Ceresco became a township on July 8, 1857. Its name was a mistake; one of its residents, Isaac Slocum, had moved to the present town of Lincoln and suggested the name Ceresco for it after his old town of Ceresco, WI. Meanwhile, John and Miles Porter suggested Fox Lake for the township’s new name after Fox Lake, WI, where they had lived before. The County Board decided the townships’ names on April 6, 1858, but there was a mix-up and two names were switched. Nothing was ever done to correct the mistake, so Ceresco stayed Ceresco ever since.
Ceresco was discovered by white men for the first time in 1855, by William D. Gray and Fellows D. Pease, both of Iowa. They built a cabin and traded with Native Americans for goods. Shortly after their arrival, other settlers came to Ceresco. In 1867, German-Lutherans began arriving in the township from all over America and Germany, and by 1880 they had created quite a settlement for themselves, with a church, a school house, and eighty-seven members. Other newcomers to Ceresco included Irish immigrants, who generally became members of the Catholic Church at Madelia.
Ceresco developed quickly; in 1888, a post office was established, with Michael Russell as postmaster. The mail carrier was H. O. Thompson, and during his six and a half years as carrier he never missed a single trip. Telephone wires were supplied by the Willow Creek Telephone company around that time as well. Also, an enterprising couple, Mr. and Mrs. H. O. Thompson, started manufacturing cheese in their granary. They produced so much that a stock company called “Ceresco Cheese Company” was formed in 1901. The company was a great success.
Ceresco’s history is not without its share of hardship. In 1880, a storm blew through town, destroying a resident’s house and removing two schools, McAllen and Mead, from their foundations, besides blowing the roof off of Devon’s school house. Animals were killed, fences and barns were wrecked, and some people were badly hurt.
Photograph of the Ceresco School House, District 14, Moved to the Blue Earth County Fair Grounds in 1968.