Pleasant Township


Early in 1850, two Germans from Pennsylvania, John Klontz and William Vale, so historians say, pitched their tents in the northwest corner of Pleasant Township. The Vale's homestead later became known as the Locust Lane farm because of the Locust trees planted on each side of the road immediately after the land was fenced. It was from this that the Locust Lane Post Office, which came along later, derived its name, and also the present Locust School and former general store were named.

Historians say that Wm. Vale, who took up his homestead along side the Klontzs, enjoyed the privilege of holding all the township offices, except constable, at one time. (Michael Womeldorf was the first constable.) He also built the first brick dwelling in Winneshiek County.

In 1851, the first Norwegian immigrants arrived, these being: Hover Evenson, Ole Magneson and Erick Erickson who arrived from Cambridge, Dane County, Wisconsin. Peter K. Langland, Lewis Peterson, Knudt K. Liquen and K. Erickson came from Illinois and settled in the northeastern part of Pleasant Township.

The story is told that K. Erickson built a house, which was unusual because it was entirely from one Pine tree. The walls were of solid plank, six inches thick and from a tree on Pine Creek. In 1853 Bottolf Olson, Magne Langland, H. Hendrickson, Sven Olson, Ole Thorson and others arrived.

Of special interest in Pleasant Township is the fact that the Stone school at Locust was built in 1854. It served for 106 consecutive years as a school, which is thought to be the Iowa record for continuous school service in one building and location. It was note-worthy that this stone school also served as a church for all denominations until each had planned and constructed a church of its own.

In 1856 what was described as an "extra large" school was built from logs and was constructed by the early pioneers through private funds and through each furnishing so many logs and work, on the Ole Sattre farm in section 1. In May of the following year, this large log school began to serve as a church for the then widely scattered Lutheran group of pioneers in northeast Winneshiek County, Northwest Allamakee County and in the Spring Grove area in Minnesota. The school served as a church for nine years until the first Big Canoe Stone Church was built. James Lennon of Frankville is recorded as the first teacher of this log constructed Sattre School.

Along Canoe Creek in 1852, the first mill in the township was built by John Brandt, who later sold out to David Womeldorf. Conrad Brandt and his nephews Eli and Joe Brandt, Robert Lyons, and Wm. Basset also had mills on Canoe Creek.

Other early settlers arriving about 1852 were Wilson and George Daubney, Jacob Fye, James Morehead, Wm. French, Butler Oleson, and H. and Ole Halstenson. Arriving in 1855 and 1856 were Pleasant Township pioneers Nels Thompson, Andrew and Nels Nelson, Lars Gjetley, Christian Christianson, S. Wise Sr., Philip Pfister, Simon Broghammer, Adam Kern, Diebold Mikel, Diebold Stoskopf, Valentine Barth, Sr., and many others historians have not recorded.

Sam Wise writing in Anderson's and Goodwin's Atlas said, "One good feature of the township is its law abiding citizens. A Justice of the Peace or Constable cannot make his salt out of the fees."

Within the borders of Pleasant Township are located four cemeteries. The oldest probably being that of the Big Canoe cemetery, which was set-aside for burial purposes in 1853, from land purposed from the Stoen Farm. A second cemetery was set aside by the Methodists in section 3 in 1893 from land purchased from E. P. and Carey Johnson with about 75 burials recorded on markers. Records show that Locust Lane cemetery in section 6 was set aside in 1889, while a newer cemetery at the Canoe Ridge church was established in 1906 from land owned at that time by O.L. Soriede.

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

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