Written by longtime resident and Town Board member Eugene Lindholm
The first recorded inhabitants of this area were the American Indians. Sioux Indians lived in small bands, staying in one place for only a couple weeks. The Chippewa Indians moved into the area and chased the Sioux south and west. Also, there were explorers and trappers that moved through the area about that time.
In April of 1836, the federal government established the Territory of Wisconsin. It included lands that are now Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota and parts of the Dakotas. The next year, 1837, the federal government signed a treaty with the Sioux and Chippewa Indians. They were given about $9,000 and the rights to hunt, fish, trap and collect maple sap. The treaty was not honored very well, but did allow the movement of European people into the region. The territorial headquarters were in Prairie du Chein. Wisconsin became a state in 1848 by an act of the United States Congress. They established St. Croix County that included lands that later became Pierce County, St. Croix County, Polk County and part of Burnet County. This large territory was divided by the territorial legislature into those counties and Polk County was established in 1853. The Wisconsin Constitution was written at statehood and established the basis for the formation of the towns and villages.
The Town was first named LeRoy. The area included all of the land from Cedar Bend south of the present Village of Osceola, north to the City of St. Croix Falls and east to what is now the Town of Lincoln. A town meeting was held April 21, 1853 to organize the town government. The name LeRoy was used to honor LeRoy Hubbard, the first white man in the area who was killed cutting timber to be used in the construction of a saw mill. It included the small settlements of Osceola, Dresser and Nye. There were only two qualified members at the meeting, Samuel Thompson and Christian Weble who became the supervisors. A few days latter they appointed Stephen Rowclif Clerk and Joseph Richmond Treasurer. The early concerns of this board were boundaries, roads and assessments for tax purposes. The terms of office were for one year. This meeting was held in the school house in Osceola.
At a Town Board meeting on March 30, 1859 the name Town of Osceola was first used. No explanation for the name change to Osceola given. The name Osceola was used to honor a Seminole Indian Chief by that name. Chief Osceola had been wronged by the army, which irritated many local people. Meetings in the early days were held in schools, homes of free holders and the Polk County Court House in Osceola.
Polk County was organized in 1853 and named after President Polk. The settlement of Osceola was selected as the county seat even though it was not incorporated at the time. An election held in the fall of 1898 moved the county seat to Balsam Lake, the geographical center of Polk County.
The Village of Osceola was incorporated on July 13, 1886. The Town of LeRoy owned a town hall in the village and both the village and town used this building. The town sold the building to the village on July 15, 1889 for $200. .
There were no highway systems in Wisconsin before an act of the legislature established the office of County Highway Commissioner in 1907. Local roads in the town were assigned to districts. The Town of Osceola had five districts. Road maintenance was assigned to local residents of the town who were called Path Masters or Overseers of Highways. These men were paid $1.50 per day for working on the road. $1.25 a day was paid for a team of oxen and $2.00 per day for a team of horses. Our present road system evolved from there.
Some early historical highlights:
More recent historical highlights:
The Town of Osceola has a history of cooperation with other municipalities.
The ordinance numbers and dates were included in the writing of this history so that it would be easier for any one to do research if more detailed information was needed.
Last updated May 25th, 2010