Early settlers in Martin County began with Calvin Tuttle in March 1856. His settlement was called Tuttle's Grove. Mr. Tuttle was a man of considerable energy, of strong prejudices, and while generous with his friends, with his enemies went the other extreme.

Calvin Tuttle and Mr. Rickey were the 1st white settlers to come to Martin County. They came in March 1856. Early names were: Horace Personius, John N. Handy, J.P. Farmer, Mrs. C.E. Decker, Chas. E. Wood, George Gideon, Daniel Alton, W.B. Stedman, "Deaf" Bailey, Homer McNeal, Thomas Cane, Samuel Doming, Mr. Kusick, J. H. Babcock, C. Personius, Wm. Rice, J.N. Rice, Samuel Carver, Dr. McDuff, William Merry, Homer and Jeanette Watkins, George B. Smith, Wm. 0. Bassett, Cornelius Personius, Charles Personious, E.E. Denton, Rev. C.R. Austin.

Calvin Tuttle ,born August 8, 1810 and the 1st settler of Martin County, left his name on the huge lake named by the Indians as Okamanpedan. Early maps and plats call the small lake in Tenhassen Township that empties into Okamanpedan Lake, the Inlet Lake. Later the Inlet Lake was known as Alton Lake, after that it was called Little Tuttle on maps and plats. Now most plats and maps call it Tuttle Lake. Most of the time the large lake was called Okamanpedan on the maps and plats and still is listed like that to this day.

At about the same time, Calvin Tuttle made a claim on what he named Tuttle's Grove. Mr. Tuttle's wife and children came in May 1856. This is where the 1st family settled. The Tuttle's had seven children, three sons, George and Columbus, both grown men and one young boy and four daughters, (two were grown women). Mr. Tuttle proved to be a good speculator who bought and sold several claims before he left.

The town of Tenhassen was never platted into blocks and lots. The town was located in sections 20, 21 and 29 of Tenhassen Township. From 1856 to 1873 it was called Tuttle's Grove.

The 1st corn was grown by Calvin Tuttle in 1856 and was damaged by frost on Sept. 19, 1856. Corn has become the mainstay crop of this area to this day.


Louisa Tuttle and W. S. Campbell were married on Sept. 24, 1857. The wedding took place at Calvin Tuttle's home with William. H. Budd of Fairmont, Minnesota in attendance. J. C. Hudson performed the ceremony.

Wm. H. Budd thought Calvin Tuttle deserves particular mention as the 1st white settler of Martin County. He also thought that some record should be made or something done, that would in the years to follow, perpetuate the name of Martin County's 1st white settler, Calvin Tuttle.


The 1st bridge built across the inlet of Lake Okamanpedan was in February 1858. Calvin Tuttle and his sons furnished the timber for the bridge. This bridge was 160 ft. long and was raised in about two weeks. This structure was built with no nails or metal rods. Some people from Center Chain helped with the bridge. Those involved thought they had done something for the good of the public. Later that same year Major W. T. Sherman worked on the bridge in order to strengthen it so he could move his artillery across. He had 64 mule teams and 80 head of horses. Heavy rains and spring floods carried this first bridge away. A ferry service was then started by William Merry and continued for a number of years until the ferryboat sank in the middle of the inlet. A new wooden bridge was then built. Some of the pilings were driven through the old ferryboat. High water and ice in the spring also carried this bridge away. Later, with State Aid, the county built one of steel construction in 1907. The steel bridge consisted of two 80 ft. steel trusses with 16 ft approaches at each end. This made a total of 192 feet. The last bridge was constructed in the fall of 1959 and is situated a few rods south and west of where the historic Carver-Tuttle fight took place. The new bridge measured 44 ft. and had a 22 ft. approach at each end for a total of 88 feet.


The 1st camp meeting was held at Tuttle's grove in 1860. The meeting lasted a week. The meeting was sort of a union meeting of several religious denominations and the results were good. J.C. Hudson was at this camp meeting. This was the 1st organized religion in Martin County.

The 1860 census showed that Tenhassen had 13 people living there in three households.

In the early years, the village of Tenhassen was an important center in the fur trading. Fur trading was Tenhassen's only cash revenue. Tenhassen held this important trade center for many years.


Samuel Carver was a direct decendent of a Carver who came to America on the Mayflower. Carver came to Tenhassen Township in 1862.

Calvin Tuttle told Carver to move on when he and his family arrived in Tenhassen Township. They moved on for a short distance and stopped near where Ten Mile Creek empties into Okamanpedan Lake. A day or so later Tuttle appeared and said, I told you to move on. Carver said he did move and now he was staying there and not moving. Tuttle had said if a settler came that could beat him in a fight he and his family would leave the county. The fight was arranged and both men were huge in size. All the settlers gathered to watch and witnesses told that Carver was taking off his jacket when Tuttle started to pound Carver. Carver was the winner of the fight and Tuttle kept his word. Tuttle and his family left the area. The Tuttle-Carver fight was sometime in April or May of 1862. Tuttle was supposed to have left within a month because he lost the fight.

Calvin Tuttle and family, W.S. Campbell and family and Thos. Cain moved away in May 1862. The county was getting too thickly populated for Mr. Tuttle, and being a typical pioneer moved further west.

As all of the settlers from 1856 to 1863, settled closely together in or near the timber in Sections 20 and 21, the place took on the character of a village and was regarded as a village rather than a township in the early days. The village of Tenhassen was in fact, a place of considerable importance as a commercial center until 1898. Tenhassen at one time rivaled Fairmont in size and importance.

In 1862 a post office was established under the name of Tenhassen. Horace Personius was the first postmaster. Following him were John N. Handy, J.P. Farmer, Mrs. C.E. Decker, Charles E. Wood, George Gideon and perhaps some others. The post office continued until 1902.


In 1863, a route from Garden City to Tenhassen supplied the post office. Tenhassen also received mail from Blue Earth and later it was on the Fairmont-Estherville stage. The village was a regular stage station from the earliest of days. Mail, freight and passengers were being carried in that manner for many years.

Cornelius Personius kept the 1st hotel and toucan, as these unpretentious places of accommodations to travelers were known as in the stagecoach days. Mr. Personius was also a fur buyer for many years.


After the Civil War, J.P. Farmer and W.B. Stedman, who were comrades in the service, came to Tenhassen and started the first store of record in the village in 1864.

James Decker married Catherine Addison on April 16, 1840. In 1856, they came to Minnesota and in 1864 came to Tenhassen Township. Their son, Artemus L.M. Decker, held some township offices in Tenhassen Township and was postmaster there for some time as was his mother Catherine Decker. Catherine Decker kept a store in Tenhassen for many years. She died in 1897 and is buried in Tenhassen cemetery. James was born in 1817. There is no record of his death.


C.D. Personius, J.H. Babcock and many others came to Fairmont March 13, 1866, with a long petition asking that the new township be formed to include what later became Lake Belt. The petition wwas granted and the first town meeting was held at the house of C.D. Personius April 2, 1866.


James S. Bailey, also known as "Deaf Bailey", had a store in the Village of Tenhassen in 1868. The address on his card was 101 Main St. Tenhassen. There were probably others before operating smaller stores.


At their March 1869, meeting the commissioners changed the location of the county road from Garden City to Tenhassen.


In the early 1870's, Tenhassen was considered the most important settlement in Martin County.

William and Jane Merry took a claim in Tenhassen Township section 31. William operated a ferry where the long Tenhassen bridge now spans the inlet. William Merry also had a hotel. There was a blacksmith shop located in Tenhassen also.


Many of the preachers who came and went left without having their names recorded. Rev. C. R. Austin of the Methodist Protestant church lived in the village from 1872 to 1874.


In 1875-76, the village had strong hopes of becoming a station on a north-south railroad, known as the Fort Dodge and Fort Ridgley. Tenhassen's Daniel Alton was a director of the "paper railroad" and made great efforts to have the railroad built.

In 1875 the place had three stores, a steam saw mill that had been moved from Shelbyville, and many other business enterprises.


J.P. Farmer, Tenhassen merchant for 12 years moved his store building and stock nearly 20 miles to Sherburn. J.P. Farmer, hearing of the railroad coming to Sherburn was the 1st to arrive and was selling goods before the 1st train arrived in Sherburn. Mr. Farmer was Tenhassen's best boomer. After his departure, Mrs. C.D. Decker started a store that carried a very complete stock and maintained it as long as the village lasted.


By 1879, Tenhassen was getting to be quite a place. It had a blacksmith shop, hotel, 3 stores and the steam saw mill.

The Gideon family came to Tenhassen around 1896 and bought out Joe Wood's store and post office.

In the early years, two doctors appeared. E.E. Denton did doctoring and probably was not a medical graduate. He was called a quack, but did carry the title of doctor, never the less. Dr. McDuff, in the Civil War times was sufficiently recognized in his profession, being appointed as county physician.

William O. Bassett and Charles Personius were early blacksmiths. During the forty years that Tenhassen was a village, there, no doubt, were many others who were engaged in various trades and businesses.


At one time the village consisted of a school house. District 17, Mrs. Decker's general store, Joe Woods store, and to the south of the road, Elmer Wiltse's blacksmith shop. This was the town until the Northwestern Railroad came into the area about 1898 or 1899, a mile or so west of the Village of Tenhassen. Ceylon then came into being which was the beginning of the end of the Village of Tenhassen. Some of the early names that were known were Runyan, Merry, Detert, Johnson, Woolcutt, Baum and Gideon. Jeanette Cardwell married Homer Watkins in 1880. They were married in the Jennings log cabin located where the Walter Rosenbergs later lived, on a knoll on the Southeast end of Ceylon. Soon after their marriage they operated a store in the town of Tenhassen. Homer Watkins became ill soon after their daughter Ann Almyra (Mrs. Werley Hayworth) was born. They operated the store until his death. Mrs. Watkins was Postmistress for Tenhassen village being the successor to Artemus Decker.


In 1900, the Tenhassen post office went out of business.