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Association History
The first Winona County Old Settler’s Association was established on 8 January 1862, not quite four years after Minnesota became a state.  On this day a number of residents interested in preserving their history in the newly-formed Winona County met and decided that henceforth they would convene annually to conduct business.  The condition of membership at that time was residence prior to July 4, 1855. Bylaws were written to guide the new association; it was decided that all present would gather every year in February for social interaction and participation in a program designed to honor the ideals and accomplishments of the group.

When that first celebration convened at the Huff House in 1862, Association settlers—most still young and fleet of foot—feasted and danced until 2:00 a.m. As the years passed, other such events were held.  However, the impact of the Civil War served to interrupt the continuity of gatherings. And gradually the number of Old Settlers present before the mid-1850s began to dwindle. 

On April 16, 1889, a handful of concerned settlers made an attempt to start over. Their agenda was urgent.  Association leaders, now aged, understood that their society would have to be re-invigorated through more inclusive membership requirements.  The new qualifications:  residence in Winona County for 31 years; and a name slightly changed - the Winona County Old Settlers’ Association.