History of Fosston

In the year 1876 the first settlers came to the Thirteen Towns area, arriving in covered wagons, bringing with them a few cattle, oxen, horses and mules.  Charles Adair, with his family is named as the first to arrive in the Fosston area, with nine others soon following, to file claims on the land.  John Flesch was the first settler to file in the Thireen Towns district.  He filed at Crookston in June 1878 with Edouard LaBree, the second to file.  Others were Herman Eikens, William Jacob Hilligoss, George Hershberger, Richard Hershberger, Jerome Thayer, Andrew Eaton and Matt Portz family.  These families composed what was known as the Rosebud settlement, located just south of Fosston and which later became Hansville, in Rosebud Township.

Some claim that John Flesch named Rosebud Township, having gone to Crookston to file his claim when the wild roses were abounding in full bloom, suggestiing the name to the County Auditor who approved it.  Others say the township was named for Rose Eikens, daugher of the Herman Eikens, and the first white girl born in the settlement.

In 1878, Eastern Polk County was closed to settlers.  The Indian Police ran all squatters from the area until only the nine families with their land papers remained.

These people had built their log cabins within short distances of one another.  Their only neighbors were a few friendly Chippewa families living in tents or birch bark houses, who were reluctant to go to the reservations.  To one of the Indian families named Wab Skib Nay Ash, and located on Mr. Hilligoss' farm, was born a baby boy on December 11, 1878.  Mrs. Hilligoss was in the tent when the child was born and lent what aid she could to the mother and child.  One week later, on Dec. 18, 1878, Charles, the first white boy in the settlement was born to Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Hilligoss.


Settlers had to travel to either Crookston or Detroit (now Detroit Lakes) over mud paths for supplies of merchandise and tobacco, for at that time not even poplar poles had been laid across swampy land to make a roadway.