The area now comprising Sherbrooke Township must have been part of a great grazing field for buffalo, and a hunting ground for both Indians and white men for many years just prior to its settlement.

Early pioneers made quite a few dollars gathering up bleached buffalo bones by the wagon load, hauling them to the nearest railroad stations where they were paid about four dollars a ton for them. They were shipped to the sugar refineries in the southeast to be used in the process of sugar bleaching.

There was evidence of the early prairie fires which frequently swept over the area. The settlers all plowed fire breaks around their shacks immediately after building them.

In the early nineties a fire that originated in the western part of what is now Easton Township swept across the Sherbrooke area, leaving some destruction in its path.

Sherbrooke was first organized as a civil township July 6, 1885, and the first town meeting was held July 25, 1885. The first township officers were C. G. Anderson,. Chairman; W. A. Winslow and S. L. Linn, supervisors; W. E. Elliott, Clerk; A. T. Drakeley, Assessor, and J. M. Roberts, Treasurer.

The establishment of the village of Sherbrooke was due largely to the enterprise of D. P. Baldwin and J. B. Honeyman who filed on adjoining quarters of Section 18, and set up business in the center of the section.

COURTHOUSE at Sherbrooke: Ike Warrey, Judge; Sam McPherson, Auditor; Gunder Johnson, Treasurer;

Charlie Boise, Clerk of Court; Halvor Rinde, Reg. of Deeds; Zack Cochrane, Dept. Red. of Deeds.

INSIDE SCHOOL HOUSE (Sherbrooke) front row, sitting down: Arthur Erickson, Emil Wedin, Geo. Mosby, Clifford Smith, Maurice Devlin, Arthur Johnson, Orville Mosby, Floyd Smith, (unknown), William Devlin. Back row: Benie Steinke, Palmer Steinke, Edgar Mosby, Lenore

By a vote of the electors, the County seat was established there in 1885. In 1886 a building was erected for County offices. In 1888 it was enlarged and in 1891 a fireproof vault for the county records was built.

The Courthouse contained a court room, used for holding Court, political conventions and public meetings. Community social affairs and pot luck get-togethers were also held there. The story is told of how, on Friday nights, the citizens of the village would bring pot luck to the Courtroom and have family suppers, followed by talks, debates, or singing of the old gospel hymns. The entire families went to these meetings and enjoyed the fun. Three one-room school houses were built during the middle 1880's.

Most of the early settlers in Sherbrooke Township were known as "Americans," in contrast to a majority of settlers in adjacent territory who were mostly of Scandinavian descent. Sherbrooke was named for the province of Quebec, Canada, originally named for Lt. Gen. Sir John Sherbrooke.

Charles G. Boise, citizen of Sherbrooke in 1892, one-time Clerk of Court, and also County Auditor, purchased the newspaper plant in the village in the spring of 1899. The Steele County Tribune was established by E. S. Seymoure in March, 1889 and was a Republican paper. Its history was somewhat varied as it passed in rapid succession through four changes, and finally passed into the hands of T. S. Hunt, who edited it as a Democratic sheet. In 1900 it again supported the principles of the GOP, and was recognized as one of the leading exchanges of the newspaper world in Steele County.

Erickson, Beral Young, Alvina Steinke, Gladys Monson, Edna Moote, Ida Devlin, Edith Erickson, Marion Bugbee; (girl standing in front not known, nor is teacher identified).

SHERBROOKE BAND: Fay Allen, George Cooper, Henry Devlin, Neil Devlin, Charles Green, Leslie Still, (Director) Bilden. Frank Oxton, Jim Devlin, Gus Gilbertson, Earl Anderson, Alvin Boe, Art Cooper, Jack Oxton, Vin Anderson, (unknown) Charlie Bugbee, Maurice Devlin.

In the summer of 1899 the foundation for the Methodist church was laid and the church dedicated June 17, 1900. Many years later it was used by a group of Lutherans who held services there for several years. The church is now abandoned.

Among the early businesses established in the village was what was forever afterwards known as the "Big Store." This was originally built and operated by D. P. Baldwin in 1889 with a trade territory as far north as the Aneta community. This passed in succession, as well as can be remembered, to T. G. Anderson, Ed Still, Ike Warrey, L. N. Bugbee, Arthur Brainerd and Dan Bugbee. There were also two other small stores operated by F. A. Steiner and Pete Stankard.

At one time Sherbrooke boasted a post office, with a Mr. Christianson as postmaster; a livery stable run by Ike Warrey; a hotel operated at different times by Ike Warrey, Mrs. Elliott, and James Devlin; the M. B. Cassell Abstract office; a print shop; a wind powered feed mill; and a blacksmith shop.

This shop was one of the earliest businesses built and run by J. B. Honeyman and his wife, who. had immigrated from England. It was a combination shop and residence, and Mrs. Honeyman was a very capable helper in the smithy, as well as in the house.

The best water in town was to be found in a well behind the Honeyman place. The well had curbing of stone, with a four foot wall extending around the top. A heavy iron rod, bent to form an arch over this wall, held the wheel for the rope for the "old oaken bucket." The bucket was made of wooden staves bound by iron hoops, and when not in use, rested on a huge stump beside the well. Enameled cups, attached to the well by chains, provided the drinking facilities. Many a child in the village was thrilled to watch "Grandpa" Honeyman pull up the bucket of sparkling water, and one of the children recalls "It was 'Grandma Honeyman' who taught us the song 'The Old Oaken Bucket'."

There were also several fine residences in Sherbrooke at this time.

Among the early homesteaders and land owners in Sherbrooke township were the Charles Olsons, C. G. Andersons, Anton Millers, C. J. Nashs, C. V. Greens, Sam and John Linns, Mary Window and son Carmi, A. T. Drakeleys, E. E. Baldwins, W. J. Aldrichs, R. J. Stills, J. O. Collins, Joseph Aliens, Mrs. Abigail Bugbee and sons Jesse and Loring; Oscar Cummings, John Stines; Thorsten Swensons, Gilbert Jordets; Rickers, Newells, Steinkes, John Braute and others.

Many of these people-both farmers and businessmen, held county offices at one time or another. There were also many others from Steele County who lived in Sherbrooke only during their terms as county officials, during the county seat era.

Former Governor Norman Brunsdale was one of the first children born in the village, while his father served as County Treasurer.

SHERBROOKE BASEBALL: TEAM at Blabon in 1909. Standing: Earl Anderson, Wendell Anderson, Thornton Green, G. J. Mustad. Font: Albert Miller, Alex Lohmar, Jim Devlin, Bill Steinke and Jimmy Smith.

At the general election held November 5, 1918, Finley was designated as the new county seat, and the. first meeting of the Board of County Commissioners .was held there January 6, 1919.

Sherbrooke at the present is a ghost town, the only residents being Mrs. Sally Sparks and Mrs. Arlene Carpenter. A few other buildings remain to remind people of Sherbrooke's past, which is a very interesting saga in the history of Steele County.

The present township officers are Chairman, Gene Baldwin; Supervisor- Elmer Jacobson and Marshall Tomren; Clerk, Truman Thykeson; and Treasurer, Emerson Baldwin.

BACK ROW: I. M. Johnson, O. H. Olson, O. N. Grefsheim, E. A. Erickson, G. F. Newton, A. S. Moote, Frank Gray, J. w. Vadnie. Front Row: (R. to L.) A. P. Boe, Knud Johnson, Anton Hovick, L. Verwest, G. J. Mustad.

Sherbrooke Homemakers Club. Back Row: Elvina Cooper, Ida Devlin, Edna Homer, Dorothy Homer, Mrs. J. M. Cooper, Mrs. Emerson Baldwin Sr., Ethel Ricker, Mrs. Avery Parkman, Mrs. Bill Steinke, Mrs. O. Olson, Mrs. McFadden, Mrs. Bert Homer. Next row: Mrs. Fred Ricker, Ruth Margaret Oxton, Lavina Oxton, Jennie Devlin, Mrs. Henry Brainerd. Freddie Ricker, Lois Oxton, Steinke, Frank Oxton Jr., and James Devlin.

Source:  Finley 75th Diamond Jubilee 1897 – 1972 Page 123

 

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