Ashel Pearse built a log cabin in 1833, one of many French settlers who worked out a deal with Native Americans to live here for a while. The town got its name from one George B. Dresbach, Sr., an Ohio native who, in 1857, bought the earlier claims and invested $50,000 of his own cash to start a village. Mr. Dresbach was a busy man; he started a quarry and a brickyard and served in the Minnesota House of Representatives.
The village platting kick-started some interest in development: in 1857 eleven houses were built and the town got its first general store and post office. Dresbach’s effort to develop a bustling town, however, was never the success he hoped; he lost most of his money in the process and died with little material wealth.