"The History of Houston County", Taylor
Publishing, 1982 - Page
Township is located in the north tier of townships,
second from the left, between Money Creek and Mound
Prairie, Looney Valley, named for the first settler,
John S. Looney, comprises the bulk of the town, with
a dog-leg to the west of Root River Valley wedged
between Money Creek and Yucatan Towns which makes up
most of the rest of the town. Small parts of
Crystal Valley and Hop Hollow fall into the
the first white men to visit future Houston Township
were French fur traders in the late 1600s and early
1700s followed by the English and the
Americans. Their impact was minimal, being
little more than the removal of fur-bearing animals
for the European markets.
were the timber cutters, who came up the Root River,
established temporary shelters, and moved onto a new
location for the next season. They were
followed by the land seekers. William G.
McSpadden is the first recorded. Plotting
first the village of Houston and later the town of
Winfield, in Looney Valley, that died aborning.
other potential cities never became more than
"paper" towns. Looneyville did have
a post office and store for a short time, but St.
Lawrence never was more than the sale of lots
between land promoters. The location of the
railroad on the south side of Root River condemned
the three potentials to death, leaving Houston to
become the city it is today.
as one of the original townships in 1854, the
founding officers have been lost to the mists of
the town today are: Ralph Lee, Vincent W. Poppe and
Richard E. Snow as supervisors; Leonard E. Flatten
as treasurer; and Mason A. Witt as clerk. As
in 1854, today the main concerns of the town
officials are roads and bridges, their maintenance
and reconstruction, plus the problems brought about
by zoning laws and land use problems.
the evening of 5 May 1965 a tornado tore through the
town, on a diagonal from southwest to northeast,
leaving a path of destruction, but fortunately not
taking any lives. Beginning in Iowa, just
south of Canton, Minnesota, the tornado left a trail
of destruction across Fillmore, Houston and
Winona counties and in its dying gasp touched down
at Brice's Prairie, Wisconsin. Destroyed or
made unusable were barns houses and outbuildings
that were essential to farming operations. Wooded
areas in the path were a twisted, jumbled area of
trees that were almost impossible to penetrate.
in the area hit by the tornado were: Almer Flattum,
Vincent W. Poppe, Aldis K. Gordon, Nels and Leon
Nelson, Michael and Charles Kelly, Freddie Peterson,
Vernon Gydal, Edna and Corlyn Forsyth, Arthur D.
Witt, Norman Peterson, and Mayme Forsyth, and the
Lower Looney Valley brick schoolhouse.
who went through the ordeal were forced to make
major decisions about their operations. Some
chose to sell, some to change to an alternative type
of farm operation and some to rebuild as they had
town in 1982 is primarily rural, a mixture of
farming as the primary source of income and
individuals who prefer country life. There is
some urban development on the perimeter of the
Houston city limits.
by Mason A. Witt
1860 Houston Index
since this counter was added in March, 2003.