Dovre Township was hundreds of thousands of years in the making

It’s been more than several thousands of years since those elements which shaped what is now Dovre Township (and quite a few more) made several visits here before temperatures as we know them made these visitors disappear, not once but five times, and all that happened occurred at a speed which would make Barney Oldfield at his best a disabled tortoise.

The first of these visitors swooped down on this part of the new lands at a rate of less than an inch a day. A trip to what would become Kandiyohi County, Minnesota, from near what is now the North Pole area at that speed would have taken tens of thousands of years to accomplish, but it was — not once but five different times.

The first time this occurred, the mile-high ice reached what is now Nebraska before melting its way northward a little faster than it had moved south. It disappeared as it melted on its northward journey and the area it had covered remained open for thousands of years, until the climate changed again and the next miles-high iceberg began its slow trip to the south.

This happened five times altogether: The second, third and fourth glaciers did not go as far south as the original one, but the fifth (known as the Wisconsin) was larger than any of the other four and advanced and retreated several times as it ground its way to its final destination.

All of this movement, over hundreds of thousand years, ground out the hills, valleys and lakes of which what is now Dovre Township were a part. The work of the iceberg is very visible in Kandiyohi and surrounding counties, so look carefully at what was left to this area and much more as you drive around here.

What is now Dovre Township’s first settler was John Stewart, who arrived there in 1857. He was followed by Randall Fuller, a man named Clark, and Andrew Holes, all four arriving in 1857.

The first commercial business in the township was a saw mill of which Clark was half owner. The machinery for the mill was hauled by ox team 150 miles to Eagle Lake, where it was finally constructed. Apparently there was little demand for new lumber here at that time so, in 1880, the mill was sold, dismantled and hauled by ox teams to Sauk Rapids. It had been the first mill in the county.

The first religious service in the county for the Scandinavian settlers was held by the Rev. Peter Carlson from Carver County, July 22, 1859, at one of the homes in the area. The New Sweden congregation was organized at that time. Several years later the name was changed to Eagle Lake Church.

The first school in that part of the county was held in a log cabin, with Mrs. Jane Clark as the teacher. Her compensation was paid by the parents of her pupils.

Taxation is nearly always a problem. In Dovre Township this was met by the town officers’ levy of 2 mills for “purposes.” It produced total revenues of $19.44 in its first year. The poll tax was always present. Two days of road work was levied per voter per year. In its first year 62 people were so assessed.