“A History of Farmington Township, Polk County, Wisconsin”
“Farmington Township contains forty-two sections of land, in Township 32, Ranges 18 and 19, with some fractions of sections on the St. Croix River. It is a rich agricultural town, well diversified with prairie and timber land. Its western portion, along the St. Croix, has the picturesque bluffs common to that river, with some unusually beautiful cascades and hillside springs, of which the most notable are the well-known mineral spring and the springs at the lime kiln. The mineral spring is situated on the St. Croix River, at the base of the bluff, and about one mile and a half below Osceola Mills. Most of the underlying rock is sandstone. This rock crops out along the banks of the St. Croix and is extensively used for building purposes. Lime rock is also found along the river banks, some of which is of a superior grade, notably that below Osceola, which is manufactured into lime and exported.” W.H.C. Folsom wrote that in his book, “Fifty Years of the Northwest,” in 1888. There are very few other recorded writings about the Township of Farmington.
“I grew up in Farmington Township and always wondered about the history of the area,” says author, Patricia Kytola. “Why were there historic signs showing Crandall’s Corners, Farmington Center, West Farmington, Malden and South Farmington, yet the community is called East Farmington? Growing up and into adulthood I but I never realized how intertwined the two areas were until I started doing research.”
“The best places I have found to do historic research are in the churches and cemeteries. As my husband, Larry and I walked and inventoried the local cemeteries, we ran across several veterans’ graves from all the major conflicts, but what intrigued me were the many that I found from the Civil War era. I had never heard about how the Civil War affected Polk County, thinking that we were so far removed from where the battles took place.”
“I was surprised to find that there are records of at least 47 soldiers from Farmington area who left behind their families to fight for the cause. The population of the town of Farmington, in 1878, was around 200 people. The influx of settlers had been slow until 1860, when the immigrants from the Posen, Germany area began to move in due to the energy and perseverance of August Beyl.”
“In 1862 the federal government passed the Homestead Act, which made 160 acres of land available to settlers over 21 or heads of households, including freed slaves. Each person had to show improvements to the land after five years to receive title to the land. Think about it—the hardships of immigrating to a new land, the Native Americans still owned most of the land as the Homestead Act hadn’t been passed yet and then Civil War breaking out and you have a farm to homestead and a family to care for and the United States government is asking you to do your duty and leave all this to fight a war hundreds of miles away from home.”
“Many of the settlers were farmers, but there were also storekeepers, merchants, blacksmiths and peddlers. Did you know that Farmington once even sported two hotels and a hostelry? Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church and Zion Lutheran Church have both been in operation over 150 years. Farmington started an insurance company to help the farmers. At one time there were six different school districts in the area and the United States government built an Air Force General Surveillance Radar station in the area.”
Kytola lived in Farmington Township from May 1958 to June 1969 and has never lived more that 15 miles from the area. She has a love of history. She and her husband Larry authored several automotive books including: Diamonds in the Rust, Fat Fenders, How to Paint Flames and Sport Trucks. She has been active in the Osceola Historical Society and the St. Croix Scenic Byway (in Minnesota), has served on the Osceola Township Planning Commission and was instrumental in starting the Osceola Main Street Program and wrote the grant the preserved the Osceola Bluff.
Book release and author signing will be Nov. 30 at Bill’s Ace Hardware from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and again Dec. 2 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the Discovery Center in the Senior Citizens room. Osceola Historical Society annual meeting will follow at 6 p.m. Books can also be purchased at Amazon.com
The Osceola Historical Society (OHS) was organized in 1985. During its years of existence, the OHS has accomplished much, participated in and instigated many projects toward the preservation of the past. A sizeable bequest by Emily Olson, one of the founding members, allowed the Society to purchase the Andrew Jackson Clark House at 408 River Street. Now referred to as the Emily Olson house, it is the headquarters of OHS. Throughout its years the OHS has worked with downtown businesses to encourage restoration of their storefronts, purchased a microfilm reader housed at the public library and purchased the historic Soo Line Depot. The organization offers history-oriented programs at its membership meetings.
Board meetings are held the third Monday of the month at the Emily Olson House. General membership meetings are held at the Discovery Center quarterly or as announced.
What: Book release and author signing
When: Nov. 30 at Bill’s Ace Hardware from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and again on Dec. 2 from 4:30 p.m.to 6:00 p.m. at the Discovery Center in the Senior Citizens meeting room.