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  • Writer's pictureMelody Lager

From Liberty to Goldfield

In 1854 Major Minter Brassfield became the first settler in Liberty township, and the

second settler in Wright County. Reportedly he was from Tennessee (some accounts

say he was the first settler and from Kentucky!). The little town of Liberty was founded in

1855. Liberty was honored with a post office in May of 1856, with Goldfield being platted

in 1858. Goldfield was almost Brassfield, in honor of Major Minter. However, some

people thought “GOLD” sounded better than brass, and so Goldfield was named.

Eventually, the name Liberty was dropped.

In 1857 Judge David Dean and his sons moved a sawmill from Eagle Grove to Liberty. It

was soon joined by other stores, such as a general store, a hotel, physician, steam mill

and blacksmith shop. The hotel, named the Elk Horn Hotel, was owned by Jeptha Doty,

and known for the large elk horns which hung outside. A log schoolhouse soon followed,

and at the close to the civil war, 63 students were enrolled, making it the largest

schoolhouse in Wright County. A two-story building was used as the county courthouse

from 1858 – 1866, when the decision was made to move the county offices to Clarion.

Goldfield also was home to Conger & Whyte brick and tile factor, established in 1891;

and Fountain Creamery, which in 1890 could produce 2,000 lbs. of butter per day, and a

flour mill. The creamery was run by water from flowing wells in and around Goldfield.

Early writings of Liberty/Goldfield indicated the area had excellent land, an abundance of

timber, and a beautiful stream called Otter Creek. Needless to say, farms soon dotted

the land. Liberty/Goldfield boasted the first marriage in Wright County, when Alexander

Usher married Lucy Ann Brassfield. The first settler child to be born in Wright County

was Amanda Montgomery, whose father farmed about 4 miles from Goldfield.

Goldfield tidbits: A claim to fame for Goldfield is that in 1955 the high school girls’

basketball team won the state basketball trophy. There is a recording of that game, and

if you ever get to watch it, you will find yourself rooting for Goldfield (even though you

know they will win!) Goldfield also boasts “Flowing Wells” – water runs freely up thru the

ground to thirsty travelers; one such well can be found at a small park along highway 3.

From 1904 thru World War II, Goldfield hosted the Old Settler’s Picnic. Old settlers and

their families gathered to retell the stories of settling Wright County. Goldfield was also

the scene of a bank robbery in December, 1912, when the safe was cracked and thieves

got away with about $4,000.

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