Vine Creek


  In  1879  the  post  office  was  established  at  Vine,  the 
name being suggested by  Sarah  Seeley,  the  first postmistress. The mail
was delivered to  these  post  offices  by  horseback  from  Solomon.  Early 
citizens  tell us  a  small  store and  post  office was operated by Henry
Lemon,  south-east of the present site of Vine

  During this early period, much of the land was acquired by the
Homestead Act  or  purchased  from  railroad  companies   Many  small 
homes  of  stone or dugouts  dotted  this  hilly  grassland.  These  settlers 
organized  several school  districts  to  educate  their  children.  The  first 
school  was  held in  a  little  stone  building  located  on  the Arthur Smith 
farm.  Districts in  the  area  were  #42,  Vine Creek;  #71,  Reed;  #57, 
Ackley;  #15   Munson: #82, Melville, later known as Owsley or Neaderhiser

  In December  1886  the Chicago,  Kansas  and western Railroad
petitioned the  County  Commissioners  to  permit  the  building  of  a 
railroad  from  the east  line  of  Ottawa County  to  the west  line,  with  two 
stations  east  of Minneapolis  and  two  west.  The  one  farthest  to  the  east
came  to  be Vine Creek.  The  railroad was built and began operations  in 1887. 
This railroad  was acquired by the Santa Fe in 1910.  The station Vine Creek was
so narned for  the  creek,  a branch of  Coal Creek that runs just south of
the site
This creek had been named Nigger Creek, but Vine Creek seems to be appropriate
because of the heavy growth of vines such as wild grapes,  ivy
and others. Many  small  bushes  were  abundant,  including  wild  raspberry,
gooseberry, Strawberry,  mulberry  and plum.  which  served  as  fruit  and 
jelly  for   the settlers.
In  1887  the  Vine  Creek  Town  Company  was  organized  and 
Vine  Creek became  a  thriving  shipping  point  for  dairy  products  and 
livestock.  A general  store  and  town  hall  was  owned and operated by Mrs. 
Sarah Seeley. This hall served as a voting place at one time.
The Minneapolis Butter and Cheese Factory was in operation for
several years.  William  Stout  bought  and  shipped  cream  for many
years  after  the butter  and  cheese  factory  ceased  operation,  about  1903.  A
livery  stable was owned and operated by John McDade
Mr  and Mrs. Eany Kelly, who came to Vine in the early 1900's,
operated a  store  and  lived  in Vine  the  remainder  of  their  lives. 
A  second  store was  in  operation  at  various  times  by  Frank  Taylors, 
Claud  Smiths,  Tom Durham,  and  Chas.  Haleys   A  blacksmith  shop  was  owned 
and  operated  for many years by  James  0.  Fleming,  and  later  by  Will Plurd 
of  Minneapolis. The railroad furnished employment for many of the community's
citizens. Charles  Dennison  was  section  foreman  for many years.  The 
railroad  had maintained  a  stockyard  at  Vine  Creek  in  its  early 
history.  Because  of the  excellent  grass  and  grazing  conditions  in  the  area, 
thousands  of  head  of  cattle  have  been  shipped  through  the  yards. 
During  the  1930's the yard was enlarged and a new cattle scales installed. It was
the largest  cattle scales on the Santa Fe system.
Many  ranches  have  been  in operation  since  the days  of   homesteading:
Hurst  Ranch,  Gladden  Ranch,  Slaven  Ranch,  Bowen  Ranch, 
Gafforg  Ranch and others.  In more recent years,  the names of Bowen,  Hayes, 
Riley,  Todd, Bingham,  Smith   McCready,  Lyles,  Nichols,  Stout,  McDade 
and  others  have been  linked  with  shipping  cattle  from  the  Vine  Creek 
stockyards.  Many  cattlemen,  from  surrounding  states,  have  pastured  cattle 
in  the  area.

One  very  remarkable  early  settler  was  Thomas  Smith,  who 
bought  his farm in 1883. Here he lived and reared a family of 11 children,
one daughter died in early childhood and one daughter was killed in 1891 when
a tornado struck  the  home.  At  the  time  of  his  death,  Mr.  Smith 
had  accumulated enough property that he left 240 acres of land, or the equivalent
thereof, to each of his nine living children.               (Ottawa County
Museum Files)

Go to this page for the story of Fred Bowen and the Bowen Ranch