MIDDLE RIVER TOWNSHIP
Middle River Township was the earliest organized township in Marshall County. by virtue of the fact that the county commissioners acted on the request of the citizens of Middle River Township first. the two other townships organized on the same day were Tamarac and Warrenton. in that order. The date was October 14. 1879. The township was named Middle River after the stream that runs through the central part from east to west. According to Upham's book, "Minnesota Geographical Names", the stream was named by fur traders whose trains of Red River carts crossed it on the Old Pembina Trail about halfway between Pembina and their crossing of Red Lake River. The first township meeting was held on October 25, 1879, at the F. D. Keyes store. It was called to elect officers for the township. W. D. McClintock was chosen clerk, and O. Taylor was moderator to preside at the meeting. The election judges were: William Caresse. Joseph Lafond, and George Morin. The men elected to office were: three supervisors - Octave Barker. Peter Jarvais. Zephrin Dion: assessor - George Forsythe: town clerk - O. Taylor. justice of the peace - Frank Runnels. two constables - J. Daignault and Philo Stone. overseer of highways. Carson Fedderson. and treasurer - J. Trembley. In 1879. communication was difficult because of lack of telephones and rural mail delivery. One of the first pieces of business of the newly organized township was to establish sites where official township notices were to be posted. They were: F. D. Keye's store. the corner of Peter Jarvais' field. and Zephrin Dion's land. The first by-law passed concerned the impounding of any animals (mules. horses. cattle. sheep. hogs) permitted to run loose between April 1 and October 15 of each year. Stray livestock damaged the hay and grain crops and were the cause of many disputes. Peter Jarvais was the first pound master. Much of the business conducted at the meetings in those early days dealt with disputes over strayed livestock. the building of drainage ditches. and the building of roads and brid,ges. The township also acted as welfare agency to the destitude. Every community was responsible for the care of their own poor. Middle River Township in the 1890's authorized Hedquist and Moline to give a certain named pauper food in the amount of two dollars and fifty cents per month. as long as he required it. The townships to reimburse the store for the food. County welfare cases were provided by funds from the Poor Farm. which was located on SW1/4 of Section 12 in Middle River Township. In 1883 Marshall County purchased this parcel of land from a private party who had originally obtained it from the railroad. The farm was rented out to farmers and the money thus obtained was used to provide for indigents in the county. By the end of 1899, this method of providing for the poor must have been abandoned. because on February 13. 1900, the land was sold to John Robertson of Argyle. whose land adjoined it. The township records are not without their touch of humor. At the annual township election of March to. 1883, one of the persons running for office of township supervisor was Mother Hubbard; she received one vote and lost to Dr. Belcourt. the local doctor. Middle River Township hall. which is situated at the comer of Highway 75 and Third Street in Argyle. is the original town hall which was bought from H. A. Wilson for $25. It was first moved to the southeast comer of Section 16. Middle River Township. for $5. On March 12, 1889. A. D. Verboncoeur offered to move the town hall to his lot north of Craig Bros. Blacksmith shop. free of charge to the township. and the next meeting was to be held there. In 1900 the building was repaired. renovated. and moved to its present location. The entire cost of the operation. including the lumber. the lot. the paint and carpenter's labor. amounted to less than $175.
Several new bridges. culverts. and roads have been built and maintained through the years. The present officers are: John St. Germain. chairman; Leo Crummy and Frank Yutrzenka - supervisors; Bernard Crummy- treasurer; and Daniel Deschene-clerk.
..John St. Germain, 1983
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