New Avon Township

New Avon Township is located in the central part of Redwood County and bounded on the north by Redwood Falls, on the east by Three Lakes, on the south by Willow Lake, and on the west by Vail. The surface is level and gently rolling. The Evan-Marshall branch of the Chicago & Northwestern crosses it from east to west in the southern part. In the early days, its only station was Rowena, consisting of an elevator, a store, a schoolhouse and several homes. The trading centers were Morgan and Redwood.

The original survey was begun July 7, 1858 by James L. Nowlin, a US deputy surveyor and was finished September 2, 1858. The first name chosen for this township was simply “Avon”, named for the hometown of Joshua Towle, one of the early settlers. But there being another township in the state with this same name; on January 7, 1873, the name was changed to “New” Avon.

Mr. Towle helped organize the new township and School District No. 14, of which he was clerk for 14 years. He also served as township clerk for 31 years, chairman of the township board for one year, justice of the peace for 4 years, and postmaster for 12 years, keeping the office at his home.

In 1873, on the afternoon of the great blizzard, Mr. Towle and his young son, William, and Mr. George Davis were getting rails on the Minnesota bottoms some three miles from Redwood. The day was unusually warm and the men were working without their coats. Suddenly the snow began to fall so thickly that the tops of the trees were obscured. The three took refuge in Redwood Falls, where the Towles stayed for two days. Mr. Davis, after spending the night in the village became so worried about his family and his stock that he set out during the terrible storm and reached his home in safety.

The first religious services were conducted by Rev. Taylor, a Presbyterian, in the summer of 1873. In September 1879, the Methodist society was organized; services were conducted by Rev. Pemberton. The first meetings were held in 1874, under the leadership of Rev. Smith. The first school was taught by Flora McNiven, in 1872. The first marriage was George Davis and Ellen Winslow, December 24, 1872, by Joshua Towle. The first birth was John, son of James Johnson in 1872. The first death was that of Isabella, daughter of D.M. Scriven on January 21, 1874.

Reference: History of Redwood County, Vol. I, 1916, pgs. 346-348)