Wm. Kahlow Tells How Tyrone Township Received Its Name

By Win V. Working for the Belle Plaine Herald, June 18, 1925


William Kahlow, the 88-year-old pioneer, who opened as a claim in 1854 the farm now owned by F. Maltz in Blakely township, reminiscing recently, recalled the meeting held to name Tyrone township.

“I’ve have forgotten the year,” said Mr. Kahlow, “but I think it was in 1858.  Hogan Dougherty was a sort of leader in the township, which was pretty well covered with heavy timber and was sparsely settled, in those days, and he told me a few days before the meeting to bring out some whiskey.  It was the custom then to have liquor at all elections.  I didn’t know much about what they would want, so I brought out ten gallons.

          “Doughterty appointed me ‘officer of the day,’ for I was big and strong then, and sometimes there was trouble at elections.  There was sixteen men there and, although there was plenty of whiskey, nobody drank too much and there was a lot left.  We met in a log shack where the Logan schoolhouse now stands.  There was a little trouble when Sam Epperson and a man named Andrews announced their intention of voting the Republican ticket.  Tom Hayes vowed no Republican votes would be cast at that election.  He and Epperson started to scuffle, but I told them they would have to fight outside.  They went out and Dougherty called to me, ‘What’s the matter with you, Kahlow, ain’t you the officer of the day?’  I separated the boys and then we went in to attend the township meeting.  The question of naming the township came up and there was considerable discussion.  It had been called Hillsdale, but the settlers decided it should have a new name.  Bill Corbett got up and said, ‘Boys, this here township needs a name and as many of us came from old Tyrone, the best county in Ireland, I suggest that we name this township Tyrone.’  There was some argument, as those from other parts of Ireland claimed Tyrone wasn’t the best county in Ireland.  But finally it was put to a vote and Bill’s suggestion was carried unanimously, the Germans among us shouting as loudly as the rest.

          “After the meeting we found that the punchoon floor had been broken down and several window lights smashed.  I recall that Sam Epperson and Tom Hayes, who had disagreed over the voting, rode home on the same horse, and it was Epperson’s horse at that.  Epperson then lived on the old Dan Ryan place.”

The date of the meeting fixed by Mr. Kahlow—1858—undoubtedly is correct, the records show that the county commissioners officially changed the name from Hillsdale to Tyrone at the January meeting in ’59.  The pioneer recently left for his home in Okanagan, Wash., but plans to return soon  to make his home in Minnesota.


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