Madison Township


Early Winneshiek County historians state that a Mr. Brisco was the first permanent settler in Madison Township. It is recorded that he settled in a "timbered area" in 1849. Benjamin T. Barfoot writes in 1905 that he and Nels Gilbertson cut the first load of hay in the township in section 10, which was purchased by the government.

Other very early arrivals were B. and Tosten Haugen, John Evenson, two families of Nestes, Iver Rigstad, Erick Egge, and Matthew Bentley. Mr. Barfoot writes that Ole Fulsaas came from Wisconsin to Iowa and located in the township in 1852 and his finances permitted him to purchase 40 acres of land. His three sons -- Herbrandt, Peter, and Harvey later bought land in the same neighborhood.

Other early settlers mentioned in Mr. Barfoot's history include: Ole Gulbrandon, who was known as "Big Ole" "Big Ole" was a land speculator; Herbrand Ansten and Ole Bakken, who spent four years in Frankville Township before moving on to Madison, where the latter began his pioneer days on a 100 acre farm in sections 11 and 12.

It is interesting to note that Mr. Barfoot stated that E. R. Scott settled on section 16 in 1858, and he says "Mr. Scott was the only "American" in the Northwest quarter of the townships for over 20 years.

In later years, other settlers were Stenor O. Hellerud and John Crawford and also James McIntosh, who, with his sons, moved into Madison Township in 1855.

Records show that Madison Township was organized in about 1859 and that it's first schoolhouse was built near the "brick church" in 1858.

Madison Township has the distinctive record of having the second marriage in Winneshiek County performed within its borders. It was on a day in early October of 1850, that Catherine Helen Anderson became the bride of Johannes Evenson, with the Rev. N. Brandt performing the ceremony. Th ceremony is recorded to have taken place in a wooden structure used by a Lutheran congregation on the southwest quarter of section 32, on the farm now operated by Lloyd Bergan.

Records also show that when the third child of Mr. and Mrs. Thore Skotland, who is considered to be the first pioneer in Calmar township, was born, their child named Inger was baptized on July 7,1851, by the Rev. C. L. Clausen, at an open service held on the Paul Egge farm in Section 33. This was also recorded as the first Lutheran service held west of the Mississippi and it was held outdoors because no building was large enough to accommodate the people present. Only a few overturned tombstones mark the site of this early church and cemetery. The church building it self was latter moved to the north part of the township and was used for grain storage on the farm now, owned by Helmer J. Hovden.

In addition to the pioneer burial place in section 33, three other cemeteries are located within the township borders. The first is a well platted cemetery along side the Madison Lutheran Church. Another cemetery is located about one mile east of the Madison church in section 10, and a private burial ground, which is known as the McIntosh family cemetery, located in the northeast corner.

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

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