LeRoy Township, Osceola County

It was the forests that first attracted white settlers.  Land to the south and east had already been cleared for farms. The demand for lumber was great and professional land lookers were sent out to find the best timber tracts which could be bought for $1.25 or less per acre. Much of the land was purchased by railroad companies, lumbermen, and land speculators.  In 1864 the railroad had an agent in the area, although the first train did not reach the area until the latter part of November 1871. 

The location that later became LeRoy was called “end of twenty” by the railroad. This name came as the result of a decision by the railroad to build the railroad twenty miles north of Paris, its terminal at the time. In 1866 a hotel was built by Martin Westfall, who housed the men and their horses or oxen that were coming north to clear the land.  The year 1870 is important in our history because, at a meeting on April 4 of that year, the township of LeRoy was established. 

The early beginnings of the village of LeRoy occurred during the summer of 1871 when merchants came to the area for the purpose of engaging in business.  In 1871 the LeRoy post office became a reality and James Bevins was the first postmaster. Mail came by train finally and once a week mail arrived by stagecoach from Hartwick. Then in 1872 the first sawmill was constructed in the village by the Wenzel brothers.  The businessmen of the LeRoy settlement had the foresight to anticipate the advantages of an organized community, so after initial action by these men, LeRoy was incorporated by an act of the state legislature on February 2, 1873.  The village was platted later in 1873 out of a 40 acre parcel.  

By the year 1878, LeRoy had a rather impressive “Business Directory” which allowed the area residents to prosper and not have to leave the area for goods.  By 1900, the LeRoy area started to celebrate Razzasque Day which happened each year for roughly 15 years and was stopped due to various reasons.  Some believe it wasn’t profitable for area merchants and another story is because the country was entering the first world war.  However, in 1973, the village celebrated its centennial and Razzasque Days was started again and has continued to this day. 

In 2023, the village will celebrate its sesquicentennial (150 years) and we hope to continue to carry on the legacy that many lumbermen started so many years ago.