Springfield Township

 

The first permanent homes in Springfield Township were established in Winneshiek County by Erick Anderson and Ole Tostenson (Haugen) and his brother Staale, Ole A. Loman, A. O. Lomen, Ole Gullickson (Jevne), Knut Anderson (Bakken), Andres Haugen, John Johnson (Qvale), H. Halverson (Groven) and Mikkel Omli.

These pioneers constructed permanent homes in the latter part of June 1850 while another party from Wisconsin headed by Nels Johnson arrived after July 2, these being Tollef Simonson (Aae), Knud G. Opdahl, Jacob Abrahamson, Iver Peterson (Qvale).

Other names listed among the landed assessments in early 1850 according to the Honorable A. Jacobson, who wrote a history of the township in later years, were: Jacob Abrahamson, Knud Guldbrandson (Opdahl), Egbert Guldbrandson (Solland), Erick Clement (Skaali), Halver Halverson (Groven), Ole L. Bergan, Mikkel Omli, Tollef Simonson (Aae), and T. Hulberson.

The first birth in Springfield Township was reported as that of Ole A. Lomen, while the first death was that of Mrs. Christine Aae, this was in August of 1850. She would have been buried in section 1, Springfield township, except that the land on the opposite side of the township line was considered a better burial place, so the burial area became established in section 36, Decorah Township, which belonged to Aslak Simonson Aae.

Directly east a few feet, according to Honorable A. Jacobson's history, was erected the first public school constructed in Winneshiek County. With many additional pioneer burials coming between 1850 and 1865, community minded Norwegians erected, in 1887, an old settler's monument, which is well known to present day residents as Pioneer Cemetery. The inscription on the monument reads: In memory of early Norwegian settlers who to the number of 50 or more lie buried here. Erected by friends and relatives AD 1887.

Rev. V. Koren organized the first Norwegian Lutheran congregation for this and adjoining townships in the summer of 1852. The Koren name was a by-word in mid-western Norwegian Lutheran circles for many decades. History records that Rev. Koren served as President of the Norwegian Synod, the functions of which office is similar to that of a Bishop.

In 1851, Norwegian Methodists organized a congregation under the leadership of O. P. Peterson, then a missionary, who was later to be called the "father of Methodism among Norwegians." The church located in section 12 no longer is in use but still stands surrounded by gravestones of early pioneers who were members and supporters of this early day church.

Two other well-plotted and recorded cemeteries and one less cared for cemetery are located in Springfield Township. The well-plotted and recorded cemeteries are those along side the Washington Prairie Lutheran Church in section 12 and the Springfield Lutheran Church, section 17. The abandoned cemetery is in section 12 along side the old pioneer day Methodist Church dating back to the early 1860's.

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