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Taunton Minnesota

From HISTORY OF LYON COUNTY by Arthur P. Rose © 1912

The smallest of the incorporated villages of Lyon county is Taunton, it is a station of the Northwestern railroad and is in the extreme northwestern corner of the county, on section 17,
Eidsvold township. The population in 1910 was 205. While Taunton has not become a metropolis, it has furnished a convenient market for the people of the surrounding country and has developed
into a prosperous little village.

Until 1885 the site of Taunton was bare of improvements. That year the railroad company built a side-track there and the site became known as Siding No. 4. In the fall of 1885 Marfield & Company put up a warehouse and J. P. Tumelty bought grain for the firm at the new station.

The second building on the site was put up by Fred Smuhl, who conducted a small grocery store and became postmaster. 14 In April, 1886, the village was platted and "Siding No. 4" became Taunton. The plat was surveyed by C. C. Pudor and the dedication was made April 30 by Albert Keep, as president of the Winona & St. Peter Railroad Company. Only two blocks were platted. The streets were named First, Second, Garfield, Main and Lincoln.

Turner & Brenna established a warehouse in 1890 and divided the grain business with Marfield & Company. In the summer of 1892 Nick Grengs erected a building and opened a general store.
He sold the next year to E. II. Carstens, who still carries on the business. The Catholic church was built in 1895 and the same year residences were put up by Philip Ahern and Fred Smuhl. A few
more improvements were made in 1896  and Youmans Brothers & Hodgins established a lumber yard, but Taunton still occupied a very small place on the map of Lyon county.

The postoffice was first named Lonesome, later became Rippon, and in 1886 was changed to Taunton. Fred Smuhl was postmaster from 1S86 to 1896 and E, H. Carstens from that time until 1906. Anton Heymans, Annie Ahern and Mary Franekoviak had charge of the office for short periods during 1906 and 1907. W. S. Baldwin became postmaster December 24, 1907, and has since held the office.

Two rural routes are operated from Taunton. The first carrier of No. 1 was Henry Conger and of No. 2
was Alfred Hagen.

The year of greatest growth in Taunton's history was 1898, when Franz Anthony opened a general store, Allen Lester a hardware store, Amund Huseby a hotel, and a few others engaged in business. A resident of the village, writing to the Marshall News-Messenger of December 9, 1898. gave the following description of Taunton and its standing:

In your paper of November 25 you speak of Taunton as a railroad station with but half a dozen or less buildings. You have a mistaken idea of the size of our town. Taunton has about 100 inhabitants. We have thirty business and dwelling houses; we have three firms buying grain, two elevators and one warehouse; we have a lumber yard which does a good business; three general stores and one hardware store, all doing a good business; we also have one restaurant and one boarding house and two blacksmith shops. And at present there are three gangs of carpenters busy every day, and
there will be several new buildings added to the list.

The prosperous times of the late nineties brought several new enterprises to the little village and in the spring of 1900 a census showed a population of 184 people living on the 1730 acres of
land which it was proposed to incorporate as the village of Taunton.

Forty-nine residents of Taunton on May 1, 1900, petitioned the county authorities for village government. The County Hoard took favorable action that day and named W. S. Baldwin,
P. P. Ahern and H. Pennington inspectors of the first election, which was held at the office of Ybumans Brothers A: Sodgins on June 5. At the election "for incorporation" was carried, the
first village officers were selected soon after, and Taunton began local government.

The license question has never been submitted in Taunton under the local option law and saloons have always been licensed by the Village Council.

Since becoming an incorporated municipality Taunton has had a slow hut steady growth. The population was 196 in 1905 and 205 in 1910. Among the improvements of recent year were a
saloon building erected in 1903 by Johnson A. Mootz, an implement warehouse by Emil Buttke, a brick store building by J. W. Mach, and a school house in 1906..


Taunton has a good semi-graded public school. O. H. Mullar is the principal and teaches the higher grades; Annie Ahern has charge of the lower grades. The present enrollment is about ninety. The school board is composed of M. F. Ahern, clerk; P. P. Ahern, treasurer; and D. F. Salmon, director.
The four-room school house, built of cement blocks, was erected in 1906 at a cost of over S7000.


St. Cyril and Methoduis Polish Catholic Church of. Taunton is one of the strong religious bodies of Lyon county and has a membership of about fifty families. The church edifice was erected in 1895 and was dedicated June 13 of that year. The dedicatory services were conducted by Fathers Jager, of Marshall, and Zaleawiski, of„ Wilno, and were attended by over 1000 people. For many years the church was ministered to by priests from Ivanhoe and Wilno. The resident priests have been Fathers
Buuchek, who served in 1905 and 1906, and Tomeski. who located in Taunton in 1911. The parsonage was erected in 1906 at a cost of $6000.

A German Lutheran society is maintained in Taunton, supplied by pastors from other churches.


The Taunton Fire Department was organized in 1907. Its fire fighting apparatus consists of a chemical engine and its membership is fifteen. John Ross is the chief.


The State Bank of Taunton began business in May, 1905, with a capital stock of $10,000. The officers and directors at the time of organization and at the present time are as follows:
John Swenson, president; P. P. Ahern, vice president; M. F. Ahern, cashier; and Samuel Lewison. The institution does a general banking business and engages in the real estate, collection and
insurance business. The bank has had a substantial growth, the deposits having increased from $15,000 in 1905 to $90,000 in 1911, and enjoys the confidence of the people.

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