy to find
the way across the prairie. In the succeeding fall, I. T. Nicholls set about the erection of a mill, and to this end
employed Mr. Maxwell to go to Red Wing after lumber. Maxwell reached Red Wing one afternoon in time to get a
load on his wagon ready for a start in the morning. During the night a heavy rain fell, and next morning both load
and roads were heavy. With two yokes of oxen he set out on the return to Mazeppa. At dark he had covered two-
thirds of the distance, and found his wagon stuck fast in a slough. In making an extra effort to move the load the
tongue of the wagon was broken, and no tools or material for repairs were at hand. In this dilemma Maxwell set out
to reach home with the oxen, leaving the wagon and load. But now a new difficulty arose. The stakes that guided
his course were not visible in the darkness, and he was several times at a loss as to directions, and nearly the whole
night was consumed in reaching home. Next day he returned with means for repairs and succeeded in reaching
Mazeppa with the load. Not a house was to be seen on the way, and the traveler was obliged in those days to
depend wholly on his own resources.
The Gold Fever days in this vicinity are still remembered in this vicinity. The base of operations was at
Oronoco, in Olmsted county, where a mining company was formed. In 1856 gold was discovered on the river bank
by Holden Whipple, who lived near the junction of the north branch with the main stream. Search showed the
existence of minute particles of the precious metal all along the stream, and a considerable quantity was found to
exist in the village of Oronoco. In the fall of 1858 a company was organized for the purpose of systematic mining,
and sluices were erected on section 22. Here was found a large deposit of clay in the narrow river valley, which
yielded a good percentage of "shot gold." By the time the works were ready for operation winter closed in, and a
long period of impatient waiting was imposed on the sanguine miners. But their patience was destined to be still
more highly taxed, for the melting of the snow in the spring following raised the river very high, and their
handiwork was swept away by the remorseless Zumbro. Their courage was, however, unshaken, and the company
was reorganized with additions to its membership and capital. More extensive improvements were at once planned
and begun, and by the end of June were ready for business. Everything was completed on a certain Friday night,
and most of the proprietors retired to Oronoco to rest and prepare for pushing the work on the following Monday.
A few of the most enthusiastic or industrious remained over Saturday to set the work going. That night the sluices
were cleaned up, and something over twenty dollars' worth of gold was taken out.
But on Monday morning the memorable flood of July 3, 1859, had arrived, and the works of the "Oronoco
Mining Company" were swept entirely away. The courage and resources of most of the miners having now been
exhausted, the work was abandoned.
The great flood of 1859, above referred to, caused great suffering and hardship all along the stream.
Considerable manufacturing machinery was swept down from Oronoco. The approach of the rise was so sudden
and rapid that many settlers along the river bottoms were unable to save anything G. W. Fowler left home in the
morning and returned shortly after noon. His house, which stood on a knoll, was entirely surrounded. The boat,
moored by a chain on the river bank, was still there, but in a vertical position, the stem being just visible above the
seething waters. After diving in vain two or three times to unfasten it, he succeeded in breaking the chain and
removed his family to a place of safety. Numerous other settlers fared in a similar manner.
Like the other towns in the county, Mazeppa, which then took in the whole Congressional Township, was
organized May 11, 1858, on which date the first town meeting was held. John A. Marten was made temporary
chairman, after which George Maxwell was elected moderator, and H. M. Stanton and Charles F. Fox were chosen
clerks. The town was already well settled, and 103 votes were polled. For chairman, C. F. Fox had 57 votes; F. A.
Stowell, 46. For side supervisors, James H. Sandford received 102 votes; R. W. Drinkwater, 50; C. F. Fox, 40;
scattering, 4. For town clerk, Ansel F. Fox, 57; H. M. Stanton, 45. For assessor, George W. Fowler, 98. For
collector, Ansel F. Carrier, 102. Overseer of the poor, William A. Preble, 57; Otis K. Gould, 43. Constables, A. F.
Carrier, 102; W. A. Preble, 59; Orville Ford, 9. Justices of the peace, Corydon Avery, 60; John Reimund, 69; James
Bent, James L. Bent, Ladd Robi and George Maxwell, received each a number of votes. At a meeting of the
supervisors on July 10, following, the town was divided into three road districts, the main and north branches of the
Zumbro river making the dividing lines.
On April 22, 1879, a special election was held to vote on the question of issuing bonds to the amount of
$12,000 for the Minnesota Midland Railroad. Out of 136 votes, 78 were in favor of the proposition, and in due
time the bonds were issued. The township has a town hall in section 17.
End of Chapter