Murray County, Minnesota


 

Courthouse 1891, Murray County

 

 

Murray County, Minnesota, is composed of 20 townships.  Several members of the Fritscher families settled in Murray County, especially the descendants of Anton Fritscher. 

The prairie of this area of Minnesota provides a variety of high quality natural resources which made it particularly attractive to the Fritschers who were seeking good farm land.  The productive soils, many lakes and small streams, and the abundant wildlife provided a beautiful and prosperous new home for the families there.  

 

The table below shows the layout of the twenty townships.  Highlighted are the townships that are found mentioned in the census records for these families.  For information on how townships are formed, see the page on Land Records for land descriptions.

 

 

Ellsborough

Skandia 

Lake Sarah

 Shetek

Holly

Cameron

Lowville

Mason

Murray

T107N

R40W

Dovray

 Chanarambie

Leeds

Slayton

T 106W

R41W

Lime Lake

T106N

R40W

Des Moines River

Moulton

Fenton

Iona

Bondin

T105N

R40W

Belfast

T105N

R39W

 

 

Belfast Township
T105N R39W
Organized September 3, 1878

Belfast Township is located in the lower southeastern corner of Murray County. The southern edge is close to Graham Lakes in Nobles County, on the east is Cottonwood County, on the north Des Moines River Township, and on the west is Bondin Township.  Prior to its conception, the area was commonly known as Creswell, after the name of the post office located in the section 34. Its name was changed to Belfast, taking its namesake from a large seaport city in Northern Ireland, when the township was officially organized. The community of Lime Creek is located in Belfast Township.

It was in 1888 that Franz Fritscher sold a strip of his land to the Railroad.  That strip was located in thee SW quarter of the NE quarter of Section 20, township 105 N, Range 39W. 

Bondin Township History
T105N R40W
Organized November 1874

Bondin Township is located in the southeast lower tier of townships. Nobles County borders on the south, Belfast Township on the east, and Lime Lake Township on the north. Lime Creek, the outlet of Lime Lake, flows diagonally from the northwest corner to the east central boundary line of the township. Seven Mile Lake, or what is also known as Fulda Lake, is located on the southeast edge of Fulda. Before the railroad established the town of Fulda, Bondin's post office was located on the northwest corner of Section 24. The mail ran four times a week. When the township was organized, the name of the post office, Bondin, was declared the name of the township. Much of the township originally belonged to the St. Paul Sioux City Rail Road Company. The communities of Fulda and Wirock are located in Bondin Township.  Wirock is located in two townships; Bondin, Section 19 and Iona, Section 24.

Fulda is located on the gently rolling prairie plains of Murray County in southwestern Minnesota. . Fulda encompasses the north shore of beautiful Seven Mile Lake.   Fulda's Depot was constructed in 1879-1880 in a unique gingerbread style. The Southern Minnesota Railroad Company was a boon for the prairie settlements of southwest Minnesota. In 1879, the rails finally reached the proposed settlement site of Seven Mile Lake, later named Fulda, and from this point on the settlement began to grow and prosper. The site was selected by the railroad because of its available source of good water, which was needed for the operation of the steam engines. Within a few years, the railroad crews had erected a water tower, roundhouse, turntable, coal bins, stockyard, and depot. Fulda was founded as a railroad town in 1881. By 1885, eight regularly scheduled trains were rolling through and stopping at Fulda daily. The trains ran through Fulda for 100 years.

America was stretching out into the rich agricultural promise of the Great North American Prairie and immigrants from Europe were pouring into the United States. Fulda was settled by German, Irish, and Scandinavian immigrants.   St. Gabrielís Catholic Church was built on the western shore of Seven Mile Lake.

 Lime Lake Township History
T106N R40W
Organized October 21, 1873

Lime Lake Township is located in the east, third tier of Murray County. Des Moines River Township borders on the east, Bondin on the south, Slayton of the west, and Murray on the north. This township has a gently rolling prairie, with soil well adapted to farming. Timber was very scarce except for a strip around Lizzard Lake, later called Lake St. Rose, and now known as Avoca Lake.  The settlers had to get their mail at Heron Lake, the nearest railroad station, prior to the establishment of the Lime Lake post office. Bishop Ireland, of the Irish American Colonization, investigated the Lime Lake area, and, by mid-April of 1878 a decision was made to lay out a town in the township and move Catholic colonists to this area.

The town of Avoca is located in Lime Lake Township. Avoca, Minnesota is located in the eastern part of Murray County. It is six miles southeast of Slayton, Minnesota, the County seat, on Highway 59 and six miles north of Fulda, Minnesota. Avoca is within the boundaries of Lime Lake Township. The lakeshore of Lime Lake wraps around the north and west side of Avoca. This town began in 1878 and, named for a river in Ireland, became a key point for the sale of 50,000 acres of railroad land to Catholic Colonists in Murray County through the activities of Archbishop Ireland and the Catholic Colonization Bureau. Early erection of a church, Immigrant house, and other public buildings greatly facilitated settlement. At the turn of the 20th century, Avoca was considered one of the largest communities in Murray County. But fire, the worst enemy of a town, destroyed Avoca on two occasions. The first fire was in 1907 and the other in 1952. The destruction was so devastating that Avoca was never able to rebuild the businesses that were lost.

In the early days of Avoca's history, the town had four churches. Besides St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, which was the first church established, there were three Lutheran congregations that worshiped in three different languages-Norwegian, Swedish and German. As English replaced the foreign languages the Lutheran congregations merged into one. Today there are two churches in Avoca: Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church and Word of Faith Fellowship.

 Murray Township History and the town of Currie 

T107N, Range 40W

Currie is located in Murray Township.  In 1872 Neil and Archibald Currie walked into what was to be the Currie settlement. They were Scotsmen whose Scottish ancestors had emigrated to Canada and then south across the great lakes area in the United States to Minnesota. Irish families also came to Currie. Many left their beloved Ireland because of the destruction of the potato crop in the 1840's. John Sweetman was a chaplain during the Civil War, then in 1867 he embarked on a campaign to bring Catholic settlers to Minnesota. Bishop Ireland, John Sweetman, and Walter Sweetman formed the Irish American Colonization Company which purchased tracts of land from the Winona and St. Peter Railroad Company. Settlers were promised land at $6 an acre, plus a 14' by 18' house erected with sod walls and siding to be put on by the settler. For $250 the settler was furnished with a #9 cooking stove, a breaking plow, a wagon, a harrow and $20.75 for sundries. The settler was to provide a yoke of oxen for about $115, a cow for $25 plus food and fuel. A free railroad pass from Chicago to Tracy was given to the head of the family coming into the settlement. This land to be settled by the Irish was located just north of the Catholic Colony in Avoca and was situated between the Winona and St. Peter Railroad and the St. Paul and Sioux City Railroad. The town of Currie was located in the midst of this tract of land and already had a grist mill with three run of millstones, two hotels, a blacksmith shop, a harness shop, a wagon factory, a butcher shop, two grocery stores, two resident doctors, two lawyers, the County newspaper, a new Catholic church that was debt free and had a resident priest. Bishop Ireland also founded the St. Thomas Seminary which is now known as the University of St. Thomas.

In about 1872, Archibald Currie and his son Neil built a flour mill on the bank of the Des Moines River.  In the 1880's up to 20 teams would be hitched around the mill at a time. Farmers would come from as far as 30 miles away and often stay overnight. The Curries also built a little red store by the mill and stocked a line of general merchandise as well as a supply of medicines and drugs. Currie had the first courthouse and was the County seat from 1872 until June 11, 1899.

 Slayton Township History
T106N R41W
Organized August 3, 1872

Slayton Township is located in the middle third tier of Murray County.  Mason Township borders on the north, Lime Lake Township on the east, Iona Township on the south, and Leeds on the west.  This township was originally called Center, but was changed to Slayton in honor of Charles E. Slayton.

Located between two major highways, Slayton is known as the "Hub City" of southwest Minnesota.  Cities such as Pipestone, Marshall, Windom, and Worthington are neighbors within a thirty mile radius of Slayton which forms the "hub" of the network.  Originating from the sale of railroad property, Slayton was first a train station for the St. Paul-Sioux City Railroad.   Charles Wesley Slayton, a land agent for the railroad, purchased the land, and in 1881, the village was platted and named after Slayton.  Slayton is the County seat of Murray County, Minnesota.


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 Source Information:  Minnesota GenWeb.