Bluffton Township


Bluffton Township's most prosperous times were associated with the best days of the village, which were from about 1850 to 1876. After which the wheat growing in the area ended with crop failures due to blight.

Historian's say that the Bluffton saw mill built in 1852 and the gristmill built in 1856 attracted patronage from as far away as Albert Lea, Minnesota. Founders of the mills were the Morse brothers, Henry and Lyman. They continued as owners until about 1870 when they sold out to Blackmarr and Meader.

A first wave of immigrants in 1851 brought George Smith, Lyman Morse, G. R. Emery, Charles McLaughlin, Michael Gilice, Barney Sutton, and Terrence McConnell.

Actual organization of the township took place in 1856 with the first election being held on April 7, of that year. Census figures showed a population of 196 people in the village in 1856.

In 1858 a little log Catholic Church was built on land donated by the Nolan family. The land is now owned by Pat Linnane in section 26 in the southeastern part of the township. It existed there until 1877, when the present St. Bridget's brick building was constructed at a new site near the center of the township. More than 30 bodies were disinterred from the old cemetery on the high ridge near the old church and buried in the new St. Bridget's cemetery. In the early days the Catholic parish included Plymouth Rock to the north and it extended to the west as far as Granger, Minnesota.

Father Lenihan, an early priest at St. Bridget's, later became Bishop at Cheyenne, Wyoming. Rev. Charles Wiley of Burr Oak organized a Congregational Society in 1878 and the Seven-Day Adventists, with Rev. John Ridley of Burr Oak, conducted services in Bluffton beginning in 1881. Members of the Friends Society, with Rev. Ezra Pierson, brought services to Bluffton for their group in 1884. It was through their efforts that the frame church now standing in Bluffton was dedicated later in 1889.

In addition to the old abandoned Catholic burial plot in section 26, there are records of three other cemeteries in Bluffton Township. The largest, which is well plotted and recorded, is that of the St. Bridget's cemetery in section 22, with another in section 10 just north of the village of Bluffton, which is known as the Bluffton Community Cemetery. Along side the Friend's church, in the village of Bluffton, was a cemetery but the stones have been moved and the exact location of the graves were never recorded.

Please, contact the county coordinator to submit additions or corrections.

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