Sherburne History Center

Sherburne History Center
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Saturday, June 25, 2016

John Ormsbee Haven A Pioneer in Sherburne County

An early example of the dedicated and adventurous settlers of Sherburne County is the namesake of Haven Township, John Ormsbee Haven.  A local public servant, John O. Haven established himself as an early leader in Sherburne County. Although his life history is sparse in detail, it is worth noting and acknowledging.   

Born in Addison County, Vermont on October 3, 1824.  He graduated from Middlebury College and began teaching.  In 1854 he migrated to St. Paul, then to Wright County, Minnesota.  During his time in the county to the south, he surveyed both Monticello and Big Lake.  In 1866 he relocated north of the Mississippi River to Big Lake.  There he took up the many duties of public servant.  The next few years he served as: Sherburne County auditor, Register of Deeds, Surveyor, Superintendent of Schools, Clerk of the District Court, and County Commissioner.  In 1872, he also had time to represent Sherburne County in the State Senate.   

In addition to his public service, Haven also had time for family and friends.  He married Vienna McAllister in Vermont in 1852 and had two children.  He belonged to the Union Church of Big Lake.  And after his retirement from public service he owned a general merchandise store in Big Lake. 

He died in 1906 just one month short of his 82nd birthday. 

There is no definitive explanation as to why Haven was recognized with the naming of the township.  Yet, his life history suggests the honor was well earned by his hard work and dedication to his family and his community.    

Photo courtesy of: Middlebury College Special Collections and Archives, Middlebury, Vermont

ed. note:  For many months I have had the opportunity to work with a great research volunteer.  Ms. Phyllis Scroggins has provided me with information, has offered story ideas and advice on how to write articles.  I am sorry I am so late acknowledging her contributions to this blog.  Phyllis, the work wouldn’t get done without your help.  Thank you for so many contributions.

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