Thu, May 21, 2009
Information provided by Cyril Kudelka and the book “A Century of Progress”
Forman Township was first named Center Township because of its central location in the county. In a school record there is mention of a Groverville School in Center Township. It was located west of Bishop’s Grove, near the Hohaus farm. This was before school districts were clearly defined. The name of the township was later changed to Forman Township in honor of Colonel C.H. Forman.
The first known settler in this township was L.L. Newman from New York, a graduate of Cornell University. He came here for adventure in June 1882. Soon after his claim became legal, he decided that he was not meant to be a farmer, sold his farm and went back East. This was the Southwest Quarter of Section 7.
The next settler was probably Archibald Fish. His claim was the Northwest Quarter of Section 2. He farmed there until his death; he was buried on the farm. He was a veteran of the Civil War, so the American Legion moved his body to the Forman Cemetery and gave him proper burial. Mrs. Fish had a homestead farther west in the township. Fish’s farm became Harry Forman’s and was known for years as the “Forman Place”. Veila Chevalier owned it for more than 30 years and he sold it to Arlen Hanson.
John Baird, in 1886, was on the first emigrant train that came into Old Sargent. Baird and his sons all farmed in the township at one time. John was a well driller who, with his son, George, and son-in-law, Fred Dyke, dug most of the artesian wells in Forman, Sargent, and Taylor Townships.
In 1887, the railroad came through and two stations were established: Belle Plain and Brookland. The latter was named for Gilbert Brooks, who lived close by. Although Brookland did not become a thriving village, it does deserve recognition. As late as 1918 it still had an elevator, post office, small grocery and a lumberyard, as well as several houses.
In the early years, each township had four schools. In Forman Township, the town school, built in 1884, took care of the northeastern district. There was a school near the station of Belle Plain to serve the southeastern district. In the northwestern part of the district was the “Nelson School”, near Swen Nelson’s. The Brookland School later became the township hall where township meetings and elections were held.
Descendants of early families who are still farming in Forman Township are: David & Brian Fiala (their grandmother, Blanche, was from the Charles Rehak family), Tim Anderson has a home nearby and Kenneth Anderson’s family still farm the land owned by Ed Anderson. Other families who live on farms in the area around Forman are: Jim Wucherpfennig, Cyril Kudelka, John Mlnarik, Bernard Planteen, Ivien Larson, John Schreiner, Ethyl Klinkhammer, Jerry Bohnenkamp, David Braaten, Steve McLaen and Corrine Hansen and her sons Mark, Arlen, Loren and Josh.