History of Pleasant Valley Township

Pleasant Valley township lies east of Britton, and the ridge or elevation on which Britton is located extends across the northwest corner of the township and terminates in the southeast corner of White township on sections 35 and 36, where the Wild Rice passes through to the north. This termination is generally known as the “Gap,” and by the Indians called Spirit Earth, where they annually congregated to hunt buffaloes. The southeast corner of the township extends pretty well up into the Coteaus; there are several coulees containing excellent spring water. Near Mr. Ford‘s, on section 11, is really the great water shed of the continent; the water a few rods south of there flows into the Missouri River, while just north, a short distance, the water flows into the Red River of the North. Mr. John Appleby has a spring on his claim, which is said by experts to have a volume and fall sufficient to furnish a twelve-horse power. One of the coulees had considerable timber three years ago.

Frank Ford, the first settler, was born in Franklin County, Massachusetts, in 1848. Came here from Richland County, Dakota, and located on his present home on section 11 the latter part of June, 1882, and built the first frame house in the county. F. Labord and J. R. Purdy came about the same time and located near Mr. Ford‘s.

August 17th, Capt. A. C. Poor and family came here and located. He has six children, of whom Nellie and Will are at home, and the others located as follows: Martin, section 22; Oscar, section 27; Charles, section 28; Mrs. Annette Poor Gardner, with her husband, section 22. Mr. Poor was born in the state of New York and has lived in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Came to Hastings, Minnesota, in 1852, and with the exception of twelve years in Wisconsin, lived there until he came here. Served as Captain in the First Minnesota Regiment in the rebellion. Is now Justice of the Peace.

The Appleby family, consisting of James, the father, and the brothers John, Thomas and Joseph A., all emigrated from Yorkshire, England, to Wellington, Canada, in 1857. Father Appleby, John and Joseph, came here with an ox team from Wilmar, Minnesota, August 20, 1882. Thomas came here from Storm Lake, Iowa, March ’85, and are all located on sections 23, 25 and 26. Thomas is this season, including his own stock, herding 200 head of cattle, and intends to make stock raising a specialty, as he has good water and a splendid range.

Pleasant Valley township was not surveyed until late in 1882, so that the settlers mentioned were squatters on land which came in market in the spring of ’83. A. C. Poor made the first filing in the township. There were only four families that wintered here during the severe winter of ’82-’83. The snow was unusually deep and the settlers took turns in getting the mail at Ft. Sisseton, going afoot. Frank Ford‘s family and boarders consisted of eight persons, and owing to the deep snow ran short of flour, and for six weeks took turns at the coffee-mill grinding wheat. The following spring, 1883, the settlers rushed in from all directions and the vacant claims were soon taken.

The following is a list of the settlers in the township, including three sections added to it on the east side:

P. F. Hibbard came from Vermont to Fargo in 1880, and April 17 located on section 20. Put in a stock of goods in E. W. Blood‘s residence and the same summer built a store on section 22, A. C. Poor‘s tree-claim, and was commissioned postmaster that fall and lived there until 1884, when he moved to Britton. Is engaged in the real-estate and land office business; is also notary public.

The Woodards, from Carlton, Minnesota, located: Edward N., section 20; Marvin S., section 29; Jerome, section 30; Miss Jane, section 30, and A. S. Woodard, section 30;
Geo. D. Whitaker, section 19.
Horace H. Carver and son, John N., on sections 29 and 30, came here from Tomah, Wisconsin.
L. Armison, from New York, section 33.
L. E. Blackman came to Brown county with York in 1878, and was one of the pioneers there. On one occasion, having cut his foot, he was alone for six weeks with only an occasional Indian visitor. The young squaws used to come in and trade him moccasins for canned fruit; and by the time Lester’s foot got well he had accumulated a large supply of moccasins and beads. He traded his claim on the Jim for land in this township on section 33, July, ’83.
Andrew McCray, from Yankton, Dakota, section 32. He has been a resident of Dakota for thirteen years.
Albert and Fred Wismer, from Nena, Wisconsin, sections 19 and 31;
John McDonald, from Canada, section 4;
C. M. Goss, from Iowa, section 34;
Carlton Thayer and sons, Charles and Daniel, from Alleghany County, New York, settled on sections 32 and 33;
Geo. W. Curtis and son Homer, from Alleghany County, New York, settled on sections 31 and 13;
Arthur N. Schlosser, from St. Croix, Wisconsin, section 19, went back to Wisconsin in winter of ’85-’86 and died there.
Albert Compton, from New York, section 1.
Wm. R. Brown, Justice of the Peace, came here from St. Lawrence County, New York, settled on section 21.
E. W. Blood, from Green Lake, Wisconsin, section 21, and now lives in Britton.
Ed. McQuillin, from Ionia, Michigan, section 29. Is township assessor.
George and Chas. Elsom, from Whitehall, Wisconsin, sections 15 and 17.
Job and Howard Stark, from Elkhart, Indiana, settled on sections 19 and 30. Howard married in ’85 and returned to Michigan.
Wm. Griffiths, from Pennsylvania, section 1;
Jno. Reed, from Pierre County, Wisconsin, section 1:
D. A. Duncan, from Mercer County, Illinois, section 24;
Louis Harrington, section 12.
A. G. Waterbury, from New York City, located on section 24 in 1885. Is now in butcher business in Britton.
Alonzo Thayer, section 13, and Dewitt Thayer, from New York, section 23, bought out Jno. Watts.
Robert and Frank Morland, from Michigan, sections 8 and 9.
H. Haig, from Menasha, Wisconsin, section 12;
Geo. A. Wilson, from Freemont, Ohio, section 19;
Alex. Hall, from Minnesota, section 8.

The following named settlers are Scandinavians from Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota. They are an industrious and thrifty class of citizens.

Thomas and Andrew Gronseth, sections 10 and 15;
O. A. Hagen, section 15;
Ole Gunderson, section 10;
Ole and Chas. Rustand, sections 3 and 10;
John Swanson, section 3;
Otto Denetz, section 4;
Martin Johnson, section 7;
James Henry and Mack Rudd, section 6:
James Rudd, from Sheldon, Dakota, section 5; his son Henry, section 6, and son Mack, just over the line in White township, section 31;
James E. Roberts, from Rudd, Iowa, section 7. Mr. Roberts was one of the pioneers in Miller township.


Hickman, George; History of Marshall County, Dakota: Its Topography and Natural History, and Sketches of Pioneer Settlers, with the Names of Actual Settlers where They are From, and where They Live; Also the Military and Sisseton Reservations; J.W. Banbury, 1886.

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