"The History of Houston County", Taylor
Publishing, 1982 - Page 14
Stevens, a millwright, had helped design and
construct some of the earliest grist mills in Wisconsin
and Iowa. In 1852, he and his wife settled on the
"Ike Farm" (now David Alstad's).
This he sold in 1854 to Peter Carrier, Sr. and
moved to Yucatan Township.
Olson Bergo is credited for naming Black Hammer.
He awoke one morning, stepped outside his cabin door,
and saw that a prairie fire had spread across the nearby
hammer-shaped hill. Looking at the charred
appearance it reminded him of a hill at this former home
in Slidre Valders, Norwary called Sard (Black) Hammer.
hill has been the scene of many celebrations and
picnics. The one remaining resident is our
"Stone Lady." This unique rock landmark,
built in the likeness of a woman, has withstood the
ravages of time for approximately 104 years. Some
will tell you that in 1878, a pioneer settler named Vaitlin
Valtinson built the "Stone Lady." While
others will tell you that teenagers watching a herd of
grazing cattle erected the monument. Others
believe that at one time there was also a "Stone
Man" and "Stone Child".
the first town meeting in April 1859, Halge Solverg suggested
the name Clinton. Upon submission to the State for
approval, it was denied because there already was a
Clinton, Minnesota. After much deliberation the
name Black Hammer was adopted.
Creek flows through the western part of our township.
By the late 1850s a number of settlers had settled along
the stream. By 1857 David Soper with
partner Philander Soper, had built the first
sawmill. A flash flood destroyed the mill and many
of the area's residents in 1866.
1981. Gunder Mathison was operating a local store
and blacksmith shop. When the Houston-Decorah Mail
Stage began delivering mail, tri-weekly, he became the
the late 1890s the blacksmith shop was sold to Henry
Peterson, who started a wagon makers shop and kept
the forge going.
second store was started in late 1893 by Elling
Karlsbraaten and Iver Dahlen, and in 1893
they sold the store to Hans Hanson. Hanson
operated the store until 1903. Oscar Bagley
and then ihis son Milton operated the store until it was
sold to Sigurd Evenson in 1955. Hans
Hanson's nephew, Baldwin Hanson, became the
owner in 1970. Changes in the store itself were
few. A furnace replaced the pot-belly stove and
coolers were added for meat and pop. Other than
that it continued to be a social center for the area's
young and old.
District #37 was organized in 1857, with Frank Brown the
teacher. After the school district was
consolidated with Spring Grove, the red brick school
house was purchased by the Black Hammer Swift Scooters
4-H Club. The Swift Scooters celebrated their 50th
anniversary in 1977, and continue to use the schoolhouse
for their monthly meetings.
population of Black Hammer Township has been
predominantly Norwegian. Some of the earliest
settlers were: Rosaaen, Ike, Winjum,
Otterness, Ericksen, Onstad,
Findreng, Yetrelie, Hemri, Lie, Berquam,
Valtinsen, Guttormsen, Lanen, Svortaas,
Bersrud. Among the early settlers of other
nationalities were: Billings, West, Simpson,
Carrier, Fleming, Smith, Birdsell,
Saunders, De-Fin, Rafferty, Ramsdalle,
Fuler, Pulsifier, Casewell, Smart,
Griege, and Robb.
no longer have the grocery stores, the blacksmith shop
or the Post Office. But we do have the red brick
school and church still serving the community.
1982 Township officials are: Michael Wiste,
clerk; Maynard T. Brevig, treasurer, Donald
Norgard, chairperson, David Alstad and Alden
Solum, supervisors. Submitted by Mrs. David
since this counter was added in March, 2003.