Taken from The Kingston Progress, first edition, Vol. 1, No.1, dated Dec. 12, 1939. Edward C. Rucks, Editor.
The history of Meeker County as it will appear in columns of The Kingston Progress in townships was compiled by the writer as gathered from old settlers, and records wherever they were found. The writer was employed by the Minnesota Historical Society in 1936 in the historical research work, and the data gathered was from all parts of Meeker County. This history will appear in serial form in each issue with enough material for about 72 issues or in other words, for about six years for The Kingston Progress. If you enjoy this history and want to get it complete, then I urge you to tell the advertisers in this paper that you want them to advertise and you in turn will do your trading with them to make it possible for them to advertise which makes this paper possible. In conclusion, accept my thanks for your co-operation.
Edward C. Rucks
History of Meeker County
The town of Kingston is the largest civil subdivision of Meeker County, embracing all of township 120 north, range 29 west and the south half of township 121, of the same range. It contains in all 34,389.39 acres of which 1,337 were covered with water. It is located in what was known as the Big Woods. The Crow River that crosses its territory from west to east three sections 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26 and 25, seems to have the boundary line between the prairie and forest, south of it being mostly prairie and north of it the timber. I am mentioning this about the early history in regard to the timber and prairie for the benefit of those who are not familiar with the early conditions.
Most of the first settlers located south of the river and at the village of Kingston which was established on the south banks of the Crow River. The first to settle is believed to have been Mark Cates, in the spring of 1856, who was shortly followed by J.B. Salisbury, A.B. Whitney, Benjamin and Josiah Dorman, John Fitzgerald, Patric Flynn, A.C. Madox, Harry Cyrus, and Warren Averill, Elmar Harper, William Higgins, John G. Kennison, Joseph Weymer, Morris Powers, Wellington Cates, B.P. Whitney, Oliver Patch, Solomon Gray, John K. Perkins, John Lowell, Byley Lyford, John Martin, Uriah Palmer, Enoch Eastman, Rufus Eastman, Robert Niles, Nelson Niles, Scott Hutchinson and others. In 1857 Orrin Whitney, S.B. Hutchins, Benjamin Ruggles and E.H. Whitney were the most prominent. In 1858 F.V. Decoster, George Scribner, A.H. Carvill, Jefferson Carvill, and John Doyle.
Organization of township
Enough settlers having located here to organize the town, which was organized on April 5, 1855, the following took part in its organization: A.P. Whitney, J.B. Salisbury, Orrin Whitney, Ben Ruggles, Mark Cates, E.H. Whitney, Joseph Weymer, Joseph Dorman, S.B. Hutchins and some others.
Will Cates, born July 6, 1856.
Morris Powers, 1857, who is burried on the farm now owned by the Fitzgeralds.
Joseph Weymer and Miss Mary Dorman, August 1857.
First school in county
The first school teacher was James A. Austin, who taught in the Enoch Eastman cabin. The first school house was built in 1861 in the village of Kingston. This building, however was sold to a farmer a few miles from Kingston where it now stands, and another larger building was built where it now stands. At one time, two years of high school was taught here.
First religious services
The first religious services were held upstairs over the village store by Rev. J.C. Whitney in 1857.
District No. 1 was organized on October 5, 1857. This was the first school district organized in the county. No. 3 organized in 1857. No. 6 on October 16, 1858; No. 10 April 2, 1864; No. 33 June 8, 1868; No. 43 March 8, 1870; No. 61 September 2, 1873; No. 74 August 26, 1886, and No. 87 March 16, 1898.
The Crow River enters this town in Section 18, through 19, 20, 21, 23, 26, 25, and 36. Clearwater River enters into North Kingston in Section 19, through 20, 28, 27, 26, 23 into Lake Betty through Section 24.
Eagle Creek starts from Lake Francis in Section 11, through 14, 15, and 23, then into Crow River. On this creek the Carvill Mill was located. More about the history of the mill later.
The Village of Kingston is the oldest established village of Meeker County. It had one of the first post offices in the county. Mail was brought by coach from St. Cloud, Minnesota. Frank Boobar now living in Fair Haven, was at one time carrying mail for Kingston via St. Cloud.
School District No. 16
The Dean Cates family spent Sunday at the George Macreth home.
Hazel Ruotsinoja has been home for the past two weeks. She is returning to Minneapolis Sunday.
Mrs. John Snow was taken to the University Hospital where she is improving.
Earl Harris' nephew, Roy Harris, has been visiting with relatives near Kingston and has now returned to North Dakoa.
Mrs. Albert Brendmuhl (Adel Harris) and daughter of Cottage Grove, is visiting at the Earl Harris home.
Mrs. Addie Lens of Kimball returned to her home after visiting at her daughter's Mrs. Dean Cates.
Mr. and Mrs. Earl Harris and family and Mrs. Brendmuhl were Willmar callers recently.
Christmas program at Dist. 16, December 15
District 16 is giving a Christmas program Friday, December 15, at8 p.m. There will also be a home talent play. Admission will be 10¢ for children and 15¢ for adults. Lunch will be free. A blanket will be raffled off.
Vera Ruehlman, teacher
Mrs. Alfred Pousi, Mrs. Anna Pintz, Mrs. H.W. Christenson, Mrs. O.H. Carlson called Monday evening on Mrs. H. Roupsa.
Mr. and Mrs. Elias Wiisenan, Mr. and Mrs. Eino Ruotsinoja spent Thursday at the Wm. Ruotsinoja home.
* * * * * * *
As you know, the responsibility for preserving historic Kimball belongs to all or us. Through your support, future generations will also have an opportunity to learn about our history and about the men and women who had the courage to risk their lives for the future.
* * * * * * *
Do you have something to share? If you have an item of interest to Kimball area history, please send it to us and we'll include it. Interesting historical photos, events, announcements, or anything to do with Kimball area history will be considered. See our mailing address below.
* * * * * * *
History ... "Painting pictures on the mirror of your mind"