Anderson Clan
Girard Township, Otter Tail County, Minnesota
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Girard Township Plat - 1884


Old Clitherall - 1884
Girard Township, Otter Tail County, Minnesota

The township of Girard was organized in 1881 or early in 1882. John Howard, who had arrived in Clitherall in August, 1881, circulated a petition for its organization, and the petition was granted. Various names were suggested for the new township, Harscrabble being one of them. Others suggested Andersonville, as there were seven families by the name of Anderson. But Mr. Howard liked neither of these names, so he wrote into the petition the name of "Girard," which was the name of his birthplace, Girard, Pennsylvania.

The first town meeting was held in the home of F. L. Whiting, and the following officers were elected: B. B. Anderson, Chairman, F. L. Whiting and Ruben Oaks, Sr., Supervisors; and Simon McAteer, Clerk. They continued to hold their meetings in Mr. F. L. Whiting's home until 1886, when Mr. Guy Clements gave them the use of an old log house on his farm. Mr. Clements had built a frame house. They used this log house for their regular meetings until 1900, when they built a town hall on the west and center line of Section 15, which burned in 194 1. A new hall was built the same year.

The organization of the township seemed to bring on the boom days, as the taxes paid by the settlers now reverted to their own treasury instead of going to Nidaros, as they had been doing before the organization. Three school districts were organized, new roads were laid out and worked, a church was built and about 30 families came into the town during the early 1880's. The first school district was District # 152, organized July 25. 1881, its board members were all Andersons: B. B. Anderson. W. W. Anderson, and J. R. Anderson.

The first and only church built in Girard was a Latter Day Saint Church, erected in 1884 and 1885 at a total cost of $580.71. It was built of oak lumber sawed by Reuben Oakes, Jr. in his sawmill in the swamp. The dimensions were 26 by 48 with 14-foot posts. This church was also the first church of that denomination ever built in the State of Minnesota. It stood on the southwest corner of Section 12, and was later sold to Robert Stanlev after its membership had left Girard and moved by him to Section 13 and made into a barn.

The population of Girard Township is mostly descendants of the first permanent settlers of Otter Tall County, who came to Old Clitherall in 1865.

Buckley and Sally Anderson moved to Girard Township in 1881 to homestead 160 acres described as W1/2 of SE1/4 plus S1/2 of SW 1/4, of Section 2 in Township 133 North of Range 39 West of the 5th Prime Meridian. Patent was issued April 6, 1888.

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