Manannah, Meeker County, Minnesota

Manannah; was organized as a township, April 5th,1858, and originally embraced the west half of 120–31, 120-32, 121-31, and 121 32.

On the 15th of November, 1855, Chris Davis, Green Sykes, Ziba Caswell and Nathan C. Caswell left Monticello, Wright County in search of a mill-site and farm-land, passing through the “big woods,” so-called, and struck the prairie near the present site of Darwin, thence north to what is now Forest City, thence down Crow River about 10 miles, and thence on a straight shoot back to Monticello. Trying it again, on the 10th day of December 1855. Ziba Caswell and N. C. Caswell started for the big prairie, and emerged from the woods near where Kingston now stands, thence up stream past Forest City, (then a City of “Magnificent Distances,” no buildings obstructing the view) Harvey, Manannah, Union Grove and Swede Grove, thence returning, concluded to trade with “Uncle Sam” for some claims at Manannah on tick. Arrived at Monticello, December 24th, 1855. On this second trip, the only white men they met on the prairie, were Thomas H. Skinner and D. Hanson, who were in camp at Kar-i-shon.

In 1856, Alonzo, Ziba, Silas, Albert and N. C. Caswell captured the town, and together with James Nelson, Edward Brown, and A. D. Pierce took up the claims around the old townsite, and built the first shanties in Manannah, backing their provisions from Monticello. Ziba Caswell and one J. W. Walker surveyed and named the town-site of Manannah in December, 1856. The settlement was increased the same fall by the addition of Carlos Caswell, John Tower, Andrew Hamilton, and Lucy Ann Lobdell, nee Slater.

On the 4th of March, 1857, the Caswells put up the first building of any size, designed for a hotel. Prior to the organization of the town, the County Commissioners appointed C. Caswell Road Supervisor, April 27th, 1857, being the first office ever held in said town. The first prairie broken by the Caswells, May 4th,1857.

First marriage was James Nelson and Elizabeth A. Caswell, by E. B. Kingsley, J. P., in the spring of 1857. First child born was Hattie Estella Kimball. First death was Samuel Clyde.

In 1857 J. W. Walker built a saw mill on Crow River at this point, which was carried off by the freshet in 1859, and was never rebuilt. Two or three years since, Mr. N. C. Hines erected a fine flour and saw mill, a mile or two below the old site, and a fine village has sprang up in consequence.

A stockade was erected at the old town site of Manannah in 1863, to aid in the protection of the settlements of that region, and a few soldiers stationed there by Col. Ney Smith, of Wisconsin, being a portion of his regiment. It was here, one fine sun-shiny day of that year, that we greeted Hon. M. J. Severance in his military blouse, sunning himself on a log as high private. He was in the line of his duty.


Smith, A. C., A random historical sketch of Meeker County, Minnesota: from its first settlement to July 4th, 1876,;Litchfield, Minn.: Belfoy & Joubert, 1877.

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