Tricounty News

History of Meeker County


Published in the Tri-County News Nov. 1, 2001.

Text by Edward C. Rucks, Editor, in The Kingston Progress, Vol. 1. no. 1 (Dec. 12. 1939).

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 been 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.


Early settlers

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 E.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 Diorman, S.B. Hutchins and some others.

First birth

Will Cates, born July 6, 1856.

First death

Morris Powers, 1857, who is burried on the farm now owned by the Fitzgeralds.

First marriage

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 ewas 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 Oct. 5, 1857. This was the first school district organized in the county. No. 3 organized in 1857. No. 6 on Oct. 16, 1858; No. 10, April 2, 1864; No. 33, June 8, 1868; No. 43, March 8, 1879; No. 61, Sept. 2, 1873; No. 74, Aug. 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 18, through 20, 28, 27, 26, 23, into Lake Betty through Section 24.

Eagle Creek

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.

Kingston Village

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, Minn. Frank Boobar, now living in Fair Haven, was at one time carrying mail for Kingston via St. Cloud.

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It’s exciting as we begin another year. Since 2000, the Kimball Area Historical Society has been collecting, preserving and interpreting the history and culture of the Kimball area. As we continue to move forward, we know that you value the work we do to preserve and interpret local history. Please consider renewing your membership today. It is tax deductible and the cost of dues has never changed, only
$10 for individual, $15 for family, $25 for business. We appreciate your support.

You’re invited to all the 2014 events that are mentioned with this column every two weeks. Feel free to bring relatives and friends. The public is invited and there is no charge.

For further information, the speaker and event schedule,
souvenirs available, All-School-Reunion Yearbooks available, volunteering opportunities, stories and photos for this column and/or the permanent society collection, feel free to contact us at the Kimball Area Historical Society, Box 55, Kimball MN 55353, phone (320) 398-5250, or 5743, email kimball
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. We always look forward to hearing from you.

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Moments that become memories