History of Fair Haven
Presentation to the Annandale History Club
March 7, 2005
Historical Marker: 1862 Fair Haven Fort (located at Fair Haven Park)
Fair Haven Cemetery
Partridges have been in the area for over 150 years. Brian Partridge's great-great-grandfather, Thomas Corrollo Partridge, was among a group of pioneers from Ohio and other eastern states. They heard about land from Indian stories, land that the Indians used for rendezvous. Partridge came to St. Anthony in 1854. In 1856 he joined a group of men who followed the Mississippi River to Clearwater, bringing wagons with them and clearing their way. In 1856 Clearwater was an industrious town. The group went seven miles from Clearwater and camped for the night. The next day Thomas Partridge, George Root and Sylvester Woolcot set out across the Fair Haven Prairie until they came to a beaver dam on the Clearwater River. On May 27 one man was sent back for the rest of the party and early on May 27, 1856, the pioneers started platting claims.
Thomas Partridge's claim included the town of Fair Haven. The story is that the town was named when Partridge saw the site for the first time and said, "This looks like a fair haven." It was his idea to plat the town including a church, town square, and school. A cemetery was figured in the plat in its present location. Platting was done in chain links. He donated the lots to the town of Fair Haven. The town was all woods and needed to be cleared. Lake Carolyn was named for Thomas Partridge's wife, Carolyn.
In the fall of 1857 the pioneers sent for other family members. Mrs. William Day rushed ahead of the rest because she wanted to be the first woman to reach their new home. She saw some berries and stopped to eat, and Mrs. Scribner passed her and got to Fair Haven first.
Partridge built a dam and sawmill in 1856-57. There were many trips back and forth to St. Anthony to bring equipment. The town didn't really get started until after the Civil War. Thomas Partridge was the first minister in town, an Elder of the Free Baptist Church. He held services in his cabin as the community was just beginning. As years passed, other church bodies formed in the community.
Some of the names in town were Partridge, Boobar, Olds, Kent, Tucker, Montgomery, Dean, Perkins, Scoville, Day, Jenks.
Fair Haven was originally platted in Wright County. County borders were later moved and the plat was refiled in Stearns County.
1849 - Minnesota Territory formed.
1858 - Minnesota became a state.
1859 - Fair Haven Township was organized.
1856 - Pioneers arrived in "Fair Haven" and staked claims
1856-57 - First school kept in a storehouse by Miss Anna M. Boobar.
1857 - Platted town. Farm depression. Grasshoppers destroyed all crops. Pioneers starving. Lucius Belden took an ox team to Pig's Eye (later called St. Paul) and found fund for grasshopper sufferers had been exhausted. Their dire need was recognized by people of St. Anthony and supplies were sent. The people of Fair Haven thereafter had high regard for the people of St. Anthony because of their generosity.
1857 - Dam and saw mill built by Thomas Partridge. T.C. Partridge and Mr. Hazzard opened a clothing store. A general store and a hotel were also built.
1858 - First 4th of July celebration including glee clubs and speeches, and original composition of songs. Jane Grey Swisshelm, Editor of the St. Cloud newspaper, was speaker. Steven Miller, later governor, was guest.
1859 - Orin D. Webb built first grist mill. Required 1/8 yield as payment. Third oldest water-powered grist mill in Minnesota. Fair Haven had literary and debating societies.
1859 - First post office, John K. Noyes, postmaster. This post office continued operation until March 12, 1975.
1860 - Sarah E. Jenks received a deed for a lot in Block 23, Village of Fair Haven, for the payment of $5.60 and further agreement to build a house thereon.
1860s - Fair Haven sent 25 men to the Civil War. The town was very patriotic.
1862 - Sioux outbreak. A stockade was built around the log hotel. The Fair Haven Fort was never attacked, but it provided peace of mind.
1866 - First school house built.
1867 - June 30, 1867, dam and grist mill swept away by flood. The current mill was built in the fall..
1870 - 2,000 barrels of flour produced per year. 507 of these types of mills in Minnesota. Fair Haven had a baseball club and played other towns.
1880 - 1866 school replaced by a large two-story building.
1888 - Fair Haven was booming until 1888. There was a bank and three stores. There have been up to five churches in town: Baptist Free, Close Communion Baptist Church, Seventh Day Adventists, the Christian Church and the Methodist Church. When the railroad was built south of Fair Haven, a new town of South Haven was built.
1896 - German people clustered further north in Fair Haven Township.
1897 - Mill saved by diverting water.
1899 - Mill sold to Grant Graham for $100. He ran mill for 41 years. Produced xxxx Cereal, and was successful.
1902 - Thomas C. Partridge, founder of the town of Fair Haven, died October 4th.
1923 - Fair Haven Old Settlers' Organization started.
1941 - Grant Graham passed away. Heirs sold mill to Wesley Hales. He never was able to make a go of it.
1942 - Fair Haven Mill went dormant. Equipment sold for scrap metal during WWII.
1965 - Dam washed out in April. National Guard called in to reroute water away from mill. Mill target of vandals because of secluded location.
1966 - Replaced National Guard dam repair. South Haven Sportsman's Club tried to restore the mill and tried to list it as a historical site. There were liability concerns.
1972 - Dam started washing out again.
1973 - Finished mill to what is seen today. No wash out since.
1977 - Fair Haven Mill Foundation started. Have lease to 2027.
1978 - Fair Haven Mill on National Register of Historic Places.
Notes by Annandale History Club Secretary