Owing to the fact that the early records of Shaokatan township cannot be locate and the few pioneers that are left are unable to furnish us with adequate data, it becomes difficult to write a full and complete history of the organization of the township.

We are unable to learn as to how the lake and township received the name of "Shaokatan". The fact of this being an Indian name doubtless lends some significance thereto. We have also been informed that the name "Shakotapee" has also been attached to the township and the lake in an early day. It is regrettable that we are unable to obtain data fully explaining these important historical facts.

That the township must have been organized in 1879 there is little doubt, as it was among the earliest and most important settlements within Lincoln County. The earliest authentic record available discloses that in the year 1884 L. H. Mack, John Selleck and J. E. Ellsworth were town supervisor and first chairman of the town board. This fact is evidence that he took an active part in the organization of the township. Samuel D. Pumpelly came in 1876, Henry J. Kurth in 1878 and was an early constable and postmaster at Idlewild post office; Henry Kurth and Fred H. Kurth came in 1878, John H. Curtis came in 1879, Herbert Edwin Weeks came in 1878 and was an early-day supervisor. Mr. Weeks still resides in Shaokatan Township and until recently resided upon his original homestead. Joseph K. Miller filed upon his homestead in 1875 and took up permanent residence in the township in 1878. There were but three other families in the township at the time Mr. Miller filed. John E. Ellsworth came in 1878 and was an early supervisor. Andrew Olmem came 1879. Charles C. Hatchard filed upon his claim in 1877 and if we are rightly informed, was the first county treasurer. Mr. Crain resigned his office as county treasurer October 1st, 1879 and afterwards served the county in the state legislature.

Mr. Crain, it is stated, built the first shanty in the township, located on the north side of the lake. When he arrived in the township there were three dugouts on the south side of the lake occupied by families by the names of Randall, Kidwell and Stone. At the east end of the lake was a cabin that had been occupied by a man by the name of Russell and who had departed during the winter of 1877. J. K. Miller built a log house on the north side eof the lake. Anton Stransky came in 1878 and his son, Henry, was the first child born in the township, his birth occurring in the covered wagon in which the family migrated to their homestead. Henry still resides on the original family homestead. S. D. Pumpelly built the second shanty, located not far from the Crain homestead. In 1878 Mr. Crain erected a large farm residence, practically as it stands today, with the exception that a kitchen has since been added. This residence stands on land purchased of the Railway Company, in section 23. This farm occupied at the time by Mr. Crain's son, Virgil D. Crain. The house was easily seen a distance and became the lodging place for many a pioneer family.

The fist German Lutheran church in Shaokatan township was organized in 1880 by Rev. R. R. Plantiko, with a membership of thirty-seven. A neat church edifice was erected not long after its organization.

Note - An early road record book for the township of Shaokatan discloses that David Jones was chairman and Henry Kurth and A. D. Babbett, members of the board of supervisors for the year 1880. This record, under date of May 1st of that year, is the earliest record obtainable. Whether or not the township was organized that same year is not known to the writer.

Shaokatan Township

Babbett, A. D.

Crain, Mr.

Crain, Virgil D.

Curtis, John H.

Ellsworth, J. E.

Ellsworth, John E.

Hatchard, Charles C.

Jones, David


Kurth, Fred H.

Kurth, Henry

Kurth, Henry J.

Mack, L. H.

Miller, J. K.

Miller, Joseph K.

Olmem, Andrew

Plantiko, Rev. R. R.

Pumpelly, S. D.

Pumpelly, Samuel D.



Selleck, John


Stransky, Anton

Weeks, Herbert Edwin