Tenhassen Timeline

The Sioux name "Tenhassen" figures extensively in the history of Martin County. It was found in use by the Indians by the explorer Nicollet in 1838. He spelled the word Tschanhassen. It appears to be more properly rendered as Chan Hassan. The modified form of spelling has always been used here.

Set in a woodsy place, with Little Tuttle Lake on the North and Ten Mile Creek around to the East and into Big Tuttle (Okamanpedan) Lake, lay a little village named Tenhassen. Interpreted, Tenhassen has been rendered as "the place of the sugar maples". However, no native hard or sugar maples could be found in the Town of Tenhassen. It was doubtless applied by the Indians to the Center Chain woods where hard maple trees abound. Or more likely the Sioux spoke of all the region hereabout by that general name.

Historically Tenhassen goes back to the year of Martin County's first settlement - 1856, and its first settler, Calvin Tuttle. The first corn raised in the county was grown in Tenhassen. Because of its timber, its lakes, its fish and its fur, it especially attracted pioneers and was settled thickly long before many other townships in the county.

Originally a part of Nevada precinct, and forming with the center chain settlement but a few miles distant of that precinct's principal center of population, Tenhassen did not ask to be set off as a separate township until 1866. Doubtless it would have organized earlier but most of its male population left to serve in the army from 1861 to 1865. The township furnished more soldiers for the Civil War than it did for the World War.

Tenhassen has a greater water surface than any township in the county, though this has been reduced many hundreds of acres by drainage in recent years. It still has the large lakes, Okamanpedan, Clayton, and Bright, and two or three smaller ones.

The township also had originally and still preserves much of the largest grove of native timber in the county. Its forests furnished the logs for hundreds of pioneer houses and fuel in abundance. Some two hundred acres were platted under the names of Loveland's, Handy's, Personius's and Nelson's subdivisions.

Pottery shards found on the James Boye farm in Sec. 20, Tenhassen Township were believed to be those common in Indian Villages. Professor L.A. Willford, archeologist excavated and studied this.