John Towell, a railway platelayer on the Manchester, Sheffield & Lincoln Railway, lived with his family in Worksop Nottinghamshire in the railway station level crossing house. His son Henry emigrated to the United States in 1882. settled in Minnesota, married May Stevens, and began farming around Madison Lake. In 1898, the Towells and some 40 other neighbors and friends hired a Northern Pacific sleeper car and set out for Washington State.
The Towells homesteaded 80 acres in “Center Valley.” The farm produced hay, grain, and dairy cattle. When telephone service was introduced to the island, the Towell place hosted the long-distance switchboard. (The “local” switchboard was located near the Kring farm at the intersection of Kjargaard and Richardson roads.)
Not much more is known about the Towells. Exactly when or why the they left the island in uncertain. They apparently sold out to E. A. Leithead, who auctioned off most of the animals and machinery in the 1920s, “on account of help leaving.”
The farm was subsequently sold to Eddie and Beatrice McCauley, who worked it until the late 1940s, when Eddie left the island. Beatrice and her son, Garner, continued to farm the place until the late 1960s. It was subsequently sold to Bill Riker, who used it as a rental. Ron and Sheila Metcalf bought it in 1989. The house was slightly remodeled in the early 1990s. Restoration of the outbuildings is ongoing.