Cedar Mills town took its name from Cedar Lake, situate in that locality, and the lake received its christening at the hands of Nicollet and Fremont, from the fact of an island in the lake covered with red cedar. It was hence designated on the old map as Ran-ti-tia-wita, the Indian for Red Cedar Island Lake.
This town was first settled in 1856 by Daniel Cross, who was killed by the Indians in 1862. The widow and family of three children still reside on the old claim.
In 1857 R. J. Brodwell, O. S. Merriam, Philander Ball, Geo. R. Jewett and a few others settled here. Mr. Nichols built a flour mill at this point in 1858, with three run of stone-capacity, 60 barrels per day.
Cosmos was named by an eccentric gentleman, an early settler by the name of Hoyt, who was frozen to death four years ago last winter, in an effort to go on foot to the Minnesota River.
Dr. Kennedy says the word “Cosmos” is Greek and the Dr. knows, and that it signifies “the universe.” The Dr. is an original Greek scholar, and if he has deceived us, we shall never forgive him, never. We think the Dr. is right, for the Greek order of architecture pretty generally prevails in this township, mostly off the plain Doric, which was invented by the Greeks, and it was in this very town that the rigor of the seasons obliged the settlers to construct shelters from the inclemency of the weather, and here they first learned to plant trees on end and then lay others across to support a covering. The bands which connected those trees at top and bottom, first gave them a clear idea of the base and capitol of pillars.
Mathews and Eddy were among the early settlers, but it was not much settled till after the Indian war. This town and Cedar Mills were voted from McLeod county, and became legally attached to Meeker County in 1871.
This town is now settled up with, a hardy, enterprising people.
Danielson, originally part of Acton, was organized distinctively March 12th, 1872, and named after Nels Danielson, who settled in this town in 1861, where he continued to reside till his death in 187o. His family still reside there.
Noah White, Esq., first settled in this town in 1857 but abandoned it in 1858, removing to Kandiyohi county where he has ever since resided and still resides. Noah, was the political Moses ” of Kandiyohi county for about 16 years. In long years gone by, when the Republican party wanted to concentrate public sentiment and obtain a full delegation from Kandiyohi county in State and District conventions, they had but to look up Noah White and the thing was fixed.
The native mosquitoes and fleas of Kandiyohi County will be long and pleasingly remembered by various politicians of Hennepin County during the past decade.
Having occasion to spend a beautiful moon-light Autumn night on one of these occasions, watching the Republican politicians, we enjoyed a nights rest on the soft side of a log with the bark on and an oak chip for a pillow, and as the silent watches of the night drove sleep from our eye lid, out position called to mind the words of a great philosopher:
Life is an inconceivably beautiful thing, so soon as we reach that point whence we can look out upon it through a clear conscience and a character well buffeted by experience. The one diffuses a pure, heavenly light over all the strange and complex mass which meets the eye, the other tones down our enthusiasm without destroying the vigor.”
Greenleaf was named after Hon. Wm. H Greenleaf, who first commenced improvements by the erection of a mill dam on the site of the village of that name, and the subsequent erection of a flour and saw mill. The first settlers of this Congressional Township were three brothers Wm., Herman and Charles Kruger, in the spring of 1857, originally attached to the town of Ness-organized as town of Greenleaf, August 27, I859, including 118-29, 30 and 31, except sections 1 to 6 inclusive.
When we first saw Wm. H. Greenleaf, he was standing up to his knees in the mud in the outlet of “Lake Willie,” artistically laying up the sods with his hands, in a fruitless endeavor to prevent water from running down hill ! We are glad to say that he has had far better luck at other business since.
Lake Willie was named after U. S. Willie, Esq., a young lawyer who lived a year or two at Forest City, and died there.
Two gentlemen by the name of Orcutt and Pratt effected a settlement in this town in 1856, on land now owned by Vincent Coombs. They plowed about 3 acres, and while at dinner one day the Indians killed one of their oxen, which broke up their team, and becoming disheartened deserted their claims and went to Forest City where they, remained till fall when they left the country. Branham and Whitcomb settled in 1857 and the McGannons in 1858.
Union Grove was first settled in 1856 by Lyman Allen, Andrew Hamilton, and by two other men by the names of Baker and Haywood. Allen and Haywood returned to Massachusetts in 1860. Baker is dead. Mr. Allen named the town, wherefore or for what is unknown. We have been promised a sketch of the early settlement and incidents of this town, but have thus far failed to receive it. This town was duly organized April 18, 1866.
Smith, A. C., A random historical sketch of Meeker County, Minnesota: from its first settlement to July 4th, 1876,;Litchfield, Minn.: Belfoy & Joubert, 1877.