A Pioneer History of Becker County
Minnesota

Chapter XX.

Township History.

In presenting the histories of the different townships of Becker County I have undertaken to arrange them in the order in which they were first settled, but in a few instances I have deviated from this rule to avoid too much skipping around over the county.

History of Burlington Township.

On the 27th of May, 1857, the survey of a townsite was made at the third crossilng of the Otter Tail River, where the village of Frazee now stands, and the plat was recorded at St. Cloud, as Becker County was at that time attached to Sterns County for recording purposes.

It was clamed that the land covered by this townsite was held by half-breed script, but the title was never perfected. The script was undoubtedly "lifted" some time afterward and other land taken with it, and this land reverted back to the U. S. government. The certificate of the plat is signed by N. P. Aspinwall, surveyor. He was an uncle of Wm. Aspinwill, who now operates a store att Pine Point.

I have a certilfied plat of the townsite in my possession at the present time. The townsite is bounded and described as follows: "Commencing at an oak tree at the southwest corner of said townsite, and running thence north, crossing the Otter Tail River and Detroit Lake, five thousand two hundred and eighty feet, thence running east, crossing the Otter Tail River, two thousand nine hundred and fifty-eight feet, thence running south five thousand two hundred and eighty feet, thence west two thousand nine hundred and fifty-eight feet to the place of beginning."

The names of the proprietors were A. P. Aspinwall, F. Campbell, Donald McDonald, George McDougal and D. Shoff.

Frank M. Campbell, of White Earth, now a man over seventy years of age, informs me that he is the F. Campbell mentioned as one of the proprietors, and Donald McDonald the old Otter Tail Lake fur trader was another. The townsite was one mile long north and south and three hundred and ten feet more than half a mile wide from east to west, and contained about three hundred and fifty eight and one-half acres of land.

Judging from the topography as shown on the plat, the townsite would very nearly fit the west half of Section 35 in the present township of Burlington, except that it was somewhat wider. The west line must have been near where the bridge across Town Lake now stands, and the east line very near the railroad bridge crossing the Otter Tail River, the north end near the Commonwealth Company sawmill, and the south end some distance south of the residence of Edward Briggs.

The plat shows one hundred and thirty-one blocks, with streets to correspondl Even the big marsh along the river south of Frazee between the railroad bridge and the outlet to Town Lake is mapped into blocks and lots with great precision.

In the written description Detroit is said to be located at "the southern end of a beautiful lake callled Detroit Lake at the third crossing of the Otter Tail River, twenty-two miles northwest of Otter Tail City. This place is on the direct route between Lake Superior and Pembina. The face of the country to the west consists chiefly of beautiful prairies and lakes, while on the east there are large bodies of hard and pine wood timber. There are two water powers at this place capable of running a grist and sawmill." The narrow place on the Otter Tail River where the Commonwealth Lumber Company has built its bridge near its sawmill is marked on this plat as "Mill Property." The other mill site is marked below the outlet of Town Lake.


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Last updated: October 20, 1997